photography from the ground up

Archive for August, 2010

F L Ricketts Falls

F L Ricketts Falls is the last waterfall I photographed in Ricketts Glen. As I was setting up this shot, I brushed my camera which was mounted on the tripod. The whole thing fell forward and landed lens down on a rock. I held my breath as I inspected the damage. Luckily, the only thing broken was the 3 stop ND filter which had shattered on impact. Silently cursing my inattention while reminding myself to be more careful in the future, I screwed on my 2 stop ND filter and adjusted the exposure settings. Although this is not the best image of the day, it is probably the most memorable due to the near tragedy of a broken favorite lens.

I used my usual camera/lens configuration (Nikon D700/Nikkor 17-35 mm f 2.8 wide angle zoom lens) mounted on a Bogen tripod with a 2 stop neutral density filter. I bracketed five exposures which I edited in Adobe Lightroom. I then combined them using Photomatix Pro’s Exposure Fusion mode, and did the final adjustments in Photoshop.

Life In The Wilderness

This is another image from my exploration of the north end of the Ojito Wilderness back in July. This little clump of cacti was nestled in a small cul-de-sac. The contrast between the green, growing vegetation and the hard, immutable rock is what piqued my interest in this scene. Add a dash of great atmospheric conditions, and voilà, a photograph!

This is a blend of three source images. The dynamic range was just beyond what could be captured in one exposure. When I exposed for the foreground, the clouds were blown out, so I bracketed three exposures. I did my initial adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, then used the Exposure Fusion tool in Photomatix Pro, and cleaned things up in Photoshop. This is pretty much my normal workflow in a situation like this.

Nikon D700, Nikkor 17-35 mm f2.8 zoom lens, circular polarizer, Bogen 3021 PRO tripod.

The Edge Of The World

Here is a new image from Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah in the San Juan Basin. This was the first photo of the day. I hadn’t walked fifty steps from my truck when I came upon this textured rock right on the edge of what I call The Hoodoo Forest. The clouds were moving fast, and the whole scene looked a bit alien. I felt a sense of satisfaction when I released the shutter; I knew it would be a good day.

I was attempting to portray the singularity of this place for those who have never been there, and those who probably never will be. It is a hidden gem, tucked away in a seldom visited section of the San Juan Basin. The better known Bisti Wilderness is not far to the west, and the ever popular Chaco Canyon is just to the east. But, for all their notoriety, neither of those places can match Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah’s harsh, bizarre beauty.

I used my normal workflow: RAW conversion, white balance, contrast, sharpening, and saturation adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, and a curves adjustment in Photoshop. This is a single exposure image: aperture–f22, shutter speed–1/50th sec., ISO–100.

Pieces Of The Past

I made this image on a recent trip to Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah with my daughter Susan. The clouds had been building all day; we were headed back to the truck when we came across this scene. The rocks and small pieces of petrified wood were strewn about in a, seemingly, haphazard way. It made me think about the forces that painted this bizarre landscape, and the ramifications of cause and effect over a period of millions of years. I couldn’t afford to ponder for long though; the storm continued to build as we walked back to where the truck was parked. We were about fifty feet from it when the first drops of rain began to fall.

I used my usual camera/lens configuration: Nikon D700 and Nikkor 17–35 mm f2.8 wide angle zoom lens mounted on a Bogen tripod, and a circular polarizer. I stopped the lens down to f22 for maximum depth of field, shutter speed was 1/20th second, and the ISO was set at 100.