sun star

Marshall Point Light

One of the lighthouses on our list to stop at was Marshall Point Light.  Not because it was overly beautiful or picturesque, but because it was in Forrest Gump, of course!

Marshall Point Light was in the movie Forrest Gump.  It was in the scene where Forest ran across the country.  When he ran from one ocean to another, he ended up at Marshall Point Light.

Due to our schedule we had to shoot it during the middle of the day, with not the best light.  So, I was looking for a way to present it that you don't normally see it  while trying to make the best of the light we had.

Aperture Priority, F/16, 1/125th, ISO 100, 15mm Exposure Compensation +1

Here's one of the shots I came up with.  It's from the "back" side of the walkway looking back into the sun.   I used the handrail of the walkway to diffract the sunlight in order to get the sun star.

I used my Canon 5D III and Tamron 15-30 for this shot at 15mm.  I choose F/16 as an aperture to help enhance the sun star.  Then, since I was shooting directly into the sun, I set my exposure compensation to +1.  This allowed me to get detail in the foreground and lighthouse.  If I hadn't adjusted my EC, the image out of the camera would have had very little detail in the foreground, almost a silhouette.  

Canon 5 D Mk III, Tamron 15-30, Sirui W-2204 Tripod and Sirui K-30 Ballhead

 

 

The Rock Factory

I'm finally home from another trip out west.  This time I got to visit areas that I had never visited before.  The trip took us to Zion National Park for a few days, then to Page, AZ and finally to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It was a whirlwind of a trip with very little sleep, but they are always a ton of fun!

While out in Page, AZ we met up with a good friend, Stan Burman, who lives in the area and agreed to take us to a spot he shoots regularly that he calls "The Rock Factory".  The Rock Factory is actually part of the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area.  It has all kinds of interesting rock formations there that are super photogenic.  We arrived there to photograph the sunset and it did not disappoint!

Aperture Priority, F/16, 1/15th, ISO 100, Exposure Compensation +1

This is an image I made just as the sun was setting over the horizon.  I wanted to capture the starburst of the sun, so I stopped my aperture down to F/16.  Then, in order to keep the foreground from being too dark, I set my exposure compensation to +1.

The sunset turned out to be one of the best I had seen in a long time.  Stay tuned for more pictures of it!

Image made with my Canon 5D III and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  All resting atop my Sirui N-3204X tripod and K-30X Ballhead.

 

Mesa Arch

Tomorrow we start our workshop in The Grand Teton National Park, but we arrived a few days early to visit a few other places before the workshop begins.

One of the places we wanted to visit was Mesa Arch in Cayonlands National Park.  It is a very iconic arch and probably the most photographed thing in the park.  It is located in what is called The Island in The Sky district of the park.  It is very easy to get to as it is only about 1/4 mile from the parking area along a well maintained trail, which is probably why we were soon joined by about 100 of our closest friends for the sunrise shoot, most of them iPad shooters, however.

Just to the other side of the arch is a 1200 foot drop into Buck Canyon. This creates a "bowl" and what happens is when the sun rises and reflects off of that "bowl" it lights the underside of Mesa Arch up glowing red...more of those shots to come ;)

This shot was taken after I got some sunrise images from the "iconic" few just to the left of where I am standing now.  Some of the crowd started to disperse and I tried a few quick compositions before wrapping up and leaving.   I am always a sucker for a sun star, so I tried it from a few different angles.  This was one of my favorites, although there were many from this particular morning.

Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100, 1/40th second shutter speed, 15mm

This image was shot using a Canon 5D Mk III and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  This setup was all mounted on my Sirui N-3204X Tripod and K-30 Ballhead.

Bluebonnets, bluebonnets, bluebonnets

You were warned yesterday that more of these were coming. ;)

This image was made in the same field as the image I posted yesterday.  This time I focused only on bluebonnets...and it seemed they went on as far as you could see.  It is very hard to see in this image, but in the background right along the horizon on the right side is a very large field of indian paintbrush flowers.  I actually drove over to check those out, but the land owner had placed private property signs up and roped off everything at the road.  So, I headed back over to this bluebonnet field.

Tech talk...I shot this at 15mm on my Sony A7R II using the Metabones adapter and Tamron Lens.  So, basically, I set the lens to 15mm and put it right at the edge of these bluebonnets at a very low perspective.  I wanted to get low for this shot.  Not too low, though.  If I had gotten much lower than this you couldn't see that the field is full of flowers.  It would have looked more like a dozen flowers than thousands.  Since the sky wasn't very interesting at all, I knew I didn't want to include much of it.  So, using my Sirui W-2204 Tripod, I positioned my camera just a bit above the tops of these bluebonnets and angled it down to exclude much of the sky.

I shot this in aperture priority mode at F/16.  I had to raise my ISO up to 800 because it was so windy.  In order to keep the bluebonnets sharp, without blur from the wind, I raised my ISO so I could get a faster shutter speed.  Between bumping my ISO and waiting on times between wind gusts, I was able to capture a few frames where there was no blur.

I'll try to give you a break from wildflowers next time.  ;)

 

Texas Wildflower Sunset

I spent last week in Texas.  While I was there, I wanted to make sure I tried my best to find a good field of the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet.  These flowers could be found most everywhere along the roadside, especially so the farther you drive away from a city, however for the area I was in finding a really large field full of flowers proved to be a challenge.  After doing a little research, I was able to locate one field that was the best of any I found in the short time I was out there.  

The only problem was it was not too far from the main highway, so when I got there, 40 of my closet friends were there already.  Many of them there to take children's portraits in the flowers, or family portraits in the flowers...one photographer had a couple pull their truck out in the field of flowers to pose with the truck for engagement photos.  So I spent a lot of time waiting on these people to move or working around them.

Now, I think a field of bluebonnets is a pretty awesome sight, but when making a photo I like to add something in the foreground as a bit of an anchor.  It doesn't have to be anything really special.  In this case I used the only handful of Indian Paintbrush Wildflowers that were in this field.  I thought the contrast of the red flowers helped to anchor the foreground a bit and also adds a bit of a leading line to the rest of the field of blue.

It was very windy during this particular sunset, so I had to bump my ISO up to get a high enough shutter speed to "freeze" the flowers, so I bumped it up to ISO 1600.  I shot this scene in aperture priority at F/16 in order to get the nice starburst.  That yielded me a shutter speed of 1/30th.  While that isn't a "fast" shutter speed, if I waited until the wind slowed a bit, it was fast enough. 

This image was made using my Sony A7R II, Metabones lens adapter and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  I also used my Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20 Ballhead.  I took this tripod because it is super stable and small enough to fold up in my carry on luggage.  It worked out great!

I also processed this image using Lightroom and On1 Effects.  

Warning:  More flower images coming soon.

 

 

 

Snake River Overlook

Here's another quick shot from our time out in Grand Teton National Park.  This is from the Snake River Overlook.  Yes, the same place Ansel Adams took his famous image.  You, of course, aren't able to capture the exact image as Ansel did due to 70 years of tree and vegetation growth.  

We visited this place for sunset.  We were hoping when the sun dropped behind the mountains the reflections would create the god fingers from the bottom of the mountain up.  This didn't pan out for us...there must've been some clouds on the back side of the mountains blocking the reflection.  I did manage to shoot this image with the sun burst before the sun dipped behind the mountains, though.  

This was taken with the Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro Lens.  It really is an incredible travel lens designed for crop sensor cameras.  I found myself using this lens more than I had ever anticipated on this trip!

This was shot at 18mm, F/16, ISO 100 and 1/40th second.