Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Single-image Sunday: Beach Sunrise   2 comments

Here’s another beach sunrise.  This one was pretty special, though not for the color or setting but because it was my birthday.  Yes, just another day.  Rising early and being at the beach on a very quiet, peaceful dawn made my day, birthday or no.  Hope your weekend is going well!

Advertisements

Posted January 21, 2018 by MJF Images in Uncategorized

Single-Image Sunday: Explosion   Leave a comment

On a whim I stopped at the wetlands after work on Friday.  A bank of grey clouds hid the sunset and things were looking pretty boring.  But I stuck around well after sunset just in case.  It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally the sky you can’t see, over the horizon to the west, is just clear enough to allow the already-set sun to play with the clouds and create a show.

Despite all the apps that landscape photographers use trying to predict great light at sunrise or sunset, there will always be a big element of uncertainty and luck involved.  You can increase your odds by getting out a lot to shoot.  And you can put yourself in front of good subjects and find pleasing compositions.  But Mother Nature will always have the last word on light.  I hope your New Year has begun happily and peacefully.

Canon 7D Mark II w/Zeiss 50 mm. f/1.4 lens on tripod: 0.5 sec. @ f/11, ISO 100.

Wordless Wednesday: Intracoastal Waterway, FL:   8 comments

Single-image Sunday: Surf Fishing   4 comments

I know it’s a bit lame, but I can’t help but apologize for my recently inconsistent Friday Foto Talk posts.  Blame it on that good old sense of guilt that everyone raised Catholic seems to suffer from.  Believe me I haven’t forgotten about it.  I’m also going to be collecting all of them into one or more e-books.  It surprises me to look back and see how many I’ve amassed over these past several years.  It’s a nice summary of my photography knowledge (which hopefully still has a long way to go)

In the meantime, enjoy this image from the other morning.  I’ve been rising in the pre-dawn every morning for work, but it mostly happens that the people I’m working with abhor starting before the sun is up.  The happy result is that I get to enjoy a peaceful sunrise somewhere.  On this morning I walked over the dunes just as the sun was breaking through and in time to see this fisherman casting into the breakers for snook.  In talking to him I detected an accent that made me think South African but with a small twist.  Turns out he was from east Africa.  Retired now, he walks up to the beach almost every morning for some surf fishing at sunrise.

Thanks for looking and have a great week.

Surf-fishing at sunrise, Atlantic Coast of Florida.  50 mm. Zeiss lens, 1/100 sec. @ f/13, ISO 200.

Surf-fishing at sunrise, Atlantic Coast of Florida. 50 mm. Zeiss lens, 1/100 sec. @ f/13, ISO 200.

Wordless Wednesday: On the North Rim   2 comments

_MG_5072-Edit

Posted June 8, 2016 by MJF Images in Uncategorized

Friday Foto Talk: Intimate Landscapes   14 comments

Beautiful Falls Creek in Washington's Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Beautiful Falls Creek in Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest. 55 mm., 20 sec. @ f/22, tripod.

Last week I posted under the somewhat ambitious title How to Shoot Landscapes.  I mentioned that landscapes come in all sizes, so this week we’ll look at the small scale world of landscape photography.  Most of the photos here are of this type, what I call intimate landscapes.  But a few straddle the line or are definitely the more typical large-scale landscape.  I like sharing recent images with you here on the blog even if they don’t match the topic precisely.  But I also think they help to illustrate the difference between the two kinds of images.

No clear dividing line exists between the more photographed grand landscape and the less common intimate variety.  The same goes for the lower boundary between intimate landscape and macro photography.  In general if you’re shooting something less than the size of a football field/pitch (often much smaller), but you’re including more real estate than a typical macro photo (and not using your macro lens), then you’re shooting an intimate landscape.

Entrance to the narrows at Red Wall Canyon, Death Valley National Park, California.

Entering the narrows at Red Wall Canyon, Death Valley National Park.  16 mm., 1/4 sec. @ f/16, ISO 100, tripod.

A traditional home in west-central Cambodia, shot from the edge of the rice paddy about a hundred feet away.

A traditional home in west-central Cambodia.  Shot from the edge of the rice paddy about a hundred feet away, this one straddles the line between intimate and large landscape. 135 mm., 1/60 sec. @ f/14, ISO 200, handheld.

HOW TO SHOOT AN INTIMATE LANDSCAPE

  • Which one to shoot?  Let your unconscious be your guide, but realize it’s easier to miss smaller, intimate landscapes.  When a grand landscape inspires you, shoot that.  But always be on the lookout for smaller scenes as well, and photograph those when they interest you in some way.  Try not to go out with the goal of shooting one or the other.
  • Composition is still king.  The same things that make large landscapes work well (subject off-center, sense of depth, use of leading lines, layers, tone and color, and balancing elements) will strengthen your intimate landscapes.
In central Oregon's Painted Hills, you can walk among colorful badlands.  19 mm., 1/10 sec. @ f/10, ISO 100, tripod.

In central Oregon’s Painted Hills, you can walk among colorful badlands. 19 mm., 1/10 sec. @ f/10, ISO 100, tripod.

  • Strong subjects help.  Of course a strong main subject helps any landscape image, but in smaller more intimate scenes, where all of the elements tend to appear the same size and are usually lighted similarly, a good strong subject is even more important.  Remember a striking color contrast can also make for a strong subject.

Shot under an overcast sky, Fairy Falls in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge is a very popular intimate landscape to shoot. 45 mm., 1 sec. @ f/10, ISO 160, tripod.

  • Issues of light and sky.  Oftentimes intimate landscapes are more appropriate when the sky is overcast and the light is even (image above).  Typical small-scale landscapes don’t include much (if any) sky.  But those aren’t rules!  Now we know that great light, whether it’s strong & directional or filtered & reflected by clouds is perfect for grand landscapes that include a lot of sky.  But that light is also great for intimate landscapes, even when you don’t include any sky (image below).

Beautiful light filters into Oregon’s Eagle Creek Canyon near sunset. 24 mm., 3.2 sec. @ f/13, ISO 100, tripod.

  • Careful with clutter. This point is closely related to the one about strong subjects above.  It’s important to be careful with clutter in all landscape photos.  But when your landscapes are composed of elements that are all close to you, it’s even more important to simplify compositions as much as possible.  With big wide-angle landscapes, more distant things tend to look small in the frame, so are not as likely to distract the viewer.  When everything is close, that stuff may easily distract.
These redwood trees grow not in California but in Oregon.  A very simple image shot from a steep slope out into the forest.

These redwood trees grow not in California but in Oregon. A very simple image shot from a steep slope out into the forest.  To limit clutter it isn’t a wide-angle shot.  55 mm., 1/40 sec. @ f/8, ISO 800, handheld.

  • Images with a sense of depth.  Shooting near to far compositions (one good way to lend a sense of depth) are more challenging when working on smaller scales.  But it’s possible.  You may be focusing very close to the lens, so choose a lens that has a so-called “macro” setting.  It’s not truly macro of course (marketing).  Always wide-angle with fairly short focal lengths, these kinds of lenses open up a lot of possibilities for intimate landscapes because they can focus very close, in some cases less than a foot away.  Getting down low can also help add depth.
Recent shot in Washington's Columbia Hills in the eastern Columbia Gorge.  Borders on a large landscape, the bit of sky and close-focus on the flowers giving it depth.

Recent shot in Washington’s Columbia Hills in the eastern Columbia Gorge. Borders on a large landscape, the bit of sky and close-focus on the flowers giving it depth. 16 mm., 1/6 sec. @ f/13, ISO 100, tripod.

  • Sky and depth.  While we’re talking about a sense of depth, here’s something to try.  After shooting an intimate landscape that excludes the sky, zoom out a little or shift the camera up a bit and include just a small bit of sky, not much.  Compare and see if that doesn’t add more depth to the image.  The image above makes use of both this and the above tips on adding a sense of depth.

So next time you’re out photographing your favorite landscape, try to find more intimate scenes.  It adds variety to your portfolio and can yield some of your favorite images.  Tune in next week for Friday Foto Talk for some tips on focus and depth of field when shooting intimate landscapes.  Have a great weekend!

Landscape at larger scale but shot from the same place as the image above, just turned around to face the sunset.

Landscape at larger scale but shot from the same place as the image above, just turned around to face the sunset. 16 mm., 1.6 sec. @ f/13, ISO 200, tripod.

Wordless Wednesday: Sunset Paddle   Leave a comment

_MG_9212

Single-image Sunday: The Super Bowl!   7 comments

It’s Super Sunday!  That day when nearly everyone in America gets together with friends or goes to sport pubs and watches the last two football teams standing duke it out for the championship.  It’s also the day when everybody overeats and quite a few drink too much.  This year it’s the Denver Broncos vs. the Carolina Panthers.  The storyline is that Peyton Manning, the veteran quarterback who owns most important records for that most important position, is likely retiring after this game.  And even if he decides to stay one more year, this is almost certainly his only chance to go out on top.

Peyton has been one of the best QBs to ever play the game, but his skills have diminished somewhat because of age and a devastating injury to his neck 5 years ago.  He still has what it takes from the neck up, but arm strength is not what it used to be.  His counterpart on the other side is the complete opposite of Manning in every respect.  Carolina’s Cam Newton is young, just coming into his own.  He is the odds-on favorite for most valuable player this year.  He runs and passes with devastating effectiveness (most QBs do not run much).

Newton is 6 feet 5 inches and 260 pounds, an unusual size for a QB and a nightmare to bring down.  He’s capable of running over a linebacker on one play and then throwing the ball on a rope into the end zone on the next.  His personality couldn’t be more different than Peyton’s, with his old-school business-like manner on the field.  Cam dances and plays to the crowd, and obviously loves the camera.  He’s gregarious and demonstrative, and this rubs some fans the wrong way.

Newton is also black, and while there have been plenty of black QBs in the NFL for years, it still seems to be an issue for some.  I think his dancing and other antics are absolutely no big deal.  It’s not my style, but I’m not him and you can’t argue with the way he plays.  As long as he doesn’t taunt the opposite team (and he doesn’t), I really don’t care how much he dances.  Others are really bothered by his style and personality, and some commenters point to race as the reason for this.  I don’t believe that either.  Other than the relative few but typically noisy outright racists, I think most of the criticism of Newton arises from an age/personality conflict.  Peyton, by the way, is white.

A bronco throws a panter, I mean a buckaroo! Small-town rodeo, eastern Oregon.

A bronco throws a panter, I mean a buckaroo! Small-town rodeo, eastern Oregon.

My team is out of it, but I’m definitely rooting for a team.  Can you guess from the photo which team?  I’m like many fans outside Carolina in that I want to see Peyton go out with a Super Bowl ring.  Also, the Panthers are favored and I normally go for the underdog.  Finally, the Broncos are a western team, and I’m a western boy.  In order to win, most agree the Broncos will need to run the ball well, play stellar defense, and not turn the ball over.  Peyton will also need to have a near-perfect day.  Carolina has a strong balanced team and can run the ball well.  Denver’s defense has been the league’s best for most of the year.  It will probably need to force two or more turnovers in order to win.

Okay, let the game begin!  Go Broncos!

 

 

How to saw a log   1 comment

I can count on one hand the number of re-blogs I’ve done. But this reminded me of the kind of travel photography I really have been missing lately. And of course it reminded me of that wonderful country Malawi.

Africa far and wide

We had an old log at the back of our garden. Old logWhile it added an element of charm, I thought I’d enjoy it more on my verandah, as a table! And so I began to enquire about ‘Sawmen in the Nchalo area.’  It would be an easy job no doubt. Just one log. Switch on the machine and slice it up like piece of paper.

I was given a number for a Sawmen by the name of Jofrey. I called him and he said he’d be there at 6am the next day. He gave me a daily rate and we agreed. He’d bring his friend too, Luca.

It was going to be another scorcher. We were in our 3rd week of temperatures reaching the mid forties. The rains were late and Al Nino was in full force; sucking the countryside dry of all moisture. Plants drooped, baked alive by…

View original post 277 more words

Posted January 11, 2016 by MJF Images in Uncategorized

Wordless Wednesday: Silent City   11 comments

_MG_4523

Color

B&W

B&W

Posted November 25, 2015 by MJF Images in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: