I know it’s been a while since my last post and I apologize for that. First there was those pesky holidays and then I was off to Central Oregon for 4 days of what I hoped would be photography bliss. I was not disappointed. Four days spent in frozen paradise. Now it’s time to process the photos and I promise more blogs in the very near future.
Happy Holidays. Thanks to all of you who have been following my blog. Wishing all a safe and joyous 2013.
As a outdoor photographer I often find myself looking at the big picture. That grand and glorious landscape. So often there is great beauty in the small details. Here is one example I found while on a hike in Tryon Creek State Park last year. The light wasn’t particularly good but I always feel that there is some interesting to shoot. So I put on my “blinders” and started to focus on the details of the forest. There it was…some beautifully delicate fungi growing on a fir tree. I really liked all the great details, shadows, forms, and textures. I found myself studying and photographing this scene for almost 30 minutes.
Canon EOS 7D
Tokina AF 100mm f/2.8 AT-X M100 Pro D Macro Lens
Here are some last minute gift ideas for the intrepid photographer in your life.
Remote shutter release. Essential for getting sharp images when a long exposure is required.
Fingerless gloves. Perfect for the cold weather photographer to help keep those hands warm and allow the use of those all important fingers.
Mini rocket blaster. Rids lenses and cameras of dust yet fits nicely in a backpack or camera bag.
Rain cover. Keeps the camera and lens nice a dry.
Now there’s no excuse to get out in bad weather 🙂
Hot shoe spirit level. An easy, inexpensive, and accurate way to keep the camera level.
Happy holidays everyone and thanks for looking.
Every year before Christmas the Portland Oregon area is blessed with the Holiday Express Steam Train for three weekends. The fantastic and historic 700 and 4449 locomotives take lucky passengers on nostalgic 45 minute rides from Oaks Park to OMSI and back. This event also offers a unique and seldom seen opportunity for photographers.
The image above is of the 4449. As always, I am looking for a different ways to shoot a given subject. As the light went away and the 4449 just sitting there draped in holiday lights, I decided to try a little focus blur (sometimes referred to as ‘focus pull’). This method involves turning the focus ring from out-of-focus to in-focus while exposing the shot.
This is the same method I used to shoot fireworks earlier this year.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L
Camera set to Tv mode
As always, comments welcome and thanks for looking.
After a VERY long day out shooting with a good friend in the Columbia River Gorge, I decided to take the “back way” home. Instead of the usual I-84 to I-205 traffic laden route home, I took the historic highway towards the Sandy River. Where my route crossed the river I noticed some fog over the water. I was tired from a long day but I had to stop and grab a few shots. I wasn’t expecting much since it was getting late and the light was dimming fast so it wasn’t surprising that I was a little disappointed after importing them into Lightroom.
Here is the RAW image right out of the camera…
Yep…pretty washed out and lifeless. But I liked the composition, the fog, and the smattering of fall colors along the banks. So I decided to invest some time to see what I could come up with.
Here is the final image…
So how did I achieve this? Read on…
I almost always start with a Develop preset. Rarely does a preset give me the final product I’m after. But presets do save time by getting me close.
A note about Develop sliders. I really don’t care what the value of a particular slider is. What I care most about is the image itself – the look I’m after and the quality of the image are paramount. I move a particular slider back and forth while looking at the image – not the slider. When I get the result I’m after I simply stop. Then I check to see if the image has too much noise or is over sharpened and re-adjust as necessary.
The preset I applied basically converts the image to B&W, and adds a sepia tone. Here are the Develop module panels with an explanation of what each slider accomplishes. Remember, this is just my starting point.
Contrast (+50) to add contrast to the entire image.
Highlights (-100) to reduce the brighter tones.
Shadows (+22) to bring in some detail in the darker tones.
Whites (+27) to bring up the brightest tones and add contrast between the highlights and the whites.
Clarity (+62) to add mid-tone contrast (or “punch”)
All color channels in ‘Saturation’ are turned down to -100 effectively converting the image to B&W. Many times I prefer this method of converting the B&W because it allows me much more control over accent colors and tones in case I want to bring back in some color. I did this later in the process.
Various Luminance slider adjustments are to add contrast to those color channels (darker or lighter). For example, turning down the Blue channel will add contrast to clouds and water.
Split Toning Panel
Here’s where the sepia tones are added to the highlights and shadows.
Sharpening was added with some mild noise reduction.
Now that the preset is applied, all that’s needed is some tweaking…
At this point I felt that the highlights were a bit too dark. So I changed the Basic panel Highlights slider to -33 (from -100).
I wanted the whites to pop a bit more bumped the Whites slider up to +40.
The image still needed something. It was fairly monotone and even though the river helps lead the eye into the photo, I wanted something more. What could I do? Remember those fall colors in the trees? Back to the HSL panel to bring back those colors. I bumped up the saturation of the Yellow channel to 0 and the Orange channel to +21. I also bumped up the luminance of the Yellow channel to +43. These changes brought back those wonderful fall colors and I hope you’ll agree that it really helps lead the eye into the photo and tell the story much better.
The dark tones looked a bit too dark so I changed the Shadows slider to +38 (from +16).
To add more dark tone contrast, I moved the Black slider down to -53. This darkened only the darkest tones.
Canon EOS 1D-X w/ EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
Handheld with IS turned on
Taken 11/4/2012 at 5:02 PM
Thanks for looking!
Leslie Gulch. Amazing volcanic ash tuff formations, rare plants, abundant wildlife, and interesting history. What more could a photographer ask for! In April 2010 I lead a group of photographers into this magical place. The problem was it was my first time there. Don’t worry…it all worked out far better than expected.
I first learned about Leslie Gulch on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s ‘Oregon Field Guide’. The images shown there were so amazing I told myself I had to go. The problem was that Oregon Field Guide did not tell me where it was other than along the Owyhee River. So, ensued a lot of research and planning and six months later I was there. It did not disappoint. Leslie Gulch was so spectacular, I made a return trip there in September 2010.
Leslie Gulch is located in Malheur County, Oregon on the east side of the Owyhee River about 35 miles north of Jordan Valley, Oregon off US 95. Its abundant and striking rock formations are made of tuff – a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during an eruption.
The gulch was named after a local rancher, Hiram E. Leslie, who was hit and killed by lightning there in 1882. Hiram lived in nearby Silver City, Idaho and is buried there.
Just writing this blog post makes me want to return. Tank full. Camera ready. Let’s GO!
Thanks for viewing.