Saturday, December 17, 2011

A few more Boston images

Walking between the conference center and the hotel I stayed in, I was able to shoot one or two pictures. I like to stay in hotels that are not too close to the conference center so I get a little walk in going to and from the talks. I'll spare you all the iPhone images from bars and such as they are really only interesting to the people in them. The below is a tree in the same park as the previous post was from:

Radiant. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11 mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1/80s
Google+ post. Image on flickr.

Nature's bed
Nature's bed (I know cliché!). Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11 mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1/25s
On flickr.

Reflection. Buy a print.
Composite of three images from Nikon D300, Nikkor 35mm f1.8DX ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/60s
I love how the building becomes sort of radiant because of all the reflections bouncing around in these urban canyons.

Geometric. Buy a print.
Composite of three images from Nikon D300, Nikkor 35mm f1.8DX ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/60s
This is a different crop of the above image.
On flickr.

Having a smoke. Buy a print.
Composite of four images from Nikon D300, Nikkor 35mm f1.8DX ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/400s

Corridor. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 35mm f1.8DX ISO 800, f/6.3, 1/500s

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fall color in Boston

Spending a few days in Boston (work) and I was amazed to find a bit of fall color left on the trees here.
From 2011-11-27
This came from my phone using the pro HDR app. Just added my name. Not fine art but I thought it was neat.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Purple predawn colors on the Great Sand Dunes

Last August I spent some time on the great sand dunes. This place is very interesting, especially in its setting rimmed by a high mountain range and at the end of a high valley. It's a vast field of dunes that is a lot of fun to explore and offers many gorgeous photographic opportunities. I recently posted images from the sunset on this blog. I also showed some coyote tracks I found the next morning. Below I'll post a large set of images from that same morning I found the coyote tracks. I'll focus now on the predawn images. Later I'll show some postdawn images. You can look ahead if you want to those by going to my Sand Dunes gallery on smugmug.

The purple dune
Purple dune. Buy a print. Black and white version here.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 14 mm, ISO 200, f/11, 25s

That is not a misprint. I needed a 25 second exposure for this. In the large image, you can actually see the coyote tracks I referenced before going over the dune. After sunrise I spent some time following them around the dune field.

The thin purple line
The thin purple line. Buy a print. Black and white version here.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 14 mm, ISO 200, f/11, 10s
This is a different perspective on the same dune as before.

One grain of sand
One grain of sand. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 14 mm, ISO 200, f/11, 6.0s
There are many different types of sand on the dunes. This was very course stuff forming very interesting patterns.

Reflections. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11 mm, ISO 200, f/11, 0.5s

Color starting to show in the sky.

Waves. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11 mm, ISO 200, f/11, 0.4s
I loved these wavy patterns formed by the wind. The black and white version of this is very nice too.

Steps. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11 mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/25s, handheld.

diagonal. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Nikon 18-55mm at 18 mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1/15s, handheld.

The colors are turning yellow now. Here I was mostly interested in the geometric shapes of the dune and how the little grass breaks that.

Soft dune
Soft Dune. Buy a print.
High resolution image stitched from 9 images shot with Nikon D300, Nikon 18-55mm at 50 mm, ISO 200, f/11, 1/15s.
This image will print super large with amazing detail in the sand.

Sideswipe. Buy a print.
High resolution image stitched from 9 images shot with Nikon D300, Nikon 55-200mm at 70 mm, ISO 200, f/16, 1/30s.
Again, this image will print very very large without issue. You can see the edge of dawn in the haze on the mountains. I love the color of the sand here.

A line in the sand
A line in the sand. Buy a print. Black and white version.
Nikon D300, Nikon 55-200mm at 145 mm, ISO 200, f/16, 1/30s.

This is a detail that I really liked. The black and white version really brings out the ripples very well.

Later I'll get to the images during and after sunrise.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nikon D800?

You have undoubtedly already seen this on the internets but in the off chance you haven't: there is an interesting picture and set of specs on what is likely going to be the D700's successor, the D800, on If true and not a photoshopped picture, this looks like one very interesting camera. With 36 MP it will have basically the same pixel density as the 16.2MP crop sensor D7000. This means it should be a a great compromise between noise, dynamic range, and resolution if it uses the same or better sensor technology. A fantastic DSLR camera for landscape photography in other words. I am always looking for ways to get really large prints to look good at least to me that do not involve all the stitching I do now. This is because composing the image in the field with the stitching in mind is not trivial and involves a lot of visualization. Having to visualize is not a bad thing overall of course but even Ansel had a ground glass plate to see the composition in the field. I have to approximate this with some kludgy comparisons that are not super exact (see here for an example). Also, the viewfinders on full frame cameras are so much better than on crop cameras as I am reminded of every time I put my eye to my old 35 mm film DSLR. Of course, when you use live view, as I do all the time on my D300 when doing landscape work that doesn't matter that much. It makes a huge difference in candid and other types of photography though and is therefore a very useful thing to have and a major advantage of full frame cameras over crop sensor ones.

So to Nikon I say: if you need any beta testers or reviewers, send one my way. I will test the heck out of it ;-) . Of course, when this camera would actually come out, I am sure Nikon will price it at a price point equivalent to "Canon 5D mkII + one or two nice lenses" so as to still make it unattainable to only a few. Hopefully it won't be anywhere near the stratospheric D3x range, but even that wouldn't surprise me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fiery vision

This is Notchtop in Rocky Mountain National Park in the clouds about an hour after sunrise.

Contrasts. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 16mm, f/8.0, 1/250s
Same image on flickr. Google+ post.

As people who have been on this trail in winter know, the wind can get very strong here. This was indeed one of those moments. From the image you would hardly know I took this image in gale-force winds and I was quite cold and actually shivering, but couldn't let this scene pass by without taking it to the plate.

It turns out I took this image in the exact same spot I shot another image at sunset a few weeks earlier. I posted it before, but I'll repeat it here so you can compare.

Fire over Notchtop
Fire over Notchtop. Buy a print.
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 13mm, f/8.0, 1/20s

What a difference a few weeks makes!

Butler Gulch sunset in black and white

Butler Gulch evening Black and white
Buy a print.

Black and white version of the high resolution image from yesterday. I love the luminosity/glow of the rocks in the foreground.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Butler Gulch evening

I went on a quick snowshoe last week with my friend from Switzerland, Jean-David. We went for a quick trip to Butler Gulch, which is at the same trailhead as Jones Pass road, near Berthoud Falls and Berthoud Pass. Here is Jean-David sans snowshoes, getting ready for the hike up.

Gearing up

Even though I expected it to be blown bare most of the way, there was more than enough snow to have done it on skis/snowboards. We only had snowshoes with us though.

We went up to the bowl at the end of the trail and climbed a glacial knob that sits in the middle of it to look out over the valley. Up above treeline, the snow was less deep and we would have had to plan our route more carefully were we on skis. The sun was low over the mountains and bathed the bowl in nice yellow light that well contrasted with the blue snow. Here is a picture of my backpack in its natural state:

Tilopa in its natural state

It's a f-stop Tilopa BC that I recently got and that I am extremely happy with. I'll perhaps review it later. Colby Brown recommended f-stop gear for the sort of backcountry trips I do with my camera gear and he is absolutely right. They make some of the only camera bags that are actually good backpacks and that can carry the non-photo gear that you need on backcountry trips, such as extra layers, food, water, shovels, tents, stoves, etc. It will do it all without compromising on the camera/tripod front. Highly recommended. Anyway on this knoll I created a few images.

Butler Gulch evening
Butler Gulch evening. Buy a print.
Composite of nine images from Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 at 35mm, f/16,1/160s, ISO 200.
Same image on flickr.
Post on this image at Google+.

This image will print as high as your wall with impeccable detail. In large prints, the sunlit area will come alive. On the downscaled image, the sunlit area somehow turns orange. This is because the yellow from the sunlight is mixed in with the red of the rocks I guess.

A bowl of sugar
A bowl of sugar. Buy a print.
Stitch from 9 handheld images horizontally arranged. Individual images from Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm, f/16,1/60s, ISO 200.
Same image on flickr.

Primordial. Buy a print.
Single image from Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm, f/16,1/60s, ISO 200.
Same image at flickr.

At this point my fingers were starting to freeze a little too much so we decided to turn around and after crashing down through the glades instead of over the trail, drove over to the traditional stop at Tommyknocker brewery in Idaho Springs to eat some well deserved nachos:

Jean David at Tommyknocker eating the traditional enormous plate of nachos.
From my iPhone.

I have a great backlog of images I promised, so more later.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blast from the past

Actually only a year ago or so. This is a panorama taken at sunset at Roxborough State Park. It had just snowed like mad the days before. The same storm I think that produced these images. I went on an evening hike in Roxborough with my daughter and we had a blast. The below images were created during that outing a year ago. Can't believe I never posted these. Lovely yellow glow in the sky I think. These images have to be experienced large, which can be done by clicking on them and viewing them in the lightbox.

Glowing Hills
Glowing hills. Buy a print.
Assembled from 10 images (two rows of five). Nikon D300, ISO 200, Nikon 18-55 mm at 48mm, f/16, 1/50s. Developed in Lightroom and assembled in hugin.
Same image on flickr. Google+ post.

And just to give you a little extra. Here is another image created on the same outing.
Cloudy evening in wintery Roxborough state park
Overview. Buy a print.
Assembled from 12 images (3 rows of 4). Nikon D300, ISO 200, Nikon 18-55 mm at 48mm, f/16, 1/40s. Developed in Lightroom and assembled in hugin.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lake Helene sunrise panorama

I still need to work on the images from this trip up to lake Helene, but I think the following image will be one of my favorites. It is a panorama taken at sunrise over Lake Helene. You will get a much larger version if you click on the image below. In my opinion it should really be seen large on a darkish background. This image was created by stitching five images taken in a row together. It will of course print very well very large on the longer aspect ratio sizes and I would highly recommend sizes such as 10x20, 12x20 (exact!), 14x22, 20x30. I can do much larger custom prints too. Just contact me. As many people ask me about this: The logo will NOT show up on your print.

Lake Helene sunrise panorama
Fire in the sky. Buy a print.
Technical data: 5 stitched images from Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm, ISO 200, f/16, 1/10s.
This image is also on flickr. Google+ post on this image.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More fall color in Eldorado Canyon State Park

This image was taken two weeks ago in Eldorado Canyon State park (for earlier pictures from the same outing see here and here). This was quite a while after sunset while I was walking back to my car and the yellow trees were positively glowing.

Blast. Buy a print.
Boring technical data: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm, ISO 200, f/11, 8.0 seconds. Two different developments in Lightroom of the image were combined in enfuse to balance sky and foreground.
Same image on Flickr. Google+ post.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fifteen minutes

I haven't had time to do much with my images from Sunday morning yet (let alone the gigantic backlog of images that I think need to be shown off), but I wanted to share the below juxtaposition. The two images are both composites of 9 images each. The two sets were taken 15 minutes apart. The left one about 13 minutes before sunrise, and the right one about a minute or two after that. The difference in mood and color is very large as I am sure I don't have to tell you. I always love the light just before sunrise. A minute later after the second image the sunrise light got even more intense as I already showed yesterday. the Click the image to see the comparison larger. The mountain is Notchtop mountain and the frozen lake is called Lake Helene. The lake is reached after a 3.2 miles hike from Bear Lake trailhead. Normally that is an easy hike (moderate in the guide books) but at night in the blowing snow and with a disappearing trail because of that, that is a little more challenging. More about that later.

Because of the format of this blog, I can only include a small image inline here, so you should really click to scale it up to a nicer size.

Click for bigger. Not posted online for sale yet, but will be soon - I promise.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Notchtop Morning

I was out at Lake Helene yesterday morning and it was just absolutely spectacular if not very cold and quite deep in the snow (I had not expected to need snowshoes so I was sinking deep at every step). I am still going through the images but I quickly wanted to already share this image with you. It shows Notchtop mountain at the moment of sunrise but covered with a blanket of clouds. The wind was so fierce that these clouds were puffing around really quickly almost as if I was looking at a timelapse video but happening in real life. Quite neat.

A Notchtop morning
A Notchtop morning. Buy a print.
Tech info. Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mmf/3.5-5..6 at 24mm. f/16, 1/13s. Raw image developed in Lightroom.
Same image on Flickr. Relevant Google+ post.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quiet symmetry at Marigold ponds

This image was taken on a quiet evening a few weekends ago in the Odessa Lake area in Rocky Mountain National park. This shows the Marigold ponds, a little lake hidden from sight from the trail. The reflected peak is called the Notchtop. This evening was superbly quiet and the watersurface was completely undisturbed safe for some insects. I love the strong symmetry created by the clouds and their reflection. As you would see in a large print, the reflection is more perfect than any I have ever seen before.

Buy a print.
Technical data: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11.5 mm, f/11, 1/13s, circular polarizer, 2 stop grad ND. Processed from raw in Lightroom.
Same image on flickr. The relevant Google+ post.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Coyote tracks

On the great sand dunes just after sunrise.

steps black and white - Coyote tracks on the sand dunes
Buy a print.
Technical data: Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 at 18mm, f/8.0, 1/320s.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More fall color in Eldorado Canyon

This image was taken at dusk. I have some nice images looking out over the rock formation with sunset glow on them that I will post at a later time. Now fall color is still topical so I'll show that here. This is a followup to the previous post. This waterfall is fairly easy to find right at a pullout to a big bouldering boulder. You have to scramble down a little through some brush and there it is. There are many nice waterfalls in this area but it is often difficult to get a good angle on them. I think this one works.

Dusk fall
Dusk fall. Buy a print.
Technical: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11 mm, f/11, 1.0s. 3 stop grad ND to darken the sky. Processed in Lightroom (no HDR).
Relevant Google+ post. Image on flickr.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall in Eldorado Canyon State Park

Yesterday, I dropped the little boy off with mom and sis who is selling tickets as a fundraiser for the awesome organization she rides horses with - The Westernaires. She is close to having sold 400 tickets now, which means she will have two chances to win that horse that we have little idea where to keep but we'll deal with that if it actualy happens. I am very proud though that she is working this hard to accomplish her goal with actually fairly little help from us except for giving rides and keeping her company. She is a better sales person than me. Anyway, I did a quick evening run after this to Eldorado Canyon State Park, a very nice park just southwest of Boulder that is famous for its climbing. I posted some winter images from this place before. The picture I will post below is quite different from those images. Even though as I showed before the high country of Colorado is getting snowed on already, the foothills are still in full fall mode. So I went to Eldorado Springs to hunt for a waterfall surrounded by fall foliage as well as to recreate a sunset shot I did with my phone a while ago but with better gear. The latter didn't pan out as I had hoped (I'll post some images anyway when I get to them), but the waterfalls wwere great. The below is one of those images I found.

Fall in Eldorado Canyon State Park. Buy a print
Technical data: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11.5mm, f/16, 0.4s, 3 stop ND and 3 stop grad ND filters to slow down the water and darken the sky. Edited in Lightroom (no HDR here!).
Relevant G+ post. The image on Flickr.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More from the Loch and Lake Haiyaha

Previously I posted a few images from The Loch here and here. Here are a few more that I took, as well as on my hike over to Lake Haiyaha. First this is at the outlet of The Loch:

Ice and fire
Ice and Fire. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/10, 1/500s, ISO 800. I painted in a 1 2/3 stop graduated ND in Lightroom to darken the sky.
Relevant Google+ post. Image on flickr.

I really love the yellow glow over the mountain here. This is the Sharktooth. The name of which is much clearer when you take a look at it from the other side.
Keen observers will notice that I made a mistake here and left the camera at a high ISO that I used for family pictures the evening before. Luckily noise reduction in modern raw conversion software is so good that you don't notice even zooming at 1:1 so it's not a big deal at all and the quality of this image in print is just great.

Here is a horizontal pano that I shot on the same spot as where I took the iPhone panorama posted a few days ago.
Surround. Buy a print.
Technical data: Assembled from 10 images (2 rows of 5). D300 with 35mm f/1.8 DX at f/11, 1/100s, ISO 200. 1 stop darkening of the clouds painted in in Lightroom.
Relevant Google+ post. Image on Flickr.

This should really be seen large. As you can see, the sky is much more dramatic in the DSLR image than in the iPhone panorama, but the iPhone holds up well in the web image. Of course, when you make a large print of this 45 MP image (out of a possible 100 MP or so when rendered full resolution), you'll get incredible detail out of it. The iPhone panorama will not hold up to close inspection in that case. Of course only photographers really care about resolution. People who love the art of photography are looking far more to composition, color, and what kind of story the image tells. Both images work fine in that respect with the dramatic color advantage to the DSLR panorama in my opinion.

Echoes of grandeur
Echoes of Grandeur. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/10, 1/500s, ISO 800. I painted in a 2/3 stop graduated ND in Lightroom to darken the sky.
This is basically a horizontal version of the vertical high resolution composite I posted before. I like both perspectives but slightly prefer this handheld image.
Relevant Google+ post. Same image on Flickr.

After the Loch I was first planning to walk up to Andrew's tarn, but decided to walk over the small trail from Glacier Junction to Lake Haiyaha and Dream Lake. This was very nice and I shot some images of small waterfalls and a little pond I came across. Here is the outlet to Lake Haiyaha. The name Haiyaha apparently means "rock" in a native american language which is an apt name as the lake shore is riddled with enormous boulders hinting at its glacial origin. This is not the actual lake which is further behind, but I didn't take any images over there as it was very windy here and I doubt I could get any nice reflections on it. The outlet however was quite sheltered and offered some possibilities for reflections as you can see below:

Hallett peak reflection
Hallett peak reflection. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/5.6, 1/25s, ISO200

Here is another one at a slightly different location.

Misty evening
Misty evening. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/5.6, 1/25s, ISO200

On the hike over to Dream Lake from Haiyaha, you come across a very exposed ledge that is actually quite scary in winter with deep snow, but that always offers a great view of Longs peak. Here are two more images looking back from that point to Longs. Unfortunately, I did not get any sunset light on it (which is always quite dramatic) but the clouds were very dramatic so I decided to post them anyway.

Along the trail to Lake Haiyaha - Longs peak in the mist
Longs peak in the mist. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/5.6, 1/50s, ISO200

Along the trail to Lake Haiyaha - the clouds split over Longs
Parting the clouds. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/5.6, 1/25s, ISO200

If I don't decide to go back in time to my gigantic backlog of images, next up will be some images from Dream Lake and Nymph Lake at dusk.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Elk herd in Apex open space

From 2011-10-12
This herd lives in one of my favorite open space parks to do a quick lunch or end of day bike ride. There are lots of elk in the Denver foothills and you don't really have to go up to Rocky Mountain National Park to see them. As long as you are willing to walk/bike a few minutes you can see them up close. This image is from two exposures on my iPhone shooting against the sun combined using a quick mask in Photoshop. The built in HDR as well as the HDR pro app didn't do a good job here as the elk moved between exposures.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

iPhone panorama of the Loch and Loch Vale

This was created by 6 shots on my iphone4 (non-S ;-) ) in HDR mode. I stitched them together using hugin later. I did have my phone stitch a similar image using the autostitch app which looked great too, but it lowers the resolution (probably a setting somewhere I should change). I slightly warmed the tone in Lightroom but otherwise this is as is. The image is about 12 MP resolution. Click on it for a much bigger view. It is quite impressive what you can do with a cellphone nowadays.

The Loch iPhone panorama
The Loch iPhone panorama. Buy a print.
relevant Google+ post.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Snow on the Loch

It snowed around here and in the mountains on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday I decided to go on an evening hike in Rocky Mountain. I had an extraordinarily pleasant walk (albeit somewhat cold at times). I visited The Loch, Lake Haiyaha, Dream Lake and Nymph Lake. I had not expected much fireworks lightwise, because these are all traditional sunrise pictures. However, as it turns out the clouds that were hanging above the high peaks actually lit up in pinkish and yellowish hues. Also some sunset light actually hit Half Mountain (at least I think that is what it is called). Together these provided some backscatter into the valley which gave a nice warm light. I have a lot of nice images that I will share when I get the time (the backlog is terrible!) but for now here is an image created at the far tip of The Loch.

Snow on The Loch
Snow on the Loch. Buy a print.
Technical info: Composite of 9 images (will print wallsized with impeccable detail). Individual images D300 with 35mm f1.8 DX at f/11, 1/80s, ISO 200. Field of view equivalent to about a 13mm lens on DX or a 20mm lens on full frame.

Google+ post on this image. The same image on flickr.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rocks and reflections in Summit Lake

This was taken a while ago at Summit Lake below Mount Evans. I shot much more the other way too, but right now I just wanted to show this image.

Summit Lake rocks
Summit Lake rocks and Mount Warren. Buy a print.
Technical data: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, ISO 200, f/8.0, 30s, circular polarizer.

Same image on flickr.
Google+ post.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall comes to the foothills

Snapped this using my iPhone on my daily bike ride a few days ago. I used the HDR pro app to combine two exposures to avoid the blue sky from blowing out.

Fall color in Apex park
Also see the relevant Google+ post.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Just heard it on NPR. From the homepage today:

Sad day. I thank Steve for enabling all these innovations that have made a profound difference on my life and that of millions of other people. A lot of what I do in my science work and my photography would not have been possible or would have been far harder and probably quite frustrating without them. Buying my first iPod (when they were still Mac only and the iTunes store didn't exist yet) made me rediscover my love of music. Steve was truly remarkable. The epitaph at the Apple site says it well. Also a worthwhile read is his 2005 Stanford commencement address.

Edit: A very good write-up by John Siracusa at ars. Mirrors my feelings quite well but John is actually a good writer.

Fire over Notchtop : or it pays to look back

Shot while walking away from the lakes. I look back over my shoulder and suddenly there is a flash of color in the sky.

Fire over Notchtop
Fire over Notchtop. Buy a print.
Boring technical info (I get asked all the time): Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 13mm, f/8.0, 1/20s, ISO 200. Developed in Adobe Lightroom.