- My main link for this week comes in a proposal on commercial filming in National Forests. Given how much of the mountain area around me is National Forest I read this with special interest and more than a little concern. Here’s a good summary of the concerns. Media coverage prompted a response to some concerns and extension of the deadline to comment. Those who would like to read the proposal and provide comments can do so here.
- Ever felt sore after a long day carrying or using a camera? I found some tips to avoid injury and strengthen muscles used in shoots.
- The last week introduced Trailblazers: A new series on Powerful Women of Photography.
Why do I go to Phoenix in the summer? It just happens. I will say a convertible in the desert at night was awesome. Outside during the day – not so much. That’s why my shoot with Plush wasn’t outside. During my trip out west I spent a little time in Phoenix between Las Vegas and heading to California. The night I came into town I’d set up a shoot with Plush at my hotel. Here’s some photos from the first part of that shoot. As always you can find more in the member’s area.
A couple of interviews and a look at using architectural tools to take photos like those from a drone this week.
- Apple’s new software for tablets and smart phones comes with a default Milky Way background image. Read an interview with the photographer on 500px.
- Digital medium format is still priced out of reach for most hobbyists. Read about someone who made their own 8 x 10 digital capture back.
- Getting photos with the drone POV without a drone.
Sometimes I come up with a photo concept that I can’t try out right away. Sometimes it’s logistics of getting to a location or the weather. An outdoor shoot isn’t going to happen in January baring exceptionally great luck no matter the idea. A shoot for a specific location may need a mix of timing and luck to have the model and I both able to get there at a certain time. Last spring I’d worked out the idea to mix in a starscape with light painting a nude. I’d planned to shoot this on my spectacularly unsuccessful trip to Arizona last summer, but it ended up one of the many things from the trip that didn’t work out.
Afterward I tried again a few times. At least six more times I’d planned to shoot it, scheduled the shoot, and something had occurred to prevent it. Some were just cool weather or rain moving the shoot indoors. Two noteworthy times trying to shoot the concept fell through came with Leanne that ended with us in a patch of cholla cactus. Another failed attempt would have been following the interrupted shoot with Wonderhussy in Nevada earlier this year.
Even when I finally got things to work out and shoot this concept it didn’t go perfectly. I’d planned the shoot with Keira during the summer for the evening hour turning into night. All day before the shoot the weather had been overcast with scattered rain. Not a daylong washout, but occasional showers from light sprinkles to steady rain off and on. As I left to meet Keira I got a message from her and learned she was currently experiencing a rather heavy thunderstorm. I drove into North Carolina through a steady mix of showers and sun. Near Asheville I traveled through an impressive downpour of rain. Knowing the weather I’d planned for the eventuality we’d end up shooting indoors and packed some items for that case. I’d largely accepted that result during the drive. To my surprise as I neared her location, the clouds had broken up. While not a bright, sunny day, things were at least hopeful. Looking toward the shoot location I’d had in mind also appeared promising. A few minutes before I’d been running through an indoor concept in my head, but now it looked like we’d get a chance to work through this concept after all.
We headed up into the mountains in mixed clouds and sun, more of the former than the latter. We hoped was that the radar and skies just looked promising. It was still mostly overcast, and there was no guarantee that we’d get to try the concept, but there was enough that it would be worth the effort. I’d planned a different spot for the shoot, but that had some disadvantages of distance and terrain making it unattractive, if not dangerous, for a night when a sudden downpour of rain and a thunderstorm were real possibilities. The alternate location offered a usable location with a shorter run to shelter if the weather took too much of a turn for the worse.
Arriving before dark gave time to settle and scout a bit. We shot some early work and it looked like we’d get some decent stuff at first. Those early shots around dusk in fact came out more interesting than I’d expected using the dim light to allow some almost ghostly images of her in a small meadow. As dark came we started some light painting work resulting in the images above. Using a mix of red and white light giving Keira the look of a demon dancing in the darkness. Also in the light painting working with multiple.
While breaks in the clouds appeared giving some hope, it didn’t clear off completely. Then the rain started. A small shower, but it looked to be the end of the night.
Turned out to be the beginning.
The rain was light and fairly brief. Enough to make things damp and cool, but never hard enough to call the shoot. Shortly after it ended, the skies finally began to clear and the stars appeared. After more than a year and several attempts things finally came together.
- A photo found in the rubble after the 9/11 attacks returned to owner after 13 years.
- Some dramatic photo of last week’s meadow fires around Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. I visited the location some of these were taken on my way out of the park back in June this year and hiked to Half Dome earlier in my stay there. I’ve seen photos of wildfires before, and scars of previous fires there this summer, but this is the first time I’ve seen fires burning in places I’ve stood just months before.
- Staying on the geography theme, here is a dramatic view of active exfoliation, the geological process partly responsible (along with glaciation) for Half Dome’s unique look.
- Creating a 3D face model from just video. On my list of things to start playing with sometime is the idea of doing sculpture type work using 3D printing and this would seem an interesting possible approach.
A short list this week. Expect large amounts of iPhone camera related comments next week.
- You should always remain a safe distance from animals while photographing them. Even if you’re a drone.
- See how to make an intervalometer for time lapse with a graphing calculator. Of course it uses a calculator that would cost a lot more than just buying an intervalometer unless you have one lying around.
- A nice article on writing about your photographs. That’s something I have trouble with and like the thoughts and advice here.
Sequoia trees are big. Really big. As in the below photos is a tree that fell over long ago and was big enough to be a home in the early days of California and can be walked through without needing to bend over. The photo below is taken from just inside that tree. I’m standing straight up.
It’s hard to put into just words how massive these trees are. Two in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are among the largest living things in the world. Think about how much wood is inside a tree over 200 feet tall and thirty feet around.
This week’s edition of links.
- DireStudio released a Windows version of the popular tool to get shutter count for Canon cameras last week. A Mac version already can be found in the Mac App Store. Useful if you’re looking to buy or sell a used Canon DSLR.
- Instagram released Instagram Hyperlapse for producing short time lapse videos. Provides simplicity over adjustments and settings, but that makes it appealing for short time lapse videos.
- B&H Photo has published The Canon Lens Experience. It’s a marketing site, but there’s some rather good information here for Canon shooters (like myself). Contains the expected information on lens options, but I found the interviews with photographers from a variety of fields the most interesting.
- The mystery of Sliding Rocks on Racetrack Playa in Death Valley solved. I’d considered visiting here on my trip this summer, then realized I’d be going to Death Valley in late June. So I went to Phoenix instead…