Beside Still Waters

Beside Still Waters

Still Waters – Frio River near Concan, 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 24mm, f/16 for 1/13th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

Storm’s Coming

Storm's Coming

Storm’s Coming – Enchanted Rock, 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 20mm, f/16 for 1/6th of a second at ISO 100 using 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.

Workshop Preparation – Waiting

By now most of the folks attending next month’s Texas Landscape Safari are “just itching” to get going. I know I certainly am. They’ve packed clothes for hot weather, clothes for wet weather, clothes for cold weather. They’ve got their gear all laid out. Camera bodies & lenses. Filters. Tripod. All their little extras (batteries, CF cards, sunscreen) are in hand. They’ve got their list and checked it twice!

Now comes the hard part. Waiting. And thinking…

What if the weather turns bad? What if my camera breaks? What if there’s no clouds? What if, what if, what if…

Bluebonnet Tour

Bluebonnet Tour – Llano, 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 hand-held. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/11 for 1/60th of a second at ISO 100 using 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.

RELAX!

You’ll be surrounded by friends, walking through some gorgeous countryside and breathing the cleanest air you ever thought possible. This is the Texas Hill Country folks and out here there’s always something wonderful to photograph.

Bluebonnets in Shade

Bluebonnets in Shade – Llano, 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 105mm, f/4.5 for 1/250th of a second at ISO 100 using 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.

Workshop Preparation – Dry Weather Photography

Last spring we had over 12 inches of rain in the Hill Country the month before the Texas Landscape Safari. This year’s forecast looks a bit more like hard drought and there’s been little rain since the beginning of the year. But don’t you fret one bit. The Texas Hill Country is still an incredibly beautiful place even during the worst of droughts.

In fact, some of my best images were taken back in late 2009 when the region was experiencing the worst drought in a decade. The shot below is a great example of what we can expect from this year’s Texas Landscape Safari.

I love taking long exposures using the Singh-Ray Vari-ND neutral density filter. This wonderful little device is an absolute miracle worker when it comes to long exposures and is worth every penny of it’s $340 (USD) price. You turn the filter element to the “min” setting to compose and focus and then to the “max” setting to take your shots.

Singh-Ray also offers this in a version called the Vari-ND-Duo which includes a built-in circular polarizer and the Vari-ND-Trio which includes a built-in circular polarizer and color enhancer. Whatever model you choose, no other neutral density filter comes close to the functionality of this little beauty.

Quiet Falls

Quiet Falls – Pedernales Falls State Park, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 50D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 47mm, f/11 for 8 seconds using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

How to Get This Type of Shot

  • The key to this shot is the long exposure (greater than 1 second) that creates the smooth, silky look of the flowing water. You have two choices in how to achieve the long exposure; a) use a very small aperture like f/22 or b) use a neutral density filter. Given the the fact that small apertures can create diffraction blur I tend to use a neutral density filter whenever possible.
  • A good sturdy tripod is a must in a situation like this. Even the best image stabilization offered today can’t prevent blur in a shutter speed over 1 second. I prefer Gitzo carbon-fiber tripods because of their light weight and vibration damping characteristics. They’re a bit pricey but last a lifetime.
  • A final key for this type of shot is setting your camera’s long exposure noise reduction to “ON”. Long exposure noise reduction is a great little technology that eliminates noise in exposures over 1 second by taking two exposures; one with the shutter open and one with the shutter closed. These two exposures are then compared and any digital noise found (usually in the shadow areas) in the first exposure that is not present in the second exposure is “subtracted” from the final image. A neat little trick that almost completely eliminates any noise from your image.

Workshop Preparation – Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park is perhaps one of the best kept photographic secrets in the Texas Hill Country. Folks that visit the 6000 acre park are often amazed at how vast the falls really are and how the scale of these rocks can be deceiving from a distance. Having hiked the area extensively over the years, I still find new sections of the falls I’ve yet to explore. Each stair-step section you climb leads to another and another as this unique geology extends almost two miles upstream in the Pedernales River.

Folks that attend the Texas Landscape Safari always enjoy a good sunset to photograph on a quiet spring evening in April. This is a small slice of heaven folks, right here in Texas!

Pedernales Falls

Pedernales Falls State Park – 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 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 19mm, f/16 for 1/6th of a second at ISO 100 using 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.

Workshop Preparation – Flying Straight & Level

In landscape photography its the little things that count. One of the most important aspects of creating a well composed landscape image is knowing where “level” is. This is especially true when your background is hilly or mountainous. We use our sense of “level” so much every day that a person will look at an image on the web or in print and instinctively know if it’s not perfectly level.

Nikon's Virtual HorizonFinding the perfect “level” has always been fairly easy for Nikon shooters since inclusion of a Virtual Horizon in the D3, D300 and D700 firmware and now owners of Canon’s EOS 7D have the same thing.

Before you run out and buy a new camera, there is a simple answer that works for all of us. The folks at Adorama sell a great little Hot Shoe Bubble Level 337 made by Manfrotto that takes all the guesswork out of finding a perfect “level” in our landscape images. For $32.00 it’s an inexpensive tool that every landscape photographer should carry with them in the field and it’s a required accessory during the Texas Landscape Safari.

Hot Shoe Bubble Level

Hot Shoe Bubble Level
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shots taken with a Canon Powershot G9 hand-held at 30mm, f/4.0 for 1/320th of a second at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2.

Citadel – Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

Want to add some drama to your landscape images? Looking for a way to have your best shots stand out from the crowd? Take a step back in time and relearn what you’ve forgotten from the early 70’s, to think in black & white!

If you’re like a lot of us that grew up before the age of “digital” when color film processing & printing was expensive beyond compare, you remember shooting roll after roll of 36 exposure Kodak Tri-X black & white film. Tri-X was one of Kodak’s most popular and versatile films and could be “pushed” from its native ASA 400 (before ISO) to ASA 1600 and beyond. The contrast in Tri-X negatives was spectacular as was the film’s “dynamic range” (different shades of gray). Photographers the world over praised Tri-X as the sports shooter’s best friend, the landscape shooter’s savior and the wedding photographer’s ticket to success.

Tri-X could be gently “push processed” from 400 to over 1600 allowing sports photographers to shoot night football, indoor basketball and even the dreaded hockey game at shutter speeds capable of freezing the action. Landscape photographers by the hundreds shot Tri-X at ASA 400 and found an inexpensive film that was capable of rendering scenes comparable to Ansel Adam’s large-format zone system. But it was the wedding photographer that made this film famous. No longer did a wedding photographer have to lug around 20 – 30 lbs of lighting gear just to shoot a few candid shots. Like sports shooters, wedding photographers quickly learned to push Tri-X to ASA 1600 or even 3200 with wonderful results and acceptable grain.

Citadel

Citadel – Palo Duro Canyon State Park, 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 21mm, f/18 for 1/15th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

Today we shoot with 21 megapixel CMOS sensors in cameras that are more computer than mechanical. We use computer-ground lenses sharper and smaller than we ever thought possible and we develop & print our work electronically, using incredibly powerful software like Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture.

And while these technologies have made our photography more plentiful and less time consuming, we still find drama, detail and beauty in a simple black & white photograph reminiscent of our work from 35 years ago, when all we had was a Canon FTb, a 50mm lens and a few rolls of Tri-X to play with.

Still Waiting for Spring

I spent most of the weekend in La Grange, Texas doing a little one-on-one coaching at the Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State Historic Site. I hadn’t been up to La Grange in a few months and had hoped that the trees would have begun to bloom, but no such luck. We haven’t seen much rain this winter and we’re still waiting for spring here in southeast Texas.

For those of you attending the Texas Landscape Safari next month, it’s time to break out your rain dance routine and get things moving. I’m counting on y’all to dance your little hearts out before the end of April. :-)

Waiting for Spring

Waiting for Spring – Fayetteville, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using a TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/16 for 1/50th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer & 2-stop graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.