Thursday, November 30, 2017

Crepuscular rays, Alabama Hills

Here’s another from Alabama hills as the crepuscular rays morphed into stunning uniform lines. I ran around looking for a different foreground and ended up finding a nice set of plants that almost mimicked the patterns in the rays. What an awesome display of light it was.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

June Lake Milky Way reflections, Eastern Sierras

Here’s a fun one from June Lake. We were scouting fall colors in the loop to line something up for a MW shot but were unsuccessful before it got dark so we ended up here shooting our first MW shots of the trip. I was planning on stacking the foreground to kill some noise but in one of my frames I caught what looks to be car headlights shining back out at me so I ended up using this single foreground frame, stacked with shots of the MW to reduce noise in the sky and water reflections. The lake was pretty calm, but the wind ended up picking up later in the night so we definitely got there at the right time to catch the reflections. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Convict Lake fall aspen colors

In an earlier post, I discussed using CPL filters while shooting fall colors. In this instance I strengthened the amount to cut through the reflections on the water surface to show the submerged rocks and use them as my foreground element. I was careful to not over-polarize with my wide angle to cause uneven hues in the sky. I snapped this just as the sunrise light hit the tip of Laurel Mountain from behind. The air was a bit hazy and the light was a lot softer than I normally see here. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, f/18, 2 sec, ISO-50

Monday, November 27, 2017

Foggy Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite National Park

The low clouds formed the perfect framing around Bridalveil Fall, partially obscuring the tips of the Cathedrals. The mood of this shot was incredible. Not too long after this, we were engulfed in the fog, and then the sun rose up over the mountains and broke free from the clouds adding some surprisingly nice sunrise light over the scene. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/14, ½ sec, ISO-50

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

June Lake road fall aspens

June Loop was probably the best I’ve seen in all my years coming here…just look at this guy’s face. The sun was in the perfect position, giving the scene some back/sidelight to give the trees a nice glow. There were some nice yellows and greens mixed together. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/8, 1/160 sec, ISO-320. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Convict Lake Milky Way fall aspens

Here’s a different take at Convict lake at 24mm. This is a composite as I didn’t come here at night to shoot the MW so I combined my MW shot from the night prior, with the foreground shot before the sun came up on the day I headed home. I chose to only frame the fall color and reflections giving the rest of the frame to the sky. Maybe one of these fall seasons I’ll come back and get the milk with reflections in the still water.

Friday, November 17, 2017

June Lake road golden aspens

I shot this comp years ago and have been wanting to re-shoot it under better conditions. This season I got my chance as the aspens along the loop were amazing. I found a nice spot on the road with interesting foreground patterns both due to the shadows and the road cracks.  Hardest part of this shot is playing cat and mouse with the cars zooming down the road.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Moonlit McWay, Big Sur CA

I don’t shoot many moonlit night shots but we were here for keyhole arch so we decided to stop by McWay and shoot this shot as the moon was positioned to the right of this frame giving the scene some nice contrasting shadows. I love the spot where you can frame McWay between the trees. Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, f/2.8, 15 sec, ISO-2000

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

El Matador golden hour seascape, Malibu CA

Man oh man we have been having some good sunsets this past week. Unfortunately I was only able to get out for one of them. This was shot this past Friday when my buddy was visiting California on his road trip. We headed out to El Matador which I usually avoid like the plague due to how crowded it is. But the clouds were nice and the color from golden hour through sunset was amazing. While I love the afterburn colors, I am a huge fan of capturing golden hour shots as you get way more dynamic light from the sun still above the horizon. Took my boots off to get up in the tide for this one to ensue I got some nice water movement around the foreground rock. By sunset, the puffy clouds disappeared and the thick cloud you see near the horizon morphed into an amazing formation that burned nice and pink. I’ll show that image down the road. This is a blend of multiple exposures to properly exposure the scene throughout.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Alabama hills - Movie road milky way pano

Here is a vertical panorama I made from Alamaba Hills. I wanted to stand at the bottom of the road and compress the whole scene with my 50mm so I shot the foreground road at the latter stages of twilight when it was dark enough for my lantern light to be prominent. I then combined it with a 50mm pano of the Milky Way I shot later that night and composited the two.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

McGee Creek - Aspen swirl

I’m always searching for something different. I go to McGee creek every season looking for something that can provide that unique edge. We ended up stumbling upon a small rapid that was causing the fallen leaves to funnel into a pocket and move in a slow continuous circle. I immediately knew I wanted to capture this movement with a long exposure. I had to cross a log jam across the creek and the comp ended up being perfect with some golden aspens and the sun in frame. I stacked my 10 stop ND and CPL in order to capture this long exposure. The bushes also have motion but it gives them a dreamier feel and goes with the motion of the foreground leaves so I ended up liking the effect. Definitely a shot unlike any other I have captured here so I’m glad I spent the time to make sure I got this one.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Malibu Milky Way, Selfie from Leo Carrillo beach

As we move into November, it means the end of my MW season until next Mar - April. But looking back, I’ve been able to capture some great shots this year; both shots I’ve wanted to redo and shots I’ve been wanting to grab for some time now. I’d call that a successful season for sure, so here’s a victory pose from a cave I finally conquered early this season :) Still have plenty of MW shots to edit/show so you’ll still be seeing plenty before we kick off the 2018 season.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Silver Lake fall aspens

This place is hard to beat when the colors look like this and the water is this calm. Usually the wind usually seems to pick up once the sun comes up but this day it actually got calmer so we took advantage and shot this scene fully lit. There were tons of fallen leaves on the shore which made for a nice foreground. Focus stacked this to ensure the scene was sharp throughout. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Yosemite Falls framed by fog

The fog created the perfect frame around Upper Yosemite Falls. I was lucky to have my longer lens on at this moment because this scene would have been gone if I had to switch lenses. Glad I was able to snap some pics as I caught myself just staring up mesmerized at how the fog was morphing around the granite walls. Nikon D750, Nikkor 50mm 1.8, f/14, 1/50 sec, ISO-50

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fall Milk from Conway Summit

Was after some Fall Milk this past trip and Conway Summit didn’t disappoint. I usually come later in the month of October and this area is mostly dead by then. This year there were still some dead spots, but the majority of the area still had a nice palette of color. I’ve been wanting to redo these astro shots from here for several years now and since the colors were good I finally got my chance. The foreground was taken at twilight and the sky was taken once the stars came out to play. This is the 24mm view, I also have one at 50mm and will probably work out some selected composite images down the road.