Most of my blogs will discuss an example image and how it was taken. I love to show what works for me and hope that it will work for you as well. Comments and feedback are welcome.
Beautiful waterfall Skogafoss. You can walk right up to the falls or hike up a path beside the falls and view from half way up or at the top. Several waterfalls in the area. This is one of the main tourist falls in the area, however in May when this was taken, only a handful of people about.
A little tired today...thought I would just share a pic from our last workshop :)
Did you ever notice that colours that you see when you are taking pictures change in your mind when you think about the place say two or three months later? Add to the mix that your camera will alter those colours depending on your settings. Of course for shooter like myself who shoot RAW and settings in camera to be neutral with minimal contrast, cannot rely of the images for colour accuracy. Yes, you can take a colour checker shot as a reference but that takes the fun out of it.
I don't think that all of the above is necessary a bad thing. It gives me a little bit of creative freedom. I can (and my mind usually does) alter the scene to my liking and give my photographs MY perception or rather MY artistic interpretation of the scene. There is a place for accuracy in photographs but not always so.
This is a beautiful waterfall located about a half an hour south of Godafoss (Northern Iceland). This was a sunrise shot (composite). I was able to get the sunburst look by stopping down the lens to f13. Perhaps, could have been better at f16 but was running to just catch this before it was gone. Only got a shot in before the sun was too high.
This is another one of those "didn't get there early enough to think and plan the shot" deals. We got a little misdirected looking or these falls after shooting Godafoss earlier in the morning. Due to the fact that I was shooting directly into the sun (and my Nikkor 14-24 lens probably not clean enough), I have plenty of flare in this image. I could spend some time removing it, but I don't mind it as it is.
It's been a hectic month with no chance of photography or photography posts. Thought I leave an image for my followers :) This was taken on our last trip to Iceland in May. Around 3 am Iceland time. Cheers, and thanks for you patience :)
Last week we started our drive to Bruce National Park at 2:30am. Although we have been there numerous times, we wanted to ensure ourselves of where the light would be in the morning for our workshop (plug: We have two spaces available for Monday July 9).
Of course we knew that we would not make it for sunrise - that would have required us to leave an hour earlier - we were hoping for a lucky shot somewhere along the way. We got it, barely: as we approached Wiarton the sky took on magnificent shades of red and orange. We knew there was a marina in the area drove to it. No time for pondering or any other thoughtful process. Just get the camera out, set the ISO, fstop, focus and shoot (and pray the focus was good enough, shutter speed was high enough for a decently sharp exposure). Thirty seconds later, the light was gone...the clouds covered the sun..and that was that.
Camera: D800E; lens: Nikkor 24 PCE; ISO 400; Hand held 1/30s @ f5.6. Yes, it's too low, especially on D800 but it worked out good enough for a 19" print :)
All good things come to those who wait...and wait...and wait. That's what it felt like for the first 4 days in Iceland. We landed Monday morning to great skies with some nice clouds. By the time we reached Vik, we had 80-100km/h winds and pouring rain. The next day was to be better, but the same results. Each day, the weather forecast would be calling for partly cloudy or cloudy skies with maybe a hint of rain but we got drenched.
So what did we do? Like troopers, even though it was constantly raining, we we out there shooting. The wind made it really tough. Every day back at the hotel, we would spend a half an hour drying our equipment. All in all, we got some interesting shots (will post later). Thanks to some decent weather sealing in our equipment, I did not worry much about equipment failure...I did not even use any rain gear for it. Just kept a few cloths in the bag and wiped occasionally (the lens after each shot as it was constantly wet).
What equipment? There were three of us shooting. We had an array of Nikon equipment: D3X, D800, D700, D300 and a couple of D3000 IR converted bodies. For lenses we had: 14-24 2.8, 17-35 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 24 PC-E and 45 PC-E all Nikkor Lenses. All in all, zero equipment failure but my brothers Roots Sport Watch called it quits in the rain!
On the 5th day, we saw our first rain free sunrise. This picture was shot at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. This was taken around 3:00am. Nikon 24-70 on D3X body. A fantastic place with hundreds of house sized glaciers. You can shoot for hours and find all kinds of shapes and colours to work with.
It's been a challenging few weeks so bear with me while I work on a few images to write about.
I just came back from a trip to Iceland. While I would have liked to have shown a few pics from there, I don't think that's going to happen as soon as I would have liked. To start with, one of my cards went kaput in the middle of a download to the PC. I was lucky that I had backed up that specific card. However, this could also have happened when I was initially making the backup and I could have potentially have lost many hundreds of pics (yes I know there are recovery software tools out there...tried a few but only managed to get 15% of the pics). The better way is to use the second slot (if you have one) on your camera as a duplicate storage. Learned my lesson...will do next time.
Now the pic in hand. This was taken in the same location as my previous post. However, for this pic, I wanted to show some stars. I was in luck as shooting in the opposite direction gave me some clouds and some clearing which is a little more dramatic. Processed in a similar manner as the previous photo, I wanted the red and magenta colours to come out for a more dramatic presentation.
Due to the fact that I used an ultra-wide lens, I was able to get away with a 80sec exposure without showing star trails.
For my next post, I will discuss what worked and what didn't work during the Iceland trip as we had many challenges (weather being the main barrier). Check back in a weeks time (or follow my space).
Notes on pic:
Nikon D3X using 14-24f2.8 lens, 80second exposure ISO 400.
It may look like a sunset or sunrise photograph, but it is not. This was actually taken around midnight with the moon glowing behind some clouds. Combined with the light pollution from the city of Brampton and a nice long exposure, some interesting things happen. Yes, the choice of white balance when I was processing the image (from RAW) also helps :)
International award winning photographers Alexander Rocco, Harjit Singh and myself (Vin Singh) are providing a landscape photography workshop in beautiful Bruce Peninsula. This area of Ontario is only a three hour drive from Toronto and has some beautiful waterfalls, coastlines and rock formations to photograph. We have been working hard in developing a truly unique workshop experience with a 4 to 1 student to teacher ratio. We will be providing continuous hands on training (as required) throughout the morning and evening shoots. In addition, there will be an evaluative discussion period for photographs taken on the first two shooting locations.
Some of the topics covered:
For more information or to register go to: http//visceral.eventbrite.com
Layers are a great way to enhance photographs for a grungy look. I felt that this ossuary photograph required a little more sinister look. Three textures later in addition to some dodging and burning, I achieved what I was after. The pose of the person standing is another matter - not exactly what I had in mind but it works good enough.
The challenge in this scene was to try to retain some detail in the window and have the rest of the image still acceptably bright and detailed. I could have done that with multiple exposures (HDR) but these days, some of the DSLR cameras have pretty amazing dynamic range. This makes it easier to lift the shadows and preserve detail.
Many of my blog reader will know that I love to work with long exposures. Something about capturing images that have changed in the duration that the exposure took place in fascinates me. We see the individual parts of the scene changing over time but the camera records all of it as a single frame - something that is tough to visualize.
The only way to get the result you are happy with is to experiment with the duration. What may work on one subject matter on a given day may not work on another day or subject. My suggestions are to start with a 1s exposure, then keep doubling it until you are happy with the result.
However, as you will note from previous blogs, you will need to use Neutral Density (ND) filters. They are usually available in 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 stop ranges (with other ones in the mix depending on manufacturer). Remember, each stop of ND filter allows you to double the exposure time (for a given ISO and f-stop). For example, if your camera meters 1/2 of a second, then a 3-stop filter will allow you to expose for 4 seconds. You can stack ND filters: 2 3-stop filters is the same as a 6-stop filter.
This image was exposed for 20 seconds using a 12 stop filter.
Ever plan a photographic outing (within a few hours drive) and the photographs do nothing for you. You are familiar with the area because you were smart and did all the research online, making sure you knew what kinds of photographs were to be taken. Somehow that excitement about seeing something for the first time doesn't feel great - maybe because you already seen it online.
Well sometimes, it's good just to pick a direction and drive. Then take a couple of secondary roads and see what happens. This sort of strategy usually doesn't work. But every now and then, you see great photographic opportunities that are nowhere to be seen on the net. I'm sure that many people have taken them, but just not posted where they are easily found.
This photograph is just one of many taken last weekend. We had a rough idea where we wanted to end up (which we did not end up in). Took a few side-roads near honey harbour in Ontario (an hours drive north of Toronto) and spent several hours photographing. A worthwhile adventure to the unknown.
Picking up from my last post, sometimes a re-shoot needs to be done. Let's face facts and admit it didn't work out. That could be technically, artistically or circumstances beyond your control. With me, on this shoot that I did a few years back, it was a technical and artistic mess-up. I rushed my photographs. The result:
1) Not enough depth of field in many of my images
2) Not artistically strong enough.
Sure, there are always a few winners but not of what I was hoping for. But that's OK, lessons learned and the positive thing - a need to go back :)
Most of us will likely travel to overseas destinations (same location) only once for photography. If we do go a second time to the same area, we will generally shoot something else unless we really mucked up the first time.
What we fail to get is that the light for any area is changing (angle of the sun) throughout the year. Combine that with the fact that we have to account for weather variations on top of that, it's hard to imagine that the first time will be the 'one'.
I have on example here two photographs of the same place. The colour one was just taken yesterday and the BW photograph was taken a few years ago in the month of October. Usually speaking the water flow is usually more in the spring and less in the fall, however due to freaky weather, this is reversed in the examples. One more reason to re-visit the same spot.
If we only had unlimited financial resources and time to visit those exotic places several times, life would be grand.