Monday, April 30, 2012

Bison in Green

Bison in Green - 1Ds3, 500, f/4, 1/800s, ISO 400
I made this image on my trip to the Grand Tetons last summer.  Bison are a popular photographic subject and though I prefer the wide vistas in this area, an occasional tighter image works as well.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Falling Down

Falling Down - Sony NEX-5N, 18-200 @ 69mm, f/6.3, ISO 200, fusion of 3 exposures
I guess I spoke too soon yesterday when I talked about spectacular Alberta sunsets.  I went out yesterday evening in the hopes of catching another one an failed.  I spotted this neglected barn along one of the local roads and thought it was an interesting foreground subject.  Sadly, there was a barbed wire fence keeping me far away from the barn.  Since there was no interesting color in the sky I had to resort to a monochrome conversion.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Santa Barbara Sunrise

Santa Barbara Sunrise - 1D4, 500 f/4 IS, f/4, 1/8000s, ISO 800
One of the things I love about shooting on the Santa Barbara Beach at sunrise is the spectacular color in the sky just as the sun is coming up.  It might seem like brilliant orange is something you wouldn't seen at sunrise but rather at sunset but I assure you, the colors on this image are exactly as the camera captured and as I saw them.

This is an image where I made a pretty amateur technical error.  I was photographing shorebirds hand held that morning and so had my camera set to ISO 800 so that I could get a sufficiently high shutter speed.  I then liked the colors in the sky so I tried to find a framing that would work with a sail boat, completely not paying attention to my ISO settings.  It wasn't until much later I realized my mistake.  Fortunately the 1D4 has pretty clean ISO 800 and this image doesn't have a lot of intricate detail.

P.S.  I've been in Red Deer, Alberta for only a day and have already seen a spectacular sunset.  I really need to spend more time photographing here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Orange Mist

Orange Mist - Leica M9, 50 Summilux, ~f/4, 1/30s, ISO 160
There are several different compositions that one could choose for photographing Pfeiffer Beach.  For this image I chose a tighter composition around the mist lit orange by the setting sun timed so that it was captured after a wave had come through.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Two-headed Giraffe?

Two-headed Giraffe - 1Ds3, 500, f/8, 1/250s, ISO 200.
When I first saw this image for an instant it appeared to be a two-headed Giraffe, but a quick look at the legs obviously shows that it isn't.  One "flaw" of this image is that its a "tourist shot", named that way because the back-end of animals is apparently what a lot of tourists end up photographing in safari.  Regardless, I still like the image, I find it a bit amusing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Water Explosion

Water Explosion - Leica S2, 120 APO-Macro Summarit, f/13, 1/8s, ISO 160
I made this image a couple of weeks ago at Garrapata State Beach in the evening.  The the ocean wasn't as turbulent as the week prior, I still saw powerful waves pound the gigantic boulders that are strewn all over the area. 

Successfully making an image like this one requires getting just the right shutter speed.  If its too fast, you don't get those long streams, if its too slow the water becomes too smooth and that feeling of power gets lost.  Over the years, I've had to do a lot of experimenting to get a feel for what shutter speed I need for a particular effect and taking into account factors like the speed at which the water is moving.  Timing is obviously another critical element but with the low lag of modern cameras, it isn't too difficult to manage.  Composition is the last critical element since the impact of the wave isn't in the frame when you are composing, requiring you to imagine how big it will be and where it will be in the frame.  If you go too tight, the full water explosion would be captured, too loose and it will require too much cropping in post.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day

Growth - Leica S2, 30mm, f/11, fusion of 5 exposures
 Happy Earth Day!  To enjoy something natural and "earthy" I awoke long before sunrise to head to Marin to do some photography and hiking.  The photography was initially a bust because of too much fog, so I headed to Muir Woods to see what I could do there before meeting a group for a hike at Stinson Beach.  I only had the chance to make a couple of images but like the way this one came out.  Due to it being overcast, the light was very soft and the green of the leaves were very vibrant.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Into the Storm

Into the Storm - M9, 50 Noctilux, f/8, 1/90s, ISO 160
Looks like a lone bird flying into the eye of a storm doesn't it?  In reality, this was one of the wackiest cloud formations I've ever seen.  It was over the backyard of my parents' place in Red Deer, Alberta last fall.  The formation covered almost the entire sky and I just had to get out there and photograph it.  I posted a panoramic I made last year, this was a single frame in a part of the sky that panoramic didn't cover.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Snow Geese Aplenty

Snow Geese Aplenty - 1D4, 300 f/2.8 IS, f/18, 1/30s, ISO 200
 A gaggle of Snow Geese in flight at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Calla - Leica S2, 120 APO-Macro Summarit, f/13, 1/15s
I made this image in the early morning in the gulley at Garrapata State Beach.  The Gulley was still in the shade as the sun hadn't yet cleared the mountains behind.  Many of the Callas had started turning brown, even this one had several brown stops which required fixing in Photoshop CS6 (thanks to the Content Aware Patch tool).  So I picked single flowers and tried to do something a little different. This was one of the experiments.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Acacia Sunset

Acacia Sunset - 1Ds3, 70-200 f/2.8 II @ 140mm, f/8, 1/20s

The last light of the day is visible behind this group of Acacia Trees.  I made this image last spring on my trip to Tanzania. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Phantom Falls

Phantom Falls - Leica S2, 30mm, f/22, 2s, ISO 160
I drove up and spent the night in Yuba City on Friday for the express purpose of getting up early and starting a sunrise hike in the North Table Mountain Ecological Preserve with my friend Greg Mitchell.  A storm system had been dumping a lot rain in the area this entire past week and the weather predictions were that the storm would break Friday night.  When we got there, things were looking good but then suddenly all the clouds vanished.  Undeterred, we made our way to the spot to photograph Phantom Falls and after about 30 minutes, the clouds returned.  I needed the sun to be obscured by clouds so that there would be no harsh shadows on the rocks, but it couldn't be completely overcast or the sky wouldn't be interesting.  The weather co-operated giving us exactly what we needed and Greg and I both gleefully made many images.  For this image, I used a circular polarizer to enhance the sky color as well both a 3-stop reverse graduated neutral density filter as well as a soft 2 stop graduated neutral density filters.  In these types of scenes, you have to careful with your filters as if you place it too low in the horizon you'll end up "burning" the rocks.

This area contains several other waterfalls, a couple more which we photographed which I will hopefully finished working on over the coming weeks.  Its also an incredible place to hike and the wild flowers this week should be incredible.  This will definitely be an area I will return to next spring.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Garrapata Moonset

Garrapata Moonset - Leica S2, 180 APO, f/19, 4s, ISO 160
Garrapata State Beach is not only a great sunset location but its also an excellent sunrise shoot.  In general sunrises at the coast aren't the most impressive since the sun comes up behind you in the mountains.  However, on this day a nearly full moon (I believe it was completely full about 8 hours before this image was made) was setting over the ocean making for the possibility of interesting compositions using the rugged shore.  Also, once the sun has risen, much of the shore stays in the shade for a while, making it suitable for detail work (more of those images in a few days).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Flowering Jasmine

We have a beautiful Jasmine bush which flowers every spring in the backyard.  The wonderful fragrance from the bush also carries it pretty far.  I find floral photography to be rather challenging but my friend Greg Mitchell seems to have a knack for it which makes me jealous everytime I see one of his wonderful floral images.

A couple of weekends ago, we had a lot of rain and so I ventured out there with the 5D Mark III and the 100 Macro IS to see what I could do.  The bush is located in an awkward place and its usually easier to compose handheld, so I opted to not use a tripod.
The camera set to ISO 400 with the AF set to AI Servo and I snapped away making dozens of images.
I can't say that any of them are stellar works of art, but it was fun and I ended up getting a lot of keepers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Soberanes Sea Arch

Soberanes Sea Arch - Leica S2, 30mm, f/16, 3s, ISO 160
I spent this past weekend shooting in the Big Sur area with Edward Mendes and his spring Big Sur workshop.  Though we were not treated to any spectacular weather events, the weekend still proved to be productive.  I have been obsessed with photographic this sea arch from the north side since I first saw Ed's image from a couple of years ago.  The hike to this location is along the edge of a cliff for an acrophobic like myself its a major ordeal to make it.  There were some nice clouds in the sky and it looked like we would be treated to a beautiful sunset so I forced myself to overcome the acrophobia and make it out to the site.  As it turned out, the sunset was a bust but early on there was some interesting light in the sky to the west.  I made several images, but chose this one to work on immediately because of what was going on in the sky.  This arch hasn't been extensively photographed as far as I know and the images I've seen are usually tighter crops on the arch itself. 

I also spent the entire time shooting with the Leica S2 and a nice kit of lenses.  The S lenses are simply gorgeous.  Optically superb and built to last a lifetime.  The 36 megapixel files from the S2 are richly detailed and for landscape photography I have to admit I am a little jealous of Nikon shooters with the D800 which should deliver files just as detailed.  Post-processing the massive files are interesting as they bring my poor computers to their knees.  The finished PSD for this image with all its adjustments and layers was over 3 GB!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Black & White Sunset

- Leica S2, f/13, 1s, ISO 160
Who says sunsets need to be in color?  I made this image last night at Garrapata State Beach just as the sun was about to disappear behind the horizon.  I have several color versions of this image, but this particular black & white treatment is appealing to me. 

I'm at the Big Sur coast this weekend doing a lot of photography.  This morning we were back at Garrapata State Beach and it was productive, I'm looking forward to posting more images from that shoot.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Roots - Leica S2, 120 Macro Summarit, f/5.6, 1/30s, ISO 160
Old Veteran Cypress at Point Lobos is a popular photographic subject.  When we were there Sunday morning, it was entirely in the shade with the sun up and a bit behind.  I decided to focus on the wonderful, gnarly exposed roots and a black & white treatment was a great way to get the roots to stand out against the cliff. 

Monday, April 02, 2012

Callas at Garrapata

Callas at Garrapata - M9, 35 Summilux, ~f/6.7, 1/2000s, ISO 160
I had a great day trip to the coast yesterday, shooting with a friend from work and making some new friends along the way.  Garrapata State Beach has changed a lot since I was there last spring, with erosion revealing a lot of new boulders to work with.  The ocean was very 'active' with very large swells and extreme wind so we didn't that much success for a sunset shoot.  It was still a productive day there will probably a couple of interesting images.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Big Sur Coast in Spring

Big Sur Coast in Spring - 5D2, 17 TS-E, f/16, 8s

Spring is definitely here and its now one of the best times of the year to photograph in Big Sur.  I made this image last year during this time and this morning I'm headed out to the coast for a photographic day trip.