October 22, 2011
Morning at the Creek by I Nancy, on Flickr
I’ve often heard the advice that for every vertical composition, you should also take a horizontal one. The idea is that you never know what you will need in the future as well as providing an automatic way to ensure that you continue to work through and think through the scene.
At this scene I love the feeling of the wide shot below with its tunnel of trees and forced perspective. I do wish, however, that I brought the chain saw to deal with the dead branches on the right. On the other hand, the vertical shot brings its own power as a more intimate view into the creek.
Creekside by I Nancy, on Flickr
October 18, 2011
Into the Sun by I Nancy, on Flickr
It was a quiet morning in the canyon on the road to South Lake outside of Bishop. We had been scouting around North Lake the day before and, as had been reported by others, much of the color was damaged by the storm the week before. We headed down the South Fork road, not too early, and stopped at a pull off with a promising grove and access to the creek. Being in the canyon, we had a couple hours of beautiful soft morning light before the sun would crest over the eastern canyon walls. These first images I’m posting are from the 15 minutes after the sun crested over the wall and lit up the aspens like jack-o-lanterns on Halloween. They were taken between around 10am and 10:15. (If you check the EXIF, I believe my camera clock is off by one hour, as I customarily never set it to daylight time).
Although, some talked disappointingly about the mix of green and yellows, I was delighted with the mix of colors. You will see even more of this mixture in my next post which will show the grove before the sun came up. I have also been fascinated with tree-scapes for some time and mentally I was really searching them.
Nature’s Stained Glass by I Nancy, on Flickr
October 2, 2011
I’ve heard that the best way to learn is to do, but I think the best way to learn is to teach. This weekend I was working on an overview of HDR photography for the Thousand Oaks Photo Group. My teaching philosophy is around motivation more then instruction. If you can motivate the learner into wanting to use a technique, the instruction takes care of itself.
I needed a set of images to explain why to use HDR and I remembered some images I took at Figueroa Mountain last spring. Figueroa Mountain is a beautiful place spread with old oaks and fields. We went for the wildflowers, but they were a bust this year. We had to satisfy ourselves with the groves of trees and mountain air. The oaks were just sprouting their light-green tender leaves and the sky was beautiful but bright. These were the conditions for neutral-density graduated filters or… HDR. I bracketed many scenes but never got back to fully process the shoot. This weekend was my opportunity to do some experimentation with the goal of creating a concrete set of guidance for approaching HDR.
My use of HDR is subtle and I typically shoot in 1-stop exposures. I use Photomatix Pro on my RAW images for the tone-mapping and then Lightroom and Photoshop for additional adjustments.
September 24, 2011
Oak Studies by I Nancy, on Flickr
I’ve been working on my composition skills with the local oaks and my little Olympus E-PL2. We’ve had some unseasonable overcast mornings creating soft light. Here the leaves of the overgrown vines looked like a big pile of snow around this tree.
September 19, 2011
Oak Studies by I Nancy, on Flickr
At the end of the trail were a grove of oaks and sycamores. I know that a bunch of folks will think this one too busy, but I’m entranced by the subtlety of the trunk through the leaves. I think this is an oak covered by small branches of sycamores.
September 17, 2011
This morning I took a hike with some friends and the overcast skies made for perfect shooting conditions. This oak was adorned with vines of poison oak beginning to show their fall colors. With the subtle light shining through, it looked like an intricate stained glass window.
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