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Technical Details: Canon 5d MkII, Canon 24-70mm lens, f/16, ISO100, 50 second shutter, 3 stops ND, 2 stops Reverse ND
Welcome to today’s post. This is again Ellingson Island, but shot on Christmas morning almost exactly one week after the image of it in my previous post. My how much things can change in a week.
This is a more technical post, so stop reading now and just enjoy the image if you’re not into the technical blah blah blah. The image below is the RAW file. The color in this file is the result of shooting it cool (relative to conditions), about 6300 degrees K, and the color shift over the sky which comes from stacking Singh Ray filters. I did not mind the color shift and was not concerned about color cast of the image. I knew at that time I was going to work in Black and White and could work the sky and water on separate layers. I could already see where this image was headed while I was shooting it in the field.
The reverse 2 Stop ND held back the sky while allowing me to open up the water a bit. This, along with good color management in Black and White, gives the incredible look in the water while allowing me to hold drama and contrast in the sky. This is a typical look and approach in my black and white work. The water turns to glass and is getting fairly bright, and the clouds are creating an interesting and quiet pattern in the sky. All of this allows the island to come forward as the main subject.
Technical Details: Canon 5d MkII, Canon 16-35mm @16mm, ISO50, f/16, 2.5 seconds Singh Ray Warming Polarizer
I need to apologize. Nothing heavy, but you must be tired of seeing images from the North Shore of Lake Superior and for better or worse you’re going to get a good dose of them in the next couple of posts. I don’t even have a good story to tell. No run-ins with animals, no crazy weather, I didn’t drop any expensive electronics into the water, I didn’t risk life or limb to get a shot, didn’t get lost in the dark. A fairly mundane outing by my standards. Nonetheless, last weekend I spent 30 hours racing around some familiar haunts on the shore, mostly asking myself if I had anything new to share; anything that in one way or another might be new or fresh for all of us. I was pretty sure I didn’t until I got home. After going through the images I realized that there are so many new ways to show a tired subject and today’s is no exception.
This is the upper falls or Glen Avon, on the Beaver River. Glen Avon is not in a state park, it’s not one of the quintessential falls like Gooseberry Falls, yet its one of the most intriguing falls I’ve shot on the north shore. Some falls are a one trick pony. Not Glen Avon. I’ve posted several images from Glen Avon going back to last April, the first time I visited the area. I’ve shot there many times since and captured many fun images.
On this day I found myself doing something I often do in my photography; avoiding commitment. I was gaming the weather, the clouds and trying to optimize an outcome. I was not convinced that exciting cloud cover would be around for a shoreline sunset image, so an hour before I would be on the shore I ran up to Glen Avon to scout the water level. Finding it at its lowest since spring thaw, Glen Avon had an entirely new personality and was literally in a new light! The sun has moved quite a ways to the south, presenting the landscape very differently. I shot for 30 minutes, chatted with some strangers that wandered into the area and then packed up to head to the shore for sunset. Some days I hunker down on a spot and some days I keep my feet moving. This weekend I just keep my feet moving – to remain productive, to remain fresh, to change routine, habits, and hopefully see things a little differently.
And I promise by next January I’ll have some new images from other parts of the county! Not sure where yet, but its happening.
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.
Technical Details: Pouring rain, slippery granite, treacherous, but in the game (feel free to click on the image for a larger view)
Last weekend my good friend Travis and I spent three days on Lake Superior battling non-stop rain, fog, mist and generally poor photography conditions. I shot over 300 frames, mostly pure garbage. This particular image was shot out of stubbornness and as I consider getting into the rain to take it, I heard in my head the words of another dear friend commenting on an entirely unrelated situation. “Pissy Shmissy. Grab a mit and get in the game.” These words stuck with me right down deep in my gut and I spoke them to Travis as I headed out to set up the shot. To avoid the wind and rain falling on my equipment and on me, I posted up underneath the Hwy 61 bridge over the Beaver River. Equipped with decent rubber boots for footing and paper towel to dry my lens, I began to shoot. I was in the game.
Travis and I had to take whatever each day gave us, which was mostly rain and thick clouds. We’d end each day with a volley of sarcastic comments like, “worst shit I ever shot” or “I’m going to sell my equipment” or “Lake Superior can sure humble a photog.” I’ve spent hours mining my images for something I like from this trip and perhaps this is the one gem of the entire 3 days. It is my visual response to “Pissy Shmissy…” and the motivating quality of that comment. The words we choose matter and can stick with those around us. I’m constantly reminded of this fact. Perhaps some images have the same stickiness.
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.
This set of images was taken on the night of Dec. 23 and during the day, Dec. 24, 2009. Our epic snowstorm blowing in, my friend Chet and I decide to head to Duluth and take what comes our way. We arrived in the harbor at night, but in reasonable conditions. The winds were blowing at 20 mph or higher and the temps were in the mid 20′s. Not bad by Duluth winter standards. We drove in to the Blatnick Bridge area and then the Harbor proper to catch an ore ship arriving. On the 24th traveled from Ilgen Falls back down to Split Rock Lighthouse in the snow and wind. A great two days.
All these images are experiments in post processing with Lab Color and Gradient Maps. Many of you don’t know what these are and don’t care. I hope you enjoy the images regardless. Some of you will understand these terms and are curious about how to work with them. If so, post a comment and ask. For those well versed in these, please feel free let the rest of us know how you use them.
A selection of these images and other landscape work of mine is available for purchase at my new gallery site. http://acjphoto.zenfolio.com Here you can order prints and framing. Its wonderfully easy to use and the product quality is excellent. Even better, with this service I was able to dramatically lower my prices!
Happy New Year to all!
Today’s image is the first of three I’ll be posting as a series titled, “Giving Up.” In early Octoboer, 2009 I left Saint Paul at 3 am to catch sunrise on Lake Superior in Duluth. The forecast was for rain, it rained all the way up I35, then stopped in Duluth. Then started again in Two Harbors and never let up the rest of the day. “Perfect” I thought to myself. I’m not at a computer, I’m not working, I do have my cell phone, but thank you ATT for having bad service on the North Shore. No pushing. Its so easy to push hard, natural for many of us. To take hold of circumstances, engineer a vision or outcome, start pushing on the objects we think we need or can help us construct this vision, often times repeating the same processes we’ve employed in the past. This is not good or bad behavior, but we can’t assume it will actually produce the outcome we desire. My entrepreneur friends should notice I’m speaking directly at them.
Nor does it guarantee that we’ll feel good about the process when we’re done.
“Perfect” I thought again. I can’t lose today. Its horrible weather, so no expectations on the photography, just get settled into being here, explore areas I haven’t explored before, and just keep moving. At times I still love exploring. Maybe its just looking at land for sale around the arrowhead, maybe its taking the recommendation of my friend Lavonne; that gravel road “shortcut” to the top of Carleton Peak or the trail up the east side of the Beaver River that might give me a entirely new perspective (I’ve looked Lavonne, the trail isn’t there:)). In the next installment of Giving Up, it will be the turnout on Hwy1 near Finland. The “turnout.” Its not marked, its not used much. It was magical.
In taking this attitude, in avoiding the same routines I usually use, in giving up on the idea of taking good pictures, I was able to have one of the finest days of personal photography I’ve had in a long time. This was the last image created on that day in early October. I shot this at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, let Kaya out for a run, and headed home.
Technical: ISO 50, f/10, 2 second shutter, manual exposure mode, camera flash set to manual and rear curtain sync with no flash compensation
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.
NEW NEWS Well, I did it again. I have a new site with a new domain name and for good reason. The short of it is a change of focus and a need for better SEO (don’t worry if you don’t know what that means). Those two simple sounding issues created a number of large headaches, now cured! Many, many thanks to my good friend, Matt Albiniak, for overseeing the overhaul. THANK YOU MATT!!!!!
What’s new? I’ll be offering more workshops and that information will be available here, including online workshops. I’ll be producing more video tutorials, and I’ll be blogging in a more traditional sense about photography. Most of this new blog activity will be found in the “News” category. I will blog frequently, but I don’t know if I’ll blog regularly. Hmmmm…..
So, if you’re in to pictures or you’re just a good friend that puts up with me, then I’ll send you an email when I’ve posted a new image (like today). If you’re really into photography, you may want to subscribe via RSS to keep up with the frequent “News” posts, or subscribe in the “ENEWS & UPDATES” area. If you prefer, you can follow on Facebook via Networked Blogs and always feel free to share a post on Facebook or other social media using the new sharing feature found in the posts. Ok, please subscribe one way or another, if you haven’t already.
OTHER NEW NEWS I’m in a new studio as of Wednesday, Oct. 30th, located in Edina, MN. I love referrals for studio work and if you have an idea for creative studio photography you’re interesting in trying, let me know. I’m usually game. You can view my portfolio of studio work at my commercial website.
Fine Art Gallery: Please visit the Fine Art Gallery to purchase fine art prints. The design needs tweaking but the site is fully functional. If you have questions regarding a print, feel free to contact me directly.
Regarding today’s post:
Today’s post was shot from a perspective shown to me by a 2009 Digital Landscape Workshop participant, Amy Okaya. I was so taken with the image she produced from this spot that a few weeks later I went back on Sept. 10, 2009 and shot my own take on it. This was sunrise at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. What stunned me was how many new ways there are to see an old subject and all it took was a fresh set of eyes to show me. Perhaps there is a lesson in there for all of us, regardless of what we pursue????
Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting exclusively landscapes. I’m going through some “throw-away” images, reworking some previously posted images and just re-posting some of my personal favorites.
I’d like to remind everyone that there are still openings available in my North Shore workshops, so please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. Also please pass this workshop information on to anyone that might be interested.
You can view my gallery of North Shore images directly by click here, just in case you’re search for a bit of inspiration.
Today’s image is a “throw-away” image, one I never intended on posting for a variety of reasons. It does represent some of the amazing characteristics of Lake Superior. For example, the lake is well known for its around the clock fog during the summer months. When warm, humid air runs up from the south and hits the notoriously cold water of the lake, bam…fog anytime of the day. I shot this image late in the day on a warm July afternoon two years ago. Fog can be a great landscape subject and Lake Superior often presents this opportunity. This particular image is of a “1000 footer” in harbor, Two Harbors, MN.