No Blog Tuesday – Sick in Bed!

No regular post today folks as I’ve come down with some bug (not the flu maybe the flu Not the Flu!) and I feel like I’ve been run over by Ford F150. Damn, I hate getting old.

To make up for it please check out Paul Hinrichs’ Flickr Set taken during last month’s Texas Landscape Safari. We all had a great time wandering around the Texas Hill Country, getting some really nice shots and eating some down-home Texas cooking.

I’m just about finished with my new (self-published) book entitled “Hill Country Landscapes” and (Lord willing) it should be available before Christmas. I’ll post more details next week.

Update: Off to the doctor for a flu test. On a brighter note, it looks like two of my recent G10 landscape shots have been chosen to be published in Peachpit Books upcoming “Canon G10/G11: From Snapshots to Great Shots”. It also looks like an article I wrote for Singh-Ray’s blog should be published soon.

Update 2: Not the Flu. Doc gave me a prescription that stopped the worst symptoms and I slept 12 hours. I’m feeling much better today and should be back up and running by Thursday. My sincere thanks to everyone for your concern.

Looking Upstream at Pedernales Falls

Here’s another shot looking upstream from the middle of Pedernales Falls near Johnson City, Texas. From here the falls seem to go on for mile after mile. I’ve explored this section of the Pedernales river extensively and its one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. With all the rocks, trees, sand and water, its a photographer’s paradise.

Upstream

Looking Upstream – Pedernales Falls, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/13 for 1/50th of a second at ISO 100. I used a Singh-Ray warming polarizer and 4-stop graduated neutral density filter to obtain the exposure I liked. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Getting Used to Your New DSLR!

Getting used to a new DSLR camera can be a daunting task, especially for folks moving from an APS-C to a full-frame sensor. Most of us that began our photographic journeys with a 35mm SLR felt a little “cramped” the first time we used a “crop body” DSLR like the original EOS Digital Rebel. We had to get used to the smaller, darker viewfinder and the much more narrow field of view. All of these things made us “adjust” our photographic “style” to accommodate the new medium, but adjust we did.

EOS 5D Mark II & EOS 50D

Today, folks that move from “crop body” DSLR cameras to their full-frame counterparts are experiencing a similar adjustment period and finding it a little disconcerting. Their favorite zoom lens doesn’t seem to “reach” as far as it once did and their wide angle lenses are not nearly as sharp around the edges as they once were. Many folks find themselves frustrated with images that just don’t seem as sharp and they begin to question their decision and the large sum of money they’ve just spent.

EOS 5D Mark II & EOS 50D

When I first started shooting with a 5D Mark II, I would swear that my 50D was producing sharper (raw) images using the same, high quality (L Series) lens. I couldn’t understand why my 5D2′s landscape shots at f/8 looked much “softer” than those taken with my 50D. I couldn’t comprehend why all my hand-held shots looked much softer than those taken with my 50D. What the hell was going on?

For those of you out there having this experience please know that you’re not alone. And please understand that it takes weeks and sometimes months to “learn” how to use your new full-frame camera and to “unlearn” some bad habits created by using a crop body camera. Here are a few key points to remember:

  • The higher the resolution your sensor is, the more sensitive it is to camera shake. The old adage of using a tripod below 1/125th of a second shutter speed becomes a vital rule when shooting with a full-frame DSLR.
  • Don’t let anyone mislead you. The depth of field obtained by a full-frame sensor is MUCH narrower than that of an APS-C sensor. Shooting at f/8 and “hoping” that everything in your scene will be in focus just doesn’t work on a full-frame sensor. Try shooting at f/11 – f/13 and setting your focus point 1/3rd of the way in the scene (hyperfocal rule) for best results.
  • Learn to zoom with your feet. Your 100mm lens is really a 100mm lens now, not the 160mm you’ve been used to. On the flip side, your 24mm wide angle is now REALLY wide!
  • Finally, the most important tip. Your 21 MP, full-frame sensor will distinctly present any shortcomings of your lenses in sharpness, contrast and chromatic aberrations. Trust me on this folks, your “consumer grade” zoom lens that you paid less than $500 for is NOT going to produce images on your new 5D Mark II that you’ll be proud to exhibit. Full-frame cameras really do need “professional grade” lenses.

One final thought on this topic. Practice with your new full-frame camera as much as possible. Make it your job to try different things and then review what works and what doesn’t during your post-capture processing. I’m a firm believer in the old saying, “Practice Makes Permanent, So Practice Right”. Use the correct shutter speed and aperture for each situation and immediately review your shots on the camera’s LCD screen to check for focus. Always use proper hand holding technique (Google Joe McNally “Da Grip”) and whenever possible use a tripod.

Learn how to make your new full-frame camera perform to it’s fullest potential and enjoy the journey. Learning for a lifetime is a gift from God!

Landscape Photography is Hard Work!

Landscape Photography is Hard Work!

Not really, but after a beautiful morning hiking all over Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, the legs and back do get a wee bit sore. Nothing that a quick pint of Shiner Bock and some good German food in Fredericksburg won’t cure. Come and join me this spring for the Texas Landscape Safari and see for yourself.

The Trail

The Trail Home – Enchanted Rock, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 40mm, f/8 for 1/125th of a second using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

The Texas Rainforest at Gorman Falls

Here’s another view of Gorman Falls taken during the Texas Landscape Safari at our first shoot in the Colorado Bend State Park near Lampasas, Texas. After a long dry summer the spring that feeds Gorman Creek was very low and the falls were barely running this autumn. I’m looking forward to better photographic opportunities during this spring’s workshop after a (hopefully) wet winter recharges the aquifer.

Gear Note: This was my first shot taken using the Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo combo filter and I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it performed. The Vari-ND-Duo is a combination of Singh-Ray’s Vari-ND variable neutral density filter and their LB warming polarizer. Being able to control the exposure and polarization in this situation was critical to obtaining the overall effect I wanted. The Vari-ND-Duo made this much easier than trying to achieve this by stacking conventional filters and offered me very granular control over my exposure. Way to go folks!

Small Falls

Small Falls
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 58mm, f/8 for 1/5th of a second using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo neutral density filter at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Creating Image Borders & Shadows

Acqualia's PicturesqueI use Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom 2 for much of my RAW post-capture workflow as do most of the photographers that I know. It does so many things so much better than Camera Raw/Bridge/Photoshop that I can’t imagine life without it. My only complaint about Lightroom is it’s export functionality, especially for images that I plan to post on my blog.

This is where Acqualia’s Picturesque software really shines. This little gem allows me to add a number of special effects to my blog images such as borders and shadows or even reflections. It integrates very well with Lightroom and can be used in an Export preset by setting the “Post-Processing” property to “Open in Other Application” and choosing “\Applications\Picturesque”.

As you can see in the image below, Picturesque’s user interface is very clean and simple to learn. It takes only a few clicks to create a nice border and shadow around the images I plan to post. You can even save your settings as a preset and batch process your image files automatically.

Acqualia's Picturesque

Picturesque is a great little Mac program written by Acqualia, a great little software company and it would make a great little present for the photo-bloggers on your Christmas list!

Hill Country Sunset

There’s a great little spot located on FM 1431 just east of Kingsland, Texas where the road climbs about 300 feet to a pull-off which looks over Lake LBJ and Packsaddle Mountain. In the early fall months the sun sets directly behind these hills providing one of the best sunset locations in the state. This is one of my favorite locations to bring folks on the Texas Landscape Safari where the access is right off the road and the view is spectacular.

Hill Country Sunset

Hill Country Sunset – Kingsland, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 97mm, f/8 for 8 seconds using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

The Oasis at Pedernales Falls

Every once in a while you stumble upon a place that just begs to be photographed. Pedernales Falls near Johnson City, Texas is just such a place especially in the early evening of a beautiful autumn day. You can wander and explore the falls for hour after hour and discover new photographic opportunities almost everywhere. It’s a spot worth visiting again and again!

A Word of Caution: About six hours after I took this shot, there was a flash flood which covered this very spot with 15 feet of water flowing at over 5000 cubic feet per second. The flash flood was caused by rainfall farther west which happened several days earlier and the river flooded in a little under 10 minutes. So while this spot is certainly beautiful, it’s very important to remember that when you see the water rising, RUN LIKE HELL!

Pedernales Falls Oasis

Pedernales Falls Oasis, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/8 for 1/100th of a second using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer and 4-stop graduated neutral density filter at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.