El Dorado County (CA), Sand Fire, Burning Ridge, Silhouette

•July 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment
ISO100, 200mm, f/5.6, 6 sec

2 miles northeast of the Sand Fire from El Dorado County

In the face of a severe drought causing normally dry hillsides to be even more susceptible to fire, it only take a moment of carelessness followed by absolute stupidity to result in over 4000 burned acres and 19 residences destroyed as of Tuesday, July 29th.

The official cause is a vehicle being driven into dry grass.  If information from locals with knowledge of the area are correct, the vehicle ignited the dry grass.  Instead of putting out the fire, the driver proceeded to drive the now burning vehicle through additional dry grass causing more area to begin burning.  With the challenging terrain and dry vegetation, it was not a complete surprise this fire grew rapidly.

At least residents in the area have been lending a helping hand at transporting livestock and pets to the two nearest fairgrounds.  There have also been no deaths.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, spot metering mode, ISO100, 200mm, f/5.6, 6 sec

Amador County (CA), Sand Fire, Burning Ridge, Silhouette.  El Dorado County, CA. July 25, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Diamond Springs (CA), Thunderheads, Golden Hour

•July 23, 2014 • 1 Comment
ISO100, 145mm, f/8, 1/15 sec

El Dorado County, CA

At least I enjoyed these thunderheads for the few moments they were brightly lit by the setting sun.

Continuing the trend of rushing out to setup the camera gear for a few shots of clouds and then packing all the gear back. Eventually the shots make it back to the home workstation for processing a week later, a draft of this blog post is started, but is not completed for another week. Maybe we can blame this on the doldrums of summer where time is spent either outdoors without a camera or time is spent preparing photographs for local competitions.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 145mm, f/8, 1/15 sec

Diamond Springs (CA), Thunderheads, Golden Hour.  El Dorado County, CA. July 16, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Logtown Ridge (CA), Layers Hills, Blue and Golden Hour

•July 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment
ISO100, 145mm, f/8, 1/15 sec

El Dorado County, CA

Taking the moment to shoot the nearby hills off a porch while finding some time to relax.  Sometimes the urge to just enjoy the moment and not take out the camera is overridden by a photographer’s need to capture that moment for posterity.

Two minutes to get the camera gear out of the car, another minute for setup, then one more minute for composition, one shutter snap and it was back to sitting on the porch with a beer.

The challenge is not always about finding the shot.  The challenge is to know when there is a shot and taking your best attempt at capturing it quickly.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 145mm, f/8, 1/15 sec

Logtown Ridge (CA), Layers Hills, Blue and Golden Hour.  El Dorado County, CA. July 09, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Amador County (CA), Milky Way, Tree Silhouette

•July 4, 2014 • Leave a Comment
ISO6400, 18mm, f/4.5, 10 sec

along some Vista Point turnout on Hwy 88

The plan was for a half-day of hiking, potentially some photography along the way, then night photography around Mono Lake.  What was not predicted was the almost 6 hours of hiking (almost 4 uphill and about 2 downhill) involved in trying to reach the top of Lundy Canyon.  About halfway up the scree/talus near the top, the realization kicked in that carry my camera gear up unsteady 45-60 degree angled loose rock was probably not the wisest move of the day.

I suppose for me, I need to commit to hiking or photography for the day.  Not both.  At the very least hike with a photography purpose to get to a specific area or location.  Otherwise, be content with taking a few snaps with the camera phone.

The unfortunate side effect of all that work was that I was in no shape to tough out another 3-4 hours before the light in the sky was completely gone for shooting the Milky Way.  I also realized the slender crescent moon dipped behind the mountain range just a bit too soon after sunset and rendered any composition from the South Tufa area moot.

Thus we are left with a shot taken from a vista point along Hwy 88 in Amador County.  A decent Milky Way shot with the lights from the Central Valley illuminating the horizon.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO 6400, 18mm, f/4.5, 10 sec

Amador County (CA), Milky Way, Tree Silhouette.  Amador County, CA. June 29, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Folsom (CA), Cracked Lake Bed, Sunset Clouds, Long Exposure

•June 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment
ISO100, 19mm, f/14, 6.0 sec

Folsom Lake Auxiliary Dam, El Dorado County, CA

This almost was the shot I wanted to take, but a bit of impatience while shooting this image resulted in much more work in post and the image still did not come out like I envisioned.

With the still very bright sunset skies and clouds contrasted against the dark cracked lake bed, this image screamed for a multiple exposure HDR (high dynamic range) treatment.  At least 3 images are taken, separately spot metered for the sky, the lake bed, and one somewhere in between.  All 3 images are then blended, resulting in very little over/under-exposure for the entire image.  The problem here was I metered “correctly” for the mud, but that caused the skies to be blown out and only slightly brought back in post with Lightroom.  With the light fading fast, notice the 6 second exposure in the EXIF data, the impetus was to move on and find additional compositions.  What should have been done was to take an extra minute to meter for 2 additional shots.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO 100, 19mm, f/14, 6.0 sec

Folsom (CA), Cracked Lake Bed, Sunset Clouds, Long Exposure. Folsom Lake, CA. January 08, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Bridgeport (CA), Tiny Pink Flower, Shallow DOF, Tiny Web

•June 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment
ISO400, 55mm, f/5.6, 1/160 sec

Buttermilk Trail, South Yuba River, Bridgeport, CA

Still an absence of a macro lens in the arsenal, but making due with what is in the camera bag on a recent hike above the South Yuba River.  These tiny pink flowers set against a background of green foliage just had to be captured.

Using a standard kit lens, using the lowest f-stop available (which is not very wide open at f/5.6, but good enough for this attempt), pumping the ISO up a bit to 400, we come up with this image.  A little surprise once this image was view on the computer screen was the little tiny spiderweb spanning across two of the pink petals.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO400, 55mm, f/5.6, 1/160 sec

Bridgeport (CA), Tiny Pink Flower, Shallow DOF, Tiny Web.  Bridgeport, CA. April 27, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Wrights Lake (CA), Corn Lilies, Backlit Setting Sun

•June 6, 2014 • 2 Comments
ISO100, 145mm, f/11, 0.5 sec

Meadow near Wrights Lake, El Dorado County, CA

Green upon green.  How does one photograph all this green?  If you wait long enough, the sun drops below the tree line and filtered light provides a slightly contrasting backlight.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO 100, 145mm, f/11, 0.5 sec

Wrights Lake (CA), Corn Lilies, Backlit Setting Sun.  near Wrights Lake, El Dorado County, CA. May 31, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

 
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