Fall Color in Vermont

Driving through Vermont, always in search for color, these reds, golds and yellows really stood out against the green pine trees. The rustic fence adds a nice “rural” touch to the whole image.
This picture is taken in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Fall Color in Vermont

Posted in Vermont

Two Domes in Rome

When walking around Rome you cannot miss the huge Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II and the Trajan’s Column. The monument is huge and has these massive steps leading up to it. Across the road is a park with some trees. The shade is perfect to take break from the sun and have a refreshing gelato, purchased from one of the local vendors.

Looking around there I spotted these two domed buildings.

Both are churches. The one on the left is the Santa Maria di Loreto and the one on the right has the wonderful name of “Santissimo Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano” (which basically means “The Church of the Most Holy Name of Mary at the Trajan Forum”).

Standing here, if you turn 180 degrees and look down the road, you will see the Colosseum in the distance. Not too far a walk that is certainly worth doing as it passes all sorts of interesting buildings and historic sights. Trouble is or course, if you stop and shoot everything you see, it will take a long time before you get to the Colosseum.

These two domes were shot with my Canon 5D Mark II, 3 exposures, then merged in Photomatix.

Two Domes in Rome

Posted in Italy

The London Eye

If you’ve been to London you will know about thew London Eye. It a huge ferriswheel that takes you on a 30 minute spectacular ride. The rotation is very slow so you never feel like you stepped onto a rollercoaster or anything. It’s a very graceful and smooth ride. Needless to say the views are amazing.

In this shot you can see the Houses of Parliament in the bottom right. The water is the River Thames of course.

The “pods” take up to about 15 people each and there is just ONE red colored one, we happened to ride in the pod next to it so this provided some cool contract again the sky.

You are not allowed to take tripods up so hand-held shooting only. As you are completely enclosed in glass reflections can be somewhat of a challenge, but with some care you can awesome pictures.

I don’t do heights very well, my lovely wife Linda, made me go! I was glad she did though as the smooth ride (and the enclosed capsule) made it very enjoyable and I ended up loving every minute! I’d take the ride again . . .

A true HDR shot would not work here as you are moving all the time, so this is a single shot, but still processed in Photomatix. The high dynamic range of the 5D mark 3 is awesome and I am finding that I can easily pull 2 or 3 stops variation out of a single raw file.

Powered by Qumana

Posted in Travel, UK, Where to Photograph

Sycamore Monterey Beach

This is one of the great beaches along the Big Sur coastline.

Unless you know it is there and look up how to get there you will almost certainly miss it. The exit to this beach is just south of the Big Sur Station and is not sign-posted. The narrow road goes through a semi-residential area and even if you take the exit, you will think it leads nowhere. Keep going however and you will eventually get to a car park with the beach being a brief walk along a tree-covered sandy path.

As you clear the trees, this beautiful beach appears with some awesome rock formations. This arch is one of the highlights and something I had wanted to go back and shoot having first seen it a few years ago.

Linda and I spent several hours there shooting all sorts of interesting driftwood and the other rock formations – all very cool and highly recommened.

This picture is a 5 shot HDR, shot with the 5D Mark 3 and my EF17-40mm lens. The ulta-wide angle is essential here if you really want to get the interesting shots. I LOVE these compositions with something interesting in the foreground and these seaweed-covered rocks provided just that.

Posted in Big Sur, California, Colors and Textures, HDR, Travel

Death Valley Sunrise

Another shot from the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley. It’s early morning and you can see the sun coming up over the distant mountains.

That cloud cover you see prevented any strong shadows from forming, something you often get there in the early morning. On clearer days, the left of that sand dune in the foreground would have been dark, creating interesting contrasts along the ridge of the dune.

I still love this picture though and the color in the sky adds extra interest.

When compared to the previous post, this view provides some context as it shows the wider scene so you can see what this area looks like. Death Valley must be one of the more interesting areas I have ever visited. Do diverse and the landscape can be so intensely alien, but so beautiful at the same time.

This shot was a 3-shot HDR using my Canon 5D Mark 3 and the EF 24-105mm lens. Toned in Photomatix and finished in Lightroom V5.

Posted in California, Colors and Textures, Death Valley, HDR, National Park, Sierra Nevada, Travel

Lonely Footsteps in Death Valley

Something a bit different for today’s post. These footprints were seen on a sandune in Death Valley.

These foot prints weren’t mine and I was on the dunes very early in the morning, before sunrise. But someone had already beat me to it. Doesn’t it make you wonder who it was? Where they went? What they were doing?

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are relatively easy sand dunes in Death Valley to visit, but it does take a bit of a hike to get to them. Getting the tops of them can be quite tough as the sand is soft and your feet just sink away. The effort is well worth it however and the best time to go is early in the morning as the sun can cast long shadows. Some really cool shots can be made here. The dunes are far less interesting on an overcast day as you don’t get the effect of the sun. These foot prints were undoubtedly from some other photographer (who else would be mad enough to get up 4:30 am and hike a mile in soft sand?).

This shot was taken with my 5D Mark 2 and my EF 70-200mm f2.8 lens. I used f/5 aperture to blur the foreground and the background. Edited in Photomatix Pro and fine-tuned the color and vignette in Lightroom V5.

Posted in California, Death Valley, National Park, Travel

Coming into San Francisco

On the ferry coming back from Angel Island, this is one of the views you get.
I really like it for several reasons. First of all, it is not a view you can get unless you are on a boat, but perhaps the best reason is the multitude of colors and detail that are visible. If you take a moment to look at those details, you’ll be amazed at how rich and colorful this wondeful city is. I love San Francisco, but rarely approach it by water.
The picture was shot handheld with my Canon 5D (the “mark 1″) and the EF 70-200mm f2.8 lens.
For, post processing, I toned it in Photomatix, then finished it off in Lightroom V5 with some contrast, whitebalance adjustment and a light vignette. I hope you like the end result.
Coming into San Francisco
Posted in California

The British Museum

Today’s picture is shot inside the main gallery of the British Museum in london.

There is a little window up on the second floor that overlooks this massive area. The window is easy to overlook but I still had to wait my turn as several others had “discovered” this view as well and had to take a picture. The wait was well worth it though as I love this shot and view of the activity below.

Thankfully I had my ultra wide (EF17-40mm) lens with me. This shot would just not have been as dramatic with my other lenses.

As a museum, the British Museum has to be one of the most impressive. It is the home to the famous Rozetta Stone, the piece of rock with carvings that let scientists first decipher the Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

This is a single image taken with my Canon 5D Mark3, which has an amazing dynamic range. Taken on a tripod at 1/30 second f/11. Processed in Lightroom V5

Posted in Travel, UK

Cottontop Cactus in Death Valley

Most people do not realize how beautiful Death Valley can be. The colors and textures can be phenomenal.

While there is not alot that grows there, at certain times of year or in certain locations in the park, awesome subjects can present themselves to be photographed.

This is a Cottontop Cactus and my wife Linda and I found it along the dirt road that leads to the Racetrack. That area seems to be one of the few locations in the park where they grow (we also saw some on the way to Ryiolite, in the Eastern part of the park). Along this road we found quite a few of these cacti and their forms and pink colors just begged to be shot. As you can see, the ground is littered with rocks, which actually adds to the whole scene and provides some additional color.

This is of course an HDR and the process tends to accentuate the colors and textures, but that is exactly the effect I was going for. To get this shot, I used my 17-40 mm lens and got real close and low. I love how the wide angle lets me do this and on a full frame camera (Canon 5D Mark 3), the wide angle is truly “wide”.



Posted in California, Death Valley, National Park, Sierra Nevada, Travel

The best loveseat ever

This could very well be the loveseat with the best location ever, don’t you think?

Imagine sitting there watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean with someone special. The sunset was beautiful as you can see and I missed having my gal by my side as I would have loved to try this seat out for size!

This bench stands along the side of the road that is called 17 Miles Drive in Monterey, California. It is a famous piece of road and goes right through the equally famous Pebble Beach golf course, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. It is also one of the more expensive ones. I understand that a round of golf there will set you back $495 and that does not include the rental of a cart.

You don’t need to spend anything like that to see the beautiful coast line along this piece of road though, which is great as the views are just spectacular!

Posted in California, HDR, Travel