Rick Sammon demonstrating the "proper" technique for donning a survival suit. Enjoy, we did.
Hope to have you join Rick and I in Alaska.
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Rick Sammon demonstrating the "proper" technique for donning a survival suit. Enjoy, we did.
Hope to have you join Rick and I in Alaska.
For those of you who didn't hear, we had a 94% solar eclipse last Sunday and a few people were able to capture some pretty cool photos of the event.
Here are a few favorite images from our students who sent over Eclipse images!
A Great Collage from Pat Brown showing the progression of the Eclipse.
Jim Radford- Holes!
Jim Radford- The Technique
Jim Radford got creative! Setting up a piece of tinfoil attached to a box and poked several holes into it. He then photographed the shadow of the eclipse on a gray card he placed on an old tripod! Very creative and out of the "box" thinking to show the progression of the eclipse.
It is always good to mix it up a bit and bring in that foreground element. A very strange out of this world feel. Thanks Pete!
Love it! The "rays" of the sun are just incredible.
I would like to know everyone's specs and explanation on how you photographed your photos. If you can enter comments below to add to the post!
Thank you everyone for sending in your images! I wish I could post them all! Looking forward to our next photo adventure where we can learn, improve and take our photography to the next level!
Fiat Lux and happy shooting!
Last week, I showed a panorama of a few bergs in SE Alaska. Interestingly, as I was shooting the bergs someone shot me. This image gives you an idea of getting low. Sometimes to get a different angle you might need to get a little bit wet, muddy, dirty, cold, etc.
Just finished recording a tutorial about the LR 4 slideshow module and its timelapse functionality (part of a 14+ hour LR tutorial series). I am biased but the LR 4 series is without equal. Nothing like a little power yoga to relax afterwards. Thought I might try a timelapse with Lightroom 4, P90x, and a GoPro camera.
Heading south from Anchorage tomorrow for Sitka to meet the Northern Song, Rick Sammon, and the participants on our first eagle photo trip. Will put up a shot of the gear list I have with me tomorrow.
P.S. Please no comments on the yoga form or lack thereof.
Great to be back home after a somewhat wet, windy, and no electrical power trip out east. The school has been busy working the California Photo Festival and I am very impressed with the work the staff has done. Should be another killer week of fun, photography, and learning.
Even though hurricane Irene let loose with an unreal amount of rain I was able to make some interesting images over the four days I was in New York.
The following images are from a little indoor HDR trip just down the road from Rick's place.
I often use multiple methods to process my HDR and then pick the best option. Of course, there are times I pick and choose different parts to use from different finished images. Whether using Layer Blend Modes or Layers/Masks, there is no limit to what you can do.
All shots are from a Canon 7D and an EF 14mm f/2.8L. I processed initially in Lightroom and then sent to the respective plug-ins.
Proof of why I should not quit my day job. With the cost of fishing licenses and a really small catch, our prawns were effectively $600 per pound. Tasty, tasty spotted prawns but somewhat pricey.
This was onboard the Alaskan Legend last month during a killer photo tour.
Thanks to Dr. Kevin Keating for shooting this embarrassing image.
A little video we shot of Tim Grey donning a cold water survival suit. The standard is to get into the suit and be ready to get into the water in under a minute. Take a look and see how Tim does.
Just came home from two back to back cruises in Alaska. It just keeps getting better every time I go up there. Hope to have you join me on one of the cruises soon.
Heading back out onto the water this afternoon for another photo tour of south east Alaska's amazing scenery and wildlife. Took a quick a break in Petersburg after the first trip. I needed a little time to catch up on sleep as we were shooting all day for over a week.
We had another incredible trip filled with amazing photography, incredible camaraderie, good food and wine, and pure fun. I look forward to sharing some of the images we made and the techniques used to capture them once I get back down to Cali.
Never a dull moment when your friends are Photoshop experts!
Although I do thank Rick Sammon for showing everyone how angelic I really am.
Would love to hear comments on a good caption for this shot.
Last night was our 3rd monthly artist reception at the Epic Light Gallery. A big thanks to our featured artists, Kevin Cole and Amanda Valena, for putting on a beautiful display of fine local photography! We had a great group of people come out to support our artists and saw some new faces too.
Fine cheese and tasty local wine was provided by LIGHT. As always we were pouring the 2005 Volatus; a 60/40 syrah malbec blend created by Hal Schmitt.
If you couldn’t make it last night don’t despair, this display will be up until June 17th. Our next artist reception will be June 24th with the return of Kevin Cole and a new guest artist.
Get all the news and updates about the our gallery by liking our Epic Light Gallery page on Facebook.
An early morning fisheye pano I shot recently. I liked the effect I was getting with the boat framing the vertical edge of the image but the only way to bookend was with a pano. With the 15mm FE on my 5D Mk II, I was able to get the effect with only two shots. I knew from previous efforts though I would have a problem trying to stitch just two fisheye images together with Photoshop. In order to make the stitching process go a little simpler (or go at all) I shot an additional frame for a total of three.
I stacked all three shots, expanded my canvas, and moved each into position manually. If you ever need to do this the trick is to switch the Layer Blend Mode of the layer you are moving to Difference. This will give you a weird ghosted effect but you can easily see where to position. After everything was in place I selected all layers and clicked Edit-Auto Blend. With the Auto layout selected Photoshop did the rest.
In the end the image was just under 10K pixels wide so I almost reached a 2:1 ratio for the pano. More importantly, I got the effect I wanted. I think the main lesson is pixels are free. If you have an idea shoot away and see what can be accomplished in post. If it works, great. If not, find another way.
The video below is the final from our last trip ashore. I posted the other two already so I figured I might as well finish it. As you can see my lens is still wet and I was not microphoned up. Hopefully, it captures some of the flavor.
The final shot below is the yacht I reference in the video. I will admit it was kind of small in the frame so here is a closer view.
Video shot as I was getting ready to make some HDR source images. Always be extremely careful when dealing with ice caves. Many are not safe at all so perform a good survey of the scene and judge integrity, traction, and overall security. It is also a great idea to not do this alone. With at least one other person assistance/rescue gets much easier.
The textures, color, and tonal range inside the cave were amazing. Shooting here was a challenge. The biggest issue was the melt water. Keeping the camera and lens relatively dry required full protection. I do not use any fancy type of rain gear. I prefer fish fillet bags and rubber bands or gaffer's tape. They make a simple, effective, and economical solution. Light levels overall were low so I used a tripod. Tripod setup was a little challenging with very slippery, uneven terrain (ice) as the cave floor. The ability to rapidly adjust my tripod leg length and angle was very helpful.
I shot a single image to assess the tones and decided I needed to shoot multiples to cover the entire range. For the HDRs on this blog, I shot only three source files at -2, 0, and +2 E.V with a Canon 5D Mk II. This gave me about 9ish stops of usable data which worked perfectly. Had I needed more shots I had my Promote Control with me.
I used Nik's HDR Efex Pro for this scene. As many of you know I am not all that faithful to one HDR software. I primarily find myself using Photomatix Pro but I will almost always try other options and pick the best result. Sometimes my final result is a blend of output from different programs. For this shot I wanted the result to show texture more than anything else. Click on the attached images for a larger version since only when big will the real texture come out.
Now I need to go back in July with my Fisheye. Of course, this cave will be gone but I should be able to find another. Come out and join me.
A quick video shot from the highpoint of a glacial moraine in AK. This is the far end of the moraine I discussed in yesterday's post.
We had intermittent showers throughout our trip ashore as you can see on the lens and hear. Regardless of the weather, the landscape and scenery were pretty cool. I found the most interesting part of this area to be that the landscape was completely fractal. Regardless of scale, there were similar features. For example, the glacier and its moraine were very similar in appearance to the small water flows and deposits of glacial silt.
I will put up a few more videos from this location and other spots around the area.
Video was shot with a Canon 5D Mk II and EF 24-70mm f/2.8L. I processed very minimally in Adobe Premiere Pro.
I make a plug in the video for the best photography pants I have found. They are made by a company called Crye Precision. Crye makes combat and field gear without equal. The best thing about the pants is they have ten pockets distributed along your entire leg. One of the things I most miss about wearing a Navy flight suit everyday is the lack of useful pockets in normal clothing. The lower leg pockets on the Crye field pants are perfect. Crye is not bashful about charging a good amount for their gear but you get what you pay for.
Check them out at Crye Precision.
A quick story to accompany the sequence above. We were shooting the glacier face and watching fairly small calving events. As it neared time to go, the Captain decided we could pull a "Jericho" and blew the yacht's horns to expedite a large icefall. As we were about 1/2 mile from the glacier, it took the sound about 3 seconds to hit the face. By the time the echo returned to us the first small pieces of ice were already falling.
I am not exactly sure how much ice calved in this sequence but it was a lot. For reference, the face is about 500-600 feet high. The ice created a 100+ foot splash and a 25 foot wave that fortunately dissipated to about 15 feet when it reached the yacht. I have to imagine it was easily hundreds of tons of ice crashing.
I am still not completely convinced the sound energy brought down the ice but it is not outside the realm of possibility and it was one hell of a coincidence.
For the image sequence, I shot handheld with a Canon 5D Mk II and EF 70-200mm at just under four frames a second. I processed the images in Lightroom and then stacked them in Photoshop to align (making up for slight differences in my positioning.) I ultimately created a series of 19 JPEGS and took them to Adobe Fireworks to create the Shockwave Flash file. Playback is at four frames per second so the sequence is pretty close to how the 5D Mk II captured it.
I have taken a few days to reflect on last week's Alaska photo adventure. The only way I can really describe it is with the word amazing. The yacht, the crew, the participants, the weather, the landscape, the wildlife, the food, the camaraderie, the experience, the everything...amazing.
It is almost unbelievable the diversity of subjects we found in just one day. As an example, one day's worth of shooting included hundreds of eagles, bubble feeding humpback whales, cruising killer whales, tens of thousands of seabirds, alpine landscape, temperate rainforest, deep green fjords, waterfalls, mountain goats (billies, mommas, and kids,) bears, seals, otters, glaciers, calving glaciers (will post my 20 shot sequence of a 200 ton block of ice falling...wow,) and more. Literally one day packs more than most will see in a week.
With that many subjects it can be a daunting task to photograph them all. I hear too many photographers say "I am a landscape photographer," or "I only photograph birds." Often the explanation is something like "I don't know anything about landscape (or birds, or portraits, etc.) I do not understand that. Although one subject may interest a photographer more than another the actual photography is remarkably similar; it's all about the light. If we understand light then most photography becomes available to us immediately.
Our cruise participants quickly learned they could not specialize while on the trip, there were too many fantastic opportunities. Tactics, techniques, and procedures might change a little for different subjects but there were some important constants.
One of the real "tricks" regarding any subject (especially wildlife or people) is you must know the subject. Learn the environment in which they live, learn the behavior, learn the communication, etc.
For example, I wanted to capture a breaching humpback whale. Initially that did not seem so easy with dozens of whales spread from horizon to horizon. As I learned the light, I set up my camera for the proper exposure and enabled the settings to capture action. I then sat back and watched. I tried to learn the behavior and patterns of the feeding whales. One in particular caught my attention as he would feed for a while (using bubble net patterns by himself, will discuss those more on another post) and then commence to long session of tail slapping.
After ten minutes of banging his tail around three or four breaches would occur. Well I did not get the shot I wanted from the first session but soon saw the pattern repeat and was ready (pattern repeated throughout the morning for over three hours.) Learning all we can about a subject not only makes for better photographs but also allows us to try and understand different animals, environments, and ultimately, ourselves.
Back in Petersburg after 8 incredible days cruising the inside passage. This will be the first in a series of posts describing the trip. Although I am sometimes prone to hyperbole; this was AWESOME.
The shot at the top is a 9 shot panorama shot from our yacht, the Northern Song, just after we left the harbor last week, beautiful, bluebird day for shooting. Biggest tip for panoramas overall, keep everything the same except field-of-view. When shooting from a moving platform remember to keep the shutter speed up.
We were joined shortly after I shot the pano by four Dahl's porpoises. These are the fastest marine mammals and they put on an incredible show for us. The shot below was taken just before the porpoise surfaced. The detail in the exhalation bubbles about to burst the surface is very, very cool.
Off to Seattle now to meet the folks at Creative Live.
I will have posts up everyday detailing the trip and passing on some of our lessons learned.
Our first photo tour of the year is here. We have a couple of folks here already and everyone else will arrive tomorrow. Rick Sammon should arrive in the morning and the other four participants will be here in the afternoon.
Everything is lining up perfectly for us this trip. The yacht is in top shape and will be fully loaded tomorrow. The timing of the herring spawn is spot on and the eagle/whale/sea lion/otter/etc. spectacle should begin very soon. I cannot wait to get out on the water and start shooting. We are on the Northern Song this year and it is an incredible yacht for photography; luxury accomodations but small enough to get us in the middle of the action.
Last year I was fortunate to field test the Really Right Stuff PG-02 (gimbal head) prototype. This year the full-up production model is in my bag and will be helping me track with the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L and the EF 800mm f/5.6L. Tracking and long lens, action shots with this kit are awesome.
We will try to post as often as possible but there is some limited coverage when we are deep in the fjords.
Back in Cali after a 16 day adventure up north. I was fortunate to make it back in time to say hello to Rob Sheppard who just finished a "Magic of Wildflowers" course.
Looking forward to this weekend as we shoot Easter specials and I get to judge a Bloody Mary contest!
While I was gone we picked up Corel as a full time sponsor; will be perfect as Jane Conner-Ziser is here next week with Jack Davis for shooting and painting.
Hope to see ya'll at the Topaz Webinar next week.
Tonight was an "Epic" night of photography, wine, good friends, and great fun.
The Official SLO Chamber Ribbon Cutting!
Thank you Amanda (second to left) for hanging the ENTIRE gallery!
Light Photographic Workshops celebrated our opening of Epic Light Gallery tonight with a great turn out of local photographers, students and photography/art afficionados -as well as our students participating in Jennifer Wu's workshop this week!
Hal Schmitt giving his intro to the gallery and school
Bob Canepa showing his work to Jennifer Wu
Mike Baird and his lovely Wife
Thank you To SLO Chamber for joining us and presenting us with their ribbon cutting ceremony to help us become an official part of the SLO Chamber. You will be able to see the ribbon cutting photo posted on their website within the week.
Mike Baird and Dan O'Donnell
We launched our gallery with two incredible local guest photographers in the area, Mike Baird and Bob Canepa. Bob brought framed prints and Mike went the "technology" route with a slide show on his brand new HD TV screen with Cd's of the images for sale and 2 gallery wrapped canvases printed by Light.
We had live music performed by local singer/songwriter Reese Galido http://www.reesegalido.com/ . Reese will be joining us again next month for our showing with her stand-up bass player who compliments her style of music beautifully.
We, of course, had to have wine and cheese! Volatus 2005 was debuted at this wonderful event as well! Volatus 2005 will be labeled early April and will be available for $30 a bottle through Light and a few select carriers in the area.