Having Fun with Motion Blurs

Motion blur, spring aspen trees photo

During my photography tours and workshops I take my participants to various beautiful locations. Invariably, we begin our time together focussing on traditional landscapes. We relax and get to know each other as I answer each persons primary questions. We critique composition, discuss how to read the histogram, learn how to double check the image for sharpness, walk through good technical process, observe direction and quality of light, etc. As the participants become more comfortable asking me questions, the learning curve skyrockets.

The excitement builds as each individual becomes more confident through our mutual sharing. After several hours of focussed instruction and learning, I have found that it is beneficial to introduce a fun diversion with something a bit less structured and technically demanding. Motion blur techniques are just what the doctor ordered.

The image above, somewhat of a celebration of spring, was taken early in an impressionistic session. Given that there was quite a bit of light, I set my ISO to 100 (as slow as my camera allows), set the aperture at F22, added a polarizing filter (slowing my shutter speed 2 more stops), and slightly under exposed the scene ( providing yet another 1/3 stop exposure time, and keeping the color rich). My exposure times were just under 1/4 second. Now that I took care of the shutter speed I prefer, I’ll share the technique that seams to work for me (experiment and see what works for you).

Just as with any composition, visual balance is important, and perhaps more important in impressionistic images as it is in traditional shots. Color and balance is all you have. Strength in simplicity. After selecting a balanced composition, I slightly de-focussed the image (making it softer) and made my first exposure. I like to move the camera from low to high, adding a lot of color from the foreground, and creating a nice blending with the strong lines of the aspen trees. This image was enhanced by having water in the spring grasses that add a subtle reflection. After each exposure I check the shot on the LCD. I don’t always move in the linear way I prefer, so I often take 3-4 shots to capture what I envision. If the balance works and the exposure looks good, I’m off to the next shot. Often times, motion blurs don’t have the same impact on the computer as on the LCD, so I take a few more exposures than I normally do. In all honesty, sometimes a “mistake” can be a surprising success. Hey, that’s part of the fun. Experiment, play with different techniques and enjoy.

To finalize my image, I am very open to playing with saturation on selective colors in this type of impressionistic work. Let your creative side go. There are no rules!

The image below was inspired by one of my workshop participants! As snow began to fall (unexpectedly) on our Spring photo outing, Beth had the vision to pursue some creativity with the motion blur concept we had practiced earlier. This is my rendition of what she was experimenting with. We were looking up, through this tree, toward the sun in a cloudy sky. The contrast was interesting, but became extremely artistic when we experimented with Beth’s idea of zooming out from approximately 200mm to 80mm. The camera should  be solidly attached to the tripod to reduce vibration. The foggy effect was a pleasant surprise. The appearance of “God Rays” was truly amazing. Lesson learned while just having fun and experimenting!

Remember, motion blurs are all about fun and experimentation. Enjoy it, make mistakes, learn from them, and see if you can create your own techniques that enable you to create impressionistic images that you find beautiful.

Motion blur, digital photography, zoom blur, photo technique.

 

Posted in digital photography, fine art, impressionist, motion blur, photo techniques, photo workshop Tagged , , , |

Finding Meaning in Tough Conditions!

Stormy Evening, Fallen Leaf Lake

Those of you who follow me on FaceBook and on Youtube may be familiar with the video below. This image is the result of that excursion! One day after a horrific school shooting, I escaped into the woods during a snow storm with howling wind. I find solace in the power and beauty of nature. I (conservatively) voiced how I felt during my time in the elements that evening. I hope you find the connection between the video and the resulting image interesting, motivating, inspiring, or just plain beautiful. I will share some photographic details below the video on this post.

Obviously, There was a lot of mood involved in this image: Moody weather, moody light, moody me. To be clear, this was an example of how I am moved by Mother Nature. I felt the need to escape the insanity of “society”. I was feeling down, sad, angry. Venturing out into a storm was the release I needed. Hiking alone surrounded by the howling wind, carrying the heavy pack with my 8×10 gear, being pelted with snow and wrapped in cold. Mother Nature wrapped me in the reality of her power, causing me to focus and release a bit of the craziness in the world that had me down. This environment forces me to regain my perspective. I work the way I do as a means of sharing these emotions with the world. Hopefully, my vision enables others to “refocus” without spending the time “suffering”.

Given the conditions, the mood and the composition I was drawn to, I felt there was no other choice than black and white for this image. This was another of my “one shot wonders”. I set up my 8×10 film camera, sinking the tripod legs into the snow for stability in the wind, and composed the image. As the negative film I shoot has a huge range of exposure latitude from highlight to shadow, no filters were necessary. I metered the scene, set my exposure (30 seconds), loaded one sheet of 8×10 inch film, shielded the camera from the wind as best I could, and released the shutter. One shot. I simply felt it was right. I then made the video below using my iPhone, put the camera away and took a few minutes to gratefully absorb the power of the place. I hope the power of this image moves you in a way that makes you feel “better”, in any way you require. Thanks for sharing my experience and my art.

This image is now available directly through the Jon Paul Gallery. 530-544-4269

Jon Paul
“Bringing the Fine Art of Nature Home”

Posted in Uncategorized

“Lake Tahoe Blue”

Lake Tahoe Blue

Spring is approaching, and I am looking forward to the time of year when Lake Tahoe shows us her finest attributes. This is the time of year when mornings are calm, skies are blue, the mountains hold that last bit of snow, and the photography is amazing! The image above, “Lake Tahoe Blue”, is a new release that depicts this time of year. Yes, I’m a little excited to experience spring in Lake Tahoe as a photographer.

I kept the composition very simple and used an elevated vantage point. This enabled me to maximize the angle necessary to capture the clarity of the water, as well as giving the inviting feeling to “jump right in”. The clear sky is where Tahoe gets its azure blue color, and this image is all about the blue.

I used my 8×10 inch film camera to capture this image. Not only do I enjoy the craft of using this type of monstrous gear, but it enables me to capture every tiny detail, and huge amounts of information. Being able to see the grains of sand and texture on the rocks, both above and below the water, brings this image to life. The snow covered peaks, also finely detailed, loom in the distance, adding drama and eluding to where this crystal clear water originates. A large gallery print of this image will absolutely invite the viewer into the waters of Lake Tahoe!

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to experience a private or group workshop here in Lake Tahoe this spring! April, May and June are the most spectacular months of the year to experience Lake Tahoe as a photographer. Clear water, raging waterfalls, beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I would love to share “my mountain backyard” with you this spring. Contact me directly through Jon Paul Gallery!

530-544-4269     jonpaul@jonpaulgallery.com     www.jonpaulgallery.com

Posted in 8x10 film, digital photography, jon paul gallery, Lake Tahoe, Nevada, photo workshop Tagged , , , , , , |

How I See in the Field: Simple.

Ice Reflection, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is an interesting place to photograph. To call it iconic is an understatement. However, while the iconic vistas are a must do for photographers, the conditions must be amazing to make those images successful. After many years of visiting and observing this alluring valley, I’ve found that its beauty really lies in the subtle details found in the shadows of the “giants of the valley”. (I actually find this to hold true almost anywhere I explore!)

Now, here is where my style diverges from many. Most photographers, especially when shooting digital, will “work” a location. They will start quickly with multiple obvious images of the icon, even with mediocre conditions, and continue to change focal lengths and bracket exposures, capturing every possibility so as not to miss anything. This is more of a photojournalistic / must have volume immediately approach. I prefer to stay relaxed and open, observe, and see what I am drawn to, visually and emotionally. I don’t want to gather hundreds (or thousands) of snap shots in hopes of finding “something good” several days later while weeding through “the pile” on the computer. I am looking for one or two moving pieces of art. I want to ‘Bring the Fine Art of Nature Home”!

When I am drawn to a subject, I take my time. I don’t want to force it. I look at the main subject that grabbed my attention, and then look at the context. If I am still drawn to the subject, I see if there is a specific composition that feels right. If so, I take out my camera, choose a lens (my large format cameras only have fixed focal lengths) and look at the rough composition. Next I settle on my focal length, choose my perspective (camera height, distance from the subject, side to side angle, etc.) and finally, ELIMINATE anything I can from the composition. I prefer clean and simple. I then decide as to whether or not this composition still pulls me in. If so, it’s on to the technical stuff (which I keep minimal!).

Now that I have composed THE image, and the light is or will soon be ideal, I decide whether or not I need to use a filter. (Most often I am filter free, with a few exceptions:  Split ND filters to even out exposures, polarizers for removing glare on wet rocks and foliage, and contrast filters for black and white film photography.) Finally, I calculate the exposure, load one sheet of film and capture one exposure.

The image above, Ice Reflection, El Capitan, is a stunning example of this process. With no clouds to make El Capitan appear unique and interesting in a more direct composition, I put myself in a position to explore something unique. I relaxed and maximized my chances by choosing this location (you can’t force it). I was there early, knew the light to expect, and just went with it. I walked along and let the shoreline ice grab my attention. I checked it out, moved around and watched the reflection change as I moved. The ice patterns alone were worthy of an image. When I was able to add the contrasting reflection of warm light on El Capitan with that of the blue sky, the dimension changed dramatically. For me, this image is now about pattern, detail, light, color and place. Amazing!

Notes:
I shot this image using my 4×5 inch film camera. This large format equipment has numerous benefits: The film size captures a huge amount of information. It is relatively slow to set up (encouraging me to be very considerate in my image choices). It is quite expensive to shoot (again encouraging me to be very considerate in my image choices). I can change the shape of the camera, and thus change the focal plane to match the image needs (this enables extreme critical focus and allows me to use the lens at its strongest working aperture). Each of these factors leads to the finest print quality available. I created one exposure. The exposure of the shot.

Importantly, this process of how I see, work with my large format gear and focus on “THE SHOT” is what has made me a successful gallery owner and workshop / tour leader. I am able to make photography a relaxing endeavor focused on the feelings that brought each of us to outdoor photography to begin with. I am eliminating the intimidation factor of technological overwhelm, and I am sharing the strong basic process of seeing, feeling and composing “The Fine Art of Nature”. When participants visit my gallery and view my large fine art prints on the wall, they find great relief in learning that you don’t have to be a computer engineer to do photography at the highest level. Please join me in the field!

Photo Tip:
The lesson learned here is one of the biggest I share with my workshop / tour participants. Relax, stay open and don’t force an image. The art of landscape photography begins with seeing in a way that communicates what we feel when we are lucky enough to experience natures beauty. Especially when we have travelled somewhere with the purpose of doing photography, the natural (modern) inclination is to shoot all we can. The reality is, the shot isn’t always there. I believe it is better to come away with a few beautiful, heartfelt pieces of art, than it is to grab hundreds (or thousands) of images that are mere snapshots. Furthermore, I never shoot with the mindset that “I can fix it later” or “make it art” in the computer. Enjoy the beauty in these inspiring natural places, immerse yourself in your surroundings, and use the basics to compose the art that moves you.

Equipment:
Canham 4×5 Metal Field Camera, Rodenstock APO Sironar-S 150mm lens, Fuji Provia 100 Transparency Film, Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head, Gitzo 1325 Carbon Tripod, Sekonic Digital Spot Meter.

Private Workshops:
I am available for private individual or group workshops and tours near my home in Lake Tahoe, or anywhere in the world! join me when you are ready to take your photography to the next level, when you want a guide for the sweet spots of Lake Tahoe, or when you want to improve your photographic success on your next photo trip! Contact me directly: 530-544-4269  jonpaul@jonpaulgallery.com   www.jonpaulgallery.com

Posted in 4x5 film, digital photography, jon paul gallery, Landscape, photo techniques, Photo Tip, Uncategorized, Yosemite Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Grand Tetons Workshop / Tour Offerings for 2013

Oxbow Bend Fall Reflection Panorama

(See more images an testimonials below!)

Grand Tetons in the Spring & Fall, 2013: June 20-23    and    September 26-29
This will be a four day adventure focussing on iconic Teton landscape images, as well as wildlife photography (baby critters will be out and about). Along with putting us in the right place at the right time to capture our dream photos, I will be teaching about composition, exposure, light, perspective and proper technique. 100% of our time will be spent in the field, where we will learn while doing. While our days are long and tiring, they are also extremely rewarding both photographically and personally. Comeraderie is a huge part of our experience. We will have a great time in a world class wilderness environment and come away better photographers for it. This will be limited to a small number of participants so everyone has all the personal attention required to get the most out of the experience. This is not a physically demanding tour, but participants should be able to walk on uneven ground with distances ranging from 1/2 to 2 miles. You will be expected to rise early to start the day, and be considerate to the groups time requirements in order to ensure that we can meet our “magic light” timelines!
Cost: $975
jonpaul@jonpaulgallery.com
530-544-4269
NEW Private Workshop Days available in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone!
I have added the option of private, one-on-one workshops, both before and after the official Grand Teton dates. I will offer these private sessions at the same price as my local private sessions! Call to arrange your custom dates 530-545-2896. Cost: only $500/day

Jon Paul with his 8x10 film camera near his home in Lake Tahoe


Jon Paul’s Approach to Workshops / Tours?
“Bringing the Fine Art of Nature Home”
Many participants come to me believing that all of the functions on their digital camera, their Raw converter, HDR software and editing software are photography. They are quite overwhelmed by “everything they have to learn”! I have created a methodology that eliminates the intimidation factor and brings you back to the reasons you wanted to do photography in the outdoors to begin with:)
As my catch phrase, “Bringing the Fine Art of Nature Home”, intimates, we look through the lens together and create a simple procedure, consisting of just a few steps, that enable you to enjoy photography and increase your success rate. This process has been a great success for participants ranging from relative beginners to professionals. From scouting and planning to composition, solid technique and filter use to light and exposure, and using your “digital cheat sheet”, we will learn while doing!
Each one of us learns differently, has a different ability level, and wants to do photography for their own reasons. I work with each person individually every day, at each location. I address each participants needs one-on-one, along with sharing details with the group as a whole. The natural world is our classroom, and I will help you reach your personal photographic goals while also creating a fine portfolio of images in this amazing location!
The combination of my teaching methodology, a world class location, diverse wildlife, small group size and and enjoyable camaraderie make this an experience of a lifetime! I look forward to sharing this time with you.

Please call to discuss any details that may help you make your decision.
Dates: June 20-23, 2013
Cost: $975
jonpaul@jonpaulgallery.com
530-544-4269

Schwabacher's Beaver Pond Reflection

“Jon, I would just like to thank you for the amazing workshop in the Grand Teton NP this fall. It way exceeded my expectations as a professional photographer and you have all the social skills, technical talent, great sense of humor and the “7th” sense to find the coolest spots and make a special visit even more special! You have to use your amazing talent and lead many more. I would highly recommend you as a workshop LEADER in the photo community ! ”
Marcell Puzsar Tetons 2012

Grand Tetons and Horses Black & White Panorama

“I really would like to encourage those that interested in photography (at all levels) to sign up with Jon. I recently completed a photography workshop with Jon and learned so much within a short time. Jon has an incredible eye for detail and is so willing to share his ideas and knowledge. With his encouragement and enthusiasm, you will not only leave with a better knowledge of photography but also, take a little of piece Tahoe memories with you in your camera!”           Ju Shen, Singapore 2012

Bull Moose in Evening Light

“I want to thank you for an outstanding workshop in the Grand Tetons. The camaraderie and team interaction was awesome. I think it is a tribute to you that a group of total strangers could come together and feel as if they knew each other for years.The photography experience was one of the best I have ever had. Your ability to blend both the technical and creative is outstanding. I learned as much about the art as the photographic skills.The selection of the locations and your knowledge of how the weather and conditions would play out was both impressive and a critical factor in creating a great experience. Thanks for an outstanding workshop.”
Mike Miller   Grand Tetons 2012

Sunset Reflection, the Oxbow

“I took part in the Tetons fall workshop offered by Jon Paul and couldn’t be more happy about that. Besides being a master photographer Jon is also a great teacher and a super friendly person to be around. The workshop was well structured yet flexible, the scenery was stunning and the atmosphere of camaraderie provided an additional icing on the cake! Jon was very personable and freely offered his advice making sure all of the participants were progressing with their skills and vision.I’d highly recommend his workshops to anyone interested in taking their photography to the next level.”
Anna K.  Grand Tetons 2012


Bison & Snowfall, Grand Teton

See Grand Teton National Park Thru the Eyes of a World Renowned Gallery Photographer!

www.jonpaulgallery.com     530-544-4269     http://www.facebook.com/JonPaulGalleryLakeTahoe

Posted in digital photography, Grand Tetons, jon paul gallery, National Parks, photo tour, photo workshop, Uncategorized, wildlife photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Seeing an Icon Differently (Firefall in B & W)

Firefall V.S. Silver Light

The Story:

The digital world is affecting landscape photography in many ways. Advances in digital equipment have made photography accessible and enjoyable for millions of people that never would have picked up a film camera. Digital communication has made many beautiful places “known” to the masses. This combination of factors is encouraging large numbers of people to make pilgrimages to these beautiful iconic spots with the purpose of re-creating images they have seen in magazines and on the web. While these locations have become icons for a reason (beautiful is beautiful!), there comes a time when they have been overdone. We can get so caught up in shooting a scene the way we expect to see it, that we often miss, or even consciously pass up, spectacular alternatives that Mother Nature presents to us in the exact same location. We shut down to the many possibilities that create real magic and excitement in nature.

The above images are perfect examples of the iconic expectation v.s. an unexpected possibility. The image on the left, known as the “Fire Fall” is the expected image. During a brief window of only two weeks each year, the sun sets at just the right angle to illuminate Horsetail Falls, in Yosemite National Park, with beautiful sunset color as the cliffs on either side of the falls become shaded. While this image would have benefitted greatly from heavier water flow, it is still a pleasing representation of an iconic event. I like the image and will make it available to my collectors.

Now, let’s consider the black and white image on the right. I created this image while most other people were merely viewing the scene waiting for the expected “Fire Fall”. I noticed that the evening light, as it narrowed toward the middle of the cliff, gleamed with a magical silver light, creating what appeared to be an elongated heart around the waterfall. This light created a monotone scene, contrasting strongly against the shaded areas of the cliff face. Importantly, I felt this image, and envisioned it in black and white. Like most successful images, this was not an afterthought. I was emotionally moved to create this composition. There was purpose to my shooting (although unplanned). I had to do this! People kept asking what I was doing, and even after I shared what I was envisioning, they were quite content to wait for the same image the crowd was there to see. Fair enough. I now have an image that I am extremely moved by, and which is vastly more dramatic than the light show we had expected. Being open enough to allow your emotions to move you toward a vision is where “the fine art of nature” elevates photography to an art form.

The lesson here is, while it is certainly fine to let the possibility of an iconic image motivate you to visit a particular location, stay open to all possibilities that may present themselves. Often, the unexpected image is the one you will be most proud of. Don’t force the issue for the sake of being different, let it happen naturally. As you build experience, your personal style will develop. Be your own artist, not a copy of someone who has probably copied someone before them.

Enjoy the View!

Photo Tip:
Tip number one, as mentioned above, use available knowledge of iconic locations and conditions to get yourself to the “right spots at the right time”. THEN, stay very open for new and different photographic possibilities. While other people lay around during the day (usually working on the computer trying to make a mediocre shot “good”), get out and scout. I like to fill every available minute on my photo trips with “being out”. Drive the area, look at maps, hike to spots that may be interesting, go for a trail run or bike ride, etc. Figure out your own vision for the area and plan the right time to return to that spot. I like to use the outdoors as my gym. There have been many times when I have done a trail run or hike and come across a new and exciting subject. This shouldn’t feel “hard”. Stay open and see if something presents itself to you. It is very gratifying to “feel” an image. That is “the fine art of nature”. Compare that to how you feel when asking someone in the lineup of photographers, “is that it?”. (Personally, physical exertion opens my mind and spirit to what is around me in a very different and positive way, truly opening my eyes to what I feel!) As the example images above show, sometimes staying open and feeling your own vision simply entails seeing a version of the iconic shot in different light, or with different eyes.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in a technical mindset. Their are so many possibilities with digital photography that many people get caught up in the “engineering”. A majority of people that come to my workshops/tours are overwhelmed with all of the functions on their camera, their raw converter, Lightroom, photoShop, HDR software, etc. (This includes aspiring and current professionals!) They lose sight of the joy of being outdoors (which is why they wanted to take photos to begin with!) and composing pleasing images. The most talented and successful photographers in the world use the most simple of precesses. Research beforehand, scout, observe, shoot in the right light relative to your subject and your vision, compose well, expose properly. The digital darkroom is really a tool to simply fine tune a well executed image. Many people are confusing digital art with photography. Please consider joining me on a group or private workshop/tour. I’d be happy to help you simplify the photographic process, making it both more successful and more enjoyable!

Equipment Used:
Nikon D300 DSLR, Nikon 200-400 F4 AF VR, Gitzo 1325 Carbon Tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head, Cable Release. PhotoShop CS4 used for stitching and B & W conversion.

Posted in black and white, digital photography, fire fall, jon paul gallery, National Parks, photo techniques, Yosemite Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

I Felt the Image, but had to Wait for Mother Nature to Paint it.

Sugar Pines in Fog, B & W Panorama

As is often the case with special photographs, I felt that an image was here, but it took several years to present itself to me. Sugar Pine trees are unique, majestic beings made even more impressive by their backdrop of Lake Tahoe. The rich brown bark and green needles are strongly set off by the azure blue waters of Lake Tahoe in the background. While that scene is wonderful, and beautiful to experience, I had felt the possibility of a more dramatic image that alluded to the age and mystery of this forest scene. As fog is rare in the mountains around Lake Tahoe, when it arrives, I put everything else on hold and venture into the shrouded world. On this particular morning, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. The vision was pulling me. Fortunately, the fog was dense enough to obscure all but the silhouettes of the Sugar Pines. I chose the panoramic format, focussing on the tops of the trees, which had more dramatic and defined silhouettes. The panorama also offered a greater sense of depth, showing trees both close to the camera, and at incrementally greater distances from the camera, disappearing mysteriously into the fog. I also chose to produce a black and white image, as Mother Nature had presented the scene largely in that manner. The little bit of color that would have been rendered would have merely “muddied” the scene. The strength of this image is in its simplicity. I had an emotional response to this composition, but had to exercise a bit of patience until Mother Nature was ready to paint the scene for me. It was well worth the wait!

Photo Tip:
Shooting in fog can be difficult. To begin with, your light meter will render the white fog as a neutral grey. I find that an exposure compensation of +1 (overexpose 1 stop from meter reading) adds the brightness I want in the scene without “blowing out” the highlights. I am conservative and don’t like to risk losing details. I can then compensate another 1/2 to 1 full stop in processing if I choose. Furthermore, we have to choose whether we want the “solid” subject matter (in this case the trees) to be strong and dark, or soft and relatively light. As I am a large format film shooter, I spot meter each area of the scene and expose for a relatively neutral outcome, which I can fine tune after the fact. If you are shooting digital, as most of my workshop participants do, you can use your histogram as a guide. In this instance, I would definitely “expose to the right” of the histogram, keeping the fog white and the trees light. Even with the white fog, however, I would try not to clip the highlights. Again, I am conservative and like to leave myself as much information in my file / film as possible so I can use my artistic judgement when fine tuning the final print.
If we make a good exposure (I find one exposure to be plenty), we can fine tune our final image with a couple of simple adjustment layers. It all comes down to an understanding of the basics of exposure and metering. Simple, simple, simple.

NOTE: Feel free to contact me for a private or group workshop. I specialize in keeping it simple, eliminating the intimidation factor of the digital world, and bringing success and joy back into outdoor photography.

Equipment:
Canham 5×7 Metal Field Camera, Canham 6×17 cm roll film back, Fuji RDPIII 100 film,  Rodenstock APO Sironar -S 150mm lens, Gitzo 1325 Carbon Tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head

Posted in 4x10 film, 617cm film, black and white, California, digital photography, exposure, fine art, fog, forest, histogram, jon paul gallery, Lake Tahoe, Landscape, large format, Panorama, panorama film, photo techniques, Photo Tip, photo workshop, Tutorial, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

New Workshops / Tours Update! (dates approaching)

Field Photography Workshops / Tours

workshop sunrise, Lake Tahoe

NEW- February 22-24 Yosemite Semi-Private Tour – SOLD OUT
I will only take 4 people, offering us amazing camaraderie and teamwork. The intention is to enable you to experience the type of photography experience often reserved for my close friends and fellow pros. This will be a budget friendly trip with total immersion into the photographic experience, day and night. We will share in decision making, scouting and shooting. Weather, as always, dictates our shooting choices. This is the right time of year to capture the famous “fire fall” (conditions permitting). While I will be shooting with you, my main focus is your learning experience! You come first. I get us there, get us set up and answer EVERY question. I am working for you:)
Call me for specifics and to reserve your spot 530-545-2896.
Cost: only $479

Storm Light Tunnel View news

Grand Teton National Park Workshop / Tour Dates Set! (see flyer below)

Grand Tetons in the Spring, 2013:
June 20-23:
This will be a four day adventure focussing on iconic Teton landscape images, as well as wildlife photography (baby critters will be out and about). Along with putting us in the right place at the right time to capture our dream photos, I will be teaching about composition, exposure, light, perspective and proper technique. 100% of our time will be spent in the field, where we will learn while doing. While our days are long and tiring, they are also extremely rewarding both photographically and personally. Comeraderie is a huge part of our experience. We will have a great time in a world class wilderness environment and come away better photographers for it. This will be limited to a small number of participants so everyone has all the personal attention required to get the most out of the experience. This is not a physically demanding tour, but participants should be able to walk on uneven ground. You will be expected to rise early to start the day, and be considerate to the groups time requirements in order to ensure that we can meet our “magic light” timelines!  Please call to discuss any details that may help you make your decision.
Dates: June 20-23, 2013
Cost: $975
jonpaul@jonpaulgallery.com
530-544-4269
NEW Private Workshop Days available in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone!
I have added the option of private, one-on-one workshops, both before and after the official Grand Teton dates. I will offer these private sessions at the same price as my local private sessions!
Call to arrange your custom dates 530-545-2896.
Cost: only $500/day

Teton Workshop Flyer 2013 web

Winter in Lake Tahoe

I have left a large number of dates open and available for private one-on-one or small group workshops / tours here in Lake Tahoe (or wherever you would like). This is a beautiful time of year to photograph Lake Tahoe, aspen groves, rivers, waterfalls, ice patterns, mist, black & white, sunrises and sunsets. The sun is low in the sky, providing soft light and long shadows. We can generally shoot a little later in the morning, and earlier in the evening. Snow and ice provide a new look to the land, and very different opportunities for familiar subjects. Composition and metering, along with managing the cold and snowy conditions, however, become unfamiliar. Join me in the field and allow me to share my experience with you. Let’s create some unique images, while I help you gain confidence in the snow covered photographic world!
Cost: $750/day only $500/day

Spring in Lake Tahoe

Dates will be announced shortly! Private workshops / tours are still available!
This is the most popular time of year to photograph Lake Tahoe! A majority of my signature Lake Tahoe images were composed at this time of year.
Often the lake is calm, providing iconic clear water images, along with beautiful sunrise and sunset reflections. Waterfalls are rushing with snow melt, rivers are full, and there are still very few visitors. We have the place to ourselves! Honestly, this is the stuff photographers dreams are made of:) Please join me, as I share the most outstanding locations to photograph in this region, along with my knowledge and understanding of the art of landscape and wildlife photography. As one of the few successful gallery photographers in the country, I have a different approach to this art. I am not attempting to create huge volumes of work to fill magazine space. Nor am I attempting to produce “digital art” from mediocre images. I will share with you the simple steps and tools necessary to capture “the fine art of nature”, eliminating the intimidation factor of the digital world. All questions are answered, as we learn by doing. Let’s look through the lens together, create amazing images, and learn to become more successful photographers in the field.


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When the Magic Happens!

Steaming Tree, Light Rays & Reflections

When the magic happens, all is right in the world. This was one of those moments. After several days of rain, and a relatively cold night, the rising sun heated the dark, wet  tree and created steam. A scene I have walked by numerous times was transformed into a mystical wonderland. It was thrilling to experience. As the steam filled the air, obscuring the forest beyond, and filtering the rays of sun breaking through the branches, I immersed myself in the experience. This isn’t a mere photograph. This is a translation of what I feel when Mother Nature is kind enough to let the magic happen.

I chose to shoot black and white film on my 4×5 field camera, as this image was all about mood. The tones of black, white and grey were necessary to translate the emotions of the light show, narrowing the scene down to light, dark and form. i love making these artistic choices in the field, as opposed to shooting haphazardly, and hoping to fix it in a computer later. This is the only way to translate the feelings we experience in nature with our art. For me, the art is the experience. My photography is the simple artistic representation.

Photo Tip:
This is a classic  example of using the Zone System in order to capture a huge exposure range in one sheet of film. I metered on the dark shadow on the tree, then underexposed 2 1/2 stops. This rendered the tree relatively black, with a touch of detail remaining in the shadows. The areas of bright light (lit grass & backlit fog) metered 7 stops brighter than the shadow. To remedy this, I used a N-2 processing time on the film (under processed 2 stops) in order to narrow the range between shadow and highlight to 5 stops. Using these tactics, I was able to create a negative that rendered detail in both shadow and highlight areas, while keeping a full range of contrast. The craft of large format film photography is a real joy to work with, and when done well, renders amazing results!

Equipment used:
Canham 5×7 metal Field Camera, 4×5 Reducing Back, Rodenstock Sironar-S 150mm lens, Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head, Gitzo Carbon Tripod, Kodak T-Max 100 Black and White Film, Ilford ID-11 Developer.

Posted in 4x5 film, Back Light, black and white, California, fine art, fog, forest, jon paul gallery, Lake Tahoe, Landscape, large format, photo techniques, Photo Tip, Pine Forest, reflection, Sunrise, Tutorial Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Special Moments Transcend Mere “Picture Taking”

Spirit of Yellowstone

The Spirit of Yellowstone:
Yellowstone is a place that evokes great emotion in people who appreciate solitude in the wilderness. I happen to be one of those people. I arose early on my last Fall morning in Yellowstone and set out for a sunrise photo excursion. With cold temperatures at night, the Hayden Valley filled with mist from the steam rising off the Yellowstone River. With only the Bison and Elk sharing the valley, there was a  feeling of solitude and peace that permeated the air. I found this quiet bend in the river that offered a visual translation of the tranquility I experienced at this perfect moment in time. Everything appeared soft, yet powerful, as the hint of sunrise color filtered through the mist and cloud. This is a truly special image. It is also an example of the type of experience that moves me to share my vision the way I do. My purpose in using the large format film cameras is to remind myself that my work is not about immediacy and volume. I only take my camera out when I am truly moved by a scene in nature that evokes an emotion I feel is worthy of sharing. When I believe a scene, combined with the light and atmospheric conditions present, have the possibility of transporting my viewers to a special place (inside or out), I know I am going to create a special piece of art. There is meaning in what I do, and my methods dictate how that meaning is presented and the impact that presentation has on the viewer. This is where my motto, “Bringing Home the Fine Art of Nature” was born. I hope this new image, as well as my others, brings you that inner peace I feel in these magical places!

Photo Tip:
Ironically, the simplicity of this scene is what gives it such great impact. The simplicity creates the ambiance. Quite often we will try to add everything we can into a scene; a strong foreground, a fiery sky, etc. This type of scene, which is based upon atmospheric conditions, has just enough landscape structure to draw the viewer in, and let the imagination run wild. The eye is drawn in along the river, through the mist, and around the corner disappearing into the distance toward the brightest part of the scene, the rising sun. With the simple foreground, we are left to wonder what is hidden beyond the bend, where we really wish we could go. The lesson here is, less is often more. Don’t force a composition, but feel it. Let it happen. Compose, with the camera locked on the tripod, then whittle away at everything that is unnecessary. Eliminate distractions whenever possible.

Equipment Used:
Canham 5×7 Metal Field Camera, Canham 6×17 cm panoramic film back, Rodenstock Sironar-S 150mm lens, Singh-Ray 2 stop split ND Filter (soft gradation), Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head, Gitzo Carbon Tripod, Fuji Provia RDPIII 100 Transparency Film.

Posted in 617cm film, Back Light, digital photography, fine art, fog, forest, Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, jon paul gallery, Landscape, large format, Mountains, National Parks, Panorama, panorama film, photo techniques, Photo Tip, reflection, Sunrise, Tutorial, Uncategorized, western, Winter Photography, Wyoming, Yellowstone Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |