Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012, Day 60 - Never was

What I love about leap year is that it happens so infrequently that it is an occasion that should be marked.  It is a spare day, one where we should all be free to do what we want with extra time.  I think we have too many holidays but I think that extra day in a leap year should be a holiday.  All government controlled areas that require fees or permits should be open and everyone should be allowed to do as they wish, within the contraints of the law of course.

For today's photo we go back to the shell of a warehouse that I explored with Brian Matiash.  I chose this vantage point to capture the reflection of the sky and building in the water and I knew I wanted to incorporate some of the burnt timbers as well.  This is five shots run through Photomatix Pro, then tweaked in Photoshop, the messy HDR sky was replaced with that out of a single image, then exported to OnOne's Focal Point and Effects (I chose a low level vintage Brandon), then back in to Photoshop to spot-intensify a few colors and finally cropped for the web!  Easy-peasy!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 17-40/f4L
17mm, f8, merged layers of 1/100, 1/50, 1/25, 1/13 and 1/6 sec @ 100 ISO

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012, Day 59 - Idle threats

On Sunday I got a call from my buddy Brian Matiash telling me he came upon a wonderland of urban decay and before disclosing the location he threatened me with bodily harm if I had knowledge of the place and didn't share.  Well, I did know about it, it is a burnt out warehouse ostensibly closed to the public but with no effective measures to keep people out, as evinced by the copious graffiti.

This shot was taken in a small concrete room and the subject appears to be some kind of furnace.  There was a lot of charred wood on the floor and the melted remains of objects unknown.  I had to use three images to soften the transition on light from top to bottom after which I tweaked the colors, applied a partially opaque duotoned layer, a quick run though OnOne's Focal Point, back into Photoshop for some toning and there you have it!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 17-40/f4L
17mm, f11, merged layers of 0.8, 1.6, and 3.2 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, February 27, 2012

2012, Day 58 - Long shadows

I love the gentle undulations of virgin snow.  It is reminiscent of sand or salt or sugar but in a totally alien landscape.  The world seems almost out of context, especially when you grew up in a snow-free climate like I did.

Canon 1D Mark IV, 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f5, 1/400 @ 200 ISO

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2012, Day 57 - Sentinel

We have been inundated with the occasional snow shower today and yesterday with more possible tonight.  It is hard to believe that despite a relatively mild winter we have had so many little winter storms.  If the snow actually stuck to the ground I would be pleased but mostly it just means it is going to be wet and cold outside.

This is a photo from my recent trip to central Oregon.  As you can see the clouds were pretty solid but the occasional ray of sunshine would break through highlighting some part of the landscape.  I liked this old tree, it look so gnarled and has probably seen thousands of people pass by in its lifetime.  Now it is just a husk serving to remind us that wildfires in central Oregon are common and the last was recent enough that the surrounding trees display the willowy trunks of their youth.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
20mm, f4, 1/1000 sec @ 200 ISO

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2012, Day 56 - Easter flower

Have you ever had a locally raised farm-fresh egg?  The shell is much stronger, the flavor fullers, and the colors so much more vibrant.  Those yolks are almost orange and this crocus has colors like one of those eggs.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/125 sec @ 200 ISO

2012, Day 55 - Painted peacock

I thought I would try my hand at something a little different tonight.  I've always wondered what an alien sky might look like and found this quite pleasing...

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
18mm, f8, 120 sec @ 100 ISO

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012, Day 54 - Bells

Little flowers are really starting to sprout up all over the place.  Don't misunderstand, it is still mostly cold and wet here in Oregon but we are getting the occasional break in the clouds and the random warm(er) day so the plant life is starting to respond.  The small flowers seem most likely to appear early but the bulbs are starting to come up, the hellebores are in full bloom, and the promise of spring is enough to keep up all hopeful!

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/320 sec @ 320 ISO

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012, Day 53 - Clear and fuzzy

I hadn't planned to go out this evening but when Dave Sanderling posted he was going out and looking for company I decided to join him.  Who cares if the subject matter is similar to that in recent days, hopefully I am learning and growing.  So we wandered the southern end of the east side esplanade and the sky transitioned from cloudy to clear to cloudy.  At least it makes for an interesting photograph and it's always nice to have company when you're wandering around after dark :)

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f9, 120 sec @ 100 ISO

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012, Day 52 - Winding

Normally power lines are the bane of my existence.  They always seem to be run through the most interesting views like some intentional flaw in an otherwise ideal scene.  Last week when I was in central Oregon riding out to our day's snowshoeing I made my friend pull over as we came upon these power lines because I liked the clouds and the serpentine access road below.  The power lines in this situation act like leading lines and they aren't totally distracting.  I used OnOne's Perfect Blur and the Nicely Toasted Effect for the finishing touches.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
23mm, f4, 1/5000 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, February 20, 2012

2012, Day 51 - Trial

This photo was taken as a test to figure out what kind of exposure time would be necessary to capture the stars.  To the naked eye not all the clouds were visible but I still took another shot at a lower ISO.  Unfortunately the clouds were coming in and at the end of that five minute exposure almost no stars were visible.  That left me with my test shot which I processed and share with you now.  While it isn't ideal is it better than what I ended up with which is why you never delete anything until you've had an opportunity to review it on your computer.  In fact I don't delete anything, sometimes the best shots look terrible as you are chimping (reviewing your photos on the back of your camera).

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f2.8, 25 sec @ 8000 ISO

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2012, Day 50 - Patience

I love long exposures, especially around water.  By leaving the shutter open longer water starts to look silky and clouds become blurs of motion.  The smallest light source becomes a little sun and the darkest night seems bright when you measure time in minutes rather than seconds or fractions of a second.  The key though is to be patient.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f4, 3 min 58 sec @ 500 ISO

Saturday, February 18, 2012

2012, Day 49 - Stillness

This evening I went down to the waterfront to take a few long exposures and while I was there waiting for the minutes to go by I was kept company by a heron.  He stayed for about fifteen minutes, hardly moving and saying even less.  Ducks swam by and he just stood there so when I finished one of my seven minute exposures I changed lenses and took this picture.  The water in the background is reflecting the lights from downtown Portland but he didn't seem to mind the bright lights at all.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
165mm, f4, 2.5 sec @ 1000 ISO

Friday, February 17, 2012

2012, Day 48 - Lenten rose

Folklore would have us believe that hellebore was used to summon demons, something I would wholeheartedly support if it meant an end to this infernal winter weather.  Actually, it isn't bad at all, yes it has been raining and there no end in sight but it is relatively warm and the flora is flourishing.  Still, I wouldn't mind a little sunshine...

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/160 sec @ 320 ISO

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012, Day 47 - Preview of spring

It seems like every year around February we get a glimpse of spring.  The clouds break and show us a little sun before the insulating effect of the overcast skies have yet to dissipate.  Bulbs are already budding and the hellebores are already in bloom.  I guess there is reason to be optimistic!

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f2.8, 1/100 sec @ 500 ISO

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2012, Day 46 - Frosted

Monday was not an especially sunny day in central Oregon but there were enough breaks in the clouds to get some great shadows on the sparkling snow.  The world seems to calm and peaceful when it is covered in snow; although to be fair I've generally only been around snow in a recreational capacity, I've never lived anywhere that would reliably have white winters.  Nevertheless the woods were quiet and the fresh snow made everything look so clean, the only sound we could hear were the birds and the quiet crunch of loose snow being compacted under our feet.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f4, 1/1600 sec @ 200 ISO

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2012, Day 45 - Faded

No trip to central Oregon would be complete without stopping by Smith Rock State Park.  While letting one camera go crazy capturing stills to create a time lapse I walked around with the other so I could have a little macro fun.  My favorite discovery was a small weedy looking little plant with the remains of its flowers long gone but echoing their absent glory.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/250 sec @ 320 ISO

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012, Day 44 - Frozen flow

This morning we awoke to a few inches of fresh snow which meant one thing, epic snowshoeing!  Today's trip was three times the distance of yesterday's adventure but there was less than 800 feet of elevation gain which made it much more relaxing.  We made our way out to Newberry Crater and suited up for the icy breezes.  The trail was well marked and our destination was Paulina Falls.

We made it there in good time and Paulina Falls was spectacular!  The clouds were moving quickly in the strong winds which made standing at the viewpoint a little nerve-wracking.  Despite my initial reluctance to get too close to the railing I inched closer and closer as the wind died down to a gentle breeze.  When the clouds obstructed the sun I knew my moment had come and below is the result.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f22, merged layers of 2.5, 5, and 10 sec @ 100 ISO

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012, Day 43 - Bursting

What I love the most about central Oregon is the huge variety of outdoor activities.  When I was here last fall most of the days were filled with hiking.  Given the snow hiking is an impossibility so instead I spent the afternoon snowshoeing.

After a failed attempt to find decent snow in the area immediately around Sunriver we gave up and drove to Tumalo mountain which sits adjacent to Mount Bachelor, a popular skiing area.  Our climb was almost completely uphill with an elevation gain of over 1,000 feet in about a mile.  It was brutal going up and almost as bad on the way down.  I thought I was terribly out of shape, which I may be, but on the descent I gained a real appreciation for how steep the trail was that we followed.

Tomorrow we head out for more snowshoeing.  I am excited but in remains to be seen if my legs will be as eager as I am when I get up tomorrow morning.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/2.8L Mark II
18mm, f4, 1/3200 sec @ 200 ISO

Saturday, February 11, 2012

2012, Day 42 - Trails

This evening the sky was looking nice and clear and because I am taking a weekend vacation to central Oregon I decided to load up my gear and try my hand at astro-landscape photography.  Unfortunately by the time I found an area with a nice view clouds started to invade my skies.

Because I was already out and about I thought I would take some pictures anyway.  This is my favorite of the evening, I like the streaks of clouds and the glimmer of a few stars that were not yet obstructed.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
31mm, f3.2, 2 minutes @ 200 ISO

Friday, February 10, 2012

2012, Day 41 - Teeth

One of the things I have always appreciated about black and white photography is that it is all about the forms and the interplay of light and dark.  You can't hide poor composition behind pretty colors, all is laid bare.  This subject, the new growth of euphorbia, makes a good black and white because of the concentric rings of leaves.  Their repetition is pleasing and the contrast is a little on the low side which means that it has a pleasant soft quality.  This weekend challenge yourself, try to see the world in only light and shadow and take some pictures.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/80 sec @ 320 ISO

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2012, Day 40 - Time travel

This morning I had the pleasure of joining in on one of OnOne Software's fantastic webinars.  This particular class was taught by Nicole S. Young on the subject of timelapse photography.  I have been wanting to try my hand at timelapse for a while now and knew the fundamentals but wanted some tips on the finer points and Nicole did not disappoint.  The hour-long seminar went almost double the scheduled time but was so packed with great information that I was taking notes to a cheat sheet.

Armed with my new information I went to my old standby night location near the Hawthorne Bridge.  Below is an outtake from the video which is at the bottom.  It probably wasn't the best night for a timelapse but I didn't care so I stood on a pier in the Willamette river for about twenty minutes chatting with my friend Julie and listening to the camera tick away...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f2.8, 0.8 sec @ 400 ISO

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2012, Day 39 - Anticipation

I am experiencing great anticipation and some anxiety because in about ten days I should be bringing home a new fuzzy addition to the family.  His name is Frankie and at a little under a year old he will be by far the youngest member of the household.  Right now he is living with a larger group of dogs than I have and while he is doing well Frankie needs a little less competition to shine.  He is a sensitive soul and I am sure that he will flourish with additional attention and I expect that he will mesh well with all the other dogs.  The only part I don't like is that whole transition into a new living situation.  It will be weeks of operating on high alert so there aren't any accidents and reworking walks so that everyone has an opportunity to complete their business with relative privacy.  But the stress will be followed by years on companionship and, with a little luck, a buddy who is more inclined to participate in life's adventures rather than being content to greet me afterwards.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f5.6, 1/2500 @ 500 ISO

2012, Day 38 - Beginnings

A fews days ago I was walking past a stand of grass as the sun was sinking towards the western horizon and I noticed a golden mass out of the corner of my eye.  Upon investigation I discovered a mass of seeds with tufts of hair to act as umbrellas to help them disperse in the chill winter breezes.  I like how gnarled they look twisting one way and then the other to form a haphazard mass that will spawn the growth of new grasses come spring.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/1250 sec @ 500 ISO

Monday, February 6, 2012

2012, Day 37 - Orbs

It's Monday so time to break out a macro shot.  This was taken at Silver Falls yesterday morning and if you look at the moss you can see frost but the ice has melted on the shoots so that the sunlight reflects off the drops as if they were hundreds of little diamonds.

I am really excited for the weekend, there is so much to do before then but I am headed out to central Oregon with some friends to go snowshoeing.  It should be a blast and I have so few photos of snow-covered landscapes.  In the meantime it is back to the grind :)

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/13 sec @ 125 ISO

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012, Day 36 - Falling

While so many people spent this beautiful sunny day watching football on television I took advantage of the distraction.  First thing this morning I grabbed Brian Matiash and assisted his Garmin is getting us to Silver Falls.  We trekked slowly to Upper North Falls stopping numerous times to capture the beauty of the park and when we finally decided to make our way to Lower North Falls our plans were thwarted by a closed trail.

Not to be deterred we left to return to Portland and made a few stops on the way back to capture the rolling hills of rural Oregon.  That was this morning, I then spent the afternoon working on getting caught up on processing images from the last week.  My backlog seems to be growing but it is a wonderful problem to have, too much choice.

While I was trying to get caught up Brian met with Karen Hutton and when they finished with their adventures we all met up for coffee.  For those who have had the pleasure of Karen's company she is a delightful and affable person.  Our conversation lasted until long after our cups were empty.  It was a very pleasant way to end a warn sunny weekend.  Thanks guys!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
20mm, f8, merged layers of 1/2, 1, 2, 4, and 8 sec @ 125 ISO

Saturday, February 4, 2012

2012, Day 35 - Fluff

So this evening I was wander down back alleys looking for someone to mug and I espied a tangled mass of vines on a piece of chain link fence.  As I walked by I noticed that it was backlit by a streetlight so I setup my tripod and moved around to try to find the best angle.  I had not expect this to be a shot I liked, I took it because I tend not to want regrets about the things I didn't shoot but when I got it loaded in Lightroom I immediately decided it was worth sharing.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f16, 4 sec @ 320 ISO

Friday, February 3, 2012

2012, Day 34 - Like a flash

What a hectic day, it was filled with appointments and meeting up with great people but I am exhausted.  The day ended with a little photo adventure in one of Portland's industrial neighborhoods.  Brian Matiash kindly allowed me to use his Tilt/Shift lens and off we set.  Less than five minutes into our shoot we noticed a train coming an a snail's pace so we were able to prepare for it as part of our composition.  I like this shot in particular because the cars going by were partially open so you can see the structures beyond and I like the reflection off the train because it makes it look like it is jumping to warp speed.  Jeez, I am such a nerd...

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I can't wait to get out there again.  I have one image in particular that I am anxious to share but it will have to wait until it is perfect :)

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f3.5L Tilt/Shift
24mm, f8, 20 sec @ 320 ISO

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2012, Day 33 - Stormy skies

I was watching a live hangout with Nicole Young, Brian Matiash, Dave Veffer and James Brandon this evening as they talked about various aspects of photography ranging from composition to post-processing.  At one point there was a little black and white processing in Nik's Silver Efex and I watched as over a dozen different control points were dropped.  I have to admit that I was multi-tasking and only half paying attention but as I sat down to process this panorama composed of seven shots taken in the portrait orientation I decided to take inspiration from the hangout and processed it in black and white.

My goal was to simulate, in part, infrared film so the sky was made dramatically dark and the contrast was boosted pretty high.  The result is that all the little trails in the hills are highlighted which in turn gives a sense of scale to the scene.  I like it, it's pretty and grumpy just like me.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
70mm, f8, 1/320 sec @100 ISO

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012, Day 32 - Streaked

It is hard to believe that it is already February!  This year is off to a running start and so many thing are happening and so many things I want to do.  I need to get out to shoot more, I have been delving into the archives for the last few days so as not to focus completely on shots from the photowalk.  Fortunately the weather is supposed to be mild and sunny for the next almost week so I really need to lay off the excuses and get out there.

Maybe Silver Falls, I haven't been there in almost a year, it would be nice to go back...

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
70mm, f8, merged layers 1/250 and 1/60 sec @ 200 ISO