“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” — John 15:13
It’s been a tough few days. Last week I came down with an eye infection (really?) which prevented me from doing much shooting. Once that clears up (just in time for an afternoon workshop in La Grange, Texas) I come down with the flu and spend 24 hours in bed. If I didn’t have bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all.
Just a little something to help you relax and unwind after a hard day at work!
Texas Hill Country Video
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Video created in Adobe Lightroom 3 Beta 2. Best shown in full-screen HD.
The Bioluminescence of the Night
Copyright © 2009 Atlantic Recording Corporation.
If you’d like to visit and photograph some of these spots, join us for the Fall 2010 Texas Landscape Safari.
Sorry about the “No Blog” Monday but I returned from a Saturday afternoon workshop to wake up Sunday with a fever and blistering headache. As they like to say around here, “If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck”.
Here’s a shot I took last month during the spring Texas Landscape Safari workshop at Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, the home town of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. This is one of my favorite spots to photograph in the entire state because every visit presents me with new opportunities to shoot as river’s currents change from one day to the next. You could come here with a camera every day for a year and never get the same shot twice.
I know, I know.
We’re only supposed to shoot landscapes during those “golden hours” around sunrise and sunset. Yes, I realize that most outdoor magazines won’t even consider a landscape image taken at other times of the day.
Being the stubborn Irishman that I am, I just can’t sit around all day waiting for those “golden hours” to occur. Life is Too Short (LTS) and I shoot landscapes and nature whenever I can find the time. That means shooting whenever I find some decent light and a good subject. It might be 7:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 2:30 PM or 8:00 PM.
Luckily, Texas is a big place and the weather here changes faster than most folks can change their mind. We have some of the biggest skies I’ve seen on four continents and the most wonderful clouds a photographer could ever ask for. With a little luck and a lot of patience, even 5:30 in the afternoon can become a “golden hour”.
PS: It does help to carry around a few key filters like a circular polarizer and a graduated neutral density filter.
Every landscape photographer loves a good sunset and most will forgo food and sleep to find the best vantage to capture the perfect light. Sunsets as fickle creatures. Bold and brilliant one moment and dull and lifeless the next.
I have photographed hundreds of sunsets and never come back 100% satisfied. I suppose that’s exactly what the Lord had in mind when he gave us so many to witness and capture!
By now, everyone knows I’m an old-fashioned kind of guy when it comes to getting the correct exposure “in-camera” as opposed to in “post”. For me, post-capture processing in Lightroom or Photoshop is a matter of tweaking a RAW file to obtain what I remember seeing when I took the shot. Since many of you reading this blog are relatively new to photography and perhaps to the use of filters, I thought I’d explain my basic setup for the shots of Monument Hill shown below.
The image above illustrates a typical setup for a landscape shot with my 5DII on a lightweight but sturdy tripod (Gitzo Traveller using an RRS ball-head) and a Singh-Ray graduated neutral density filter held in place by a Cokin “P-Series” holder, mounted on a wide-angle zoom. The graduated neutral density filter is generally a 2, 3 or 4-stop / soft ND Grad made by Singh-Ray, a company that designs and builds probably the highest quality filters in the world.
The purpose of the “ND Grad” filter is to “hold back” the bright sky to balance the foreground exposure as shown in this late afternoon shot. Using an ND Grad allows your DSLR to meter for the mid-tones without blowing out the bright highlights in the sky. The image above was taken without an ND Grad filter and you can see how dark the trees are in the foreground while the clouds in the background are almost completely blown out. Compare that with the image below where both the trees and the sky are exposed properly and you begin to see how powerful a graduated neutral density filter can be.
The great thing about a graduated neutral density filter is that you the photographer, have complete control over how much light the filter blocks by changing its position in the filter holder. Many photographers (myself included) prefer to hold the filter against the lens by hand, moving it to achieve exactly the effect we want.
One of my favorite landscape photographers Steve Kossack, is famous for teaching students “conscious control over colors and light” and a big part of his craft is in using the right filter at the right time. Steve’s also famous for hand-holding and moving his ND-Grad filters during the exposure so that each image is unique and one of a kind.
Getting control of the colors and the light “in-camera” using a graduated neutral density filter is a great way to bring some control to your landscape photography.