Today, I Celebrate…

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A river seems a magic thing—a magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.

—LAURA GILPIN THE RIO GRANDE, 1949

 

Story behind the image…

Each visit to Yellowstone finds me drawn to some of my favorite locations over and over.  No two times are ever the same whether it’s a different time of day, a different season, different weather or even if I use a different lens or exposure to create an image.  Lower Yellowstone Falls is one the places I am drwan back to time and again.  This time we were on a very limited schedule and ended up at the falls around midday when most self respecting photographers were having lunch, planning their afternoon shoot or simply relaxing by the river, enjoying the day.

As I stood there mesmerized by the power of the water flowing over the cliff and the resulting spray of water that swirled around the base of the falls I wondered how I could capture the magic of the movement with a still image.  That’s when I decided to do a five frame bracket (ISO 100 f32 @ 1/10 sec base exposure) and merge the images together in HDR fashion only not for exposure but for the effect I would get.  Yes, it would flatten out the shadows providing more detail in the canyon walls and eliminate some of the contrast but, even more importantly, it would blend the falling water and spray in a way that a single click can not capture giving the water an ethereal look.  In addition, because I didn’t have my nd filter with me to slow the water down the multi exposure blend would give a slightly blurred effect at it blends the moving water exposures together.  I love how the people on the platform at the top of the falls add scale to the immense size of the falls.  Nikon D4, AF-S 80-400mm 4.5-5.6 VR @ 290mm

 

 

Today, I Celebrate…

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Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

Plato

 

Story behind the image…

Cear skies, new moon, snow plows cris-crossing across the glacier field on Mt Hood and a little bit of light pollution from either the last remanat of day or the lights from nearby Govt Camp to light up and add a warm glow to the few wispy clouds.  I found my spot while there was still light, set up my camera, found a composition I liked with the mountain reflecting in Trillium Lake.  I knew where due north was and chose to offset it to avoid the full circle dead centered.  Including a few trees in sillhouette on the right side balances the image.  I then began making the appropriate adjustments for photographing the night sky: I focused on Mount Hood then turned the focus to manual and taped the focus ring in place to avaoid any shifts in focus.  I set the camera to manual mode and set a base exposure of ISO 3200 f4 @ 15 sec ( I set it up from my normal base of 1600 due to an f4 lens over my normal 14-24mm f2.8).  *Once it got dark and I had a chance to make a test image, I added a few more seconds to a total of 20 sec and with my MC-36 set to fire continuously.  The above image was made with a total of 96 images, processed into one single frame using Russell Brown’s Stac A Matic with Photoshop CS6 Extended and added finishing touches using NIK Detail Extractor, a contrast curve adjustment to make the star trails pop and added a little blue to the sky reducing the reddish cast from the light pollution.  Nikon D4, AF-S 24-120mm f4 @ 24mm

Today, I Celebrate…

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Look at the stream, there are rocks in its way. Does it slam into them out of frustration? It simply flows over and around them and moves on! Be like the water and you will know what harmony is.

~ Zen Story

 

Story behind the image…

Firehole Falls is just one of many waterfalls in Yellowtone National Park.  It is on a one way road the travels through a deep, 800′ lava flow, canyon rising to a turnout with a view of the 40′ falls.  I prefer to isolate sections of the falls with the dark rocks contrasting with the softly blurred water flowing around them.  In late afternoon the canyon is deep in shadow enabling me to reach slow enough shutter speeds to achieve the cotton candy look to the water.  A tripod is a must to insure sharp images at such slow shutter speeds of  1/3 sec.  With the incredible force of the water cascading over the rocks in this narrow section of the canyon a super slow shutter speed into the multi seconds is not neccessary to create a good blur motion.  In order to make sure that I had both the foreground grouping and the single rock just behind them all in focus, I closed my aperture down to f11 and left my ISO at 100.  A polarizer helped to remove the glare on the rocks, saturate the green colors in the water and slow the shutter speed down by another stop.  Nikon D4, AF-S 80-400mm 4.5-5.6 VR.  I pricessed the RAW file in Nikon Capture removing a few dust spots, making a little color correction and bringing up the detail in the rocks.  I then saved the file as a tif and added the finishing touches in Photoshop CS6 using NIK filters.  A little bit of Detail Extractor brought out the texture of the rocks and the flow of the water.

 

Today, I Celebrate…

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I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.

Vincent Van Gogh

 

Story behind the image…

I love night photography and take every chance I have to get out and make images of the night sky.  Most of what I know is from trial and error and while I do ok, I decided it would be fun to take a night sky workshop to see what I could do to improve my night photography skills and my finishing of night photography images.  Saturday at Mt Hood was clear and warm.  We arrived at Trillium Lake for sunset and stayed beyond into the night.  After photographing at the lake until well after midnight, most folks had wrapped up and gone back to their hotels and bed but, I was still in the mood to keep photographing so, I headed up the road to Timberline Lodge.  I got to the top and turned around heading back down the hill so, I could see where I wanted to pull over.  I found a big turnout facing out to the south.  Government Camp was below and putting out a lot of light pollution but, a fog layer had rolled in and was diffusing it nicely leaving a warm glow so, I included it in the image.  Normally I use my faster lenses for night photography but, I just happened to have the 24-120mm on one body and it was the focal range I wanted so, I cranked the ISO up a bit more and clicked off images for about a half hour to capture enough images to make a star trail.  I shot in RAW format and didn’t use in camera time lapse as I knew I would want to extract a photo or two as single captures.  Nikon D4, AF-S 24-120mm @f24mm  ISO 4500 f4 @ 30 seconds