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.