Posts Tagged ‘workshop’

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 Take on Mt Whitney

December 9, 2011

Icey reflecion of Mt Whitney covered in alpen glow in the high country of the Eastern Sierra.

Icey reflection of Mt. Whitney covered in alpen glow in the high country of the Eastern Sierra

As a creative goal I attempt to create unique photographs so if anyone would like to help find a similar photograph please send me a link because I couldn’t find one. It’s give me a reason to go back again! Thanks for viewing folks!

I’ll talk more on the experience up there in a later post, thanks for reading and viewing.

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

Triple Arch at Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

December 8, 2011

Triple Arch at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada

Triple Arch at Valley of Fire

I’ve been sharing a few arch photographs on the internet from the Valley of Fire, well here are a few more to add to the series, “The Land of Little Arches”. Years ago my parents used to live out in Colorado Springs, CO so I’d have a great time looking at a map and trying to figure out how long I could make the trip getting there, the average amount of time getting there was 3 to 4 days and same thing with the way back so I’d visit some fantastic places of the Southwest & Rocky Mountains in good light and scout out a few others in the harsher hours of the day. Unless I could find some kind of canyon full of shade or canyon light then I’d just be there for hours with out a time limit.

Some of you may wonder how decisions are made on what to photograph. Some photographers use a book or a guide, sometimes GPS coordinates. This gives them a little bit of certainty and eliminates some of the risks of taking a possibly bad photograph and not coming home with anything. Of course no one can control the light and weather but some photographers are good at adapting to it so this increases their certainty of pulling off a great photograph such as the one they want to duplicate or hopefully improve upon and later submit to a contest for some kind of validation or just share it with friends. Is this true or not true?

A valley view of the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada

I love to drive down a road and just look for interesting backdrops such as desert mountains or large rock formations. Especially something I haven’t seen shot over and over again. I might have to spend a little more time being out there exploring but the payoff to me is well worth it. It really helps one’s creativity when you are working with something you can’t duplicate. I guess you could compare it to visiting restaurants when traveling, do you judge the place by it’s exterior or look up the reviews online at home or smart phone, personally I don’t care, if I see a BBQ house that looks like shit I immediately think “I’m going in to find out what it’s like”. I’ve had good and bad experiences this way, an eatery known for it’s margaritas called the Loop in the town of Manitou Springs, CO. The margaritas were great but I like spicy food so I ordered “The Plate from Hell”. Let’s just leave it at the plate defeated me, but the experiences from the road are part of what motivate me to keep going.

Photographers often fly to Vegas to visit the Crown Jewels of the Southwest, places such as Bryce Canyon, Zion, and the Grand Canyon. Collect a few images and be gone. They may see Valley of Fire on the map and think I’ll visit sometime and some stop by shoot the Fire Wave, Fire Cave (Windstone Arch), Elephant Rock, and Atlai Rock then check it off the list and say been there done that. Valley of Fire and Lake Mead are so full of photographic opportunities I often found it hard to leave. Even during fun trips to Las Vegas with my friends during the summer I’d find some time sneak off and explore a few canyons here and there. The heat alone was enough to kill me and my water had to be frozen solid before any hikes began. There were many finds in bad light that require more trips into the desert to wait for the good light! As landscape photographers it helps to live in a place where we can be close to beautiful locations we can photograph only minutes away and Las Vegas has no shortage for the icon hunter or the explorer.

See more Valley of Fire images here or find workshop info here.

Half Dome’s North Face

November 20, 2011

Half Dome's North Face from Olmstead Point

Half Dome is no doubt the most heavily photographed icon in Yosemite Valley. It can be seen from so many vantage points through out the national park. This particular view is photographed very often and has a popular pull out parking called Olmstead Point. You’ll find many photographers and families shooting portraits up there. For us landscape photographers wanting the good light we can get a great view of Half Dome’s North Face from here. In this photograph it’s late light in the afternoon hitting the face of the icon with enough mixture of light and shadows to give it a three dimensional effect. Olmstead Point is located off highway 120 also known as the Tioga Pass road, it’s high elevation makes it’s easy access only available in the very late, early fall and summer months. In the winter you’ll need to snowshoe or cross country ski to access it, there is at least on company out there that will help you if you’re coming up from the bottom of the Tioga Pass on the East Side of the Sierra during winter.

Marmot at Olmstead Point Yosemite

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

White Balance – Another Approach

November 10, 2011

Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park

This image was taken the previous year at Zion. At this location it can be a little precarious getting down to the water’s edge so the average group will not be found here. It’s a man made waterfall despite it’s realistic look. I’d like to disclose that I cloned out part of a footbridge in the far right hand side.

While I was processing this image, I found there were so many different white balances inside the frame. The blue sky at dawn had it’s own, the alpen glow had it’s own, the peaks were in between the the sky and the fall foliage, plus the waterfall had so much of a blue cast and the shadows in the far right corner were even cooler on the white balance scale. You may often see some guru talking about white balance and if you set it to an exact setting it fixes all your problems, I find that very hard to believe when many scenes have so many different white balances inside them so it helps but it’s not a fix all. A general setting will help but it’s highly likely you will need to make adjustments during your processing or blend multiple RAW files with different WB* settings. For this image I used Nik’s Color Efex Pro (sieren discount code). The brilliance & warmth slider made some of the white balance adjustments pretty easy and I masked them with a brush to keep the parts I wanted and discarded what I didn’t want to use. Also, I used the Remove Color Cast option for the “too blue” waterfall because the selective color adjustment in PS didn’t do enough. Although it still remains cool, it’s personal taste how warm or cool you may want something to be. Tonal Contrast was also used to bring mid tones to only specific areas I wanted them in. I thought I would share a few processing steps some people may have trouble with.

This year there was a log jam from a flood here at this waterfall so I didn’t bother shooting it but found another little piece of Virgin River shoreline with a couple of golden cottonwoods that I hope to share later after I get back from the Joshua Tree Light Painting Workshop this weekend.

*WB abbreviation for white balance.

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

Wild Light Fall Color Reflection – Eastern Sierra

October 24, 2011

Wild light and fall color reflection at North Lake in the Eastern Sierra

Maybe this is my perception but I feel most photographers go nuts over a sunset reflection, if it’s in front of them. Maybe even prefer it over the golden hour when the best light hits the land and creates interesting light and shadows on the subjects that are important in our photographs. Most of the time I think these sunset colored clouds are just background decor to add a little something extra to a scene that doesn’t have the greatest light. Something to just accent an image. Am I the only one that feels this way?

Field notes: Early that morning at North Lake in the Eastern Sierra, as soon as light of dawn revealed there was cloud cover and we could see that the holes in the clouds would likely let some good light through in a few a places. I was with a couple of friends but we all had different agendas, one of them did not want to go into the mess of crowded photographers at the creek outlet of North Lake so he went of into the aspen groves and we never saw him again until we were ready to leave hours later. We had parked on the north side of the lake where it’s a longer walk to the popular spot there. I chatted with a few strangers but kept it short. I took a photo looking towards the White Mountains and figured I’d at least better get into a position where I could at least shoot into multiple directions. There is a creek you must cross or take the long way around, it was at least 32 degrees out and I didn’t want to get my feet wet but I had a change of pants, shoes, and socks in the car if needed. Before I knew it I was crossing the creek to take a couple of different shots in both directions.

North Lake Eastern Sierra in the fall.

The light was good and I was only spending between 30 seconds and a couple of minutes composing scenes, usually I take longer then. There was a sense of rush but I still very calm in between exposures.

This photo does't really show how crowded it gets in this one spot here at North Lake but I'm sure you could imagine.

This photo does’t really show how crowded it gets in this one spot here at North Lake but I’m sure you could imagine.

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

Light Painting Thoughts

October 6, 2011

One of Ansel Adams iconic images was taken here, intead of trying to duplicate his I did something completely different with the place. Eastern Sierra 2007
One of Ansel Adams iconic images was taken here, intead of trying to duplicate his photograph, I did something completely different with the place. Here are my field notes, this was taken at very end of twilight. The trees were lit with a head lamp during a 30 sec exposure. I left my intervolometer/cable relase at home so 30 secs for every shot with the self timer was getting to me. It’s the moon around 9pm taken over an hour past sunset. The moon isn’t close to setting yet but the peaks around 11,900 ft elevation and the lake is at around 10,900ft so it actually not setting until about midnight. The intervolometer is a just a cable release w/ some timer funtions on it. The device is made by Canon and is no better then a cheap calculator watch. It’s a good tool to have in case your sleepy and forget that you left your DSLR on bulb all night long. After backpacking the 8.5 miles to get here and missing sunset I felt the need create something. I gave it a touch of the orton effect (learned from Marc Muench) to give it just a touch of dreaminess.
Eastern Sierra Nevada Range, CA
Canon 5D 17-40mm at 17mm Iso 200
August 2007

After reading Richard Wong’s In the Field blog last week I thought I would share my thoughts and a few experiences on light painting.

Light painting brings out some of the best traits a photography can carry, creativity, visualization and enjoyment. The easier the idea the easier the execution can be. I’ve been told by other biasd photographers that there are only certain ways of light painting, I find that idea too limiting and it only steals all the fun out of it! I’ve even seen some of these light painting biasd photographer change their mind and now teach it as well. Some of these shared limiting beliefs are only use LED lights, the stars must be a certain way, and you must only use a single exposure. In light painting you become the only source of light besides the stars and moon if it’s out there. When you get an idea and begin to wonder how much “fun” it could be putting the idea together, there shouldn’t be anything that limits you.

Lone Juniper Tree & Balanced Rock in Joshua Tree National Park
Lone Juniper Tree & Balanced Rock in Joshua Tree National Park. With help from a friend I was able to capture this scene in one exposure, otherwise I would of had to of used an intervolumeter(programable cable release).

Shared image location on a google map.

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

Art Without Photoshop

October 5, 2011

Havasu Falls at Dusk, Havasu Canyon, Grand Canyon, Arizona

Do You Really Need Photoshop to Make an Artistic Photograph?

If anyone tells you yes, that’s BULLSHIT!! If the light hits the sensor in an appealing way then you can get away without using photoshop or elements. You will need to convert the RAW image to a jpeg with a basic converter. Many times we will need need photoshop to make local adjustments meaning specific areas of a photograph. But yes there are times when the light is perfectly fine within the frame of what was photographed and if the composition is fine then it just may be artistic enough.

Just to clarify, this is not an anti photoshop blogpost, I wouldn’t own Photoshop CS5, 4, 3, 2 and other versions if I didn’t use them.

Havasu Falls at Dusk, Havasu Canyon, Grand Canyon, Arizona

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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