Monday, November 28, 2011

The Difference.

I'm writing this from the comfort of my motorhome, after taking advantage of a beautiful sunrise at Morro Bay.  We had quite a show this morning, and even with the sun rising in the east, there was a beautiful golden light that turned to soft pastel pinks in the clouds over the Pacific Ocean.

After taking care of my dog walking chore, I still had time to grab a camera and walk across the street to the sand dunes and the beach near the Rock, at Morro Bay.  The camera wasn't really important so I decided to use my favorite light weight grab-n-go, the Sony NEX3.  This little guy has the same sensor as my physically larger Canon DSLR's, but is much smaller in size, perfect for on-the-go photo ops.  When I say the camera really isn't important, I mean that its just a tool.  If I didn't have anything with me except my point and shoot, I still would have gone out.  Photography as an art is really more about the photographers vision than the tool he/she chooses to use.  After all, did Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel or did the brush?

 So, here are the images from this morning to prove my point.  The first is at prime time, when the color was at its peak.  The second is just a few minutes after.  While the second shot isn't bad, its a little dull in my opinion.  What do you think?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why call this Blog "Up At Dawn"?

You may be wondering - why call this Blog "Up At Dawn"?  Well, it seemed to fit my preference for getting up at the crack of dawn, even while on vacation.  After 30 years of getting up before dawn for my regular job, it's kind of hard to just "turn it off" even while on vacation.  And since I try to incorporate my landscape photography into vacations, getting up early isn't really a problem.

Since I'm up early anyway, why not take advantage of the golden hour.  There's a certain magic that happens when I'm getting set up, waiting for the sun to rise in a beautiful location such as the South Tufa of Mono Lake.  As popular as this place is, many is the time when I've had the whole place to myself.  Watching God's big show is an amazing experience!  There's such a short amount of time to make sure everything is set up and to make some photos, and to watch the drama unfold.  This can be especially wonderful if there are some clouds since this really adds some color and texture to the sky.  And before your know it, it's over.  The funny thing is that as I'm packing up, I've seen several "photographers" running to try and take some photos after the golden light is gone.

There is another opportunity at sunset, but that can depend on where you are.  Since the light is coming from a different direction it may or may not work to your advantage.  One of the best examples is the photo of the ocean and pier at the top of my blog.  This is really an image of the Pacific Ocean at sunset. A great time for this location, but since this isn't dawn I guess I need to change the photo.

I'll leave you with this shot, sunrise at the Alabama Hills.  The golden light really really brings these rock formations to life.  The sun rises slowly over the White Mountains in the east, and starts painting everything in warm golden light.  You really need to be there yourself to see what I mean!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Still trying to get this Blog going...

So far I'm still working on getting the Blog thing right and moving forward.  Who knew that something that seemed so simple could be so confusing.  Right now, I seem to be more caught up in the mechanics of making the Blog than trying to decide what kind of photo I'd like to share and my thoughts behind it.

So, as a tease I'll share this image and a few thoughts about it:
This is Silver Lake, on the June Lake Loop - Hwy 158 in the Eastern Sierra.  I made this image in the late afternoon on a beautiful summer day in September.  In order to tame some of the contrast and bring out both the detail in the shadow and highlights, I chose to use a technique called HDR or High Dynamic Range.  Basically, this is compilation of 3 exposures, 1st exactly what the meter called for and then +1 and -1 stop.  After that its just a matter of some post processing using Photomatix and Photoshop.

That's it for now.  Next time I'll go into more detail, hopefully without boring you.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kicking this off...

So, I've finally done it!  I've read others Blogs, and often wondered why anyone would want to write a Blog.  Seemed kind of silly.  After all, with so many other websites and blogs devoted to photography why would you want to read what I have to say on the subject?

Good question!  I wish I had a good answer.  Would it be that I have over 35 years of experience, or that I'm a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography, or that I used to photograph weddings? Probably not.

So, why would anyone want to read a Blog about photography by me?  Perhaps it could be that I have a different perspective on the subject.  Over time I hope to prove that.  And I'll admit this now, while I may have years of experience, I also have a lot to learn

There you have it.  I'll leave you with an image, one that I made and am proud of.  In later posts I'll talk about a particular image, and what went into making it.  Thanks for reading and come on back for more soon!