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.