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.  ;)


A Two Mile Sunrise

There is a spot here in Apalachicola that is great to photograph for sunrise and sunset.  It is called Two Mile.  It got it's name because it is 2 miles from the traffic light in town.  Clever, right?  It's hard to give people directions there and tell them it's name without them thinking you are just a wise guy.

Here is a sunrise shot that I took there the other morning.  While there were no clouds to make the sky very interesting, using more of the foreground and a small Aperture, like F/22, gave me a nice starburst on the sun.

ISO 125, 15mm, F/22 @ 1/2 second

I was able to capture this image using the Tamron 15-30mm Lens that I had borrowed from my teaching partner, David Akoubian.  I also had to borrow his Nikon to E mount adapter.  Don't worry though, I had my own camera...the Sony A7Rii.  All mounted a top a fancy new tripod I am trying out, the Sirui W-2204.  It is a waterproof tripod, so it's certainly working out great while out here shooting along the coast!

Sunset at Cunningham Cabin

Whenever I go to the Tetons, I always try to visit Cunningham Cabin.  It seems like I generally have much better luck with sunrises than sunsets in the Tetons, but I always try to get to Cunningham Cabin for at least one sunset.

ISO 100, 35mm, F/16 @ 1/15 second

Now, I'm always a fan of the sunstars, so when I can, I usually include them.  If you want to get a nice sunstar all you have to do is shoot at a lower aperture, like F/16 or lower.  Then once you've got your aperture selected, wait for the sun to just touch the horizon.  Once it first hits the horizon you only have a matter of a couple of minutes before the ability to get that sunstar is gone.

In the old days, I used to take bracketed photos of a scene like this.  What I mean is, I would take a photo that exposes for the foreground, then I would take a photo that exposes for the background, then I would blend them together in Photoshop.  This is the same effect you would get if you were using a Graduated Neutral Density Filter in the field.  

Over the last year and a half or so I've had with my Sony A7R, I began to notice that I could just take one shot and the sensor in that camera captures so much detail, that I can pull all of the detail I need out of one picture.

I processed this image in Lightroom then jumped into On1's Perfect Effects to finish it off.  Images like this benefit greatly from the "Golden Hour Enhancer" plugin found in On1's Perfect Effect Suite.  After applying that preset, I added another one of their presets for a vignette, "Big Softy".  "Big Softy" is by far my favorite preset for a vignette, however it was a little too strong for my taste on this image.  That's ok though, because I have the ability to dial down the opacity of each preset...just like you would do in Photoshop.

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

Power of a RAW file

One of the examples I showed during our processing portion of our workshop in Apalachicola was a single frame snapped at sunrise.  As the sun was cresting the horizon I took one exposure for the sky, so naturally the foreground lost a lot of detail by doing this.

I was using my Sony A7R, which is a 36MP Full Frame Sensor.  I knew I could get away with pulling quite a bit out of the shadows due to the sensor recording all of that information at the point of capture.  To show all of the workshop participants what kind of power the sensor and RAW file had, I walked through a quick processing tutorial on that image.

Here is the RAW file straight out of the camera:

ISO 100, 27mm, F/16, 1/40th second

ISO 100, 27mm, F/16, 1/40th second

Now see how much detail I could get out of the shadows just using Adobe Lightroom?  I could've gotten a lot more even, but I this was as much as I really "wanted".

ISO 100, 27mm. F/16, 1/40th second

ISO 100, 27mm. F/16, 1/40th second

You can see how pretty much everything in the foreground came to life with just a few sliders in Lightroom.  Like I mentioned earlier, I could have pulled more data that this out of the shadows, but doing so really started to look very unnatural to me, so this is where I decided to stop.  Sometimes, I am still amazed at how much data is in the RAW files that come out of this Sony.