Trip to Utah – Part 1

I have been putting off working the Utah images for a while and I have finally decided to finish working on them this weekend. I decided to divide the photos to two parts – the first part is primarily Arches National Park and the second part is Canyonlands National Park. Although we spent about three full days in Utah, the weather did not cooperate half of the time, so we tried to shoot as much as we could while it lasted. On top of that, as I have indicated before, I lost about 8 gigs of photos from the last two days. Hope you enjoy these!

I was initially planning to go through I-70 directly to Grand Junction and stay overnight. After a rock fell on the highway and destroyed a portion of it, we detoured through highway 287. On the way to Grand Junction, we stopped at a local farm to take some pictures of the cows early in the morning:

Cows

This one looked at me, wondering what I was up to:

Cow Looking

Next, we headed straight to Arches. The park was flooded with rain from a couple of days before, so there were plenty of interesting pools in the area:

Pool

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Delicate Arch at Sunset

To be honest, I have not even had a chance to review all images from my Utah trip yet. One of the reasons is probably my frustration over the lost 8 GB of photographs, because of my own stupidity. I was so tired on the day we came back from the trip, that I completely forgot that I had photos from the last two days of the trip stored on one of the 8 GB flash cards that I had in my bag. I copied everything but that one card and never checked all of the images, assuming that I had everything.

Last Sunday we photographed a wedding and I happened to format and use that exact same card that contained the last two days of the Utah trip. I found out about it after we came home from the wedding and it was very painful to realize that those images are gone forever. I had plenty of great pictures on that card, including some sunrise pictures of the Dead Horse Point.

Oh well, next time I will know better!

Anyway, just wanted to show you a sunset image of the popular Delicate Arch that is proudly displayed on all license tags of Utah cars:

Delicate Arch at Sunset

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More Image Samples from Nikon 16-35mm VR

It is taking me a long time to sort through the images and pick the ones I like the most, so I decided to post three quick samples from my last trip to Utah where I shot with the Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0G VR lens. I haven’t had a chance to do any post-processing on these images, so they are exported from Lightroom with the default settings (standard Lightroom sharpening is applied).

If anybody is doubting the sharpness of the Nikon 16-35mm VR, take a look at the full versions of the below images and see for yourself. The images are razor-sharp from center to corner and the very slight amount of softness at 16mm does not bother me at all. Either way, it is way better than the Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D and the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G.

All images are shot on FX (Nikon D700) and the corners will be even better on a DX body.

Nikon 16-35mm VR Sample 1 Resized

Window Arch Sunrise - Nikon 16-35mm VR @ 35mm, 1/200, f/10

Click here to download the full version of the file in JPEG format (4.5 Mb).

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Back from Utah

I’m finally back from Utah after a 7 hour drive from Moab. To get home before midnight, Sergey and I left a little early and missed the last sunset. The weather sucked during the last two days (we had 3.5 days total), so we only had a day and a half of good shooting. Nevertheless, I managed to snap 25 gigs of images, but I already know that most photos are going to be deleted. This was the first time when I tried shooting HDR panoramas in three rows and processing those images is going to be a very long and painful process. We only had time to check out some good spots at Arches and Canyonlands, although we did visit a couple of good spots for photography in the area.

Looking down

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Landscape Photography Post-Processing Tutorial in Lightroom

In this tutorial, I will show you how to transform boring landscape pictures to vibrant and beautiful images in Lightroom in quick and easy steps. I will show you the real benefits of using the RAW image format and just some of the possibilities it gives you to non-destructively enhance your photographs without ever leaving Lightroom. I personally use this technique for post-processing my landscape photography all the time and I hope you find it useful.

Read on if you want to be able to take an image like this (original, as came out of the camera):

Original

and transform it to an image like this:

Final

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Great Falls in Winter

Mukhsim and I spent the second day of my trip in Great Falls National Park (Maryland side). Although the falls are magnificent, the scene does not look so pretty in winter. Leafless trees, dirty snow and pale rocks, in addition to a windy and cloudy day did not present good opportunities for photography. We hiked for about a mile back and forth and finally went back, because I just could not see anything worth taking a picture of. Mukhsim said that the Virginia side looked prettier, but I bet it looks about the same at this time of the year…

Here are a couple of pictures from the day:

Great Falls National Park

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Dunes and Snow – Wallpaper

I have been really wanting to go back to sand dunes and take some more pictures in the winter, but it has been extremely cold out there and driving for three and a half hours one way to freeze myself and my equipment to death is not something I wanted to do. Hopefully it will start getting warmer soon (at least on the weekends) so that I could go back and take some more pictures of this amazing place!

Here is one of the images from my last trip to the park:

Dunes and Snow

It is very odd to see when sand and snow mix together…

And here is the 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper for you to enjoy :)

Yellowstone Pools and Streams

I seriously cannot wait to go back to Yellowstone this year (hopefully it won’t blow up before then, like in the movie “2012″ :)). Jokes aside, Yellowstone is one of the most magical places on Earth and I truly fell in love with it. Here are some of my favorites pictures of pools and streams from the park in large resolution.

Deep Pool

1) Deep Pool 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

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Best of 2009 – Landscapes (Part 3)

This is part three of the “Best of 2009 Landscapes” series. A couple of things that I wanted to mention here:

  • The “Double Rainbow” image is a little soft, because it was still raining when I took the picture
  • Although the composition is pretty much absent, I still went ahead and decided to post the “Fall” photograph as one of the best of 2009, because it has a special value to me. I took the image with a very long lens after an unsuccessful attempt to chase a bird and fired about 8 horizontal shots hand-held. I was sure that those images would end up in being deleted, but after I came home, I tried to stitch them together for the heck of it and ended up having this picture :)

And here are the images:

Aged Colors

1) Aged Colors 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

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Best of 2009 – Landscapes (Part 2)

This is part two of the “Best of 2009 Landscapes” series. Although I’m not an expert on building panoramic shots by any means, I believe these ones came out all right from what I shot last year. One thing for sure – I need to get a good panoramic head, because I enjoyed the process of shooting, then stitching panoramas. The largest panorama I have done so far is composed of over 250 images and it was so darn big, that I had to downsize it to 25,000 pixels. Not sure if I want to do that again, since it took forever to stitch the damn thing, but I think up to fifteen vertical images on a panorama is quite workable :)

Oh by the way, all of the shots below with the exception of “Zabriskie Point” were shot hand-held.

Dune Sunset

1) Dune Sunset 1920×948 Panoramic Wallpaper

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