Posts Tagged ‘foreground’
The next step in selecting the best photograph from among the photographs I captured in 2012 is completed. And you have spoken in a loud and clear voice.
We are doing this one area at a time. The first was the California Deserts. Next came the Eastern Sierra. This round was magnificent Big Sur. And since I was there three times in 2012 there were a host of photographs to choose from – ten in all.
How did it turn out you ask? Let’s get right into the results and this time we’ll start with the most popular photograph.
In the number 1 position is Sunset, Pfeiffer Beach.
Everyone loves a beautiful sunset. But Mother Nature doesn’t pass them out freely. So you need to be patient and ready for them when they happen.
Sunset photographs have the best color when they’re underexposed a bit. But they are so inspiring that too often not enough attention is paid to the foreground. On this evening I sprinted 100 yards or so down the sandy beach to work the rock outcrop into the composition. And it worked well with the triangular shape of the rock mirroring the diagonal sweep of the clouds.
But that wasn’t enough for an strong foreground. It was important to capture an interesting pattern in the surf which completed the composition.
Continue reading “Best Photograph of 2012 – Big Sur” »
Tags: anticipation, beach, Big, bixby, Bridge, cathedral, china, clouds, composition, cove, dawn, diagonal, Earth, energy, falls, foreground, god, gold, gothic, green, light, line, lobos, mc way, middle, morning, National Park, ocean, pattern, Pfeiffer, photography, pier, Point, power, powerful, rays, Rock, rocky, sacred, salmon, San Simeon, shore, static, sun, sunrise, sunset, sur, Surf, tranquil, triangle, Tunnel, twilight, warmth, waterfall, waves, winter, workshop, Zion
Posted in Journal | Comments (3)
Not long ago I was photographing dawn in Joshua Tree National Park. I must confess, dawn is my favorite time of day. And I have thrilled to more spectacular dawns in Joshua Tree than anywhere else. There are ;often clouds that ignite as the sun approaches. And the other morning was no exception.
I’d like to share with you three photographs taken that morning. The alarm went off at 4:30 and we left the motel in Twentynine Palms a 5:30, an hour and a half before sunrise. There were clouds in the morning sky, the first ingredient for a spectacular sunrise but by no means a guarantee. I selected Sheep Pass at the west end of Queen Valley because it offered both Joshua Trees and some impressive granite outcrops for an interesting foreground. We arrived about 45 minutes before sunrise. It was still dark with the barest glimmer of light in the east.
Continue reading “Mastering Light – Dawn” »
Tags: appropriate, atmosphere, atmospheric, baby, blue, California, civil, cloud, composition, dawn, exposure, fantastic, foreground, glow, gold, Golden, granite, hour, Joshua, light, morning, National, nautical, optimum, Park, pass, photograph, pink, queen, red, saturate, separation, sharpness, sheep, silhouette, strong, sunlight, sunrise, Tree, twentynine palms, twilight, underexpose, Valley, white, yellow
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As I drive across the Mojave Desert late one Thursday night not long ago, heading north on I-15, I have a sense of harmony, of unity with the night, the highway, my car. The pavement ahead eases into the beam of my headlights, grows brighter as it draws closer and then slips back into darkness as it slides underneath. Nights like this are a joy. I’m in a groove, a state of calm serenity and anticipation. Tomorrow I’ll be returning to Zion National Park, something I always look forward to. I didn’t notice the faint flashes of light.
Powerful thunderstorms were roiling over eastern California and southern Nevada that night, The dark clouds glowed with flickers of light and precious water dropped on the parched desert. it was a huge storm and I was chasing it. Approaching the state line the casino lights of Prim were reflected, bright and shimmering, on what is normally a dry lake bed. A half hour later as Las Vegas finally came into view, the glitz and glamor of the gaudy hotels was dwarfed by the grandeur of bolts of lightning streaking for miles across the turbulent sky.
The following morning workers were cleaning up after the storm but it hadn’t fully passed. Storm clouds still blanketed the sky for the remainder of the journey to Zion. A detour to Kolob Terrace to check the aspens was, I suppose, inevitable. The falling snow up in the high country was a surprise. And a delight. Sunrise the next morning was looking promising.
The best location in Zion that gets the full sunrise treatment is West Temple. I’ve photographed it many times but never got anything that I was excited about. The most popular location to shoot from is the ‘patio’ behind the museum but on this morning I chose a less visited one – the 2nd switchback on Tunnel Road. The expectation of clearing storm clouds, the choice of shooting locations – everything worked out just right.
Continue reading “The Making of a Photograph – Clearing Storm, West Temple 2012” »
Tags: action, adjustment, adjustments, Also, Altar, Another, anticipation, article, attention, background, balance, black, California, Canyon, casino, Click, cliffs, clouds, collaboration, color, comments, conversation, desert, detour, drama, eons, events, excitement, expectation, Facebook, feelings, files, finale, Flickr, foreground, friends, glamor, glory, grandeur, harmony, highway, image, images, imagination, inspirations, Join, Kolob, lake, layer, Level, life, Lightroom, lights, LinkedIn, links, location, locations, masterpiece, midst, Mojave, moment, mood, National, needs, Nevada, paper, Park, patio, perspective, photograph, PhotoShop, Prim, qualities, remainder, result, Road, Sacrifice, selection, shadows, silhouette, silhouettes, storm, strength, subject, Sundial, sunrise, Sure, temperature, Temple, Terrace, times, Tint, treatment, Tunnel, understatement, Vegas, Vibrance, viewer, walls, West, workers, workshop, Zion
Posted in How To Articles, Lightroom, Making a Photograph, Photoshop | Comments (0)
A friend asked me if I’d do a blog on the making of the photograph I took of the Virgin River during the Zion National Park photography workshop in 2011. He’s a good friend and it’s a nice photograph so let’s do it. Here’s the end result. (You can click on each of the photographs to enlarge them and get a better look.)
And here’s what it started from.
The difference is obviously pretty dramatic so there will be a few things to talk about. We’ll start with what I was experiencing in the field and take it all the way through the darkroom to the end product. So let’s get started.
Continue reading “The Making of a Photograph – Virgin River 2011” »
Tags: action, adjustment, adjustments, afternoon, area, areas, attention, balance, Basic, black, Blacks, blues, bottom, Burn, Canyon, Click, cliff, color, comments, comparison, component, composition, computer, conversation, cottonwood, Darkroom, decisions, depth, Develop, difference, distraction, documentation, Dodge, drama, Easy, edges, Edit, energy, expose, exposure, Facebook, feelings, Field, files, fissures, foreground, Four, friend, Global, Here, highlights, Home, image, inspiration, intersection, Join, Just, layer, layers, lens, life, Lightroom, Local, luminance, Many, mixture, mode, module, moment, mood, National, Once, orange, painter, painters, paper, Park, Part, peace, phases, photograph, photographers, photography, PhotoKit, PhotoShop, product, Proof, result, River, saturation, selection, self, sensor, session, shadows, Share, Soft, Start, temperature, three, TIFF, Tiny, tonal, Tool, tools, Tree, tutorial, Tweet, Vibrance, viewer, vignette, Virgin, vision, walls, Whites, word, workshop, Zion
Posted in Composition, Expoure, How To Articles, Light, Lightroom, Making a Photograph, Photography as Art, Photoshop | Comments (2)
There’s no doubt that composition is one of the key elements of a successful image. You can have all the other factors of a great shot – fantastic light, optimum exposure and appropriate sharpness – but with a weak composition you have a weak photograph.
I know photographers that work slowly enough to work out the strongest composition before they press the shutter. I admire these people immensely. But I don’t work that way, especially in an area I’m unfamiliar with.
A short while ago I was driving south through Utah on beautiful highway 89 traveling between Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks after wrapping up a successful photography workshop. I came upon a stand of cottonwood trees that were in full autumn splendor. I had to pull over.
I grabbed my point and shoot (Canon G11) and started scouting for photographs. I like to use the G11 for that, scouting for compositions that are worth the effort of setting up my big Canon. I found two compositions that were promising.
The second proved to be the most interesting, at least in terms of how the final composition evolved. Behind the cottonwoods was a meadow with a dilapidated shack. It was so Utah! I set up what I thought would be an interesting composition.
(Click on the images to enlarge them.)
I positioned my camera so that there would be a narrow opening to the meadow and the shack. It is a tight composition that draws the viewers eye to the shack which is placed in a very strong position within the frame. It has a feeling of depth with a strong foreground opening up to the shack in the background.
I was feeling good about this composition and then I noticed a glowing cottonwood just outside the frame to the right so I moved the camera a couple of feet to the right and created this image.
The golden cottonwoods on the left are balanced by the single, smaller cottonwood to the right. This arrangement has the effect of placing more emphasis on the autumnal trees. The eye makes three stops, first at the cottonwoods on the left, then to the right and finally works its way back to the shack in the back.
I was pretty pleased with these two compositions and thought I had something to work with when I got home. So I disassembled everything and put it back in my camera bag, collapsed the tripod and started back toward the car. I hadn’t gone 5 steps when I looked back up toward the shack and saw there was another blaze of cottonwoods right next to it. So I swung my backpack back down to the ground and set up again for this shot.
Now there are three sources of golden light for the eye to explore – the cottonwoods to the left, the one a little further back on the right and the ones way in the back by the shack. (Odd numbers of things are always good.) The image is well balanced and every element in it contributes to the entire impression.
There’s a story here, a story of living in this beautiful valley during a time that is gone and will probably never return. It must not have been an easy life but one of honest, hard work and the satisfaction of living in a place of such splendid beauty. We would do it differently today with more conveniences and comforts. And maybe, just maybe, miss out on the more intimate connection with Mother Earth that living in such a simple shack must have provided.
I’d be interested to hear which of the three compositions you like the most. Please leave a comment saying which one you like and why. It will make for a very interesting dialog.
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Posted in Composition, Journal | Comments (8)
We landscape photographers tend to avoid photographing during the middle of a sunny day. The light is harsh with no color. We prefer golden hour or twilight.
But there are times when we have no choice as to when we can shoot. When we’re on vacation with family we can’t wait until sunset at every location that sparks our interest. So we get the shot and hope for the best. But there’s a technique we can use that will greatly enhance our chances of capturing a more compelling photograph.
Continue reading “HDR for Every Day” »
Tags: Adams, adjustment, adjustments, advantage, Already, Ansel, Antelope, Aperture, areas, Arizona, atmosphere, California, camera, Canon, Canyon, Colorado, comparison, Export, exposure, exposures, extent, foot, foreground, Here, history, hour, impact, Indian, Instead, Keeper, lens, Lightroom, location, locations, luxury, Mark, Mexico, monsoon, option, Park, photographers, photography, PhotoMatix, PhotoShop, reds, Rock, Santa, saturation, shadows, skills, Southern, Southwest, spectacles, Spider, spire, sunrise, sunset, technique, three, TIFF, tools, tradition, tripod, vacation
Posted in Expoure, How To Articles, Light | Comments (1)