Joshua Tree Photo Workshop

August 13, 2012

Joshua Tree Photo Workshop

Had a chance to look for Joshua Tree’s largest arch in the park, this is not it. I didn’t find yet so I’ll get back there once it’s cooled off a little more.

This is a shot from Saturday’s Meteor Photo Workshop. I didn’t advertise this workshop but just posted a single random post on facebook and picked up 6 students. With the small group it was so much easier to compose around each other. Hit the “Easy Button” !!! Sorry if you missed it, I’ll do another mini workshop somewhere in California and priced affordable for those who’d like an introduction to a unique way of learning creative photography.

Find more info please visit

New Arch in the Mojave Desert

July 11, 2012

New arch in the Mojave Desert

A small arch in Red Rock Canyon State Park, California. This small overlooks the Mojave Desert from the cliffs above the desert floor. A clearing storm brings soft light to the El Paso Mountain Range in the background. This was only a little over an hour drive from the Northern Los Angeles area. There are plenty of arches that haven’t been photographed yet, so for the curious keep exploring.. .

See it larger 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

Composing for the Edges

June 27, 2012

Plush greens at McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, California

While composing this photograph I had to imagine the merged files together as one because the 2×6 or 4×6, etc box of the viewfinder didn’t fit the format I was looking for. When we create panoramics we have to use our imagination and establishing the borders or edges of the frame are probably one of the most important parts of doing this. Here I took note on where there were dark areas around the bright waterfall so as the image is viewed there is more of flow downward without distractions along the edges of the frame. Any bright water on the edges would of pulled the eye towards it and disrupted the path and flow of where the water leads the eye through the scene. Here I chose to have an exit at the bottom where the water comes out of the frame. You can compose differently and keep the eye in the frame by keeping the white water away from the edges, this doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t want to have any bright water near the frame just keep conscious thought of where you place it. Conscious thought is what composition is all about. Have you ever felt you placed all elements of frame exactly where they needed to be?

We can create typical images of scenes such as this one but another thing to keep in mind is has it been done this way? If so fine take the picture then move on to the next scene while looking for something different.

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

Backpacking in Kings Canyon under the Milky Way.

June 25, 2012

Backpacking tent in Kings Canyon under the Milky Way.

Had a little teamwork on this one, Christina had her headlamp set up in the perfect spot with out knowing it! She was feeling the altitude on this trip so I had to carry a little more then I expected to keep her moving along. With the strong winds out I thought Christina might of wanted to turn around but she toughed it out and I’m glad! I came to shoot the alpen glow but think I like the night view more then the day stuff. This little old tent is about 10 years old and this may be it’s last photo. Too bad we don’t get the trade ins on tents or customer loyalty discounts!! It certainly lasted a lot longer then I though they would have, it was less then a 100 bucks and all I could afford at the time. I’ll get a lighter one next time!

It was a cool trip, meaning on the cold side. We didn’t jump into any of the mountain lakes or broke much of sweat because there was a constant breeze to keep our temps cool while hiking. Christina saw her first yellow bellied marmot and thought it would make a great friend for her pet dog to play with, that would be funny, a giant chihuahua playing w/ a marmot! We pitched the tent up next to the tallest boulder to block the wind, it’s blurring parts of the tent in this shot but it was stretched out pretty far with guy lines so you can’t really see much blur in it all unless you look closely. This was just a random unplanned shot where I knew I could use the 3 different layers make the scene work and fill the frame with interesting subject matter.

The Sierra has been pretty cloudless this late spring and early summer season. I love to frequent the places I shoot to get know the weather that isn’t the same every year. Some years we have almost cloudless summers and some we get more then the usual fair of afternoon thunder storms. I love going light with out a tent but haven’t been caught in a rain, hail or thunder storm with out a tent, but maybe someday I’ll get pelted to no end by baseball sized hail!!

Have you ever been caught without a tent while backpacking?

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

Green Dreams – Mt. Whitney Abrstract Reflection

June 19, 2012

Mt Whitney abstact reflection

Abstract reflection of Mt Whitney in a high elevation tarn above the tree line in the John Muir Wilderness.

What I liked about this viewpoint is you have one the Sierra’s most famous icons but it’s so different from just looking at it from highway 395 or the Alabama Hills. We are creative photographers right? We can come up with a new view right? We don’t have a list of photos we intend to copy or slightly twist to call our own idea, do we? Sometimes we just stand in a place where we fall into deep thought… .

The sky is so heavy and full of rocks in the scene it’s hard to make out what is correct if the scene is real? You can stand underneath these California Sky Scrapers and feel the rise from the bottom. I couldn’t imagine climbing up the face of one of those peaks but who knows maybe someday.. . You can almost make out the East Buttress or the East Face. I didn’t take either one of those routes, instead I took the mountaineer’s route up to the top which only involved a 500ft section of some mixed class 3 and 4 climbing. I’ve been yet to try any alpine class 5 yet but my friends are pushing me to do it. I had the chance to speak to a free soloist at the campsites, an older man http://www.sierenphotography.com/photos/i-976cBDx/0/M/i-976cBDx-M.jpg from Canada. He gave me thoughts on how to improve my climbing just by breathing consciously but he also gave me the impression that there was no other place he’d rather be but in the Sierra where the mountains are much warmer then Canada. It likely to be the last place he will ever lays eyes on. (I took that photo so it’s not me in the photo). The guy is actually chatting with my friends who are very small in this picture somewhere. . .

I really enjoy any challenge I can handle with preparation. For the most part I love photography and little climbing here and there keeps me on my toes and fingers.

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

What’s Still Blooming in SoCal 2012? Part I

May 14, 2012

Blooming whipple yucca

The big question is did the late rain rains bring any flowers to spring 2012? Yes it did, not much but still enough for photography. These whipple yucca (aka God’s Candles) are putting on a show through out the washes and a little here and there on dry hillsides. All blooming yucca shown were photographed this morning along Piru Creek, right off highway 126. Will they still be around by the weekend? Yes they will, they haven’t peaked so they will be around for the weekend. What is blooming in the same location? There are a few bush like trees full of pink flowers in the same wash so keep an eye out for them. I’ll be posting a few more late spring finds this week to wrap up spring 2012 so stay tuned!!

Late spring bloom 2012

Blooming whipple yucca

These whipple yucca can grow to nearly 20 feet tall.

Piru Creek, Santa Clara River Watershed, Southern California

Blooming whipple yucca

Blooming whiple yucca

Giant blooming whipple yucca in the Santa Clara River Valley, Southern California. Unfortunately these only bloom once and die shortly afterwards. Their last hoorah is a spectacle no doubt!

blooming whipple yucca

Wild in Arizona

March 9, 2012

Wild in Arizona Wildflower Book and Ebook

Wild in Arizona

I apologize for sending this with out the links working. Everything is fine now and I’ve added a little more to it! Thank you for your patience.

Looking to do some wildflower photography this season, well it has already started in Arizona. My friend Colleen who I’ve met and photographed with has a fantastic book you will need to get you in the right place at the right time. The flowers have already been blooming there for a couple of weeks so I feel I’ve been missing out, time to head for Arizona but NOT with out this great book!!!

You can get your paperback or ebook version here Wild in Arizona

Don’t forget to follow their blog as well Wild in Arizona Blog

When I talked to her last here is what she had to say:

We’ve been posting on our blog: http://wildinarizona.com/wordpress/. Paul’s out right now (Peridot Mesa, I think), and I’ll be out tomorrow thru Sunday at a minimum checking things out at Lost Dutchman State Park, Desert Botanical Gardens, and Bartlett Lake. So we’ll be posting a new update Sunday or Monday.

In summary, we had an unusually early poppy bloom starting in mid-February – almost 4 weeks early! – in the Silver King Mine Road/Peachville Mountains and Peridot Mesa area. Though the poppy show in those two spots are peaking or past peak, the “normal” bloom of lupines, owl clover, fiddleneck, and the like is starting to show there as well. Areas around Tucson have started (on time) in places like Saguaro National Park and Catalina State Park. We’ve heard Organ Pipe Cactus NM is showing color now too.

It’s starting! Will it be a mind-blowing show this spring? Probably not, we just didn’t get the rain in January. But it is already better than last year…our monsoon bloom later this summer may be killer though. Stay tuned…

Have I talked about flowers enough yet?! HA!

Talk soon, thanks again!
Colleen

Mile.. Mile & A Half – The Muir Project

February 15, 2012

The John Muir trail is a 211 mile trail that follows 160 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Most think there are so many passes along the trail and find that be a discouraging factor but there are only 3 passes spread far apart from each other so that only leaves being gone for about 3 weeks as an excuse. More time equals more enjoyment then just zipping through it’s the sides trip up Whitney from the backside and so many other lakes, trails, peaks and passes to see along the trail. Most start the trail in Yosemite Valley and it just passed Mt Whitney. The documentary film was created last year during the highest snowpack in the decade melting away so it will display how the mountains weep those heavy tears.

The suspense is certainly building for this film for me, enjoy!!

MILE…MILE & A HALF (trailer) from The Muir Project on Vimeo.

Here’s one of their older trailers
JMT Project

American Galapagos Sunset

February 14, 2012

Channel Island National Park Seascape Image

American Galapagos Sunset – Channel Island National Park

Okay you got me it’s not the Galapagos Islands (I wish) but we like to refer to California’s Channel Islands as the American Galapagos because of their abundant variety of endemic species and plentiful sea life. It’s most certainly beautiful out there!

You can see the path of wind of in the distance. It’s partial evidence of how these high coastal sea cliffs are shaped.

The Channel Islands are some of the most beautiful islands on the West Coast. If you ever get a chance to see them it’s worth while. The weather is not the same compared to the mainland. You can be covered in fog while everyone is out on the beach back in Los Angeles.

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

Concerned About Color Management?

February 10, 2012

Mt Ritter and Banner Peak above Thousand Island Lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Eastern Sierra back country.

Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak 2006

In today’s digital photography world it’s possible to feel like the odd man out when we want to keep a natural feel of color to a scene. Keep that sense of being in a scene that really existed by standing in it and thinking it does exist and it isn’t fantasy. Maybe it’s just being old fashioned or sticking to the roots of what inspired us to begin shooting landscape photography. Maybe it was the books we chose to purchase it we were in inspired before the internet craze? Facebook, Flickr or the internet wasn’t the way people found 90% of their inspiration back then as they do nowadays. There has been trends in the cycle of photography some strange and some just evolution. Back in the 80’s and 90’s landscape photographers used something called a tobacco graduated filter, it was a fad that died just like disco. Today we have “The Magenta Cast” and the “Glow Filter” (gaussian blur / Orton Effect), shoot I’m embarrassed to say I have a few of those images!!

Look at how heavy my hand was at adding magenta, extra warmth and too much saturation, I'm guilty and don't like how fake this one feels to me.  Just can't be proud to look at it this way, I call this a need for saturation or Color Vomit.

Maybe that will be like saying, “I used to wear platforms with live fish in them” ?

Did a canyon really change color in the last decade??  Faux cast added in second shot.

Has anyone noticed a change in color of the canyons of the Southwest or am I seeing things? I last visited Antelope Canyon in 2005 and noticed a lack of magenta casts in the photograph during that time period and now it seems that canyon has more of magenta cast in it from most photographs shared on the net from Upper Antelope. Am I out of my mind or this is trend of adding a magenta cast right now?

We have to use photoshop as a tool 99% of the time to make our adjustments but there is a certain amount of discretion that highly varies between photographers. It should vary, we are all different. Many of the newer photographers not knowing how to use it well enough to express their imagination to it’s fullest potential feel limited without the knowledge of how to use it. Others overdue and that’s their intent, either way you can learn to connect with the way you would like to present your artwork or photographs. It just takes a little bit of time and if you’re concerned about color management consider backing off on the magenta a little.


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