Sharon & I had NO idea that Gas Town was part of Vancouver or just how cool it is! This is a building they called the “Flat Iron” which I have no idea is related in any way to the Flat Iron bldg in NYC, but it’s really cool. I didn’t have as much time here at the square as I would have liked. There is a whole photo essay to be shot here over time which I would love to have the opportunity to do. Then there are the people of Gas Town. These two girls were a hoot! Sitting inside grabbing a bite, I saw them as we passed and knew I had to make a click. Shooting with the 18-35AFS, I walked up to the outside of the window, smiled, pointed to my lens and then to them and made the body gesture if OK. They smiled and shook their heads so I asked to put their head together and made the click. The folks were so darn friendly and jovial, it was just a great time!
Sharon & I had an absolutely marvelous weekend in Vancouver, CA at the PPOC conference! On Saturday, we went out with a bunch of brave folks (going on a photowalk in a city with a wildlife photographer) to Gas Town. Now, if you’ve never been to Vancouver, you gotta wander what Gas Town or its fantastic Blood Alley. Well, on the way there, we walked through some of the gorgeous architecture that is downtown Vancouver. The clouds were very cooperative adding to the great reflections.
The first question I get is, “What lenses?” I went really simply, shooting with the 18-35AFS and 80-400AFS exclusively on the D4. Both lenses lent themselves perfectly to the photowalk especially the 80-400 with its small size yet long reach. Isolating patterns, textures, people was what I was looking for and came back with some images that I really enjoy. The walk was cool but the folks were killer. Now I’ve not seen any of the photos taken when I posed with a Moose yet, but that’s probably better that way. That’s a whole other story! mtc
That’s what I was saying in my mind, just 5 more minutes! The gale winds were building and being at the highest point in Bermuda (which really isn’t saying much) to photograph its lighthouse, the winds were already whipping us. But not knowing when I might be back again, I wanted to add this lighthouse to my growing collection of lighthouse photos from around Northern Hemisphere. But as you can see in the top photo, the two main elements I wanted in the photo, light and the clouds just weren’t clicking. Shooting with the D4 with the 18-35AFS I got in position and made the first click. That’s because I didn’t know if I had 5min or if the conditions would get better. Then, the clouds changed and the light came out and I jumped, closer and to the left to make the click. Na, it’s not an award winning photo. I simply wanted the best I could make with the moment I had. In my early years, I was the classic, “panic shooter” moving every which way trying to make all the great shots. With age and failure, I have vastly slowed down simply look for the one good shot that might lead to the great shot. With time, please.
Well…I’m no longer in NE, off on another project but didn’t want to leave you hanging. After that amazing sunset the night before, it got real quite outside the blind. Just so you understand, they lock you in the blind at 16:30 and don’t let you out until the next morning around 09:30. You spend the WHOLE time in the blind, there is no going back to a warm hotel room (it got down to 18 at night). So you sleep right next to the river and normally, you can hear the cranes call all night long. Once cranes land at night, they start to wander, walking about and often, they walk hundreds of years up or down the river. When I woke up around 03:00 and didn’t hear them anymore, I had my doubts and sure enough, when the dawn’s light started to light up the sky, we looked out the blind to see the river in front of us, empty. That’s happens but doesn’t mean you’re toast.
This is my expression when they open the door on the blind…freedom! Even though there are no cranes standing in front of you, they fly overhead as they take off for the fields. So with the D4 connected to the 80-400VR3 I kept shooting the cranes as they peeled off. It was simply a great morning and a great experience. Want to thank Pastor Mark for again, a great time and having the in on selecting the best blind each night!
First there are a couple of cranes and then ……
there are thousands! It’s such an epic, spiritual, beautiful site. It all unfolds in a matter of 30min and then it’s dark!
The photography is pretty straight forward. Seeing the light unfold, I grabbed the D4 connected to the 80-400VR3. I grabbed the D4 because I saw the conditions and knew they would change fast so I wanted the 10FPS. The clouds while partly made from contrails, were still going to give color and the cranes would be moving through the small patch of color quickly. While on the topic of color, I’ve noticed some on the boards suggesting it came from Photoshop. I would highly suggest that those not understanding what Cloudy White Balance in combination with -1 comp go out and try it. You might just find that you don’t need Photoshop for color, just a little photographic fundamentals in your pocket!
As it happens, great sunset often leads to…not so great sunrises…at least as the color goes. Without those clouds and a little prairie dust, the sun comes up just like any place else. That’s OK though, the Cranes provide lots of magic. Here’s a couple clicks from this morning’s lift off. Birds with the falling water levels were further away then I like but that’s OK too! I shot with the D800 and the 80-400VR3 (D800 had a firmware drop today BTW) when I didn’t simply just sit and watch. Honestly, it’s a spectacle EVERYONE should witness once in their lives. mtc…
At a stimulating 20 degrees in the blind, my fingers are barely functioning right now outside the warmth of my gloves. But I’ve just gotta share the magnificent flyin tonight on the Platte River, NE. The Lesser Sandhill Cranes are simply the most amazing critter in migration as they seem to celebrate every moment in the air and on the ground together. Shooting with the D800 and the 80-400VR3 (which did a FANTASTIC job!), we had about 20min of thousands of cranes coming in as the sun set. Shooting in Cloudy at -1, I pumped the colors up a tad but what you see is what we saw about a hour ago. Now, we’re locked in the blind until about 10am tomorrow and the temps seem to be dropping and the wet chill settles in. That’s OK though, I love going to sleep in the warm sleeping bag listening to the cranes sing outside. mtc…
It’s an annual right of spring, for me at least, to head out to NE where my good friend Mark lives, jump into his truck and head to the Platt River. There, we’re locked into a plywood box for 14hrs on the hope and the prayer that while inside, the Lesser Sandhill Cranes land in front of us and give us a show. I’ve done this many years now and as of yet, that magic just hasn’t graced us. We’ve gotten close, but no brass ring. And so we go again.
I came this year with what might seem like the wrong gear for such an adventure. I have the 200-400VR2 and the new 80-400VR3 to as my main lenses. In years past, I had my 600VR2 and with a 2x attached shooting HSC, that’s how I got the top image. That’s because the cranes were so far away. Even if the new 800AFS had arrived, I probably would have still gone with the same gear because, if that magic does happen, the 800mm would have been too much lens. And that’s kind how wildlife photography often goes. We might be present, we have the gear and surely the spirit is willing, but the critters and the light gotta wanna play with us.
Now, because I’m nuts and because I have the technology, I’m going to try to, from the blind which has no power (or heat) to blog somewhat live as the next two days unfold. Now if all we have in front of the blind is mud, I won’t have much to blog (mud is a bit boring). But if we are graced with a couple of thousand of cranes outside our windows, then I’ll be sure to post an image or two.
I checked in my room in MN and instantly went to window to see the view. Right out my window is this lone tree. Don’t know what it intrigued me but of the next two hours, I kept looking out, shooting it and watching.
Blurry water has always done right by me, it’s a challenge that when met produces images that simply make me smile. At the same time to be perfectly crase, they sell like hot cakes. So when the spirit strikes, I’m all over them and spring time is a great time when you have the winter run off. And when I have the opportunity to shoot straight down on water from like a bridge, I’m like a blood hound looking for that great water, like here in Yosemite a couple of weeks ago. Now I have a basica formula for creating those that I like. It’s pretty simple, here’s my formula. One thing I should add to that formula, there has to be at least one sharp element of the photograph. Typically, it’s just a rock. The eye needs that one sharp element to latch onto and make sense of all the out of focus elements in the flowing water. Here’s an example of when I didn’t follow my own advice. There is not ONE sharp element in the photograph and I really like the photo. Now other than this posting, will I put it out in front of folks, that I’m not sure about yet. But for now, I enjoy looking at it so that’s a step forward.
Bermuda is a magic isle where color is celebrated! The homes and buildings are painted the most colorful, pastel, eye popping combos I’ve ever seen. I asked if there was an “official” Bermuda blue since it is a common color from water, buildings to sky (there isn’t one). So when we went to the northern Sea Glass Beach, it was no surprise that the dock was painted, yeap, blue!
When you walk up to the top of the bluff and first look down on the beach, you can’t but help but notice the blue dock. Then as your eye wonders about the beach, it comesback to the dock and you gotta ask, “What am I missing?” With that in mind, we wandered down the stairs to the beach itself. There are two sea glass beaches on Bermuda and this one has literally tons of sea glass. That’s because there is a big sign saying removing glass and you go to jail. There is a ton of other stuff like rusted out engine blocks, axels, pullies and other stuff I assume come from the old military docks just up the coast. Your wanderings inevitably bring your back to, the dock to nowhere. Just what the hell is with this beautiful blue structure?
I have no clue! The dock which as you can see has a sea wall around it, protecting it from the potential storm. But there is a reef all around it so no boat could dock to it. And you might notice, it starts out in the water and ends long before the sea wall. All I can assume is, it’s another piece of “art” that goes along with the other “stuff” on the beach. I can tell you that I couldn’t stop shooting it! We made two visits to this beach, this was our first, brief visit when a gale literally blew us off the beach minutes after we hit the sand. These are simple clicks made with D4 and 18-35AFS with the color courtesy of Bermuda.
Had the great opportunity today to get out and play “tourist.” We woke to an Bermuda downpour of biblical proportions which, by the time we were finished breakie became a delightful day. Now Bermuda is this small island, 22miles by 1 mile but within that is packed nothing but really cool, gorgeous, quaint and spectacular land! We didn’t know it at the time, but the driver the Rosewood sent to pick us up at the airport would not only become our guide for the day, but now a good friend. Myron is this marvelous historian (and you know how I love history trivia) born and raised on Bermuda. And everyone on the island seems to know him so we are receiving the VIP treatment! Well, we started talking about the Shell Slate roofs that dominate the architecture of Bermuda and Myron wanted me to see the inside of one of the original structures using this material. Well, coming out, the light was great so I had to take his photo. This is a simple click with D4 / 18-35AFS of our new BBB (Best Bermuda Bud).
If you would have told me a short while ago that I would be “working” in Bermuda, I would have said something like my Joe McNally. “No editor is going to send this simple mtn boy to a resort island to shoot!” I get funny looks here when I greet folks with “howdy!” But yet because of that miracle box known as a camera, here Sharon & I are working this week. I’ll be honest, Bermuda wasn’t even on my radar screen and now that I’m here, I have to ask myself why wasn’t and what other incredible locations on this planet aren’t that should be? The island, it’s people, the photography and the food are all marvelous and we’re loving it!
We’re staying at the marvelous Rosewood Tucker’s Point, simple a gorgeous property! In doing some homework, I saw this photo of one of their infinity pools and I simply had to have it for myself. So I went down this morning to check it out. Well, the first thing you’ll notice between the two photos (mine and on their site) is that theirs was shot in the evening, didn’t know that until I checked it out (I got up early for nothing?) Next, the pool, pool house and in general in their photo is perfect, mine, not so much. The area is being “readied” for the “season” which starts in 10 days. The winter storms fill the beach with sand for example so they have to “carve” out the beach with loader each spring. A loader in the photo just, I don’t know, kinda ruins the reflection in the infinity pool. None the less, I got down on the deck with the D4 and 18-35AFS to make some test shots. It has nothing to do with why we’re here but I really love the shot on the site and want it for myself. So, if the photo Gods are with me, I’ll be back down to the beach infinity pool with loaders gone and gorgeous skies in place. And the whole time, I’ll be pinching myself to remind me the perks of the click!
Yeap, we photographed the base of Lower Yosemite Falls in the morning and ate dinner on Bermuda. Now the funny thing (not really but…) we went to Yosemite for a winter workshop during the driest Jan/Feb, ever, on record! And when we got the call to go to Bermuda right afterwards for a project, we thought the warmth would be nice. Dang…where’s my jacket?! It’s not that warm here right now but wow, is it gorgeous! For this simple mountain boy, this is going to be a great week in the sun!
I first visited the base of Lower Yosemite Falls in 1970 and ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I can easily sit there and watch the power and listen to noise all day and never tire of it. Seriously, it just amazes me how the whole thing works! Photographically, watching the light move around the falls fascinates me. In this case, the light is bouncing off a rock face left out of frame and makes the water glow. It also brings life to the face of the cliff. It does this for a short time as the sun plays dodge with rocks, cliffs and trees. Without sitting there and watching, you could easily miss the whole show. That is probably why I just keep going back, it’s never the same twice.
I kinda pride myself on including those elements that help the story telling while eliminating those that don’t. This is all done in the viewfinder. There are times though when I see the smallest detail and I will wait to make that one detail at least in my mind, pop though in the final image, it’s the smallest detail. So it begs the question in my own mind, do small details matter? Case in point, the rainbow at the base of Lower Yosemite Falls. By itself, it is so dynamic, so gorgeous and so full of life. What else can really matter in such a moment, a capture? Well to this shooter, the rock in the lower right corner. I waited and worked until that little kiss of light kissed its top. Why? Because to me, it looks exactly like Half Dome but only a fraction of the size. Now I think that, I know that I’m in Yosemite shooting Lower Yosemite Falls and Yosemite is the home of Half Done. But does any one looking at this photo know it’s “Lower Yosemite Falls” located in Yosemite and know the shape of Half Dome so well they connect all those dots? Honestly, that’s a stretch! So then why work to include some detail that in the final analyzes only you really know it’s there? I think we all SHOULD because the photo has to matter to US before it matters to anyone else! It is just possible that if you care that much about such a small detail, there might just be some bigger, more important ones that matter to you as well. If nothing else, it means you’re putting more heart than perhaps technical into your photo and that is always a good thing. You of course must answer the question for yourself and your own photography. But to me and my photography when all it said and one, small detail do matter.