All posts tagged “photography

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Alaska Basin Sunset

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15–85mm f/3.5–5.6
Exposure: 5 seconds
Aperture: f/16
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 100

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The Alaska Basin is a beautiful sub-alpine meadow in the Teton Range in Wyoming, USA. Sitting at an altitude of around 9,600 feet, it’s an 8-mile hike with 2,500 feet of vertical gain from the nearest trailhead to even get here. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to take this photo — with stunning sunset light striking the peaks above the basin — as the night before we arrived, there was thick cloud, freezing temperatures, snow, hail and sleet all night long!

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Collections on Society6

Collections

In addition to the maps that I sell in my own online store, I also sell prints (and other products like phone and laptop cases) via the print-on-demand service, Society6. One problem with Society6 to date has been making all the photos I have there easily accessible – older work tends to just “disappear” behind the sheer weight of newer posts. I’ve tried to feature some of my favourite photographs on this site via the “My Photography” post category, but that can only do so much.

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Mount Adams

Mount Adams

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15–85mm f/3.5–5.6
Exposure: 30 seconds
Exposure Bias: +1 EV
Aperture: f/13
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 100

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A beautiful dusk view of Mount Adams taken from Tahklahk Lake in Washington state. My trusty 6x neutral density filter allowed me to extend the exposure out to a full 30 seconds for some lovely, rich colours and a beautiful reflection.

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St. Johns Bridge

St Johns Bridge II

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 15–85mm f/3.5–5.6
Exposure: 30 seconds
Aperture: f/14
Focal Length: 40mm
ISO Speed: 100

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A combination of a perfect gradient sky and some lovely light trails from traffic on the extremely photogenic) bridge through the 30-second exposure make this one of my favourite photos ever.

The shot was made possible by the use of a 6x neutral density filter, which allowed me to extend the exposure time, even in pretty decent evening light. The 30 second time is what allows the light trails to build up so nicely, although there were a lot of discarded shots where the trails weren’t anywhere near as nice – orange turn indicator lights blink on and off, creating a dotted line, rather than the smooth, flowing lights in this shot.

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Flight Attendant

Flight Attendant

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/125
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 120mm
ISO Speed: 100

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I don’t do a lot of candid/street photography: it’s a very difficult discipline that requires quick thinking and flexibility. I prefer to take my time composing my shot and thinking about how different apertures, shutter speeds and focal lengths affects the final photo. However, when this flight attendant stepped into my otherwise empty abstract architectural shot, the opportunity was too good to miss. She provides a great visual counterpoint to the stark white airline terminal, with her dark, curved shape. The only down point is that her eyes are closed, but you can’t have everything, I guess!

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Lights on Mount Hood

Lights on Mount Hood

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15–85mm f/3.5–5.6
Exposure: 784 seconds
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 400

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13-minute exposure of Mount Hood from Trillium Lake, taken at around 3am. Originally, the exposure was meant to be much longer, but a huge bank of fog rolled in from the left and completely obscured the view.

What I find most interesting is the number of lights on the mountain itself. The huge cluster of bright lights at the treeline are Timberline Lodge, and it looks like the headlights of a snowcat just above that, descending down from the upper ski area. However, the rest of the little white light trails can only be riders coming down (at three in the morning!), or climbers heading up to the summit to be there for sunrise.

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Across The Gate

Across The Gate

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/200
Aperture: f/11
Focal Length: 235mm
ISO Speed: 400

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One of my favourite photos, and one that always gets a positive reaction from viewers. The combination of the monumental size of the bridge compared to the traffic below and the softening effect of the fog really work well together.

People often ask how and where I took this photo: it’s actually not that hard to replicate. I was at the Vista Point lookout on the Marin side of the bridge, and just moved around carefully until I was looking directly down the bridge’s length. A long zoom lens (I used a 70-300mm at 235mm) allowed me to really get in close to the pylon of the bridge, even from this distance.

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Vaporetto

Vaporetto

Camera: Nikon Zoom 140ED (film camera)

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A photo taken on a fog-shrouded morning in Venice, Italy back in 2003. I’m on the bow of another canal ferry (called a vaporetto locally), which had just pushed off from the Ferrovia (railway station) wharf and was standing by as this other vaporetto came in to dock.

The way that the fog makes the buildings along the canal disappear into nothingness, with the ferry emerging from that emptiness is what makes this shot for me.

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Recursive

Recursive

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/4
Aperture: f/10
Focal Length: 20mm
ISO Speed: 800

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A view along the length of the old officers’ quarters at Fort Point, San Francisco. I’ve tried a lot of different processing methods on this picture since I took it way back in 2006, and this is really the first time I’ve been truly happy with the result.

As you can tell from the EXIF metadata, shooting conditions were challenging. It was gloomy inside the building, and no tripods were allowed. So I pumped up the ISO (800 was about as far as I ever liked to go on the ol’ Digital Rebel, as noise just got too noticeable after that), set the aperture for some decent depth of field and braced the camera against myself as best I could. With an exposure length of 1/4 of a second, this really shouldn’t have come out anywhere near this  sharp, but it somehow worked. The new 2012 processing algorithms in Lightroom 5 definitely do a much better job than the old ones, while the straightening and lens distortion tools took care of my slightly off-kilter framing.

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Railing

Railing

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/200
Aperture: f/14
Focal Length: 17mm
ISO Speed: 200

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This is the spectacular Seacliff Bridge in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, south of Sydney. The bridge replaced an old section of Lawrence Hargreaves Drive that used to hug the steep cliff face and was often closed by rock falls. Instead, this sweeping structure sits on the rock platforms away from the cliffs,  over the ocean. An amazing engineering feat, and an absolutely stunning sight.

I drove down from Sydney before dawn to just to photograph this bridge. I was hoping for some great early morning light, and couldn’t be happier with what I got. The sun rose over a clear ocean horizon, but with a layer of cloud above – meaning I had about twenty minutes of this glorious, hazy, yellow morning light bouncing off the clouds before the sun rose above the cloud layer and the day became grey and stormy. My timing was absolutely perfect and this is the result: one of my all-time favourite photos taken on one of those mornings where everything just seemed to work out perfectly.

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Lunar Eclipse, 2008

Lunar Eclipse, 20th February 2008

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: various
Aperture: various
Focal Length: 300mm
ISO Speed: various

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Composite image of the total lunar eclipse on the 20th of February, 2008 in Portland, Oregon. Photos were taken at five minute intervals from 6:13pm to 7:03pm US Pacific Time. Totality was achieved at 7.01pm. The yellowish tinge to the moon in the first few images is due to its proximity to the horizon at the time. As it rose higher, the yellow colour faded away, only to be replaced by the eerie blood-red of the eclipse.

Technical Details: The camera was tripod mounted with mirror lockup enabled (the bright moon can create a reflection on the mirror that can ruin the exposure as the mirror flips up) and a cable release to minimise camera shake. I shot RAW files to give me more post-processing flexibility. Exposures vary from 1/60th second at ƒ/11, ISO 100 for the first image to one second at ƒ/11, ISO 800 for the final image — the moon is a surprisingly bright object and doesn’t need long exposures if you want to retain surface detail in your shots. I performed some minor exposure and white balance adjustment in Adobe Lightroom before final composition in Photoshop.

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Early Morning, Amsterdam

Early Morning, Amsterdam

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/60
Aperture: f/7.1
Focal Length: 17mm
ISO Speed: 100

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Amsterdam’s Red Light District likes to party hard most of the way through the night, which means that you have the area pretty much to yourself if you get up early enough in the morning.

Exploring the beautiful canals in the soft morning light was a peaceful experience and allowed me the time to find and compose shots like this without hordes of people crossing my view.

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Sheet Metal

Sheet Metal

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/125
Aperture: f/10
Focal Length: 68mm
ISO Speed: 200

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A detail shot of the exterior of the Frank Gehry-designed Experience Music Project (EMP) building in Seattle, taken back in 2006. What really stood out for me as I took this shot was the beautiful sinuous form of the metal cladding (especially the curve that runs through the middle of the composition), and the wonderful contrasting blue and gold colours.

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Fremont Bridge at Night

Fremont Bridge at Night

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6
Exposure: 60 seconds
Aperture: f/16
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 100

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Portland has no shortage of fantastic bridges to take photos of, from the industrial (and unique) Steel Bridge, to this one: the graceful arch of the Fremont Bridge soaring high above the Willamette River.

For this photo, I used the “bulb” exposure setting on my camera and simply tried to get the longest exposure I could in order to smooth out the water as much as possible. Trial and error played a big part — hooray for digital photography — until I came up with the settings used here: a full minute of exposure at f/16. The different temperatures of the various light sources (including a pretty bright reflected street light glow off the clouds) certainly makes for an interesting image!

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Folds

Painted Hills - Folds

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4-5.6
Exposure: 1/125
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 280mm
ISO Speed: 100

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Without a doubt, the Painted Hills in Central Oregon is one of my absolute favourite places to visit and explore photographically. I’ve been back multiple times: each time, the light and the way it interacts with the ancient folds of the hillside has been completely different.

This abstract shot — zooming right in with my 70-300mm lens to focus on the details, including animal tracks down the slope — is from my first visit in December 2008. In my opinion, this is the best time of year to visit, because the low, southern winter sun makes fantastic, deep, long shadows. As summer approaches, the sun moves further north and shines directly onto the face of the hills, rather than across them, making for smaller, less-form defining shadows.

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Bike Culture

BikeCulture

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/60
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 85mm
ISO Speed: 100

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Colourful bikes against a blue wall outside a bicycle tour business in Amsterdam. The bright, anodised colours are definitely what drew me to take this photo in the first place, and I framed my shot nice and tight to crop out any extraneous detail, keeping only the repeating patterns of the bike frames. Processing in Lightroom intentionally emphasised the image’s contrast and colour saturation.

Portland is considered a pretty “bike-friendly” city by American standards, and I commute by bike to work almost every day. However, we have absolutely nothing on Amsterdam: bikes are almost ubiquitous there, with fully separated bike lanes in many parts of the city, as well as giant, secure parking stations dotted around the city. Absolutely incredible!

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Polder

Polder

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/160
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 44mm
ISO Speed: 100

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On a flight out of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport back in 2009, I was in a window seat facing towards the sun – a challenge for good photography, but very rewarding when things go right. Soon after take off, the plane banked slightly, and I could snap this photo of the long, narrow fields below. Filtered afternoon light, long shadows and those beautiful silvery/gold irrigation canals full of water created a shimmery delight.

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Opera House Tiles

Opera House Tiles

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4-5.6
Exposure: 1/320
Aperture: f/10
Focal Length: 300mm
ISO Speed: 100

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Another abstract architectural shot, this time of the famous Sydney Opera House. This was taken from the deck of a Manly ferry as it was coming in to berth at Circular Quay – a trip that offers some unique perspectives on Sydney landmarks.

What I was looking for with this shot was interesting patterns, textures and a good mix of light and shadow in the photo. The low winter sun (this was taken in July 2013) helped a lot with this. I’ve accentuated that light with one of my favourite split toning treatments in Lightroom: one that adds blue to shadows and yellow to the highlights.

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Grid

Grid

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4-5.6
Exposure: 1/320
Aperture: f/5
Focal Length: 135mm
ISO Speed: 400

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An abstract architectural detail of the Sheraton Downtown Hotel in Denver. I love to use my 70–300mm zoom lens to pick out repetitive patterns like this in architecture. The longer focal lengths (135mm here) “flatten” the perspective, which works really well for subjects like this. I also chose to process the image in black and white so that the image is only concerned with texture and pattern – colour would be more of a distraction here.

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Cascades

Cascades

Camera: iPhone 5
Lens: iPhone 5 Back Lens
Exposure: 1/120
Aperture: f/2.4
Focal Length: 4.1mm
ISO Speed: 64

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Here’s a great shot I took out of an airplane window on a shuttle flight from Seattle to Portland last year. That’s Mount St. Helens in the foreground, with Mount Adams lined up perfectly on the distant horizon. A dusting of snow and some beautiful pinkish evening light round off one of my favourite photos.

Taken with a humble iPhone, this is definitely a picture I like to use to show that you don’t always need the most expensive camera and fancy lenses to capture really memorable images!

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Palouse Falls Moon

Palouse Falls Moon

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6
Exposure: 15 seconds
Aperture: f/16
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 100

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This stunning waterfall lies within the beautiful Palouse region of southeastern Washington, some five hours by car from where I live in Portland, Oregon. Fortunately, the State Park that surrounds the falls has a small campground, which allowed me to stay overnight and really explore the area photographically. I could shoot well into the evening (long after most visitors had left), as well as very early the next morning. Remember, light is almost always far more interesting early or late – it’s softer and more filtered, and the low shadows make for more interesting shapes within the composition as well.

This shot was taken at around 8:30pm, and the sky was almost completely dark at that stage. A steady tripod (it was a little breezy that evening!) and a 15 second exposure teased just enough light out of the scene to make this lovely image, with an almost full moon rising behind the waterfall as it plunges 180 feet to the pool below.

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Denver Museum of Art

Denver Museum of Art

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6
Exposure: 1/125
Aperture: f/13
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 100

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I travel for work quite a bit, and I always like to bring my camera with me if possible. Often, work deadlines mean that I don’t actually get a chance to get out and about to take photos, but it’s best to be prepared!

A free evening in Denver’s downtown meant a chance to go and explore the daring shapes of Daniel Libeskind’s Denver Art Museum, seen here cutting through the soft early evening sky like a scalpel blade. I always like to find unusual angles and perspectives with my architectural shots: here, I’m actually standing directly underneath the wedge-shaped building, pointing my lens almost straight up above me.

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Pier, North Topsail Beach

Pier, Topsail Beach

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6
Exposure: 10 seconds
Aperture: f/22
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 100
Other: Exposure Bias +1.33 EV

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The old SeaView Pier in North Topsail Beach, North Carolina is extremely photogenic, and photography businesses do a roaring trade in the summer months by taking family portraits underneath it. The good photographers do it right, and time their sessions for the hour or so before sunset, when the light is at its absolute filtered best.

This photo was taken in a quiet minute when the pier was actually empty, and uses the beautiful low light and my trusty neutral density filter to great effect. The exposure time of 10 seconds has a fantastic softening effect on the crashing waves, and also allows the colours captured to become more saturated and rich.

A final word of advice: when shooting on the beach, make sure your tripod is firmly positioned in the sand to prevent any chance of movement throughout a long exposure.

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Fog, St. Johns Bridge

St Johns Fog

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6
Exposure: 2.5 seconds
Aperture: f/25
Focal Length: 44mm
ISO Speed: 100
Other: Exposure Bias +1EV

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The beautifully Gothic St. Johns Bridge in Portland has always been a photographic magnet for me, particularly from this viewpoint at the eastern end. This photo was taken on a bitterly cold, foggy morning in January 2013: the sun was trying its hardest to break through, which made for some lovely, subtle lighting.

My 6x ND filter allowed me to extend the exposure time and blur out the cars crossing the bridge, which always adds an extra ethereal quality to a photo. I also added an extra stop of exposure to compensate for the dark filter, which you often have to do in low light situations or the filter will give you underexposed shots.

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10 Tips for Great Photos From a Plane

Whenever I fly, I try to get the window seat. I just love seeing the world go by, reduced to the size of a map far, far below me. And if I have a camera with me, then things are even better, because I love to take photos of the amazing sights I see. Here’s a few tips that I’ve picked up that might help out, followed by a number of photos that I’ve taken after the jump. Read More