This was taken during a brisk afternoon just outside of The Pantheon in Rome. We have discovered that traveling to popular locations during off season has many advantages such as cheaper airfare, abundant accommodations and for a Photographer, fewer Tourists! Some locations are more suitable for this strategy than others – we wouldn’t recommend Greenland in the winter, but I do bet that it is cool (literally).
During the peak summer days, this fountain would not only have its share of the”regular” avian friends but throngs of people hanging out and enjoying the magnificence which is Rome! Here we set up a small inconspicuous tripod called a Gorilla Pod from Joby and shot three exposures to grab as much light as possible during this flat light day. As a bonus, we caught two frames of a pigeon and its shadow coming home after a long day at work!
To purchase a Digital Download or Print, just click on the image and you will go directly to our photography website where choices abound.
We recently went to see The Dark Knight Rises and it struck us that we think we discovered where he is hiding out! It is in the farthest alcove of St. Johns in New York! The church was vacant except for a few visitors that weekday so was perfect for some amazing uncluttered compositions!
This is an HDR shot, but we did not use a conventional tripod to execute the brackets, but rather a flexible little contraption from Joby called a Gorilla Pod! These things are ultra portable for travel and better yet, inconspicuous so as not to draw attention from “The No-Tripod Enforcers”
Click on the Photo to order a Limited Edition Print!
We all have days when we are faced with chores, errands, or responsibilities that we don’t want to do. At times like these, it’s easy to get into a bad mood and stay in one as we tackle these tasks. However, given the fact that our bad mood will not change the fact that we have to do these things, and will most likely make things worse, we could also try to shift our attitude. Many wise people have pointed out that it is not so much what we do as it is how we do it that makes the difference in our lives. It’s important when we’re facing something that’s really hard for us, whether it’s doing taxes, paying bills, or visiting a challenging relative, that we lovingly support ourselves through the process. The more supported we feel, the easier it is to open our minds to the idea that we could change our way of looking at the situation. In truth, most of the chores we don’t like doing are intimately intertwined with our blessings. When we remember this, we feel gratitude, which makes it hard to stay in a dark mood. We can shift our attitude by considering how much we love our home as we clean it and how lucky we are to have a roof over our head. Any task can be transformed from a burden to a necessary aspect of caring for something we love. All we have to do is shift our perspective, and our attitude follows shortly behind.
This wonderful window scene was shot at The Prager Winery in Napa, California. Prager is a purveyor of some very fine Ports and the atmosphere in the testing room is just jubilant. This window has not been dusted for many years if not decades and has grown home to many a critter. The owner, Peter, mentioned that he considered this shot to be one of the best he has ever seen – this is a high compliment coming from someone who sees this every day! We were flattered beyond measure! We used a Manfrotto Tripod to stabilize the Nikon D90 (ISO200, f3.5, 1/8s) as the room was very dark and we did not want to ruin the subtle natural light coming from the cobwebby windows. Someone recently mentioned that this reminded them of an old officer’s quarters in a Pirate vessel….what do you think?
There are times when our whole world seems to be falling apart around us, and we are not sure what to hold onto anymore. Sometimes our relationships crumble and sometimes it’s our physical environment. At other times, we can’t put our finger on it, but we feel as if all the walls have fallen down around us and we are standing with nothing to lean on, exposed and vulnerable. These are the times in our lives when we are given an opportunity to see where we have established our sense of identity, safety, and well-being. And while it is perfectly natural and part of our process to locate our sense of self in externals, any time those external factors shift, we have an opportunity to rediscover and move closer to our core, which is the only truly safe place to call home. The core of our being is not affected by the shifting winds of circumstance or subject to the cycles of change that govern physical reality. We can cling to this core when things around us are falling apart, knowing that an inexhaustible light shines from within ourselves. Times of external darkness can be a great gift in that they provide an opportunity to remember this inner light that shines regardless of the circumstances of our lives.
This was shot at the east coast of The Salton Sea on the shores of Bombay Beach. Several decades ago, this area was a thriving Mecca for Hollywood‘s “Rich and Famous” and a very popular Resort Town for people who enjoy water skiing, sport fishing and otherwise soaking in the desert sun. Over the years, popularity has faded and the area has fallen into a state of decay. For a Photographer, this presents many wonderfully dramatic opportunities with old building, piers, machines, cars and the like. The best time to visit this area is in the winter when the temperatures are not quite as scorching and there is the possibility of storm clouds and spectacular sunsets. Using long exposure times on shots like this will smooth out the surface of the water to great effect. Certainly this is a go-to place for the curious and the intrepid Photographer.
The very moment during the day when we very first open our eyes and come into consciousness is a precious opportunity. It sets the tone for all that comes after it, like the opening scene in a film or novel. At this moment, our ability to create the day is at its most powerful, and we can offer ourselves fully to the creative process by filling this moment with whatever inspires us most. It may be that we want to be more generous, or it may be that we want to be more open to beauty in our daily lives. Whatever the case, if we bring this vision into our minds at this very fertile moment, we empower it to be the guiding principle of our day.
This vista was photographed first thing in the morning close to Punakaiki which is a small community on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, between Westport and Greymouth. The community lies on the edge of the Paparoa National Park. The Pancake Rocks are a very popular tourist goal at Dolomite Point south of the main village. The Pancake Rocks are a heavily eroded limestone area where the sea bursts though a number of vertical blowholes during high tides. Together with the ‘pancake’-layering of the limestone (created by immense pressure on alternating hard and soft layers of marine creatures and plant sediments), these form the main attraction of the area.
The picture was taken with a Nikon D90, tripod mounted…we deliberately shot into the rising morning sun to capture the striations of the sunlight on the rocks to the right as well as the tiny plant holding onto the rocky cliff on the left, bsking in the first light of the day.
In the great symphony of life, we all have important parts to play, just like these repair workers inside The Vatican. When we do our tasks well, we infuse them with our unique energy, making each act a gift. Each of our personalities and talents are suited to different roles of support. Even leaders and star performers support others in their own way. We can look around us at any moment to see that while we nurture some people with our work, others are supporting us with their gifts. Doing any job from this place within us allows us to do our part with humility and gratitude, while also learning lessons that move us steadily toward our goals.
We happened across this rather unusual scene during a visit to the Vatican in Rome. We were surprised to see this heavy machinery setup with the swing stage suspending a worker who was diligently making repairs to this beautiful edifice. Guess even “The Big Guy” needs a hand sometimes! Quietly sneaking up on the scene, we surprised the gentleman on the right (we assume he was the Boss due to his supervisory posture) and quickly composed and executed the shot. The motion blur was deliberate and lends a sense of life and action to the scene. The image was processed in Nikon Capture NX2 for White Balance correction, exported to Photomatix Pro as a NEFF, then final touch up in NX2. Shooting inside churches (or The Vatican for that matter) is tricky. If one is allowed to use a Tripod, then by all means, do so….these places are dark and slow shutter speeds with small apertures are inevitable unless one begins to push the ISO (or as we used to call it, Film Speed) to higher values (more and more grain). White Balance can also be set to Auto and then later corrected provided your shoot in RAW (NEFF for Nikon) and have the tools to correct in post processing.
Though we may use a single set of characteristics to define ourselves, when we feel called to explore the way of the warrior, we may feel a strong sense of dismay because we have no wish to disavow ourselves of our softer side. Yet embracing the warrior spirit is not a matter of denying gentleness or compassion. We can exhibit strength without sacrificing tenderness precisely because both are elements of the self and both have a role to play in the complexity of existence. The warrior spirit, when allowed free rein, is overpowering and all-consuming. If it is to be an affirmative force in our lives, it must be tempered with wisdom and moderation. Our inner warriors are ready to react instantly to conflict, chaos, and confusion, while nonetheless remaining committed to a path of goodwill and fairness. They lie at the root of our dedication to integrity but do not drive us to use our strength to coerce others into adopting our values.
Your inner warrior is one source of strength you can draw upon in times of great need. When you employ your warrior spirit thoughtfully, it manifests itself as clarity, focus, determination, courage, constancy, and an unflappable zest for life. The warrior views roadblocks as evolutionary opportunities and is not afraid to pursue a purpose to its climax. There is more than enough room in the existence of the warrior for softness and benevolence, and the warrior’s willingness to stand up for their beliefs can aid you greatly as you strive to incorporate these ideals into your existence.
This was shot inside Cathedral of Saint John, The Divine, in NYC, also nicknamed, “Saint John, The Unfinished”. NYC argues that this is the largest Cathedral and Anglican Church in the world and the fourth largest Christian Church. There also is some controversy surrounding the Church as it was designed and built by Freemasons (conspiracy theories surround everything). For example, on the western facade of the building, stonemasons have sculpted numerous scenes that seem oddly out-of-place for a Cathedral, the most striking one is the chilling depiction of the destruction of New York city and its landmarks. Hmmm…
This statue of the Archangel Michael in the Chapel of St. Boniface, taken from this angle has a bit of a Gothic feel to it, somewhat Batmanish arguably. Surprisingly, NYC churches have not issues with photographers carrying tripods, but after our encounters with the “No-Tripod_Police” in Italy, we only packed a small support made by Joby http://joby.com/gorillapod , called a Gorilla Pod. This three armed tripod is a flexible little contraption that allows you to secure your DSLR on top virtually anything – really handy for the travelling shooter. Shooting in RAW (or NEFF with Nikon) format, we were able to make some adjustments for the harsh lighting conditions and uneven White Balance inside this dark/bright alcove in post processing. Shooting RAW allows much greater flexibility compared to JPG, and though one may complain that the files are just too big, memory is cheap…going back and reshooting, not so cheap!
Habit #7 in Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is called “Sharpen the Saw.” Covey uses the story of a woodcutter who is furiously sawing trees. He wonders to himself why it is such hard work and why it is taking so long. An observer happens across the scene (noticing the exhausted woodcutter and the smoke coming from his blade from friction) and casually asks, “When was the last time your sharpened your saw?”, to which the woodcutter says, “I’m too busy cutting these darned trees to sharpen a dumb saw!” (more or less)
So what does this really mean?
If you are working your tail off and your productivity begins to drop off, you might think…time for a vacation! This is not sharpening the saw, it is putting down the dull saw to be picked up when you get back from your getaway. In order to sharpen your saw you should engage in a renewal activity such as exercise, healthy eating, education and seminars, learning a new skill, meditatation, maybe writing a journal or just having a long meaningful talk with someone. Are your blades (knowledge, body, mind, motivation, spirit) still honed to perfection? If not, find the ones that are dull and take some time to sharpen them!
This is from our favourite rusty haunt, Bernardo Winery. The blade here was used for ripping lumber and was attached to a series of gears and pulleys which were likely driven by a linkage to tractor. Using a wide-angle lens and a low perspective, the scale of the blade is accentuated. Compositionally, the center mounting point is placed in the lower right third of the frame (Rule of Thirds). One can even get trickier and use the rules of Fibonacci Composition, which in itself is rather fascinating! Photographers, look up Fibonacci and sharpen up your compositions!
It is good to remember that one of our goals in life is to not be perfect. If life is about experimenting, experiencing, and learning, then to be imperfect is a prerequisite. Life becomes much more interesting once we let go of our quest for perfection and aspire for imperfection instead. This doesn’t mean that we don’t strive to be our best, but to simply accept that there is no such thing as perfection. Perfection may happen in a moment, but it will not last because it is an impermanent state.
In spite of this, many of us are in the habit of trying to be perfect. One way to ease ourselves out of this tendency is to look at our lives and notice that no one is judging us to see whether or not we are perfect. Sometimes, perfectionism is a holdover from our childhood—an ideal we inherited from a demanding parent. Now that we are the adults, we can choose to let go of the need to perform for someone else’s approval. Similarly, we can choose to experience the universe as a place where we are free to be imperfect, where we can begin to take ourselves less seriously and have more fun.
This is another rusty gem from the grounds of Bernardo Winery – oh, did we mention that they have spectacular vintages as well? Rusty things are just fun to explore and shoot. Here we used a Nikkor 105mm fixed focal length lens (that also doubles as a Macro) allowing us to get up close and personal with our favourite form of oxidation. Having a tripod for Macro work is not a luxury but absolutely essential. The closer one gets, the more critical the focussing becomes and hence, the stability of the camera. In the “old days” of SLR cameras and film, viewfinders often had split image focussing and other optical aides to get that tack sharp image. Now, we always take off the Auto-Focus feature and focus by eye and forget about the camera making choices for us. Also, using a remote shutter release, wired or infra-red, helps minimize vibrations when releasing the shutter. If you want even less potential vibration, you can use the Mirror-Up feature after composing and before shooting (yes, the movement of the mirror to expose the sensor causes the camera to shake).
We all experience frustrations each and every day. Our expectations go unmet, our plans blocked, our wishes go unfulfilled…we discover that our lives are subject to forces beyond our control. The tension that permeates our bodies and minds when we are late for an event, interrupted at work, or sitting in traffic can interfere with our well-being in profound ways. The small frustrations and irritations wield such power over us because they rob us of the illusion of control. However, every problem is a potential teacher—a confusing situation is an opportunity to practice mindfulness, and difficult people provide us with opportunities to display compassion. There is a natural human tendency to invest copious amounts of emotional energy in minor frustrations in order to avoid confronting those often more complex issues on our plates. It is only when we let the little stuff go that we discover that the big stuff is not really so devastating after all.
This image was shot at Bernardo Winery in San Diego, California. The number of rusty vehicles, farm contraptions and other curious objects can keep a photographer occupied all day! The Winery is host to many Weddings and Engagement Parties and is an excellent venue for couples portraits or some fun Vintage Photo sessions! Taken with a Nikon D90 DSLR equipped with a 10-20mm wide-angle lens, it was important to maintain stability, even with reasonably fast shutter speeds. For this, we almost always use a tripod. Not only does this prevent the camera from inadvertently moving during shutter release, but it forces the photographer to slow down and compose the vision.
PS “Dagnabit” a mild expression of frustration uttered for polite company from the convolution of “God Damn It”
When we get caught up in our packed schedules and obligations, weeks can go by without us taking time to look at the bigger picture of our lives and we run the risk of going through our precious days on this runaway train. Taking time to view the bigger picture, asking ourselves if we are happy with the course we are on and making adjustments, puts us back in the driver’s seat where we belong. When we take responsibility for charting our own course in life, we may well go in an entirely different direction from the one supposedly preordained for us. This can be uncomfortable in the short-term, but in the long-term it is much worse to imagine living this precious life without ever taking back the wheel.
This was shot at Bernardo Wineries in San Diego, California. This Winery has a tasty selection of Boutique vintages as well as a scrumptuous variety of rusty machines, farm implements and other eye candy for the willing photographer. This is also a great place to shoot Engagement or even Trash the Dress post Wedding pictures. Always check with the owners before showing up with your Cast and Crew – they are very helpful and accommodating!
The time we are blessed with is limited and tends to be used up all too quickly, so how we use that time is one of the most important decisions we make. It is far too easy to put off until tomorrow what we are dreaming of today. Our hectic daily pace affords us an easy out; we shelve our aspirations so we can cope more effectively with the challenges of the present, in order to have more time and leisure to realize our dreams in the future. Or we tell ourselves that we will chase our dreams someday once we have accomplished other lesser goals. In truth, it is our fear that keeps us from seeking fulfillment in the here and now—because we view failure as a possibility, our reasons for delaying our inevitable success seem sound and rational. If we ask ourselves what we are really waiting for, however, we discover that there is no truly compelling reason why we should put off the pursuit of the dreams that sustain us. All the joy, passion, and contentment you can envision can be yours right now, rather than in some far-flung point in time. You need only remind yourself that there is nothing standing between you and fulfillment if you decide that today is the day you will take your destiny into your hands.
This was shot at Huntington Beach in California. We were exploring the wondrous undersides of this pier – we tend to do that searching for a good opportunity for some dramatic High Dynamic Range shots (HDR). When we found what we were looking for and were about to head off to our next destination, we spotted this lone surfer, patiently waiting for The Perfect Wave.
Mountains have always captured our imaginations, calling us to scale their heights, and to pay homage to their greatness. Mountains can be seen from hundreds of miles away, and if we are lucky enough to be on top of one, we can see great stretches of the surrounding earth. As a result, mountains symbolize vision, the ability to rise above the adjacent lowlands and see beyond our immediate vicinity. From the top of the mountain, we are able to witness life from a new perspective—cities and towns that seem so large when we are in them look tiny. We can take the whole thing in with a single glance, regaining our composure and our sense of proportion as we realize how much bigger this world is than we sometimes remember it to be.
Mountains are almost always considered holy and spiritual places, and the energy at the top of a mountain is undeniably unique. When we are on top of a mountain, it is as if we have ascended to an alternate realm, one in which the air is purer and lighter. Many a human being has climbed to the top of a mountain in order to connect with a higher source of understanding, and many have come back down feeling stronger and wiser. Whenever we are feeling trapped or limited in our vision, a trip to our nearest mountain may be just the cure we need. There’s a reason that mountain views are so highly prized in this world, and it is because, even from a distance, mountains remind us of how small we are, which often comes as a wonderful relief. Whether we have a mountain view out of our window or just a photograph of a mountain where we see it every day, we can rely on these earthly giants to provide inspiration, vision, and a daily reminder of our humble place in the grand scheme of life.
This is a shot from the top of Gate’s Pass, just outside of Tuscon, Arizona. It was a short hike to this location where we watched the sun setting and the sky slowly changing colors. Equipped with a tripod mounted Nikon D90, we were able to take some very long exposures as things became progressively darker. We lit up this cactus during one such long exposure with a quick burst from a flash. This is a common technique used for portrait shots – one exposes for the background using the normal techniques and then illuminates the subjects using off camera flash. This is very effective as not only does the background remain properly exposed in the image, but the subject tends to pop out! We have used this technique often during Family Portrait sessions on the beach in California during sunsets and invariably, the clients have loved it!
Vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must ascend the stairs!
Often there are times when we feel that we are spinning our wheels in terms of our progress. This can be especially true following a period of major growth in which we feel as if we’ve gained a lot of ground. In fact, this is the way growth goes—periods of intense forward movement give way to periods of what seems like stagnation. In those moments when we feel discouraged, it’s helpful to remember that we don’t ever really go backward.
It may be that we are at a standstill because there is a new obstacle in our paths, or a new layer to get through, but the hard work we have done cannot be undone. Every step on the path is meaningful, and even one that seems to take us backward is a forward step in the sense that it is what we must do to move to the next level.
This image is from the Barberini Museum in Rome, Italy. This was shot at night very soon before the gates of the grounds closed for the evening. Using a tripod to stabilize the camera, several exposure were taken to compensate for the hard lighting conditions. Luckily, we did not need to elude the No-Tripod Police of Rome as we were seemingly the only ones there.
Most people agree that a more peaceful world would be an ideal situation for all living creatures. If we are to have true peace in this world, each one of us must find it in ourselves first. If we don’t like ourselves, for example, we probably won’t like those around us. If we are in a constant state of inner conflict, then we will probably manifest conflict in the world. If we have fighting within our families, there can be no peace in the world. We must shine the light of inquiry on our internal struggles, because this is the only place we can really create change.
Being at peace with ourselves is not about denying or rejecting any part of ourselves. On the contrary, in order to be at peace we must be willing and able to hold ourselves, in all our complexity, in a full embrace that excludes nothing. This is perhaps the most difficult part for many of us, because we want so much to disown the negative aspects of our humanity. Ironically, though, true peace begins with a willingness to take responsibility for our humanity so that we might ultimately transform it in the light of our love.
This is an image taken during sunset at Gate’s Pass just west of Tuscon, Arizona. The top of the Pass offers brilliant sunsets and is frequented by scores of people every evening when there is promise of a colorful sky. After a short hike, we came across this lone cactus which, along with us, overlooking the valley below and the splendour of the setting sun. To capture all of the light, we shot three exposures and later combined them with a speciality photographic software package called Photomatix Pro. We love the contrast of the lone, prickly cactus who watches the soft sunset with strength and fortitude, being at peace…just being.
Often, we spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that life seems to have no personal direction. Other people’s lives, problems, and wants set the course. Once we realize that it is okay to think about and identify what we want, remarkable things will begin to take place! It is not lack of time which tends to be the problem – we all have 24 hours each day. Stop looking at the speedometer and keep an eye on the compass! If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you have imagined, you will meet success. Put some things behind you and pass through invisible and imagined barriers. Here is a short verse by Ella Wheeler Wilcox which is fitting for the image for today:
One ship sails East and another sails West, with the same winds that blow.
It’s the set of the sails, and not the gales, that tells them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea, are the ways of fate;
As we voyage through life, it’s the set of the soul that decides our goal
And not the calm, or the strife.
This is another shot from the Embarcadero in San Fransico, California, taken early one morning as the fog from the Bay was burning away. The entire area is a treasure trove for Photographers – old buildings, fishing boats, unique individuals, crab traps, great food and drink, a submarine… the list goes on. Here we were shooting the long lines of piers as they extended into the misty Bay when a Tall Ship appeared as if by magic. Using our tripod mounted Nikon D90 (10mm, f19, 1/8sec, ISO100, remote shutter release), we quickly aligned the ship with the lines of the piers and shot three exposures. Later these were combined with Photomatix to bring the entire dynamic range of the light to bear. No sooner than we had executed this, the ship had passed!
Like millions of other people today, you will have noticed being a bit more stressed when going about your daily activities, such as commuting, the challenges of the home or workplace. How often have you had your day planned to perfection when, out of the blue, you are inundated with some urgent and important request that requires immediate attention. It is like when you are on the beach and are unexpectedly hit by a rogue wave – suddenly you are knocked down and struggling for breath!
Priorities are like big rocks. If you fill your bucket full of pebbles (small demands) and you have a major crisis (children, financial, health, creative opportunity etc), these major events are big rocks. You no longer have room in your bucket for the things that matter the most in your life. Always think of the big rocks first with a resounding “yes”. You can always say “no” to things, which to others, may seem urgent but not important. Whatever the circumstances, it is living and being driven by the principles you value most, not by urgent agendas and forces surrounding you.
This image is from the South Island of New Zealand, shot in July (Winter), just a bit south from Westport. In the Winter, the beaches are wonderfully vacant of tourists, with the exception of the rogue Photographers, as most have headed further south and up into the mountains to experience the fantastic downhill skiing. To get capture the entire dynamic range of the light during this early morning, three shots were taken using varying exposure values and then combined with a software program called Photomatix. New Zealand is a treasure to visit and a diamond in the raw for Photographers!
When the history of the world and all of its glorious achievements, institutions, cultures, communities, families and individuals is finally written, the prevalent theme will be the degree by which have lived not by their socialized conscience but by their divine conscience. That is the innate, intuitive wisdom contained in the principles that are taught in all global religions and enduring philosophies. Geopolitics, economics, wars, popular culture, art, education or churches will not factor in. The moral and spiritual dimension – how true people are to the timeless principles of right and wrong – will be the overarching and underlying governing force.
“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. ” Leonardo da Vinci
This image is fitting to have this shot of Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park for today’s post. Mirror Lake has little water much of the year, but in spring and early summer it can grow in size. When water is calm, the lake offers beautiful reflections of surrounding cliffs. Exhibits detail the story of the area’s lake-to-meadow succession. This can also be a good place to spot wildlife, or spend some time in thought and meditation surrounded by the splendour of this stunning national treasure.
We are all carrying a lot of excess baggage such as resentments, fear, jealousy, self-pity, and dishonesty. This is a huge burden to us and now would be a good time to let it go. Forgiveness involves forgetting, releasing and moving on. When something is removed, it is always filled with something else. If you let go of your defects and replace them with assets, serenity and peace will fill the void.
Dag Hammarskjold one wrote, “Forgiveness breaks the chains of causality, because he who “forgives” you – out of love – takes upon himself he consequences of what you have done. Forgiveness, therefore, always entails a sacrifice.”
This image was shot off the coast of Maui in Hawaii. The clouds were lingering on the horizon and rolling off the neighbouring island to the right, we set up our gear and took in this beautufil and calm vista. There were few, if any, people at this location, and the gentle wash of the waves and soft trade winds were soothing to the soul. We bundled up some of our negative energy, put it into a “bag” and tossed it into the sea.
As Photographers we are constantly in search of realizing our vision and inspirations through the media of digital/film imagining. Once we set forth, we then attempt to craft this vision using our tools at hand and with the light which is available. After all, the definition of Photography is the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy on a sensitive surface such as film or a CCD (Charge Coupled Device, or Sensor). Sometimes we need to create our own lighting conditions to augment what nature has gifted us with for that moment in time or we use multiple exposures to gather more light than what the sensor can handle in one shot and later combine the images into one, closer mimicking what our eyes can perceive. The Greek definition of Photography is “Painting with Light” – I think this is astute and very appropriate when we begin to use studio lighting. Arguably, our most versatile light source still remain The Sun – it arrives on the job on a regular basis and so far, has not been late to work! Nature is so powerful that capturing its essence is not easy (people, places or things). Our work as Photographers become a dance with light….it takes us to a place within ourselves.
This shot was taken in Pacific Beach, California. We had just completed a shoot underneath the magnificent Crystal Pier as the sun was setting, some long exposures for smooth seas, HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging to bring the shadows to light, and began to pack up our gear. Walking along the beach, I noticed some Kelp that seemed to have a light of its own. Three shots were taken at different exposure values to grab all the light as the sun was setting (Equipment: Nikon D90, 10-20mm, Tripod, Remote shutter release) – in this case it was the sun that was doing the painting with light, our job was just to bring it to you!
PS One of our visitors asked how we managed to get almost everything in focus. Here is an article about Understanding your Camera’s Hyperfocal Distance
Since a young age, we are taught to value speed and getting things done quickly, forging ahead at a frantic pace – after all doing is more valuable than being, right? Yet as we surge forward in search of some elusive sense of fulfillment, we often find ourselves feeling strangely disconnected….we fail to notice the simple beauty of living. When we learn to slow down, we rediscover the significance of seemingly inconsequential aspects of life. In essence, we give ourselves the gift of time—time to indulge our curiosity, to enjoy the moment, to appreciate worldly wonders, to sit and think, to connect with others, and to explore our inner landscapes more fully. A life savored slowly does not need to be passive, inefficient, or slothful. Conducting ourselves at a slower pace enables us to be selective in how we spend our time and to fully appreciate each passing moment.
This is a shot from La Jolla, California. We spent hours exploring the area, thinking of where the sun was eventually going to set, looking for interesting foreground and background and just taking in the briny smell of the sea, listening to the onrush of the waves and soaking in the sun. We waded through the surf to a lone rocky outcrop, set up our camera and tripod and waited patiently for the sun and the surf – this was not a one snap wonder but took place over the space of around 30 minutes. In the background you can see the Life Guard Towers at Children’s Pool where scores of seals bask in the sun and surf and give birth to their pups. You may also notice the huge waves as they are breaking, eventually sweeping into the cove (and inundating these Photographers in often thigh high water). The concept here was to contrast the dynamic rush of the waves with the tranquil descent of the sun at the end of another glorious day.
Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy and is an underlying force infused in all of us. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the gifts that were bestowed upon us. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source and as we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.
Clean out a corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it! And remember, creativity and inspiration exist, but they have to find you working!
Now a bit about this Basilica which we explored during a trip to the wonderful city of Rome…and imagine the creative inspiration and hard work which took place over the many years to realize this magnificent basilica!
The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal Basilicas of Rome. An inscription on the façade, Christo Salvatori, indicates the church’s dedication to “Christ the Saviour”, for the cathedrals of all patriarchs are dedicated to Christ himself. As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, it ranks above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. For that reason, unlike all other Roman Basilicas, it holds the title of Archbasilica.
(Shot handheld with a Nikon D90, wide-angle lens, three exposures were combined to capture all of the subtle details)
““Here comes the sun, here comes the sun. And I say it’s all right” and to follow, here is a quotation from the author of this song:
“It’s being here and now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.” ― George Harrison
Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.
It seemed appropriate for this image taken first thing in the morning in Queenstown, New Zealand. It was another glorious start of the day during our adventures down-down under, quite, a bit chilly and very tranquil as the city slowly came to life. As you know, Photographers tend to get up before the sunrise to catch the first rays of sun, “The Golden Hour“.
Typically, lighting is softer (more diffuse) and warmer in hue, and shadows are longer. When the sun is near the horizon, sunlight travels through more of the atmosphere, reducing the intensity of the direct light, so that more of the illumination comes from indirect light from the sky, reducing the lighting ratio. More blue light is scattered, so that light from the sun appears more reddish. In addition, the sun’s small angle with the horizon produces longer shadows.
“Hour” is used here quite loosely. The character of the lighting is determined by the sun’s altitude, and the time for the sun to move from the horizon to a specified altitude depends on a location’s latitude and the time of year. In Los Angeles, California, at an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, the sun has an altitude of about 10°–12°. For a location closer to the equator, the altitude is greater (or the time less), and for a location farther from the equator, the altitude is less (or the time greater). For a location sufficiently far from the equator, the sun may not reach an altitude of 10°, and the golden hour lasts for the entire day in certain seasons.
Because the contrast is less during the golden hour, shadows are less dark, and highlights are less likely to be overexposed. In landscape photography, the warm color of the low sun is often considered desirable to enhance the colours of the scene. Sometimes the dynamic range of light is quite large and one can then use exposure bracketing and combination to overcome this to bring an image closer to what our eyes can perceive – this is called High Dynamic Range Imaging, or HDR. (More on this later)
Today is May 17, 2012. It is the only May 16, 2012 that you will ever have –> Make it spectacular!
One of Life’s ironies is that the more time we spend becoming “educated”, be it in a University, vocational school (or just the street), the more we forget that we are all extraordinarily intelligent beings to begin with. The conditioning to which we have and continue to be subjected to simply reinforces the myth that mental prowess is Nature’s unique gift to its favored few. Often we go through life totally oblivious to our innate brilliance and natural abilities.
If we are looking to improve our circumstances, we need to keep in mind that as “part-owners” of that boundless reservoir of wisdom that surrounds and is available to us, we have the means to accomplish more than we ever dreamed of. All we need to do it recognize this source and draw a few buckets from it. Every human has four endowments self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.
This was shot with a Nikon D90, Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens, polarizing filter all mounted on a portable lightweight tripod. Three exposures were taken to capture the full dynamic range of the light and then combined with Photomatix Pro – an High Dynamic Range (HDR) tool. This vista presented itself when we arrived at a charming Bed and Breakfast at Bird’s Ferry in New Zealand.
The Northern West Coast Region offers a wide range of scenery and historic sites to see and outdoor adventure sports and activities to do, all set within the natural riches that are found here from the mountains to the sea. By far the region’s biggest attraction is its geography and wildlife, from the rugged coastline and its spectacular rock formations, the deep gorges and valleys carved by ancient glaciers and the region’s many rivers, to the lush rainforests filled with an abundance of unique and wonderful native vegetation and bird life. Truly a must go destination!