Friday, December 30, 2016

Cypress Trees

The bald cypress tree has to one on my most favorite trees.  They have such a mysterious quality to them.  They sit in swamps and rivers with their limbs full of hanging moss and numerous cypress knees protruding out of the water.  They provide a superior nesting platform for many birds, especially the osprey.  As I glide around these magnificent trees in my kayak I get to see the wildlife that depend on these trees with the refuge they provide.  Most all of the large cypress trees were logged off at the turn of the twentieth century in the state of Florida.  I sometimes try to imagine what these swamps and wilderness areas must have looked like before then.  The trees are now protected, and in time a new generation will see them as they once were.  I am always searching to locate a new strand of cypress trees to explore.  To be able to glide in my kayak under their canopy of moss and hear the osprey's cry overhead is an experience I will never tire of.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Jekyll Island

I enjoy photographing near the ocean.  The combination of water, sand, and sky offer numerous opportunities of various compositions because of the constant changing conditions.   There are always places to discover where major storms have impacted the land and have left their scars.  I was at Jekyll Island a few months ago and hiked around the North end of the island.  There is a portion of beach that has several large uprooted trees laying on the shore.  I timed my hike to be in the early evening near sunset to photograph these trees in soft light.  Often times midday along the ocean has extremely harsh light with strong shadows making the scene too contrasty.  There is always a certain amount of planning that goes into visiting a new location.  I check google earth and look along the coast for possible sites of interest.  I then locate points where I can access the location.  I consider the direction of the sun and plan my time of day to visit the location.  With all landscape photography it can take considerable time and effort to achieve a few successful images.  With this image I drove a few of hours, hiked a couple of miles, and made only a few exposures before the light was gone.  Sometimes I am rewarded for my efforts and other times not.  It is all part of the process of being a landscape photographer. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The never ending learning curve

It seems today that technology keeps changing at a faster rate.  The camera equipment, processing software, and computers seem to be in a non stop upgrade cycle.  While I enjoy new technology, it does start to become like a dog chasing its tail.  I think I spend as much time learning the changes that come with all of these upgrades, as I do processing images.  The most important thing I keep my focus on is that the look of the finished print remains consistent.  I recently have been migrating away from my trusted Canon system and moving into the Sony mirrorless camera system.  There are several reasons for my doing this.  First is my desire to photograph from a kayak and to be able to get sharp images. The Sony has an in camera five axis stabilization system that is amazing.  Next, as I get older I need to reduce the amount of weight I am carrying around with me.  The Sony is a much smaller system than the standard DSLR and lets me carry a much lighter tripod.  While it is not the prefect system it does have some innovative technology that is changing the way we photograph.  I made this image a couple of days ago on one of my favorite lakes near me.  I used the Sony A7R11 with the 16~35mm lens.  It is a great combo for being out on the water.  I recently purchased a Zeiss Batis 18mm f2.8 fixed lens made for the Sony full frame system.  I have always used prime lenses as a large format photographer and know they will always out perform a zoom lens for quality.  Dealing with changes are all a part of life.  The important thing is to maintain your vision as you adapt to the rapid technology changes of our medium.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Iceland Waterfalls

There are so many waterfalls in Iceland to search out when traveling around the country.  They are mostly all fed from the glaciers in the central part of the country.  Some are very popular and visited by large groups of tourist from all over the world, and it can be a challenge to do much photography.  There are plenty of off road waterfall locations to look for if you have the desire to do a little research to find them.  This particular falls was located in a rural area and was a short hike down a cow path the the river.   The water in the river is a turquoise-blue color and was a fascinating sight to see when I first sighted the river and the falls on my hike.  I dream of these kind of places and hope to discover more locations like them on future trips. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Hofn Iceland

Traveling around in Iceland there are many spectacular locations to photograph.  The land is open with long vistas of dramatic landscapes.  While in the the town of Hofn I looked around for a location near the ocean to capture some of the stormy skies of the day.  The beaches in this area consist of black sand from volcanos that have erupted over the years.  The reflecting light on the black sand provides an interesting foreground for the mountain range in the background.  The weather conditions were rapidly changing on this particular day but I still had to wait considerable time for the clouds to clear the peak of the mountain.  I made several images in this location and all of them have a very different look with the moving clouds around the mountains and changing tides of the ocean.