Jumped on Trey's google hangout the other night and realized I didn't have many photos to share on the show. So I grabbed my Sony NEX-7 with a 14-24mm lens and headed out to the lake to snap a few quick sunset photos. There's not too much green yet from the harsh Winter so I felt like this deserved a black and white treatment.
I'm not going to lie, I was terrified of this shoot. Trey Ratcliff announced this portion of the evening by saying, "this is going to be one of the hardest things you'll ever shoot as a photographer." He was right. We were thrust into the abyss of fire dancers!
I wasn't sure how to shoot this. I mean I thought I should dump it over to Manual mode and try getting the right shutter speed, ISO, etc. But that takes time. I wound up firing off some longer exposures in Aperture Priority Mode which gave me some amazing light trails. I should have taken one nice HDR shot of the house and hill side without the girl in the frame but there wasn't enough time. With that one HDR I could have used it as a canvas to mask in the dancer later.
It's one of those live and learn shots because knowing what I know now I would have approached it a whole different way. I wish I had managed to grab some fast shutter, high ISO shots of her face but alas I did not.
Here's a shot I finally got around to processing. Honestly I didn't have to do too much considering the remarkable conditions over Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand. Every 30 seconds during this sunset the light was changing to something new and fantastic.
Here I shot seven bracketed photos with a 1.0 exposure variation; this is something you want to do when shooting directly into the sun. Using the tone mapped image I pulled in the sky from the +1 exposure to fix some of the gray sky. I also brought in some of the redder grasses from the 0 level exposure. These grasses were unbelievably red while I was standing there.
This was really one of those magical sunsets in New Zealand. This grass had an amazing color of orange that I was trying to capture here without going overboard. The sun hit the grass and it almost looked like it was on fire. This sunset lasted forever and the light changed every few minutes to something different and remarkable.
If you ever get a chance to visit Germany you must head to the southern part of the country. The little town of Füssen sits at the base of mountains on the border next to Austria. I ran down the hill to get to this amazing lake just as the sun was setting.
I took three exposures and I really should have lowered the ISO and kept the shutter open for much longer than I did. This was my first real photo trip and I'm somewhat happy with the photos I took there. For many of my landscape shots I wish that I had set my aperture to a higher f-stop to really bring out the clarity in the distant trees. Live and learn!
After escaping the hurricane damage in New Jersey my wife and I retreated to our in-laws' house in California. I woke up early because of jet lag to shoot some photos at sunrise at a local winery. I didn't get many great shots but I was happy with this one.
The problem I had was with the landscape. Sure the sunrise was great but the landscape was flat and boring. There were trucks, houses, and power lines in the way. So I decided the best option was to get really low to the ground and shoot directly into the sunlight.
Here I shot seven exposures about 6 inches off the ground. The house in the background is used for theater but not much else. It sits on the winery grounds and is owned, I later learned, by John Madden. You can see the front steps in the shot.