It’s not that often that I use exposure blending anymore because many of my clients want a single capture image. In addition though, Adobe’s Lightroom 4 software has such a robust RAW processing engine now, that I can usually get detail out of both my shadows and highlights if I expose in the proper area of my histogram. Like all of photography though, there are many solutions for many situations, and the technique that I highlight here is one of the best that I have found to deal a high dynamic range when my subject rises above my horizon in my composition. I hope that you find it useful in your workflow when processing images as well.
If you have any suggestions for additional tutorials that you would like to see, don’t hesitate to send me an email.
The sun reaches the horizon at the end of another day on the Hawaiian Volcano of Mauna Kea.
Hawaii in November equals RAIN. Then, more rain. And then, some more rain. What most people don’t understand is that the island of Hawaii has two massive volcanos that rise over thirteen thousand feet bisecting the landmass and thus bisecting the weather. These peaks are so high that in “man bar speak” they would be classified as fourteeners. Everything grows when men get drunk, come on you should know that by now. These two volcanoes are so massive that they get snow year round. This is great for me as a skier, but even better for me as a photographer. You want unparalleled light, just head directly up to the dividing line and you will find the light that causes a true photography addiction.
During my recent Hawaii workshop with Gavriel Jecan it rained nine out of nine days, and out of those nine days, we only missed a spectacular sunset once. The sea was a bit angry on that particular day and almost the whole island had rain and clouds. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Always remember though, weather equals drama and drama equals amazing photographs. Well, it’s time for me to board my private jet back to the mainland, re-enter society with the minions, and work harder to make enough money to pay my bills next month. Yes, I was fortunate enough to hitch a ride on a friend’s private jet into and out of Hilo for this journey and man that was an experience. Also remember, that reality can sometimes come crashing down upon you when you least expect it. God it is going to suck flying coach after this trip.
The colors and shapes of a piece of driftwood found along the coast of Second Beach in Olympic National Park Washington.
Recently, I taught a workshop with Art Wolfe, John Greengo, and Libby Pfeiffer. We had a wonderful time running and hiding under a sitka spruce as it rained like never before on Second Beach just outside of La Push, Washington. At times, the grand landscape is not always available and instead of focusing on what it should be, we need to focus on what is available to us in every given moment. Nature is fleeting, changing, and always moving.
Art and I walked up to a pool of standing water that was covered with sea foam that was creating swirling patterns that looked like a Van Gogh painting. In the time it took Art to remove his camera from his back pack the image was gone, completely dispersed by our wind driven rain. Looking around for something else, I managed to find a similar patterning in a pile of drift wood. I captured a few images before it started to rain in sheets and drove even the heartiest of soles to cover.
About an hour later, in an attempt to redeem herself, mother nature turned off the rain. This led to all of the workshop participants cautiously proceeding out from hiding to shoot more imagery. What she failed to tell us in the memo is that this was going to become one of the most amazing sunsets myself, Art, John and Libby have seen in close to a hundred combined years of experiences.
The moral of the story is: never ever talk about fight club. Wait, sorry, never ever walk away bummed that there is nothing for you to shoot. Look around you, even at your feet, possibly under the tree you are hiding, and if even that fails wait and give it time. Your reward could be worth more than a thousand words.
A summertime sunset over wildflowers and Mount Rainier national Park.
The Moon rise colors Mount Rainier in Alpenglow as if it were day time.
Those who know me best know that I have been friends with Art Wolfe for some time now. He was a huge inspiration before I even had a career in photography and now our relationship has turned into a great friendship. I have spent the last 10 days with him traveling around Washington, sometimes photographing, sometimes driving (12+ hours straight one day), sometimes working and more often than not, laughing. I can count on him to make me laugh to the point that my stomach muscles are sore by time our trips are over. He invokes a drive in me to work harder and push my creativity farther than ever before. Sitting and watching the world pass you by is not an option for Art nor is it even in his vocabulary.
Here are two more photos from Mount Rainier National Park. The star trails image resulted in only 3 hours of sleep in order to be at Reflection Lake for sunrise. The high pressure that has been in place in the Pacific Northwest gave way briefly one evening to produce enough clouds for an unbelievable sunset. I now get to go home for a month, shoot a bunch of architecture projects, and catch up on running my business before it all starts again in Grand Teton National Park when Art, Gavriel Jecan, and I will be leading a workshop together. The whirlwind never stops…