Monday, December 28, 2015

Best of 2015 - Nightscapes startrails

I categorize my website by different type of scapes so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ones shot this year in each category to close out 2015.

Category: Nightscapes– Startrails

Date Taken: 10/25/15

Location: Eastern Sierras, CA

I only recently got into star trails so I only have a handful of them but this is my fav from this year. It really boils down to the location on this one. Most petroglyphs are carved into vertical walls but this specific one (with a name to match) is located on a slab open faced to the sky. After researching the location, I knew I wanted a Milky Way shot here. First time I came here I realized my 20mm was far from wide enough given the petroglyphs are in such a confined area and there is only so much room to back up as you are on a boulder. The second time I came back I had the 14-24 with me which was much better. After a successful MW session I turned around to capture a timelapse of images facing the North Star which produced this image.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Best of 2015 - Steel wool in San Pedro

I categorize my website by different type of scapes so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ones shot this year in each category to close out 2015.

Category: Steel wool scapes

Date Taken: 9/7/15

Location: San Pedro, CA

For the most part, a spin is a spin. You can increase/decrease the size, do orbs or other shapes, and add other light elements to try and change things up. Location matters in these types of shots so we did a bunch of exploring earlier in the year when we were still spinning. San Pedro had quite a few awesome spots including this one. Got a chance to collab with my man @dariustwin who owns the night writing game. This was all done in a single exposure with the wool orb spun first, then Darren going in and drawing his skeletons afterwards. I’ve never run a 5 minute wool exposure so when I checked the LCD after this shot, I was amazed with how it came out. I have some other wool only spins that I like more than this image, but nothing quite as unique and that’s what puts it at the top in this category.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Best of 2015 - palos verdes sunset seascape

I categorize my website by different type of scapes so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ones shot this year in each category to close out 2015.

Category: Sea scapes

Date Taken: 6/28/15

Location: Palos Verdes, CA

Probably not a surprise as I have posted this a few times but this is one of my favorite seascapes taken in 2015 for a few reasons. One, this cave looks south but the burn lit up the entire sky so we got a nice sunset which doesn’t always happen in this direction. Two, high tide made the foreground epic. I’ve seen a lot of shots here at low tide and it just doesn’t do it for me. I was after something different and this wave sealed the shot for me. High tide made getting in and out of here quite challenging with all our gear, but it paid off in the end.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Best of 2015 - Milky Way from Convict lake

I categorize my website by different type of scapes so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ones shot this year in each category to close out 2015.

Category: Nightscapes – Milky Way

Date Taken: 8/20/15

Location: Convict Lake, CA

Another one of my favorite Milky Way shots, this one from a place I absolutely love. Convict Lake is always a stop when I’m in the Mammoth area no matter what season. I love how the boat dock looks out towards the lake and always wanted a shot here under the stars as it’s nice and dark here. Conditions never lined up prior to this shot as the slightest wind causes the boats to move making this long exposure shot difficult unless you snap a foreground exposure before dark. While I was out there this night it was super windy and I had already taken most of my shots from other spots on the lake. As I was just about done the wind just died so I rushed over to the dock to catch this shot. The vertical summer Milky Way lines up perfectly shooting out of Laurel Mountain in the background. Not only one of my fav night shots, but one of my fav shots from here in general.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Best of 2015 - Los Angeles skyline

I categorize my website by different type of scapes so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ones shot this year in each category to close out 2015.

Category: City scapes

Date Taken: 2/24/15

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Probably my favorite location to view LA from. I’m still after an epic sunrise or sunset burn from here with fresh snow on the San Gabriel’s. I’ve been here more times than I can count looking for that shot. It’s either a dull sky, too smoggy/foggy which doesn’t make the mountain as crisp as I would like, or there is no snow. Winter is the only time I can get it, and I’ve been waiting for another storm to roll through to try again. I had everything I needed this day except the sky didn’t cooperate. Therefore I stayed after sunset and captured a nice twilight shot with the city lights on. What I like about this shot is that there was still enough ambient light at twilight to illuminate the snow capped mountains in the background which pretty much disappear into the darkness 20 mins later.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Best of 2015 - landscapes from Malibu

I categorize my website by different type of scapes so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ones shot this year in each category to close out 2015.

Category: Land scapes

Date Taken: 7/7/15

Location: Malibu, CA

So who thought it was going to be a fall shot of trees? This year we were out in Malibu quite a bit during the gloom months to try and catch some nice fog rolling through the Santa Monica Mountains at sunset. Unfortunately, it’s not all that close and we only got out there once in a while. Needless to say I still haven’t captured many of the fog shots I want out there. However this particular day there was a bit of haze lingering around the horizon. As the sun dipped into it, it created these awesome rays through the mountain ridges. I snapped on a telephoto to frame the sun and the rays in a triangular pattern. I love the light/dark contrast here caused by the rays, and given that it’s something different than your average shot from here and that is what makes it a great image to me.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Best of 2015 - nightscapes milky way

I categorize my website by different type of scapes so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ones shot this year in each category to close out 2015.

Category: Nightscapes – Milky Way

Date Taken: 4/17/15

Location: Red Rock Canyon, CA

I’ve taken a handful of MW images this year that I like including some at Convict Lake, the petroglyphs, and Joshua Tree. This one stands out for 2 reasons. One, it’s a little different than all my other shots as I was able to catch a big rig flying by adding some perfect light trails leading out to the Milky Way. Two, it was the first time I used the D750 + 20mm 1.8 combo and I was stunned at the amount of detail it could pick up wide open with a high ISO. Shot during International Dark Sky week. Red Rock isn’t the darkest area but it’s quite sufficient for being 1.5 hours outside of Los Angeles.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Joshua Tree Star Trails

Here is the final startrail shot from the Geminid meteor shower while we were out in Joshua Tree.  For this trail shot I only stacked about 60 of them, from when the sky was mostly clear. The files towards the end where the clouds came in make it look a little too hectic and the clouds overpowered the trails. What I like about using less of the files is you get not only the trails, but some of the cloud movement too which is subtle enough and not overpowering. It’s interesting to play around with a different amount of files to get shorter/longer trails. I’m not quite sure which I prefer yet, all I know is they are cool!

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Point Vicente Lighthouse resides at the most southwestern point of the Palos Verdes peninsula. Not all that many angles to shoot from, as the lighthouse are on coast guard grounds. This is the common angle which doesn’t always get the benefit of a nice sunset burn as it faces more South. However on this day clouds were clustered in this direction so I chanced it and decided to shoot here for sunset which proved to pay off. I used my telephoto to frame out all the distractions and most of the cliffs below, just focusing the shot on the lighthouse and the palm trees. I took some wide angle shots that I’ll share later before the afterburn which had some nice yellows. Just as I snapped on the 70-200 as it was glowing pink, I had a couple come ask to take a pic for them. Normally I would be happy too but not at the height of the burn. I only got off 3 shots, 2 which were blurry as I was rushing. Probably would have made a good xmas card, but sorry I had to get my shot.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/16, 5 sec, ISO-50

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Moonlit Drive - Joshua Tree Geminid meteor

Here is a still from my timelapse from Joshua Tree Sunday night. We were treated to a pretty epic sunset followed by a decent size window where the clouds cleared leaving the sky nice and open to watch the Geminid meteor shower. I setup my foreground shot after twilight before I started the sequence, using the crescent moon behind me to provide nice subtle light. The star exposure was maybe an hour later when the moon set and we saw a nice bright one streak by. This shot points North as I am going to work on a startrail shot with this same comp, therefore the meteor doesn’t appear to be coming at you as it would if you were facing Gemini. After this lapse, the clouds came in real fast and pretty much covered the entire sky so we snapped a few with the clouds and called it a night.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, foreground: f/4, 126 sec, ISO-3200; sky: f/2, 15 sec, ISO-6400

Friday, December 11, 2015

Sun Catcher - fisherman at sunset Palos Verdes

I don't normally use fast shutter speeds with water as I like the look of the motion. There is one exception and that's when I need to freeze something in my frame. In this case, I needed to freeze the fisherman as he was moving, and freeze the wave to show the power of it. I lined this shot up so both the fisherman was fishing towards the sun and so the sun was behind the wave to provide nice backlight.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/16, 1/125 sec, ISO-200

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Fall in the south bay - torrance CA

This is fall in the southbay. We don't have much color here, but for those who live around here the Maple's lining Del Amo are fabulous. These trees actually line a busy street with parked cars and signs all along the street. Careful framing makes it so you would never know and this is why I am not positioned in the middle of the sidewalk. The maples closer to the street are already red and won't last much longer. The ones off the street in the grass area are just starting to get some good color. Maple's aren't as translucent as aspens so I made sure to come at golden hour when I had the light about 45 degrees to my left as I shot this right before it dipped behind some houses. This shot screamed for a person and I got my wish as a family came and started raking and stealing a bunch of leaves lol. Took some planning to get the right light, and some luck to get the person to seal the shot.
Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/2.8, 1/2000 sec, ISO-640


Monday, December 7, 2015

Tropical SoCal - sunset from Palos Verdes

Caught a clearing storm down in the coves of Palos Verdes. The burn wasn't fire but it let off this awesome clean pink glow that only lasted a few minutes. Combine that with the awesome lingering clouds and some foreground water action, couldn't have asked for better conditions on this day. Reminds me of some of those killer Hawaiian sunsets.
Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, 1/5 sec and 1 sec blended, f/8, ISO-100