Sunday, April 21, 2013

Alien Orchid

Alien Orchid - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 90 HR, f/11, 1/500s, ISO 35, T5D-Rx2
This is the same Phalaenopsis Orchid I posted early last month, except this time its the entire plant.  This specimen is a little unusual in that both sets of flowers come from the same plant.  What has happened is that a flower stem has grown and flowered from another stem.  Its a  pretty cool looking plant even if it does flop over from the weight.

A lot of work went into this image.  The lighting set up was pretty simple just two strobes flaking the flower.  I captured a focus stack of 8 images so that I could get everything I wanted in focus.  A quick edit in Capture One Pro and then its off to Helicon Focus for the stacking, which did a perfect job.  Finally, layers of tonal adjustments in Photoshop as well a bunch of cloning to get rid of the chopstick and hair clips I was using to hold the orchid up.  I normally wouldn't include the flower pot, but in this case left it in there as it indicates that the two flower stems come from the same plant.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Davenport Beach Sunset

Davenport Beach Sunset - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/16, 1s, ISO 35
As I was capturing this image last Friday, I had a suspicion that it was going to end up black and white.  At the time I made this, there wasn't a lot of dramatic color in the sky from the sunset but I loved the way the light reflected from the rocks in the foreground.  One thing I don't like are the cliffs visible on the right hand side, but I wasn't in a position to reorient and still have the sun where I wanted it.  This was my first time photographing at Davenport Beach, I'd been there in the past but didn't manage to stick around until sunset.  Since it is reasonably close to home (about 45 minutes away), its a place I'll have to revisit, especially after a storm.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dream of Callas

Dream of Callas - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/8, 1/30s, ISO 100
I am out here in the Big Sur area with +Edward Mendes and his Big Sur in spring photography workshop.  This morning's sunrise shoot was at one of my favorite spots in the area, Garrapata Beach and in particular the Calla Lily gully.  I have usually tried to photograph this area pointing in the other direction, towards the ocean but decided to try pointing at the rising sun.  The focus was set pretty close so even though the lens is stopped down to f/8 the background is very blurry.  I had originally intended to crop the top off but when I saw this image, I ended up liking the blown out sun in the top and feel that in conjunction with the out of focus background gives the image a dream like quality.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Davenport Beach Streaks

Davenport Beach Streaks - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/25, 6s, ISO 35
I went out to Davenport Beach this evening to shoot with +Barry Blanchard+Joel Grimes+Brian Matiash, and +Laurie Rubin and it was a blast.  Barry braved his quadcopter against the heavy wind, and it was impressive how it was still able to fly.  In the last minute we got treated to some sunset colors which was a nice surprise.  I made this image early in the evening just as the warm light was bathing the cliffs to the far left.  Its still a little unnerving using the technical camera around all this electronics destroying salt water but you do what you have to, to get the image.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Ample Bay View

Ample Bay View - 5D3, 70-200 IS II @ 80mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO 100
I remember the morning I made this image well, it was probably one of my favorite landings in South Georgia, Ample Bay at Salisbury Plain.  The zodiacs landed on the beach a little bit to the right of the right most part you can see.  We had to hike up the hill from where I made this image navigating to avoid fur seals and molting King Penguins.  It was overcast when we landed but about an hour after making this image, we had white out conditions for brief moments as both fresh snow came down and the wind picked up.  The conditions cleared up quickly as well with wonderful photographic light all over the place.  Memories of landings like this one are what are making me want to return one day.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Rising Clouds under El Capitan

Rising Clouds under El Capitan - Alpa STC, IQ180, 32 HR, ~f/11, 1/30s,  ISO 35
A few days ago I posted an image I made at Tunnel View on a Sunday morning.  About 30 minutes after making that image, I drove down to the meadows under El Capitan to capture a different perspective of the same scene.  I love working with El Capitan from this location.  If you go farther back, the trees become a much smaller part of the frame aren't as interesting.  Its almost impossible to get much closer because then you are too close to El Capitan.  This is a ideal spot to use lenses (or cameras) with perspective correction like TS-E/PC-E lenses or rise & fall with a technical camera.  Even with the relatively wide angle of view of the 32mm HR lens and nearly 10mm of shift, I still had to tilt the camera up to get enough sky and all of El Capitan.  I then corrected more of the perspective distortion using the excellent tools in Capture One Pro for this final version.

I knew when I exposed the frame that I wanted 4 main layers in my final image and knew that I would need to convert to black & white to get those layers.  I wanted to crush the shadows in the trees to form the base, bring out the rising clouds for the second layer, accentuate peak of El Capitan for the third layer and finally bring out the drama in the high clouds for the last layer.  Working in Silver Efex Pro and with localized brightness, structure and contrast were the key in bringing it all together.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Post Storm Clouds over Yosemite Valley

Post Storm Clouds over Yosemite Valley - Alpa STC,  IQ180, 32 HR, ~f/14, ISO 35.
Tunnel View is one of those iconic places where with the right weather conditions you can make wild images.  I went up to tunnel view on Sunday morning after the rains let up and the valley had all kinds of low clouds moving all over the place.