Posts Tagged ‘California’

It’s All About the Light

July 6, 2009

Photo © Copyright Jim M. Goldstein

Looking at Jim Goldstein’s series of photographs of the Sutro Tower, one is immediately reminded of Claude Monet’s famous series of paintings of haystacks, which captured different types of light across different seasons and at different times of day.

Monet painted these haystacks over 100 years ago in Giverny, France, but what Monet knew then is the same thing professional photographers know today: It really is all about the light.

To underscore this point, Jim took photographs of the Sutro Tower from a chosen point throughout the day. Jim includes an animated time-lapse of the tower taken throughout the day. The Sutro Tower is a giant telecommunications tower which is prominent in San Francisco’s western skyline, and despite complaints from locals, it has become something of a city landmark, whenever it can be spotted poking through the fog that rolls over Mount Sutro on most days.

Akin to what we discussed when talking about one of Michael Reichmann’s essays, “The Art of Photography”, found in the Photobird Learning Center, Jim concludes that the best landscape photography occurs during the “Magic Hour”, that time just before and after sunrise and sunset each day when the light is warmer and less direct.

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“Laguna Beach, Ca. 1″ by David Cresine

May 7, 2009

“Laguna Beach, Ca. 1″
© Copyright David Cresine

I think I may need to head down to Laguna Beach sometime soon and check out some of these gorgeous sunsets in person. Is it just me, or does Laguna Beach have extraordinary sunsets? Or maybe it’s David Cresine’s fine photographic work. David Cresine seems to be a mostly point-and-shoot type of photographer, like me, and if there’s any post-processing work in his photos, it seems to be quite minimal.

David Cresine has a photo album here on Photobird.com called “Sunrise, Sunset” in which he shows off nearly three dozen of his beautiful sunset photos. He’s submitted several of them for the Photobird Photo of the Hour, and the one shown above entitled “Laguna Beach, Ca. 1” is one of my favorites, and I’ll tell you why.

  1. First, I love the range of colors in this photo. Sunset photos are typically red and orange, but this one has a stunning, iridescent range of deep blues, light blues, reds, yellows, and oranges. It’s a very colorful image. Almost like a rainbow.
  2. Secondly, the silhouette of the palm trees and the observation deck works very well I think, to provide a sense of depth to the image, giving you the impression that you’re actually in Laguna Beach right now. Everything in the photo is also clear and sharp.
  3. Last, but not least, the composition is great. As I’ve written before, I believe that composition is key to great photos. In David Cresine’s photo above, I like how the palm branches in the lower left are seemingly anchored to the lower-left corner of the frame, and how the tall palm trees are located on the right dividing line of the Rule of Thirds. Most important to me about this composition, and especially because it’s a sunset photo, I like that you can actually see the sun in the photo, just resting on the horizon. In many sunset photos, the viewer needs to imagine where the sun is located based on the color patterns in the sky. In David Cresine’s photo, you can see the source of the color, which I like.

Photobird.com is the easy way to share your photos. You capture and share so many great photos on Photobird.com that we created the Photo of the Hour feature to give you the opportunity to share your very best with the rest of the world.

It’s really easy to submit your favorite photos to be featured on the Photobird Photo of the Hour: Simply view the photo from your photo album and click the “Submit for Photo of the Hour” checkbox. There is no limit to the number of photos you can submit and we always like to get new submissions.

In return for each photo we use on the Photo of the Hour or People Places and Things, you get more storage space for your photo album so you can store more photos. Details are here.

If you’d like to keep some of your photos private while you share your favorite photos with the world, you can read how easy it is to do that with Photobird photo albums in our Photobird Daily article entitled “Show Off Your Photos, and Keep Some Private“.

You may also discuss your favorite Photobird Photos of the Hour in the Photobird forums.

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San Clemente Surfer, by David Cresine

April 9, 2009

“San Clemente, Ca. 41″
© Copyright David Cresine

Surfs up!! Dudes and dudettes, I cannot believe I’ve never even mentioned this totally awesome shot by David Cresine called “San Clemente, Ca. 41” here in the Photobird Daily.  This photo is — well — it’s pretty sick!! The composition is down, the timing is right on, the focus is sharp, the exposure is tight, and the surfer’s dominating that wave. Like I said, it’s pretty sick!! (That means good.)

That said, I’m putting on my wetsuit and I’m off to the beach — to build sand castles. Oh, and take some photos. Maybe I’ll learn to surf one of these days. Totally. I’m serious!

David Cresine’s photo “San Clemente, Ca. 41” is one of the photos chosen for the Photobird Photo of the Hour. You can see more of David Cresine’s awesome photos by visiting his Photobird photo album at photobird.com/davidroy.

Photobird.com is the easy way to share your photos. You capture and share so many great photos on Photobird.com that we created the Photo of the Hour feature to give you the opportunity to share your very best with the rest of the world.

It’s really easy to submit your favorite photos to be featured on the Photobird Photo of the Hour: Simply view the photo from your photo album and click the “Submit for Photo of the Hour” checkbox. There is no limit to the number of photos you can submit and we always like to get new submissions.

In return for each photo we use on the Photo of the Hour or People Places and Things, you get more storage space for your photo album so you can store more photos. Details are here.

If you’d like to keep some of your photos private while you share your favorite photos with the world, you can read how easy it is to do that with Photobird photo albums in our Photobird Daily article entitled “Show Off Your Photos, and Keep Some Private“.

You may also discuss your favorite Photobird Photos of the Hour in the Photobird forums.

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L.A. Never Looked So Good

December 24, 2008

“A Happy Sky Over Los Angeles”
© Copyright Dave Jurasevich

Los Angeles has nice beaches and a few nice neighborhoods and towns in the area, but otherwise, it’s not a place I get excited about visiting, especially with all of the traffic.

But I really like this photo entitled “A Happy Sky Over Los Angeles” that I saw on the Astronomy Picture of the Day. I’ve written before about a few of their photos that I thought you might like as well, such as “From Moonrise to Sunset“, “Planets Ahoy“, and “Aurora Persei”.

In the photo above, I like the relatively smooth landscape of the valley floor, with the thin haze illuminated by the city lights. The city lights dotted at the bottom are cool too. Note that the composition of the land and sky uses the Rule of Thirds.

I like the openness of the image, which makes it feel like you’re there. The silhouettes of the trees in the lower left and in the upper right help give the photo perspective and depth; they act as a frame for the photo, which we’ve written about before in the Photobird Daily.

Finally, the planets and the Moon in the photo are very secondary, at least for me. They’re attractive yet miniscule — overshadowed by the rest of the image. Perhaps even elegantly so. Highest in the sky is Jupiter with Venus under it, and of course, the crescent Moon. The Astronomy Picture of the Day seems to think the two planets and the Moon make a face, with the two planets as eyes and the crescent Moon as a smile. I really didn’t “see” the face there the first few times I looked at the image, and I think it’s a stretch, but it’s a neat idea.

Whichever way you look at it, I hope you agree that it’s a beautiful photo.

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Death Valley Spring Workshop

November 19, 2008

“Playa Reflections 1″
© Copyright Alain Briot

Death Valley isn’t as ominous as it sounds. As long as you don’t go in the summer. That’s why Alain and Natalie Briot are conducting their 5-day Death Valley & Alabama Hills Spring Workshop in the Spring, March 13th to 17th, 2009. The workshop is open to only 12 participants, and there’s only 3 seats left!

Most of the workshop will be conducted while exploring the harsh beauty of Death Valley, while the end of the workshop will be in the Alabama Hills, where you’ll try to find and photograph the location where Ansel Adams created one of his most famous photographs, Mount Whitney from Lone Pine.

The itinerary for the workshop was designed with two goals in mind: convenient travel arrangements and exciting photographic opportunities. The workshop starts each day before sunrise so that you can photograph the sunrises. Each day will be spent exploring and photographing a different part of Death Valley, from Badwater, Artist Point, and Dante’s View, to the Stovepipe Well Sand Dunes and the Alabama Hills.

The workshop is open to participants of all levels of experience. The workshop is about $260 per day, not including food, lodging, and transportation, which are intentionally flexible for you; some participants may want to camp while others may want to stay in a hotel, for example.

Be sure to read more details of the Death Valley & Alabama Hills Spring Workshop at Alain and Natalie Briot’s website, Beautiful-Landscape.com.

And if you just can’t wait until next year and you’re available December 5 to 9, 2008, there’s one spot available in Alain and Natalie’s Death Valley Winter Workshop.

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June Lake, by David Cresine

November 13, 2008

“June Lake 33″
© Copyright David Cresine

I came across David Cresine’s photo “June Lake 33” as I was looking for a photo with some autumn colors for the Photobird Photo of the Hour. (If you’d like to submit your photos for the Photo of the Hour and you don’t yet have a Photobird account, check out our free offer that ends today!)

I really like this photo a lot. In fact, on Monday when I wrote “How to Tell If Your Photo is a Great Photo“, I suggested that one way to tell is if you want to hang it on your wall. This is definitely one of those great photos.

I like the composition of the photo, with the large body of water framed by the green tree on the left, the orange-yellow tree on the right, and the mountains in the background. The colors, sharpness, and vividness in this photo are what really makes it stand out: the crisp blue sky, the calm blue-green water, and the fiery trees. My guess is that a polarizing filter, or a filter of some kind, was on the lens to enhance those colors and the scene. It’s a gorgeous shot.

You can see more of David Cresine’s beautiful landscape photos in his Photobird photo album entitled “Nature and Landscape“. All of David’s spectacular photos can be seen at photobird.com/davidroy.

Photobird.com is the easy way to share your photos. You capture and share so many great photos on Photobird.com that we created the Photo of the Hour feature to give you the opportunity to share your very best with the rest of the world.

It’s really easy to submit your favorite photos to be featured on the Photobird Photo of the Hour: Simply view the photo from your photo album and click the “Submit for Photo of the Hour” checkbox. There is no limit to the number of photos you can submit and we always like to get new submissions.

In return for each photo we use on the Photo of the Hour or People Places and Things, you get more storage space for your photo album so you can store more photos. Details are here.

If you’d like to keep some of your photos private while you share your favorite photos with the world, you can read how easy it is to do that with Photobird photo albums in our Photobird Daily article entitled “Show Off Your Photos, and Keep Some Private“.

You may also discuss your favorite Photobird Photos of the Hour in the Photobird forums.

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How to Tell If Your Photo is a Great Photo

November 10, 2008

“The Vatican”
© Copyright Ed Krimen

The eternal photography question, if there ever was one, is “How can I tell if my photo is a great photo?”

Here are two tests that I use to determine whether one of my photos is a great photo.

1. I ask myself, “Would I like to frame the photo and hang it on the wall?”

Most of the photos hanging on the walls of my house are ones that I’ve taken. Only a few are not. I’d hang more photos, but I don’t have much space left, and I prefer to keep the walls with a minimalist look, like a gallery. I’ve seen photos from other people that I’d like to hang on my walls too. Many of those photos are shown in the Photobird Daily.

Sure, there are some things I’d change in some of my photos, and some I wouldn’t change at all. But I like all of the photos, and that’s why they’re hanging on my walls. I haven’t changed them in several years.

Here’s a list of the photos, in no particular order:

Almost all of the photos are 11×14-inches, except for the last three which are 4×6-inches in one frame.

The photos on my walls that I didn’t shoot aren’t listed above because they’re not digital. Two are from a point-and-shoot 35mm film camera taken by a friend and are in a single frame: one photo is the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset and the other is the Eiffel Tower at sunset. Amazingly, they have the same color tones and they’re from the same roll of film. The other photos I have are from the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.

2. The other test I use to determine whether one of my photos is a great photo is to search on Google and see how many times the photo is linked from other websites or has been stolen.

I’ve never been contacted and asked for permission about using my Vatican photo, shown above, but I’ve seen it used on at least four websites without giving me credit. I haven’t pursued any of these copyright infringers simply because I don’t have the time right now, but it’s something I may do in the future.

Because copyright protection is such a hot topic for photographers, plans for several new, unique copyright protection features have been created for Photobird.com.

You can do a Google image search on “vatican” to see where my Vatican photo has been used without my permission. Here are three of those places:

Neither of the websites even resized the photo, which you can see below; they left it at the original 640×480 resolution.

I’d be curious if you happen to come across any others; please let me know.

Do you have any of your photos hanging on your walls? Please share them in the comments below.

For more ideas on how to tell if your photo is a great photo, see the Digital Photography School forums.

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“Laguna Beach, Ca. 1″ by David Cresine

September 11, 2008

“Laguna Beach, Ca. 1″
© Copyright David Cresine

I think I may need to head down to Laguna Beach sometime soon and check out some of these gorgeous sunsets in person. Is it just me, or does Laguna Beach have extraordinary sunsets? Or maybe it’s David Cresine’s fine photographic work. David seems to be a mostly point-and-shoot type of photographer, like me, and if there’s any post-processing work in his photos, it seems to be quite minimal.

David Cresine has a photo album here on Photobird.com called “Sunrise, Sunset” in which he shows off nearly three dozen of his beautiful sunset photos. He’s submitted several of them for the Photobird Photo of the Hour, and the one shown above entitled “Laguna Beach, Ca. 1” is one of my favorites, and I’ll tell you why.

  1. First, I love the range of colors in this photo. Sunset photos are typically red and orange, but this one has a stunning, iridescent range of deep blues, light blues, reds, yellows, and oranges. It’s a very colorful image. Almost like a rainbow.
  2. Secondly, the silhouette of the palm trees and the observation deck works very well I think, to provide a sense of depth to the image, giving you the impression that you’re actually in Laguna Beach right now. Everything in the photo is also clear and sharp.
  3. Last, but not least, the composition is great. As I wrote earlier this week, I believe that composition is key to great photos. In David Cresine’s photo above, I like how the palm branches in the lower left are seemingly anchored to the lower-left corner of the frame, and how the tall palm trees are located on the right dividing line of the Rule of Thirds. Most important to me about this composition, and especially because it’s a sunset photo, I like that you can actually see the sun in the photo, just resting on the horizon. In many sunset photos, the viewer needs to imagine where the sun is located based on the color patterns in the sky. In David’s photo, you can see the source of the color, which I like.

Photobird.com is the easy way to share your photos. You capture and share so many great photos on Photobird.com that we created the Photo of the Hour feature to give you the opportunity to share your very best with the rest of the world.

It’s really easy to submit your favorite photos to be featured on the Photobird Photo of the Hour: Simply view the photo from your photo album and click the “Submit for Photo of the Hour” checkbox. There is no limit to the number of photos you can submit and we always like to get new submissions.

In return for each photo we use on the Photo of the Hour or People Places and Things, you get more storage space for your photo album so you can store more photos. Details are here.

If you’d like to keep some of your photos private while you share your favorite photos with the world, you can read how easy it is to do that with Photobird photo albums in our Photobird Daily article entitled “Show Off Your Photos, and Keep Some Private“.

You may also discuss your favorite Photobird Photos of the Hour in the Photobird forums.

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Taking Photos in Low Temperatures

January 31, 2008

“Snow 1″
© Copyright David Cresine

You can just about feel the crisp chill in the air after the fresh snowfall in David Cresine’s photo “Snow 1″ above, taken along Big Bear Lake in California.

Whether you’re intending to take photos while skiing, snowboarding, or enjoying a long winter hike, it’s important to be prepared with the right equipment. The folks at fotohacker.com have compiled an excellent list of considerations which might not only result in the perfect shot, but will also certainly keep you warm and safe in the process:

  1. Clothing. Dress in layers. Make sure you have good boots, gloves, and a warm hat. You especially want to keep your head, feet, and hands warm to protect against frostbite and hypothermia.
  2. Food and Water. Bring carbs (trail mix, chocolate, fruit) and water to keep yourself hydrated.
  3. Gear. Be mindful of the environmental rating of your camera equipment. Protect your camera and extra batteries from the elements by keeping them inside your jacket when not in use. Put the camera in a plastic bag to prevent condensation on the camera lens.

We’d probably also add a cell phone and a GPS to this list, just in case.

Any other gear you’d consider essential for a winter shoot?

Be sure to read the article for details to make sure you’ve planned and prepared before heading out to the great outdoors.

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