I made a quick trip to the left coast to visit the strange land of the Joshua Tree. Unlike earlier trips, I had no time to blog. If you are interested, you can see those photos by clicking “portfolio” above.
Before you go all PC on me, know that I mean it. Used the right way, a photograph with the “right” neutral density filter makes me quiver. It goes beyond a photograph, it’s actually a time lapse event all in one frame. It’s arrested sensations frozen in megapixels, oogled by many or just a few. Yes, you could say that I kind of like long exposures but that’s an understatement, I really love crafting images which compress time.
There’s 3 basic types of Neutral Density (ND) filters and you need to know the difference between them, so you can use them properly…. Read the rest of this entry »
If you have ever noticed the photography of Trey Ratcliff, Click here, or other photography you have admired, you may have realized that much of the outstanding work done today is with H.D.R. photography. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It’s probably why you are interested in getting started on your own. If so, you are in the right place because about 15 minutes from now, you will be far more knowledgable than you are in this moment. Lets get started.
Theoretically, if the sensor in our cameras had the “range” of seeing shades of light as well as our eyes do, we may not ever need to pursue this, but cameras don’t. Brilliant programmers working with Photographers have created software for “merging” images together keeping the dark parts of some and the light parts of others, creating a single image with both light and dark parts in one image.
That’s HDR. If I could explain it yet a slightly different way, I would say that HDR photos are very much what the photographer “saw” when he snapped the shutter. At first, when experimenting with HDR, you can get decent results but GREAT results come over time after you’ve learned how the HDR process works.
Knowing how HDR works lets you “pre-visualize” a final image. It’s because you know what will happen when you combine these images, you can select places to photograph which will let you express yourself even more so with this tool. Not all my images are HDR and while many daytime images are, there are many that are just not appropriate to be processed in that way. Besides talent, the best photographers have options. I want to give you one more option for making a great photograph.
My last day in Iceland was in one sense, my most productive in that I made one particular image that is, in my opinion, the best of my trip.
REMINDER: The images in these blog pages are sketches, low resolution versions and in many cases unfinished versions of what will be in the Portfolio when I publish it.
It was at a place we dubbed “Pebble Beach” because the ground was covered with small, smooth stones. There were some amazing natural shapes which, as luck would have it, were complimented by the cloudy skies, the approaching sunset and the ominous shapes of the natural stone formations.
Sometimes you just have to stop and look. It’s hypnotic, seeing nature, the world in such a beautiful state. This photograph is really a poor substitute for what I saw, it’s just a shadow of the world… and what a world it is.
For the local people of Iceland, it’s all over their beautiful country and celebrated in every community and neighborhood. Invisible visions everywhere! Or sometimes it’s the little things you may not notice. I almost walked right by this lone tree on my way back to the car. I would have missed it, a friend said to me “look at that tree!” and I did.
No one except a photographer would consider today a beach day. We had the usual weather at the Black Sands Beach; low 30′s with stinging ice crystals, gusting winds to 40 MPH, you know the usual constant drizzle that keeps you soaked and spots your lens, thats what I am talk ing about. Oh my Gaud was it amazing!
After our morning at the beach, we head back to Vix, where Icelandic hotdogs and licorice awaits, and behind the M1 (gas station/restaurant,) the famous Vix sea stacks. Lucky we were there as the sun peeked through for a precious moment, illuminating the sky behind those rockstars in the ocean.
Miles and miles of roads to nowhere, skies that never end and clouds that seem like heaven. That’s Iceland. What you can’t see and what affects us heavily on this trip is the wind. Forty MPH gusts and hard, constant winds make opening a car door a very dangerous experience. As I write this, the whistling of the wind outside our hotel sounds like banshees screaming, laughing in anticipation of tossing us around when the sun comes up. Today sunrise is at 9:45 so we get a late start, which after my second day of sleeplessness was quite welcome.
Jökulsárlón (Ice Lagoon as it’s most often called) was practically empty, but across the street the black sand beach was incredible. I’d been here many times before but I have never seen so much ice on the beach as we saw yesterday. I looked up and noticed that the ice and sky were reflections of each other.
Today will be a challenge with the wind as it is, the weather report calls for clear skies and “warmer” temperature. We’ll see….
For the last several decades I have been helping friends and family decide on a camera to buy. Most people don’t even know where to start looking or how to make a decision. I just spent an hour on the phone helping someone decide on a camera and I realized that I use a specific formula which I can describe here and even provide some examples of how to go through this on your own.
Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com
Besides “How much do you want to spend” the next most important question I ask when helping friends decide on a camera is “What are you going to use it for?”
After 22 hours of travel and sleepless nights, I am finally home from Jordan and reflecting on all that I experienced in those 12 days away.
I had a serious perspective shift from just being away from my life and my work, I had a chance to work with my camera again after months of inactivity, I also had a chance to make a bunch of new friends as part of The Giving Lens (TGL) which is an organization created to meld photography and charitable work into one activity. And it was successful. The time we spent with The Women of Iraq Alameer and the money donated from TGL will go a long way to keeping that organization solvent. I also emerged with a gift of my own, the ability to see more clearly where I am in my own life and what I will do.
Finally, as is the purpose of this site, I have created a new Portfolio: Jordan. Please take a moment to view the new gallery and let me know what you think. I always change the images, the order and the captions as time passes, this time will be no different. But for now, my 1st cut of Jordan photographs are ready for you to see.