Monday, January 26, 2009

More of the same...

Tina was interesting to work with because she was so pale. I had a little high-key fun with this shot of her. And when you put Brian and Tina together - the contrast was truly beautiful.
What do you think? Should I stick to landscapes? :)

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Studio Shoot

Jay and I spent the afternoon shooting with a group of friends from the Cleveland Photographic Society. We had the opportunity to visit a local studio and shoot with some models - this is Brian. It was a lot of fun, and we got some nice shots. We generally shoot in our own small studio, here at home - so it was great to play with something a little bit different. I'm looking forward to seeing the work of some of the others who shot today, too... it's neat to see what others do when we all shoot together. Everyone's images end up looking so different... different angles, camera settings, lenses, and processing.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

I've got the Blues

Paul, Jay, and I were playing with slow shutter speeds at Bahia Honda in Florida. We stacked ND filters and circular polarizers to see if we could get this effect. I'm happy with the result. The blue storm clouds compliment the turquoise water... and I love the mossy stones. For this shot, I stacked two 3-stop ND filters, and used a 10 second shutter speed at f/11. The others got some really nice shots too. (The working title for this shot is "I've got the Blues", but it may change if Paul uses it for his... it was his idea, so he has first dibs... gotta give credit where it's due.)

Thanks for joining us, Paul! We had a great time!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Article

Jay and I finished up our Hyperfocal Distance Field Guide while we were traveling this week, and it is now available on my website. This is a simple, explanatory guide for photographers who want to maximize depth of field in their images. We'd love to have feedback from anyone who reads through it. Let us know if it was helpful to you, and if there is anything you think we should add.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Vision of the Future

As usual, after a trip, I'm playing catch-up. I did get one image processed today - Vision of the Future is a shot of Pine Glade Lake in Florida just before sunset. I loved the textured stones in the water, and the reflected light on the lake was absolutely beautiful.

Shooting into the sun adds all kinds of complexity to photography. :) I shot at f/22 to produce a slight flare in the sun, and to slow the shutter speed a bit. I used a GND filter to reduce the huge dynamic range, a 3-stop ND filter to slow my shutter speed even further - enough to smooth the surface of the lake, and took three bracketed shots. I combined those three shots in PhotoShop today, and tried to present the scene realistically. I'll have to take a look at it again in a few days to see if it needs any improvements... but I'm happy with it for now.

I processed this image while waiting for and watching the inauguration of Barack Obama. Now, I'm waiting for my little brother to march by in the parade - he's a member of the Ohio State Marching Band... "TBDBITL".

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Technical article in progress

Jay and I are working on putting together another technical article while we wait in the airport. We were able to get a lot done while we waited for our delayed flights in Atlanta last week as well. I'd like to get some of the photos from our trip processed this week - so I'm glad to get some work done. That way, I can concentrate on the images, and not worry about the things I'm not doing instead. :)

Ah - our plane has arrived. Better shut down.

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On our way back home

We are getting ready to head home to cold cold winter weather. This has been a good trip for us. We got some good skies and detail shots of the Everglades. We cant wait to get home and process a few of them.

Next up...Death Valley workshop in Feb.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Still in Florida

We've been pretty lucky this trip. We've had great weather for shooting, and we've met with some really excellent photographers. Yesterday, we ran into Daniel and Carlos while shooting the sunset at Pine Glade Lake in the Everglades. Check out there galleries if you have time. Good stuff!

We spent today shooting with Paul again. In the morning, we photographed the mangroves. The mud was up to my knees in places - great fun! I got a couple of nice shots there. Then we headed down the Bahia Honda Key for the afternoon. White sand, clear water, and deep blue storm clouds - gorgeous.

Another good day.

Tomorrow we shoot in the morning and then head for the airport later in the day. Time to head back home.

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Friday, January 16, 2009


Absolutely bang-on sunset tonight. I couldn't be happier. :) And now... to sleep. 5 am wake up call.

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We were stuck in the airport for most of the day yesterday. We finally arrived at our hotel at about 1am. We asked for a 4:45am wake-up call and went straight to bed. We never did get the wake-up call, but we woke up anyway and went out to shoot the sunrise. We met up with Paul Marcellini (check out his work - it's beautiful!), and did some shooting in the everglades. Paul knows the area like the back of his hand, so it was great to be out there with him. We'll probably meet up with him again on Sunday.

We're headed out to check out some trails. :)

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Thursday, January 15, 2009


We're hanging out at the Akron-Canton Airport - waiting for a delayed flight. We'll miss our connection in Atlanta, but they have us on another flight to Fort Lauderdale. We didn't plan to make it in time to catch the sunset anyway - so it's just an inconvenience. Delays are pretty common - especially this time of year. So no complaints from me. Jay and I will see if we can get some work done on our articles while we wait. :)


En route to Florida

My images are now available for sale on the Vision Light Gallery website. You can reach our collection by visiting Vision Light directly or clicking on the purchase link on my website. Jay and I have a large selection of images for sale with Vision Light - and other images can be purchased by contacting me directly. I'm glad to have this section of my site up and running at long last. Preparing large numbers of images for print is a time-consuming process, so I'm glad it's ready to go.

This is the coldest weather we've seen in Cleveland for a few years. The early morning light on the snow is absolutely beautiful this morning - the huge lake North and West of us usually provides a heavy cloud of moisture that hangs over the region all winter long. Today, that cloud is nowhere to be seen.

We'll be leaving around 9:30 this morning. There has already been a change of plans. The boats we'd intended to take to Dry Tortugas are full - so we'll be choosing other locations to shoot during this trip. We're always flexible. :) Florida has a wealth of beautiful locations. We'll be back next week - but I'll try to update my blog as much as possible while we're there. I hope those of you who are dealing with extremely cold temperatures are staying warm!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

After the Rain

This is a shot from our last trip to Arizona. Big storms were moving through, and we got some great shots of Horseshoe Bend. I took this shot as we were headed down the hill towards the cliff. The light was absolutely glorious, and at large size, you can see the tiny round craters that the raindrops left in the sand. This one took me a while to process - I started it a couple of months ago, and have been working on it sporadically. It's a manual HDR combination of three bracketed exposures. One for the sky, one for the ground, and a third for the extremely bright highlights. I generally try to stay away from lots of cloning in my photos - but this time, I did quite a bit. There were foot prints leading away into the desert in front of me. So, I took a little artistic license and cloned the footprints out. Some will say I'm cheating - others will say it's my perrogative as the artist. I say - let someone else argue the point. I'm just doing my thing - but I'd rather be honest about it. What do you think?

We're getting ready for some chilly weather here in Cleveland. Lots of snow this past week - and the temperature is dropping fast. The next few days are going to be pretty darn cold. But I can't complain - I'm leaving for Florida on Thursday, so I'll escape just when it's at it's worst here. I'm hoping for some great light on this trip. The weather was nice for snorkeling and swimming the last few times we were in Florida - but the skies weren't very exciting. I have my fingers crossed.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Quality of Light

Lots of people ask me what I'm looking for when it comes to wilderness photography. Sweeping landscapes, a nice foreground, leading lines, textures, details, colors... yes... all of those. But most importantly, I'm looking for a quality of light. That evening light that touches the top of the mountain and turns it to gold; beams of light streaming through heavy storm clouds; pink and orange sunrises, reflected light bouncing from one canyon wall to another. That's what makes the photo.

Everything else can be right - perfect - but if the light isn't right, I don't shoot.

I'd rather have one shot with perfect light than 100 without it. It's ALL about the light.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

We finished up another set of stock photos this week. I'm working on getting them keyworded, uploaded, and categorized. They should be online by the end of the week. Stock is time consuming, but we have a lot of fun with it - as you can see. My daughter is completely out of character in this shot - she's usually very quiet and is my most reasonable child. She's also a good actress. :) I thought this was a fun concept.

Nasty weather in Cleveland tonight - the roads are coated with a layer of ice. It's invisible and deadly. I'm hoping for better roads tomorrow.


Sunday, January 4, 2009


This is a shot from Spooky Canyon in Grand Staircase - Escalante National Park. This slot is not as popular with photographers as some of the others. The slot is quite deep and very narrow in some places, and dealing with deep shadow can be daunting if you lack experience. In many cases, it is necessary to prop the tripod precariously and leave the shutter open for more than 30 seconds. This shot was taken nearer to one end of the canyon, where the slot is wider and not so deep. The shutter speed is only 1.3 sec at f/16. I have a few shots from deeper in the canyon, and I hope to get a few processed this week.

Maybe one of these days I'll have some time to get my Tennessee shots off my camera. I haven't even taken a look at them since we returned from our trip. :) Jay and I are finishing up a couple of articles, and we'll try to get those live as soon as possible - you can check out the ones already online by clicking here. I'd like to get a little more processing and those articles done before our next trip. We'll leave for Florida in ten days.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Little Things

Most of my photographs are broad vista shots - I love the vastness of the land, and I try to show that in my photographs. But there's a world of miniature beauty that those shots invariably fail to capture. On our last trip to Utah, I crouched on the ground over a stream to shoot this aspen leaf against the fantastic patterned ice.

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I know - I should be processing shots from this week's trip to Tennessee... but I wanted to get this one done. It's been waiting in the wings for a long time. I took this in summer at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. This is the light that every landscape photographer dreams about.

Happy New Year to all of you - and may your skies be perfect all year long. :)