Archive for November, 2010

Santa Monica Mountain Beach Workshop

November 22, 2010

A few shots from yesterday evening’s workshop down at the beach in Malibu. It was a little cold out and maybe the water was a little warmer then the air and wind but you never seem to notice it when you’re in groove. Like gargoyles on the side of a building cormorants, gulls and pelicans added a little bit of extra detail to the scene and they also held these photographer’s attention a lot longer then I thought they would.

Photography Workshop in Malibu just outside Los Angeles, California

I really enjoy shooting candids while people are so focused on what they are doing. They’re often so still even during a long exposure you might not capture any movement from them.

Ranger Bob photographing a sea arch during the golden hour.

If you are photographing a crowded place it can often be difficult to not included people in the landscape so you might as well try to use them to your advantage. Silhouettes are often a fast shot so you don’t have to worry about movement as much because your exposure is going to be a lot faster.

What do you do with people that won't move out of the way? Shoot them!


Fall Color Photo Tips; Part II

November 19, 2010

• Certain iconic scenes haven’t been photographed to death in certain seasons. A little bit of seasonal touch can go along way. The scene here was made famous by Ansel Adams black and white photography.

Ansel Adams famous Fern Spring with a touch of autumn.

• Everyone will tell you use a polarizer, but why use a polarizer? Without a polarizer these 3 images would be exactly the same. The first image is at full strength of polarization, the last is without any polaration and the middle image could of been created in two different ways. Gets you thinking doesn’t it?

What exactly do you want out of your polarizer?

• If you miss the fall color in the mountains don’t forget about other types of foliage that may change weeks and months later in different locations. You’ll be surprised at what you were missing and overlooked. Fall color is so much more then just aspen and maple trees or whatever first comes to mind.

In California we have the Sierra Nevada that is plentiful in early fall but you can find fall color in many other locations.

• Somethings are easily forgotten so don’t forget to check below your feet. Try to vary your scenes by taking the large expansive landscape vistas, detailed close ups and much more in between these two vastly different views.

Big leaf maples on Yosemite Valley's floor.

Website: Portfolio
Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
Private or small group workshop info: Learn.
Steve’s Photo Tips and How To Page
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Lobster Claw Arch – Joshua Tree National Park

November 17, 2010

Lobster Claw Arch - Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree is famous for it’s otherworldly trees scattered amongst some very unique boulder formations. These piles and piles of rocks are almost endless it’s not a wonder why people often get lost in the maze of monzogranite. Curiosity makes you wonder what you can find in the sea of rocks. This arch probably doesn’t have an official name but some climber friends call it Lobster Claw Arch and the name is well suited to it’s shape. I spent a little bit of time scrambling through the boulders to find it so it was well worth enjoying in the warm light. Sometimes it’s the little things you can find off the beaten path that keep you searching for more to photograph. We all love the icons but it’s the lure of new things that pushes me to keep searching for something I haven’t seen yet.

Mixing Color into Zion’s Fall Palette

November 15, 2010

You can find many colorful scenes in Zion especially along the Virgin River and it’s tributaries. The golden cottonwoods are plentiful along the water ways so it’s common to find them with their roots running into the streams and creeks but you’ll have to do quite a bit searching to find some red maples very close to the waters edge. They add a splash of color to your Zion scene even if they are red and orange just like the walls of the canyon, at peak they pop against colors in the canyon.

Zion's Virgin River with cottonwood and maple trees near the mouth of the narrows.

The large cottonwood is what initially drew me into the scene, after a student pointed it out but I couldn’t compose it into the scene the way I wanted to and include the maples and reflection so I shifted the lens and merged a couple of files in photoshop. By doing this I was able to include all 3 major elements, the giant cottonwood, red maples and the reflection in a way I found pleasing. By moving the camera you’re increasing you file size and you can easily remove the restraint of the rectangular box viewfinder or LCD. They both exclude the surroundings and help us compose but in a way the LCD and veiwfinder can be limiting so it’s best to keep your options open.