I am very slowly going through my images of White Pocket in the Pariah Canyon/Vermillion Cliffs wilderness where I was last April. Every time I go into those folders in my library I discover new gems. Unfortunately this prevents me from actually getting anywhere as I become too scattered, so I have been taking the approach that I don't even try and just pick one image once in a while that I work on. The below is one such image. This place is full of landscapes and lines such as this at every corner. The colors were really quite amazing this morning. Deep reds, yellows, and pinks all over the place. The below scene really reminded me of veins or marbling. There were many opportunities here for abstracts, but in the end I decided to show some sky here too.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Last week, I went for a sunrise in Rocky Mountain National Park. The original plan was to go for sunrise at Lake Helene or Two Rivers lake to photograph sunrise on Notchtop. However those plans were scuttled due to a miscommunication with the friend that was coming with me. We both thought the other was picking us up. So we arrived too late to get to Helene. Due to this delay, we decided to divert to Dream Lake for sunrise, which you can easily get to in half an hour or so. It looked like it was going to rain and overcast completely. Luckily right at sunrise, an opening in the clouds at the horizon let through a spectacular sunrise.
This is looking back in the direction of the rising sun not long before sunrise. The glow is starting.
Ushering Dawn. Bigger and prints.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm at 16mm, f/16, 1.6s, ISO 100.
A few minutes later an almost unearthly glow was starting on Hallett peak and Dragon Couloir. There was a strong breeze kicking up waves on the lake which gives the water a smoky appearance.
Dreams of Snakes. Bigger and prints.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm at 16mm, f/16, 2.5s, ISO 100.
I also created a horizontal version of this image using another tree trunk as the foreground element.
Smoke on the water, fire in the ... . Bigger and prints.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm at 16mm, f/16, 1s, ISO 100.
A little later, the color got really intense and a few very short breaks in the wind allowed me to compose images that included a reflection. This was really quite spectacular. Very little editing went into these pictures. I did also move back a little bit to get some more quiet water.
The quiet. Bigger and prints.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm at 16mm, f/16, 0.8s, ISO 100.
The color was changing rapidly at this point. This image has a somewhat more perfect reflection but the sky was already taking on more blues. The light was fading in and out all the time due to the patchy clouds on the horizon as you can see in the first image above.
Upside Down Dream. Bigger and prints.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm at 16mm, f/16, 1.0s, ISO 100.
I also made a portrait version of this. I like both a lot. This one again has more direct light on the peaks compared to the previous shot
Reflection. Bigger and prints.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm at 16mm, f/16, 0.4s, ISO 100.
At this point, we moved on to Emerald, Hayiaha, Mills and more. On the way to Emerald. I came across a small strand of Aspen trees that was backlit and really glowed. This is a handheld shot.
Trees. Bigger and prints.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85mm at 28mm, f/11, 1/25s, ISO 100.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
I discovered that an earlier photo from the sunrise at Blue Lake (see yesterday's post) has an intriguing atmospheric effect in it. There are some subtle rays visible in the sky that appear to converge onto Mount Toll. Of course they do not actually converge but are parallel lines that appear convergent due to perspective. They look to be caused by light scattering of sunrise light in the high atmosphere that hits higher altitudes moisture before it hits the peak itself.
Friday, September 26, 2014
On the day of the fall equinox, I went to see the sunrise at one of my favorite locations in the front range mountains, Blue Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. My old friend Jean-David joined me. I don't often get to go out with others for these crazy sunrise hikes so this was great. We were greeted at the lake with very little wind, which is something that almost never happens in this place as well a fantastically colorful sunrise. A major treat. I took a series of images at sunrise with the same framing.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
I've written here about the color management problems with Lightroom on Mavericks before here and here. With the recent release of OS X 10.9.5, color management now appears to work right in Aperture and in iPhoto. However, it is still broken in Safari and preview. This is quite disturbing. Amazingly, both Chrome and Firefox do the color management right. It appears that Safari has built-in code to deal with sRGB tagged images because it treats them differently than any other embedded profile. It ignores the sRGB gamma curve and assumes it is the same as your display gamma profile! Below is a little test link for your pleasure to illustrate the problem. Rollover to switch between adobeRGB and sRGB tagged images. The sRGB image will have the darkest patches blocked completely in Safari. The adobeRGB image is correctly displayed. In Chrome on Mac OS X, since it is color managed, you will see only a very subtle difference due to the gammas being different in adobeRGB and sRGB and there therefore being subtle bit errors but both displays are essentially correct. The same is true for Firefox.
Mouse over to see the problem. Loading the alternate image might take a few seconds. You won't see it unless you are on Mavericks/Yosemite and are using Safari. If the darker patches change brightness, you have the bug.
On a well behaved browser these two images should be close to identical. Safari in Mavericks (I tested 7.1) is no longer well behaved and completely destroys the shadows. It is important to note that preview.app is also broken but in a different way. Strangely it does not display black correctly. Aperture and iPhoto do behave correctly as of 10.9.5 but used to be wrong in earlier versions of Mac OS X Mavericks. Photoshop, since it uses its own color management routines, behaves correctly too. Lightroom only behaves correctly in the Library views as I have shown before. In Develop it has the same blocked shadow problem as you see in Safari. This problem is non-existent in 10.8.
Edit: Before any confusion arises, I need to explain the numbers in the images above. The sRGB version of the image shows the values of r,g,and b in the sRGB color space as encoded in the file. The adobeRGB version is the same file, but converted to adobeRGB color space in Photoshop. The numbers are still the r,g,b values of the patches in sRGB space, but the file is simply encoded in adobeRGB. The display should therefore be identical in correctly color managed environments as it is in Photoshop. EDIT:10/17/14. Finally got around to installing Yosemite. Unsurprisingly, this is still broken in Safari like it is in Mavericks and the Webkit nightlies. Unfortunate. Strange that this is not getting picked up as this bug is present on every single Mac that has Mavericks or Yosemite installed. No matter whether it is hardware calibrated or not. Mac OS pre Mavericks did not have this bug.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
I came across this scene driving back from the Vermillion Cliffs last spring. I had stopped at Bryce and Calf Creek Falls along the way and now was heading back home with vague plans to stop at Goblin Valley. on the way between Capital Reef (an extraordinary place I can also highly recommend) and Hanksville I got struck by the scene below of just seas of purple/pink flowers on the desert floor in front of the impressive buttes. I had to stop and take some pictures as you can well imagine. I think it is extraordinary how life seems to find a way in these places.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Sunday, August 10, 2014
I spent some time further quantifying the display problem that Mavericks introduced and that affects Lightroom, Aperture, and every other application that uses Apple color management libraries. (EDIT 10/19/14 - Apple fixed this bug in Aperture, right now it only affects Lightroom and Safari - all other color managed apps are fine - in Yosemite the problem persists). In short, the problem is that shadows get crushed upon display. This is a serious bug that is remaining unfixed since OS X 10.9 and is apparently present even in the Yosemite beta. I am trying to raise awareness of this bug since I am getting no reply from Apple not from a bug report and not from directly emailing folks there. This should get fixed as it makes it tough to do serious work on Mavericks. You can work around it by using Photoshop which uses its own color management library or by using the soft proof feature in Lightroom. Mac OS X 10.8 and below do not have this problem and correctly show the shadows. This is independent of what color calibration you use and even shows up when you use Apple's supplied profile for your display.
I generated a simple photoshop file that has swatches of grey ranging from 1 to 100 in 8-bit scale and then used the system color taste dropper that you can get to if you open textedit and click the text color box. Then use "Show colors" and you can then "taste" any color on your screen and get the display values. These values are what is actually sent to the monitor and so are very useful for this purpose. Below I plot the values seen in Photoshop (correct), those in Lightroom Library and Lightroom Develop. I am not showing Aperture as those are the same as Lightroom Develop and also very wrong. I am using a double log scale to really show you the problem areas in the darker regions below r,g,b=25.
I did this using the nice plotly plotting service. The images sometimes take a short time to show up. You can find the data in the link on the bottom of the plot. Photoshop's light bump in the shadows is correct as sRGB has a little knee in the shadows. Lightroom Develop due to the Mavericks bug displays way lower intensity than it should leading to the crushed shadows that people are observing.
I also created the same swatch file in the color space of my monitor profile. The display of those swatches should happen at exactly the same display value as the input file. This really illustrates the problem I think.
Photoshop clearly does this correctly. The relation is almost exactly linear and any deviations are a single bit difference which is just a rounding error. Lightroom Develop shows way below. Lightroom Library is close but with a larger error than Photoshop. Below is the same data bit plotted as display error.
Mavericks causes Lightroom Library to be off by a full 8 points in the shadows! I hope this data is useful to somebody and helps some folks that have puzzled over dark shadows in Mavericks applications.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Old man of the mountain flowers blooming at the shores of Andrews Tarn below Andrews Glacier in Rocky Mountain National Park. I visited this place after my visit to Sky Pond and Lake of Glass for sunrise. The mosquitoes were amazingly thick this morning and they were not impressed by the bug spray I was using ;-).
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Cathedral Spires Glow. Sunrise casts alpenglow on the majestic spires over Sky Pond, a high alpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park's Loch Vale.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
My trip to the Southwest last April with a group of friends had three planned destinations. The Bisti Badlands/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, Alstrom Point and the White Pocket. I have pretty much gone through the Bisti Badlands images and posted those on my website except for a few that I am still working on. The Alstrom Point images are halfway done. For the White Pocket, I have a lot of work to do. I only posted two black and whites and the real stunners are still to come. This post is mostly about the Alstrom Point images. Alstrom Point is reached after a long drive over a dirt road and some four wheeling over a little slick rock. The location is a stunner though. You look out over Lake Powell and Gunsight Butte. We spent a single night there but even then it was amazing to see the different phases the view went through. I shot many different perspectives but the classical view is still what stood out. As always, click for bigger and for prints.
Sunsight on gunsight butte.
Nikon D600. Nikon 24-85mm at 24mm, f/16, 1/25s, ISO 100. Grad ND filter.
The moon was out most of the night and very brightly illuminated the lake and rocks. The bright "star" in the middle is the planet Mars.
Moonlight illuminates Gunsight Butte and Lake Powell
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 16mm, f/2.8, 15s, ISO 1600.
The moonlight was so bright that it was easy to photograph the surroundings. I put my headlamp in my tent to obtain this:
moonlight lights the desert near Alstrom point.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 16mm, f/2.8, 15s, ISO 1600.
Close to sunrise, the milky way had come out very brightly and we had a lot of fun shooting images of it. I created two views - one vertical and one horizontal, by combining two exposures. One for the stars and one much longer for the foreground. You can already see the sunrise light starting to pour over. The bright star is the planet Venus in this case.
Milky Way and planet Venus rising over Gunsight Butte and Lake Powell
Nikon D600. Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 16mm, f/2.8, ISO 1600, Two exposures at 15s and 246s.
I also created a horizontal version:
Milky Way and planet Venus rising over Gunsight Butte and Lake Powell horizontal.
Nikon D600. Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 16mm, f/2.8, ISO 1600, Two exposures at 15s and 221s.
Close to sunrise, the glow started to drown out the stars but the pinks were coming out in force.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 16mm, f/11, 1/6s, ISO 100.
I also created some panoramics of which this is my favorite. It really should be seen much bigger in the link.
The grey before dawn.
stitched from 4 images from Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85mm at 24mm, f/11, 1/6s, ISO 100
Closer to sunrise, the glow turned red and orange:
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 20mm, f/11, 1/20s, ISO 100.
And finally the sun peeked over and gave a nice sunstar:
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 19mm, f/22, 1/20s, ISO 100.
Again, enjoy these images bigger in the links behind the images.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
When I was at the Bisti Badlands/De-Na-Zin Wilderness this April, we decided to leave our cameras for star trail images. The location we chose was the Wings, which is an amazing formation. We set up our cameras each in our own way. I chose a horizontal composition with the pole star being pointed at by one of the Wings. My reasoning for a horizontal image was that I could also turn it into a time lapse. I shot 30 seconds exposures on the built-in interval timer in the camera. I used my Tokina 16-28 mm lens at 16 mm, f/5.6 (to get more of the wings in focus) and ISO 1600. The battery lasted for a little over three hours. We left the cameras and hiked back to the cars to have dinner and returned for the cameras. These were extremely difficult to find as in the mean time the moon had set and this place is a complete maze. Finally with some help of a GPS waypoint and the red lights on my friends' Canon cameras, we were able to retrieve them. At home the fun started. I combined all 300-some raw images in Photoshop in batches of 10 using the lighten mode. I cloned out all the jet trails, sensor hot pixels, and a few distracting meteor trails. I then took the 30-some remaining images and combined them in Photoshop, again using lighten mode, but now using progressively increasing opacity. This created the comet effect you see below.
I also created some time-lapse movies using the individual frames. If you click through you can get to the HD versions that use a HTML5 (i.e. tablet and phone friendly) display. You can see a in the lens reflection from the very bright moon move in the frame. This disappeared in the composite image luckily.
And this is the same thing but without the pan and zoom of the previous.
I find it amazing how many planes you can see come by. The music was "composed" by me using Garageband.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Saturday, March 29, 2014
On the last few days of January, I drove down to the White Sands National Monument to meet up with photography buddies Dan Orcutt, Dave Peterman, Bill Wallace, Dick Negaard, and Steve Wapon. I already posted some images from this trip on Facebook, flickr, Google+ as well as on this blog, but I have not shown everything as this place is crazy and magical and there are too many keepers. So bare with me as I slowly make my way through. I shot a total of 521 raw images and undoubtedly would have shot more if my original plan to spend the night on the sand hadn't been scuttled by the schedule of the nearby missile range. They shoot actual rockets over the sand dunes and the monument is sometimes closed due to this for overnight camping. If one goes astray, you don't want to be there. Also, even if there is no missile test, it opens way too late for sunrise shooting, so you really want to camp in the back country camping for sunrise shooting. We'll do that next time. Luckily, another morning, Dave had arranged for the rangers to let us in before sunrise (which they do at a price ;-) ). However, the missile range at the last moment decided to do some tests that morning, making it impossible to get in to the main dune areas. The Monument, feeling bad about it, was nice enough to let us enter a corner of the park where missile danger was low so that we could experience the sunrise anyway. Here is an example image from that morning. More on that later I am sure.
This post will focus on the black and white images I created in this place. There are quite a few. Especially during the day (i.e. not near sunrise or sunset), there are lots of compositions that lend themselves very well to black and white. These images will be mostly in chronological order. Clicking on the image will bring them up much larger and you can get prints from the links too.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 16mm, f/22, 1/60s, ISO100, handheld
The dunes are rife with compositions such as this. In the top left, you can see the little stick that is the subject of the next image.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 at 80mm, f/11, 1/160s, ISO 100, handheld
In the inter dune areas, one finds these intriguing ridges that look to be formed by water flow and evaporation. I've seen few pictures of this but they offer many opportunities for interesting compositions. More views of these ridges below.
How many grains?
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 at 24mm, f/22, 1/30s, ISO 100, handheld
Classical ripple composition. I use this one as background on my twitter feed.
Turning a corner
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 at 24mm, f/16, 1/50s, ISO 100, handheld
It is getting close to golden hour here and the sand is taking up a gorgeous iridescence. This will be especially clear if you are viewing this on a retina (HiDPI) screen. My blog is smart enough to serve you high resolution images on those.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 at 24mm, f/16, 1/60s, ISO 100, handheld
A little later some wispy clouds moved in that reminded me of a bird. This is the same ridge as the image immediately above.
Snake and Bird
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 at 44mm, f/16, 1/60s, ISO 100, handheld
This is the same cloud and I composed it with an interesting sand structure that looked like a snake to form a mythological image. Appropriate for the southwest I think.
Dreams of faraway shores
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 at 24mm, f/22, 1/30s, ISO 100, handheld
These are the ridges one finds in the inter dune areas. They are just fascinating and give many opportunities for leading lines.
This really was just a subsection of all the black and whites I created, but these are my favorites. I hope you enjoyed them. Also see the entire White Sands gallery at smugmug, on Facebook, on Google+, and black and whites at flickr,
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Sunset at White Sands National Monument.
Not realizing that the White Sands website was incorrect on closing time, the ranger was lightly annoyed that we were too late exiting the park. It is a pity that the park closes so early. One can camp out on the sand, but the days that I was there, every morning had a missile test. which meant that one could not get camping permits. If you are going here for sunrise or sunset pictures, be aware of the restrictions.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Sunset graces Sierra Blanca Peak and grazes the sand dunes in White Sands NM.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
I was just looking at my blog's stats and in the last few days people have taken an interest in my post about a sunrise at dead horse point. The amount of traffic is quite extraordinary. This is just a day:
This is the statistics on the smugmug gallery that the images are hosted from:
That's with only 1/3 of March 2 done by now, so it seems that sunday will be a 4000 image day too. Somebody big must have started linking to it as these images don't draw a lot of traffic normally. Strangely, I cannot figure out what triggered the traffic as google analytics does not show the origin of the traffic. As the graph above shows, my smugmug site (which serves up the images) shows the traffic quite well, but of course thinks it comes from my blog. These are some of my favorite images and it's nice if people enjoy them but I am still curious where the traffic came from.
Cradled. Buy a print.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, f/16, 1/6s, ISO 100.
EDIT: 3/2/14. This is probably a consequence of referer spam. Traffic generated by bots hoping to generate links back to them. Evil spammers.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Update Feb 26, 2014 - Just updated a machine to 10.9.2, the update that fixes the nasty SSL bug. It does NOT fix this color management bug.
After quite a bit of testing I have come to the conclusion that there is a serious color management bug in Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks. This is subtle but will result in your shadows being displayed much darker than they really are. The bug affects almost every color managed program and is present whether you use a display profiler such as a Spyder or whether you use the built in profiles. The bug was introduced with 10.9 and is not present in 10.8. So if you are a pro using Mac OS X, stay on 10.8 for now. Strangely enough, Photoshop displays correctly, but it is the only program that does consistently. Aperture plugs the shadows. Lightroom displays correctly in the Library module but incorrectly in the Develop module which makes developing your pictures when looking for shadow detail difficult. I already submitted a bug report to Apple so we'll see if it gets fixed. I am not the first to notice this as is clear from this thread on Adobe's Lightroom forum.
Hope this is useful to somebody. The test file came from lagom, which I turned into a RGB tiff file with an included sRGB profile so that Aperture could read it. Again, on 10.8 the display is identical in all software. Also, it doesn't matter whether you calibrate or not or what calibrator you use, they all show the issue. I used a Spyder 3 Pro here but the issue shows up with other calibrators too.
EDIT: This bug is fixed in Aperture. It is still present in Lightroom and Safari