Tag Archives: 300D

The Colors of Autumn

Summer is here, and it has been hot and humid!  It was about this time last year when I said I can’t wait for Fall, and I’m going to say it again – I can’t wait for Fall!

Bishop Creek, Fall Color

There’s just something about Fall.  While it can still be hot from time to time, temps are on the way down.  I love the crisp late afternoon and early evening air.  And then there are the trees!  This quote from Albert Camus sums it up for me – “Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower”.

Since I’m not a poet and can’t truly express in words how I feel when I’m standing among the red, orange, and golden trees of the Eastern Sierra, I put together a little slideshow.  These are images from a few years past, but should give you a good idea of what you could see and experience yourself.

Here’s the direct link to the video on Vimeo in case you’d rather watch it there –
The Colors of Autumn

The photos in the video were taken using my Canon 300D (the original Digital Rebel), and 18-55mm Canon EFS kit lens.  I really liked that camera.  It was simple to operate, and produced some very pleasing results.  The only limitations it had at the time were due to my mistakes.  It may be obsolete and out of date now, but back then it was more than enough camera for me.  No need for touch screens, wifi, or geo-tagging.  Just a good reliable camera that didn’t get in the way of making images.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the video:

Bishop Creek

Colorful Aspen Leaves

Colorful Bishop Creek

I hope you enjoyed the video, but more importantly, I hope you are inspired enough to get out there and capture your own Fall Color memories.  If you are in California, you don’t need to go to the New England states, you have plenty of color right here.  And if you’re in the New England states, than there’s really no excuse, get busy!

That’s it for this post.  I need to start getting my camera gear ready for my own trip back to the Eastern Sierra (just a couple of weeks away).  Until next time – Happy Shooting!

Rediscovering Old Photos

Bishop Creek, Before & After

If you’re like me, you probably have hundreds, maybe even thousands of images you’ve created over the years.  Some are good, and many are not so good.  So, what do you do with all of them?

One of the things I’ve been doing is going back and looking through them.  Just looking at them brings back memories of the time and place, and I can almost feel the experience all over again!  It’s interesting the flashes of memory that comes up when viewing an image –  I can almost remember exactly what I was doing and thinking when I was actually there.

As time goes on, and I kept accumulating images on my harddrives, I’ve also been learning new post processing techniques.  Some of my “not-so-good” photos are finding new life!

Before I share one of these techniques, I’d like to say something about gear, you know, “the stuff”.  The photos I’m showing are either from my Canon Rebel (300D) with it’s whopping 6 mega-pixels, or my Canon Rebel XT (350D).  They were also made using either the kit 18-55mm or 70-100mm lens, nothing fancy.  It’s my opinion that you should learn to use what you have rather than focusing on every new camera that comes out.  Learn what it takes to create a great image first, and let the gear follow.  Developing your eye, and knowing how to make the camera you have capture that moment, will go a long way towards helping your grow as a photographer/artist rather than chasing the gear.

Off of the soapbox and back to the photos.  Here’s the “Before” photo from above:

Bishop Creek, original

This one is from my Canon 300D with 18-55mm lens, ND filter, and tripod.  Overall it’s not bad.  A little blah as far as color and contrast, but not bad.

And here’s my newly processed version:

BC_FAD_web

The adjustments really make the image pop (I think).  Lots of great color and contrast, and especially detail.

Here’s another more extreme example.  The before image is very blah, washed out, over exposed, etc…

Fall Colors, Bishop Creek Original

As you can see, it’s not very good.  I did get the motion blur I was looking for with the rushing creek, but everything else was overexposed or lacked contrast.

The after is a big improvement:

Fall Colors, Bishop Creek

One of the adjustments that I make is to add some contrast.  In photoshop the screen looks like this:

Photoshop Levels Screenshot

In the screenshot above, you can see the photo and the tool I use to increase contrast, the Levels adjustment tool.  You see a histogram of your image representing the highlights, midtones, and shadows.  There are sliders along the bottom that you can use to adjust each of these.  I adjust them while watching what it does to my photo.  Once I’ve got it right where I like it, I close the tool.  Most other photo editing programs have similar tools for adjusting contrast.

Next is a link to a Youtube video.  Unfortunately this is for Photoshop users.  I’m sure there are similar techniques for the other programs out there, just search in Youtube for tutorials on your particular program.  Here’s the link – Add Amazing Details.

Searching the web for post processing tutorials has led me to what looks like a great resource if you’re a Lightroom user.  Check it out – Lightroom Killer Tips.

There are a lot of great resources online for whichever editing program you choose to use.  Most of them are free, you just have to do some searching to find them.  Personally, I’ve learned a lot from them.  Maybe you will too.

I’d like to leave you with this quote:

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” ~ Ansel Adams

In closing I’d like to say that it may be worth going though some of your old photos, the ones you have stored on your harddrive.  There may be some potential there, you just need to learn a few of the new tricks out there to give them new life!  If you find anything helpful, share it with us!

Until next time, Happy Shooting!

I Can’t Wait For Fall!

One of the things I really look forward to each year is changing seasons, especially from Summer to Fall.  Where I live we get some crazy temperature swings while going through this transition, but I love it just the same.

What I really enjoy about this time of year is heading out for a photo adventure.  There are many different places to go, but the Eastern Sierra is at the top of my list.  I realize that there’s quite a show in the Eastern States, but the Eastern Sierra does a pretty admirable job too!
I started really paying attention to the Fall colors in the Eastern Sierra about 6 years ago.   My wife and I made a special trip to see all of the brilliant color for ourselves.  Back then I had my trusty Canon Rebel 300D, my 1st DSLR.  At the time it was quite advanced with it’s 6 megapixels and interchangeable lens. I could add filters, use an external flash, and make very respectable prints from 4×6 to 8×10. In case you’ve never seen the 300D or forgot what it looked like, here’s a picture of one:

When we arrived at our destination I could hardly believe how beautiful it was!  Stunning color everywhere.  The Aspen’s were various shades of yellow, orange, and red.  I knew this was going to a special trip with many photo opportunities!  We started out in the high country above Bishop California, in and around Bishop Creek:

Fortunately, we were not limited to the Bishop Creek area.  The color was everywhere there were Aspen tree’s in the Eastern Sierra.  We explored the June Lake Loop and the Lundy Lake area.  It was interesting to see so many other photographers running around. This was one time of the year when the Fishermen were outnumbered by another group of outdoor enthusiast.

With regards to my photography, I didn’t really do anything special.  I did most of my work back then in jpeg format, and almost always in Aperture Priority mode (meaning I would select the aperture and the camera would set the shutter speed).  I would set my ISO to 100 to eliminate the potential for any noise in my images.  One of the things I was religious about was using a tripod.  I have a big, heavy Manfrotto.  Yes there are newer models out that are not so heavy, but they are expensive and my old Manfrotto is rock steady, so I’ll save my money and keep using it!  The last thing I did was using neutral density filters when I was around water.

Neutral density filters are a handy tool when you want to reduce the amount of light reaching your camera’s sensor.  In this case I wanted to use a long shutter speed to cause the moving water to blur (inferring motion), but didn’t want to overexpose my image.  You can get neutral density filters in varying degrees of light blocking power.  Be sure to read the description because each maker seems to have their own terminology regarding how much light (usually measured in Stops) will be reduced.  Here are a couple of examples of using a neutral density filter to blur moving water:

There’s a final tip I can share, something that I’m also religious about!  While you can try taking pictures all day, there are really only 2 times of the day when you’ll have the best light (sometimes only 1 time depending on where you are).  If you want to nail that contest winning image, especially in the Eastern Sierra, you’re going to have to get your butt out of bed!  Magic happens when the sun is rising over the White Mountains and you see the Alpen Glow on the Eastern Sierra.  I’ve started many of my photo outings at 5:00am (depending on where I was going).  I wanted to get to my spot, and be set up and ready to go when the show starts!  And I must say that I’ve rarely been disappointed.  Some mornings may be a little better than others, but stop and look where you are!  You are in God’s Country and it doesn’t get much better than that!

Here are a couple links to the places I get most of my photo gear.  You can go there and search on neutral density filters, or Manfrotto tripods, or anything else having to do with photography:

Adorama: http://www.adorama.com/
B&H:  http://www.bhphotovideo.com/

Be sure to visit my gallery (click the Photo Gallery link at the top of the page).  Until next time, Happy Shooting!