Don’t mind me. Just testing some web dev stuff!
I’ve been away from blogging for several months and I’m going to try my best to start posting here again regularly! I shot the above image in the dead of winter in a local park. The wind (or some force) had swept the grass into beautiful swirling patterns that resemble an ocean during a storm. I converted the photo into a toned black and white using Nik Silver Effects Pro. I wanted a dark, contrasty mood because winter feels like a dark time to me and it also just looks more interesting.
My friend Clint and his family needed some nice family photos for the holidays. I helped them out and was glad to use my new Cowboy Studio 24″ Softbox. It worked surprisingly well, especially at counter balancing the late day sunlight. I was even more surprised that it worked because my flash was not properly syncing with my shutter because the shutter speeds were way too high. I guess I’ll be shooting at ISO 100 next time?
I’m trying to push myself to explore some new areas of photography and find new and fresh ways of capturing images. It seems like a bit of a futile task since so much has been done by others already. Nevertheless, I’d love to incorporate some abstraction into my work and I’m not exactly sure how to go about that. There are many ways to get abstract compositions with a camera…some interesting to me, some not. Today I thought I would try shooting some leaves with my 35mm f/1.8 lens wide open and then messing with the color in Photoshop. Here is the result. What do you think?
It’s been a nasty year on Longs Peak. In addition to numerous injuries, there have been 3 fatalities on the mountain this summer. I ventured out to climb the peak with some friends in August. We backpacked to the Boulder Field and camped overnight with the intention of summiting the next morning. But weather moved in overnight and the scene above is what greeted us in the morning. As you can see, the summit was covered in mist and light rain. These kind of conditions make the climb to the top extremely treacherous. Needless to say, we gave up on trying to reach the summit. I’ve been up there before, but I think I like the view I got from the Boulder Field much better! It was a great light show for sunrise, though it only lasted a few moments.
Just a photo I liked from a recent informal photo shoot for a client at work: Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
I’ve always wondered what level of risk there is to my vision when I’m composing photographs with the sun in the frame. I use a DSLR camera for all my photography which, unlike point-and-shoot cameras, actually projects the image from the lens onto a mirror and then into the viewfinder. What you see in the viewfinder is exactly what is in front of the lens. I’ve always been somewhat concerned when the sun is in my shot because the sun is being focused by the lens directly into my eye.
Last week I went to the eye doctor for a routine eye exam and I asked him specifically about the risks. He said the most dangerous scenario is when the sun is centered in your photo and unobstructed. The sun can burn the back of your eye just like it can burn your skin, but unlike your skin, your eye will never recover. The damage occurs to your macular and can happen very quickly given the right circumstances. Apparently any past damage to your macular can be seen on a thorough eye exam. My doctor also said that the risk is much less if the sun is near the edge of your composition or is partially obscured by an object such as a tree or cloud. UV coatings on filters, lenses, glasses or contacts can cut down the damaging effects of the sun, but can’t eliminate them.
Most DSLR cameras made within the last few years have a Live View feature where the camera can digitally display what is in front of the lens on the LCD screen. This makes a DSLR function more like a point-and-shoot camera. This is a good way to completely eliminate the risks to your eyes when the sun is in your composition. I use Live View on my camera anytime I’m shooting photos like the one above. Your eyes are too important to risk no matter what photographic opportunity is before you.
This past weekend I hiked from Bear Lake to Grand Lake (18.2 miles) in Rocky Mountain National Park with my friends Jay and Torgun. The hike starts at the Bear Lake trailhead, climbs over the summit of Flattop Mountain (the continental divide) and then gradually descends into the Grand Lake area. We stared at about 6:40 AM and finally made it into the middle of town in Grand Lake at 4:30 PM. Doing this hike in the direction we did (east to west) means that only the first 4 miles are strenuous uphill. The rest of it is mostly gradual downhill. There weren’t any super steep, knee pounding, downhill sections.
We enjoyed seeing wildflowers, numerous pikas and marmots, big horn sheep, a moose, what we think was a ferret, and some droppings that I insist were from a bear (full of berries). Although 18 miles in one day was tough, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. It wasn’t until the last 4 miles or so that my body really started complaining. Overall, it was a great hike and a good way to see some areas of Rocky Mountain National Park that very few people ever see.
I went on a backpacking trip with my brother last weekend to Ice Lake basin near Silverton, Colorado. It is a phenomenally gorgeous area of the San Juan mountains. I believe we hit the peak of the wildflower season perfectly because the hills were virtually carpeted with flowers. Though the trail was busy during the day, I’m sure it wasn’t as busy as Yankee Boy or American Basin which are the well known photography destinations this time of year. I highly recommend Ice Lake Basin for anyone up for a high altitude hike. The blue color of the water at Ice Lake is truly mind blowing. It’s as blue, if not more so, than anything in the Caribbean or Mediterranean.
This trip was the my first opportunity to use my new Gitzo GT1541T carbon fiber tripod, which I invested in specifically for backpacking and overseas travel. It weighs less than 3 lbs and folds up to 16 inches long but can still hold the weight of my DSLR. I’ll be posting a review of my experiences with it here shortly.