Monday, January 30, 2012

Portal

Portal - 5D2, 70-200 II @ 120mm, f/14, ISO 100
Its been a very busy last couple of weeks and so I haven't had a chance to even look at any images to post.  On Saturday, I got a break, not only time off from all the regular stuff but a day trip to the coast and so took the opportunity to make some images at Pfeiffer Beach.  Now its back to the slog, so I probably won't get a chance to post any images for a while.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Over the Ngorongoro Crater

Over the Ngorongoro Crater - 5D2, 24 f/1.4 II, f/3.5, 1/2500s, ISO 200
If you do a safari in Tanzania that includes the Serengeti, chances are that for one leg you'll end up in a flight over the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.  The flight is relatively quick, about an hour long and its incredible to see the variety in the landscape below.  In this image, the Ngorongoro Crater is visible in the distance with farmland in front. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Dance

Chicken Dance - 1D4, 500 f/4 IS, f/4, 1/800s, ISO 400
I know its cheesy but c'mon, this Pelican totally looks like he's doing the chicken dance :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gnarled

Gnarled - M9, 28 Elmarit, ~f/5.6, 1/1500s, ISO 160
Gnarled branches lit up by the mid day sun make for an interesting study in lines and shape.  I made this image in the late morning at Patriarch Grove this past summer.  The final mile on the road to the grove was closed due to a large snow drift requiring a hike.  It was my first time at this location and I was mainly interested in scouting locations for a later shoot.  Though I typically don't make images with the harsh mid day sun, in this case the isolation of this tree and its gnarled limbs were too tempting to pass up.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mount Woodring under Cloud and Mist

Mount Woodring under Cloud and Mist - 5D2, 70-200 @ 145mm, f/4.5, ISO 100
A much more popular subject to photograph from this spot at Oxbow Bend in the Grand Tetons is Mount Moran.  However on this morning clouds engulfed Moran and so I had to make do with what I had and that was the peak of Mount Woodring visible just over the many layers of cloud and mist coming up from the Snake River.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Lightroom 4 Public Beta

California Coastal Sunset - M9, 28 Elmarit, ~f/8, 1/60s, ISO 160
Adobe Lightroom 4 Public Beta is now available.  There are a bunch of new features and I won't go over them here, but instead direct you to some other folks who have put together tutorials and other information (some of these may not be live for a while):

http://thelightroomlab.com/2012/01/introducing-adobe-photoshop-lightroom-version-4-beta/
http://www.lightroomqueen.com/2012/01/09/whats-new-in-lightroom-4-0-beta
http://holycrop.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/holy-crop-lightroom-4first-public-beta-peek/
http://fleetingglimpseimages.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/the-lightroom-4-public-beta-top-ten-features/

The feature that I think will have the most impact across all types of photographers are the reworked tonal controls part of "Process Version 2012".  It took some getting used to, I had to change the way I worked with my images but the end result is a level of tonal control that I can't get in Lightroom 3.

In Lightroom 3 I would set the white point with 'exposure', the black point with 'blacks' and the tonal distribution between your white and black points with 'brightness'.  I usually ignore 'fill light' and 'recovery' as I find 'recovery' reduced highlight contrast and I didn't like the global nature of 'fill light'.

In Lightroom 4, I instead use 'exposure' to get the bulk of my midtones where I want them.  Then use 'shadows' and 'blacks' to both control shadow contrast and to push the shadow tones around and use 'whites' and 'highlights' to do the same with the highlight tones.  Since these new parameters can go negative and positive, I find it easy to get my tones where I want them and maintain shadow and highlight contrast.

The other cool thing about the way these parameters work in Lightroom 4 is that they are based on the tonal distribution of the image you are working on.  In Lightroom 3, it was possible in scenes with extremely low contrast to push the blacks slider all the way to the right and still not have enough contrast.  This shouldn't be as much of a problem in Lightroom 4.  These same smarts are also carried to the 'clarity' control.

The best part about all of this is that the 'shadows' and 'highlights' adjustments can now be done locally.  This is really powerful because it means that I can lift the shadow tones in a part of the image or pull back the highlights locally.  For an image like the one above, it takes only seconds to get all my tones where I want them without going into Photoshop.

Oh yea, and the last nifty thing about the tonal controls is that highlight recovery has been reworked so that you don't get those hue shifts that you do in previous versions.

There's a lot of neat stuff to explore in Lightroom 4, so definitely check it out.

EDIT:  I forgot to mention this originally, don't change all your existing images to Process Version 2012.  They will look very different and you'll have to process them again.  In fact, since this is a beta, you shouldn't use it with your production catalog either.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Silent Hunter

Silent Hunter - 1D4, 70-200 II + 1.4x TC, 280mm, f/4.5, 1/50s, ISO 400
Though I wish the background were a bit cleaner, I still like the way this image of a gator in the Everglades came out.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Galapagos Sea Lions

Galapagos Sea Lion - 1Ds3, 24-105 @ 32mm, f/8, 1/100s, ISO 200
The Galapagos Sea Lion is a fairly common sight on the Galapagos Archipelago. Their inquisitive nature makes them great photographic subjects, though in this case these two guys are just laying around, not doing much.

Galapagos Sea Lion - 1Ds3, 24-105 @ 99mm, f/8, 1/80s, ISO 200

Friday, January 06, 2012

Halfdome Among Granite and Trees

Halfdome Among Granite and Trees - M9, 50 Summilux, ~f/9.5, 1/350s, ISO 160
On my drive through Yosemite in mid afternoon on my way to Bishop this summer, I spotted a scene which I liked despite the harsh light.  It was Halfdome tucked away with trees below and fluffy clouds above.  Though I made a mental note to return here to photograph this scene in better light, I couldn't resist the temptation to make just one image and try to compensate for the harsh light later.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Lilac Breasted Roller

Lilac Breasted Roller - 1Ds3, 500, f/10, 1/640s, ISO 400
I just realized that I haven't posted a single bird image from Tanzania so far.  I guess avians just weren't my subject of interest, but I did manage to make a few images.  The Lilac Breasted Roller is a bird you will definitely see if you go on safari in the area. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Trails

Trails - NEX-5N, 18-200 @ 25mm (37mm equiv.), f/6.3, 1/60s, ISO 160
Last week while in Santa Barbara I went for a walk on the beach with family during sunset.  I was mostly taking family snapshots with my Sony when I saw the the curious patterns in the sand. 



Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Summer Storm

Summer Storm - M9, 50 Summilux, ~f/6.7, 1/250s, ISO 160
I made this image as I was driving to Patriarch Grove earlier this summer.  A light summer storm was dumping rain the distance and this lone tree was lit up with golden light from the setting sun.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Bixby Bridge

Bixby Bridge - 5D2, 24 TS-E II, f/5.6, 30s, ISO 800
Bixby Bridge is probably the most iconic bridge on California's coastal Highway 1.  I was playing around with tilting the focal plane when I made this image.  At first I wasn't sure I liked the effect but it has been growing on me.  I also added some grain in Lightroom after everything else was done, just felt that it needed a bit of grain to give it that old school vibe.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Hello 2012


Happy New Year!  I rang in the new year doing the things I love to do, hanging out with family and photography.

I took a whole series of images of the San Francisco fireworks:

And another sequence with a slightly different framing: