Two recent panoramas from a week ago monday, I forgot my L-Bracket so I struggled to get things to stitch OK, the third was crud and I will have to re-do it... sigh... Like these though!
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
I friend from our old neighborhood makes the most FANTASTIC cupcakes, she offered to drop off a couple of cupcakes in exchange for some photos before we ate them. unhesitatingly I said YES!!!! Did a dance of joy and began planning how I wanted to shoot them. Seeing as it was a work week and I would not be able to use the natural light in my dining room, I knew it would be using my lights and umbrellas and I decided to go with a dark background. Next time I will likely go white, I think that will look better. The black has it's positives though.
The lighting was just by the seat of the pants, move them around and see what it looks like. The new technique that I have never tried was focus stacking. With getting close enough to fill the frame with the cupcake I struggled to get enough depth of field due to the physics of how lenses work and inadequate power of lighting. Even at f16 I could not quite get the whole thing in focus. What focus stacking does is take shots where you change nothing but the focus between individual shots, and pick the areas with the best focus and blend them together to increase how much of the image is in focus. I stacked only two images one focused about 1/4 of the way into the cupcake, and another where the frosted heart is in focus. Best part was that the software did it all for me. I didn't know until I recently found an article on it that Photoshop could do that. I was way excited. Here is the article if you care.
Had a lot of fun, hope to get better at it!
Every so often I get the itch to go to Southern Utah, if I don't get to scratch it, I get cranky and not a lot of fun to be around. My wife (Bless her soul) accepts this and even encourages it at times. This was one of those times. The kids were on spring break and we just wanted out of the house and the Salt Lake Valley. Not believing that I could get an actual campsite during spring break, I checked anyway and found a spot booked it and off we went. We laid on a last minute camping trip with 4 women and one man, had a great time and everybody got along... a bit of a first there!
So... early morning start bagged, we left whenever we were darn well ready, I can't even remember when we actually did leave, and we headed out, portable DVD strapped to the back of the headrests for the kids in the back, Honda Pilot loaded to the gills and off we went. First stop: Bryce Canyon National Park. I had been there a few times in the last few years, but my wife not since our Honeymoon almost 15 years ago, and the kids never. The weather was perfect, 50-60's and partly cloudy, just to give the sky some texture. Sometime after noon and before supper we pulled through the gates and headed to the far end of the park, Rainbow Point to work our way back. All the pull outs are on the east side of the road and it is easier to be coming back north to access them.
This first shot is actually on the way to the front gate on UT 12, I dearly love the ponderosa pine forest and red rock entry to the area, it provides interesting images when converted to B&W. Not a devote of Ansel or anything, just enjoy breaking the photo down to light and dark, texture and composition.
Several years ago the park had some large fires, the damage was evident but that didn't deter these antelope from inhabiting the area, they were just off the road and seemed fairly willing to let us stop and take their picture.
Out at Rainbow Point the view looking along the edge of the escarpment is spectacular, the edge of the plateau falling off into the distance, miles of colorful hoodoo's dropping into lightly forested hills. Whenever I see it I am seized by a nearly inescapable urge to hike down into it and go from one end to the other. Being naturally lazy I was easily able to evade the trap and continue on my way. Need to do it one day before I get too old though....
The colors at BCNP are different from most other areas in Utah, there is more orange/pink/salmon than anywhere else, and it is a nice treat and change of pace from the darker hues.
A light dusting of snow still remains this time of year adding a splash of contrast that is not usually associated with Southern Utah.
There are few natural arches in this area, fortunately this one is easy to reach. It even lured the kids out of the car to look. They were a bit intimidated by the height of the edge and frequently needed to have someone right with them and to stay away from the edge.
This was my favorite Panorama of the day, it caught the sky perfectly and showed the sweep of the land well. I would have liked to be closer to the edge, but I wanted to stay married.
After dinner at Ruby's Inn, we headed to our camping site, Kodachrome Basin State Park. Where we spend a perfect night.
More in my next post!
I was a little doubtful that I could find a camping spot for us on this trip, but I was able to get one at Kodachrome Basin State Park, a hidden gem close to Bryce Canyon NP. While not as big and imposing as BCNP it is still a wonderful place and quite compact. Best of all they have flush toilets and hot water. When camping with 4 women that is important! When I go with another guy or two, we can camp anywhere, all I need is a flat spot for my tent and a bush.
Anyway, Kodachrome was it's usual pleasant self and the weather was cool at night but perfect during the day. The moon was out, though we couldn't see as it was overcast when we went to bed. BUT... at 2:00 am the 7 year old needed to make a potty trip, and said lovely wife asked for my company, I readily agreed as I was intrigued by how light the tent was. What a sight greeted our eyes! A Moonbow, a circular rainbow around the moon caused by the moon shining through ice crystals in the clouds. Being a photographer I had to start shooting once my guard duties were complete. It was one of those special moments. No wind, quiet as only the desert can get. One of those moments that touches your soul and creates a memory that never dims.
Despite the copious amounts of light from the moon (400-600 second exposure times) I did need to help light some of the scenery simply because there was shadow that needed to be filled in. I used my LED Maglight for a little foreground fill here, for about 20-30 seconds, then moved over to the left and painted the rock formation sticking up in the middle right and the ridge a bit. All in all I am quite pleased with this first image.
This image was shot just to the right of the edge of the frame of the first shot, but at about a 100+ degree angle to the right. I looks like a nice daylight shot but if you look closely behind the streams of cloud you can see some star movement. I love the nature of the color of the desert under moonlight.
Finally we come to the most photographed feature in the area immediately around the campground. This is an ossified "Sand Pipe" or former spring that filled with sand and turned to stone. Harder than the surrounding rock it resisted erosion and stands, towering over the campground. It has rather obvious similarities to certain.... appendages of the human body, and we had a tough time explaining to our youngest why mommy and daddy kept looking up and giggling.
Moving on to the actual gorgeous scenery... There are many of the Sand Pipes in the area and they are quite scenic. We enjoyed driving around and looking, it was a little early in the season for things to green up, but there is a certain sere and stark beauty to the winter desert landscape.
This is termed "Chimney Rock" I suppose it looks like a chimney, I think sometimes the folks that pass out names down here get a little un-imaginative. I would have called it "The Smokestack" but that is just because I put the clouds behind it, kind of like smoke coming out of it.
The short drive back to Canonville from KBSP is very scenic, this cabin has been a favorite landmark for me that I finally was able to capture with a sky that made the shot worth taking. Originally I intended this for color, but it just seemed to work better in B&W.
I was able to get my kids excited to drive "The Scenic Road" home, i.e. UT-12, which is truly one of the most scenic roads in Utah. Traveling through fertile farming valleys, over slickrock with the road literally carved out of the side of the cliff, up the "Hogsback" a ridge where the world drops off on either side for oh.... a thousand feet or two. Over the Boulder Mountains with views of Capitol Reef (more on that in a minute) and down into Torrey. If I had had the time I would have turned east on UT-24 the second most scenic road in Utah but alas it was time to go home. What a great road to drive though, just.... wish I could do it more often!
Typical view east of Escalante, UT.
Down on the road surface and in B&W, took these shot specifically for a co-worker who likes this type of shot.
This just screams "Come Drive ME!!!!"
The textures and colors of the rock contrasted with the puffy clouds and blue sky epitomize southern Utah, this is literally on the side of a turn off could have taken it from the drivers seat with a little maneuvering.
Once through Boulder, UT and up into the high country you get magnificent vistas over the Capitol Reef National Park area, with the Henry Mountains in the background. Spectacular views that the camera simply cannot do justice to!
Somewhat out of order here are my two large panorama shots of the day. This is from the Hogsback area of Highway 12, Calf Creek Falls is on the lower middle right ish. It is a beautiful hike best done in the afternoon of a hot day so that the cold water actually feels good, and you then hike back in the cooler part of early evening.
This panorama is from just down the road from the single shot up above, the sheer scope of the land is mind blowing. Printing this large is my only hope! Wish I could afford it.
So... the end of my travels. Thanks for coming along, I hope you all get a chance to visit this area someday. It will change you when you see it.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Still trying out my newly realigned K24mm f2.8. These shots are from two weeks ago just FYI,
This is NOT a setting to judge distortion by, nothing is square and/or straight. Liked the contrast of color and monotone.
This is another instance where I think that being slightly wider with the DA 21 Limited would be advantageous. Pretty sure it will come my way when I can afford it.
A favorite alley-way, that continually gets... re-modeled/painted. Really appreciated the DR of the K-5 here.
Not sure I want to sit on these chairs but I can appreciate the scenery.
Walked past this several times, just realized that it looks like a zipper!
Again, the DR of the K-5 helps a LOT!
Wide Open at f2.8 I think the bokeh is pretty durn good!
Always wanted a chance to get this statue captured properly. I love the artistry of this sculpture.
A little more overdone but still kind of fun!
Got my 24mm back from being re-aligned, I think the left side is better now, and it still gives that great color!
Carrying it around gives me just about the right focal length for just shooting. This was a Sun Dog I saw on my way home. (2 shots stitched to get it all in.)
And a just for fun panorama of the mountains to the East.