I’m currently on vacation on the island of Maui. Each time I come to the Islands I hope to get a chance to shoot the Milky Way from atop Haleakala, weather and moon permitting. Well once again, it hasn’t worked out because I’m here during a full moon phase. I decided to make the best […]
I’m currently on vacation on the island of Maui. Each time I come to the Islands I hope to get a chance to shoot the Milky Way from atop Haleakala, weather and moon permitting. Well once again, it hasn’t worked out because I’m here during a full moon phase. I decided to make the best of it and head down to a relatively dark area near the water hoping I could at least get a glimpse of the Milky Way. I set the ISO to 5000 on the D700 and tried a few long exposure shots to see if I could locate it. No luck, the moon was just too bright. I had my Fuji X100 along, so I decided to try some long exposure shots.
I usually have the ISO set to auto on the Fuji X100 and aperture priority mode. So I needed to change the settings to force it to ISO200 and also set the shutter dial to “T” so I could adjust the length of exposure. The other issue came when I tried to focus. Because it was relatively dark, there wasn’t enough contrast to focus on anything. The Moon was at my back so I turned and focused on the Moon then set the switch on the side to manual focus so it would basically stay at infinity. Since I don’t have a remote shutter release yet, I set the camera to a 2 second timer release and set it on the tripod and fired away. This is the first shot. I was impressed. The noise is manageable and rather quite impressive for a small camera. You can see it almost looks like daylight. The Moon was very bright.
Here is the second shot, I had the aperture wide open. There was a little path light just behind the camera on the right that was helping to illuminate the kayaks.
And the final shot taken with the Fuji X100 sitting on a fence rail. I set the ISO back to AUTO and this was taken at ISO 1600, 20 second exposure. It had a lot of noise. I used Topaz DeNoise to help reduce the effect. I would recommend forcing the camera to the lowest ISO possible, which is always a good idea for long exposure images, especially if you are using a camera with a smaller sensor. This is something I can get away with on my Nikon with its full frame sensor.
I’ve been very impressed with the capabilities, features and ease of use of the Fuji X100 and will definitely use it when I don’t want to lug around the larger camera and all the lenses. I’ll have more examples in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
I’m just getting around to looking at some of the places I was fortunate enough to visit in 2011 and the great photography opportunities that happened as a result. This photo of the Palouse, in Eastern Washington really stands out for me.
A couple of my photography friends from L.A. (Linda I’Anson, Scott Stulberg and Holly Kehrt) met me in the small town of Colfax, Washington where we set up our base. By the way, check out their web sites, they are all very accomplished photographers (http://www.iansonphotography.com/, http://asa100.com and http://hollykehrt.com). We wandered the numerous paved and unpaved roads that cross the countryside looking for barns, old farm equipment and of course, the great rolling fields that the Palouse is known for.
On this particular day, we left the hotel before dawn in hopes of a sunrise shot of the fields of the Palouse from Steptoe Butte. As you can see from the photo we were greeted with low hanging clouds, but we made the best of the situation and I think we all came back with some great shots. There is so much to photograph in the Palouse, it’s almost hard not to get a few great shots. Just an amazing landscape!
I highly recommend a visit to the Palouse in the late Spring when the fields are green, or in the Fall when everything is being harvested. You won’t regret it.
I processed this in Lightroom and Photoshop using Nik Color Efex.
It’s still a work in progress, but take a look and let me know what you think.
Until next time!
At a recent photography workshop I attended in Northern Arizona, I learned something I hadn’t really paid much attention to in the past, Hyperfocal distance.
LeRoy DeJolie, our workshop instructor and amazing photographer, showed us a simple way of dealing with Hyperfocal Distance without whipping out a range finder, tape measure, or just plain trying to guess. I’m not a hyperfocal distance expert, but I basically think of it as a point where everything in the image is in focus (maximum depth of field). This is important in landscape photography because it is common to have something in the foreground (rock, plant, tree branch, etc.) and of course the main subject of your photo which may be an extended distance from the foreground object. It’s really great to have everything in focus rather than the foreground or background slightly out of focus.
DOF is determined by the focal length of the lens and aperture. For landscape photography, if you want everything in focus in your image, you typically use a wider angle lens and a smaller aperture (larger f-stop number). I normally try to use f11 or f16, this gives me sharp images without diffraction which would cause the image to appear not so sharp.
If I came across this situation in the past, I would try to focus on something about a third of the way into my composition. This actually works fairly well, but not perfect. The little trick that LeRoy taught us was to set the camera to manual focus, focus on the far subject, then adjust the focus so the near subject is perfectly in focus and then split the difference. This has worked very very well for me and I used this method in the following image taken near Page, Arizona.Hoodoo near Page, Arizona.
Take care! – Jim