Today I continue my series of posts that feature recent tour participant images. These images are from our April trip to New Zealand. Remember to click on the links to view more of their fine photography.
Louise Shoemaker – Having difficulty finding appropriate subjects at the site of the Moeraki Boulders, I was disappointed by selfie-taking tourists and footprints in every stretch of sand and cold winds and flat light. So I had begun the trudge back to the bus, when a member of the group pointed to the area of the beach I had just scouted and said “Look at THAT!” So I turned around and looked and walked back and looked again. This is the next photo I took. It reminds me to look, then look again, and give my eyes the time to see
Ken Arnett – Our evening at Curio Bay was overcast and moody, with fabulous waves extending over the dark coastline. It seemed perfect for long exposure blending!
Dan Sniffin – I was drawn to this image due to its simplicity of design — and visualized smooth water with contrasting textures of the rock.. Although both color and B&W versions worked well I felt that the B&W version best suited the subject.
Terry Schroeder – “New Zealand was a really rich visiual experience from start to finish, and I came back from the trip with some landscapes that I consider keepers. But landscapes are high on the list of things I’m still learning. Although this particular image might have been taken almost anywhere, it offered the opportunity to compose and shoot in my “comfort zone”. For me, it will always be a strong reminder of the companions on the trip, the places we went, and a host of other New Zealnd images that please me almost as much as this one.”
Victoria Porter – This type of irrigation equipment is everywhere in Wyoming and Montana where I grew up and I’ve tried to find a scenic shot that included it for years. I find it somewhat fascinating to see, especially when it is in action as it sometimes creates miniature rainbows in the spray. When our group went to photograph elephant rocks, I spotted this scene on the roadside a short distance from where our bus was parked. So after photographing several views of the elephant rocks, I wandered back down the road to capture this scene. I like how all the elements came together to create a pleasing composition: colorful fields, cows, irrigation equipment, and the cloudy sky.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Topaz Webinar Today
Today, I will be presenting another webinar for Topaz. Be aware there are 2,000 signed up and only 1,000 can be on at one time. If you really want to attend, you’d better log in early!
Candid Conversations with Jo Johnson
My friend Jo Johnson invited me to spend an hour on the phone with her. She has a wonderful blog series called Candid Conversations. She has interviewed a number of fine photographers and decided I was next! If you’re interested, you can read it by clicking this link.
Lensbaby Velvet 56
The images above were shot with the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I really am enjoying this wonderful lens! The middle flower image has a low opacity layer of Topaz Impression applied to it. I will cover this idea in my webinar later today.
This image was made in the front yard of the agraturismo where we stay in Tuscany. We had just returned from a long day. It looked like the shooting was over so we headed “home.” Then, as we came to dinner this happened! Needless to say, dinner took a backseat for about a half hour. Even the owners of the agraturismo said this kind of situation does not happen too often. It was pretty special. Both the light and the double rainbow.
A reminder about my Topaz Webinar next Tuesday June 30th at 5PM est. You can sign up by clicking this link. I hope to see you there!
Our most recent tour was to Tuscany and Venice Italy. The last time we were there, we were told about an iconic view called Belvedere. This year, with the help of our hired drivers, we went right to the spot only 10 minutes from where we were staying. On our first attempt, there was no ground fog, however, after checking the weather, it looked like the next morning might provide fog. We decided to make another run at it and were rewarded. It was one of those mornings where you didn’t want it to stop! Yes another image that might make it into the lifetime category.
I mentioned in my last postthat I was distracted on my way to the “Lifetime Image,” This was what distracted me. I loved the sky, fresh snow on the mountains and the mossy foreground with the big rock. I chose to make the mossy foreground look like snow in the conversion as I felt it added the contrast necessary to make it pop. Remember to click on the image to make it bigger.
UPDATED 6-15 with 1/2 stop of 2.4 added…
I just got my Velvet 56 from Lensbaby and I’m in love. This is not your typical Lensbaby lens. This is, well, here is what they have to say. “Our Velvet 56 classic portrait lens gives you a velvety, ethereal start with a smooth finish, from the big picture to the smallest details. Bringing modern-day simplicity to the carefully crafted build and look of mid-20th century portrait lenses, this 56mm f/1.6 manual portrait and macro lens evokes an experience like no other. Embrace the moment as you easily go from capturing gorgeous, radiant environments to intimate details in the same scene.”
I decided to do a quick and dirty test. I set up some fading roses on the dining room table. There are two windows to the right of the roses giving me soft natural diffused light. I set up on a tripod and took the following images. If you’re after the soft dreamy look 1.6 to 2.8 is pretty great! f/4 to f/8 starts to lose that look but still look great. UPDATE: On Facebook Jack asked if there was a stop between 2.0 and 2.8 as there is a pretty big difference. I set back up and fount it to be VERY EASY to create a 1/2 stop between 2.0 and 2.8 for 2.4ish. No there is no click, however, there is a lot of travel between the two and the tension on the f/stop ring made it very easy. So Jack, yes there is a stop between 2.0 and 2.8
The lens is much more robust than I was expecting. It borders on being heavy actually. Very solid build with silky smooth focusing. The f/stop ring has positive clicks and works as to be expected. It is a fully manual lens. On my Fuji I set it to Aperture Priority and it does a good job of giving a proper exposure. I simply need to adjust the compensation dial to tweak the exposure. Remember to change your menu item to “shoot without a lens.” Otherwise it will not work. I would also suggest that Fuji X-T1 users use the split screen manual focus set up along with focus peaking. This makes it very easy to focus. At f/1.6 it becomes so dreamy that it can be hard to focus. In this case, simply stop down to f/8 as it will be much clearer. Once you achieve focus, dial in the f/stop (dreamy look) you desire. I can see this lens becoming an integral part of what I do. Great for both grand children portraits and macro work. It will focus down to 5″!
If you want to buy anything Lensbaby, (including the new Velvet 56) and you have attended a workshop/tour/lecture of mine, send me an email for how to save 10%. Lensbaby now makes mirrorless camera mounts for the Velvet 56, Composer Pro and Fisheye. This includes Fuji, Olympus, Sony and a few others! Now everyone can join in the fun!
More to come as I do more testing.
If you’re looking for photography based education, this is a really good value. Click anywhere on the notice below to learn more as well as who is involved. The deal is good for 11 days starting on the 14th.
Ansel Adams said, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” Look, I understand Ansel was using a big honkin’ (I believe that was the brand) camera with huge sheets of expensive film (whatever that was) so he probably didn’t pull the shutter unless it was pretty good. We on the other hand have endless free pixels to burn and thus are a bit more liberal in our shooting and create a lot more lousy images. You might think our “hit” or “keeper” ratio would be higher, I’m not sure. I wonder though, is Ansel’s number of 12 significant images per year still valid. I guess it would depend on what you consider significant? I’m of the mind that 12 is still a pretty good number, at least for me. I mean images that rise to the level of significant.
I consider today’s image to be one of my 12 for this year. Something I now refer to as a lifetime image. An image that rises above the ordinary and that might be part of a book of lifetime images at some point.
The image was made in the Mount Cook area of New Zealand at a Glacial Lake. I almost didn’t go to this spot. I was distracted by another scene (coming soon) and leery about climbing down the loose rocks to the lake area. And then someone said, “you really should take a look.” I’m sure glad I decided to give it a look!
I should note that I used a Singh-Ray 5 stop Mor-Slo filter so I could achieve a 10 second exposure to smooth out the water. For you mirrorless shooters, I have purchased a Lee Seven5 filter system for use with square or rectangular filters. I have been hand holding my split grad filters and finally decided to be more careful about it. With the Seven5 built for smaller mirrorless cameras, I can now use my split grad and a Mor-Slo together to achieve the looks I want in a small portable package. What I love about Singh-Ray is, not only do they make great filters, they will and did make a custom size just for me! For the Lee system I needed 75mm wide filters and wanted them to be square or almost square. I called Sing-Ray and they happily cut them to size at no extra charge. Remember you can save 10% on Singh-Ray filters by using the code Barclay10 at checkout.
When I travel to Cuba, I look forward to seeing my friend Pablo. I have spoken with and photographed Pablo each time I’ve been to Cuba. Last year, I had the humbling experience of being invited into his home. It was an experience I will never forget. One that gave me a deeper understanding of what poverty looks and feels like. One that reminded me of how blessed I truly am. This year, I learned the sad news that his wife passed away last July. It was apparent that Pablo was heartbroken as he spoke of her passing. He looked to have aged greatly since our visit last year. As we spoke, he shared that he did not think he would make it much longer himself. He has a number health issues and I got the impression he is losing his will to live. It will be sad to return to Cuba and not see my friend Pablo. I am grateful for the lessons he has taught me.
For fun I have added a third picture below that was taken on my first trip in 2012. Yes, I believe he is wearing the same shirt and hat 3 years later. It is also interesting to see the difference time of day and reflected light make on the tonality of the 2012 image.
Posted in Cuba
Tagged Cuba, Pablo, Trinidad