Processing

The Chapel Of The Transfiguration

This year, our Winter In The Tetons Workshop group didn't experience anywhere near the volume of snow that the area normally gets.  The advantage to that is we could get a lot more places to shoot.  One of those places was The Chapel Of The Transfiguration. 

This little chapel was built in 1925 and still holds Sunday Services in the summertime.  Each chaplain at the church serves for one month each summer.  It is also a popular spot for small weddings.  Let's not forget the view...it has one of the best views of any small church I've ever seen.

Although I have visited the church many times, I haven't photographed it very much.  Inside the church is a tough scene to deal with, exposure wise.  You have a dimly lit church on the inside and a big, bright window that looks out onto the mountains.  There is such a big exposure difference the best way to handle it is to bracket your exposures for HDR.  That is exactly what I did.  I took seven separate exposures to ensure I had detail covered from the brights to the darks.  Then I merged them as a HDR inside Lightroom Classic CC.  After I had the merged HDR photo I decided to process it in black and white.  I really like the feel of it as a black and white, too.

Aperture-priority, f/16, ISO 100, 7 varied exposures

I made this image with my Canon 5D IV and Tamron 28-300mm lens.  Since I shot for HDR I did use my Sirui Tripod and ballhead.

That Lens Isn't Wide Enough

This past weekend, I met up with a small group of friends to do some waterfall photography in the back woods of North Georgia.  I am always up for waterfall photography!  When you throw in nice weather conditions and a waterfall I've never visited before, I will be even more excited.

I wanted to make sure I was traveling light for the trip, so I only took the Canon 5D IV and the new Tamron 24-70mm G2 Lens.  This was my second chance to try out the new Tamron Lens.  I have no idea how they did it, but they managed to make it even better than the previous 24-70, which I used more than any other lens in my arsenal. 

One of the falls we visited was Crow Creek Falls.  It has two parts, an Upper Crow Creek Falls and a Lower Crow Creek Falls.  I enjoyed the upper falls much more and spent more time photographing it. 

Did I mention that I only brought my 24-70mm lens?  When I typically shoot these water scenes, I like to use a wide angle lens and anchor the foreground with something.  In my experience going with a wider lens, like a 15-30mm is usually too wide for these scenes.  It also presents a bit of another problem in the fact that you will absolutely need a circular polarizer for these scenes...and although I have the polarizer setup for that lens, it is bulky and takes a bit of work to assemble.  I went the lazy route and stuck with the 24-70mm lens and its easy peasy, screw on polarizer.

Aperture-priority, 2.5 sec, f/16, ISO 100, 24mm

I wanted to use this group of rocks and small cascade as my foreground anchor, but when I tried that at 24mm I was losing the main waterfall in my composition.  I need to be wider!  Crap, I was lazy and didn't bring my wider lens.  What did I do?  I took two shots.  One for the foreground, then another including the main waterfall in the background overlapping the scene by about 30%.  In Lightroom I used the Photo Merge feature to create a panoramic out of the two images.  I got the composition I wanted and I could still be a little lazy by only bringing one lens...winner winner chicken dinner!

Image made with Canon 5D IV, Tamron 24-70mm G2 Lens and Sirui Circular Polarizer.  Gear supported by a Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20x Ballhead.

Photographing In The Snow

While out in the tetons on our photography workshop, it snowed.  Then it snowed some more.  After that, it snowed a little more.  Over about a two and a half day period it snowed over 30".  So, we got our fair share of photographing while it was snowing.  If you didn't mind standing outside and getting snowed on, there were a lot of photographic opportunities to be had.  Wildlife was the biggest of those opportunities.

You encounter a few problems when photographing in the falling snow.  Depending upon the amount of snow falling in between you and your subject it can cause your autofocus system to get confused. It can also create a layer of "haze" between you and your subject.  The first one you can deal with in a few ways.  You can just use your autofocus system and hope it is smart enough to figure it out, which might cause you some lost shots, or you can simply switch to manual focus.  The problem with autofocus is it's going to, sooner or later, decide to focus on falling snow instead of your subject.  There is almost a guarantee this will happen when your subject is doing something super interesting, or has moved to a nicer background ;)  The second problem..haze.  It can't really be fixed, but can be helped out a bit by using the "dehaze" slider in Adobe Lightroom CC.  This slider is pretty much magic and can knock down that haze in your image by a great deal.

Aperture-priority, 1/1,250 sec, f/8, ISO 800, Compensation: +1, 150 mm

Hover over the image to see camera settings.  Click the image to view it larger.

This is one of the moose that came to hang out with us at the ranch.  There were three of them.  They showed up everyday.  Usually, when the ranch fed the horses, the moose showed up there to "share" breakfast with them.

This image was made using my Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

More From the Hotel

Here's another shot from the Old Shelby Hotel.  This is looking down the hall as soon as you walk in the front door. 

Here I simply got my tripod in a really low angle, almost to ground level, and used a super wide angle lens to take in the whole scene.

ISO 100, 17mm, F/11 @ 6 bracketed shutter speeds

Hover over the image to see the camera settings used.  Click the image to view it larger.

This image was processed exactly the same as yesterday's image, only this time I used a different preset within On1 Effects to get started.  This time I used a preset called "Just Enough Darkness".  I've found that preset gives a great starting point for creating a great mood in these types of shots.

Image made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  All mounted on my Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20 Ballhead.

The Old Shelby Hotel

Over this past weekend I took a trip with a friend of mine, Brad Lackey with Lookout Mountain Photography, to visit an abandoned building known as The Old Shelby Hotel.   

This hotel has quite the history.  It was said to be the first building in Alabama to have running water and electric lights.  It also played an important role in The Civil War as it served as a hospital and also training grounds for soldiers at different points during the war.  Today it is merely a shell of what used to be...but that's the kind of thing us photographers live for, right?

ISO 100, 15mm, F/11 and 6 bracketed shutter speeds

This is an HDR image.  If you want to capture all of the highlight and shadow detail in a scene like this you really have no other choice than HDR.  In a room that is dark with  bright light coming into the windows, there is no way to pull all of that detail out of one RAW file.  

Here I took 6 shots bracketed from -3 all the way to +2 at 1 stop apart.  Then I merged them using Lightroom's HDR Photo Merge feature.  After tweaking a bit inside Lightroom, I jumped over to On1 Perfect Effects to finish this image.  I used one of my favorite presets for this kind of stuff.  It's called Kryptonite.  It gives a pretty strong effect, but you are able to dial the opacity slider back to your amount that suits your taste...just like you would in Photoshop.

This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  All of this was mounted on my Sirui W-2204 tripod and K-20 Ballhead.

Looking Glass Falls

Yet another roadside, North Carolina waterfall that I hit last week was Looking Glass Falls.

Looking Glass Falls is inside the Pisgah National Forest.  It is located right along the road with a staircase that leads you to the bottom of the falls.  This fall is located near Brevard, NC along U.S. Highway 276.  It is about a 60 foot fall.  This is a real nice fall, and one to hit if you have little to no time to spare and want to see an impressive fall.

ISO 50, 15mm, F/16 @ 1 second

I made this image with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  My tripod of choice was the Sirui W-2204 and K-20x Ballhead.

Image was processed in Lightroom and On1's new Suite 10.  I loved the On1 Products before but now they are easier to use than ever before.

Another North Carolina Waterfall

When I started researching waterfalls I wanted to stop at on my trek across North Carolina, I knew this one was a must see after viewing a few images of it.

The one was a little tougher to track down though.  It seems several people have several different names for it.  I saw it listed as Cathedral Falls, I saw it listed as Shoal Creek Falls and I saw it listed as Bird Rock Falls.  Tracking it down was a little harder since it had several names.  Also, it was not visible from the road and it was on private property.  The property owner allows visitors to enjoy the waterfall as long as the park along the roadway and not on their property.

I basically found the GPS coordinates online for its location.  Once I got there, I parked the car, got out, walked a little, got back in the car, drive a little, made a lot of u turns, spotted the red building, parked along the road and followed the "private property enter at own risk" signs until I saw the falls.

ISO 50, 15mm, F/22 @ 1 second

I shot this with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  I had all of this mounted atop the Sirui W-2204 tripod.  

This waterfall was a little tough to shoot, simply because if you wanted to include the entire red cabin, you had to include the sky, too.  Although the sky was a no nothing overcast sky, which was great for shooting the waterfall, it's not so great when it's part of the image.  I attempted to overcome that by using On1's new suite 10 to help process the image.  I was able to boost the colors of everything else and add a vignette to try and draw you away from the sky.  

I, myself, am not a fan of the included sky, but I am big enough fan of everything else that I can learn to live with it.

Fog Lifting at Two Mile

Here's another shot from the infamous Two Mile Boat Launch in Apalachicola, FL.

This was taken just before sunrise as a layer of fog was lifting.  The fog created a nice ambiance to the scene.  The old shipwrecked, shrimp boat doesn't hurt either. ;)

There isn't much to this shot.  I made it using a borrowed Tamron 15-30mm Lens and a Novoflex lens adapter to adapt Nikon mount to Sony E mount.  I kept my ISO at a low 100.  Using this particular lens adapter, it has it's own apreture blades inside the adapter.  This means it doesnt report an aperture value back to the camera for EXIF...which also means I have no idea what my aperture was.  At 15mm, it really doesn't make a "ton" of difference, anyhow, but I'll guess F/8.  My shutter speed for this shot was 8 seconds.  I also used my Sirui W-2204 Tripod...I don't leave home without it.

ISO 100, 15mm, F/8-ish @ 8 seconds

I also processed this shot using a combination of Lightroom and On1 Perfect Effects.  I have become a huge fan of On1 over the last few years and I'm excited about their upcoming new release!

Not Your Paw Paw's Point and Shoot

On the days we just strolled around the quaint little town of Apalachicola during our workshop I usually left everything at the car except for my Sony RX-100 II point and shoot camera.  It wasn't at all because I wasn't taking my photography seriously.  Even though I heard things like "You're only taking the little camera?" or "This must not be very good if you aren't taking a real camera.".  It was just that I wanted to walk around comfortably, with the ability to just tuck the entire camera in my pocket when I wasn't using it.

Now, if you know anything about the Sony RX-100 series of cameras, you know they aren't your paw paw's point and shoot.  They have complete manual controls and shoot RAW.  This allowed me to shoot in Aperture Priority Mode.  I shoot in this mode 95% of the time when I'm using any camera so with this camera having that ability, I felt right at home.

Here's a scene that I came across as we were walking to have breakfast one morning.  It is a local seafood processing factory.  It happened to have the great breezeway that was back lit causing everything between in it to be silhouetted.  The scene itself made it very easy to capture.  

By the end of the workshop the things I was hearing were more like "I'm going to have to look into getting one of those little cameras.".

ISO 100, 37mm, F/4.9 @ 1/80th second

After I got home, I processed the RAW file in Lightroom.  Basically, all I did was convert it to black and white, then bump the contrast and lower the blacks.

Apalachicola Locals

The first of our Forgotten Coast Workshops have started this week in Apalachicola, FL.  So far we have captured great sunsets, sunrises and even some awesome milky way shots!  This morning, however, I spent a little time photographing something I normally don't....a human.

The local oyster fishermen that line the docks, fishing boats and general hangouts around town have such character.  If you take the time to listen to any of their stories you will not regret it, either.  I talked to one fella this morning that was telling me all about his family's old turpentine farm from years gone by.  Heck, we've even heard tales of a locally famous man's murder.

This morning, as we wrapped up our sunrise shoot, we ran into a few guys that were more than willing to pose for our cameras.  This gentleman was the older of them.  I do not recall his name, but I spent a few minutes talking to him and photographing him.  We tried to offer him some money for being a cooperative model for us all, but he refused to accept any payment.  

It's hard to capture the hard lifestyle these guys live through only a camera.

ISO 100, 70mm, F/2.8 @ 1/320th

I captured this image using my Sony A7RII, LA-EA3 Lens Adapter and Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 Lens.

I processed this image using OnOne's B&W Suite.  I knew this dude would make a great black and white portrait as soon as I saw him!