The Statue of Liberty is so iconic, so majestic, so New York and simply SO cool to photograph! During our B&H / Lexar Photofloat, we had the opportunity to go right up to the Grand Lady for an up close frontal shoot. The skies were perfect as we floated past and if I had any compliant, we couldn’t stop too long in any one place so the background was constantly changing from our movement. With the Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200VR2, I shot as fast as I could when I had a moment between talking to folks. And in the process, that internal strife kicked in, Vertical or Horizontal format? I shot both ways many times as the background kept changing. I liked what I got but I say on some other photographer’s LCD better shots as they shot at times I couldn’t It was interesting to see that of all the shots I liked of the others, they were all, 100% horizontal format. The background is everything!
Our snow storm last week cleaned out a lot of the remaining fall color on the eastside. There are a couple of pockets of color though, those areas that were protected from our fierce winds. During our weekend workshop, we visited one such pocket of color and as you can see, it was bursting! Well, it was for about a block as on either end, it was just bare trees. Now how do you approach such a shooting opportunity? Normally fall color is captured at some distance and is just an element in a photograph. This calls for distance and long glass or up close with wide angle. But if in a scenario like this, if you ask yourself that all important question, “What’s the subject?” you might come up with a different answer in telling the story of the moment.
If in a canyon there is one small spot that is an explosion of color, how do you say explosion of color? Personally, I get in close physically and tight optically to start with. Shooting with the D4 & 70-200VR2 mostly at 200mm, I got right in on the color. To make that color even more explosive, I shot backlit and I mean, backlit! We were shooting right into the sun! Most were going blind because we were doing that and all were struggling with the sun coming basically right down the barrel. This created flare up the wazoo! That flare flattened the contrast and the contrast is essential in making the photo happen. Spent some time either shading lenses for folks or showing them how to hold their baseball cap on their lens to extend their shade. Then to finish the feel, in ACR, I dropped the Black slider just a tad and something I almost never do, took the Saturation slider to 15. I love this type of fall color shooting, it’s just happy photographs!
Home for just heartbeat but in time to see the fall color being dressed in white. The drive home was spectacular and then woke up this morning to all white. Sharon being the mtn women she is had the house all ready (thanks dear) since I’ve been on the road the last 3 weeks.
This is a simple click off the deck looking out with the D600 & 24-70AFS. Some have taken note of my saying I recommend the D600 over the D800 to folks. Working on a piece explaining why but it has really nothing to do with image quality, both bodies preform great in that department. It really has a lot more to do with that simple but essential element in photography, fun. Well, got home to a computer being real sick, so back to playing computer tech.
From the water with that amazing backdrop, the New York skyline was better than picture perfect! Today, it’s pouring rain in NYC, during the MooseCruise Photofloat though, it was simply spectacular! It was one of those times when working with big guns like B&H and Lexar really paid off since participants only paid $25 for this killer three hour tour of delight!
Have to be really honest, it was really hard shooting! Simply put, I couldn’t shoot fast enough to capture all the great views! I filed 1426 images yesterday and I was teaching! At every foot of the trip, new photo opps appeared. I was attracted to the overall shot of course, but real quickly I was looking at the details. I would start wide (shooting D4 w/70-200 at 70mm) and then slowly zoom in to get tight.
Being on a boat had a ying and a yang. The ying is you’re shooting from the water so you can see the whole view, much like shooting in a forest. In the midst of the forest, hard to tell the story of all the trees. Step back just a little bit to the edge and you can tell it all. Same with a city like NYC which has its own man made valleys.
The yang of working on a boat is, it’s always moving. You never have the opportunity for the same image twice let alone fixing a mistake. On the flip side, as the boat floats on down the Hudson, we got multiple views and lighting patterns on buildings. These shots of the Freedom Tower is just such an example of that. And look at that light! OMG!!! The light was magical that entire cruise! This made finishing real simple, just a quick click on my Preset in ACR and I was done. Simply an amazing day. mtc
On a gorgeous fall day in NYC, 433 photographers gathered for the largest shooting event in B&H history. Sponsored by Lexar, we headed out for a 3 hour tour circling Manhattan. We had the greatest folks! Before we even sailed, I headed out to the line and meet them all. Talk about a hoot, there were folks who had flown in from Seattle to join us. How cool is that?
Even though I said I was going to wear a pirate hat, eye patch and have a sword (the ear ring was not my idea), I don’t think anyone thought I would actually go through with it. Surprise!
And the lovely lady who’s idea it was and who made it all happen, Jesica simply rocks! And she looks much better in the hat than I did! mtc
We’re still up in NH thoroughly enjoying this gorgeous place. True, fall color is past peaked but hey, looks pretty good to me. We’re been to a bunch of cool places simply photographing the beauty that is almost around every corner. This photo was taken from the rear of the train on the way up Crawford Notch. It’s a simple click out of the D600 & 24-70AFS. I continue to shoot with the D600 as it does just a wonderful job. This day in five hours, shot 24GB of images which while it sounds like a lot, it was only 1029 images. If you look to the top of the frame on the right, that white stuff is snow. That’s where we’re heading today…can’t wait!
“What do you see?” This is a question I get a lot and there’s good reason for it. I’m simply not normal! This is a prime example, we go to beautiful Jackson Falls this morning and everyone heads to the falls, I go the opposite direction. Folks have on wider lenses and I have on tele. They are pointing them up, I’m pointing mine down. It’s just me, but shooting a waterfall with a slow shutter just because I can doesn’t produce most of the time a photograph I like. And while that is the essences of the waterfall for most, that noisy crash and spray, I like the calm waters. So that’s where I tend to gravitate to when I go to photograph flowing water.
The other thing that personally works against my going to those big, overall waterfall shots all the time is sense of scale. I recently included a shot of one of the tallest waterfalls in No Am in a slideshow. It’s little known so no one in the audience except me knew just how tall it was. Ya, I could have done something about it when I took the photo but in those few seconds of the image on the screen, doubt you would have seen the scale. So for these reason and more, when I tend to do what you see here. And that leads to the question again, “What do you see?”
So what you see here is what I “saw” and then what I saw in making these images. You still don’t know scale, have no idea if the water feature is the size of a quarter or as big as a log. But you do get a little sense that what stopped me is what normally doesn’t stop others. As I said, I’m just different.
The way I go about making these images is pretty simple. I walk along the creek looking at the bubbles. We’re photographing the bubbles the water creates as it turns over the rocks. I look for simple contrast, white against the dark. When I see something I think I like, I set up the shot (D4 w/70-200VR2) and take a quick click. If I see something I like, I proceed to the next step (often, I keep on going). Next step is to dial in the shutter speed. I simply change the aperture to lower or raise my shutter speed. When I find the speed I like the best, I will shot 20+ images of the one water feature. This is because each and everyone is different. I make my selection which I like the best in post. So, I hope this long winded post answers at least for this one example, what I saw.
We need to start with our light. Head to Filter>Render>Lens Flare. You can truly create the light that fits your image’s mood. My general preference is Brightness of 35% and the 105mm Prime flare. Once you’ve dialed in those two ingredients, center the light as best you can on the lighthouse. If it’s not exact, it’s not a problem as we’ll make it perfect in a second. Click OK and you’ll see the Lens Flare appear in your image.
We need to remove the lens flare we just created because as is, we have no control over it (if you’re using Photoshop, you’ve gotta have control, right?) Ctrl/Cmd Z. We’re now going to create a layer for our Lens Flare to live on so Layer >New>Layer or Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+N or click on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel. We now need to fill the layer with gray so Edit>Fill>50% Gray (from drop down menu under content) or Shift F5. Now Crtl/Cmd F to run the Lens Flare filter you just created. You’ll now see the flare you created and have complete control over it.
At this point, I like to paint out the flare elements I don’t want in my photo. These are the colored orbs off some distance from the center of the main lens flare. Select a soft edge brush, click on your foreground color to bring up the Color Picker and in the HSB set the B to 50%. Set your opacity to 100% and paint out the flare. Now, if you’re not sure in the beginning what flare to keep and what to discard, you can skip this step and simply use a layer mask later on to remove unwanted flare. Change the Blending Mode for this new layer to Hard Light and all you see in your image is the flare you just created, the beginning of your light.
At this point, you can stop and say you’re finished. If you were to capture the lighthouse light coming straight at the lens, this is generally what you’d capture. If you want to have the beam of the lighthouse, we need to do a couple more steps.
Grab your Marquee Tool (tap M key) and draw a box around your light. We now want to inverse our selection Select>Inverse of Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+I. Then tap the delete key. Reverse the selection with Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+I. This makes it easier to manipulate the light in the next step. At this point, make your image smaller with Ctr/Cmd+- so we can stretch out our light.
Your selection is still active from the last step. Now we’re going to use Free Transform Ctrl/Cmd T to stretch our light. You’re going to stretch a WHOLE lot! Once you have your light stretched to taste, enlarge the image so you can move the light so that the bright center is over the light of the lighthouse. Since we’ve put this in its own layer, you can always fine tune the placement of the light with the Move tool later.
At this point, add a Layer Mask to the light layer. With a soft edge brush, 100% opacity and painting with black, paint out the elements of the light you don’t want. Remember, it’s a layer so you can modify the light any time, any way you like. For example, if the light is too bright, just lower the layer’s opacity
started with a glorious sunrise with an old friend. The Portland Headlight has produced some great images for me in the past and today, it did not disappoint! What you see is a simple click right out of the camera. The key, -2exp comp. The reason, the highlights, that’s the photograph. You don’t need to show all the detail for folks to know it’s a lighthouse so I went artsy fartsy. It was a glorious start to a day that, well, while I might have been prepared for, I would have never imagined it would have ever happened. In time, I might tell the story. For now, for all those involved in the great gift, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Typical Moose style, we were up early and greeting the sun. With the rains during the night, we went chasing fog and light and found some gorgeous stuff to play with! I wanted to see how the D600 would do so did some serious shooting with it and I can tell you, I seriously like this camera! It nailed the exposure, it nailed the focus, quick and easy producing gorgeous files!
These are actually simple clicks. I shot at -1/3 exp comp, starting with Cloudy WB then going to AWB once the light wasn’t as warm. Then for finishing, I showed the group my favorite finishing technique at the evening DD session. With the image selected in Mini Bridge, hold down the Shift key and hit Enter. The image is instantly processed in ACR and you’re done. Wanting blacks a tad stronger, I used levels going to 5 on black. Done…and I love the images. Fog is just so much fun to watch dance and than make glow in the photograph!
Ok, with the “distraction” of the big launch over with, I got back down to telling a story. One element I wanted to tell was the early morning launch. These folks got up (and us up) really early to photograph the launch. I wanted that in the photographs. How to do that? How do you make the uncommon out of the common? With the sunrise on the horizon, I used the tools I know so well. I underexposed -1.3 to bring the sky and clouds down and then used ACR to bring up the value of the balloon. I ripped the motordrive to be sure I had the blower going so the eye would suggest the bright balloon is from it and not my lighting the balloon in ACR. After just feeling the frustration of not making good images, this felt good to be back on task!