Friday, May 17, 2013
Thursday, March 21, 2013
MELVILLE, N.Y., March 21, 2013 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is proud to introduce a new flagship model to its popular EOS Rebel line, the EOS Rebel T5i Digital SLR Camera. The incredible image quality and performance starts with an 18 megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor and Canon's superb DIGIC 5 Image Processor. Combined with an extensive ISO range of 100-12800 (expandable to 25600 in H mode), the EOS Rebel T5i boasts crisp, detailed images, even in low-light conditions. With a continuous shooting speed of up to 5.0 frames per second (fps) united with 9 all cross-type AF focus points, the new EOS Rebel T5i allows photographers the opportunity to shoot with ease, even in challenging shooting situations. When shooting in Live View mode, the Hybrid CMOS AF system enables speedy and accurate autofocus for photos and video. Coupled with Canon's new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, available in the standard kit lens bundle, the EOS Rebel T5i takes full advantage of the Stepping Motor (STM) technology, which allows the lens to smoothly and silently focus on the subject whether it is moving or standing still. When combined with the camera's high-resolution Vari-angle Touch Screen 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor II and intuitive touch controls, the EOS Rebel T5i stands as Canon's most "consumer-friendly" DSLR. "Built to make advanced photography creative and fun, the EOS Rebel T5i Digital SLR Camera gives users exceptional image quality and fast, intuitive operation along with creative functions to help advance photographic expression," said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A.
Expand Your Creativity with New Advanced Features
The EOS Rebel T5i provides amateur and advanced photographers looking to hone their creative and technical skills with a range of features that allow for crisp, clear images. Whether it is adding saturation to a vivid landscape or applying a unique, vintage touch to a portrait, users who want to express their creativity can experiment with different effects and settings, composing a shot, by using one of Canon's seven Creative Filters. When the Creative Filters are applied in Live View, users can preview the filter on the vari-angle three inch LCD touch screen without having to shoot the image first. Effects such as ArtBold, Water Painting, Grainy Black and White, Soft Focus, Toy Camera, Fish-Eye and Miniature let users pick and choose how to best express their creative vision before or after the image is captured. The EOS Rebel T5i features advanced shooting modes to take creative imaging even further. When using one of the advanced shooting modes such as Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control or Multi-Shot Noise Reduction, multiple images are taken and combined within the camera to help create the best quality image based off of the shots taken. Providing quick and easy accessibility, a new mode dial with Scene modes has been included, allowing users the flexibility to select the subject matter while the camera determines the optimal settings.
Enhanced EOS Full HD Movie Mode
The EOS Rebel T5i offers easy-to-use professional video capture. When users switch to EOS Full HD Movie mode, the EOS Rebel T5i offers the ability to shoot in 1080p Full HD video in a number of recording sizes and frame rates. With Canon's Hybrid CMOS AF System and Movie Servo AF, the camera provides continuous AF for focus tracking of moving subjects by helping to reduce the camera's need to "hunt", resulting in a quick and smooth continuous AF. While shooting with one of Canon's Stepping Motor (STM) lenses, such as the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, the camera will only capture the stereo sound of the scene being recorded. For added flexibility, the EOS Rebel T5i also features a built-in stereo microphone with manual audio level adjustment to enhance sound quality.
Expanded Lineup of STM Lenses
Canon is expanding the lineup of STM lenses by adding one new lens, which now gives users three choices that will allow for the capture of stunning images and video with the EOS Rebel T5i - the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM and the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens. The EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens offers high magnification in a compact and lightweight EF-S standard zoom lens with an optical image stabilizer for up to four equivalent stops for shake correction. When paired with the Hybrid CMOS AF, it allows for smooth and quiet, continuous AF for photo and video capturing - making it the perfect combination for preserving those once in a lifetime moments. Availability The EOS Rebel T5i Digital SLR camera is scheduled to be available in April for an estimated retail price of $749.99 for the body alone; $899.99 bundled with an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens kit, and $1,099.00 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens kit. The new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens also is also scheduled to be available separately in April at an estimated retail price of $249.99. For more information about the Canon EOS Rebel T5i Digital SLR Camera, the full list of product specifications and compatible lenses, visit www.usa.canon.com/eos.
About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With approximately $40 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents registered in 2012† and is one of Fortune Magazine's World’s Most Admired Companies in 2013. In 2012, Canon U.S.A. has received the PCMag.com Readers' Choice Award for Service and Reliability in the digital camera and printer categories for the ninth consecutive year, and for camcorders for the past two years. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss. ---
Style: Canon T5i with 18-135mm EF-S IS II Lens
$749.99 for the body alone: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BW6LW7G?ie=UTF8&creativeASIN=B00BW6LW7G&tag=jeffsulliphot-20
$899.99 bundled with an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens kit: http://astore.amazon.com/jeffsulliphot-20/detail/B00BW6LWO4
$1,099.00 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens kit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BW6LX20?ie=UTF8&creativeASIN=B00BW6LX20&tag=jeffsulliphot-20
Monday, March 11, 2013
It was fun hanging out with +Amy Heiden +Tran Mai and +Lori Hibbett in the Mono Basin for the day. There was fog on the lake all the way through 3 pm, but fortunately it cleared just in time for the moon rise. When we arrived at the Old Marina site +Blair Pountney joined us. He had seen my notes on the coming moon rise last week and drove up from Bishop. Then we ran into +Travis Theune and +Schmoo Theune of Smugmug, so we had a fun little group of photographers gathered, from various parts of the state!
I captured about 400 images, enough for this time-lapse video. I had problems with a light tripod in the intermittent gusty wind which developed, so the result is pretty funny. After the moon rise, Amy, Tran, Lori and I went on to shoot into the night by the light of the full moon, so check their streams in the coming days for night snowy landscape shots. I decided that meeting Travis and Schmoo was a great reminder to update my Mono Lake gallery on +SmugMug (I'm not as diligent about that as I should be), so if you're curious to see more of my work from Mono Lake, here's the link to that gallery, where you can see a larger copy of this image.
Mono Lake moon rise January 2013. See a larger copy (or buy prints) on SmugMug.
If you'd like to plan your own sunset full moon rise shots, here's my blog post on planning to shoot sunset moon rise events using TPE:
Put Sunset Full Moon Rise Dates on your Calendar
Here's one of my blog posts on creating time-lapse videos:
Create a Timelapse Video on Your Digital Camera
He also featured the Perseid meteor shower in 2008 shot in California's Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest:
The Perseids, Writ Large
Friday, March 08, 2013
Enrollment for our Spring in Death Valley landscape photography workshop is coming along well. We have several photographers enrolled. My friend Bill Wight is joining us as a third instructor, so I think it'd be hard for photgoraphers to find a better student to teacher ratio! Bill will be joining us for an Eastern Sierra workshop in June as well.
Next week we'll have not only Spring wildflowers to shoot in Death Valley's exotic landscapes, we'll also be able to pursue shots of comet PANSTARRS, a crescent moon set, then enjoy dark skies for star trails and light painting shots. I like to schedule dates when we can maximize our photographic opportunities!
I put together an album of shots from my 2006 - 2008 visits over on my +Death Valley Workshops page on G+, and I visited the park at least 8 times in that timeframe alone. In 2010, 2011, 2012 and now in 2013 I've been intentionally exploring the vast reaches of America's largest national park in the lower 48 states for my upcoming book, so my knowledge of Death Valley's secrets has grown by leaps and bounds. Workshops aren't just for photography instruction; on-the-ground experience is a key value to deliver as well. You can hit the same old tired viewpoints in the same way as the park's 1 million other visitors, or I can show you fresh perspectives and unique spots.
If you can't join us for next week's visit to Death Valley, no problem, we'll announce at least one more trip later in the year. We'll also have workshops in Yosemite, the Eastern Sierra, and like last year, night workshops at Bodie State Historic Park. Contact me for details and notification as they're announced.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Moon-Jupiter Conjunction, January 2013 (1000mm, 1080p, 15fps) from Jeff Sullivan on Vimeo.
I looked outside the other night and saw a bright object next to the moon. Sky at Night Magazine had predicted that there would be a Moon and Jupiter conjunction on January 22, and I realized that it was about 6 am Uninversal Time on the 22nd. I've taken photos of Jupiter at 400mm before, and those images can crop down to an effective 1000mm or so with no loss of resolution, so I set my camera outside to fire off a few hundred frames.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
The secret is out! Lonely Planet named my home, the Eastern Sierra region, as one of their top 10 U.S. travel destinations for 2013:
"This year, hop past Yosemite – just beyond lies the secret California dream: the Eastern Sierra, the overlooked flank of the Sierra Nevada range, with other-worldly natural attractions and surprises (Basque culture?), not to mention far fewer visitors."
Among other sights, they recommend visiting Mono Lake, the ghost town of Bodie State Historic Park, and Devil's Postpile National Monument. Of course we're arranging special privileges like night access to Bodie, and many other local secrets we can show you... once I have permit confirmations from the 6-7 state and federal agencies I work with for authorization to run photo workshops around here.
You can read the full Lonely Planet article here:
Lori Hibbett and I are working on a schedule for 5 different flavors of Eastern Sierra workshops, two for the High Sierra, 2 for Death Valley, and several for Yosemite National Park. Contact me for further details.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Friday, November 23, 2012
This is what I use for 99% of my image editing, even for pre and post-editing star trails and HDR images. I had been using the beta version of this software and found that my results were turning out better than they had in Lightroom 3, so I upgraded to version 4 in early August.
Black Friday Deal on Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 & Premiere Elements 11 Bundle - $69.95 (regularly $149.99, 53% off)
I recently bought the previous version 10 to get Premiere Elements to edit my time-lapse videos and set them to music. I mainly use Adobe Lightroom for image editing, but it was nice to get Adobe Photoshop Elements in the bundle for occasional use of layers.
Shop Amazon - Black Friday Deals Week
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Perhaps you'd also like to create a more comprehensive Web site as a place you can design and control to represent yourself. But many Web site hosting companies impose storage limits and bandwidth limits. Will they shut you down and demand more money if you upload too many photos, or your Web site is actually successful and starts to develop visitor traffic?
You can have both: a hosted WordPress blog and your own Web site with custom domain name. You certainly don't need to buy two domain names and pay to host them separately. But even if you already bought a hosted site to install a WordPress blog to, you probably installed it in the default way, which could make building a Web site around it unnecessarily awkward. After trying WordPress.org then buying my own custom domain name www.JeffSullivanPhotography.com and installing WordPress, moving my Blogger blog over and setting up Google+ post to make blog posts over on my WordPress blog, I looked into adding a Web site as well. At that point I finally figured out how I should have done it the first time, and I deleted and re-installed WordPress.
If you're considering what to to regarding a blog and/or Web site, over on wordpress.org they recommend three hosting companies. The least expensive one, Bluehost, has a sale underway at $4.95/mo. for hosting unlimited domains, content and bandwidth. Read some reviews of their service, use this link to check them out:
Disclosure: if you sign up through that link, I'll get a small "affiliate" credit (I have to buy gas and lenses somehow, the rocks and trees don't pay me). I can do you a big favor in return, and save you the days I spent doing it all wrong, re-doing it, then re-doing it again. Send me a message to let me know you signed up through my link, and I'll tell you what I learned about installing WordPress... the third time I installed it after trying and rejecting both the free WordPress.org version and a default hosted installation. I can refer to you many useful add-on applications for photographers, which can help you move content over from Blogger, Google+, and so on.
I'm currently going through the toy box of third party tools, testing them and researching ways to integrate my content from SmugMug and other sites. Stay tuned, I hope to have something worth showing soon, after Thanksgiving week if not sooner.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
What do you think, will people reward decent content not marred by ads, or is everything on the internet assumed to be free?
Sunday, November 11, 2012
For the Perseid meteor shower this year I shot mostly short star trails sequences, which make short time-lapse movies, so I added footage I hadn't yet shown from 2010 and 2011 and set it all to the amazing "While The Sun Was Sleeping" by Life Audience.
If I remember correctly, the first 8 clips are form the meteor shower, then I added various clips to fill out the time of the song. I may have shown some of the clips before, but setting them to music is new for me. I'm working on several more concepts and songs; I'm sure they'll get better and better as I develop experience on the post-production side.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
|Moon Rise over Hall Dome, Yosemite National Park|
I've been pursuing moon rises behind Half Dome for many years. The weather doesn't always cooperate, but I've caught it from several different vantage points now, and I have a few more angles to catch it from on return trips.
This time there had been a couple of light snowfalls already in the Fall, so there was a nice dusting of snow and the beginnings of ice on the lakes as I crossed Tioga Pass. Here's Ellery Lake with Ice and patches of open water.
The light wasn't great as I passed tuolumne Meadows, but upon reaching Tenaya Lake, I found a mirror surface reflecting trees on the far side. You could get great pictures if you moved away form the families throwing rocks into the lake, and timed your shots to avoid the worst of the ripples they created.
Next I pulled into the Olmstead Point parking lot. I was shocked at the quantity of people crowding the area so late in October. I didn't stop.
Then I checked a few stands of dogwood trees tucked into groves of redwood trees, and found the dogwoods brightly colored and beautifully back-lit.
Proceeding for a lap around Yosemite Valley, Upper Yosemite Fall was completely dry, missing even the modest wetness you'll often see on the rock. Most of the deciduous trees seemed a couple of weeks behind schedule turning color, like the aspen had been in the Eastern Sierra this season. The oaks were lightening somewhat, but not far enough along to warrant a stop by Cook's Meadow. I did spot some trees nicely back-lit against Cathedral Rock, so I pulled over.
A large van full of photo workshop customers passed by; I figured I'd catch up with them in a few minutes, either in the turnout opposite Bridalveil Fall at Valley View, or a short while later catching the moon rise.
Unfortunately in this dry year even spring-fed Bridalveil Fall is nearly non-existent, breaking up into a thin mist partway to the ground. Noticing the angle of the sun, I stopped to see whether there was enough water in Bridalveil to create a rainbow in its mist. Sure enough, the rainbow was there, and the low water of the Merced River made a perfect reflecting pool to offer creative compositions including colorful Fall foliage. Odd that the photo workshop passed it up (perhaps they caught it the day before).
By then it was time to go set up for moon rise. Curiously, the photography workshop was still nowhere to be found. Had they really left the park only minutes before one of the events of the year in Yosemite?
Last year the only other person who had anticipated the moon rise in the position I had chosen was a guy from Seattle shooting on film. Of course once the moon rose, two or three dozen people joined us! This year, from another location, I first met someone from Cincinnati. As it turned out, someone had gotten the word out online, so roughly 2 dozen people more people eventually showed up (and there were apparently a few more at the vantage point I had used the prior year).
A started one camera at 105mm focal length to capture a time-lapse video of the entire moon rise, and I used a second camera to capture the initial emergence at 400mm then the rest of the event at 200mm. It'll take me a while to get each sequence processed, but so far it's looking good! There are even a couple of climbers you can see move slightly in the video, on El Capitan directly opposite the moon in this image.
I've been pretty busy this year wrapping up my guide book to California landscape photography, but in 2013 I'll have to offer a few Yosemite workshops.
Friday, October 26, 2012
My new timelapse video including footage from last weekend's Orionid meteor shower is up on YouTube, enjoy! http://youtu.be/
If you like the soundtrack, check out the rest of the album by Life Audience over on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/wave-particles/id427106760
I love it, and no, they didn't pay me to say that!
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Considering watching or photographing the Orionid Meteor Shower this weekend? Here's my latest footage of the Perseid, Geminid, Zeta Perseid and Arietid meteor showers to get you in the mood.
I was recently contacted by Kerstin Inga of Life Audience about the possibility of setting some of their music to some of my time-lapse footage. I've accumulated a quantity of video over the past 4 years, and their song "While You Were Sleeping" from their *Wave and Particles* album seemed perfect for some of my astrophotography clips. If you like the track, check out other songs from this album on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/wave-particles/id427106760
If you like night photography, my 2013 workshop schedule will be announced here on my blog soon.
This is the culmination of hundreds of hours and many long night of effort from everyone involved. YouTube likes and shares are greatly appreciated by the artists. Thank you very much!
Note: To best see the meteors, watch this video on YouTube, first selecting a quality of 720P HD and then making it go full screen: http://youtu.be/6YOxo7uI8ns?hd=1
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
As we assembled our gear, we made adjustments to what we'd wear and carry to account for the possibility of rain. Sure enough just as we started walking into the town the rain started coming down. It was only 45 minutes before sunset, so the light was fantastic, illuminating portions of the town in warm light, and creating rainbows to the northeast.
The rain continued intermittently until sunset, then stopped as the twilight "blue hour" started. The clouds started breaking, revealing the moon, which had already risen that afternoon. The clouds were backlit by the moon during blue hour, providing a subtle and diffuse light on the landscape beneath the dramatic clouds.
The clouds dissipated very quickly as twilight gave way to night, so we shed our damp rain gear and bundled up for night. I changed out of some wet clothes only to drop a gallon of water while refilling my water bottle, only to launch 1/4 of that gallon all over myself and my camera as I caught it on the way to the ground. I was clearly destined to go back out and shoot wet!
A few photographers started interval timers on extra cameras at the Bodie Methodist Church to shoot star trails and timelapse sequences, then we headed up to the Standard Mill for some shots up there. The moon was now clear of clouds and illuminating the landscape nicely. On the way back down to town, many workshop participants stopped with my co-instructor and Nikon expert Lori Hibbett at the Bodie Schoolhouse to practice shooting star trails. I took the rest one building down to the Wheaton & Hollis Hotel to light up the inside from a side window.
Once people had the hang of star trails, many dispersed around town to find their own subjects. I met some people over at the old 1937 Chevy for some light painting more star trails. It was definitely handy that Lori and I could be two places at once, so we never experienced that nightmare workshop scenario where 8-10 people try to crowd around one subject (or simply lining up and ignoring the importance of having something interesting in the foreground of your composition)!
The seven hours we have in the park after it closes goes by incredibly fast, so it's good that we've been visiting the park for years and many shot concepts worked out well ahead of time. We've shot multiple night sessions in Bodie now under full moon, partial moon and no moon conditions, so we have the night considerations pretty well down as well. A couple of "classic" night views are developing, but we have enough new night shot concepts in mind to keep both of us busy testing them for many more workshops. I hope that you may have the opportunity to join us sometime.
P.S. - As I write this, two slots for our upcoming workshop this Saturday October 6 have unexpectedly opened up. I've restored the PayPal registration button in the right margin here on this blog at www.MyPhotoGuides.com. Hope you can join us! Read down a few posts on this blog to see images from our June 2 night session at Bodie.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
I'm collecting in an album images taken during the Fall in that general area, from Mammoth Lakes through Bridgeport. This is a work in progress; I'll gradually add photos from other years/dates, but follow this link to see what I have so far:
I've include other photos from the area in October because photography in this area is never just about one thing, even during Fall color season!
So far it looks like the images are mainly centered around the October 6-22 period.
For the latest conditions in 2012, here are some links to Fall colors reports:
Mono Lake Committee Fall Colors Report
Parcher's Resort Fall Colors Report
California Fall Color
So far it looks like June Lake hasn't really started turning much yet, so we may need until that Oct 13-21 timeframe before this area gets really good. Bear in mine that storms can wreak havoc on the leaves, so it's better to be a little early than too late!
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Later this year I'll be leading a workshop to help people capture an even better event, the Geminid meteor shower, from Death Valley National Park. Now you can produce results of astronomical proportions! We'll try to follow a mix of day and night shooting, visiting some of the unique locations I've found while writing a guide book to landscape photography locations in Southern California. I'm also working on securing a space for classroom sessions, so we can include critical post-processing training. As always, contact me for further details!
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
To help people find my upcoming photography workshops at Bodie State Historic Park, I've set up a Bodie Photo Workshops page on Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/116719515450184310739/116719515450184310739/posts
Stay tuned for date announcements, or contact me to get on a list to receive updates.
Find us on Google+
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
As with all meteor showers, the recommended viewing hours are midnight through twilight, since your position on the earth will rotate over to the side of the earth leading through space, which intersects more more of the specks of dust and ice which produce the meteors. The radiant, or point in the sky which the meteors appear to come from, rises in the Northeast in the evening for people in the Northern hemisphere, so depending upon your position on the earth it may be more or less overhead and slightly north of you at midnight (a program like StarWalk running on a smartphone or tablet can show you the radiant point).
Find a place with dark skies, bundle up in a chair so you can lie back and see the sky, and check it out!
The photo above is a Lyrid meteor captured next to the Milky Way over the Bonneville Salt Flats near Salt Lake City, Utah. For advice on how to capture still images like this at night, use the search box above to find my post on how to capture Milky Way images, and I wrote one on creating night timelapse videos as well.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
A few days ago I provided a blog post with key astronomical events for the month. The rising of a "full mars", directly at opposition from the sun and fully lit as viewed form the earth, occurred over the weekend. Tonight however you get a double treat: The nearly-full moon will rise just in time to be in the sky for sunset, and as the sky darkens you'll see the still-bright Mars very close to it.
Here on the West Coast I'm looking at a 5:40 moon set vs. the sun setting at 5:56, so the moon will have some time to clear the horizon before the sunset color gets most intense. Keep shooting though, since Mars will become more noticeable as the sky darkens further. The StarWalk app shows Mars just to the left and above the moon.
Good luck, and happy shooting!
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
March 3/4: Mars at Opposition. Mars will be as close as it gets to the earth, and will rise in the evening as the sun sets.
March 5: Mercury may be visible shortly after the sun sets through March 12, but on March 5 it reaches it maximum distance from the sun.
March 7: The nearly-full moon will rise just before sunset. Mars will rise right behind the moon in the evening sky.
March 8: Full moon.
March 9: The nearly-full moon will set just after sunrise.
March 10 - 20: Venus and Jupiter Conjunction
March 12: Arguably the best day of the Venus - Jupiter conjunction, as Jupiter will be just above Venus.
March 21: Thin crescent moon rises shortly before sunrise.
March 22: New Moon. March 21-24 will be good nights for star trail photography!
March 24: Thin crescent moon sets shortly before sunset.
March 24-25: Conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the crescent moon.
I'll be out shooting with 25-30 of my photographer friends in Anza Borrego State Park and Death Valley National Park in the March 2-10 timeframe, and soon I'll be announcing photowalks for April, May and June. The best place to catch my announcements will be on Google+:
Friday, February 03, 2012
|Anza Borrego State Park, California|
No commitment necessary yet, I'm just checking for interest so I can get a sense of group size to finalize logistics. I'd propose starting in Anza Borrego for a weekend, and you can see 64 sample photos in the album above. The trip can also be easily extended to the Salton Sea area if some participants want a more comprehensive expedition. If there's sufficient interest, I'll announce more details in the next few working days.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
I set my camera up in that spot 10 minutes early, and here's how the next 10 minutes turned out:
I pretty much nailed it... the center of the moon passes right past the tip of the building!
Here are some more of my images from that night:
Friday, December 09, 2011
For tonight's moon rise and lunar eclipse events, there are a range of shots available:
Moon Rise: Friday evening before sunset (about 4:15, but time varies with location)
Sunset: Continued moonrise in best post-sunset color (about 5pm, but time varies with location).
Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 3:33am PST, moon at 41.4 degrees altitude
- Night landscapes or cityscapes with full moon in penumbral slightly dimmed state
Partial Eclipse Begins: 4:45am PST, moon at 27.0 degrees altitude (partial eclipse)
- Telephoto shots of moon in various eclipse phases
Total Eclipse Begins: 6:06am PST, moon at 12.3 degrees altitude (nice crescent moon w/red shots in the moments before this)
- Images of red moon and sky over landscapes/cityscapes
Total Eclipse Ends: 6:57am PST, moon at 2.9 degrees altitude
- Partially eclipsed crescent moon setting in best pre-sunrise light
Sunrise: 7:12am PST, moon at 0.4 degrees altitude (partial eclipse)
- Sunrise to moonset, "golden hour" daylight
Moonset: 7:17am PST, moon at -0.3 degrees altitude (partial eclipse)
- If you're in a very high place with very low horizons, for a few short minutes you may be able to capture a panorama, with the rare event of having both the sun and the moon in the sky at the same time!
The additional numbers are the degrees the moon will be above the horizon. Here's a chart enabling you to anticipate which of your lenses can cover something that high, for the shots where you'd like to include both the ground and the eclipsing moon:
Common lens angles of view
If you shoot the entire eclipse in a sequence of still shots with your camera in one place, you can assemble them into a timelapse video like this one:
The other post-processing option for a sequence would be to create a composite photo of the phases, stacked into one image using software such as the free StarStaX:
Lunar Eclipse August 2007
Here are my planning notes from last year, when it took me 46 hours to reach Tucson and a clear patch of sky to shoot the eclipse under:
Phases of the December 2010 Total Lunar Eclipse
For most viewers the apparent moon set time will tend to be a few minutes earlier due to terrain (or fog/smog).
Hopefully I'll find it a little easier this time around. The next total lunar eclipse isn't until 2014, so make the most of this one!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Take the example below. Often the most interesting and dramatic lighting can be found shooting straight into the sun, but if you expose to preserve the outline of the sun you'll completely lose shadow detail, and if you expose for the shadows, the sun will be an amorphous white area, a clear failure to accurately capture the scene. There are multiple strategies for capturing a scene like this via bracketed exposures, and multiple options for combining those exposures to recreate the scene, but HDR software such as Photomatix can be a fast and easy option, without requiring a lot of detailed manipulation in Photoshop layers.
Before you focus on post-processing however, it's important to capture useful exposures which really do improve your dynamic range in the shadows and highlights. Bear in mind that your darkest and lightest exposures are not to capture balanced images across the scene, they are primarily to capture detail in the darkest and lightest areas of the scene. Review your dark, medium and bright exposures. Are you capturing the outline of the sun, detail on the moon, or detail in the clouds, sand, water in the darkest exposure? Are you revealing shadow detail in your lightest exposure? If your exposures are not competently recorded, if you leave the bright areas blown out, some percentage of your audience may dismiss your result no matter what you do in post-processing. HDR is no cure-all, no excuse to ignore the basics of photography.
Once you have three competent exposures to work with, the first option in Photomatix that many of HDR's detractors are completely unaware of (and I think many of its users as well) is the ability to simply average the three exposures together. By averaging three exposures, the darkest exposure adds detail from the bright areas "blown out" to white in your center exposure, the lightest exposure adds detail from the darkest, "blocked out" black areas which your center, best single exposure couldn't handle. This useful functionality has been cleverly hidden in the Batch Processing section of Photomatix, and for years now it's been available for use indefinitely in the free trial that you can download from www.HDRsoft.com. Since your'e simply blending together actual light values captured by your camera, much like the iris of your eye captures different exposures as you look around the same scene, the result is a completely natural-looking result, with more range and detail than any single exposure.
The next level of processing available in Photomatix are the various Tone Mapping, Exposure Fusion and Compressor options. Fortunately in the latest versions of Photomatix you can see previews of how these will turn out, and you can pick the best processing option and proceed to fine tune it even more before saving a 16 bit TIFF file with maximum range. Some HDR users stop at this point. But while you can preserve useful detail with these techniques, even when you try to use HDR carefully and in a non-destructive fashion, these processing techniques are pretty intensive and can seriously damage the realism of the scene. Fortunately you can still have the best of both worlds: recover and even enhance detail beyond what a single exposure can handle, and end up with realistic results.
The next step is by far the most critical, and this is where some HDR users fail to complete the process. The more aggressive HDR techniques can do a good job at enhancing highlight and shadow detail, but used alone, they tend to be lousy at producing a balanced scene with proper contrast, similar to what you'd perceive onsite. The Tone Mapping technique in particular can produce distracting "halos" around objects in your scene that will only serve to scream "rookie" to many viewers. Once you're aware of this you can decrease the strength of the effect as you use the software, but you can also read your 16 bit TIFF HDR result into Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and blend it with your best single exposure edit, or with your Photomatix-averaged exposures to restore much more natural color and light values, while retaining much of the detail enhancement as well. With HDR and realistic (single exposure or averaged) images loaded into two different layers, you can even use Photoshop layer masking to selectively choose areas of the scene which look good in HDR, and select other areas like sky in the non-tone mapped result to simply leave out the blatant halo flaws.
Taking the critical step of blending away HDR flaws doesn't have to be complicated or expensive; if you don't have Photoshop try the layer functionality added into the latest version of Photoshop Elements (about $79.99 in the U.S.). You can download a free trial at www.Adobe.com
How do you know when you're done? Think of it like building fine architecture or high end furniture. If the first thing your customers or audience are going to see are nasty sanding marks in the wood, they'll probably think you've blown it, that you have no skill. Similarly, if you can immediately tell at a glance that HDR was used in processing an image, many people will notice the lingering process details before they notice the subject of your image, and that's unfortunate. Weren't you capturing that image to show something other than simply your ownership of a certain tool?
If you can't accurately capture a scene, you'll never get your results into National Geographic. Even if you don't aspire to submit images to them for consideration, it's not all that hard to correct many simple HDR flaws; so why set your sights for image quality any lower?
Now before I set myself up to receive a bunch of hate mail from HDR users, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with uncorrected HDR. You can produce whatever you want. Some people are happy with Polaroid images, cell phone images, disposable film cameras and I've taken some of my favorite images on a point-and-shoot digital camera. People can call anything they want "art," and if they find customers for that, I'm happy for them. All I'm pointing out is that there is no need to let the HDR process control your results. You can occasionally demonstrate to your audience that you have skill, that you're in control, even if you choose to stop short of that point and produce artistic, partially-processed results to satisfy HDR fans the rest of the time. I'd love to see more HDR users develop and demonstrate that skill more often. Where you go from there is entirely your call.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
A few months ago I mentioned that I had gone out for a few days in pursuit of images which might serve as a good magazine cover. In photography circles the term "landscape" is often synonymous with a horizontally-oriented image, capturing broad swaths of the outdoors with a wide angle or ultra-wide lens. Most landscape photographers know that it can also be very powerful to emphasized objects in teh foreground by using a vertical orientation with a wide angle lens. To be able to offer prints in a format such as 16x20 which is more square than a typical sensor's 4x6 aspect ratio, you have to compose the shot with a shorter height in mind.
A few years ago I met a full time stock photographer in Mt. Rainer National Park, and he pointed out that magazines are close to the relatively short 8x10 vertical format, but they require even more open and non-critical space in the image to accommodate the magazine's title and text describing the articles inside.
I never forgot this advice, so when I was looking for images to submit to Outdoor Photographer, I was able to offer a range of possibilities which were not only nice photos, but also met the layout requirements for a magazine cover. It works, as shown by my photo on the cover of Outdoor Photographer's October issue.
The next time you're out shooting landscape photographs, visualize an 8x10 composition which is shorter than what you see in the viewfinder, but also intentionally leave room in the composition, maybe shoot a little wider, to improve your odds of producing a magazine-compatible result.
Shooting a little wider when composing a shot also enables you to perform leveling adjustments in post-processing, it improves your cropping flexibility, and it can make gallery wrap canvas prints easier to produce as only non-critical portions of your image will get wrapped around the frame. So give vertical compositions due attention next time you go out, and in particular try to back off a bit from tight, tall compositions, and see what you can can up with!
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
I'm bumping this forward in my blog so you can plan to take an amazing sunrise moonset or sunset moonrise shot this coming Monday.
I did this first shot above the old-fashioned way... looking up the full moon rise, arriving and seeing where the moon was, predicting where it was going, and changing my position several times to try to be in the right place at the right time.
Now there's an application that takes a lot of the guesswork out of lining up the sun and moon with natural or man-made objects to take stunning photos. The application The Photographer's Ephemeris allows you to plan a shooting location for a fairly exact alignment with particular landmarks: Free Download
It runs on Google Earth satellite photos, so you can easily see your planned shooting position, it shows you the azimuth angle (compass direction) of the sun and moon at any give time from there, and you can read the elevation angle as well. If the lineup isn't just right as the sun or moon is coming over the horizon, you can adjust your shooting position (at various times and stages in the sun or moon rise) to get just the alignment you want.
View the tutorials for some examples of the capabilities of, and applications for, this program.
Below are my results from researching on TPE a much more subtle event: anticipating and planning for the position of a crescent moon. I identified two positions a couple of blocks apart for two different times, then adjusted my position a few yards onsite to place the moon beside or behind the same courthouse, while avoiding trees or power lines.
So fire up TPE and go give this a try in your area on the next full moon rise (and set), or whenever! Remember to pick a target reasonably far away (say 1/2 mile to several miles) to put the moon alongside, so you can use a long zoom lense and capture the moon really large by it.