Best of 2010 – Landscapes (Part 2, BW)

This is the second part of the “Best of 2010″ collection for landscape photography. I have not done much of black and white photography, so the below images are sort of “experimental”. Let me know what you think of these! If you like the way they came out, I will post a quick tutorial showing how I did it.

Turret Arch BW

1) Turret Arch BW 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

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Best of 2010 – Landscapes (Part 1)

To be honest, I have not had the time to go through all of the pictures that I have taken in 2010, so I’m only posting some of the ones that I rated as my “picks” in Lightroom. I surely did photograph a lot more in 2010 than I did in 2009, but I am also getting more and more picky about my work. I believe that a stricter self-critique can only improve a photographer and while it sometimes can be discouraging to look at other people’s works and compare them to yours, I still think it is a good idea to do it every once in a while. Not only will it be a source of inspiration for you, but it will also make you want to get better. I often spend time looking at works of some of the masters of nature photography and their images not only motivate me to go out and try new things, but also remind me that I have a lot to learn!

This is the first part of my 2010 landscape favorites. Please note that some of the images you will be seeing in the “Best of 2010″ wallpaper collection have already been posted earlier last year. Enjoy!

Colorado National Monument

1) Colorado National Monument 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

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Total Lunar Eclipse Wallpaper

I have already received some requests to post a wallpaper version of the first photo from my “how to photograph a lunar eclipse” article, so without much wait – here it is (the link to the large version is below the photo).

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2010

Total Lunar Eclipse 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

Unfortunately, I had to use high ISO levels to be able to photograph the moon at relatively fast shutter speeds, so there is plenty of noise in the above image…

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2010

Here is what the blood red Total Lunar Eclipse of 2010 looked like last night:

Total Lunar Eclipse 2010

After taking a long break, I’m now back to posting as usual. Currently finishing up: “indoors flash photography using off-camera flash” and tomorrow will be hopefully posting two new articles – “how to take portraits indoors with a Christmas tree” and “how to photograph a lunar eclipse” (yes, info on how the above image was taken will also be posted in detail). Stay tuned!

Yellowstone Lake and Aspens: Wallpapers

Here are the images that were requested to be provided in a wallpaper version by some of our readers from our trips to San Juan Mountains and Yellowstone.

Aspens Wallpaper

1) Aspens 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

Yellowstone Lake Wallpaper

2) Yellowstone Lake 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

If you are looking for information on how the above images were taken, check out the first two links on the top of the page, along with the Landscape Photography Tips I posted a few days ago.

Enjoy!

Maroon Bells at Night Wallpaper

Some of our readers requested me to post a few images from my trip to San Juan Mountains in a desktop wallpaper format. This first image is actually not from San Juan Mountains, but from Aspen, Colorado. This magical place is called “Maroon Bells” and it is one of the most photographed locations in the USA. I shot the below image at night (moonlight) using my Nikon D3s and the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lens at ISO 800, f/3.2, 30 seconds.

Maroon Bells at Night

And here is the link to download the wallpaper:

Maroon Bells 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

Enjoy!

Yellowstone Trip Log

Our Yellowstone trip log starts with “Hell’s Half Acre” – the place where the movie “Starship Troopers” was filmed. Remember the scenes when troopers fought with bugs in an alien desert? These look pretty darn close, don’t they? :)

Hells Half Acre #3

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Mesa Verde Kiva Panorama

I’m finishing up working on the images from Yellowstone, which I will post tomorrow. Meanwhile, here is a shot of a Kiva that I captured at Mesa Verde National Park:

Mesa Verde Kiva Panorama

Since I did not carry a fisheye lens with me at the time and I had the Nikon 24-70mm attached to the D700, I could not fit much into the frame. Setting up a tripod inside the Kiva was not an option either, since it would take up additional space making it even more difficult to capture this tight space. The solution I came up with, was to lean against the wall and shoot 8-10 vertical frames hand-held @ 24mm using ISO 1600 to create a panorama. One problem, however, was the fact that I would never be able to stitch a panorama if I moved my camera from one side to another (like I typically do) without worrying about the nodal point (if you do not know what a nodal point is or want to find out how to properly photograph panoramas, check out my “how to photograph panoramas” article). What I did was I used the hand-held panoramic technique, which is described in the above link in section 3.3 #10 of the article, where I held the middle of the lens and rotated around it.

As you can see, the panorama stitched perfectly fine!

San Juan Mountains Trip Log – Part 2

This is the second part of our trip log to San Juan Mountains. You can see the first one right here. For the second part of the trip, Lola unfortunately could not join me (she was too busy shooting important events) and I was fortunate to have Sergey accompany me on another photo tour to southeast of Colorado.

Let me start off with my favorite image of the second part of the trip that I captured at Maroon Bells in Aspen (image as is, no post-processing):

Maroon Bells at Night

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San Juan Mountains Trip Log – Part 1

Now that I have just a little bit more time on my hands, I am able to go back and review some of the images that Lola and I snapped when we went for a road trip to San Juan Mountains of Colorado a couple of weeks ago. One thing for sure, it is hard to guess the exact time when the colors will be at their peak and when the leaves are going to fall, since it changes year after year. If the cold hits the mountains early, the leaves change colors early. Although Denver has been pretty warm this fall, I had no idea how warm or cold it would be in the mountains. So without much thinking and guessing, Lola and I quickly packed our gear and took off to see the San Juan County. Our objective was to see Ouray, Telluride and the surrounding areas, test the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G DX VR lenses and come back with good pictures. I think we managed to snap a couple of good images, although the weather yet again did not cooperate much with us.

I hate to admit it, but this was my first time travelling to that part of Colorado – I have been living here for over 13 years! Everybody kept telling me to visit the “Switzerland of America”, but various circumstances and other travel plans have been putting off my trip year after year. This year has been super busy for Lola and I, for which we are certainly grateful, but at the same time, it left very little time for personal and family travel. But there is a big difference between a photography trip and a family trip. We knew that our kids would not enjoy it, so with promises to take them to Micky later this year, we took off.

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