Another shot from the spectacular sunset we experienced at the second beach in the Olympic Peninsula. The main challenge of taking shots here is the incredible change in lighting that happens in a very short while during sunset.
This shot was taken just before sunset when the sun was creating an extremely high dynamic range scene. About 5 minutes after I took this shot, the sun went down and we had beautiful pastel low dynamic range scene that I posted before. This one required about two graduated filters to balance out the high tones with the low tones. I also tried to get a Sunstar through the natural arch in the rock but got a sun portal instead. Hope you all like this image.
A clear sky and incomming tide. Not the best conditions to shoot this wonderful beach but still better than the next two days where it was just fog and flat grey skies.
Although I didn't find tide pools at the beach I found an interesting foreground near one of the larger sea stacks at the beach and with the sun lighting up the scene I found this to be a very nice composition. I waited for the right wave to complete the middleground and had my picture.
Are you in the mood for some landscape shots? It’s that time of the year again, time when I try to connect to my inner Monet ;) Shifting my mindset to something different is always a great thing. For the beginning I will go back to this beautiful Split Rock Lighthouse in Minnesota. What do you think?
Do you shoot for the stars? As I mentioned earlier I DID NOT sleep on this trip, literally! It seemed that the weather is moving in and out according to our desire and all I had to do is to actually be there and try to capture these beautiful days and nights to the fullest. After capturing the range of light for the lighthouse that evening I left the camera to shoot the star trails just so I can combine them later in post to get this final result. What do you think?
Elowah Falls was a very nice 289ft waterfall situated in John B. Yeon State Park towards the eastern end of what we perceived to be the "waterfalls area" along the historical highway detour of the Columbia River Gorge.
One of the star locations of our summer road trip to Washington state was the accidental discovery of the Second Beach near La Push. Our original plan was to spend the sunset at Rialto Beach and we reached the beach parking lot with hours to spare. But the problem was the high tide that ruined any decent photo opportunities. So, on a whim, we decided to drive to the second beach which looked like only moments away from the beach. It turned out to be a pretty long drive and quite an exhilarating hike to get to the beach.
Once we were at the beach we found an amazingly scenic beach with stunning haystacks, lush green forests, and even a natural arch. I took this shot just after sunset when the color in the sky became even. This is a panorama shot made of 5 shots with a two stop ND grad filter to balance the light. The challenge was to do the panorama quickly to get a continuation in the waves. Thankfully this came out perfectly while combining in Photoshop.
Another one of my attempts at minimalist photography from White Sands National Park. The most complex challenge was to isolate interesting elements into an exciting composition. Since we visited during a time of unusually calm winds at the park finding unspoiled dunes was quite tricky. Another realization I had when hunting for unspoiled dunes is that you have to be careful of where you step as a couple of times, my footprints ended up spoiling a couple of good compositions.
Elowah Falls, also called McCord Creek Falls, is a 213-foot waterfall on the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah County, Oregon. The waterfall is formed as McCord Creek is forced into a narrow channel by sheer cliffs and shoots at high velocity into a natural amphitheater of layered basalt. Lichens and mosses are very common, covering up to eighty percent of the ground surface under and around the vascular plants (source: Wikipedia).
This was another waterfall which I had on my list when we visited Oregon the first time. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were not able to make the trip but this time we marked it as a must have and it was totally worth it. Plus we also got the falls all to ourselves as this is not as popular a hike as the waterfalls closer to Portland.
While I have always had a fascination with telephoto lenses, I have always been reluctant to try them out for landscape photography. But while visiting White Sands National Park, I found an excellent excuse to use them as my primary landscape tool. Unfortunately, we only spent two days at this beautiful park, and I was hoping that one of those days, we would get to enjoy the brilliant skies that made the state of New Mexico famous among nature photographers. Well, it was not to be. On both days, we had overcast skies, and any color that appeared during sunset was very subdued.
Now, generally, on a location like that, I would naturally reach for my 24-70, but at White Sands, I realized that the wide-angle focal lengths would obscure the little patches of colors in the sky. The only way I could isolate the colors in the sky was by shooting my wide-angle in portrait orientation, and even then, the foreground patterns in the sand often dominated. So, in my frustration, I decided to try my 70-200, and it was the best decision of the trip. I could quickly isolate the small patches of color in the sky with the telephoto. Moreover, they allowed me to compress what looked like miles of white gypsum dunes doing their best imitation of ocean waves. I had a lot of fun shooting these telephoto landscapes all around the park, and today's image is one of the best from the lot.
Here is a touristy shot from our trip to San Francisco last month. There are about three really popular view points for the fantastic golden gate bridge. I have taken shots from the other two locations before and wanted to cross this shot off the list. This is the farthest of the viewpoints and the one with most elevation. So this particular view provides a shot of the bridge and the downtown from a higher elevation. Which is a pretty unique perspective for Bridges.
We got here only after finishing the hike to coast trail and hence the lack of any color in the sky. By this time the sun has properly disappeared and there was not much light except for the warm city lights. Hopefully we will get a chance to get here during a proper blue hour.
While driving to New Mexico en-route to White Sands National Monument, I checked the weather conditions at the park as I couldn’t believe my luck. On the days we were visiting, the park was supposed to have very little wind activity with decent enough cloud cover. I was more concerned about wind as, in my experience, it can make dunes an extremely unpleasant place to be in little time. Thankfully the wind forecast was correct, but the cloud cover was way thicker than I expected, and this posed a problem at a park where contrast is hard to come by.
I took this image during a sunset at the Alkali flats trail, a rather popular trail in the park. Unfortunately, I struggled to get a contrasty foreground even on a clear day during golden hour. After applying dodge and burn to the extend I am willing to go, there is precious little contrast in the foreground, even in a well-exposed image. It was my first time experiencing something like this, and after a good bit of frantic research at the motel room, I think I came across why the White Sands are tricky to shoot. Unlike most dunes, the white color of the gypsum sand reflects any available light, brightening the shadows considerably. I was able to counter this by employing my polarizing filter, which made a lot of difference in my images.
Today’s photo is another shot from our earlier trip to the San Francisco Bay area. This shot was taken at the Marin headlands from a viewpoint high above the golden gate bridge. Earlier that day we had been on a sunset hike and decided just to drive up and see if we could get a parking spot at one of the few outlook points along this very busy road. I had taken the sunset shots and the blue hour trails earlier, so I was not thinking of a shoot here when we drove up. But the blue hour was not completely gone, and the place was empty, so I managed to get a couple of nice shots with some amazing light trains on the roads that lead to the bridge.
Technically taking light trails is easy but it’s a bit demanding on the gear side. This is the kind of shot that would require the quality of the trip and lens. A tripod is necessary to get a long enough exposure to get good complete lines of light trails and since image mainly consists of bright pointed sources of light at the corners it will truly test the abilities of the lens. Another thing to consider is the aperture setting, while it's tempting to set the slowest aperture to get a long shutter speed, my advice would be to go no less than f16 to avoid effects diffraction as they would be exaggerated by the subject of the image.