Friday, November 23, 2007

Hummingbird Flies

Christoper Grey was kind enough to include one of my photos in his most recent book "Canon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer's Guide". His book covers all the basics in the first few chapters and then he goes over each and every button on your Canon DSLR. Chris covers Canon's software too.

I tend to use it in place of the Canon Manual. They're are several interviews with well known photographers and tons of examples. You can check the book out on Amazon.

The Hummingbird shot is one of my first digital shots. I was using a Digital Rebel with a 100-300 Canon Lens. I was still shooting JPG's and I did a bit of a crop to make a better composition. Still it holds its own.

Tech Info: Canon Digital Rebel - 6mp, Canon 100-300 Lens, f5.6,2000th of a second, ISO 400 slight crop.

For more info on Christopher Grey see his website. He has a great DVD on Lighting and many more books. His book on book on Portrait Lighting (Mater Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers) is one of the very best photography books out there.

Perennial Favorites

SunflowerFlowers are perfect for photographic studies. The 7 basic elements of design are line, shape, color, form, space, light, and texture. All of which be found in a single blossom. I love the early morning light as it's soft and allows the colors tend to stand out. That being said many flowers such as sunflowers and poppies can be photographed in direct sunlight. Since flowers are small you can shoot from the side, the top, the bottom, and in groups or patterns. It's hard to shoot a mountain this way. You may have to drive 50 miles to make a slight difference and you may have to wait days for the right light.

When I'm in the field I use my 100 macro or a 70-200 for most of my close ups. At home I tend to use the 100mm macro. (60mm in a 1.6 format.) The reason is I can usually get closer to my subject at home and fill the frame with the flower. In the field I'm more concerned with the background. I like to shoot wide open at 2.8 but not always. That's the great advantage to doing a study. Anything goes. It's the best way to really learn.

I'm not a full time professional photographer, but I can squeeze an hour in each morning for a couple of weeks. I like to set a goal of 50 shots. I'm sure stock photographers would laugh at that since they would shoot 50 in an hour or two. The real goal is to learn a little something each day.

Abstract Flowers
Tony Sweet is the master of Fine Art Photography. His books open up a whole new world. His books have many examples of moving the camera during a long exposure. This was very hard using film, but with digital it becomes much easier. That said, I've yet to get one as good as Tony's. Tony has 3 books and a DVD. I highly recommend all 3. The DVD is a little rough in it's production, but the info is terrific. I hear another DVD is on it's way.

Sometimes I feel like a nut - sometimes I don't. Once in while I just shoot stock photos. They won't change the art world but they do fine tune my photographic skills. These are simple clean images. Try one of these studies and you'll have as much fun as I do. It's a great way to keep up your skills when you can't get away.

So here's a run down.
The top sunflower is in direct sun, shooting up over my roof - hence the deep blue sky. (100mm Macro - f8,250th) --- The Dahlia is in very soft light. There's a diagonal pull from the lower left to the upper right. (100mm Marco f16,1sec) --- The 2nd Sunflower shows a us different side. It's just as beautiful. The soft light accents the detail. (100mm Macro f16,0.5s) --- The Abstract Flowers were shot with a twist. (100mm Macro f22, 0.6s) --- The Rose Bouquet was shot in very soft light. Early morning fog. (100mm Macro f16, 2sec) ---The last photo was taken at Carmel Mission. I moved from Iris to Iris until I had the Poppies as a background. (100mm Macro F2.8,320th

For more flowers see my galleries Flowers 2 & Spring Garden
For more on Tony Sweet see his site.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Photographing Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point Sunrise
Just 45 min outside of Moab is Dead Horse Point State Park. The parking lot is small but the view is on a grand scale. Early Morning is the best time to capture this classic view of the gooseneck in the river and Canyonlands just beyond it. Sunset is also good for a variety of shots but not for this classic view. The best vantage point is to walk past the observation deck and continue along the path for about a 100 feet or so. You'll find plenty of foreground elements to add here. I used f22 to keep everything in focus. Your mileage may vary. There are no rails here so watch your step. If you trip they may have to change the name to Dead Man Point. Those signs are so darn expensive.

Dead Horse Point Sunset
The park has a small campground with 21 sites and covered picnic tables at each site. Showers are not available, but you can fill up your canteen. The park got its' moniker from some horses that died of thirst on the point. They could see the water, but it's a 2000 foot drop to get there. Please fill your tanks before visiting. You'll also want to take along Photographing the Southwest: Volume 1--Southern Utah by Laurent Martres. I have all 3 volumes.

Dead Horse Point Sunrise - TreeThe staff here is excellent. I asked about other photo locations and they were well versed on the entire state. The pictures here speak for themselves. This is a park not to be missed.

Note: the 1st pix is at just after sunrise and the next 2 are at sunset
For more info see Dead Horse Point State Park
and Issue 35 Canyonlands from Photograph America
For more photos see my Latest Additions Gallery