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.

Wrights Lake (CA), Sun Bleached Pine Cones, Fresh Cone

•June 4, 2014 • 2 Comments
ISO100, 72mm, f/8, 0.6 sec

Meadow near Wrights Lake, El Dorado County, CA

I will admit right off the bat that this image concept was not mine to begin with.  The cell phone camera toting hiker with me on this day found this lone colored pine cone among the sun-bleached ones.  After removing some “offending” twigs, it was my turn to snap away.

A nice Christmas card this would make it was mentioned.

Considering the plan the day was to explore Wrights Lake until it was discovered the area would only be open to the public on June 25.  We ended up in a nearby meadow sitting in beach chairs eating sandwiches and fried chicken before spending a couple of hours exploring the patches of corn lilies, the small creek flowing through, tiny wildflowers, and finally this group of pine cones.  A nicely salvaged afternoon.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO 100, 72mm, f/8, 0.6 sec

Wrights Lake (CA), Sun Bleached Pine Cones, Fresh Cone.  near Wrights Lake, El Dorado County, CA. May 31, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Fannette Island (CA), Island Tip, Bay, Monochrome, Long Exposure

•May 28, 2014 • 2 Comments
ISO100, 135mm, f/11, 10 sec

Fannette Island, Lake Tahoe, CA

The advice from seasoned landscape photogs is usually along these lines: you’re out of bed before the sun rises, sleeping a few hours in the middle of the day, and shooting when everyone is having dinner. All because you’re chasing and setting up for the best light.

Of course this all goes for naught when you are caught enjoying a large pizza for an early dinner and arrive too late for sunset and 3 hours too early for the stars to shine brightly.  At this point, it is best to enjoy the scenery, make a few long exposure photographs and pack up.  There are still slices of pizza and craft brews to enjoy back in the room.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO 100, 135mm, f/11, 10 sec

Fannette Island (CA), Island Tip, Bay, Monochrome, Long Exposure.  Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA. May 17, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

 
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