Friday, October 31, 2008

Zion National Park

I landed in Zion National Park a couple days ago and have decided to stay here for at least a week. The park is large and diverse.... I've barely scratched the surface.

One of the hallmark images in the park is the Watchman peaks with the Virgin River in the foreground. I've worked this a couple times and found some great vantage points.

Today was mostly cloudy so I decided to do some scouting and birding. By freak luck while calling songbirds, a very curious Grey Fox walked right up to me. I ran back to the car, grabbed the 500mm and went back to the same spot. I was able to call the fox back in for a few moments. This was my first time photographing the species. You can bet I'll be going back to try to get more photos of it!

All photos with EOS 1Ds mIII

Photo 1: Watchman and Virgin River
17-40mm; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer and 2 stop hard edge ND grad;
ISO 200; 1s @ f/22

Photo 2: Watchman and Virgin River
17-40mm; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer and a 4x6" 2 stop hard edge ND grad (handheld);
ISO 100; 8s @ f/22
Note: to get a subtle edge with the ND grad, I gently move it around in front of the lens during the exposure.

Photo 3: Grey Fox
500mm; ISO 400; 1/200s @ f/5.6; full-frame

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park

Yesterday morning I photographed the famous Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. This was a fairly challenging scene to photograph because of the high contrast. I spent about 2 1/2 hours shooting the arch and had a particularly enjoyable time. Must be because I'm starting to settle into the trip and relax!

There were some other photographers there and one guy in particular cracked me up.... he was running around with his camera like a chicken with his head cut off. I half expected him to trip and fall into the canyon. Ironically he - and a couple other photographers - left before the light got really good. After that there were just two of us left photographing... me and a very nice guy (and good photographer) from northern Utah named Bob Hills. Be sure to check out his website .

Here are a few of the hundreds of photos I took at the arch.
All taken with EOS 1Ds mIII

Photo 1: Sunbeams through the arch.
24-70mm; Singh-Ray Gold n Blue polarizer & ND grad (can't remember which one)
ISo 200; Aperture Priority mode + 2/3 stops comp; 1/15s at f/18

Photo 2: Wide angle of the arch.
17-40mm; Singh-Ray Gold n Blue polarizer
ISO 200; Aperture Priority mode + 2/3 stops comp; 1/3s at f/22

Photo 3: Self portrait under the arch.
70-200mm; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer; Canon remote cable release/timer
ISO 200; Aperture Priority mode + 1 1/3 stops comp; 1/8s at f/18

Stay tuned for more photos.... I'm in Bryce Canyon NP now and it looks awesome.
Happy shooting!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Freedom 35

I nicknamed this trip "Freedom 35" (yesterday was my 35th birthday).... a takeoff from the Canadian sitcom Trailer Park Boys which you'd have to watch to get the reference. [no drug deals financing my trip, however]

I'm in Canyonlands NP now and just had a chance to catch up on processing some photos from the last 2 days to kill time during the harsh midday light.

Photo 1: Star trails near Canyonlands NP.
A 45 minute exposure using that fancy (albeit expensive) Canon cable release that has the timer, etc built in. Makes shooting long exposures a breeze!
EOS 1Ds mIII; 24-70mm @ 24mm; ISO 800; f4; 45 minutes

Photo 2: Sunrise from Gooseneck Overlook.
This is what I woke up to yesterday morning for my 35th birthday! I hope it looks ok... it was tough to do the post processing in my van.
EOS 1Ds mIII; 70-200 + 1.4x TC (shot at 280mm); ISO 200; 1/15s @ f16; Singh-Ray warming polarizer plus 3 stop hard edge ND grad (4x6") handheld in front of the lens

Photo 3: As I was looking for a campsite last night in the La Sal Mountains near Moab, I stumbled across this big desert scene bathed in surreal light.
EOS 1Ds m III; 70-200mm (at 95mm); ISO 200; 2.5s @ f18; Singh-Ray Gold n Blue polarizer and 2 stop hard edge ND grad

Friday, October 24, 2008

Getting lost pays off!

Arches was packed full of people this morning so I thought I'd work my way up to check out Canyonlands NP this afternoon. I decided on backroads route that I thought was passable and would connect me with the park. It turned out to be an extremely rugged road that seemed to go on forever. As luck would have it, I ended up here... at an amazing overlook of the Colorado River. Instead of backtracking (the road is too rough and steep to continue) I decided to stay and shoot at dusk. It was one of the most spectacular evenings I've ever had shooting landscapes, and there was not another person anywhere around. Life is good!

EOS 1Ds mark III; 17-40mm or 24-70mm
Singh-Ray Gold n Blue polarizer. long exposures after the sun had set!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Delicate Arch

I went to one of the most famous photography locations tonight - the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. It was a fairly strenuous hike to get up there and I was surprised at how many people were there waiting for sunset. Every now and then a tourist would walk under the arch for a snapshot, much to the dismay of the large photographer mob. I was pleased when someone would walk under the arch - it added a human element for scale and improved the marketability of the photo. Immediately after sunset, most photographers took off and missed the fantastic afterglow light. I was glad that a couple of other photographers stayed later, so I had someone to hike back down with. It was pitch black and we had a tough time following the path!

I hope these look ok... I've prepped them on my laptop, weary eyed in my poorly lit van.
Let me know.

EOS 1Ds mark III
Photo 1: 17-40mm with Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer

Photo 2: 24-70mm; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer

Photo 3: 17-40mm; Singh-Ray Gold n Blue polarizer with 2 stop hard edge ND grad;
30 second exposure at f/14
The best light for landscapes is often after sunset (or before sunrise).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Welcome to Utah

After 2600km of driving through a range of hellish weather conditions, I arrived in Utah this evening. I was barely across the state line when I was welcomed by some of the finest scenery on the continent and incredible evening light!

Here are a couple shots I grabbed quickly while on my way to find a campsite for the night.
Both taken along Scenic Byway 128 just north of Moab.

EOS 1Ds mark III; 70-200/2.8; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer and a 2 stop ND grad to hold back the sky on the first shot.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Aerial Photos - Fall Colors and 30,000 Islands

I’m all packed and ready to depart tomorrow morning for the big trip with my mind set on making it to southern Utah in a few days.

Since I’m going to be away for a long time, I thought it fitting to get a classic Ontario shoot in before leaving. So I chartered a small plane out of Parry Sound a few days ago to photograph fall colors and the 30,000 islands of Georgian Bay. We took off right at sunrise and had idyllic weather and vibrant foliage. Here are some of the results.

All taken with EOS 1Ds mark III; 70-200/2.8 IS; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer.

Check back later this week for some pics from the southwest!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Algonquin Park - fall photo workshop results

I've finally caught up on sleep after hosting my photo workshop in Algonquin Park this past weekend. The colors were the best I've ever seen and we hit the peak bang-on. The group was enthusiastic and everybody ended up with some great photos! I managed to sneak in time for a few photos in between working with the participants. Here are some of the results.

Photo 1: Here is our group at the Algonquin Lakeside Inn. Thanks to owner Gary Schultz for accommodating us so well. This is the best place to stay as a base for photographing the park. Photo by Gary with my Canon G9.

Photo 2: Canoeists paddle through morning mist on Lake of Two Rivers.
EOS 1Ds Mark III; 70-200/2.8 + 1.4x TC; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer

Photo 3: Forest canopy of fall colors.
EOS 1Ds Mark III; 17-40mm; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer

Photo 4: Maple leaf and fall colors on the Oxtongue River.
EOS 1Ds Mark III; 17-40mm; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer & 2 stop soft edge ND grad.

Photo 5: Fall colors along the Oxtongue River.
EOS 1Ds Mark III; 24-700mm/2.8; Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer