Many Thanks to WordPress

Hmmm… Just who is that gray-haired old man?

Featured on WordPress.com

Now this is a pleasant surprise. I’ve been featured twice now on WordPress.com and this time for a subject near and dear to my heart. Many thanks to the folks at WordPress for hosting my blog and for bumping up my end of the month stats.

Here’s the final image for this month. Back in the good old days of B&W film, this shot would have taken hours and hours to create in the field and in the darkroom. Using Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro, it took only minutes. And to be perfectly honest, I would never have gotten a shot with this much contrast and sharpness using my old Canon F1-N and 75-200mm FD zoom.

Ain’t technology grand!

Bastrop State Park

Bastrop State Park – Bastrop, 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 23mm, f/16 for 1/20th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Bastrop State Park Lake – Bastrop, Texas

Canon’s Other Secret Weapon for Landscape Photography

Earlier this month I wrote the article Canon’s Secret Weapon for Landscape Photography about their incredible EF 17-40mm f/4L USM ultra-wide zoom lens. Today I want to introduce you to two more Canon lenses that I love to use for landscape photography, the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM medium telephoto zoom and it’s image-stabilized brother, the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM.

What’s that you say? What self-respecting photographer would use a medium telephoto zoom for “serious” landscape photography? Believe me when I tell you that these two gems in Canon’s lens lineup are darn near perfect for landscape work. In fact, most of my top selling posters and fine-art prints were shot with one of these two lenses and I’m not alone in this. Many of the most highly respected professional landscape photographers in the world today use one of these two lenses, and for good reasons.

Canon's EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Photo & charts courtesy and copyright © Canon

 

The build quality of these two lenses is nothing less than superb and the fact that they are Canon’s smallest and lightest medium telephoto zooms makes these ideal landscape lenses in the field. The ring-type USM (ultra-sonic motor) focuses very fast and silently. Both the focus ring and zoom ring are firm to the touch and spaced apart enough not to interfere with one another in use. The zoom function is completely internal (the barrel does not extend) and the focus is the same. Again, both of these features are ideal for landscape photography. The image quality from this lens is nothing less than superb and the optical design features a fluorite element and two ultra-low dispersion (UD) (ultra-low dispersion) glass elements.

However, the best feature of these two incredible landscape lenses is the price. At $600 (USD) for the standard version and only $1200 (USD) for the image stabilized version, they are less than half the price of their much more expensive cousin the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM II, priced at $2300 (USD). Yes, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USm II is one full stop faster, but when was the last time you took a landscape shot with a wide open aperture? I generally shoot landscape shots with my 5D Mark II at f/16 or smaller to achieve the greatest depth of field possible.

MTF Charts

MTF Chart for Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM (Wide)Canon's EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Specifications
Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 70 – 200mm f/4
Lens Construction: 20 elements in 15 groups
Focus Adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM & full-time manual
Closest Focusing Distance: ~ 4 feet
Zoom System: Internal Rotation
Filter Size: 67mm
Largest Diameter x Length and Weight: 3.0″ x 6.8″, 26.8 ounces

For More Information:
Canon USA
Canon Professional Network (Europe)
The Digital Picture’s Review

My Results

Pedernales Falls

Pedernales Falls – Johnson City, 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 tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 200mm, f/29 for 1/3rd of a second at ISO 50 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

Serenity

Here’s another shot from Buescher State Park in Smithville, Texas.

Getting this kind of shot is fairly simple but does require a sturdy tripod, a circular polarizer and a cable-release (or your camera’s self timer). The toughest part is waiting for the wind to die down enough for the water to become a perfect mirror.

This type of scene with its bright foreground, dark middle-ground and bright background can fool your camera’s meter so you may want to bracket your exposures. I tend to underexpose this type of shot about 1/2 stop to help saturate the colors.

You may also want to try several different compositions for a shot like this. I prefer to show more foreground when the clouds are less pronounced and more background (sky) when the clouds are really dramatic. Try both compositions and see what “feels” right to you.

And don’t forget to enjoy what you’re shooting. Take a few minutes and just watch the clouds reflecting in the smooth water. Relax and enjoy the serenity.

Serenity

Serenity – Smithville, 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 40mm, f/16 for 1/13th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Buescher Lake – Smithville, Texas

Greener Pastures

This post is for you urban photographers longing for greener pastures, wide open spaces and a whole lot less traffic.

Tucked away in a remote corner of Buescher State Park on Park Road 1C is utility easement for a natural gas pipeline that runs east-to-west through Bastrop county. It crosses Park Road 1C on a hillside about 300 feet above grade overlooking a beautiful cattle ranch with one of the oldest and tallest oaks in the region. Behind this majestic oak lies several more heavily wooded hills leading to the “Lost Pines” of Bastrop State Park. Since this easement is for an underground pipeline, there are no power lines to spoil your view of some of the most beautiful sunsets this side of the Hill Country.

During the hot and humid summer months, these hills take on an almost magical appearance as the sun begins to set in the distance. If you can stand the heat and humidity (not to mention the mosquitos) right before sunset, this spot offers some great photographic opportunities.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Overlook on Park Road 1C

Greener Pastures

Greener Pastures – Smithville, 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 + EF 1.4X Extender tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 280mm, f/18 for 1/13th 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.

Reflections

Like many folks living near a major city (Houston is the fourth largest in the country), I long to get away from the crowds, drive through the open country and find some peace and quiet on the weekends.

Two of my favorite spots on the way to the Hill Country are Buescher and Bastrop State Parks near Smithville, Texas. These two beautiful parks are connected by a 12 miles stretch of road (Park Road 1c) which winds through the hilly, back-woods of the area’s “Lost Pines” forest. It’s about the best drive down a country road I’ve ever taken and even after hundreds of visits, the lure of those S-curves and rolling hills keeps me coming back for more.

At the end of beautiful summer evening it’s also great to stop at Lake Buescher to catch some of the sun’s last rays hitting the trees and reflecting off the perfectly calm waters. It’s also fun to setup my tripod and camera and have the local fishermen ask me what I’m trying to catch. I always tell them “I’m just fishing for the light”.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Buescher Lake – Smithville, Texas

Reflections

Reflections – Smithville, 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 tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 138mm, f/16 for 1/4th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

A New Day Dawns

Happy Friday!

Here’s shot with a little more “post” than I usually do for my landscape work. It was a warm, beautiful sunrise over Palo Duro Canyon and the clouds were just incredible that morning.

Two words for my readers seeking inspiration; Dewitt Jones.

Dewitt Jones is one of most widely known and respected landscape & nature photographers in the world. Having spent over 20 years shooting for NG, Dewitt Jones earned his reputation as a top-notch photojournalist and film director.  He is also one of the most well-respected keynote speakers in the US. Each week Dewitt posts an image from his collection with one powerful message for photographers around the globe; “Celebrate What’s Right With the World“. Great advice for the times in which we live.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Palo Duro Canyon, Texas

Dawn

Dawn – Palo Duro Canyon, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on Aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 40mm, f/16 for 1/40th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter 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.

Texas Plains & Canyons

Here’s a little something to enjoy as the week winds down!

Texas Plains & Canyons
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Video created in Adobe Lightroom 3.

Hill Country Landscapes

Just a gentle reminder to everyone that my first book Hill Country Landscapes is back in stock and available for immediate shipment. You can preview the book below to see some of the wonderful landscapes you can find in the Texas Hill Country.

 

My next book should be completed in the fall and be available before Christmas, so stayed tuned!