Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Photographers at Dawn

We weren't the only photographers in Death Valley this week. There was at least one other fairly large group of photographers whom I suspect were attending a workshop. I've been very interested in doing a photography workshop and almost went on one in Death Valley in winter. However, after observing the instructors and students this weekend, I'm glad I didn't. I don't think I would have found it as enjoyable.

Technical Specs: Nikon D700, 24-70 @ 55mm, f/2.8, 1/40s, ISO 3200.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Moving to the Dark Side?

Well, not quite. More of a dipping of toes. I am in the process of doing a reshuffle of my gear with an eye towards downsizing. I'll be sticking to mostly primes with my Canon 5D2 and a couple of zooms with the D700. I took both camera with me to Death Valley this past weekend and I'll be writing up my experience soon.

Technical Specs: Nikon D700, 24-70 @ 36mm, f/2.8, 1/80s, ISO 2500.

Lone Pine Peak

On Saturday afternoon, we left Death Valley and arrived at Lone Pine. We stayed the night there and early yesterday morning we went to the Alabama Hills to do some sunrise photography. Unfortunately Mount Whitney was hidden behind a layer of clouds but Lone Pine Peak was very visible and beautifully lit. Returning to Alabama Hills has confirmed my affection this landscape. The interesting rock formations set against the snow-capped Sierras are not only a beautiful subject for photography but also interesting to explore and 'play'. I'll definitely be returning here in the future during a similar time of year.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 90 TS-E, f/4, 1/80s, ISO 200.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dreaming of Dunes

The destination of this morning's shoot was the sand dunes near Stove Pipe Wells. We got up at 4:40 to get out there with enough time to scope out a spot before the sun came up. The sand was still a little wet so that made it easier to hike around the dunes. After the sunrise shooting, we also hiked up the large dune in the distance seen in the photograph above.

I also did a little bit of experimentation with my tilt shift lens during this shoot. The above image was shot with a rotated, titled plane of focus. I think the image has a very dreamy quality to it and for some reason, it sticks with me and I like it.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 90 TS-E, f/4, ISO 200.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Zabriskie Point

I am currently on a four day photo trip in Death Valley. We spent most of yesterday driving but did do an evening shoot at Bad water. This morning, we headed for Zabriskie Point or a sunrise shoot. I've been experimenting with several different lenses and bodies. I spent a lot of time shooting with the 200 f/2 on the 5D2 and am really starting to like this lens for landscapes.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 200 f/2 IS, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 400.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Amgen Tour

The Amgen California Bike race is happening this week. The 3rd leg of the race was yesterday and happened to start right by work. Unfortunately it was still raining and I had lunch plans so I could stick around to watch the start but I did snap a couple of pictures of the bikers getting ready and warming up.

The crowds were fairly muted, no doubt due to the weather.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 300 f/2.8 + 1.4x TC, f/5.6, ISO 800.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Its been raining here all day, at times a little heavy with gusts of wind. I'm not complaining, we could really use the rain. I really liked the way the rain drops were splashing on the patio table. I grabbed my camera and took about 40 shots before catching this one. I had to heavily crop the picture to get this one.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 200 f/2 IS, f/2, 1/200s, ISO 800.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Kim picked this strawberry from the yard today and I wanted to take a few closeups of it. I took a series of shots at different focal depths with the intent of stacking them in Photoshop CS4. Unfortunately, Photoshop completely failed on me with this image. I had no choice but to checkout Helicon Focus. It is with this software that I created the image above.

This is one of the images in the stack. I'm very pleased with the job that Helicon did.

I also took one with the MP-E for an extreme closeup. Once again, I'm amazed by how interesting things on the extreme small scale can look.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 180 macro & 65 MP-E.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Street Light in the Rain

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 200 f/2 IS, f/2, 1/125s, ISO 1600.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Floral Abstracts

I recently read a post on FredMiranda where the poster was using an 85L with extension tubes to take abstracts of flowers. I decided to give it a try. The problem with the 85L is that the minimum focusing distance is too long (i.e. 3 ft.) for photographing small flowers. However if you put an extension tube on there you get the ability to focus closer, sacrificing infinity focus. I started with photographing a Daffodil, and shot the 85L wide open at f/1.2.

I also photographed this Strawberry flower. The abstracts are interesting and I'll definitely want to explore this further, especially giving more thought to the composition.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D, 85L + 36mm extension, f/1.2, ISO 200.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Songbirds and Blooming Pear

The weather this weekend has been quite nice. The light was great this morning and the song birds were pretty active. Last week I sold my 1D Mark III. This coming year looks really busy and so I won't be doing any gigs so having two bodies really was necessary. Also, I don't seem to have as much time for birds so I don't need the machine-gun like 10 FPS and would prefer to have full frame instead (which the 5D Mark II gives me). It'll be interesting going back, I really enjoyed shooting with a 1-series.

I was curious to see how the 5D2 would perform with birds. Since my favourite subjects tend to be either small songbirds or small shorebirds while they are stationary the autofocus performance was fine as I suspected it would be.

Also I noticed that our neighbor's tree was blooming. Unfortunately the tree is only a flowering Pear and doesn't actually produce fruit. I was pretty surprised to see the tree flowering since it seems like only last week I was still raking up the leaves from it.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/5.6, ISO 1600.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Droplet on Leaf

It rained yesterday and outside the bedroom patio door I spotted some large drops on nearby leaves.
Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 180mm macro, f/8, ISO 1600.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Funny Look

Maya posed for this shot for only a fraction of a second, I think its a very cute picture. It seems my postings in this blog are going to slow down dramatically this year since I don't have much opportunity to do any photography other than snapshots of Maya.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D2, 24L II, f/1.6, 1/50s, ISO 1600.