Wednesday, September 23, 2015

more water works

In those vernal seasons of the year,
when the air is calm and pleasant,
it were an injury and sullenness against Nature
not to go out and see her riches,
and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth.
~ John Milton

Autumn is in the air!!
Today is the first official day of autumn!

To continue the 'water' theme, I give you waterfalls. These beauties are located
about 1 hour from where we live. It is a short walk to the falls in the upper image, and the
falls in the lower image were easily accessed from the side of the road.

I was lucky that there wasn't a full load of water running over, as it would
have created a sheet of white, and it would be difficult to get the correct exposure, and
it would block the beautiful rocky amphitheater visible behind the falls in the upper image.
I like the green moss on the rocks in the lower image; when there is a lot of water running over the rocks you wouldn't even know the rocks were there, let alone the beautiful moss.

I favor long exposures of moving water. I didn't have my large tripod for the top image, so did
my best to use a small, tabletop tripod. 

Lesson #1: Carry that tripod in with you. Better to have it and not use it, than to wish you had it!

Lesson #2: Bring boots! I missed my boots! I would've loved to have waded a bit into the water, 
and to follow the creek a bit. But be are slippery!

Lesson #3: Carry a circular polarizer and a neutral density filter. Even though the area was "dark", I still needed both filters to allow the combination of a long shutter speed, low ISO, and small aperture I wanted. The CP allows you to cut glare, reduce light, and generate richer colors. 

Lesson #4: If you don't have a remote/wired shutter release, you can always use the 10 second timer on your camera to avoid camera shake when you deploy the shutter release.

Finally, always remember to have fun!! Whether your shots turn out or not doesn't matter.
First and foremost, enjoy your surroundings!
I get a little obsessed with capturing the shot, so I'm working hard to learn to enjoy the
place I'm at as the primary outcome of the adventure. 
Baby steps!

Happy Autumn!! Now turn off your computer, grab your camera, and go enjoy the season!

Fuji XT1 ISO 200 f/22 6 seconds (top)
Fuji XT1 ISO 200 f/18 4 seconds (bottom)

Friday, September 18, 2015

puddle play

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
~ Soren Kierkegaard

There are many great things about rain to write about. We'll save them for another post ;)
One of the best things about rain is the puddles it produces!
Puddles mean reflections.
Reflections add a unique element to your image
and are a great source for a creative photo opportunity!

Tips: Get low to the ground and close the water's edge:
this gives you more of the subject in the reflection.
Morning and late day are great times to shoot reflections - when the sun is low in the sky,
and you're able to get warm light to contrast with cool water tones.
Ripples provide an abstract element - and don't forget to play with long exposures!!
Avoid glare by looking for the light to fall on the subject not the water.

iPhone reflection photo tips (These are good concepts for any camera)
School of Digital Photography tips
Think outside the puddle (fun examples of reflection photography)!

I think this set of three puddles will be a constant source of entertainment for me
as the rainy season continues.

iPhone 6 / native camera

Thursday, September 10, 2015


The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go. 
~ Steve Maraboli

It's dahlia season here in the Pacific Northwest. The largest dahlia grower in the US resides
in Canby, OR and has its yearly festival over Labor Day weekend.
40 acres of dahlias.
Heaven on earth.

I love dahlias.
The colors, the shapes, the textures,
and mostly how each bloom interacts with its neighbor. 

The circumstances were a bit challenging:
overcast; the sky is a soft box and great for no harsh shadows 
and washed out colors, 
but it makes for a "low light" situation.
A slight breeze was present that made focusing difficult and required higher
shutter speeds to stop the movement.
Therefore, higher than usual ISO was used.

Regarding 'simplicity':
this image had virtually no post-processing applied to it.
I always try to frame/crop in camera; so no adjustments there.
A little sharpening was all that was applied in post; 
all but the edge of the petal was masked out.
No textures, no nothing. Simple.
Just dahlia.

Canon 6D ISO 500 f/2.8 1/160 100mm macro