Saturday, July 21, 2018

Vestrahorn Sand Reflection

Vestrahorn Sand Reflection - Phase One XF, IQ3 100, 40mm, f/14, 1/50s, ISO 100.

The area of Stokksness in Iceland has gotten a lot of attention from photographers lately and there is no shortage of images of Vestrahorn Mountain, the black beach or the dunes covered in grasses but this composition really caught my eye I think this set up is ephemeral.  I really like how Vestrahorn is “reflected” by the golden sand and when you pull into the sand there are layers of interesting detail.  Can’t wait to see this printed large.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pebble Homes

Pebble Homes - Phase One XF, IQ3 100, f/14, 1/4s, ISO 50.
I really struggled in composing this image because while the patterns of these pebble filled holes is interesting, its hard to find a framing where you don’t end up cutting one with the edges of the frame.  Ultimately I decided to embrace it and purposefully make sure that some number of holes were cut on each side of the frame to have some kind of balance and then to have a cluster of complete holes in the center being the main subject.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Kelp and Penguins

Kelp and Penguins - Leica S007, 32mm, f/8, 1/90s, ISO 100.
It was starting to drizzle a little that morning at the end of our landing at St. Andrew’s Bay, but rather than just take the zodiac directly back to the ship we went looking to see if we could find a Leopard Seal.  We were ultimately successful, but before then I saw this image screaming to be made with the layers of white sky, King Penguins, rock and kelp.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Indian Head Cove

Indian Head Cove - Phase One XF, IQ3 100, 40mm, f/14, 6s, ISO 50.

More of that beautiful colored water of Georgian Bay.  Indian Head Cove is a popular spot and so making photographs there without people in them is a real challenge.

Little Cove, Georgian Bay

Little Cove, Georgian Bay - Alpa STC, IQ3 100, 32 HR, 12mm rise, 1.5° tilt, f/11, 60s, ISO 50.

I lived in Ontario for 8 years and it wasn’t until a business trip out there this week that I visited the Bruce Peninsula and made some images.  It rained a little bit on and off during my 3 1/2 hour drive there from Toronto, but when I arrived, the clouds were starting to clear a little making for nice conditions for photography.  My first stop was Little Cove which is in and of itself a provincial park and I was immediately struck by azure color of the water.  On the flip side, I was also immediately eaten alive by dozens of mosquitos, a problem I usually don’t have on the California Coast.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sveinsstekksfoss Frozen Detail

Sveinsstekksfoss Frozen Detail - Sony A7r3, 100-400@224mm, f/11, 2s, ISO 100

The stop to photograph Sveinsstekksfoss was a very brief one and while it wasn’t a “big landscape” opportunity, it was an interesting place to practice “detail” compositions made up of fixed elements like boulders and icicles with the flow of water.  The biggest hassle was dealing with the wind which by Iceland standards was tame but made getting sharp images with telephoto lenses a real problem.  A combination of using my body as a wind break, waiting for pauses in the gusts and some luck resulted in this sharp frame which was a keeper.


Pebbles - Phase One XF, IQ3 100mp, 120mm, f/14, 1/6s, ISO 50.  3 frame focus stack.
Another composition from last weekend at Bean Hollow.  This was a composition that grew on me while I was out there trying to find an image.  I started off fairly right on the set of pebbles on the boulder to the upper right but couldn’t quite get the framing right.  However when I pulled out a bit and got the pebbles on the bottom creating a base, I found it appealing rather than a distraction.  After getting home and looking at it on the computer the straight line cracks on the boulder and subtle tones on the boulder between where its dry and wet made this probably my favorite image of the morning.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Rock Art and Pebbles

Rock Art and Pebbles - Phase One XF, IQ3 100mp 120mm, f/14, 1/3s, ISO 50.
It was overcast on the coast this morning, my preferred weather for photographing intimate landscapes.  I made this image at Bean Hollow State Park and the combination of the pile of pebbles with the beautiful blue and gold tones of the rocks immediately drew me in.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Late Morning Roses

Late Morning Roses - Hasselblad X1D, 30mm, f/32, 1/15s, ISO 100.
I visited the San Jose Rose Garden this morning, one of the finest city run rose gardens I’ve ever seen.  It was a cloudy morning so the hope was to get out there in nice flat lighting, but right when we got out there the sun came out.  In those situations, you just have to get creative and use the sun in the frame.  Sadly, Hasselblad lenses with lens shutters don’t make pretty sunstars.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Tree and Grasses in Wind

Tree and Grasses in Wind - Alpa STC, IQ3 100, 32 HR, f/11, 20s, ISO 50.

I saw this scene while out for a run in my neighborhood this afternoon.  There are a couple of interesting trees on top of a hill with pathways and I liked how the grasses were waving in the wind so I immediately thought of doing a long exposure black & white.  I finished my run and upon getting home returned here with camera in tow.  I don’t think it turned out as well I thought it would at the time but its still cool scene and one that I will revisit in the future.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Antarctic Sky

Antarctic Sky - Leica S 007, 30mm, f/8, 1/750s, ISO 100.
Cool things happen in Antarctica when the sun goes behind thin layers of cloud under a great tabular iceberg.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Open Door

Open Door - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32mm, ~f/11, 1s, ISO 35.

I’ve been working on and staring at this image for a while this afternoon and I find the mixture of tones and texture to be captivating.  I struggled for a while in figuring out if I really needed to go black & white to get the tonal relationships I wanted but in the end color won me over, especially with the slightly washed out vintage look.

Colored Rocks by River Brittle

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Scotland &emdash; Colored Rocks by River Brittle

Colored Rocks by River Brittle - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32mm, ~f/11, 10s, ISO 35.

This was about as far as I made it on the path to the Fairy Pools largely because I kept getting distracted with all the images you can make without even getting there.  I really liked this scene because I found the colors on the rocks striking and liked the composition with the mountains and the river.  This image also has a coupe of little visual treats with the lichen covered branches and the little fledgling evergreen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bengal Tiger Closeup

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Bengal Tiger Closeup
Bengal Tiger Closeup - Olympus EM1 Mark II, 420mm (840mm equivalent), f/6.3, 1/250s, ISO 6400.
I’m not a big fan of close up portraits of wildlife, mostly because there’s already a ton of these kinds of pictures in the world.  However, when photographing a new species in the wild, I still succumb to the temptation to grab that portrait shot just to have one in my collection.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Spring Callas

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Spring Callas
Spring Callas - Sony A7r3, 21mm, f/9, 1/15s, ISO 100.

I made a bunch of images with a wide angle with these Callas that morning but most didn’t work out because of the distortion of relative size between the foreground flower and the background ones.  Though still distorted, this one worked out the best.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Streaks of Cloud

Aravind Krishnaswamy: California Coast &emdash; Streaks of Cloud
Streaks of Cloud - Sony A7r3, 16mm, f/2.8, 30s, ISO 3200.
The rugged California coast is photogenic even at night, especially when the clouds co-operate and give you interesting streaking patterns.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cap Nap

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Okavango Delta &emdash; Cat Nap
Cat Nap - Canon 1DX, 560mm, f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 1000.
I wouldn’t normally consider a sleeping animal to be an interesting subject, but this guy just looks so comfortable napping in his tree that I find it both amusing and interesting.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Gnarled Branches

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Gnarled Branches
Gnarled Branches - Sony A7r3, 24mm, f/22, 0.4s, ISO 100.
Its been a while since I was last at Point Lobos, mostly because the crowds there get crazy even by mid morning, but today I got there right at opening to do a quick walk.  I really liked the way the light was filtering through the gnarled branches of these trees, so made a quick image.  Also, I’ve been playing with the latest release of Lightroom and I think Adobe has upped their color game with the new profiles.  Adobe Standard has always been good to get a consistent starting point when shooting between multiple cameras but I’ve always found its required a lot of work to get the final image dialed in, especially for Sony files where I’ve started to use Capture One more (for this reason).  Now with the new presets, I’m getting results I like faster out of Lightroom and my familiarity with Lightroom’s tools is making me use Lightroom over Capture One, except for Phase digital back files were Capture One is still king.  I did only a few quick edits in Lightroom for this image.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

An Intimate View of Goðafoss

An Intimate View of Goðafoss - Alpa TC, IQ3 100, 35mm, f/22, 1.3s, ISO 50.

Lately I’m finding myself more drawn to intimate scenes rather than big dramatic landscapes, especially at iconic travel locations.  Goðafoss in Iceland is definitely iconic and on this afternoon I played around with taking both grand vistas and also more ‘detail’ images with a telephoto lens.  Just as I was packing up to head out, I saw this scene and was immediately drawn to it.  I love the overlapping curves and texture of the banks of snow in the foreground and for me thats the real subject with Goðafoss being more of a background.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Beach Boulder

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Beach Boulder
Beach Boulder - Phase One XF, IQ3 100, 40mm, f/8, 2.5s, ISO 100.
I had a very different image in mind when I set up for this shot last weekend.  I was trying to do what I usually do which is go after the grand landscape with the rest of Garrapata beach and blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds in the background.  However, looking back I prefer this more intimate landscape with the boulder, the line patterns created by the waves and the stream going back to the ocean.  This kind of intimate landscape is not my forte but its something I definitely want to get better at.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Winter Sunrise at Mývatn

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Iceland &emdash; Winter Sunrise at Mývatn

Winter Sunrise at Mývatn - Alpa TC, IQ3 100, 70mm, f/16, 1s, ISO 50.

I found these snow and frost covered branches really interesting on the morning shoot at Lake Mývatn.  I like the different layers in this image and the very soft, pastel colors of pre dawn light is my preference.  The only thing that bothers me is that the bushes in the middle and the one sticking up in the front just barely intersect the mountain the background.  I saw this in the field when making this image and extended my tripod to full height which with the head is taller than I am but it still wasn’t quite enough.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Resting Leopard

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Okavango Delta &emdash; Resting Leopard

Resting Leopard - 1DX, 250mm, f/4, 1/30s, ISO 3200.

I went back nearly 4 1/2 years to work on this image from a Botswana safari in 2013.  I’ve also really been enjoying the “Shooting with the Masters” series with Charlie Cramer on the Luminous Landscape website and watching Charlie’s workflow reminded me of how I used to post process my images about 12 years ago, mostly in Photoshop curves combined with loose, feathered selections and brushes.  I decided to work on this one that style with just a simple conversion in Lightroom and a handful of adjustment layers with masks in Photoshop.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Aldeyjarfoss in Snow

Aldeyjarfoss in Snow - Alpa TC, IQ3 100, 70mm, f/16, 1s, ISO 50.

I’m pretty sure its not possible to make a bad photo of Aldeyjarfoss.  The patterns in the water are always changing so its also impossible to make exactly the same photo twice!

Friday, March 09, 2018

Filtered Sun

Filtered Sun - Alpa TC, IQ3 100, 35mm, f/11, 1/10s, ISO 50.
The combination of a layer of low clouds and steam from the nearby Geothermal field made for some very interested filtered sunrise images yesterday morning.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Snow and Rocks

Snow and Rocks - Alpa TC, IQ3 100, 35mm, f/16, 5s, ISO 50.

We went to a location for sunset today that I had visited last summer at Streitisviti Lighthouse on the Eastern Fjords near Breiðdalsvík.  On my summer trip it was so cloudy when we went there we had no sunset colors and had to work on moody B&W landscapes.  This time, we had plenty of color, though it was a bit windy.  It look me a while to find this composition and I wasn’t sure it was going to work but after looking at it for a while, I’m starting to like it.  What struck me when I made this picture was not only the contrasting tones of the rocks and snow but also the very subtle texture in the snow itself.  Sadly that subtle texture is lost on social media, will have to print this one out someday.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Patterns in Snow

Patterns in Snow - Alpa TC, IQ3 100, 35mm, f/16, 0.6s, ISO 50.
We had a bunch of snow last night and so headed back to the beach at the Glacier Lagoon to see what kind of images could be made.  There wasn’t a lot of ice on the beach and what there was ended being pretty small.  I found the lines and patterns in the snow to be more interesting photographically.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Ice Cave

Ice Cave - Alpa TC, IQ3 100, 23mm, f/11, 1/20s, ISO 50.

I had a blast hiking to and photographing a pair of Ice Caves today.  The whole trek ended up being about 8 hours long, with 8km (5 miles) roundtrip of hiking on a glacier.  The journey was definitely worth it to witness and photograph these incredible caves.  I lugged almost all my gear with me but ended up shooting with just one lens, go figure.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Diamonds and Streaks

Diamonds and Streaks - Alpa TC, IQ3 100, 35mm, f/11, 2s, ISO 50.

Diamond Beach was a bit of a bust today as there weren’t much in terms of washed up ice.  What there was ended up being really small so we had to get creative.  On the upside we did get some very nice colors when the sun set.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Hanging onto Mom

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Apes &emdash; Hanging onto Mom
Hanging onto Mom - 1Dx, 142mm, f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO 3200.
I like photographs that build up on themselves in layers such as this one.  While the main subject is the juvenile Mountain Gorilla on top of mom’s head, the addition of mom’s head and foundation of the “V” of the arm I think make the image more interesting rather than a tight crop of just baby.


Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Riceberg
Riceberg - Phase One XF, IQ3 100, 60mm, f/8, 2s, ISO 50.
I like how this piece of ice is shaped kind of like a grain of rice.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Diamond Beach

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Iceland &emdash; Diamond Beach
Diamond Beach - Phase One XF, IQ3 100, 40mm, f/14, 4s, ISO 50.
Can’t wait to return to Iceland’s Diamond Beach at Jökulsárlón.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Glaciers and Clouds

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Glaciers and Clouds
Glaciers and Clouds - Fuji XT2, 100mm, f/7.1, 1/1250s, ISO 200.
I love the combination of tones and light color you get when you mix clouds and glaciers.

Great Tabular

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Antarctica &emdash; Great Tabular
Great Tabular - Leica SL, 200mm, f/9, 1/640s, ISO 320.
The sightings of great tabular icebergs in Antarctic waters are mesmerizing!

Colony at Sunrise

Aravind Krishnaswamy: South Georgia Island &emdash; Colony at Sunrise
Colony at Sunrise - Leica S 007, 30mm, f/22, 1/180s, ISO 100.
The King Penguin colony at St. Andrews Bay, numbering over 150,000 birds!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Gorilla Family

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Gorilla Family
Gorilla Family - 1DX, 75mm, f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO 1250.
Another black & white for tonight, this time of a Mountain Gorilla family (the Sabyinyo group) from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.  Neither words nor photos can adequately capture the experience of being there with them in their natural habitat.

Light and Dark

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Antarctica &emdash; Light and Dark
Light and Dark - Phase One IQ3 100, 75mm, f/11, 1/800s, ISO 400.
This is another example of why I like working in black & white.  This image is all about the undulation between light and dark tones, first in the waves and then in the glacier and mountains.  

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Calla Lillies

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Calla Lillies
Calla Lillies - A7r3, 31mm, f/10, 1/8s, ISO 200.
A group of Calla Lillies from last weekend.  I like working on these in black and white because of all the contrast it allows me to play with.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Moon over Callas

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Moon over Callas
Moon over Callas - A7r3, 24mm, f/11, 1s, ISO 100.
The main goal I had for Saturday morning was to see if there enough fresh Calla Lillies at the gully at Garrapata beach to make an image like this one.  The fact that the moon was setting was a bonus, but in the end I prefer the images I made with the stream going into the ocean a little later.  This is of course a composite image, even at 24mm you’d need some pretty crazy depth of field to get both the foremost Lily and the moon sharp.  However there is something I like about how only the first Lily is really in focus with the background blurring away only to then have the moon sharp. 

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Colors in Totality

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Colors in Totality
Colors in Totality - Phase One XF, 240LS + 2X (480mm), f/10, 1.3s, ISO 800.
I think the most incredible thing about the eclipse on Wednesday was how long totality lasted and the subtle shifts in color during totality, which was just fun to watch.  It starts with yellows and oranges, hitting a deeper red during maximum totality and then going back to more oranges and yellows as totally ends.  Cool stuff.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Moon at Sunset

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Iceland &emdash; Moon at Sunset
Moon at Sunset - Phase One XF, 75-150 @ 150mm, f/14, 0.4s, ISO 50.
This was made just a couple of minute before the black & white image I shared earlier, this time in color.  Here I chose to focus the attention on the moon lit by the orange light of sunset. 

Layers of Lines

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Iceland &emdash; Layers of Lines
Layers of Lines - Phase One XF, 75-150 @ 150mm, f/11, 0.8s, ISO 50.
I made this image at sunset so there was plenty of color in the sky, however I found while working on it that black & white brings out the layers of lines leading up to the mountain much better.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Into the Ocean

Aravind Krishnaswamy: South Georgia Island &emdash; Into the Ocean • St. Andrews Bay
Into the Ocean - Leica S 007, 30-90 @ 35mm, f/9.5, 1/180s, ISO 100.

A group of King Penguins begin wading into the frigid Southern Ocean at St Andrews Bay in South Georgia Island.

Little Guy

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Little Guy
Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Little Guy

I’m going to use this image to show the times I prefer to convert my images to black & white.  I like the color version of the image, the greens give the viewer a hint that this is in the forest.  I wanted to include the full frame and show the overall size of this juvenile Mountain Gorilla, including his arms, however I really want the focus to be the face.  Converting to black & white allows me to then to manipulate the tones further bringing all the attention to the face and in particular to the eyes.  The human eye is less sensitive to these kinds of manipulations looking unnatural in black & white than it is in color and so the black & white is what conveys the emotion I had in mind with this image.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Penguin Awareness Day

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Chinstrap Penguin • Robert Point
Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; King Penguin at St. Andrew's Bay
Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash; Gentoo Penguin

To recognize Penguin Awareness Day, here’s 3 images of three different species of Penguin, a Chinstrap, King and Gentoo.  Penguin species are in various status with Galapagos and African penguins being endangered.  Several of the other species are also threatened, near threatened or vulnerable including the majestic Emperor Penguin.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Glen Brittle

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Scotland &emdash; Glen Brittle
Glen Brittle - Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/11, 1/15s, ISO 35. 
The Fairy Pools are a popular tourist attraction in Skye with a series of cascading waterfalls.  I made this image about 2/3 of the way there along the River Brittle.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Golden Sunset

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Namibia &emdash; Golden Sunset

Golden Sunset - Alpa STC, Phase One IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/11, 1/2s, ISO 35.

I remember the evening I made this image well.  A couple of us had decided to skip the sunset shoot and instead enjoy it from the patio of the lodge with a nice drink.  We were still treated to an epic view and so I still ended up setting up my technical camera and making a few images, including this one with the bright golden color just before the sun disappeared behind the mountains.  All this and I got to do it with a gin & tonic in hand.


I was looking at one of my images from Namibia that I worked on shortly after getting back from the trip in 2014 and it obviously jumped out to me that the composition was weak and that the fix was a relatively obvious crop.

Here's that image as posted:

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Shoe Box &emdash;

Now there's two things wrong with this composition, first its out of balance.  Though the tree in the center is the star, all that room to the right just feels wrong.  Second, that sky sucks.  Its bright, drawing attention away from the main subject and it intersects with the top of the frame.  I think I originally didn't crop it because I could crop it to eliminate the sky without it getting too tight at the top, so I just left it.  Of course, the obvious thing to do would have been to get it right in the camera, move up a bit and over so that the sky is eliminated and only the trees are in the frame against the dune.

But you have to work with what you have, so reframed, eliminating the room to the right, the sky completely and getting tighter on the trees.  I did have to clone in some sand dune to eliminate the sky completely.  The result is an image I think is a lot stronger and that I like a lot more.

Aravind Krishnaswamy: Namibia &emdash;

Fortunately, I did the original capture with a Phase One IQ 180 back, so even with all cropping, I'm left with a 35 megapixel image.