Tag Archives: large format landscape photograph

“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 Also 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 Also 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 Also 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 Also 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.


Posted in California, death valley, digital photography, Eastern Sierras, fine art, Grand Tetons, impressionist, Jackson Hole, jon paul gallery, Landscape, large format, light painting, Moose, Mountains, National Parks, oxbow bend, Panorama, photo techniques, Photo Tip, photo tour, photo workshop, Salt Flat, spring, Sunrise, Sunset, Tutorial, Uncategorized, western, wildlife photography, Winter Photography, Wyoming, Yellowstone, Yosemite Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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 Also 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 Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Joy of Sunrise!

Sunrise, Misty Reflection, The Oxbow

Sunrise is a special time for landscape photographers. We venture out into a dark world with great hope and expectation. The world is quiet and still, with most creatures (at least humans) still asleep, and the wind waiting to be pushed by the suns first warming rays. Often times it is quite cold, but we come prepared. To endure the lack of sleep, darkness and bitter temperatures is a small price to pay to witness the first glimmers of light on a new day. At times this is looked upon as sacrifice. However, for those of us that have experienced the new dawn in a spectacular, and perhaps remote wild location, this is food for our soul. The image a reminder of the feelings we experienced in that spiritual place.
I have continued to use large format film in the hopes of doing justice to these special moments and places. I hope to share  more than just an image, but to give you, my collectors, the ability to be in that place, at that time, so your life can also benefit from what nature has to offer, if I am willing to endure a little discomfort. Soul food. May it fill you up.

The Story
Sunrise at Oxbow Bend is a classic! The anticipation of waiting for the sun to rise to the east and illuminate Mount Moran, the Teton Range and the yellow aspens in the foreground is fantastic. However, on this Fall morning, Mother Nature shared a visual appetizer! I looked over my shoulder to the east and realized the show was starting early, and in the opposite direction. Fortunately, I had time to move my 4×5 setup, compose and focus in time to capture this incredible light show. The shape of the clouds, the mirrored reflection and the mist rising from the river were capped off by the pastel colors of sunrise. The depth of this image draws us in, as this location draws me back year after year. Enjoy the view!

Photo Tip:
Everyone loves a colorful sunrise reflected in a still body of water. It’s a classic type of scenic image. Depending on the physical conditions of the location, it can also be very challenging to create a solid exposure. Most often, the sky is lit with the best color before the sun actually rises above the horizon. This leaves us with a larger dynamic range (from highlight to shadows) that the film or digital sensor can’t  handle in one exposure. You either end up with accurately exposed sky and black foreground and mountains, or accurately exposed foreground and blown out / white sky. While many people choose to use HDR software or image blending to put together two or more exposures in the computer, I prefer the simplicity of using a split level ND filter. This filter enables you to hold back the amount of light entering the camera from the sky, reducing the dynamic range, and enabling you to capture the scene in one exposure.
In the example above, I used a 3-stop split ND filter with a soft gradation. I was then able to expose for the foreground (bushes and fall color in mist), giving me an exposure latitude easily handleable by my transparency film. The result is a very true exposure in which I held the highlight detail and pastel color in the clouds, along with retaining shadow detail and subtle fall colors through the mist in the middle of the scene. Another bonus; very little computer time and a clean image that can be printed to 48×65 inches!
NOTE: Many people use split filters or image blending / HDR  and forget the fact that reflections are always 1 stop darker that what they are reflecting. To keep a natural look to your image (albeit subtle), make sure the reflection is a little darker than the reflected subject. It’s all about the details!

Equipment Used:
Canham 5×7 Metal Field Camera, 4×5 reducing back, Caltar IIN (Rodenstock) 90mm lens, Singh Ray 3-stop soft gradation split ND filter, Gitzo Carbon Tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head, Fuji Provia 100 4×5 inch Transparency Film.

Posted in 4x5 film, digital photography, Fall color, fog, Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, jon paul gallery, Landscape, large format, Mountains, National Parks, oxbow bend, photo techniques, Photo Tip, reflection, Sunrise, Tutorial, Uncategorized, western, Wyoming Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Let Emotions Lead You to Great Images

"Winter Aspens and Pine"

This image is the product of emotions, a true connection with the natural landscape and patience. I had passed this location numerous times over the years in search of wildlife, but never “saw an image”. One Spring morning, while hiking through, this section of trees pulled me in. I didn’t see an image that day, but I didn’t ignore what I felt. I returned to this spot every season for several years. The feeling remained, but the conditions didn’t quite fit my emotions. Fall colors, new Spring green, snow covered. They all lacked…something. I stayed true to the emotions that kept bringing me back. Finally, it happened! This particular morning had just the right even light and brightness. It was snowing lightly, the wispy dormant aspens had a delicate, wispy lightness to them. The pines in the background showed there subtle detail and subdued, yet rich color, which set off every nuance of the aspen branches. This was the moment where my emotion matched the visual moment! The art happened. I was able to “bring the fine art of nature home”.

This process of “bringing the fine art of nature home” is something I have been basing my art around for years. It is also what I base my photo tour concepts on. I don’t want to create massive volumes of pictures. I want to do justice to those moment in time that make me feel…right. And I want to share that with the world in the finest print possible. That is my passion. For this image, I felt it was imperative to choose my medium carefully. With the fine detail and subtlety in this composition, I chose to use my 8×10 inch film camera, which I have adapted to also take 4×10 inch panoramic format images. This huge format not only records amazing detail, but also forces me to take full responsibility for every aspect of the final exposure and image. Along with it’s cumbersome nature and great cost to shoot, I find that I must shoot very deliberately and consciously to make sure my exposure and composition match my emotional vision. This has helped me grow as an artist, and enables me to express the emotion I feel in the natural world through my fine art prints.

Photo Tip:
Stop thinking technically (about all the functions on the camera and all of your software), and focus on that which brought you to the outdoors to begin with. Yes, we have to understand enough about exposure, light and composition to capture an image, but we need to have a feeling about the subject to compose a piece of art! Trust yourself and the emotions that draw you to a particular image, and use the technical aspects of photography as the final part of capture. Immerse yourself in your natural surrounding, enjoy the experience and let your art go beyond a two dimensional technical capture.

Equipment:
Canham 8×10 Metal Field Camera adapted to also Shoot 4×10 Panorama, Rodenstock 360 mm APO Sironar-S lens, Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head, Gitzo Carbon Tripod, Fuji Provia RDP III  100 speed Transparency Film.

Posted in 4x10 film, 8x10 film, aspen grove, California, Fallen Leaf Lake, fine art, forest, jon paul gallery, Landscape, large format, Mountains, Panorama, panorama film, photo techniques, Photo Tip, Pine Forest, Snow Photography, Tutorial Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Fall Photographic Workshop in Grand Teton National Park!

A Fall Photographic Adventure in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Tetons in the Fall, 2012: September 27-30.

This will be a four day adventure focussing on iconic Teton landscape images, as well as wildlife photography. 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.Please call to discuss any details that may help you make your decision.Please call the gallery directly to inquire! 530-544-4269

Posted in 4x5 film, 617cm film, 8x10 film, aspen grove, Back Light, Barn, Bears, beaver pond, Bison, black and white, digital photography, Elk, Fall color, Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, jon paul gallery, Landscape, large format, light painting, Moose, Mountains, National Parks, Panorama, panorama film, photo techniques, Photo Tip, Pine Forest, Ranch, reflection, Sunrise, Sunset, Twilight, Uncategorized, western, wildlife photography, Wyoming Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |