Friday, December 24, 2010

Dueling Cranes

And of course a good fight always needs an audience.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 500 f/4 IS, f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 400.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fire in the sky

Really, that is what it looked like to my eyes. The most spectacular sunset I can remember. In the late afternoon it looked like the sunset would be a dud (too many clouds) but it didn't disappoint. The colors were gorgeous and best of all they encompassed the entire sky. This photograph doesn't come close to doing it justice, and at one point I just had to stop shooting and simply enjoy it.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, Zeiss 21 Distagon, f/5.6, ISO 400. Fusion of 3 exposures.

Blast Off!

Sometimes f/32 and a slow shutter speed is a good thing.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/32, 1/30s, ISO 800.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fire in Mist

I arrived in Socorro, New Mexico last night and this morning went out for my first shoot at Bosque del Apache on this trip. I was fortunate in that the conditions for mist were right and so just as the sun was coming up, I was able to make this image. Though the lighting conditions were very nice, I wasn't able to find a framing with interesting subject action.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/11, 1/400s, ISO 100.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Playing With Your Food

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 500 f/4 IS + 1.4x TC, f/8, 1/80s, ISO 400.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pair of Troublemakers

You just know that these two are up to no good :)

This is an image that saw more of Photoshop than one of my typical images. This was taken on the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades back in May this year. I was walking the trail with a 1D4 and a 500 and saw these two herons (juvenile green herons I believe) but one was perched a couple of feet behind the other. So I took two shots, one with the plane of focus on each heron with the intent of fusing the images in Photoshop later. Since I was hand holding the alignment wasn't perfect and it turned out the final image was a little tight on the left requiring extending the image with a lot of copy and pasting, clone stamping and content aware filling.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Sometimes the combination of timing and right shutter speed is everything.

I captured this Red-necked Grebe in British Columbia, Canada earlier this summer.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/6.3, 1/500s, ISO 400.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mountain Chickadee

I have images of this Mountain Chickadee without a peanut but I prefer the ones with the peanut, perhaps because it gives the image a sense of scale.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/9, 1/100s, ISO 400, flash fired.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rippling Moon Video

This is why I've sold off most of my astrophotography equipment, how am I supposed to image anything with that much atmospheric turbulence?!

Watch in 1080p glory here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Back to Birds

Its been a while since I've posted a new bird image (its been a while since I've posted any image), so here are 4 images I just finished processing which were taken earlier this year.

These first two images are ones of Cormorants.

This is a long-billed curlew.

And finally a Marbled Godwit.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Alien Landscape

I don't think I'll ever get tired of photographing tufa.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sand Tufas

Just a few hundred yards from the south tufas at Mono Lake is Navy Beach where you can find these fascinating sand tufas.

Unfortunately the lighting conditions weren't ideal the time I was there which is why I've chosen to present these in monochrome.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Half Moon over Half Dome

This was taken from Olmstead Point. The light was unfortunately not completely co-operative so I had to do a little hue shifting to get what I wanted.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II @ 70mm, f/5.6, 8s, ISO 100.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bodie in Monochrome

Bodie is a ghost town in the Eastern Sierras, about a 45 minute drive from Mono Lake. Last weekend was my first time there. Its now a state park but used to be a mining town. There are a lot of photographic subjects there (and a lot of photographers) and its definitely worth a revisit. I decided to stick mostly to monochrome here (except for a few interiors which have rich color).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Merope Nebula (NGC 1435)

The Merope Nebula is a part of the Pleides star cluster (M45). This open cluster of stars is currently moving through interstellar dust which is what causes the wonderful blue nebulosity around the primary stars.

The Merope Nebula (which the big nebula you see in this image) shouldn't be confused with Barnard's Merope Nebula which is considerably smaller and very close to Merope (the star). In fact, in my image, you can make out Barnard's Merope Nebula, its the slightly brighter area just below the main star. The finest image I've seen of this nebula was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope.

I am very pleased with the quality of this image. The combination of low noise and high resolution probably makes it one of my finest astro images. I can't wait to make a giant print of this one.

Technical Specs: 24" RCOS (4875mm focal length at f/8), Apogee Alta U42. R (10min x 2), G (10min x 2), B( 30min x 2) which is 1hr 40min total exposure.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lake Sabrina

Lake Sabrina is a fishing lake near Bishop and is where we went for our sunrise shoot on Saturday.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 24 TS-E II, f/11, 2s, ISO 100, 2 + 3 stop GNDs.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blurry Landscapes

I like abstract art created from intentional blur. However, like the previous discussion on HDR, this too can sometimes be used as a crutch to enhance what is otherwise a poor photograph.

While trying to compose this shot I was trying to visualize in my head what the resulting blurred image would be like and framing the subjects in a way to get that shot.

The rich colors are a product of capture and of me tweaking the black point and tone curve in post (didn't touch saturation though). I would normally not have this much contrast in an image but this kind of abstract it works.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HDR Where It Makes Sense

I have been and continue to be a vocal opponent of the use of HDR to create over-the-top images, whether its garish color, poor contrast or thinking that halo-ing is feature rather than the defect that it is.

However sometimes, your scene has way more dynamic range than your camera can capture and so some dynamic range compression is needed to pull this off. I found myself in such a situation with this image. I took 7 images each separated by 2 stops and then combined them to create the final image.

This is one of the exposures to retain highlight detail, both in the light streaming into the room and onto the wall and of the world outside.

This is one of the exposures to retain shadow detail. As you can see this image and the final image have a similar level of color saturation.

I made this with Photomatix, which I continue to be impressed with, particularly the Exposure Fusion implementation in the new 4.0 version.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mono Panoramic

Yesterday was a very long day. It started at around 4AM which is when I went out to Mono Lake to photograph tufas with the stars. I then set up and started the wait for sunrise. The above image was taken just before sunrise (around 6:50 AM) and really its those predawn colors that make the image.

I then took another image just as the sun had risen (around 7:10 AM) and started to light up the mountains. Even with graduated neutral density filters its difficult to get good tones on both the mountains and the tufas.

Its amazing to think that the light changes so much in just 20 minutes.

We also went to Bodie for an afternoon shoot, then photographed colorful Aspens at Conway Summit and finally ended the day at Olmstead Point. It was 11:30 by the time I got home. I made several decent images on this trip but nothing really spectacular, will definitely have to return.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Fall Colors

Lots of beautiful color here in the Sierras.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 17 TS-E, f/22, 1/30s, ISO 200.

Friday, October 08, 2010

At Mono Lake

I drove through Yosemite today and arrived at Mono Lake this afternoon. I'll be spending the weekend shooting in the area, should be a lot of fun. Tioga Pass was closed the last couple of days due to snow, this image shows why. It was a spectacular drive.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 24 TS-E II, f/8, 1/200s, ISO 100.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Witch's Broom Nebula

The Witch's Broom Nebula (NGC 6960) also known as the Western Veil is a very fascinating part of the sky to image. Despite the nebula being relatively bright (about a magnitude 7), its difficult to see with the naked eye. Imaging in Hydrogen Alpha helps bring out a lot of the tendril details.

Technical Specs: AstroSystems N8 (8" Newtonian, 700mm focal length, f/3.6), Apogee U8300, Ha (60 mins), R, G, B (30 mins each), total 2.5 hours. CCDStack and Photoshop CS5 for processing.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Galapagos Mockingbird

I have had a chance to go through many more images from our trip to the Galapagos earlier this year.

I had almost forgotten about these images of the Galapagos Mockingbird until I started processing them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Classic Portrait

This was a newly 'discovered' Marine Iguana image taken on the island of Fernandina in the Galapagos archipelago. I very quickly processed this image in Lightroom while on the trip back in May and then didn't look at it again. I recently put together a set of 7 images for critique on Fred Miranda's Nature & Wildlife forum and thats when I found this image. Not sure why I had ignored it for so long, because its quickly becoming one of my favorite Iguana images.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 500 f/4 IS, f/8, 1/500s, ISO 400.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crab Nebula (M1) in false color

The Crab Nebula (also known as M1) is a supernova remnant in Taurus. I find M1 interesting because it has curious shapes depending on which wavelengths of light you use to image it. To create this false color composite I used Hydrogen Alpha, Oxygen-III and Sulphur-II. I acquired the data for this image last November, but only recently managed to do the processing to make the final composite. I used CCDStack for all registration and stacking and Photoshop CS5 for the rest. Its incomparable to the image taken by the Hubble, but I'm still pleased with this result.

Technical Specs: 24" RCOS (4875mm focal length at f/8), Apogee Alta U42. Astrodon Ha, S2, O3 filters, 120s x 10 for each (1 hour total).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Loon and Chicks

Another image of a Common Loon with its two chicks from my trip to Lac le Jeune this summer.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II @ 200mm, f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 1600.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kahili Ginger

This is the flower of a Kahili Ginger. The plant is native to the Himalayas but at some time was brought to Hawaii where its considered an invasive species. It was planted in our tropical garden a while and was thought to have died until we saw it flowering this week. It has also a very pleasant smell.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 85L, f/11, 10s, ISO 100.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

King of the Beach

He knows who's boss here. Taken on a beach on the island of Espaniola in the Galapagos on our last day there.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 24-105 @ 24mm, f/8, 1/200s, ISO 400.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Land Iguana

Its been difficult finding the time to go through and do the final processing of my Galapagos images. One thing that is really challenging about photographing in the Galapagos are the backgrounds. Some photographers still manage to get great images though (note: I am not claiming to be one of them). The Land Iguanas were particularly challenging in this aspect (especially as you are trying to respect the park guidelines and not get too close or disturb the animal).

This may sound odd, but I am not a fan of extensive Photoshop work on photographs. There are some photographers who wouldn't think twice to clone out every errant thistle, grass or even "clean up" the surface of an animal or bird. There's nothing wrong with this, every photographer needs to draw their own line, I just know where mine is.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 70-200 f/2.8 II @ 95mm, f/9, 1/200s, ISO 400.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Going Really Wide

Ultrawide angle photography is very challenging. Its challenging because its hard to compose an image where including so much of what you see actually creates an interesting composition.

Perspective distortion also makes it very challenging to photograph people with an ultra wide angle lens. You definitely want to keep the face out of edges or corners of the image.

I chose to compose the image above that way because I wanted to place Maya's milk cup in the lower left of the frame with Maya approaching in the upper right-hand portion of the frame. Seemed like a way to get interesting composition at the time.

Technical Specs: Nikon D3s, 14-24 @ 14mm.