Oak Tree Challenge

September 16, 2014

Foggy oak tree amongst poison oak.  Central California Coast
Isn’t it strange that most landscape photographers from California do not photograph the oak woodlands that cover most of the state???

I can’t blame them, there are tons of other iconic stuff to shoot in California. But that doesn’t mean they should skip out on something only minutes away from their homes. Coast live oak can get pretty big like this one located in the Central California Coast. Just stay out of the pretty colorful stuff below this gnarled giant or you may begin to itch….

Hope this inspires the lazy photog to get off their butt and go shoot an oak a few minutes from home!!

Oak Tree Challenge

You can’t be from California and not have a pic of oak tree……

Fall is on the way to the Eastern Sierra!!

September 9, 2014

Fall is on the way to the Eastern Sierra!!
Fall color palette in the Eastern Sierra

I always see colorful leaves that have already changed after coming down from backpacking in the high country as soon as Labor Day. This always seems early but the scraggly small shrub like aspen always turn quickly. The larger healthier trees next to water hold on much longer into the autumn season. You’ll notice most Sierra in Autumn pics are mostly gold and orange. It’s tough to go out and find a good mixed color palette in the Eastern Sierra. Keep that in mind during your search for color up here.

Website: Portfolio
Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
Private or small group workshop info: Learn.
Steve’s Photo Tips and How To Page
Steve’s Landscape Photographer Tools Page

Arch on the Ledge at Valley of Fire

December 26, 2013

Newly discovered arch at Valley of Fire

Newly discovered arch at Valley of Fire

A beautiful wind sculpted arch with a landscape view of the Valley of Fire. I’ll call this a new arch since it’s not in any of the guide books. Scooted across a precarious ledge with a pair sticky shoes to get underneath the arch for a better view. I’ve got a few more shots of other arches not in any of the guide books that I’ll share in the future…

Fall Color in Southern California December 2013

December 19, 2013

Fall Color in Southern California December 2013

For anyone interested in autumn color in Southern California right now 12/18/2013, you can easily find it in just about any creek below a 1,000 ft elevation. Creeks with some flow will have more vibrant trees, sycamore trees vary in color from gold to bright rusty reds. Even a dull tree can become illuminated by backlight so you be surprised what you’ll find close to home. Some of the creeks that are known to more water then others may still be green such as many of the springs in the local mountains.

The creek shown here is located in the Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains near Santa Clarita, California. Just how long will these colorful leaves stay on the trees? It really depends and can change from one canyon to the next. Temperature, exposure to wind, and the amount of water are big factors of how long the leaves linger into January. There are too many canyons to name in Southern California so I encourage you to keep an eye out as drive through any canyons or going out exploring for local gems you never really knew about!!

Brothers

December 19, 2013

Brothers

Steve Sieren and John Sieren

Could you imagine having 2 babies back to back, we’re 9 months apart. It’s as close to twins as you can get. There’s a term for it, Irish Twins. While kids we were kids we were very close but we physically fought each other almost once a day. Call it hill billy or redneck but we were always close at the end of the day. We were both really into art as kids until one day he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia shortly after we got out of high school. Such a bad topic for families to deal with. Levels of Schizophrenia can vary from high to low and often spike at times. It’s a disability that is hard to deal with. My mother never wanted anyone to know about it.

The Movie “A Beautiful Mind” is a good example, so is “The Soloist” with Jamie Foxx of how a mind is altered by this condition. We are proud he hasn’t decided to cut off any contact with the family. My dad lives close to him near the Tahoe / Reno Area and visits with him regularly. I also visit as much as I can, you can tell by my portfolio of work because most of it originates somewhere between Los Angeles and the Lake Tahoe Area. He is and always will be a good brother to me. He is doing good and until this day people I haven’t seen in 15 years accidentally call me John, he always made a good impression with people.

For any families dealing with Schizophrenia during the holidays hang in there and do your best to keep your loved ones connected. Schizophrenia is out there more then you may expect, 4 out of 5 the groomsmen in my wedding party had a relative with this condition. Life isn’t always perfect but we make the best of it!!

This photograph was taken on the Truckee River just north of Tahoe on the California side in 2005.

Change of Perspective

October 7, 2013

Image

 

A slightly different perspective on the Owens River

How often do you make it a point to find a different perspective while out photographing the usual places???

If you put yourself in an unusual place then that problem disappears.. .

 

“Lone Tree Bend”

http://www.EasternSierraPhoto.com

Tips for Mountain Photography

August 1, 2013

Mountain photography is challenging to say the least; in order to capture that iconic archway or summit you need to have a certain level of confidence, dexterity and physical fitness. You need to keep your wits about you, to focus and not lose sight of your goal. Standing in the shadows of great mountains tends to make us feel emotional and we want to capture on film what we see with our eyes. With the right knowledge about the location and when best to shoot it, as well as equipment to take on your hike, this type of natural photography can be wholly rewarding for the adventurous photographer.

Where to Shoot

From the Rockies to the Himalayas, from Iceland to Patagonia, there are stunning locations around the world just waiting to be photographed.Image

The Palouse, in North Idaho and Washington, features a mesmerizing backdrop of rolling hills and fields laden with crops that change color constantly through the seasons. Visit Palouse Falls and Steptoe Butte and see the vistas for yourself.

The glaciers of Patagonia, in Chile, are other worldly and make terrific photographs. The terrain here is rugged but beautiful and the mountains will make you catch your breath.

Telescope Peak in Death Valley

Closer to home, the American Southwest offers some jaw dropping landscapes and fascinating rock formations. The Grand Canyon and Monument Valley are perhaps the most photographed, but try Zion National Park, Sedona and Antelope Canyon for their sights. Here you will find a stark contrast between light and dark and amazing textures on the rocks. Death Valley is a place like no other with its badlands and salt flats and it is a popular location for nature photographers around the world who come to capture the lunar-like landscape of dunes and rocks.

Light and Dark

Light and shadow are interesting on mountain shoots, throwing contrasts across glaciers and rock faces. Consider the light quality when you are setting up your shot: is it an overcast or sunny day and what sort of light are you seeing? Is it soft or hard light? On overcast days many photographers tighten the shot and eliminate the sky from their composition, as you can’t see detail on the mountains if you have an overcast sky. An alternative to this is to use a grad filter, which lets you control the exposure in the sky and keep the mountain exposure how you want it.

Similarly, sunny days can ruin your shot because they have no mood. Front lighting the mountain can ‘kill’ the image. Think about the time of day and how it can impact on your picture: an early morning shot will show strong contrasts between light and dark if you use side lighting because you will see the textures and the light will not be as flat.

Front lighting can work well on early morning or evening shots, when the mountain is lit up in brilliant color. Side lighting is seen as the preferred way of shooting mountains however because the textures are so important to the composition.

Tips for Climbing and Shooting in a Cold Climate

Your equipment is important when shooting in the cold. Photographers used to rely on mechanical film cameras because of their reliability when icy conditions stopped other equipment from working. Digital cameras are easier to use when you’re climbing in dangerous climates however and it may be a good idea to bring a back up, just in case.

Weight is important when climbing, whatever the conditions, but it is particularly important when climbing and shooting in the cold. Forget the tripod, flash, filters and complicated lenses. Thick gloves are a necessity on cold mountains, and unscrewing caps and lenses with them just isn’t viable. Batteries are another consideration in the cold, as they don’t work as effectively, but once they’re warmed up again they will. It is useful to take reserve batteries on any climb. A backpack to hold your gear is essential and a shoulder bag may be best so that your camera is accessible but protected from the cold. Your climbing gear needs to be light, so choose layers that keep you warm, and make sure you wear the correct hiking boots and crampons if you need them. Climbing and shooting on snowy mountains is a dangerous occupation but if you follow these tips, it should be a rewarding one.

 

Fake Sky Landscape Photography

July 14, 2013

Fake Sky Landscape Photography

After watching this video – http://youtu.be/XrgxQzHhBl0?t=58m30s

Never had a day where there wasn’t a fabulous sunset and the moon appeared where ever or as big as I wanted it to be ….

Briefly at 58 minutes 30 seconds into the video the photographer states, “I was on vacation and I’m never coming back so I’ll just add clouds to the scene.” The video link is set to start right at that point.

To clear up questions this is a composite, the clouds were not there that morning at Fin Dome in the Sierra. I do not mention that I’m a documentary photographer in my bio but all shots I take have a RAW file or series of RAW files to match the scene or at least show the path I took in editing so I don’t share any images that don’t match up between sky and land other then bracketing beyond the dynamic range of a single image. No Delicate Arch photos from a Friday evening with a sunset from the porch here in Los Angeles on Tuesday. This is just my own personal belief that will vary from other landscape photographers sharing on social media.

Ansel Adams was known for heavily manipulating his captured film but he did not add a new sky from another time and place. If someone wanted to purchase the photo above or I shared it I WOULD SAY IT THE SKY WAS FROM ANOTHER DAY ADDED IN PHOTOSHOP. I couldn’t sell it or share it any other way.

Has landscape photography changed since the days of Ansel Adams?

This is not an anti art post, I love creating art

Example http://bit.ly/10URZO5

A few photographers I know that are really good at creating similar art photographs that I love to see are Klaus Priebe and Rich Martinez. They post some very interesting composites that just make you wonder how their imagination works. The art photographs that they create need no explanation or disclosure it’s in the work as you see it. I recommend friending or following these two guys because they do have some excellent work!!

Beliefs are highly varied when it comes to editing as to what people do and what they do not do. Should people have limits? No! Definitely not! An artist should do exactly what they feel helps them express their art in the way they see most fit. Art has no limits. If you feel you can’t compete with other photographers because they composite much better then you do then I recommend taking lots of graphic artist classes or watch many tutorials to get you up to speed with the people you want to compete with. Either way if you work as an artist or a photographer it will help you. Just make sure you put in the 1,000’s of hour of practice and you will see much improvement.

Merely looking for opinions on adding skies to images depicted as the way it was.

America’s Newest National Park – Pinnacles

February 14, 2013

America’s Newest National Park – Pinnacles

Lichen covered boulders in the foggy chaparral at Pinnacles National Park.

This California Chaparral park is full of lichen covered boulders and high coastal mountain range views!! Some geologist say it’s the other half of the Santa Monica Mountains split into two different ranges long ago by the San Andreas and other faults. I’ve only been to the east side and found it very impressive from a landscape photographer’s point of view. Caves, canyons and high trails into a wilderness setting is what you’ll find there, check it out!! Park site

Pinnacles National Park is located 1 hour east of Monterey, 2 hours south of the San Francisco Bay Area and 4 hours north of the Los Angeles area on hwy 146, near hwy 101. There are two entrances to the park on the East and West Sides of the park. You may drive through King City to get to the other side of the park.

Late spring blooming monkey flower at Pinnacles National Park

Cave at Pinnacles National Park Monument California

See more of images of the wonderful California Chaparral by clicking here.

My 2012 Best & Unique Landscape Photographs

January 8, 2013

2012 was a great year and I hope you all enjoyed it. I had a some photos installed in the McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada (Food Court area) and an interpretive night pollution display set up in the newly remodeled visitor center in Death Valley. I’ll be getting married and having my first child in 2013 so I know it will be another great year. Looking forward to seeing all the 2012’s best from Jim Goldstein’s yearly list! I hope your 2013 is as great as you make it!!

A hidden sea arch along California's Central Coast
A hidden sea arch along California’s Central Coast

Cholla cactus garden illuminated by a spectacular desert sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park. The cholla cactus is famous for it's dramatic way of catching backlight from the sun for hours after the sun has risen and hours before it sets as well. Don't get too close or they may stick to you.
Cholla cactus garden illuminated by a spectacular desert sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park. The cholla cactus is famous for it’s dramatic way of catching backlight from the sun for hours after the sun has risen and hours before it sets as well. Don’t get too close or they may stick to you.

Wild yucca bloom in the Mojave Nature Preserve.  It's a beautiful place most photographers skip out on.
Wild yucca bloom in the Mojave Nature Preserve. It’s a beautiful place most photographers skip out on.

Death Valley Northwest Section
Death Valley Northwest Section

Death Valley Coyote Silhouettes
Death Valley Coyote Silhouettes

Death Valley Racetrack
Death Valley Racetrack Backlit Lenticular Cloud

Canyoneering in Death Valley
Canyoneering in Death Valley

Watchman Virgin River in the fall at Zion National Park
Watchman Virgin River in the fall at Zion National Park

Fiery sunsest through Elephant Rock Arch at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada's Mojave Desert.
Fiery sunsest through Elephant Rock Arch at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada’s Mojave Desert.

Eastern Sierra in Fall
Eastern Sierra in Fall

More Eastern Sierra in Fall
More Eastern Sierra in Fall

El Capitan and the Merced in Fall, Yosemite National Park
El Capitan and the Merced in Fall, Yosemite National Park

Canyoneer makes a 40ft jump in a very remote section of Jump Canyon in Sierra Nevada Foothills of California
Canyoneer makes a 40ft jump in a very remote section of Jump Canyon in Sierra Nevada Foothills of California

One of Zion's Canyons filled with fall color.
One of Zion’s Canyons filled with fall color.

Beautiful lone cottonwood tree on the Virgin River in Zion National Park
Beautiful lone cottonwood tree on the Virgin River in Zion National Park

Repelling a waterfall in Jump Canyon in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California.
Repelling a waterfall in Jump Canyon in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California.

Canyon Intersection - Zion
Canyon Intersection – Zion

Thunderstorm above an arch in Joshua Tree National Park
Thunderstorm above an arch in Joshua Tree National Park

Sea Arch in Big Sur, California Central Coast
Sea Arch in Big Sur, California Central Coast

S Curve at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada
S Curve at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

Website: Portfolio
Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
Private or small group workshop info: Learn.
Steve’s Photo Tips and How To Page
Steve’s Landscape Photographer Tools Page


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