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.

Spring Fever

Over the last few days here, when it hasn't been raining, the weather has been off the charts good.  That has brought on a huge case of Spring Fever for me.

I have a few trips upcoming to focus on the plants and animals coming to life again, but I'm also super stoked about our upcoming Smoky Mountains workshop.  With all the rain the area has been receiving the rivers and streams should really be flowing this year.

ISO 100, 24mm, F/16 @ 1.3 seconds

This is an image from The Roaring Fork Motor Trail.  It is always a hot spot for nice flowing water against the green, mossy rocks.  Using a circular polarizer not only helps to reduce glare and reflections, but also helps to boost contrast, which makes the greens pop a little more, too.

This image was made with my Sony A7R, LA-EA4 Adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens.

Dry Falls

All last week I was traveling for business.  I had the opportunity to drive through North Carolina.  I took this chance to stop at a few waterfalls along my route that I had researched and decided would be worth my while.

The first falls I stopped at was Dry Falls.  It's so named because you can walk behind the waterfall without getting wet.  This is a very popular waterfall located just north of Highlands, NC,it's inside the Nantahala National Forest and is about a 65 foot fall.

It's very popular because it can be seen from the road and there is virtually no hike to get to it.  From the parking lot you can view the falls from an overlook, or, if you choose to go behind the falls, there is a staircase leading down to a path that takes you behind the falls.  That is also one of the reasons I choose this fall to visit.  I had very little time to spare on my trip, so I needed to choose falls that had little to no hike involved.

ISO 100, 24mm, F/22 @ 0.8 seconds

If you look closely at the image, you can see the walkway that goes behind and around the falls. It was a chilly, fall day when I was there, so the crowds were at a minimum.

I made this image using my Sony A7R II, La-EA3 Lens Adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens.  I also used a circular polarizer and, of course, my Sirui W-2204 tripod.   

More Falls in The Fall

Here's another shot from last week in The Great Smoky Mountains.  The color was really nice while I was there.  These kinds of photo opportunities were plentiful along Little River Road and in the Tremont Area.

ISO 100, 15mm, F/16 @ 2 seconds

When I came upon a scene like this I tried to take the same approach to most of them.  I was using my new Tamron 15-30mm Ultra Wide angle lens.  I knew I needed to find a foreground anchor, so I usually looked for an interesting flow of water or a rock.  A foreground anchor really helps add depth to your images.  If I chose a rock, sometimes it had a nice set of fallen leaves on it, sometimes I put some leaves on it. Once I had the foreground anchored, then I made sure my composition lead you through the image to the brilliant display of fall colors in the background.   

This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Lens Adapter and Tamron 15-30 F/2.8 Ultra Wide Angle Lens.  I can;t photograph water without a circular polarizer, so I had one of those, too.  All of my gear was resting atop my Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Tripod.

Minnehaha Falls in North Georgia

Last week we had our Gibbs Garden Waterlily Workshop.  It went fantastic!  The weather was dang near perfect, the participants were amazing and the waterlilies were off the charts awesome!

I stayed over in Georgia an extra day so David and I could go shoot some waterfalls in the area.  We also had what is now dubbed "The Semi-Annual Nature In Focus Company Meeting"  to discuss plans about which workshops to include for the upcoming year.  These meetings usually start off with a vanilla pudding filled long john from Deb's Bakery in Jasper.  If they don't start that way, then they are a huge disappointment.  

We decided to head to Minnehaha Falls in North Georgia Friday morning.  I experienced a few "firsts" that morning.  It was my first trip to the falls.  It was my first time using the Tamron 15-30 Lens with a monstrous circular polarizer on the front and it was my first time putting my new Sirui R-5214X Tripod in the water.  

This Sirui Tripod is a beast!  When I say beast I mean like a beast that is big and strong, not hairy and very light to carry through the woods.  OK, seriously, it is amazing how light and easy to carry this tripod is for it's size.  

The Tamron 15-30 did not disappoint either.  It produced amazingly sharp images and I'm looking forward to getting one of my own so I can add it to the ole landscape arsenal.

ISO 100, 15mm, F/22 @ 20 Seconds

This image was made with my Sony A7R, a borrowed Novaflex Lens Adapter and a borrowed Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  All resting a top the mighty Sirui R-5214X tripod and K-40X Ballhead.

The morning was fantastic!  The clouds hung out long enough for us to capture great images, I spent some time just sitting on the rocks and letting my feet soak in the stream's cold water and I was there hanging out with a good friend.  Oh, that long john was mighty fine, too ;)  

Smokies Water

I love shooting these river and stream shots in the Smokies!  The trouble I usually have at these scenes is I always want to get the wide angle view of these locations, but then I always see a little isolated cascade that I think looks good.  

When I'm using my wide angle lens, I have to switch lenses if I want to isolate any of the small cascades...and usually the lens I need is back at the car.  This year, however, I was armed with the Tamron 16-300 Lens.  It served me very well at these scenes.  I could take one lens and get the wide angle view as well as isolating a cascade in the stream.

ISO 100, 22mm, F/16 @ 2.5 seconds

The above shot was at 22mm.  I wanted to include all of the water as well as the greenery in the background.  Then I found one of those cascades I wanted to isolate.

ISO 100, 130mm, F/16 @ 1.3 seconds

This shot was made at 130mm.  While that isn't all of the 300mm lens, it was enough that would have required me to change lenses had I been using my wide angle lens.  No trip back to the car equals happy photographer.

These images were made with the Sony A77ii and Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II PZD Macro Lens.  I also used a Hoya Circular polarizer to kill glare and reflections.  All of this was mounted a top my Vanguard Abeo PLus 323 CT Tripod.

Smokies Stream

If you missed the news on my Facebook page earlier today, I have announced a new workshop website/company that I will be using for all of my photo workshops going forward.  There will be several other instructors helping out and hopefully we can offer may workshops and more genres of photography from time to time, too.  Check it out here, it's called Nature In Focus.

One of the workshops listed was a Springtime In The Smokies Workshop.  I love The Smoky Mountains in the spring!  Life is starting to awaken after the winter, rivers and streams are usually flowing well, flowers are blooming and greens are popping.

ISO 100, 24mm, F/16, 2 seconds

ISO 100, 24mm, F/16, 2 seconds

Here's an example of what Spring can hold in the smokies.  This is one of the streams we will visit during the workshop.  This area of the park offers so many vivid greens that pop, especially in the Spring!

This image was taken with the Sony A7r and Tamron 24-70mm Lens (my favorite) via a Metabones lens adapater.  All held stable by mt Vanguard Alta Pro 283CT Tripod.  And anytime I'm photographing water, I'm using my circular polarizer!

Smokies stream

I am writing from the road again, so I just wanted to share a quick picture with you today.  It is another one from the smokies.  This is from the Tremont area of the smokies.  I decided to go with a pano here because the widest lens I had with me couldn't capture everything I wanted.  

I wanted to make sure you saw the waterfall in the background, the water flowing off the left of the image and the entire scene to the right.  So, I had my Sony A7R and my Tamron 24-70mm Lens mounted on my Vanguard Abeo Plus 232CT tripod.  I simply mounted it in a vertical orientation and fired off 7 shots, making sure to overlap each shot by about 25%.  Then I put them together in post and ran the final image through Lightroom.  Here's how it came out.


Bald River Falls

So, there is a long story about the visit to these falls, but I'll save that for another post.

This is an isolation shot that I used the Tamron 16-300mm Lens to capture.  You're probably tired of hearing about this lens by now ;)  I like using a telephoto lens on waterfalls from time to time to isolate different pieces.  This one had some good pieces.

Tonight's post is quick, but I'll show you more from these falls soon!

This was taken at F/16, ISO 100 with a shutter speed of 0.6 seconds.  I was, of course, mounted to my trusty Vanguard tripod.

Infrared Mountain Scene...from somewhere in the Tetons.

On this trip to the Tetons, I took a lot more gear than I've taken in the past.  One of those pieces of gear was my Canon 40D that was converted to infrared by Lifepixel

On our first day in Grand Teton National Park, we were pretty much just scouting and venturing around when we came across this scene.  I'm not sure we even knew where we were, but we did pass a sign that said something about Bridger-Teton National Forest...so I'm sure that's where we were...I'm sure of it.

This was a beautiful scene, and we knew it once we first came upon it.  There was a stream, great trees decorated with fall color, mountains, cows....how could it not be great?  Well, I wanted to capture it in a different way than I normally would, so I put my Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Lens on that converted Canon 40D and fired off a few frames.  Since I was hand holding, and depth of field wan't an issue since everything was so far away, I went with an aperture setting of F/8.  I also bumped the ISO a tad to 400.  This gave me a shutter speed of 1/160th of a second.  Since it was shot at 60mm, and that lens was equipped with Tamron's VC Technology, I had no doubts I could hand hold and get a nice crisp image. 

There is a little bit of extra post processing that goes into getting these infrared RAW files to turn out looking like infrared shots, but I do believe the extra effort is worth it.

I really like how this image turned out, and I'm glad I shot it because I may not be able to find my way back to it! ;)