Sitting on the Edge


Sitting on the Edge

Click on the image to view a high res version.

Focal Length: 20mm
Aperture: f/13
Shutter Speed: 1/25
ISO: 100

The sun looks like a small ball of fire sitting on the tip of the ice. When I got this shot there was another photographer to my left about 100 feet away but was getting a more traditional sunrise shot. He had his camera on his tripod standing up while I had my camera on my tripod upside down and laying on the ground. I’m sure he got a nice shot but I know he didn’t get anything that looked like this. I don’t really have many of the normal looking sunrise shots but I can’t let myself let photos like this get away when I have the chance either.

The Vision of Unique


Every time I go out and shoot I have one goal in mind. To create visions that are unique. Why visions and not photos? Because to me a photo is just a photo. But a vision is something that stands out. Something that is more unique. Already seen something that was shot before and you have the opportunity to replicate it? Look a little harder to try and create something different. It is nice to duplicate what has already been done in order to prove to yourself that you can do it, to learn how to do it, or to have a photo that you can say you shot yourself. But what’s more exciting is when you are able to create something that stands out and is unique because you haven’t seen it before. Even if it has already been done doesn’t mean you are duplicating it if you don’t already know it has been done.

Fire from Inside

Instead of getting your traditional sunrise shots, go for something that is different. For this photo I wanted to show the colors of the sun and shoot towards it, but not actually show it. What’s better than using a piece of ice that can use the light from the sun to show you something different? Light can be used in many different ways and the unique colors that it gives us during the golden hour can help us create something that is much different than any other part of the day.

Rays of Color

Find a way to frame your shot to create a different look. It was a tight squeeze getting into this space but I found it rewarding because it created something different than anything else I’ve done before. I’ve seen quite a few photos that are framed in a similar manner, but I wanted to create something that was unique to me. I was able to use a smaller aperture in order to get the rays of he sun to expand like they did in this photo. Most of the framed shots I see do not do this.

When you shoot to create a vision and try to be more unique, then you become more creative. This helps you stand out and have a better chance of being remembered by others. It is difficult to keep up with because of how many other photos are out there, but it is a competitive environment for not only photos, but many other things as well. If we created the same photos time and time again, people would get bored with them. Let your creativity wonder and create visions that are unique!

Cliff to a Bug


Cliff to a Bug

Click on the image to view a high res version.

Focal Length: 16mm
Aperture: f/8
Shutter Speed: 1/8
ISO: 50

As I was taking sunrise photos I couldn’t help but notice how nice the small cliff like areas looked with the sand. It is very difficult to shoot a subject like this and make it look interesting. Out of about 10 different shots taken at different angles this is the only one that I liked. In any other light though, I don’t think this would look as nice.

I know this is not related to the photo, but have you ever purchased anything for photography that isn’t specifically for photography? For instance, there’s plenty of times I find myself in a situation where there’s water and I am not able to get to the vantage point I want due to not being able to cross a stream/river or the best vantage point is in the middle. Simple solution would be to just walk into the water. But what if it is freezing temps or in the teens and you would need to walk a couple miles to get back to your vehicle not making it worth it to get the photo? My first thought was to invest in a pair of waders. The more I thought about it though, the more I didn’t think I’d like to be wearing waders while hiking around.

A few months ago I started to think outside of photography about different hobbies that would need the type of gear I needed in order to do what I wanted without any extra bulk or weight. Fishing was the first thing to come to mind but I couldn’t find anything that I was happy with. Then I started looking into wet suits but quickly found out that they won’t work because once the temps start to drop too low they don’t keep you warm anymore and they rely on a layer of water to keep you warm. Walking in and out of water constantly wouldn’t help with that. I then stumbled upon dry suits that kayakers use but the price was way too high. After a bit more digging I found dry pants which were much more suitable and at a price point I could live with.

After doing quite a bit of researching and looking I finally found a pair of dry pants that had good reviews and not too much money. I also found a pair of wading boots that seemed to have decent reviews for both hiking and wading. So with a couple visa check cards and some Amazon gift cards I picked up both of them for about $40 out of my pocket. So far I’ve been in moving water with the air temps in the lower 30’s and was able to keep dry and warm with them. The dry pants also come in handy because they allow me to lay down in the snow without worrying about getting wet. I think they’ll also be useful for when it rains. I am hoping to be able to use these to get to better vantage points when I’d otherwise not want to get wet and also in other situations. I had talked about doing this with other local photographers and they couldn’t understand why I’d want to spend the money on such things for photography, but then again they don’t try to get the shots that I do.

When you are out taking photos do you ever wish you had something else to help out with your photography? If so, have you ever done any research into finding non-photography related gear in order to help you out? For me, I think it’s worth the investment if you know you will get a lot of use out of it. I know I will with mine. I’ll be looking forward to the look on other photographer’s faces when I walk out into the middle of the stream when there’s snow on the ground and come walking away with much more unique photos than they do because of the extra gear I have. 🙂

Using Props in Landscape Photography


Using Props in Landscape Photography

Overlooking the Sunrise

When many people think of props in photography they probably think immediately of portrait photography and the props that are used on or around the subject. When thinking the other day I came upon the realization that props don’t have to just apply to portraits but can also apply to landscapes as well. Why not? They can help to make a photo more interesting or increase the value of a photo. Whether put there by someone else or by you, props can help transform a landscape from something with little interest to something that stands out. Giving a landscape scene something to draw the eye to creates an anchor that keeps the viewer in the photo just a little longer. It can also create a balance to a photo as well.

In the above shot, while I didn’t place the bench there, I did use it as a prop for this photo intentionally. Some might not think of it as a prop, but I see it as one. Or if looking at it at another angle one could say that the bench is my main subject and mother nature has provided me with vegetation as props around the bench. Either way props were used in creating this photo.

Relaxing on the Beach

This photo on the other hand was not put together for me. The sand was there and the lines were already made, but the seashell was sitting elsewhere. Why does a prop need to be man made? Some may think that by creating your own scene for landscape photography can be cheating, but I say that as long as you don’t disrupt nature in its original state, such as killing or cutting things down, then why not use what is available to create the canvas in which you want to photograph? By using other natural elements in nature you can strategically place them in a landscape surrounding in order to create an interesting photo.

Sitting Alone

In this photo I thought the lighting was nice and the moss made a nice surrounding, but it felt like it was missing something. After taking a quick look around I found that there were acorns scattered across the ground. By placing the acorns in the photo I created an anchor for the eye to rest on. Otherwise to me the scene doesn’t seem to have a nice focus point.

Sunset with the Rocks

It’s getting harder and harder to create sunset and sunrise photos that are unique. This shot was taken on the side of the road in a ditch. There were plenty of rocks laying around. I didn’t choose this location because it was more interesting than any other along the road. I picked it because I was running out of time to get a shot. After laying down on the ground and experimenting with trying to get something I took notice of a couple of rocks that stood out from the others and decided to use them as props in the scene.

While I cannot carry a large bench in my pocket to have the luxury of setting up to photograph to make an interesting photo, I can carry small objects with me. Whether its a small interesting looking rock, a seashell, or an acorn, something that can create balance and make a photo interesting may be well worth it. Another lesson to take note by looking at the photos is that another way to bring attention to your subject is to have the right lighting. All of these shots were taken at sunrise or sunset to use the light to help the subjects stand out more.

The next time you head out to capture some photos and notice and interesting object that is small but not quite in the right location to make a good photo, why not transport that small subject to a more appealing location to create your unique shot.

Overlooking the Sunrise


Overlooking the Sunrise

Click on the image to view a high res version.

Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 100

You may recognize this bench from a previous photo. If you are wondering, no this is not a cropped section from that one. As you’ll notice, this one was taken with the 105mm macro lens while the other was taken with a wide angle lens. I couldn’t pass up getting the bench by itself.

Asymmetrical Symmetry


Asymmetrical Symmetry

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Focal Length: 22mm
Aperture: f/11
Shutter Speed: 1/30
ISO: 50

I know the title doesn’t really make sense because how can you have something that is asymmetrically symmetric? While viewing this photo I see symmetry but at the same time it’s not because the grass on one side doesn’t match up with the grass on the other. So the name made sense to me almost right away. And that’s what originally caught my eye too as I was walking along trying to find a subject for this sunrise. This little bunch of grass stood out as everything else around was much lower.

Into the Sun


Into the Sun

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Focal Length: 35mm
Aperture: f/11
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100

As I was walking down the beach I noticed this group of geese flying. Due to the limited time of reaction I had to get this shot I quickly composed it the best I could and didn’t pay attention to what the settings on my camera were. Seconds after capturing the shot the geese were already too far on the other side of the sun to get anything that would have been decent. I looked at the photo on the back of the camera and thought for sure that I wouldn’t keep this photo as it seemed way too overexposed. After letting it sit in LR for a couple of weeks I decided to see if I could make anything out of this photo. Because of the dynamic range my camera has I was able to lower the exposure quite a bit and it turned out to be a decent shot after all. I also think of a sunset when looking at this photo but it is actually a sunrise shot.

Relaxing on the Beach


Relaxing on the Beach

Click on the image to view a high res version.

Focal Length: 16mm
Aperture: f/11
Shutter Speed: 2 seconds
ISO: 50

Been awhile since I last posted but here’s one of the photos from my last sunrise shoot. I’ll be participating in tomorrows World Wide Photo Walk. I’m looking forward to meeting some new people and hoping to get some good photos. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Standing Tall


Standing Tall

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/16
Shutter Speed: 1/250
ISO: 100

This is a shot of just the tree to the of the frame in yesterdays post. Wanting to keep this a silhouette, I placed the sun behind the tree to not have any spots that were too bright. I also wanted the reflection of the light from the sun to show up behind the trunk of the tree.

Overlooking


Overlooking

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Focal Length: 16mm
Aperture: f/22
Shutter Speed: 1/20
ISO: 100

This shot was taken right on the other side of a hill that leads down to the beach. I was originally going to shoot a sunrise on the beach and do some experimenting, but when I looked behind me I seen the tree and bench and immediately changed my mind. I already knew what shot I wanted the instant I seen these items. I had my 105mm macro lens no the camera but wasn’t able to get back far enough to fit both in the frame and had to quickly switch over to the wide angle lens. I had less than a minute to get set up before the sun started to come up. After I got the lens on I quickly made my composition then had to adjust a little. Instead of using the zoom I ended up just moving with my feet. I got about 3 test shots fired off to get the exposure correct before the sun started to peak above the horizon.

Without my previous experiences of practicing with all of this, I would have not made this shot. Sunrises and sunsets happen so fast that you need to know how to react in order to capture that moment when you have the chance. The exposure on this was tricky because I couldn’t rely on the camera’s light meter to expose off the sky or the foreground because before the sun came up, the camera wasn’t agreeing with any of my exposure choices. The first shot I exposed off the sky but it was way under exposed for my liking. A few more shots got me where I wanted just in time.

I was also originally going to recon this area before attempting any sunrise photos, but due to some scheduling conflicts, I decided to just wing it and go out this last Saturday morning. I had planned to visit this area Saturday afternoon then come back out in another week or two to get a sunrise photo, but some other things came up so decided last minute to just get up early the next morning and see what I could get. I’m happy with how they worked out and will be hopefully posting a couple more shots from this walk during the week.

And in the words of Emilio Pasquale: “PEOPLE, YOU MUST CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW THE HIGH RES VERSION! AN UNBELIEVABLE DIFFERENCE!”

I would have to agree with him on this comment. 🙂

Where the Stream Meets the River


Where the Stream Meets the River

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Focal Length: 21mm
Aperture: f/16
Shutter Speed: 20 seconds
ISO: 100
Format: FX (Full Frame)

It’s hard to believe that a place like this exists in the middle of St. Paul near the airport. It is nice that you can view many houses and the busy lives of people and then walk a short distance and nature is all around you. I think it’s important for places like this to exist within the larger cities to allow the locals to have the opportunity to get out and enjoy a place where they are surrounded by nature and can forget, for at least a moment, about their busy city lives. I don’t think I’d ever be able to live in a large city, but if I ever find myself living in one, I hope it has places like this to visit so I can enjoy what I like most.

Something that is kind of funny, every time I bring up the editor to create a new post I always say “Beep Beep Boop” when the thing pops up out loud and my 19 month old daughter starts walking around and saying it. “Beep Beep Boop. Beep Beep Boop.” I always switch over to the classic view to create my posts but at least WordPress’s new editor gives me a laugh every day. I think the “Beep Beep Boop” is a nice touch but in this case it’s more like icing on a very bad cake.

Smooth as Glass


Smooth as Glass

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Focal Length: 16mm
Aperture: f/16
Shutter Speed: 120 seconds
ISO: 100
Format: FX (Full Frame)

This was a great morning. I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t been to the area but I was happy what I found. I was surprised with this shot how the water almost looks like glass from the long exposure. I wish I had scenes like this more often to photograph.

Apocalypse


ApocalypseClick on the image to view a high res version.

Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: f/4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 100
Format: DX (Crop Sensor)

Although very cold, this was such a great view. Ice as far as the eye can see. This photo was taken over Lake Michigan. It was a very cold winter that had frozen the Great Lakes more than normal and allowed for scenes such as this one. I’m sure that I could have walked out on the lake for miles without any fear of dropping through. I wouldn’t though as the wind was strong which created a sub zero windchill. I do have another version of this shot in which the ice to the right is in focus and the lake and sunrise is out of focus that I will post at another time. After the fact, I did wish that I would have gotten then shot just a little more to the left without the ice on the right hand, but this is one of those shots that I wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not until after processing it. Such a hard thing to do to capture the moment as it was.

One thing I do love about this photo is the small sliver of space between the frozen lake and clouds where you can see just a sliver of the sunrise. I learned many things on this walk and since then I have always had hand/foot warmers packed in my camera bag. You just never know when you might need them.

4×4 Bench


4x4 Bench

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
ISO: 100
Format: FX (full frame)

As I was walking through Minnehaha Falls Park on this wonderful morning, the glittering of the frost off this bench caught my eye. As I seen it I thought, you don’t see a bench like this everyday, so I knew I had to take a shot. I don’t think the photo makes it look nearly as nice as it did in person though. It’s always hard to try to capture something like this that makes it look as nice as it does when you are there, but something that I always work at doing.