Archives for February 2013

Manzanita Nights

I arrived in Manzanita just after sunset so I headed to the Treehouse, unloaded my car, and settled in.  Around 9:00 PM I felt it was dark enough to venture out and see if I could make something of the clear skies.  I drove along the beach and it was interesting with ground fog but, I had done that not too long ago and I chose to move on in search of something different.  I headed north on 101 and just out of Manzanita, I turned into a pullout and stepped of my car to a sweeping view of Manzanita below with the ground fog creeping in from the hills to slowly engulf the little town, shrouding it in mystery; the waves seemed to  glow against the dark water and the clear sky was filled with stars…

Nikon D4, AF-S 24mm 1.4f2.0, 15 sec, ISO 800

Nikon D4, AF-S 24mm 1.4G 
f2.0, 15 sec, ISO 800

 

I set up my tripod, extending the legs to both a comfortable height for me to see through the viewfinder and to shoot over the tangled brush that would be a distraction in the foreground.  With a fast lens I was able to keep my ISO down to a reasonable 800 and still close down just a bit to f2.  15 second with a wide angle lens is good enough to acquire pinpoint stars.

Enjoying myself immensely, I tried a couple compositions rotating the camera into vertical position using the Really Right Stuff L-Bracket to keep my camera balanced over the tripod for the greatest stability…

Nikon D4 AF-S 24mm 1.4

Nikon D4 AF-S 24mm 1.4G
f2.4, 10 sec, ISO 560

 

Not only did my composition change so did my exposure with a different angle of coverage and the lights of Manzanita filling more of the frame.  Notice the change of 1 1/2 stops in the two exposures.  I split the differences between aperture, shutter speed and ISO to find a good balance between the highest quality and lowest noise.

After making several more images I decide to set up for a star trail sequence but, my car was almost out of gas and I needed to be able to turn it on to keep warm and I didn’t have any entertainment to keep me occupied…no music, nothing.  So, I made a quick decision to head back to town, fill up and grab my ipod and ipad to while away the coupe of hours I hoped to be out.

As I headed back north again I drove through increasingly denser and more foggy spots but, I figured that I would rise above it shortly.  I hit patches where I could barely see the lines on the road to guide me but, I persevered on (there weren’t any places to turn around anyway).  Arriving at my designated photo spot I found myself surrounded by dense fog everywhere but above me which rapidly filled in while I sat there.

I turn my car south, towards home (for the weekend) giving thanks for the fleeting moments I did have to capture some beautiful images and enjoy the night sky for a time.

 

 

Kenya Calls

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I feel a thrill of excitement course through my body whenever I think about or see images from my recent journey to Kenya.  I declared it a trip of a lifetime when I first visited in 2000 and it was beyond my own expectations when I returned in 2012.  It is with great excitement that I offer my fellow Adventurers a chance of a Lifetime of your own with my 2013 Call of the Wild Kenya Adventure Aug 23-Sept 5.  This exclusive Adventure is limited to five intrepid souls (3 spots available) who share the same passion for photographing wildlife…in the wild!

The short version of the itinerary is…

23rd Aug: Giraffe Manor…Awaken with the giraffes, share a delicious breakfast and then depart for Amboseli
24th & 25th Aug: Tortilis Camp…Enjoy the elephants with the stunning Mt Kilimanjaro as a backdrop
26th Aug: Ol Pajeta Reserve, Sweetwaters Tented Camp…Game drive
27th & 28th Aug: Elephant Bedroom…Samburu game drives
29th – 30th Aug: Sarova Lion Hill Lodge…Lake Nakuru
31st & 1st Sept: Kichwa Tembo…Masai Mara
2nd – 4th Sept: Mara Intrepids Club…Masai Mara
5th Sept: Panari/ Departure

Cost for double occupancy is $11,500.00 per person.  Single supplement add $1500.00

Contact me now to sign up for your own Call Of The Wild Kenya Adventure!

Tech Tuesday: Slow Motion Blurs

Tech Tuesday pano

 

I live in the perfect location to photograph one of my favorite subjects; moving water.  With all the waterfalls, rivers and streams, and the Oregon Coast nearby I am in water photography paradise!…

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ISO 200 1/180 @ f8

 

Not only do we have lot’s of moving water, we have plenty of overcast days (not something one usually brags about but, in this case, justified) which are perfect for providing softer light and allowing me to achieve slower shutter speeds than I would be able to if the sun were shining brightly.

Even with the overcast light, there can be challenges to reaching that perfect balance of aperture, shutter speed and ISO to render motion with just the right amount of blur to convey the desired effect that I am after.  Your taste may vary!

Finding the right shutter speed/s for the movement of your subject is an important step in capturing the look and feel that you are after.  The amount of light, your lens’s aperture range and your camera’s ISO settings all play a part in the shutter speeds that you can achieve in any given situation…

ISO 100 2 sec @ f32

 

And there are times when you have dialed in the lowest ISO setting, the smallest Aperture and you still can’t get a slow enough shutter speed.  How do you achieve extreme slow shutter speeds beyond what you camera is capable of in any light?…

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ISO L1.0 (50 Equivalent) 2 min @ f38 with Hoya ND400X

 

Tech Specs…

-Mid-morning, partly cloudy sky with light dancing across the waves

-Camera/Lens mounted to sturdy tripod, remote release (with interval timer) attached to camera

-Compose the scene to my liking

-Adjust critical focus using AF…then turn the AF switch to Manual!

-Fire a test shot for exposure information, review the histogram and/or Highlight Warnings on camera’s rear lcd, establish a “base” exposure

-Adjust ISO and/or aperture to find the shutter speed that provides the amount of blur desired.

-Once I have found the Aperture/Shutter Speed/ ISO combination that I like, I fire off a series of images.  With motion blur I never know what interesting patters I might capture so I shoot multiples of each composition.

-If I am shooting within my camera’s shutter speed range of thirty seconds or faster, I will normally leave my camera on aperture priority.  If, however, I want a shutter speed slower than thirty seconds I can go to Manual Exposure and with my remote release (MC-36) I can dial in the length of time I want the shutter to stay open into minutes or even hours.

-If there is too much light to slow my shutter speed enough to capture the blur I are looking for, I add a polarizing filter (up to 2 stop drop in shutter speed) or a neutral density filter (they come in varying sizes and densities from 1 to 10 stops).

-Once I have my base exposure established I adjust the settings to a slower shutter speed setting by either adjusting the aperture, ISO or both.  Example: for the above image, I did my test shot before attaching the ND400X and my reading at 100 ISO and f38 gave me 1/15 of a second which was too fast for my desired look.  I made a mental note of my exposure and then attached the ND400X filter and calculated what ten stops slower would be which gave me 1 minute.  I dialed the ISO to L1.0, which allowed me to shoot at a final shutter speed of 2 minutes.

-I set the camera on Manual exposure and dialed the shutter speed to the BULB setting and dialed in a 2 minute exposure on my remote release and made one final test shot.  Once I confirmed that I liked the results, I dialed in interval shooting so the camera would fire over and over while I sat back and enjoyed watching the waves.

*Note: These motion blur techniques can be created with any moving subject.

Equipment:

-Nikon D4 with AF-S 28-300mm 3.5-5.6 G VR

-Nikon MC-36 Remote Release with interval timer adjustments

-Gitzo GT3531 Carbon Fiber Tripod with Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead

-Hoya 77mm ND 400X 10-stop Neutral Density Filter