Tag Archives: USA

Surf along Pacific Grove in California

I visited the coast along Pacific Grove one Sunday morning a couple of weeks back.  It was a cloudy day with a slight drizzle.  I wanted to make photographs anyway.  Usually, I look for landscapes with my wide angle lens, composing near-far images.  Unfortunately, I was just beginning to use my Nikon D700, for which the required tripod L-plate was back-ordered.  I was left with only one choice, my 70-200 telephoto (this lens is mounted on the tripod and the camera hangs off of it).  It was an interesting constraint to work with.  After walking around for a while, I figured out a spot from which I could see the surf hitting the rocks along the coast forming interesting patterns as the water washed over the rocks.  I decided to photograph these patterns.  I shot about 200 frames that morning, each one attempting to time the flow of the water just when interesting patterns occurred.  Furthermore, I decided to make long exposures to capture the sense of movement.  To achieve this, I set the ISO to 200 (the native ISO of my Nikon D700), the aperture to f22 (to get the longest shutter speed possible) and let the camera operate in aperture priority mode.  The shutter speeds as determined by my camera ranged from 1/6 s to 1/13 s during my whole shoot.  The 70-200mm f2.8 lens was mounted on my RRS BH-55 Ballhead on my Gitzo 1340 Tripod.  Furthermore, I had my GPS-1A unit on to tag the GPS co-ordinates to my images and I was triggering using a cable release.  Here are a few images from the session, post processed using Lightroom 5 and Google’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

 

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

Surf, Pacific Grove, CA, USA

 

Marble Canyon, Arizona

Road and hills, Marble Canyon, Arizona, USA

Road and hills, Marble Canyon, Arizona, USA

Making this shot was an interesting experience.  When I was driving on this road, this composition occurred to me.  Stopped the car off the road and walked into the middle of the road to visualize some possibilities.  I tried several heights of the tripod – flat on the ground, at 1 feet height, 3 feet height and my eye level.  At each tripod height, I tried compositional variations and exposure variations.  Finally, this is the composition I selected.  The tripod is about 1 feet high (I think!).  To get end-to-end sharpness, I adjusted the aperture to f22.  Since this is a wide angle image, my 17-35mm f2.8 lens was used.  Of course, I used a remote release cable to open the shutter.  Gitzo 1340 tripod and Kirk BH-1 ball head provided the stability I needed.  My wife was extremely helpful – she stood by the side of the road and alerted me whenever a vehicle was approaching on the road.  All my attention was on the photographic technique and composition – she made sure that I did not get run over by a car.  Every time a vehicle approached, I lifted my tripod/camera and walked out of the road, then tried again.

In search of light …

Light is key.

I was photographing around Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreational area in December 2012.  This image was made one evening.  The light was not spectacular.

Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, Arizona, USA

Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, Arizona, USA

I came back the next morning and this is what I was able to make.

 

Silhouetted rock and warm morning sky, Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, Arizona, USA

Silhouetted rock and warm morning sky, Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, Arizona, USA

Light matters.

Should we consider making black and white images today?

Eastern Sierra Mountains seen from Twin Lakes Road, CA, USA

Eastern Sierra Mountains seen from Twin Lakes Road, CA, USA

Every image has three components in it.  They are lines, tones and hues.

  1. Lines – These are edges of forms.  Curves are included in this.
  2. Tones – Brights parts, dark parts and gray parts.  The brightness of things.
  3. Hues – Color.

In a color image, all these three are present.  In a black and white, only the first two are present.  Therefore, inherently, a black and white image has less information and is simpler.

Consider for a moment – what pleases us in well composed images?  There could be many answers to this question, but one thing commonly heard back as an answer to this, is simplicity.  People love to look at visually simple compositions.  No complications, no distractions.  A clear story told simply.  Since we just talked about black and white images being simpler, it should follow that for many images, black and white could be more pleasing.

Obviously, for an image of an aspen tree in the fall season, black and white would be the wrong choice.  However, for graphical images that don’t rely on its color to tell its story, black and white should be considered.  In my opinion, every photographer should at least look at, “How does this image look in black and white?”, as often as possible.  It is a great way to look at images graphically, thereby enhancing his/her composition skills.