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 […]
A few years ago I took a photography workshop by LeRoy DeJolie. LeRoy is a native Navajo indian and creates wonderful images, mostly with large format cameras. Since then a friend and I have hired LeRoy on a private basis to take us to places most people can’t get to, or at least not easily. The highlight of the workshop for me was the visit to lower Antelope Canyon. It’s truly an amazing place, pictures and words don’t begin to describe it. The Canyons are on Navajo land so you have to pay to get access. I believe the cost back then was around $25. We weren’t part of a tour and I think we were limited to 3 hours in the canyon. I understand now they ask if you have a mirrorless camera and if not, you have to take one of the tours. I’m not quite sure what the logic is, but I assume it has something to do with having a “professional” camera. There can be lots of people in the canyon, so be prepared to wait to get your shot. You definitely need a tripod and I would recommend something to cover your camera, because it can get quite dusty down there. I wouldn’t recommend changing lenses while in the Canyon. Lower Antelope Canyon is about a quarter of a mile long. The entrance is a sloping stroll and then once you’re in the canyon is fairly easy to get around, though there are some very tight squeezes in some sections. The exit at the far end is a very steep ladder, or you can turn around and go back to the entrance.
There are a plethora of shots to be had in the Canyon. I can’t imagine any two shots being the same. You’ll want to visit the Canyon sometime in late morning to early afternoon so the sun illuminates the upper part of the Canyon depending on the time of year. I probably took about a hundred photos and I kept about a third of those. I had so many it was difficult to pick my favorite, but after reviewing the images a few years later, I think this is my favorite. I really like the contrast and the wonderful colors.
If you are looking for a great workshop, I highly recommend photography workshops led by LeRoy. You can find his workshops on the Arizona Highways site, or dejolie.com.
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!
Certain places just beg to be reproduced panoramically. You just can’t do some scenes justice with a normal single frame photograph. I’ve always been interested in panoramas, something about them mesmerizes me. I guess it makes me feel like I’m experiencing the scene like I did when I was there.
There are a number of methods for taking the shots and probably just as many more methods of stitching the photos together.
You can take panoramas handheld, with a level tripod or with a special tripod head designed specifically for panorama photography. Nodal Ninja and Really Right Stuff both make panorama heads and I’m sure there are numerous others. These can be expensive, as with most camera equipment, but produce superb results. The advantage is the camera can be set up perfectly level and the nodal point, optical center of the lens, can be set. The Really Right Stuff site has a good explanation (http://reallyrightstuff.com/pano/05.html). Currently, I take my panoramas with a tripod and a hot shoe bubble level, it seems to work fairly well, but I will eventually purchase one of the panorama heads.
I’ve used several panorama stitching software applications including PTGui and Photoshop. My favorite is a free program developed by Microsoft Research named Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor). You can download the program at he Microsoft Research site (http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ICE/). I recently used this program to stitch together a handheld panorama of Lake Powell down in Arizona. The panorama was a total of 6 photos, 2 rows of 3. I took the pictures fairly quickly as we were about to head back into town. I didn’t really think it would turn out as well as it did. As a test of ICE I renamed each photo and opened them out of order just to see if the program could figure out which photo went where. A couple of minutes of processing later and out came a perfect panorama.
You can see a larger version here.
Until next time!