Posts Tagged ‘Steve Sieren Flickr’

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…

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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

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

Lone Cottonwood at Zion National Park

November 27, 2012

Virgin River Cotton at Zion National Park

Every year at Zion you find a tree that has changed color, this is this year’s tree. I’d ask if you guys were sick of seeing photos from Zion but this isn’t one of those icons that you’ve seen a thousand times before… This lone cottonwood tree stands all by itself next to this emerald river in Zion National Park. Per request, this photo can be deleted and replaced with a bridge shot of the watchman!

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

My 2011 Best Nature and Landscape Photographs

January 3, 2012

Mojave Green Rattlesnake in the Mojave Desert.

2011 was a great year looking back I ended up in a lot of places I never thought I would of or could of even made it to. It was tough deciding on what to put in this collection with out thinking about the effort it took get some of the images that did not make it onto the page here. Well it looks like I spent a lot of time in the Mojave Desert and Eastern Sierra, these two places have become my favorite over the years. I also made it down into Baja California despite the drug war going down there. With the 4 different trips I never ran into any problems besides getting searched at the check points, thankfully there were no rubber gloves involved there. Also finished the 50 mile backpacking trail along California’s Lost Coast and down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with a crazy group of hikers that run with their backpacks on. Couldn’t of done that with out Osprey and Tamron.

In 2011 I processed many images from previous years and only 25% were from 2011 so you’ll see more from 2011 later in other blog posts here. I’d like to to thank you all for taking a moment to view a photograph or two through out the year. See my 2010’s best. View the panoramas larger.

The Goose Neck at Joshua Tree National Park

A student helped me by hitting the shutter on my camera while I demonstrated how I light paint off camera.

Yosemite's Half Dome from the North.

Took quite a few family portraits from Olmstead Point in the short amount of time I was here shooting Half Dome from the north.

New Navajo Falls - Havasu Canyon - Grand Canyon West

Lot’s of changes to Havasu Canyon since the flood a few years back.

UFO Landing on the volcanic playa in Mojave Desert

A UFO that drifted into the Mojave Desert, a little far way from the Eastern Sierra.

Mt Whitney and the Milky Way, Eastern Sierra

This was taken from the Mountaineer’s route on Mt Whitney.

Coastal Dunes along California's Central Coast

Here is one of the largest coastal dune systems in North America, it’s right here on the Central California Coast.

Setting moon on Lone Pine Peak in the Eastern Sierra

This year we had the super moon out, according to science and astronomy it was the closest to the earth in years. Maybe that is why it looked like a ball of fire setting into breaking storm clouds over the Sierra.

Summer monsoon clouds over an emerald pool and waterfall in Baja California, Mexico

Summer monsoon clouds over an emerald pool and waterfall in Baja California, Mexico.

Natural palm oasis in Baja California

Natural palm oasis in Baja California

Morning mist after a night of rain in Joshua Tree National Park

Morning mist after a night of rain in Joshua Tree National Park.

Spring Cottonwoods in the Lower Owens River, Owens Valley

Spring Cottonwoods in the Lower Owens River, Owens Valley.

Death Valley bristlecone pine tree on Telescope Peak

Death Valley has bristlecone pines too, you know.

The Needles Colorado River Mojave Desert

The Needles are such a fantastic desert mountain backdrop not really photograph often by photographers.

Triple Arch at Valley of Fire State Park Nevada

Did a couple of workhsops at Valley of Fire this year, I highly recommend the place!

Did another trip up Half Dome this year with some friends, two of them are on the cables in the shot here. I thought the top being covered in clouds would make it a little ominous.

Christina kayaking down the Colorado River in the Mojave Desert

Christina kayaking down the Colorado River in the Mojave Desert

A lush covered creek along California's Lost Coast trail.

A lush covered creek along California’s Lost Coast trail.

Blooming buckwheat under breaking fog at sunset along California's Lost Coast Trail

looming buckwheat under breaking fog at sunset along California’s Lost Coast Trail

Pancaked lenticular clouds along in the Kern River in the Southern Sierra

Pancaked lenticular clouds along in the Kern River in the Southern Sierra

Mt Whitney above a melting high altitude lake.

A new perspective of iconic Mt. Whitney.

With so many options how do we make a decision on where we’re off to next? I hope you have a great 2012 and make it to all the places you have plans and desires to make it too! May the good light be with you!

Mojave Desert cross roads sign

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

Featured April Photographer Interview

April 20, 2011

A starfish clings for it's life during the sunset in Malibu, Southern California

Hi Everyone, I just wanted to share a recent interview I took part in.

We want to thank Steve for answering our questions, and sharing his time with us! Please visit his site links to see more of his wonderful work, and to let him know you enjoyed this interview. – The Aperture Academy

:: How did you get your start in photography? Were landscape and nature always your first subject matter?

I had always been interested in different kinds of art and photography as a kid, it was sort of a random hobby that was never taken too seriously. I played around in the dark room in high school and worked at a one-hour photo booth shortly afterward and it was interesting, so I didn’t really think I was learning while I was busy having fun with it. My first plane trip was over the Sierra to visit my parents that lived near Lake Tahoe. Seeing how much wilderness was out there had me floored, but the views from the jet window were just too short and too fast. Eagerly I drove out there to see them again very soon. Once you see your first sierra alpen glow you’re hooked. At the time I was working as a sales assistant so I had a lot of people I could show vacation photos to and surprisingly they wanted to buy them, so I became a sort of a picture peddler. The only problem was, the photos were shot with plastic throw away cameras. Too bad I couldn’t afford a nice camera at the time, but the desire and passion was born!

Months later, I was helping some friends move one day. There was an old OM2 Olympus camera just sitting there in the garage full of dust and nobody packed it up. I asked if I could have the camera and after arguing with another friend over it, they gave it to me. Eventually I shot a wedding so I could buy a digital camera to better experiment with. The learning curve went so much faster, so I embraced digital photography. Instantly I became a weekend warrior with a camera in hand, eager to leave on a Friday afternoon and not return until the late hours of Sunday evening. My work from my first digital year was featured in the Show Case section of Outdoor Photographer Magazine three separate times in one year. There are very few photographers that OP has done this for and for those who have, they have been very well known for decades. This created some pressure for me to only create a certain type of image and made me realize I can’t be myself unless I experiment constantly with new forms of landscape photography.

Coastal Fog crawls into the Conejo Valley as spring begins.  Conejo Valley

:: Living near Los Angeles, what are your favorite local spots to go out and photograph?

Close to home I’ve got the Santa Monica Mountains with their mediterranean climate full of old volcanic rock formations, oak hillsides and rocky beaches. You can find seasonal waterfalls scattered around the Santa Monicas. This sort of California ecosystem doesn’t exist in the rest of North America and most photographers take it for granted and only photograph its beaches, so it’s often less crowded than the popular California Coast.

:: Do you ever try more urban type landscape photography?

I’m an active urban landscape photographer, I enjoy composing modern and old architecture. Some of my income comes from architectural photography. You can come across some interesting people when in the urban parts of Los Angeles, it’s an opportunity for photography I wouldn’t pass up. Some of the places down there can be a little rough at times, so I’d recommend to others going with a group. It can make it safer and if you don’t have a group at least try to blend in; use something other than an obvious camera bag and photo vest. I’m not saying buy a sombrero and a pancho, but maybe be a good samaritan and swap jackets with a homeless person that could use new one.

:: What was your scariest or worst day as a landscape and nature photographer?

I’ve had couple of days that were pretty scary, once down off the East Cape of Baja after coming back from a sunrise shoot I crossed some land where squatters were attempting to claim a section of beach, their dogs chased me out into the water. I didn’t have the chance to explain myself until after the fact.

I’ve been trapped by the tide in the tidal zones and had to wait it out my fare share of times, but the time I should have been scared the most was a couple of climbing trips up Mt. Agassiz. It’s respectfully one of the Sierra’s tallest peaks with many 14,000 footers in the distance on the same ridge.

The first time up I tried about 3 hours before sunrise and I didn’t summit in time because I couldn’t see the route clearly from the bottom. I was in the wrong place too many times and in need of climbing gear. A few days later, while I was sitting at home processing images from the trip days before, I got the wild idea I could summit the mountain that afternoon. By sunset I was on the mountain and only had another 1,000 feet to go. The moderate scramble in daylight increased to more bouldering in the darkness than I had thought. There is a picture stuck in my head from that evening and it’s from every time there was an exposed portion of the climb I had to look down and see how far the fall would have been. I can still hear the scree falling and snowmelt flowing down the gully on the route up. It was all worth the sunrise view at the top and of course it would be a lot easier to do all in daylight but then I wouldn’t be talking about the experience.

On top of California's 20th highest peak. It's a boulder crawl to the top not a walk like the trip up to Whitney.

:: What is the most difficult image you’ve made, and what made it so difficult?

My most difficult image I’ve made was Life’s Grip. It’s a seascape image where I had to drop the tripod and quickly compose an image in between waves in low light. The tide was low and I wanted the starfish to be dramatic in the composition. The first few tries had the camera soaked and there was too much shake from the rushing water so I opened up the aperture and bumped up the ISO to shorten the exposure. I sacrificed some depth of field but the main subject is tact sharp and the rushing water in the shape of an S curve leads the viewer off into the decorative sunset in the background. It was a difficult decision to decide if it should be shown or not. The rules were broken and the technical aspects were off slightly but the image has still been published and sold as a fine art print. When it comes to ocean photography, if you’re scared to get wet, you don’t belong at the ocean.

Many sandstorms blow through Death Valley and rather then running for cover I enjoy photographing them.

:: Outside of Southern California, where is your favorite spot for photography? Why?

Death Valley, it’s the largest National Park outside of Alaska. The geology is just so vast and unique in so many different parts of the park, the multiple dune fields, badlands, unique formation in the salt flats. There are so many hikes and car spots that haven’t been “iconized” yet. I’ve seen a lot of these spots here but the park is so big I haven’t seen half of it yet in all the trips I’ve made there. You can find dunes full of wildflowers, giant sand storms, blooming orchids in the spring, flooded salt flats and cacti covered in snow. It’s a land of extremes and you can spend a life time exploring it’s many canyons and valleys.

:: What do you find challenges you the most with your photography these days?

The most challenging thing for me right now is finding new ways to photograph old subjects. Changing the perspective of the familiar icons and finding other new locations that might interest other photographers is a continuing challenge. I’m cautious in providing information on certain locations because of the impact large crowds may have to the local environment. It’s always disappointing being denied access to a location due to permit restrictions, but it’s a necessity for all fragile environments. I think California will have some of these types of locations just like the Southwest – many of them.

:: What was the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you (or you read) that has helped shape you as a photographer, and what would be the piece of advice you would pass on to a new photographer?

It was from Jack Dykinga. He said a couple of things, first, people don’t tell it like it is nowadays, and second, keep a couple of twenties in your shirt pocket when driving in Mexico.

If I were to give any new photographers any advice, it would be, study the work of others you admire. I don’t recommend copying them, but I see it done so often; it’s a form of learning, so once you get good at that move on and develop your own style, become yourself again and enjoy exercising your own creativity!

We’re in an interesting time where some of us know about what landscape photography was like before the digital revolution and Internet changed the faces of landscape photography.

:: Your website mentions you’re working on a couple of book projects; how are those going?

I’ve been working on a book, I guess it could be done in a few separate books, but it’s a lot more work than I thought it would be, so it hasn’t been finished yet. I had to modify the book completely when I had news there was something very similar being worked on. In the middle of the book I became curious if it would be profitable or not and that kind of slowed things down and it’s all back up to speed. It’s turning out better then I had anticipated.

Volcanic cinder hole with shaft of light in the Mojave Desert

:: Do you have any personal shoots coming up you’d like to share with us, or projects you’ll be undertaking in the next few months?

I’ve been working on much of the Mojave Desert’s unpopular areas and there is really some fantastic stuff out there highly worth photographing. I’ve also been working with an ecotourism company for the Islands of Baja California to bring awareness and help protect the islands for future generations. For the most part, I try to keep the spontaneity alive so who knows where I may end up next or what I’ll be working on; I have lots of love for California!

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

Updating Your Software

August 27, 2010

Thousand Island Lake Panoramic

Updating your processing software doesn’t always help everyone. If new features aren’t something you will actually use how can it benefit you? New features should be the factor that helps you decide if you would benefit from upgrading. Over the past Photoshop has created new features that some might say haven’t been worth the cost of the upgrade. You can always find out if it’s worth it to you by using a trail version of most any software out there. You should really watch the tutorials before you do this.

Example: Thanks to Photoshop CS5’s new feature “Content-Aware Fill” I was able to fill in the corners where it would of been difficult to just paint in what the pano merging left out. It could take a long time to paint or clone in white portions of the photograph and not see any brush strokes in a large print. I’m sure glad I didn’t throw away these files. Sometimes you just have to wait 4 years for some help.


Original file waiting for it’s time to shine.
Exposure date & time: 7/13/2006 – 5:31:42 AM

I have used this feature enough to know it’s no stroke of magic and it can’t fix everything but it is an improvement from other similar tools in older versions of photoshop. There are many new features in CS5 that will help with my architectural work.

Panoramic Photography Part II: Advanced Tips

August 19, 2010

By knowing the distance of where infinite depth of field begins for each specific lens you have you establish where to place your foreground and sufficient DOF for you chosen scene. You don't necessarilly need the background tact sharp all the time. Certain subjects that might not be as interesting such as background mountains with out much detail are something I don't worry about being tact sharp. Many photographers have their own opposite view of this. If you are conifident in what you want it doesn't matter.

1)”Establish your subject” and build around it. This would be your foreground, middleground or background, I use them all as main subjects in different compositions. The photograph below is an example of this with the mountain as the main subject and the dunes below as foreground. The photograph in the top of this post has light as the main subject in the grand scenic.

2)”Know how much depth of field you will need.” If you decide to shoot vertically you might need more DOF. If you know what focal length you want to use this will help you decide on turning the camera horizontally or vertically. Sometimes you will want more or less compression between subjects, this is part of how bold or subtle things may look in comparison to eachother.

3)”Don’t worry if your idea isn’t something you know can’t put together now. Shoot it anyway, I shot panoramas before I ever had a clue on how to put them together.” Think ahead! You’re processing skills will always get better and so will editing software as time passes.

A little more on Depth of Field: By knowing the distance of where infinite depth of field begins for each specific lens you have you establish where to place your foreground and sufficient DOF for you chosen scene. You don’t necessarilly need the background tact sharp all the time. Certain subjects that might not be as interesting such as background mountains with out much detail are something I don’t worry about being tact sharp. Many photographers have their own opposite view of this, if you’re posting photos in critique forums and don’t want to hear complaint from other photographers that are not going to buy your photographs then you might consider focus blending to allocate for the loss of DOF. If you are conifident in what you want then it doesn’t matter most perspective photo buyers buy on emotion or have a connection with the place you are showing them.

First image location: Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Second image location: Mesquite Dunes Death Valley

Tuckee Mountain Panorama

I will continue this topic further in a later blog post. Read part I 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

Panoramic Photography Part I: Simple Basics

August 10, 2010

While leading a private workshop I snapped this 3 exposure panoramic while my client had a clear path with out foot prints in front of us besides what was off in the distance. The fleeting light needed to captured quickly so each of the 3 exposures were only seconds apart. In winter the light is gone fast and it can create problems for slow creation of panoramic photographs.

A few simple basics I recommend keeping in mind.

• Use a tripod unless it’s a snapshot to you. There is nothing wrong with handheld snapshots at speeds of double the focal length with added image stabilization down to about 1/125 shutter speed. If you don’t have a panoramic head level the tripod as best you can. If the light is fleeting don’t let it get away, fire a few shots before you set up perfectly.

• Establish a beginning and an end point.

• Make sure you have enough overlap 20-30% is fine unless you go really wide, then you’ll need more. With older stitching software you might need the extra coverage or you’ll start to see gaps in the top and bottom. CS4 & CS5 do a great job stitching at 20-30%.

• Shoot in manual or lock your exposure so that it does not change. (Advanced tip: I will occasionally add more light into a dusk scene where light is changing quickly. You can read more this in part 2.)

• Lock your focus. Be careful not move the focus ring or zoom between moving the camera for each exposure.

• Make sure to set the white balance to something besides auto.

• You don’t always need a foreground or a middleground. I have heard countless photographers say you need a foreground to create depth, that is not true. Some subjects don’t lend themselves to that, it’s best to stay open to change. You don’t want to witness the best light you have ever seen on your favorite mountain but not take a picture because you don’t have a foreground.

• Don’t limit yourself to a horizontal rectangle. A panoramic can be vertical, square or whatever you decide on. You can make a circle for all I care.

Most of these simple tips can be found anywhere on the net, some even copied verbatim. Don’t limit yourself to what I have mentioned here, take the bits and pieces that work for you. You can subscribe to the blog if you feel want to stick around for Part II: Advanced Tips of Panoramic Photography. I don’t blog heavily so you will not be bombarded with emails, this is no daytime talk show.

Some of Steve’s Panoramic Photographs gallery.

Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
Private or small group workshop info: Learn.

About the photograph: While leading a private workshop I snapped this 3 exposure panoramic while my client had a clear path with out foot prints in front of us besides what was off in the distance. This scene with fleeting light needed to be taken quickly so each of the 3 exposures were only seconds apart. In winter the light is gone faster then you think and that can create problems for slow creation of panoramic photographs. With a longer lens I can stay closer to clients when the light is at it’s best. This helps me show examples of what I have created in the field during a workshop without the need to disappear in search of that perfect foreground. Surprisingly enough most students don’t want me attached to the hip but I stick around anyway.

Read part II 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