Searching For Gold

I had the good fortune to join Nasim again this year on his annual Landscape Photography Workshop in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. While I regularly communicate with Nasim and others from Photography Life via email and phone, time and distance do not afford us with many chances to meet in person. I also appreciated the chance to spend some quality time with avid Photography Life readers, who share an appreciation of photography, camera technology, and the outdoors. Their comments, suggestions, constructive criticism, and support have helped make the Photography Life site better over time. Last year’s adventure allowed me to meet some wonderful people and share some memorable moments. I expected no less from this year’s trip.

Wilson Mesa Ranch Circle

1) San Juan Mountains

The San Juan and Uncompahgre forests offer an incredible panorama of Aspen and fir tree covered woodlands against majestic mountain peaks. Telluride, Durango, Silverton, Ouray, and Ridgway are the main towns in this scenic Southwestern Corner of Colorado. These towns have their roots in mining operations dating back to the mid-to-late 1800s, when gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, and precious minerals were discovered in the region.

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Interview with Kelli Lyn

Today I want to present to your attention a person who is not just a great photographer but also an amazing humanitarian who has an “eye” for that perfect detail and a helping hand to those in need. I am often drawn to people who I think have a soul; photographers who have set a greater mission in front of them than just clicking the shutter away. I think such quality helps people to be more grounded and in touch with the reality.

So I chose Kelli Lyn

Kelli Lyn Feature (6)

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Guest Post by Emily Fagan on our Landscape Photography Workshop

This is a guest post by one of our Landscape Photography Workshop participants, Emily Fagan (check out her excellent RV blog), who sent me the article along with some pictures, after attending our workshop earlier this year. She sent it to me a while ago, but after getting swamped with too much work and trying to balance things at home with a new baby in our house, my mailbox eventually got flooded with emails and I did not have a chance to get to it for a long time. I hope you enjoy this guest post and get to participate in our future workshops!


Landscape Photography Workshop in Colorado’s Peak Fall Foliage

Major Topics Covered:
– Sunrise tripod shot with manual camera settings
– Use of polarizing and graduated neutral density filters
– Composition using leading lines, triangles and the rule of thirds
– Use of hyperfocal distance to maximize depth of field

Location:
– West Dallas Creek, Dallas Creek and Last Dollar Roads between Ridgway and Telluride, Colorado.

Overall Impression:
– A fantastic 5-star day of photography and instruction in one of Colorado’s most scenic locales.

Workshop Participants #3

Getting Started: The Morning Shot

In the cold pre-dawn hours of September 22nd, 2012, my husband Mark and I crawled out of our warm bed and piled into our truck with all our camera gear and a couple of peanut-butter sandwiches to take part in Nasim Mansurov’s Colorado Fall Foliage Landscape Photography Workshop. Mark and I each take about 15,000 photos per year with our twin Nikon D5100′s, but this was our first photography workshop.

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Mountain Photography Tips

Starting from this month, I am reaching out to the best photographers in Colorado, asking them to write guest posts on our website and showcase their work. There are some amazing masters of photography in Colorado, with various backgrounds in landscape, travel, portrait, fashion and wedding photography. My goal is to not only support our local photography community here, but also to provide valuable information, tips and inspiration from the best in the industry. One of the photography masters is Jack Brauer, who I reached out to about a week ago, after spending a good half an hour enjoying stunning landscape photography on his website. Below is a guest post that Jack was kind enough to write for us, with some very important and useful tips on landscape photography. It turns out that Jack is not only a phenomenal photographer, but also a great educator and story teller. I am sure you will love his article as much as I did. Enjoy!


Originality in the Grand Landscape

I am a mountain photographer. Mountains are my greatest passion; whether I’m hiking, camping, snowboarding, photographing, or just sitting there soaking in the view, mountains make me feel more alive and inspired than any other kind of landscape, and definitely more than any city. For that reason I live in a small town in southwest Colorado, surrounded by the mighty San Juan Mountains, an endless sea of peaks that provide a lifetime’s worth of exploration and photography.

Bridge of Heaven Tent
(Winter camping on a high ridgeline above my town of Ouray, Colorado. Olympus E-420, Zuiko 7-14mm, 30 sec exposure)

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Colorado Wildfires

It has been unusually stormy this summer so far in Denver. After all the mega hail storms, nasty winds and lots of rain, we are now experiencing very hot temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. And with the lack of snow in snow peaks this year, storms and high winds sparked up wildfires in various places, destroying forests and people’s homes. So far, it has been one of the worst seasons for Colorado – wildfire near Fort Collins alone has already consumed close to 60 thousand acres of woodland. Overall, it is a pretty sad situation for us Coloradans…

Sunset Lamps

This terrible weather and sudden changes in temperatures are creating unusually beautiful skies… I captured the above image a couple of weeks ago, right after we experienced golf-size hail in some areas of Colorado.

Captured with the Canon 24mm f/1.4L on the Canon 5D Mark III. Lightroom 4 adjustments: Clarity +50, Saturation +15, Camera Standard profile.

McClure Pass in Fall

I have been so busy during the last couple of months, that I have not had a chance to work on any of the images from my recent trips. October is always a busy month for me, because I try to travel as much as I can in Colorado and Wyoming to capture the fall colors. This year was different than the previous several years, because we got some heavy snow in the mountains right when the leaves started changing colors. Because of this, many of the areas lost a lot of leaves very quickly. The window of opportunity to capture the beauty was only about 5-7 days and unfortunately, I was a little late (but more on that later).

Here is an image of fall colors right before we got hit with the heavy snow:

McClure Pass in Fall

The photograph was taken with the Nikon D7000 and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lens, without any filters. Actually, I could not use a filter, because the image was shot as a panorama (24 vertical images). As I have explained in my “how to photograph panoramas” article, using filters while photographing panoramas is a bad idea. Although the lighting conditions were ideal with the sun directly behind me, I was actually surprised by how the D7000 captured the scene. Its dynamic range is indeed very impressive and it just makes very colorful and beautiful images.

Post-processing in Photoshop took me about 5 minutes after stitching the image. I first started out by cropping the stitched image, then brightened up the shadows a little and adjusted the levels. Sharpened it up by around 40% in Nik’s Sharpener Pro, then saved and closed the image. The image popped up in Lightroom, I then increased the clarity a little to bring out the clouds and the trees, then exported from Lightroom at 80% resolution, adding our watermark using the same technique described in my “how to watermark a photo in Lightroom” article.

Worldwide Photo Walk 2011

Worldwide Photo Walk 2011 Logo Scott Kelby’s Fourth Annual Worldwide Photo Walk will take place on October 1 & 2, 2011. As you may already know, I have been leading the Photo Walk for the past 3 years, since the beginning, in various locations in Colorado (see Photo Walk tagged posts). The photo walk is a lot of fun and it is a great opportunity to get to know other photographers in your area and network with them. It is also a unique way to learn from your peers while taking pictures, so I could say that it is almost like a photography workshop. On top of all this, if Scott likes your picture, you could win a hefty prize with all kinds of goodies worth many thousands of dollars.

I will be leading my group in Boulder, CO on Sunday, October 2. If we have the same attendance level as last year, the walk will be full pretty soon, so sign up while there is availability (the Photo Walk is 100% free). I have not had a chance to fully plan the day yet, but it will be a lot of fun for sure and we should capture some beautiful shots with some fall foliage. We will be around the Pearl Street Mall area and we will dine at one of the restaurants there.

Why should you sign up for the Photo Walk? See my “Reasons to join the Worldwide Photo Walk” article I posted last year. If you cannot sign up for my photo walk, find another one close to you and join. If you cannot find one, then sign up to be a photo walk leader and invite your photographer friends!

See the winning photographs from the last year walk here.

Here is a photo of our group in downtown Denver last year:

Photo Walk 2010

Workshop Schedule Update

We just got back from a two week vacation in Florida and we are back on track with a workshop schedule update for free workshops coming up during the next few weeks. The dates are now finalized, with the following information and schedules (please see the bottom of this page on how to sign up for a workshop):

May 29 – Introduction to Photography

    Location and time: Roxborough State Park, May 29 @ 9 AM
    Update: We are meeting in the parking lot of the park

  1. The Exposure Triangle (Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO) and White Balance
  2. Introduction to DSLR cameras and lenses
  3. Camera modes and how to shoot in manual mode
  4. Metering modes and exposure compensation
  5. Autofocus and manual focus operation
  6. Taking sharp photos
  7. Shutter speed and creative photography
  8. Shooting scenarios (portraits, landscapes, action, etc)
  9. Basics of composition
  10. Depth of field and bokeh

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Transformation v2

Are there places you go to several times a year? If you are thinking about the next photography project, I suggest finding something interesting/unique and then coming back to the same spot at different times of the year to photograph the location. Two of the three images below were shot by accident at the Rocky Mountain National Park – I just liked the way the four trees leaned to the left and were all very unique and beautiful in their own way. I photographed the image in the middle first, then when I was at the same location in fall, I happened to photograph those four trees again. I was reviewing my images in Lightroom one day and noticed that I have two different images of the same trees – not sure how I even remembered them. Next time I visited the park in winter, I went to the same spot and took another picture (left) to add to the collection. Now I need another image in the spring and I will have a complete set :) Note that all three images were taken at different angles, which is why the backgrounds appear so different.

Seasons

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!