The Texas Plains

My daughter Kelly and I arrived in Lubbock on Saturday evening after a nine hour journey from Sugar Land. I dropped her off at Texas Tech on Sunday morning and proceeded to drive north on Hwy 207 toward Caprock Canyons State Park. We had dinner with Jerod Foster and his lovely wife on Saturday evening and he suggested driving north on Hwy 207 so I’d get a better idea of what the Texas Plains are really like.

And I thought the Hill Country was big!

The Road is Long

The Road is Long – Hwy 207 just north of Floydada, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on Aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 19mm, f/16 for 1/60th of a second at ISO 200 with a Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer and 3-Stop Graduated Neutral Density Filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3. Click on the image above for a larger version.

A Few Shots While I’m Out . . .

I’m heading out bright and early for the Texas panhandle. My daughter Kelly and I are driving from Sugar Land to Lubbock to have dinner with Jerod Foster. Kelly will be attending Texas Tech in the fall and this Sunday – Tuesday is orientation. I’ll be heading to Caprock Canyons, Tule Canyon and Palo Duro Canyon for some great hikes and (hopefully) great photography. This is my first visit to Lubbock and Amarillo and I’m looking forward to exploring the Texas Plains Trail.

Since my ability to post may be limited I thought I’d leave you with a few shots to enjoy while I’m away capturing more shots for you to enjoy. Have a great weekend and wish me luck!

Guadalupe River

Guadalupe River – Spring Branch, Texas
Copyright © 2010 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 28mm, f/16 for 1/10th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray circular polarizer. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3. Click on the image above for a larger version.

On a Clear Day

On a Clear Day – Fredericksburg, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/16 for 1/10th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray circular polarizer. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3. Click on the image above for a larger version.

The Scout

Last April’s Texas Landscape Safari was a wonderful trip and we all owe a debt of gratitude to Leslie Barlow, our unofficial “Scout”. Glenn and Leslie drove down to the Hill Country from Plano to attend the workshop and from the get go I knew we were going to have a lot of fun. Glenn Barlow is an accomplished landscape and portrait photographer with a keen eye for detail that just happens to shoot Nikon. Now, I don’t really have anything against folks shooting with “that other camera company” and in fact, my friend and co-instructor Josh Bradley had just recently been seduced by the dark side. So the trash talk began in earnest within the first fifteen minutes. But I digress . . .

Most of the places we shoot at require a fair hike to reach and I’m always careful about folks bringing water and not pushing themselves too hard. I usually lead each hike and help blaze the trail to the most interesting spots. Not this time however. My normally brisk pace was no match for Leslie’s stride and she took the lead as chief scout and guide. Within the first hour at each location, Leslie had scouted several spots to shoot from that I hadn’t even seen in years past. Her ability to find a trail while I was checking my GPS and scratching my head, left me a little amazed and bewildered. By the end of the workshop I was dutifully impressed!

So here’s to Leslie Barlow; artist, scout and semi-reluctant model. Now I get to embarrass her in front of thousands of readers. :-)

The Scout

The Scout – Llano, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on Aperture (Av) priority using an EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens hand-held. The exposure was taken at 145mm, f/7.1 for 1/100th of a second at ISO 100. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Till Summer Comes Around

I tell everyone that attends one of my landscape workshops to remember to take both shots in the field, the horizontal and vertical shot. The funny thing is how infrequently I follow my own advice. I generally walk up to a spot and know right away which orientation will work best for the type of shot I’m visualizing. I also tend to crop and compose with my feet rather than with my zoom lens.

I’m sure this habit comes from years of shooting 35mm B&W & color slide film with virtually no time for a reshoot (impossible in sports) and no budget for expensive color enlargements. I’m not sure these habits serve me well in the digital darkroom today and I find myself in need of some “back to basics” training.

So, for the next few months I’m going to post both orientations (when practical) and let you readers decide which you prefer.

Just Outside Fayetteville

Just Outside Fayetteville, Texas
Copyright © 2010 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 28mm, f/13 for 1/80th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray circular polarizer filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Summertime

Summertime – Fayetteville, Texas
Copyright © 2010 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 1/100th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray circular polarizer filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Strength in Photographic Diversity

When times are good and the economy is rolling along, it’s all too easy to become a niche photographer and specialize in work that you are most familiar and comfortable with. I know several local photographers that do only event photography like weddings and bar mitzvahs and others that do only high school senior portraits. Many landscape and nature photographers that I know wouldn’t think of shooting a wedding or sweet-sixteen party, let alone a corporate head-shot. When times are good . . .

Well, right now times aren’t so good and many photographers find themselves scratching to make a living, lowering prices and accepting client terms they would have laughed at several years ago. It doesn’t look like the economy is going to recover anytime soon and even if it does, the market for commercial photography may never be what it once was. Corporate and personal frugality may become the norm rather than the exception.

But some photographers are thriving despite their circumstances. These folks seem to understand that “specialization is for insects, not people” (Yes, you’ve heard me say this before). They know that there is incredible strength in photographic diversity.

It’s a lesson that every photographer should heed, myself included. Mix things up a little and photograph subjects that stretch your current skills. If you shoot predominately landscapes and nature, go out and shoot some portraits. Dig a little deeper and reach a little further. If you shoot wedding and events, get up early one morning and shoot the sunrise. Get out of your photographic comfort zone and take creative some risk.

I think Dewitt Jones sums it up nicely. “Celebrate What’s Right With the World”.

What have you got to lose?

Simple Beauty

Simple Beauty – Austin, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on manual (M) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand-held. Lit with a Profoto strobe and shoot-through umbrella for fill flash. The exposure was taken at 102mm, f/7.1 for 1/200th of a second at ISO 100. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. Click on the image above for a larger version.

I Am Blessed

When I was a young lad barely into my teens, I asked the Lord to surround me with beautiful blonds when I grew up. Who would have thought God had such a wonderful sense of humor!

Happy Fathers Day to my family, friends and readers. We are all blessed!

I Am Blessed

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’ sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

Amen

Life is Too Short

Since it’s the end of a long week I thought I’d wax philosophical this morning and discuss some of life’s simple pleasures. But first, the bad news . . .

We live in a world that moves at an incredible pace most days. We are bombarded with more information than our brains can actually process, digest and understand. We rush to get to work, we rush through our day and we rush home in the evenings. We fall dead asleep and do it all over again the next day. We live our lives as if time has no meaning! Let me say that again. We live our lives as if time has no meaning!

But time does have meaning and our time here on this planet is all too short. Let me explain.

I receive hundreds of emails and thousands of blog comments each year asking advice on this camera or that filter or on some technique that will add impact to their images. While I’m always happy to help (I do answer every email personally), I rarely see most people following through with their dreams to become better photographers. It’s as if many folks are waiting for permission to live their lives to the fullest and pursue their dreams.

Those of you that have followed my blog for some time probably know that in March 2007 I came down with an inexplicable and still undiagnosed neurological disorder that left me in almost constant pain with muscle spasms and cramps in my lower back and legs. I spent the better part of a year in and out of the hospital, seeing specialists and being tested for everything from AIDS to Cancer to MS. I’ve had multiple MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, ultrasounds, myelograms and neurological tests. My condition is still undiagnosed, but I do have medication to help control the muscle spasms and pain. It has taken me the better part of three years to recover my strength and self confidence.

Before all this occurred I lived my life as if time had no meaning. As if I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted. I had no great ambition in life (other than to support my family and raise my children) and no real goals beyond getting my golf handicap down to single digits. It never occurred to me that my time here was limited and if I wanted to leave something meaningful behind, I’d better get off my butt and start really living.

Without sounding like a Baptist preacher let me explain what I’ve learned. LIFE is a gift from GOD. It is finite and final. We have only so much time to grow, learn, understand, teach and pray before we pass through this plane of existence and on to the next. And we have no idea how short or long our life may be! None. Nada. No Idea.

LIFE IS TOO SHORT not to slow down and enjoy its simple pleasures like photographing a solitary flower in the warm sunshine. It’s too short to sit inside reading photography books, magazines and blog posts every night and weekend instead of getting out there to shoot.

LIFE WAS MEANT TO BE LIVED. It’s a gritty, scary and often exhausting “full-contact” sport where everyone is their own quarterback and the two-minute warning has just sounded.

LIFE WAS MEANT TO HAVE MEANING. Millions die each year without leaving behind a meaningful legacy to inspire the next generation. Be a part of the small minority that does.

Yellow

Yellow – Llano, Texas
Copyright © 2010 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 105mm, f/4 for 1/1250th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Here’s the Good News . . .

LIFE BEGINS ANEW EACH MORNING. Get up early to shoot a sunrise. Stay up late to shoot a sunset. Carry a camera with you everywhere you go. If something looks interesting to you, take the shot. If nothing looks interesting to you, then you’re not really looking are you?

LIFE CAN SLOW DOWN. It’s all up to you. You can rush through your life and be miserable or you can slow things down to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Go sit on a park bench during lunch and slowly look around you. Look for something interesting and take the shot!

LIFE REQUIRES COURAGE (but what have you got to lose?). Mix things up a little. If you shoot predominantly landscape images, shoot some portraits. Have the courage to shoot a stranger. Be a generalist. Specialization is for insects.

LIFE IS TOO SHORT. Don’t wait another instant. Pursue your photographic dreams with determination. Make it happen! But don’t forget to enjoy your life. The journey through life is why we are here!

My Favorite Spot in the World

Ask any landscape photographer where his or her favorite spot is. Chances are they can name it in an instant. Every landscape photographer has one. It’s their “go to” place for inspiration, encouragement and reflection.

My favorite spot is in Kingsland, a quiet bedroom community stretching along the shores of the Colorado and Llano Rivers at the point where they merge to form Lake LBJ. It’s a short drive west from Marble Falls on Ranch Road 1431 to a wonderful spot overlooking Packsaddle Mountain to the west.

If you’re interested in shooting there just click on the Google Map below for directions. You won’t be disappointed!

Kingsland Overlook

Kingsland Overlook – Kingsland, Texas
Copyright © 2010 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 70mm, f/16 for 1 second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer and 3-stop graduated neutral density filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3. Click on the image above for a larger version.