Revisiting Old Images

I am always learning new things about photography. I doubt I will ever stop learning, but with knowledge comes new ways of doing things. I am one to change and adapt if it helps my overall goal. My overall goal is to improve my photography. Part of this improvement is updating my processes in post production. I am always on the hunt for tips and advice, and when I find something I like my first instinct is to test it out. I have learned a lot from fellow photog Michael Frye and how he goes about using Lightroom. So much so I have changed my post production techniques. I have since been revisiting old classic images of mine to re-work them. I feel the image quality is improved along with producing an overall better product for art buyers. So why not revisit old images and make them "better"?

The image below was one of my first "masterpieces". I have licensed this image to several corporate companies, and it's been one of my most successful images. So why mess with it? The short answer is:  To make it even better.

Canon 40D with 16-35mm II at 17mm f16 @ .6 sec ISO 100

Yosemite Winter

Here in the Midwest more specifically Northwestern Michigan, it's been warm! If it snows it's not very much and it doesn't stay around long. The landscape is not covered with snow like we should have, the snowshoes have yet to be worn, and it feels more like March than January. Dare I say I miss winter? Last year at this time I was preparing for a trip to photograph Horsetail Falls in Yosemite. It was my first experience in a Yosemite Winter and it was a great one. I know I have said this many times before but Yosemite is the best place I have visited to date. All other locations are compared to Yosemite. I hear that Yosemite is also experiencing a warmer winter. This could effect the waterfalls this spring and horsetail falls may be non existent. If you are visiting for these specific reasons I would do a bit of research before heading that way.

The image in this weeks post is of half dome and was made in cooks meadow. It was around 7:30 in the A.M. on a cold February morning. I used a tripod mounted 16-35mm f2.8 II, at f22 to achieve sharp focus throughout the scene, ISO 100, at 1/2 of a second. I converted this image to black and white using NIK Silver Efex pro. I am not a big black and white guy, I love saturated colors, but often when there is little color to speak of I will convert to black and white as I did in this case.

As you can see by the photograph it's a swampy area so do take cation. I used my tripod legs to poke around in front of me to uncover any hidden dangers the fresh snow may have been covering. It's not so much that it's dangerous but I didn't really want to walk around in 20 degree weather all wet and cold.

An unrelated note, CES is taking place in Las Vegas this week. I am not an insider but there may be a few camera or lens announcements taking place this week. If not there will be plenty of other cool gadgets being introduced.

That's all I have for now, I am going to go do my snow dance in hope that it will snow soI can go get the wintery landscapes that I so desire.

 

5 Best Images of 2011

Around this time we often reflect what we accomplished in the past year and also make plans or resolutions for the upcoming new year. I traveled a lot and seen some very cool places. I already have several adventures lined up for this coming year but before I start the next chapter and the next set of adventures I would like to share my 5 best imagess of 2011.

5) I captured this image of Yosemite's Tunnel View on my way to Lake Tahoe for Memorial Day weekend. It was a quick trip to Yosemite but nonetheless it's my favorite spot ever, so if I am even close to it I will stop and say hello.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Dead Horse Point Sate Park is not a big park but it has a great view with an interesting story and formations. This photograph was taken on the 4th of July.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Horsetail Falls is number three on my list just for the fact it's a difficult shot to get. Patience and persistence is a must. This shot was taken in February.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) This image was taken in April at Montaña de Oro State Park. Not really sure why I like it so much but I do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) My personal favorite of my 5 Best Images of 2011 is this Hay Farm. I used this image in a post about polarizing filters. The reason I was at this place was to do some clean up work on the land for my upcoming wedding. I always take my camera with me and I didn't regret it on this day. The image also has sentimental value which is always important and is part of the reason I do photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those are my personal favorite images of 2011. I hope that this coming year will be filled with opportunity, excitement, and adventure for myself and all my fellow photographers! Thanks for your support!

 

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls is located in... wait for it... Yellowstone National Park. I bet you knew that but I just wanted to make sure. The falls consist of the upper falls and the lower falls. The more popular is the lower falls and is this weeks post picture. The lower falls is approximately 308 feet high and is best viewed, in my opinion, from Lookout Point. Yellowstone Falls is twice the height of Niagara falls although Niagara falls does have a higher volume of water flowing over it.  According to the National Park Service,  "The volume of water flowing over the falls can vary from 63,500 gal/sec at peak runoff to 5,000 gal/sec in the fall."

I visited the falls in early October and it was pretty amazing. I am not sure the flow rate but nonetheless by my calculations it is was a lot. There is a lookout in the park off of the north rim trail that will take you down directly over the falls. The trail is a series of switchbacks leading down to the lookout so keep that in mind. It's a strenuous but short hike and well worth it. The view you get is staring directly down a 308 foot waterfall drop. It's pretty gnarly and Highly recommended!

This weeks post image was taken with a tripod mounted 70-200. I shot an 9 image panorama. It was an overcast day which helped but I also used an 8 stop ND filter to blur the water of the falls. I shot at f8 to get the sharpest shot I could and the ND filter gave me something like a 6 second exposure. I will cover how I shoot panoramas in a future post as it's too lengthy for this one.

Yellowstone Falls is one of the most popular sights in the park and is a must see. Now only if you can keep from saying Yellowstone when you mean Yosemite or vise versa, you're better than I.

Moving On

I moved to California just over two years ago to be with my now fiance who has been serving our military for the past four years. It's been a great opportunity for me to explore and expand my portfolio and it has open doors that otherwise would have stayed closed. I am grateful for the places that I was able to visit and for the friendships that I made.  I discovered and experienced places like Yosemite that I had only seen in books and magazines. Yosemite will always be dear to me. I can still remember the way I felt when I first drove through the tunnel and came upon Yosemite Valley and "Tunnel View". It gave me goose bumps. We liked Yosemite so much it's where I proposed to my Fiance and future wife. Now the time has come to move on.

We will be moving to Michigan to be closer to our families and to start a life of our own. My goal is to travel and see the world all the while taking pictures. Even though I was born and raised in the great mitten I have yet to see all the splendor it has to offer. I can't wait to go exploring!

Thanks to my faithful readers, but during this transition time I will be very busy packing, traveling, and wrapping things up here. I am hopeful to be back up and writing the week of 11 July 2011. I will have many new stories and places to share since we are stopping at several National Parks on our journey back. I will leave you with one of my most popular photographs from my time here. It's a HDR photograph of "Valley View" Yosemite National Park.

 

Hope you enjoy!

Ben