Summer Thunder

Blackhills Thunder captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8 & Miops

We went into dinner and the sky was filling with them big battleships of the sky forming up overhead. We had a great storm two night’s previous (below) and with prior history with storms in the Blackhills of SD, new what we saw walking in meant great fun. We walked out 90 minutes later to clear skies! I went to my wx apps and saw a storm forming on the dry line south of us so off we dashed. We drove an hour south only to see the storm going were we couldn’t across the vast landscape of South Dakota. Looking at the wx app again and dang if the storm over the Blackhills hadn’t reformed and even bigger and badder. Off we raced. We arrived to photograph what you see above. A few minutes after this exposure all hell broke loose and we were dashing for cover. Huge hail and two inches of rain pounded us for the next hour. The lighting lasted for over four hours and at times was so bright and so constant, the automatic headlights on the car turned off! It was the most magnificent storm I’d seen in a mighty long time. And our week isn’t over!!!

Photographing it was pretty much a darn slam dunk. Above was simple rig as noted in the caption with the Miops doing all the work. It was a simple as the Miops triggered the shutter, 1sec, f8 ISO 200 14mm shot. The bottom image was the old fashion, open up the shutter and let the lightning take its own photo. It’s exposure is 5sec, f8, ISO 100 at 70mm. I just love clouds and when they are shaking the earth, it’s just heaven with summer thunder!

Blackhills Thunder captured by Z 6II / Z70-200f2.8

The Water Exposure is Better?

Mush Bay, AK captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8

Water reflections are such a romantic way to tell the story of a landscape. The double image of a great sky like in this photo grabs the imagination and makes the landscape seem even more vast. But water sucks up one stop of light so the reflection exposure often looks better than reality. You have many options in your photography to handle this. One, is do nothing. Two, use a split neutral density filter at the point of capture to hold back the sky or three, deal with it in post with a split grad. That’s the option I use all the time now and what I did here. The key is simply thinking through the story you want to tell. You can make the exposure of sky and reflection match which, with the right symmetry in the scene is killer! I didn’t have it in this photo so I kept it looking normal with the reflection being just one stop less than the reality. It’s your photograph, your story so tell it your way. Just realize that if you don’t do something, the water exposure will be better.

Avoid My Mistake

Poppy captured by D6 / 70-200f4

It’s spring, the international celebration of new life. You can see it everywhere in the simple, elegant and beautiful form of a flower. These natural gems appear each year bringing color to a vast array of landscapes and at times just one and two blossoms and others, carpets that stretch to the horizon. I’ve been very fortunate to see some amazing displays over the years but normally like most, I would enjoy but not immortalize them with my camera. Posezies are just not my thing which is something I’ve never tried to get past. There are many reasons for this, none of them valid yet, there are a mere handful of those photos in my files. I’m trying to do better this spring but anything is better than none, right? Spring is a gorgeous time to get out and shoot so do so. Avoid my mistake!

Spring Means Many Things

California Poppy captured by D2x / 70-180 macro

I’m truly enjoying the many great images being shared from talented photographers of the wildflowers of spring. I wish at times I were one of those photographers, but I am not. What you see here is what I call my “even a blind squirrel can find a nut once” macro flower photo. I say that cause this is the last spring posey photo that I really tried to make that worked and it was taken back in 2005! Have I tried to do macro since this capture? Yeah, kinda, sorta, by accident, sure!

Spring for me is more about baby birds and mammals, a subject much more in my wheelhouse. I was talking with a friend yesterday and spring for him is all about baseball. Talking with our son Jake, spring is all about fishing for him. And I could go on and on and that’s simply the cool thing about this time of year. We all have something that spring represents and they get us out with our camera to experience and express that feeling of the season. Get out even if it’s just in your own sphere and explore your spring thing with the camera. Share that photo with the rest of us and remember to make every click your story!

Bald Sky Bryce … Spectacular!

Bryce Canyon captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8

It’s rare when out to photograph specifically landscapes that bald skies doesn’t shoot down my mood. This morning on the rim gazing down and through the hoodoos of Bryce, the bald skies didn’t even come into play. Until the sun popped over the horizon, I shot down into the amphitheaters with the Z70-200f2.8. I even played with the Graphite PC in the Z 6II on the suggestion of the talented Ms Carol. Then once the sun came up, the Z14-24f2.8 came out even though we had nothing but bald skies. Closing the lens down to f/22 (so the sun would flare), I pointed the lens down to eliminate as much of the sky as possible but keep that star burst. It was fun and darn good to be back in Bryce, even with its bald skies!

It Seems Like Yesterday …

Bryce Canyon captured by D1 / 17-35f2.8 in 2000

… that brand new 64MB compact flash card arrived just as we were packing the truck with xc skies heading to Bryce Nat’l Park. It was Feb., 2000 and the D1 was going to get its first abuse in cold temps and jarring environments skiing the rim. It all seems like yesterday!

Why does this matter other than fond memories? I’ll be heading back to Bryce in a little over a week and while the landscape has not changed in those twenty years, one important thing has. Yes, this time I’ll have with me the mirrorless Z 6II (loaded with 1TB ProGrade CFexpress) and lenses, that’s not the big change. Nope, the biggest difference in this scenario is me!

There is no doubt that the Z 6II and mirrorless lenses will influence some of what I shoot, but it’s all I’ve learned and experienced since that February 2000 trip that will have the greatest impacts. That’s why prior to returning to any location where I’ve shot previously, I take time to go though my prior images. I go to refresh my memory of what I did right, what I did wrong, what I want to shoot again and perhaps come up with some ideas of how to tell the story just a little bit better. Our photographs are great helping us relieve memories, they are even better at teaching us how to improve our photography. Even if, it seems like yesterday!

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