Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why do a long exposure, when not necessary?

Often times, I am out there in the field taking LONG exposures when not really necessary, I mean, the mountains and the cattle gate, there is no clouds or moving water! Why bother?

Thats a great question, and has come up recently with my flickr post. Yesterday, I took an image of some mountains, that were just sitting still minding there own business. And there were no moving clouds in site, so the 51 second exposure was an over kill! Right? For that image, yes, it was an over kill. I keep telling my self that I am adding a larger depth, and for the most part, I really do believe that. The 51 seconds coupled with the post processing, yes, I do see a difference. But why do the 51 seconds when I can just put the camera on f/11 and get the same job done at 1/50 of a second? Practice! Practice makes perfect right?

A couple of weeks ago, I went down that same hill that I pictured yesterday, just to see a 100 foot waterfall. "The Devils Punch Bowl" in Ramona, California. And when I got there, I took with me my husbands 17-85mm lens because my wide lens was still in the shop. I though that my 28-135mm would not be wide enough. But, I did not have a step up ring for my B+W ND110. So, I not only had a lens I was not use to, but I had a filter that I could not put correctly on the lens. I ended up holding the filter over the lens, and only ONE image came out. All the others were destroyed because of light passing through where I did not do a good job holding the ND110 over the wrong size lens. Long story short, I was not prepared! That was a hellish walk and it was almost all for nothing! That one image made it worth the 4.2 mile hike which 100% of it was up or down. There was no level out areas! And for the record, I am NOT physically fit like the average person. Far from! I have spent the past 1.5 years NOT working out due to an unresolved work related injury! Now, I am always taking image with that filter at a much longer exposure needed because of that water fall day! Because, next time I put my self through that physical hell, I want to be SPOT ON with the photography. I want to come home with 20 great images to choose from! I will never become great until I practice, practice, practice!

And that, in a nut shell, is why I spend so much time taking an image, long exposure, of something that does not require time to be perfect! The image above, no clouds, no water, but I had a filter in hand. That was the day I received my B+W ND110. I had to run out and take a picture quick! That was the first thing I saw that I though would be a good subject, the cattle stall. I felt that the long exposure with the darkness of the filter really added such style to this image. And to convert to B&W just adding icing to the cake! Did it require 30 seconds? No! Did I learn a thing or two while out shooting for the first time with the ND110? YES!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Black and white

To start off with, I must say, it is a rare thing to see me pull out all the stops with a black and white image. However, not too long ago, a contact of mine, on Flickr, did a light house image and converted it to black and white to create a more dramatic look. I posted a comment on that image, "Oh man, its amazing, how did you get that image to POP?" His response was, "some talent, some PP." Oh, that darn post processing!

Here are the things that I DO know. I know the image was an instant pop for three reasons. The image was taken with a wide lens, and was at close range. The image was taken with a small aperture and a longer exposure. And, the image, during the conversion from color to black and white, had a great deal of depth added to it thanks to contrast. OH, and the clouds, so that makes 4 things that I do know. I waited a LONG time to get my wide lens back from the shop AND a day where I had time off and clouds in the sky. Finally the day came, and I picked up my 4 year old and we ran off to Cabrillo National Monument. The clouds were great! It was very windy and the American flag was wiping around. All in all, a great set up for me and my quest to emulate the image that was my inspiration. And, please, no worries, I am my own photographer, I am not out to COPY others! I was out to put my stamp on the same subject, thats all! :) My goal was to create the depth that my contact friend had accomplished. He spoke of talent along with post processing skills, I hope I have something in there. :)

Please enjoy my image of The Cabrillo National Monument, in San Diego, California. Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know that you are here checking out my work!

Monday, April 12, 2010


And I do not mean Carl's StarStuff! I am talking about stacking! Lots and lots of star stacking. One of the things that I am really getting into, is stacking star images making star trails. Over the past week, I have had many attempts, most good, one bad. And that is how I learn. So, for these images, which are impressive in there own rite, with or with out me, I take MANY images in a row. Once all the images are taken, I open the folder in one program, hit the correct button, and bam! It's done! And is all I had to do was set the camera up. Oh, and I had to upload and download and load, load, load! :) Jumping though hoops are easy when they are not on fire! Its all so much easer then it looks. But sure does end up looking good! :) Please enjoy, the early days of my star trails.

This particular image is 149 images that are 30 seconds long.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The sun rises awfully fast!

I have been brave enough to wake up for sunrise twice over the past 4 months. Both were on a Sunday morning, before the family woke up, so I could get my beach time in. The goal was to not spend time away from the family and do this type of work while every one was still in bed. Works for me! Well, other then being tired for church! The image above is from the first time I made such an adventure. The alarm clock went off and I almost changed my mind! But did not, I got up and headed out to La Jolla. Beautiful La Jolla. I found the place I wanted to shoot rather quick, and I am grateful for that. Because by time I got there, dawn was approaching. What did I learn that morning? For the sunrise, I was not expecting how quickly the sun rises and make things bright! I did this exposure at 184 seconds long. During that time, conditions kept getting brighter and brighter. I finally though to my self, thats the exposure I wanted, so I closed the shutter. In the end, I though the image was totally destroyed! After careful post processing, I was able to save this image. Despite it being way over exposed. Upon posting this image on Flickr, I received high marks. A few even mentioned it was there favorite of my 365 project! Oh, thank you! :) Long story short, I ended up falling in love with the image my self. I hope you enjoy!