Friday, December 30, 2011

La Jolla Pelican

La Jolla Pelican - 1D4, 500, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 100
 Yesterday morning I went out for what is I'm sure my last shoot of the year (certainly my last avian shoot).  I had arrived at the La Jolla Cliffs a little too early the day before, so I chose to sleep in and arrive around 7 AM yesterday.  My timing was good, I hadn't packed a flash on this trip, so I couldn't make the usual flash lit images of the gulls against the pink ribbons of the pre-sunrise dawn sky.  My primary goal was to capture a Pelican performing one of their head throws with which I've had little success in the past and only moderate success the day before.  However, when I saw this composition available (with no other Pelicans cluttering the frame and a lot of negative space in the direction the Pelican was facing) I knew I had to make an image with it.

One reason that it felt rather fitting was because I'd made an image with a lot of negative space featuring a California Brown Pelican back in January of this year.  It seemed fitting to wrap up the year making an image with a different theme.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Aged Branches

Aged Branches - M9, 18 Super Elmar, ~f/13, 1/250s, ISO 160
This is one of the first real images I've taken with the Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super Elmar lens.  I bought this lens primarily for landscape work and it certainly lives up to its Leica name when it comes to optics and build.  I also have the viewfinder attachment (the M9 framelines don't go as wide as 18mm) but in this case, I ended up not using it, opting to take several images guessing where my frame was.  It worked out, of the 4 images I took of this scene, this one was framed exactly the way I wanted it, requiring no cropping in post.  I looked through the other images I took with the 18 SEM and I'm very pleased with this lens.  I compared it quickly to my Canon 17 TS-E on a 5D2 and it appears the 18 SEM is very slightly optically superior (small enough no not matter), but its miniscule size when compared to the Canon kit that makes it my favorite lens at this focal length.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Landing Manoeuvres

Landing Manoeuvres - 1D4, 800, f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 800
It was exactly a year ago that I was returning from my trip to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.  It was second year there and turned out to be more productive than my first time in 2009.  I was hoping to return there this year, but that didn't end up happening, maybe next year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lone Cypress

Lone Cypress - M9, 50 Summilux, ~f/6.7, 0.7s, ISO 160
I think this iconic Monterey Cypress has been photographed by virtually everyone who visits 17 mile drive, so when I went there one morning a couple of weeks ago I didn't have much expectation to make something unique. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lichens on Rock

Lichens on Rock - 5D2, 24 TS-E, f/10, ISO 200
I saw this formation on my drive back from Patriarch Grove this summer.  I thought the lichens growing on the rock had striking color and so set up to grab a quick image.  Though I took this at 7pm, sunset was still a ways away so the sky was still very bright.  I had to capture multiple exposures to get detail in all the tones.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rocky Shore

Rocky Shore - 5D2, 17 TS-E, f/5.6, 2min, ISO 200, shifted down.
This was one of the untended gems that came out of the 'bust' of the eclipse shooting last weekend.  We got to the spot where we wanted to capture the eclipse very early and so took the opportunity to do some long exposures by moonlight. 

I decided to experiment with several focal lengths and figured that the 17 was the ticket to get a very strong foreground element.  I have several more images from the area taken with lenses at different focal lengths which have a different feel to them which I will release as I process them in the coming weeks.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Academy of Sciences

I spent this morning at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. It was a holiday event for work, and afterwards we went for a tasty lunch at 'Park Chow'.

We got "behind the scenes" passes which included a tour of areas that normally aren't accessible to the public.

One of these areas is all the machinery that goes into maintaining the gigantic tank in their aquarium.

The amount of salt they have on pallets all over the place was incredible, literally tonnes.

I used the Leica 21mm Summilux and the Voigtlander 12mm (above) for the most part. 

One of the vaults is another one of those places that you usually don't get to see.

Mmmmm, jars of pickled snakes...

 The gigantic tank in the aquarium is quite impressive.

And these are the guys I have to work with... :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Portal to the Sun

Portal to the Sun - 5D2, ZE 21, f/22, 0.6s + 2.5s + 10s fusion
I made this image at Pfeiffer Beach on Saturday evening.  It was a receding slow tide at sunset but I couldn't get as close to the rocks as I would have wanted since there were many other photographers there who arrived before I did.  I couldn't make the iconic image (with the sun's golden rays scattering off the mist) that evening since mist/spray disappeared shortly after I got there.  So settled for something wide with a 'sun star' in the frame.  This will definitely be a place I will visit several more times until I get the image I'm looking for.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Volumetric Eclipse

Volumetric Eclipse - 5D2, 500 + 2x TC, f/8, 10s, ISO 6400
 Yesterday was a very long day.  I woke up around 2:30 to get ready to go out and capture images with the moon under total eclipse.  I was already at the coast since I had spent the last couple of days at Asilomar for a work event.  Unfortunately, the weather was not entirely co-operative.  I had wanted to take a sequence of images showing the eclipse start and the moon set over the Pacific Ocean using the ragged coast as a foreground.  It ended up being partially cloudy with some pretty dense clouds right around totality.  To make matters worse, we were told that the area we were in was going to be closed at around 6:15 that morning due to a race that was going to happen in the area.  Still I'm glad I went out there, even if it was to just witness the eclipse.  I did some more shooting on the coast last night before heading home.  I'll post more images in the coming week.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

McWay Falls

McWay Falls - M9, 28 Elmarit, ~f/11, ~1/60s, ISO 160
McWay Falls is a classic stop along the picturesque Highway 1 on the California Coast.  Its located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park and once you park in the lot, its an easy walk to see the falls.  I am headed to the coast today for several days, mostly for work but should have the chance to do some photography.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Sunrise over Buttermilk Country

Sunrise over Buttermilk Country - 5D2, 24 TS-E II, f/13, ~1/3s, ISO 100
This fall was my first time shooting in an area near Bishop, California called Buttermilk Country.  We set up in a field of sagebrush to catch the sun rise and strike the mountains in the distance.   It was a challenge finding a suitable foreground to anchor the image, but I eventually found what I was looking for.  In addition to using a few stops of grad filters, I also captured this image with several exposures and fused them together in post.