Fall colors of this year

The summer is over and I’m putting together a plan to photograph the fall colors of Colorado. The whole transition from green to yellow, then from yellow to red before the leaves fall off from aspens happens in a very short window of time, lasting 2-3 weeks maximum. If it gets rainy or windy, the leaves fall off even quicker, leaving very little time to photograph the magic of the fall.

It was still about a week early as of last weekend, with the greens getting lighter in color and some trees already getting some yellow tint:

Transition

Shot with the Nikon D5000 and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens.

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Sunrise Reflection

I have so much gear to test, that I’m having a tough time to get out and shoot. Last week I woke up early for some birding at a nearby park and saw this sunrise on the way:

Sunrise Start

The sky redness you see in the above image stood for several minutes before the sun started coming out of the horizon. After taking a couple of shots, I enjoyed the moment of tranquility and as I was getting ready to leave, found this wood piece close-by:

Sunrise Reflection

Too bad there were not any boats around, since it is a small lake…

Captured with Nikon D300 and Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens.

Sunset Storm

Seeing a storm during a sunset is a rare event. As I was driving from a nearby park home with the family, I saw a small rainbow on one side of the sky:

Rainbow

And the below image just a couple of minutes later on the other side:

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Panoramic Photography Tutorial

I wrote this tutorial for those who want to learn about panoramic photography and how to photograph and stitch panoramas using a point and shoot or DSLR camera. The technique consists of two parts – photographing a scene using a camera and then using special software to align and stitch those images together to form a single panoramic image. I will go over both and will show you how to create stunning panoramic images of any subject, including landscapes.

Dead Horse Point Panorama at Sunrise

Dead Horse Point Panorama at Sunrise

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Puerto Rico – Part 3

This is the final part of my trip to Puerto Rico and the last images from the beautiful Old San Juan and the fort. Part one can be found here and part two is here.

The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G is very wide on FX – so wide, that it can fit lots of foreground in the frame. On one side, it is very nice, because you can highlight the front objects, but at the same time it can be a little negative, since it makes background objects look tiny. Here is where a large cannon used to stand before:

San Juan #18

And by walking a little closer to the shore, I got this beautiful view:

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Puerto Rico – Part 2

After a long delay, I’m now trying to sort through some of the images from San Juan. Although I only shot for a couple of hours, the day was just beautiful and opportunities for photography were limitless. Old San Juan is a beautiful place and I was amazed by its history, size, textures and colors.

As far as gear, I mainly shot with the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G and both turned out to be excellent for street and architectural photography. The body was my favorite Nikon D700.

Beautiful streets of Old San Juan:

San Juan #1

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Sand Dunes Sunset Panorama

Looks like I did manage to capture a single landscape image from the last visit to Sand Dunes, where Sergey and I had some fun taking pictures of aerial kicks. I thought nothing good would come out, since it was extremely windy and there was too much dust and sand in the air.

Sand Dunes Sunset Panorama

The above is a panoramic image that I shot hand-held with the 24mm f/1.4G. It did not get stitched properly due to parallax errors, but the bad stitches are not that visible because of the moving sand. The 24mm was not wide enough for a single shot and I knew that it wouldn’t work, but I only took one lens with me and I did not have much choice…

I will soon write an article about Panorama stitching techniques, where I will go into more details about the above problem.

HDR Photography Tutorial

This is a detailed tutorial on HDR Photography for beginners and how you can create HDR images from single or multiple photographs using different exposures.

While I was driving through Rocky Mountains last year, I saw a beautiful sunset. It was so beautiful, that I stood there in awe for a moment, before taking out my camera and attempting to take a picture. I took one quick shot of the sunset and quickly realized that there was too much contrast between the sky and the mountains for my camera. The image came out horrible – the sky looked somewhat fine, but the mountains were pitch black. I only had my camera and my trusty tripod with me, so I knew that I did not have many options. I decided to try out a photography technique known as “HDR” or “High Dynamic Range” and I ended up with the following image:

Combined in Software

While some people really like the above image, others just hate it. That’s how it goes with HDR in general – the surreal look of HDR photographs is not for everyone to love and enjoy, although, there are cases when it is done extremely well. But let’s save this discussion for later and first try to understand what HDR photography is all about.

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Puerto Rico – Part 1

It all started with my flight from Denver to Atlanta, where only about 10 passengers in total boarded the plane. It was an early flight, but a very pleasant one, since I got to sit where I wanted and really enjoyed the flight in a very quiet environment. After arriving to the busiest airport in the world, I thought things would change, but they didn’t – only quarter of the plane to San Juan was occupied, which was once again very nice.

San Juan through clouds

After the plane landed, I headed off to a shuttle that drove us from San Juan to El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, which took about an hour.

The resort looked beautiful and once I got off the bus, I took a picture of a fountain that was sitting right outside the main entrance to the lobby. I really wanted to test the sharpness of the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G, so I took a few shots at different apertures. This one was taken at f/8.0 and I highly recommend seeing the full version here (6.6 Mb).

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How to Photograph Waterfalls

In this article, I will share some tips on how to capture beautiful waterfalls. While it seems like a simple task, photographing waterfalls and making the water look silky smooth can be a little challenging, especially if you do not have the right equipment. Use the tips below to understand how to get this effect and capture beautiful waterfall pictures.

Waterfall - 5 Second Exposure (Shutter Speed)

1) Your goal – slow shutter speed

In order to make the water look smooth, you need to use an extremely slow shutter speed of several seconds or longer. Slow shutter speeds create the “ghosting” effect, making the subject appear smooth and blurry, which is exactly what you want. Fast shutter speeds only freeze the running water, making the scene look too ordinary. Here is an image of falls that I captured with a relatively fast shutter speed of 1/250th of a second:

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