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Technical Details: Canon 5d MarkII, Canon 24-70mm @ 24mm, ISO100, F/16, 20 sec. exposure, Singh Ray Warming Polarizer
Welcome to today’s post. I just completed my 2011 Lake Superior Landscape photography workshop. My next post will be a tribute to the wonderful participants and images they created, but today’s post is about the process we put them through that resulted in so many wonderful images. I’m going to call it “stretch.”
This year we focused on scouting locations as part of developing students’ approach to landscape photography. This is an exercise very few had been through, let alone taught to do in other workshops. My assistant, Robert Clark, also wrote about this in his blog (http://roberthclarkphotographyblog.com/ ). Many of the students wanted practice shooting moving water so we went up on Glen Avon, on the Beaver River. I’ve shot and previously posted about this very special, but very challenging, landscape. With many potential perspectives, severe contrast on jagged rocks in evening light, difficulty working with the variety of lines created by moving water, getting exposure just right for all of these issues – no wonder the students struggled with compositions. It really stretched their mind’s eye to see better. We scouted it in hard light, shot it in evening light, and returned to shoot it in morning light so students could get the full view of how to approach and see a landscape. In evening light the water compositions are back into the sunset, giving rise to very dark shadows on downstream faces of the rocks and glare coming off the water and into the camera. Students were having difficulty composing such busy, high contrast scenes. In morning light the upstream compositions were all in even, soft light, allowing for more gentle, eye-pleasing perspectives and by then they were very familiar with the landscape. Both Robert and I were amazed by the progression of images from scout to morning light.
Today’s image was in morning light, a shot I saw during the scout in the previous evening.
Reminder, The Lake Superior Landscape workshop is starts August 8 and there are only 4 spots remaining. Click here for more info.
Well, as I write this post we’ve just come off another epic spring storm which brought several inches of snow to the north shore of Lake Superior on April 15th/16th. Also, the weather report has more snow in it for the upcoming week here in the Twin Cities. Might as well enjoy the ride, right?
So, storms it is. I got my tax return, which was just enough to cover gas to Silver Bay, MN and back, plus a flat tire and a few cups of coffee this weekend. What a storm it was…I started shooting at Lester River (Duluth) around 6pm, but the wind and spray were beyond manageable so I made a last minute decision, packed up and headed north to Silver Bay hoping to find shelter in a secret cove I found a few months back. There was no protection when I arrived and had to orient my camera to minimize the spray which was blown by 40mph + winds off the top of 10 foot + surf. It was HUGE surf. You just have to stand on the shore and experience its awesome power. From a photographer’s perspective it was all a Hail Mary. Wind shaking tripod, spray covering the lens, getting swamped by large wave sets. I did make a good decision to buy some rubber boots at Marine General and few hours earlier and they proved very very handy. I like getting in the water to shoot, but the conditions were so extreme that it would have made a boy out of Peter Lik (Weather Channel Reality TV show about a photographer). Sorry Peter, but its true.
These first two images were shot using a Singh Ray Blue/Gold polarizer. The first image was a 6 second exposure and the second was a 60 second exposure at f/11 processed with some fill light and range adjustments in raw converter. Canon 5D MKII and Canon 24-70mm lens.
That evening, April 15 the snow started falling and when I woke pre-sunrise there was nothing to shoot. So I grabbed some coffee and made my way from Grand Superior Lodge back down to Stoney Point to meet some friends coming up to surf. I’m including a few shots of that just for documentary sake.
By the late afternoon, after a flat tire repair and wonderful brunch with friends, I made my way back out to Lester River for some calmer surf, melting snow and clearing storm light. A great way to finish the trip. This image was shot using the Singh Ray Blue Gold polarizer along with a Singh Ray 2 stop HS split neutral density filter. Shot at ISO50, f/16 and 2 seconds shutter speed, Canon 5D MKII and Canon 24-70mm lens.
And a little chunk of video with filters for how this shot was made. Blue Gold on lens, 2 stop split brought in over that.
Last weekend I went to Madison, WI for a halloween/Badgers Football/euchre/croquet weekend with some friends. On may down I decided to take an hour to just PLAY around in the Osseo, WI area. Despite its international fame for the Norski Nook pies, Osseo is really just a sleepy farming community. It was cold, cloudy and blustery and I felt this could produce some nice conditions for photography. I exited the interstate and started driving around.
My first lap around the community yielded a few photographic opportunities, but I had yet to get out of the car. Then I swung back in towards town and saw a worn one-lane road cut back crossways up a hill and quickly out of sight; the kind of road that grabs you around the wrists and snaps you into its gaze. A 1/4 mile down that road I saw some old silos peaking over a hillside of corn and thought, “This is a good place to start. Stretch my legs, get the shutter moving a little bit.” Almost immediately a dog runs down the road and cozies up to me with a huge smile and familiar body language that said, “excuse me, dear stranger, but would you drop what you’re doing and please pet me?” How could I say no? While giving the old timer a good scratch his owner, Jane Brown, came down the road to say hello.
Jane grew up on farms around the area and was full of advice on good photography spots. I spread my map out on the hood of the car and Jane gave me route right down to Fuller Coulee. 53south, left on EE, right on something, then figure your own way on to Fuller Coulee. I don’t even know what a coulee is, but was it stunning. On my way down into the coulee I came across this barn which caught my attention enough to stop and photograph. This is when I appreciate photography the most; no other agenda than to just drive around and be present, without a care for what gets photographed. Meet the Jane Brown’s and their dogs and snap the shutter a few times. play.
Technical: Canon 1Ds MarkII, 70-200mm lens at 100mm, ISO 100, f/16, Singh Ray Vari-ND filter, Singh Ray 4 stop split ND, 25 second exposure
Hi Gang, today’s post is an image and video tutorial of a photo I captured on Oct. 2, 2009 in Duluth Harbor. Some may recall the storm that passed through there and I showed up on the back side of it, when things had calmed just a little. The structure in this image is the Fort Whitney unloading dock, used in the 1920′s to unload sand and gravel dug from the bottom of Lake Superior. To get a more complete story and great black and white photo from 1920, click here.
This image is also available for purchase in print form at my fine art site, ACJ FINE ART PHOTO, exclusively in 16×24 inches on traditional metallic photographic paper or canvas!
I’ve produced a 12 minute tutorial on black and white photography and the production of today’s image. I hope you enjoy it.
Are you new to landscape photography? Want to add a new level of emotional content and more realistic capture to your landscape images? Try Split Neutral Density filters. In Part 2 of this TWO PART series Alec takes us all the way through the WHY and the HOW of these amazing filters.
Last Monday evening, April 20th I gave a talk at the Minneapolis Photographic Society on Value Systems in Photography. It was so much fun, the group had great energy and I really appreciated the opportunity to speak with them. My value system for photography is defined by three words: Energy, Interaction and Play. I chose this image in honor of the talk Monday night. THANK YOU MPS!
This image was shot in Duluth Harbor, June 30th 2007. While editing the image I was listening to some music by Explosions in the Sky, currently one of my favorite bands. The music fit so well with the image for me that I’ve included a track of theirs below, over 8 minutes long titled, “Six Days At the Bottom of the Ocean.” This is a different type of post for me and I’m very interested in how you like the image and how it goes with the music.
Start the music below then click on the image. The song is over 8 minutes long and I hope you stay with the image all the way through. Then leave a comment if you wish.
I recently watched a talk on the concept of PLAY. I’ve had a discussion with many friends over the past couple of years about Play, how its lacking in life for most adults. It’s inspired to share some previously unshared images, images that in my mind were created in the process of PLAY. You’ll see these images over the course of the next couple of weeks.
What is PLAY? I like the definition used in the video (I’m paraphrasing here): If DOING the activity is more important than the OUTCOME, then its probably PLAY.
This image was made at Gooseberry Falls State Park, North Shore of Lake Superior, last summer. My mission was to explore the waterfalls, in difficult and somewhat treacherous areas, during a period when the water was fairly high. I brought one filer, the Singh Ray Vari ND filter, no tripod, no camera bag. Just the bare essentials. I was going to shoot all hand held and just go shooting for the sake of shooting. I spent some time crawling and climbing about the rocks, viewing this composition and that composition. Then I turned around to notice this young boy playing up above a pool, and just below the falls. He was hunting for something. Maybe crawdads, maybe agate, or maybe he was just investigating for the love of exploration.
I could easily imagine myself has him. I was. I did this as a little boy. Strip down to the bare essentials, start exploring the tiny pools between, the spaces underneath things and experience the exhilaration of falling water. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I decided HOW I wanted to shoot and by the time I was in a position to, he had wandered off. Fearing his mother would scold him for being out there (I wouldn’t blame her), I wondered if he would be back. Then it dawned on me…THERE WAS NO WAY HE WASN’T coming back. So I waited. And sure enough a short while later he returned. To Explore. To Experience. To be amazed by EVERYTHING in front of him.
He was ready play and so was I.