Sunday, July 26, 2015

Golden Shower - Malibu Sunset

Shooting sunrays in Malibu

Ok, maybe a bit of an inappropriate title. But this takes shooting in the golden hour to the next level. Compression was key here so I used my telephoto to frame this how I wanted. My man Paul was setup at the overlook while the setting sun cut thru the fog producing some awesome rays through the santa monica mountains in the distance. Telephoto distortion is a form of perspective distortion that transforms a scene to look different than when shooting with a normal focal length. Just like the saying on your passenger mirror, objects may be closer than they appear. This also happens at the other end with wide angle lenses which can make distant objects look smaller which may not be ideal if you have an awesome mountain or something of importance in the distance. If your background object is more towards the center of the frame and not the very top it will help a little. You can also blend shots at different focal lengths where you take a shot of the foreground, and slightly zoom in to take a shot of the background and combine them in photoshop but this is quite a bit trickier to do.
Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200 @85mm, f/14, 1/500 sec, ISO-500

Friday, July 24, 2015

Lighting the Way - Milky Way from Malibu

I've accepted that my 20mm isn't wide enough for some shots to the point where I will have to occasionally use pano's to capture the full view of what I see. However with this scene, I'm not sure even a 14mm could capture this. With the MW getting more and more vertical, it's getting harder to fit the entire core of it into landscape orientation shots. This is part of a 5 shot horizontal pano (camera in portrait orientation) to capture the entire view of both the milky way and Malibu Canyon Road that winds through the Santa Monica mountains. The fog hung out on the coast during this time. We moved over to another spot maybe 10 minutes later and it rolled in cutting all visibility. Weather changes so drastically in this area. Definitely a fun place to explore.
5 shots with the Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1/8, f/4, 15 sec, ISO-1600.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Photography Exhibit - The Collective Realty

Come check out the event at @thecollectiverealty in Hollywood on August 1st. I'll have some steel wool shots up as well as a few LA ones. I still get quite a few questions on steel wool shots so feel free to stop by and ask me in person or just stop by to say hi. There will also be a silent auction to benefit Free Arts, For Abused Children. Photos will be up through Oct 31st.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Green Mile - Red Rock Canyon State Park

Glowstick lit path, Red Rock Canyon

Where is the new moon taking you this weekend? While a new moon is ideal for having dark skies it's not always required. Sometimes a crescent moon near the horizon in an opposite direction can help naturally light paint your foreground. You can even get away with getting a good shot if you have a moon well below the horizon. Best way to plan is to use a program like stellarium where you can map these things out in advance. You can also check the moon phases online so you do know when the next new moon will be.

We were out in Malibu Thursday night for the new moon but I haven't processed anything so here's one from Red Rock Canyon State Park. We experimented with the glow sticks all night and I ended up just holding one up for this pic. It did a nice job of putting a subtle glow on the path. Red rock is ideal for astro as you are far enough from LA but still only about 1.5 hours out.
Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/2.8, 20 sec, ISO-4000

Friday, July 17, 2015

Manhattan Beach - Long Exposure

Manhattan Beach long exposure sunset

Here is a long exposure sunset from the Manhattan pier. LE's are a great way to change up the mood of your shot by smoothing out the water texture and by changing the dynamics of the clouds by capturing the movement of them. The mood will vary from how much the clouds streak across the image. In this shot, the sky had serious potential but only lit up in a few spots during the burn so I oped for a longer exposure to capture the nice pinks moving through the sky. The length of shutter time usually depends on how fast the clouds are moving. With a lot of wind, sometimes 20-30 seconds is all you need. Since they weren't moving too fast I slapped on the ND and opted for a minute exposure.
Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/11, 60 sec, ISO-50


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Domination - Palos Verdes

SS Dominator shipwreck, Palos Verdes

The hike to the remains of the SS Dominator that grounded off the coast of Palos Verdes in 1961 is one of the more popular hikes over here. You can take the drain pipe trail which leaves you about a mile to the ruins. Alternately you can take the steeper route down the Lunada Bay side and cut the hike down further. Either way you'll be walking along rocks the whole way. The ship has deteriorated over the years but there are still some stuff lying around from pieces of the hull, to a pretty well intact crane which you see here. Some say the crane was part of the rescue mission to try and free the ship off the rocks. We headed out for a high tide sunset and were lucky that some clouds decided to pass through at just the right time as it was clear all day. The clear horizon line allowed the sun to peak through before it set so I lined it up through the gear to get a nice sunburst. Took quite a few exposures to capture some nice water movement as the waves rushed in. Be prepared to smell a bunch of funky stuff along the way from dead birds to dead sea lions, but that's pretty common up and down the coast. What's nice about PV is that there is something different about each cove and there are a lot of them to explore.
Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/16, 0.8 sec, ISO-50

Sunday, July 12, 2015

From the Sea to the Sky - Malibu Milky Way

Malibu Milky Way

Here is another MW image from Malibu overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains. The low fog was quite thick so I wanted to capture some foreground detail to show how it was creeping through the mountains. This view looks out South towards the ocean and the line of light running through the image is PCH covered in the fog. My 20mm wasn't wide enough to capture this, so this is a 3 shot vertical pano which was stitched and scaled back to a landscape orientation version. I often get questions of how best to focus for astro shots. For a shot like this with nothing in the foreground, you can try a few things. You can auto focus on one of the houses out in the distance. Sometimes your auto focus may be off tho, so always take a test shot and check it. Another method you can use, and will be able to use if your surrounds are pitch black is live view manual focusing. To do this switch to live view, use your + button to zoom in as much as it will go and locate a star on your screen. Slowly turn your focus ring until that star becomes a sharp point. Flip your AF off if you haven't already to make sure you don't accidentally re-focus and take the shot. I constantly use both techniques depending on the results so couldn't say which is better it's just a good idea to have multiple methods that work.
3 shots stitched from the Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm, f/2.8, 15 sec, ISO-1600