Once again, it’s been awhile since I made a blog post. There are just not enough hours in the day. I did a photo shoot with a local model to help update my portfolio and thought I’d post some ‘behind the scenes’ pics. Special thanks to Elisabeth who agreed to do the “before and after” pics. Not everyone would want these types of pics displayed but this girl is a real trooper. Hair and makeup was performed by the talented Fernando Navarro of The Hot Spot located in Pasco, Washington.
Here is Elisabeth as she arrives at The Hot Spot
And so the process begins.
Lastly was the gluing of Rhinestones using tweezers . . .
Finally done at The Hot Spot and headed for Dreamcatchers Studio.
And finally . . . A couple of the many images I was able to capture with Elisabeth. It was a long afternoon but worth it all, without a doubt.
I am trying to play some catch up here. I have really been neglecting my blog and I need to stop that. In October of 2013 I was scheduled to go to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone with 7 other photographers for a week of shooting. Our great elected representatives put a nice stop to those plans with the government shutdown. Not wanting to totally give up, myself and a buddy of mine decided to instead try Mono Lake and Bodie State Historic Park, as they were not affected by the shutdown.
I have been to several ‘ghost towns’ in the past and have been sorely disappointed in the photography opportunities. Commercialization of these ‘towns’ have been pumped up to a point that they no longer resemble a ‘ghost town’ but instead a carnival of sorts out in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, I was not thinking that this was going to be any better, but really wanted to see Mono Lake instead, so off we went. Boy was I dead wrong. Bodie was a real ‘eye opener’ and literally has photography opportunities that you can’t possible get it all, in one or even two days of shooting. Here is one photograph that I took and turned in to a regional photo contest here in the Pacific Northwest. It took top honors.
I called it ‘Table For Two’. It is actually a 5-Frame HDR image shot with a Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 lens. It was tone mapped in Photomatix Pro and tweaked some in Photoshop CS6. More of my Bodie images can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tis_photography/.
Looking for someplace to go next year, with endless photography opportunities. Give Bodie California a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
We stayed at the Silver Maple Inn at Bridgport. It is about as ‘bare bones’ as you can get but we actually didn’t have much choice on such a short notice. We would not stay there again. We would have been much better off staying somewhere in the middle between Bodie and Mono Lake. That in itself would have saved us big time on gas money. I think Lee Vining would be our choice next time.
I have, what some would consider “some pretty darn good camera gear”. I own several of Nikon’s new camera line, as well as some of the better lenses to go with these bodies. My Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 cost more than some people make in a month. Heck, more than some people make in a year if I really want to get honest with myself. Programmable remotes, filters and goodies I just HAD to have. And let’s not forget camera bags, tripods, lights, light stands, reflectors and you name it, I have it.
So what is the point of all of this? A couple of weeks ago, I was blessed with the presence of my 4 year old granddaughter Addison, who came and stayed with us for two weeks. I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun. It was during that time that one day she sat down and created some pictures for her Nana and myself, all with a one dollar package of watercolors she had picked up at the dollar store. Here is one such image I scanned into my computer and added a border to distinguish it from the background. All of Grandpa’s gear is no match for such a thing of beauty.
As I look at this ‘great work of art’, I am left wondering how many grandparents and parents will never again see such wonder again because of the actions of one crazed man in Connecticut.
As Christians, we will celebrate the birth of a Savior in about ten days. Right now I can’t help but wonder; what type of Savior lets this happen? Why would such innocence be asked to pay such a price? Unanswered questions.
The use of light in a photograph can be the deciding factor of whether that picture will be spectacular or terrible. Our recent trip to Arches National Park was a very good example of that. I wanted to get a nice sunrise photo but was not sure where to go. We wandered around the first day to check things out and spoke with a few other photographers familiar with the area. One photographer told us that the Turret Arch made a nice sunrise photo and was even better if we shot it through the North Window Arch.
The next morning we got to the Windows Arches around 6:15 and hiked up to the North Window Arch. We made our way through the Window Arch and setup on a ledge as shown in this photo. That is my wife Dixie’s setup next to my setup. My setup is a Nikon D700 full frame with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Hers is a Nikon D90 crop frame with a 28-200mm lens. The below shot was taken with my D90 using a 11-16mm lens. As you can see by this shot, there is not much light or color to speak of and would have made a very dull and boring shot if we just shot and left.
Waiting for sunrise
Having a little experience with light and its’ changes, we knew that we would not have to wait long. We were not disappointed. The next photo gives the viewer an idea just how fast the light changes and how it effects the colors. I combined three raw images and labeled the times taken in each section.
This is the resulting final image. It is a 9-frame HDR shot done at 31mm, ISO 200, 1/15 sec at f/14. I processed it in Photomatix Pro 4.0 before bringing it into CS5 for some final tweaking.
Turret Arch as seen through the North Window Arch
Making use of selective color to "Pop" an image.
Sometimes turning a so-so image into one that “Pops” is as simple as using selective color on it. Here is an image I took a couple months back of the Boardman tree farm. The process I took was as follows;
- You obviously want to start with a colored image. This image is a 7 frame HDR processed in Photomatix 4.0. I did not want it to have that “HDR Look” that so many people like. I wanted a natural look and processed it as such.
- When I had the color version the way I wanted it, I converted it to Black and White using Nik Software Silver Efex. If you convert to black and white using Photoshop, be use to duplicate the color layer first and convert the copied layer to black and white. Silver Efex creates a new layer so I did not have to.
- Now add a layer mask to the black and white layer.
- Select the Brush tool, and choose black as the foreground color. The brush size will depend on the area you are about to paint, but making sure to set the hardness to 100%. Paint carefully on the layer mask in the areas you want to reveal as color. If you make a mistake, simply paint the area with white as the foreground color to remask.
- That’s petty much it. Finish with an unsharp mask to your taste.
The Long And Winding Road was also the last number one song, in the US, for the Beatles. 1970
Lines have many uses in a photograph. They can divide, unify, or accent certain parts of a composition. If they are interesting enough, they can become a visual topic in themselves: Who could resist the lines of a spider’s web glistening with dew?
Lines lead the eye into a scene. Stand on a train platform and you’ll see it’s all but impossible to keep your eye from following the line of the tracks to the horizon. Parallel lines that appear to converge this way create what’s known as one-point or linear perspective, potent for showing distance and depth in a photograph. Curved lines can lead equally well: The undulating lines of the country road in the photo above, draws the eye into the frame.
This image was taken on a frosty morning in January of this year as I was headed to Wasco Oregon.
Columbia River Gorge Waterfall
I was fortunate enough this weekend to participate in a photo shoot at some waterfalls, not far from here, at the Columbia River Gorge. The Pacific Northwest has some of the greatest waterfalls in the United States.
Shooting waterfalls is one of those photo subjects that falls into a category pretty much its own as to the best time to shoot them. An overcast day with a gentle rain in the spring or fall following several days of rain. We were lucky that most of our morning was partially overcast and cloudy which was great because it allowed some extended shutter speeds without getting blowouts.
I recently bought a Sing Ray variable Neutral Density filter, so was hoping to get some sunlight so I could try things out. I wasn’t disappointed. By about 11:00am, we had patches of sunlight poking through the clouds.
The waterfall above was mostly in the sun by the time we got to it. I think I was still able to get a pretty decent shot with my filter dialed up about 2 stops.