Half of Photography is Being There

You know what I like about overcast days? If the clouds are right, it’s a great time to shoot. But I also like the fact that I can get out and shoot when it’s most convenient – right smack dab in the middle of the day when the sun is normally its harshest.

We all know the best time of day to shoot is in the morning and evening. But that’s also when I am either cozying up to my wife, playing with my dog, or getting into a good book on the evening. It can be just downright inconvenient to shoot at those times.

But face it, if you want to get a good shot you might as well start thinking this way: “The less convenient the shot, the better it will be.” And often half the battle is just getting out and BEING THERE in the first place.

A recent Saturday was a good case in point. I woke up to the sound of rain outside. Not the slight spring rain that we think is great to be out in, but a wet, cold rain that was trying real hard to be snow. I was hoping to get out and shoot some HDR. But that means tripod and standing . . . . Out in the rain.

Fortunately, the rain let up. But it was still wet, cold and I had started to cozy down at home. But I had played the day up so much in my mind the day before, that I just had to get out. And that’s what I suggest you need to do: whatever it takes to get out there. Again, that’s half the battle.


Cannery Cold (click for larger image)

I decided to “go cold” in the HDR shot above. It was a 4 shot exposure on my Canon 60D using Magic Lantern. I had to climb down off the road into a bit of rocky muck to get the angle I wanted, and I took several series of shots at different apertures. What 4 shots? Why not 5 or 7? That’s easy. Magic Lantern has a setting where I let it determine the exposure spread to cover the whole range of the dynamic light available in the shot. Currently, I let ML decide for me. And this time, it decided that 4 shots was all it needed. If you are new to HDR, a nice side benefit to this is that as you progress in your photography, you learn to see the dynamics better, and ML rewards you by giving up 4 or 5 shots.

The shots were imported into Lightroom 4 where I stacked them and then did a round-trip into Photomatix 4.2 for the actual merge.

And you know something? I couldn’t have done ANY OF IT if I never got out there in the first place! So, like I said:
Step 1 – Get out there and do it
Step 2 – Everything else

Link to SM shot:!i=2493719470&k=JLk8t7V&lb=1&s=A

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Posted by on June 27, 2014 in HDR, Tips, Wonderings


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Relax a Spell

A picnic table by a quiet lake. The only sounds are loons near the bank on the far side . . . And the buzzing of mosquitos around my ears!

Sounded pretty idyllic until I got to the mosquitos part, huh? But isn’t that always the case? Even at the best of times, with the most picturesque spot – something can always happen to rain on your parade.

But you know something? When I look at this picture now, I don’t hear the mosquitoes. I don’t hear the traffic on the road just behind me (that really popped the “idyllic” bubble for you, huh?) – all I see is the picture. I can hop back in at any time.

So have a seat. Take a load off your mind. By the way, you didn’t happen to have packed a picnic lunch, did you?


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Posted by on June 20, 2014 in HDR, Wonderings


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No Cell Signal, No Worries

I live on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. There are places just an hour from home that don’t have cell phone signal. Nothing like being on the edge of civilization, huh?

But if you have a any kind of a heart beat, then you probably could be standing where I was in the picture below, and not really caring to much that you weren’t getting signal!

For me, it’s pretty easy to get out onto the wilderness; it’s practically outside my door. For you, maybe that’s not so easy. I certainly try not to take that for granted!


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Posted by on June 13, 2014 in iPhone Shot, Wonderings


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Approaching Mordor

Actually, I don’t think they had boardwalks for the Hobbits to help them reach the badlands of Middle Earth.But look at the picture below and ask yourself what is conveyed.  How about if I had entitled this post “Walk in the Woods”? Not quite as ominous as Mordor, is it?

Ask yourself if you would have noticed the shot in this setting, and remember that a picture without a good title sometimes isn’t really a picture at all.

The trail below is literally right down the street from my home. It’s become a favorite place to check out regularly while on walks in my neighborhood. The more you photograph, the more you will recognize something noteworthy in a scene others are likely to pass up. I know I have missed out on some fantastic shots because I just don’t take the time to look. 20140527-095223-35543578.jpg

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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in iPhone Shot, Wonderings


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The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour happens at Sunrise and Sunset, assuming the Sun is out that is. More specifically, it’s the period of time from about 1/2 hour before sunrise or sunset until 1/2 hour after. During this time the light is always softer and pictures can really look spectacular. Here in Alaska, it can get challenging trying to capture Golden Hour shots at different times of the year. I go from 19 to 20 hours of daylight in June to that much darkness in December. So if you don’t mind working a “sliding” schedule to do what it takes to get the shot, I’m sure you will be rewarded. 20111012-152612.jpg

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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in PhotoFun, Tips


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Simple Life

A bench. Green grass. Trees. The passing of one season to another. Quietness. A simple life.

For some, it’s a place. For many it’s a state of mind. How do you define a simple life?



Posted by on May 27, 2014 in HDR, Wonderings


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Why I Love Black and White

Black and white photography is all about texture. It’s about the subtlety of shades and shading.

By all means – shoot in color. Then convert the shot afterwards in your favorite photo editing software. The color actually helps define the range of shading in the b&w result.

After some practice, you will see that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Certain color shots make great b&w. Others don’t. You’ll soon learn which is which- and why.

It’s not stepping back into yesteryear to do this, you know. It’s really seeing your world in a whole new light.

Learn to see in black and white. It’s fun trying. And even if black and white is not your cup of tea, it will make you a better photographer.



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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in B&W, PhotoFun, Uncategorized


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