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on Nov 26, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Heat Shimmer … Good?

Heat shimmer especially with long glass can cause a real issue with sharpness. But isn’t there times when we want to limit sharpness? First thing that comes to mind is DoF, something we use very mechanically to limit the focus to help tell the story. So why then couldn’t heat shimmer do the same thing? Here, the Very Large Array, those dishes way in the distance are blurred out by the heat shimmer. But do you need to see them sharply to know they are there? Doesn’t it add mystery to this mysterious place with them being out of focus, kinda “out of this world” mystery? So shooting D5 / 800mm / TC-14eIII then not only compacts the three miles of track, but brings into play the heat shimmer to finish the storytelling. Just a...

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on Nov 14, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Ya, I Pretty Much Suck at Moon Landscapes

Isn’t it obvious with this photo? Why is that? Well, in this straight shot taken at Kodachrome Basin, just like everyone else, I saw a beautiful moon in person and the mind’s eye made it big and special. But put that cold heartless bastard to your eye and instantly that beautiful moon looks like what I’ve always called a “processing mistake” (an old reference back to the days of film). We’re drawn to the moon like a moth to a flame, and we all know how that turns out for the moth. Technically, it’s real easy to get the exposure, a full moon is Basic Daylight (ISO-Shutter Speed f/16) or you Spot Meter off the moon. The problem is visually, the moon, unless you use a long lens is always small in the frame. That’s why I’ve always gone old school when I really want a big moon in a photo, double exposure (photo below). That is the actual moon that evening, but when the photo of the buildings...

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on Oct 11, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Alaska Handheld Blurred Creek

You can’t help but be swept up in the landscape that is Alaska! While we were up here to photograph specifically Moose, the search for them took us to gorgeous locales. That’s why the 18-35AFS was packed in along with the rest of the gear. So in the lull in the action, off we went to photograph the wonders around us. The skies were perfect to tell the story of how cold it was where we were shooting. Using the very simple Multi Exposure technique, capturing the flowing creek handheld and bringing that story home was easy. This is important because the Gitzo had the 800mm with the Zenelli head. That’s why this technique is so cool, you can do it even without a...

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on Oct 3, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Stary, Stary Skies

There is one aspect of the Sierra that stands out amongst all the rest and that’s its night skies. Right now with the new moon and cold temps, it is literally so bright you can walked around without the aid of a flashlight. With that overhead, it was only natural we held our Mono Lake Weekend Workshop and on Saturday, made it a Scott Kelby’s World Wide Photowalk. We had a hearty group that meet not just one but two mornings at 04:30 at South Tufa to bring home those skies to you, those who weren’t with us. We had the usual aircraft heading towards San Francisco every so often but we had the great fortune to have a meteor shower going both mornings. Many were real faint but some, well they lit up the night. It was just glorious! How where the pictures taken? I started by giving folks my usual formula for getting the photo. While it works great for me, it seems to confuse folks. One...

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on Sep 19, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Scary Weekend Continues!

Living in paradise comes with a price and wildfire is one of those. Saturday around 16:00 we looked outside to the northeast to see our skies black! We knew instantly it was a wildfire. I grabbed the Airport Security with all me gear, jumped in the truck to see if we needed to evacuate from our home right now in the Sierra. Having been on the fire line in my younger days, I know the speed and ferocity a wildfire can bring and the devastation it can leave behind. It scares the crap out of me! It wasn’t hard to find a safe place to park and watch the fire to see if it was heading for the house. I could also see the brave men and women (thank you!) who were there on the line. I could easily see all those pilots in the tankers (thank you!) who put their lives on the line to battle these blazes (you look closely, you can see small specs which are...

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on Aug 22, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Pano to Tell Stories

I’ve been shooting panoramas or “panos” since I first picked up a camera. Back in the old days, to share the panoramic views I was so fortunate to witness, I had three Kodak slide projectors aligned so when projecting, the three images of the pano would come together on the screen into one photo. Sharing the wonders our vision brings to us with others is the heart and soul of photography! But carrying around three projectors to share the pano was never practical. Then came digital and the internet making sharing the pano much, much easier. But the taking and assembly of panos up until a year ago was still a challenge. Now, it’s literally a snap but many don’t seem to realize this, at least that’s what the emails I’ve received in the last week indicate. In more than one email came the question, “What gear did you leave at home to take all the gear to shoot your panos?” Actually, I own no pano gear any longer,...

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