30. August 2015 · Comments Off on Devil is in the the details · Categories: Fall Colors, Locations, Taking care, Travel · Tags: , ,

ADHD makes details difficult, luckily meds make a huge difference ! ¬†Never the less, the devil is in the details ūüôā ¬† Several things have been reminding me of this lately; some post processing work I have been doing, and planning the Columbia gorge trip with others.

The featured image of the Canadian Rockies ¬†was originally to dark and the clouds were blown out. ¬†I had it on my home page after fixing the too dark, but the clouds still bothered me because they were blown out -one of those details I had not taken care of….. This in turn had me looking at other photos from that trip (honeymoon) and finding more. ¬†One of the other details that I found was halo’ing on the sky-mountain edges. ¬†This in turn required me to revisit several other photos to deal with the halos. ¬†In the photo below, notice the halo in the sky along the mountain top.

detail, fixing the brightness

Canadian Rockies

fixing the sky and halos


At least for me, it takes time and practice to notice the details, (and usually a goof or two as well). The fall colors to the Columbia gorge looks like it is a go, and I was talking with some of the others about it. In the course of the conversation, lots of details started popping up that need to be thought about.

  • rain cover for the camera
  • wool socks because our feet are likely to get wet, and wet cotton is awful
  • towel for rain, mist (from sky or water fall)
  • alarm clock to make it to sunrise on time
  • battery charger
  • which rental car agency so that we can have 2 drivers per car
  • AAA maps
  • which flights
  • where to stay for Silver Falls State park

And the lists go on.  But if there is a list, I am more likely to get taken care of than thinking of it, and then forgetting.

The grizzly below does not have a catch light in its eyes. Compare the difference in feel between the image without the catch light and the one with the catch light. The catch light is a small detail, but has a big impact.

After Lightroom

Waking grizzly


detail with catch light

Waking grizzly with catch light doesn’t seem as formidable as without; a warmer friendlier photo.

22. August 2015 · Comments Off on Planning waterfalls and fall colors · Categories: Composition · Tags: , ,

South Lake roadThis October, rather than our regular Eastern Sierra Fall colors trip, we are planning a trip to Oregon for waterfalls with fall colors. ¬†Part of the issue is that for my son and I the Eastern Sierra are becoming cliche; we know where a large number of great shots can be taken from, not that there are not more, new and different ones, but the obvious shots have been collected, in my LR catalog I have over 33,000 fall color frames, clearly not all of outstanding quality ¬†(LoL, ūüôā ). ¬†I have only done the waterfalls twice, one in the spring and once in the fall, it is still new.

Columbia gorge

Columbia gorge

There are the usual logistical issues of where to stay so that we can maximize photo time and have the greatest possibilities. ¬†Then there is the question of what places should we plan on stopping at? ¬†In this case, a guided book is invaluable, and I like Photographing Oregon, the whole ‘Photographing <state>’ series is designed for photographers. ¬†But, beyond the logistics of the trip there are other challenges that should at least be given some consideration. ¬†In sunny California, water, and in particular waterfalls are not common, blue skies are. ¬†How should we shoot a waterfall? High noon doesn’t work! ¬† Waterfalls are difficult to shoot because of the high contrast between the water, shade and sky. ¬†The high contrast makes it difficult to capture an image that matches the experience of the waterfall.

There are several ways to deal with the high contrast so often found when shooting waterfalls;

  • Make sure that everything in the photo is in the shade (implies no sky). ¬†The picture below violates sky clause, however most of the photo is in the shade , but even then the contrast in the water is still large.
    waterfall in the shade

    Silver Falls Park, OR

    This usually means knowing the right time of day for each scene that you want to shoot. (not 2PM like this one)

  • Do not include the sky even if there is direct sun on the scene
    Can require great creativity in composition to make this work.

    waterfall, no sky

    San Jose, Uvas Canyon

    Waterfall without sky

    Waterfall without sky

    Waterfall with sky

    Waterfall with sky

  • Use HDR with bracketed exposures (Usually need 3 to 5 stops on a sunny day)PL20100412-Waterfalls-4519
  • Shoot with overcast skies so that the light is more even, less contrasty, and the colors are richer
    Although I like HDR for the increased range, I have not yet had great success with waterfalls when I include the sky.

    Overcast, rainy day waterfall

    Multnoma, Columbia gorge

I couldn’t resist using this picture of my wife and I. Multnomah falls is a popular wedding location. ūüôā Luckily the Oregon weather tends to cooperate with this aspect!

15. August 2015 · Comments Off on Pretty Pictures · Categories: Philosophy, Photography · Tags: ,

This week, I am not writing very much.  I have spent much of my photo time the last two weeks looking at photos and improving them in the digit dark room with the goal of making pretty pictures.  I have found that over time, my criteria for what is an okay picture has evolved, that I get pickier about what I like.  The pictures today generally have to have better composition, and be better technically (straight horizons, no spots, etc) than what they use to be be.  The net of all of this, is for me prettier pictures.

I saw the opening image in the rear view mirror and stopped.  At the time, and now it is a golden crown.  We were in the right place at the right time; there are many right places and right times if your eyes are open.  Paying attention leads to pretty pictures.

One of the Windows Arches. Seeing the possibility

One of the Windows Arches. Seeing the possibility

The image below is about what the camera produced, but in my mind’s eye there was more than this. The result a pretty picture after a bit of work.

One of the windows arches in Arches National park

One of the windows arches in Arches National park

Here is another variation of the same scene.  Both can be nice pictures.

Another pretty picture

One of the windows arches in Arches National park

When I got married a few years back, I gave away framed photos.  It took a while to frame them, and I had help from a friend.  But what was interesting was that there were lots of different pictures, and pictures that I found pretty were not the same ones others did, so pretty pictures, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The picture below has a very different feel to it compared to the arches above. Each of us is drawn by the feeling that a photo evokes within us.  The massiveness and strong lines can be accentuated with a crop as seen below.

Escalante slot canyon

Slot Canyon

You choose which one do you like best; there is no right answer only what each of us calls a pretty picture.

Cropped version to emphasize the massiveness

Cropped version to emphasize the massiveness

Come on over to Patrick Lynch Photography and see more.

08. August 2015 · Comments Off on Good Photo Hygiene · Categories: How to, Locations · Tags: , ,

“Photography suits the temper of this age – of active bodies and minds. It is a perfect medium for one whose mind is teeming with ideas, imagery, for a prolific worker who would be slowed down by painting or sculpting, for one who sees quickly and acts decisively, accurately.”

by Edward Weston.

Yes, I admit that I had fun with the title ! ūüôā ¬†Photo hygiene¬†is a catchy title for spotting photos. ¬† ¬†It is seldom that there is not some spot on the photo, that while barely visible on the screen stands out like a huge zit on printed photos ! ¬†The lead image has been spotted to remove the worst of the spots, plus a minute or 2 of work in Adobe Lightroom (LR) and Adobe Photoshop. ¬†Here is the original image. ¬†Notice the spots over in the upper left. Distracting at best. ¬†There are also spots in the center. ¬†Below are some blow ups, for the spots I have both a blow up and an enhanced blowup to make the spots easier to spot (pun intended).

Pre photo hygiene

Pre photo hygiene

Lightroom has a nice spotting tool, and easy to use. after selecting the spotting tool, the size of the spot can be controlled with the roller on the mouse.  

Spotting tool used for good photo hygiene

Spotting tool used for good photo hygiene

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† After selecting the spotting tool, there is a a check box at the bottom of the window “Visualize spots” checking the box changes the image. ¬†The result looks similar to the image below. ¬†I have added the red arrows to indicate spots. ¬†The check box makes it easier to find and fix spots, i.e. practicing good photo hygiene. ¬†Use the spotting tool on the image in this mode and when unchecking the “Visualize spots” box the spots are gone. 2015-07-31_3-03-26-Visualize spots Here are the blow ups of the spots.

Spots from the left

Left side spots

Center spot blow up before good photo hygiene

Center spot blow up before good photo hygiene

Enhanced spot

Enhanced center  spots

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† This write-up on the spotting tool makes it sound more difficult than it is by far. The whole spotting exercise is less than 30 seconds of work. ‘Try it, you’ll like it, Mikey likes it.’ Here are the settings that I used after taking care of the spots to add a little more contrast and zip in the photo.

Lightroom Settings

Lightroom Settings

  Point Lobos state park just south of Carmel, Ca is a wonderful location, It was a favorite location of Edward Weston, hence the opening quote. On the day of the photos I was lucky enough to have have fog which certainly improved the image. Pt. Lobos is a locale that I continue to visit. Hint: arrive early, because the park fills up and then you have to wait for someone to leave to enter. Here are some other photos from that day. PL20070323-Big-Sur-3444-27 _MG_3429-255-Edit-3

Point Lobos

Point Lobos

Point Lobos

Point Lobos

  House Building

Cyprus Coast

Harbor seal warming itself

Point Lobos

Point Lobos

See more photos at Patrick Lynch Photography        

01. August 2015 · Comments Off on Learning something new · Categories: Mental Process, Philosophy · Tags: ,
Moon & Planet through the Tufa; learning night photography

Moon & Planet through the Tufa; learning night photography

When I go out to a restaurant, often I order something new, just to see what it is like, but sometimes I have the tried and true (like vanilla ice cream).  Most folks I know have some spark of adventure in them, and some being comfortable.  I drive the same 4 routes to work with very little adventure, whichever way is quickest, but with food, far more adventuresome. What about your photography?  Are you learning something new? Or are you doing what you always do?

Milky way and Cathedral Peak - Learning night photography

Milky way and Cathedral Peak – Learning night photography

I have been curious about night photography, but haven’t done much. ¬†I have thousands of frames of ¬†Yosemite, but when an opportunity came up to try night photography I was up for it (in a literal sense as well; the first night ended about 1:30 AM). ¬†Mostly the photos were duds which is not a surprise for the first time out. ¬† ¬†I don’t particularly like the first image because of the blurriness of the stars. ¬†Here are some of the the things that I learned:

  • Even with a red light headlamp, it causes problems. ¬†Lots of images where the red light either came in through the eye piece or the foreground.
  • Similarly the red light on the camera for when it is active caused problems as well.
    • It helps if there is no one around with extraneous lights !
    • For the next night I put duck tape over active light on the camera (it still shown through, but much less, and didn’t seem to impact the photos)
    • I also put duck tape the second and third nights over the view finder to minimize any light that way as well.PJL20150717-Toulome Meadows-0593-Master-150717-2
  • Dress warmly. ¬†This one I had nailed, even though it was in the 80s ¬†during the day, at night with a breeze it was cold.
  • I also knew about hanging my camera bag from the tripod to help stabilize the tripod from the breeze.
  • I had problems getting the right exposure and focus
    • As can be seen in the the first image, that has the crisp silhouette, but small star tracks getting a good crisp sky, properly lit sky is tricky.
    • Use the fastest lens you have !
    • If you have a foreground, then use 2 different exposures with different focus points. ¬†Use tape to hold the zoom, and focus in one place so that it doesn’t creep during the exposure.
    • Look up ahead of time what is needed for a good night shot (it is different between star trails, and milky way shots) that has ISO, exposure time, f-stop. Nice sites with info:
    • TURN OFF automatic noise reduction in the camera (certainly for Canon, maybe Nikon as well), as it doubles the time needed for every exposure.
  • And of course ! a GOOD tripod.
    Sunset over Mono Lake

    Sunset over Mono Lake

There is still lots more to learn about night photography !  Also lots of interesting foregrounds to use.

What are you learning that is new?  Go look at some photos, and see what you would like to try that is new? Patrick Lynch Photography