Posts Tagged ‘Landscape photography’

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……


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!!

Change of Perspective

October 7, 2013



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”

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.

Free Nature Photography Presentation

October 12, 2011

We'll be photographing the Santa Monica Mountains or the beaches of the Santa Monicas after the event.

I’ll be making a presentation which is free and open to the public.

Saturday, October 15 at 1:30 pm at the Visitor Center for the Santa Monica Mountains Nat’l Recreation Area (Thousand Oaks, CA).

The lecture and photo critique will be held next door to the visitor center.

This presentation will be on creating dramatic landscape photography.

This presentation will help you focus and better connect with nature while in field with your camera.

This presentation will help you blend art into your photography.

This presentation will provoke thoughts and help you become a more creative photographer.

Stop by and show your support for landscape photography as art in Los Angeles.

We will be shooting the local mountain or beaches after the event so please do bring your camera.

Please bring your camera for a shoot afterwards!

Join me for an exciting afternoon!

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

Visualization Before a Trip Into the Mountains

August 9, 2011

Light and Shadow Sketch Sierra Nevada Peaks and Lakes
©Steve Sieren 2011, all work in this blog is copyrighted and may not be used in other blogs with out my written permission.

I sketched out my Plan A idea as shown here. I knew getting up to this spot would take a lot of effort for just a one night trip and I didn’t have the extra amount of energy to climb the 800 ft up the ridge at 2 or 3am in the morning so there’s always next time. I had a plan B shot that turned out to be great but I’d rather spend the extra efforts in getting something not photographed yet. Of course it would of been a lot easier to photograph the lake that I rolled out of bed next to. Instead we walked a few lakes over for a more dominant peak to photograph that was just slightly out of view from our campsite. I pretty much had to trust my photographer friend Floris van Breugel who researched a great spot for sunset and vice versa for my sunrise options, anyhow the place was great for multiple options at both sunrise and sunset.

In California we don’t always have clouds so we learn to shoot with out them, it’s part of the plan. The location in the sketch was removed in photoshop because I don’t broadcast exact locations. The wilderness is too big to have us all flock to one certain place.

Plan B location

Diamond of Sierra Nevada

Visualization is only small bit of what goes into creating great photographs and you’ll find many other options along the trail, near the trailhead and at camp or off in the distance. I have come across many photographic opportunities that I’ve made mental notes of planning on coming back to photograph but in time I forget about many of them. For example I came across an interesting sea arch along the Central Coast of California and completely forgot about until I visited the area again and saw it. I really thought how could I forget about such a great opportunity? In long the run it will help you to keep all of your ideas written down during or at just after a trip. This really helps a photographer keep their views a little fresher in the landscape photography market.

Peaks next to camp.

A quickly composed photograph on the short dawn hike to another lake before sunrise.

An elevated view into the Earth's Shadow from high in the Sierra

An elevated view into the Earth’s Shadow from high in the Sierra Nevada.

Elements of Design - Sierra Nevada Mountains

You can’t always count on colorful fiery clouds at sunset or sunrise in the Sierra Nevada so you’ll find if you practice on working with design of elements under the sky you’ll soon realize you don’t need the sky at all.

I simplified the scene here by making the peak and the grass tussock dominate most of the frame.

I use visualization to maximize what I take home, some of the images were edited years apart but were all photographed within 10 hours of each other in the same one night trip into the mountains. Visualization is a great tool to take advantage of during short trips where you spending a great deal of effort to get to these far out of reach places. It also helps in so many other forms of photography and other aspects of everyday life.

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

Spot Connet GPS Device Upgrades Itself!!

January 10, 2011

Spot has big changes coming at the end of this month!!!
You will be able to text message with it via your smart phone while connected via blue tooth which is great compared to the older version that only sent an SOS or morse code type single message to your contacts. Technology changes so fast it’s amazing!

Spot Connect has new features and will connect to a smart phone.

Yes folks, you’ll be able to update your facebook & twitter if you’d like to.

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
Steve’s Landscape Photographer Tools Page

Replacing Mirror Lock UP with Live View

April 17, 2010

Here is quick tech tip, I generally do not use mirror lock unless I have a shutter speed near 1/15 of a second or if I’m shooting with a focal length of beyond 200mm. Before live view it took slightly longer get set up on mirror lock by going into the menu to activate mirror lock up and again going into the menu to exit the mirror lock up mode. Now with live the mirror lock up is availble in one push of a button. The vibrations from the mirror flipping up and down are down when you need it most. That’s just one extra reason why live view is one of my demands on a camera body.

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