The above new image, Incoming Tide is a result of making the most of what you have to work with, both in the equipment you have on hand and the subject which presents itself. I was walking down Garrapata beach along California’s stunning Big Sur Coast during a recent photography workshop I was leading in the area. I generally don’t make my own photographs while I lead the workshops as I want to dedicate as much time to my participates as possible and because of this I don’t carry my tripod with me, just the camera so I can demonstrate certain things in the field.
As I was making my way from one student to another I noticed the waves crashing on the beach and really liked the soft cool pastel tones and the patterns that were being made. The sun had yet to rise and I didn’t have my tripod with me so I decided to try a motion blur image where I move the camera in a certain direction during the long exposure to create an abstract image focusing on just tone and texture.
This is the result and I think it turned out pretty nicely considering it’s a major departure from my usual images. I have a fine print of Incoming Tide coming soon, a 30×30 gallery wrapped canvas that I’ll finish by brushing several coats of lacquer onto which will help to protect the image but also add a beautiful texture from the hand laid brushstrokes. I’m excited to see it!
Incoming Tide is available in sizes from 8×8 to 50×50 and would make the perfect compliment to any home or office decor. Purchasing information can be found here. Art consultant or Designer? Please contact me for a quote based on your project’s needs, 209-541-1815 or email@example.com
Nikon 18-200mm VRII lens
Minor Tonal Work in Photoshop CS5
I announced my new images for 2013 in my last post and mentioned I would feature each of them individually here on the old blog as time goes by. I’m excited to present to you the first of these new fine art images entitled Emergence. I was in Yosemite National Park to teach my annual “Winter in Yosemite” workshop (always a lot of fun btw, you should sign up for the next one), but did have an opportunity to do any shooting myself as I was too busy with my wonderful participates. On the morning after the workshop ended I woke up and headed into the park to find that it had snowed overnight and a beautiful fresh layer of snow was covering the valley. As I turned a corner El Capitan emerged from almost out of no where, covered powdery snow and framed by snow covered trees at it’s base. I jumped out of the car and spent a few minutes finding a composition that perfectly showcased each element I wanted to feature, the snow covered trees, El Capitan and the cloud filled sky.
As I worked the scene I made a number of images in both vertical and horizontal formats but eventually thought a horizontal image was the most powerful. The real struggle came in the quickly moving clouds the formations of which changed with each image made. This was my favorite. The image also works very well as a black and white and I struggled for some time on which version I was finally include in the collection. When the dust settled I decided to include both as I found myself second guessing my decision whenever I made one. I’ll post the black and white version in a few days and let you decide which is the better of the two. Until then I hope you enjoy Emergence.
Emergence is available in sizes from 11×14 to 30×40 and would make the perfect compliment to any home or office decor. Purchasing information can be found here. Art consultant or Designer? Please contact me for a quote based on your project’s needs, 209-541-1815 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikon 18-200mm VRII lens
Cokin 2-stop graduated nd filter
Manfrotto Tripod and Head
Minor Tonal Work in Photoshop CS5
Tags: Adventure, america, art, California, Eastern Sierras, el capitan, El Portal, Fine Art, home decor, horizontal, landscape, Mariposa, national park, nature, park, photo, photography, scenic, snow, travel, trees, west, winter, winter workshop, workshop, Yosemite, Yosemite Village
It’s been some time since I’ve released a new group of images, 2011 in fact. Over the last year and a half I’ve occasionally shown a new image or two on different social media sites but nothing with any type of regularity. The reason? Well actually it’s because of my workshop schedule. I’ve been teaching a lot over the last year or so and haven’t had time to travel much outside of where my workshops led me. During the workshops I try to dedicate most of my time to my students so I don’t shoot much myself outside what I may do in the days leading up to or just prior to the workshops, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been out there shooting.
Over the last year and a half I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful locations in the western United States, including Yosemite, Mono Lake, Zion, Grand Teton and more while teaching both group and private workshops. During that time I have managed to create a number of images that I’m very proud of and excited to share with you now. As I look at the images I’ve noticed two things, first many of the new images I’m making are ending up in a panoramic format and second I’m starting to regain my passion for black and white. Neither of these things are something I’ve intentionally set out to do but are coming about organically for one reason or another, it’s an interesting change in the way I’m seeing the world of late and something I’m assuming I’ll continue to explore in the future.
Ok, that’s enough talking. Below are my official 2013 fine art releases, a few you may have seen before but most are just seeing the light of day. Over the coming days, weeks or months (how knows) I’ll feature each one individually here on the blog and on other sites along with the story of how they were made but until then I hope you enjoy them as a whole. If you would like to view each image with it’s story you can head on over to the new release portion of my website.
- If you’re a collector and would like to own a print of any of these images please contact me or order online by viewing the image you enjoy via the link above. Images are available as fine prints in sizes from 11×14 to 30×40.
- Art consultant or Interior designer? Contact me to discuss your project and image needs. Images are available in any size and finish to fit your project, for more information visit the Home Decor Professionals section of my website.
- Please contact me for licensing information.
It’s winter and that means rain, snow and generally cold weather unless you live in a tropical climate, and if that’s the case then know I hate you. While a beautiful mountain summit covered in fresh snowfall makes for a great image it’s also makes for chilly conditions, something camera gear (and some photographers) don’t like very much. So here’s a few tips for making the most out of winter conditions.
Keep your batteries warm
Batteries don’t like cold weather and tend to discharge more quickly when exposed to the elements. To ensure your batteries give you as much use as possible keep them warm. I do this by keeping them close to my body usually storing them in an inner coat pocket however you could also keep them in some sort of pouch worn around your neck so they are held against your body. Another favorite way to keep batteries warm is to store them inside my camera bag along with a number of chemical heating packs.
As mentioned above batteries lose their charge when the temperature dips so always be prepared and have extra batteries on hand.
Keep those fingers warm
I’m not sure if there is anything more difficult to deal with in cold weather than cold fingers. I’ve been in situations when my fingers have gotten so cold that I literally could not move them, which makes taking pictures next to impossible. To help with that I now carry multiple pairs of gloves with me in my car and choose the pair that will best fit the conditions. I prefer a nice thin glove made out of water resistant material so they don’t stay wet when the snow on them later melts. A thin glove allows me to continue to manipulate the camera controls without removing them and exposing my hands to the elements. I try to stay away from the gloves with exposed fingers or with removable fingers as I don’t want to expose my fingers to use the camera. In very cold conditions I often wear two sets of gloves, my favored thin pair and a heavier glove over them. This helps to keep my hands warm in very cold conditions and by wearing the thinner pair also I can take off the heavier gloves and adjust the camera while still having my fingers protected.
Keep those toes warm
For some people cold feet are just as bad as cold fingers. Whether that describes you or not having warm, dry feet will make sure your much more comfortable and productive in the field. I like to wear water proof or water resistant hiking boots with at least two layers of socks, one of which are always heavy thermal socks. The water resistant shoe is important in even snow covered conditions because the snow on your shoe will melt and absorb into your foot as soon as you’re back in the car and traveling to your next location. You can also try water repellant spray on your shoes.
If you’ll be walking on snow or ice having the proper footwear or walking aids makes a world of difference. If you’ll be hiking over any distance a pair of snowshoes will make your experience a much more pleasurable one. Snowshoes look a lot like tennis rackets and usually attach onto your existing shoes, though there are many different types. Snowshoes distribute your weight over a much larger surface area then boots and allows you to walk on snow without sinking to your waist, which has happened to me many times.
If you’ll be doing any walking on ice or other slick conditions crampons are extremely useful and allow you to walk with confidence and safety. Crampons are basically small spikes that dig into the ice, giving you much needed grip and fit over your existing footwear. There are many different types of crampons for different uses. I personally use a very inexpensive one-size-fits-most pair that does a great job for the conditions I tend to visit. If you’d like to learn a bit more about which crampons are right for you check out this info on the REI website.
It may also be a good idea to carry a walking stick with you in extreme conditions as they can help tremendously when the snow gets thick or the ice particularly slick.
Drink something warm
A thermos of hot coffee, tea, chocolate or soup can go a long way in making your winter photography experience more enjoyable when you’ve found your sunset location an hour or two before sunset. Sitting in the snow for a couple hours waiting for the sun isn’t exactly the most enjoyable thing in the world but it’s made a little better when you can stay warm. So fill up the thermos with your favorite hot beverage and stop staring at your watch, the sun never sets when you’re staring at your watch.
This one’s for your car. If you’ve ever fishtailed down a raised road in your four-wheel drive desperately trying to regain control before you head off the embankment and into a ditch then you know how hazardous driving in snow and ice can be. That’s exactly what happened to me a few years ago while traveling only 25mph down what seemed to be a dry road. Tire chains do for your car what crampons do for your feet. Having chains and knowing how to put them on can get you out of some pretty hairy situations while also allowing you to explore areas others won’t be able to get to because they aren’t carrying chains. A couple things to remember. First, tire chains are NOT one-size-fits-all, you must purchase chains to fit the size of your tires. So if you had chains for your previous car and now you’re driving something different you better check the tire size and see if your current chains will fit. Secondly, tire chains can be a bit tricky to put on, that’s why you’ll see guys charging you $50 to install them on the side of the highway. Practice installing your chains under different conditions so you feel more comfortable putting them on when you need them. Finally, chains do you no good if you don’t use them.
Winter is one of the most exciting times of the year to be a photographer as it offers some of the most beautiful moments our planet has to offer. In addition not as many people get out when the weather is cold and thus allows you to capture moments that others never experience. While I know it’s not as easy getting out there when you have to hike through knee deep snow or wait an hour for the sun to set when its 3 degrees outside there are a few simple things you can do to make your photography outings more enjoyable even if the weather doesn’t isn’t.
Join me for my upcoming “Winter in Yosemite” workshop, February 8th through 10th 2013. Visit my website for all the information.
The New Year’s confetti is vacuumed off the floor, the holiday parties are finished up and you finally have time to rip open that box of new photography gear and take it out for a spin. Before you head out the door however make sure you’re prepared to keep all those new goodies sparkling clean and in good working condition for years to come. There’s nothing worse than dirty equipment, the scratching sound of sand in your lens or spots on your sensor, it make me cringe just thinking about it. Not to fear however here are a few simple item to keep in your camera bag to make sure all your new toys always have that straight-from-Santa smell.
A lens cloth
These little pieces of micro-fiber cloth are great for removing light dust and dirt from your lens, camera or tripod and are inexpensive too. I always have a couple of these in my camera bag.
A small hand towel
If you shoot in the rain, snow, along the coast or on a cool morning you know your equipment, especially your lens can collect a lot of water for a number of reasons depending on the conditions. I like to keep a small terry cloth hand towel in may camera bag to help wipe off that excess water. In fact it’s a good idea to keep a couple in the bag as I’ve been in situations where my lens continues to collect condensation so badly that I completely saturate one towel, at which point it’s pretty much useless.
Lens cleaning solution and tissue
A lens cloth alone can do a relatively good job at removing smudges and finger prints in a pinch but nothing beats a couple drops of lens cleaning solution and lens tissue. The tissue, while perfectly safe for your glass, has a slightly abrasive surface which helps to remove just about anything stuck to your lens. Remember to apply the cleaning solution to the lens tissue not the glass. Also, if you find yourselves in the field without any cleaning solution and no camera store nearby rubbing alcohol works too.
Blower Lens Brush
These soft bristle brushes have a rubber blower built into them allowing you to blow off any loose particles from your equipment before wiping it down with the brush.
I don’t officially endorse or recommend cleaning your camera sensor as I don’t want to get blamed for anything that may go wrong. For the record I recommend having your sensor cleaned professionally if anything should appear on it. So, now that I’ve got the disclaimer out of the way, if you do want to give sensor cleaning a try I’ve used Sensor Swaps in the past with pretty good results. Before attempting to use this or anything else on your sensor I would simply attempt to blow it off with a rubber blower brush and see if that does the trick. NOTE: Never use compressed air to try and clean your sensor.
And now for a couple of hints to keep things clean.
Don’t remove your lens
I know this one may be impossible to do as no lens is perfect for every situation however remember that your camera is usually sealed and designed to keep out dust and dirt as long as the seal is intact. When you remove the lens you break that seal and all sorts of bad things have an opportunity to attach themselves to your sensor. I recommend trying to plan ahead, if you’re familiar with a location or have scouted it previously this is easier to do, and attach the lens you think you’ll need while still in the car, at home or in the hotel where there will be less dust in the air. Secondly, when you do change lens point the camera down so you don’t allow anything to fall inside of the camera and land on the sensor, it’s the law of gravity, fewer things float up then fall downward.
Clean from the inside-out
Dirt loves to hide in the outer most area of your lens where the glass meets the ring. To minimize the chances of scratching your glass always clean from the center outward otherwise you run the risk of removing dirt from the ring area and moving it around the center of the glass.
Clean all your equipment after each session
This one is the most difficult to do simply because it’s time consuming and boring however it you clean all your gear (Camera, Lens, Filters and Tripod) after each use you’ll minimize the chance of anything messing up a future image and know your equipment is always ready to go.
A few final thoughts
Keeping your equipment clean is the key to getting years of high quality images from them. If you treat your gear well it will perform for you for a long time and doing so is a simple matter and diligence. So take a few minutes and make sure you’re stocked up with everything you need keep all your gear in like new condition.
I know it’s been a while between posts here on the old blog. I’m never as consistent as I need to be with releasing article, new images, updates, specials or whatever but I’m hoping to get better at it…a real work in progress.
2012 was a tough year. In early February I was diagnosed with both diabetes and a heart condition. The diabetes came as no surprises as I was exhibiting many of the notable symptoms that are associated with the illness for many months beforehand, excessive thirst,a lethargic personality, weight loss, nerve damage and others. The heart condition, as a result of the diabetes, came as a surprise. As it turns out there is a never in your heart that controls the speed at which it beats. Unfortunately for me this nerve was damaged by the diabetes and no longer reacts as it should. As a result of this my heart rate was very high, even while resting.
While my blood sugar was high and my diabetes was bad because of my own stubbornness and refusal to see what was right in front of me for so long, medication and a change in eating habits quickly got it to a manageable level. The reason for the rapid heartbeat and its eventual solution took much longer to figure out. For months my days were filled with doctor visits, specialist consultations, EKG’s, medication trials and even a trip to the ER which lead to a stay in the hospital all in an attempt to figure out what was going on. Eventually the reason was found and a combination of medications prescribed that has seemed to work pretty well. My lethargic attitude is gone, my energy levels are back up, I’m no longer dizzy and light headed when doing just about anything and best of all the extreme pain in my feet and legs (that I didn’t get into here) are gone. I can again get out and create!
The last twelve months has been somewhat of a lost year as it’s been difficult to get out and do much including teach, hike, create new images or even wear shoes, yep the foot pain was BAD, however I’m optimistic for 2013. The end of the most recent cycle in the Mayan calendar didn’t bring about the end of civilization as some had predicted and I for one couldn’t be more excited. After a year like 2012 I’m ready to start living again.
I’m happy to announce my newest fine art print release, McWay Falls, Big Sur Coast. McWay Falls is one of the most majestic waterfalls in the world with its elegant tumble over beautiful cliffs plunging onto the beach below and then flowing into the Pacific Ocean. I’ve been visiting McWay Falls inside Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park along California’s Big Sur coast for a number of years but never created an image I was satisfied with so I thought I’d try again.
While I created a number of images both before and during the golden light of sunset nothing was really stood out as a possible gallery image. As the day’s light continued to fade I decided to keep making images to show the movement of the water as the tide moved in and out of the small cove that the waterfall lives in. As the exposure increased the movement of the water became increasingly interesting and I soon realized I had the image I’d been waiting for.
McWay Falls, Big Sur Coast is available in sizes from 10×20 to 30×60 and would make the perfect compliment to any home or office decor. Purchasing information can be found here. Art consultant or Designer? Please contact us for a quote based on your project’s needs, 209-541-1815 or email@example.com
Mamiya 55mm f/2.8 lens
Manfrotto Tripod and Head
Minor Tonal Work in Photoshop CS5
Tags: beach, Big Sur, Black and White, bw, California, carmel, Central Coast, cove, Fine Art, Fine Art Print, horizontal, Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park, landscape, long exposure, McWay Falls, monterey, nature, photography, Rocks, trees, Water, waterfall
My “Yosemite in Winter” workshop for 2012 is now in the rear view mirror, how fast time goes, one workshop down and the next is fast approaching. I once again had a wonderful group of photographers join me for a lovely weekend of photography in one of the greatest locations in the world, Yosemite National Park, and while conditions this year weren’t exactly as winterly as they normally are the workshop was a great success with a lot beautiful images created by all.
I’m lucky to have a large number of returning students at my workshops, I have some people that have taken 5 and 6 in just the past year or two, and this workshop was no exception with half the participates having already taken a workshop from me in the past.
We met Friday evening for introductions, orientation and a bit of Q&A before regrouping bright and early Saturday morning for a sunrise shoot at “Tunnel View”. The sunrise was soft, offering a hint of color in the sky and some dynamic clouds, a perfect opportunity for black and white images. After Tunnel View it was onto the Yosemite chapel and the wonderful views of both upper and lower Yosemite falls just across the street. Strom clouds were moving quickly through the sky as everyone worked and I spent some one-on-one time with each participate tightening up compositions, pointing out the changes in light and answering questions. Time really does fly when you’re in the field creating images and soon we were on our way to breakfast.
I try to have everyone eat as many meals together as possible as I feel this time of sharing and discussion helps to build the comradery that makes for an enjoyable workshop and builds friendships that last well after our time together has ended.
By the time we finished breakfast we’ve already put in a full day for most people so a bit of time off is usually appreciated to download image and perhaps take a quick nap before our afternoon print sharing and Photoshop lesson starts. During our Photoshop lesson I discuss my work-flow and demonstrate the techniques and software I use to process an image, from RAW file to finished print. We finish our classroom time with print sharing, which gives each person a chance to show a few of their own prints to the group. I try to make the print sharing an informal and comfortable environment filled with positive reinforcement and constructive ways an image may be improved.
After being inside for a while it’s good to get back out in the field and start making more images. Fern Springs is one of my favorite places in the park and always a must stop to enjoy Yosemite’s smallest waterfall. Storm clouds filled the sky blocking any light from the setting sun so we spent the rest of the day using the conditions to our advantage in El Capitan meadow. Dark clouds and mist filled the meadow creating a mood ideal for black and white images. I was very impressed by the pictures everyone created and I’m looking forward to seeing even more as everyone gets time to process them.
We ended our day with a group dinner before calling it an evening and preparing for another early start.
We again started our day dark and early to have the opportunity to scout Cook’s meadow and the beautiful elm tree that dominates it. Sitting in the shadow of Yosemite falls Cook’s meadow is one of my favorite places to spend a Yosemite morning as photo opportunities continue to present themselves from almost every angle as the sun makes its rise in the morning sky. As the day starts any color in the sky helps to highlight the beautiful composition that is the elm and mighty Half Dome. As the light changes Yosemite Falls comes into play as the morning sun highlights it in golden light before turning its attention once again on the elm. As the sun peaks over the high granite mountain peaks the tree is bathed in golden light which is made all the more amazing then combined with morning fog rising off the meadow floor as we had this very morning.
After a full morning of image making it was off to breakfast followed by more image making at one of my favorite waterfalls before heading back to the hotel for a bit of rest. My workshops focus on creativity and the act (both mentally and physically) of creating images, something I call “The Journey” and our second day’s afternoon discussion focuses on that aspect of nature and landscape photography. We again finished our afternoon with print sharing before heading out for sunset at Tunnel View. After our sunset session we say our good-byes and everyone goes their separate ways. I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with two of my students, Paul and Ravi, before heading back to my room to pack.
It was another wonderful workshop, I’m lucky because I never seem to have a bad one (knock on wood). I would like to thank everyone who participated, it was great getting to know you and I hope we can do it again soon.
Interested in taking an upcoming workshop? Visit the website for a list of current offerings, www.edwardmendesphotography.com
Here’s what’s coming up
Fall Colors in the Eastern Sierras – October 12th through 14th 2012
I always recommend using a cable release or a remote trigger when working in the field. Not having to touch the camera when releasing the shutter reduces the opportunity of you introducing movement into the image in the form of camera shake and therefore making certain your images are as sharp as they can be. If you don’t have a cable release or find yourself in the field without yours don’t worry, there’s a work around. Simply set the self-timer on the camera to a two or three second delay, now press the shutter and in a couple seconds it will release, vibration free.
Well it’s that time of year again, the season of consumerism and non stop spending. Which means the companies that make the photo gear we all use are getting ready to cash in as they’ve spent the last few months releasing their latest generation of pixel loaded, resolution driven toys that we all know and love.
My inbox is bombarded with press releases from companies telling me all about their new products all hoping that I’ll find them interesting enough to pass it along to you, I rarely do. But things really start to pick up in August, new cameras and flashes, new lens, new printers and software, all getting on the market in time for you to know about them for Christmas.
Technology has always moved fast, in the past we would talk about new film emulsions that were hitting the market or focus our attention on the improved auto focus that a certain camera may have or even the next enlarger released for your darkroom pleasure. We’ve always been presented with new things to buy to make us better photographers, as thought the equipment has anything to do with our own creativity. The difference is today we’re seeing the new technology appearing at an ever increasing rate, more pixels, high bit depth, better color…video! This cycle we’re in of ever changing and improving equipment is something that most of us have become accustoming to and got me thinking.
How good is good enough? I mean really, photographers are like kids, always wanting the newest toy to play with. If you belong to a camera club in your area, especially a professional camera club, then you know exactly what I mean. There is always at least one person who strolls into the meeting with the newest $8,000 camera that they’ll be using as a paper weight in about a year or so when his manufacture of choice releases their next $8,000 ego booster.
For as long as photography has been around, image quality has been almost entirely dependent on the material the image was captured on. In the past this material was film, a very inexpensive and infinitely upgradable material on the consumer end. When a new and better film was released, it worked in all cameras and thusly all cameras and photographers could benefit from it quickly and cheaply. Today however, we are trapped in a time when improved image quality is directly related to the camera. The image capture material is integrated into the camera and the only way to upgrade is to upgrade the entire system. This is great for camera manufacturers. Think of film photographers, many continue to use cameras that are decades old, heck until a couple months ago I used my trusty Mamiya M645 from the 70’s. Thirty years from know how many people do you think will be using their now new Nikon D7000? I’m guessing not too many if anyone at all.
For those that don’t know it I also do commercial work, portraits and wedding, editorial, etc. and until recently I created all that work with a Nikon D70 and a D70s, these cameras are about 8 or 9 years old, ancient by today’s standards, and since I bought them Nikon has released a number of other newer and “better” cameras. Now I’d be lying if I tried to tell you I wasn’t at all interested in all these newer camera and some of them I really thought about buying but when I sat down and really thought about whether or not I needed them the answer was always the same, not really. My D70’s continue to provide high enough quality for my uses, I can make a wonderful 30×40 portrait from one of their Raw image files, which is the largest size I offer so what’s the point. Part of the reason these cameras continue to meet my needs is the fact that for my subject matter, people, the software I have is able to interpolate skin tones very well. I realize that for many people their subjects may not consist of areas of mostly smooth, fairly solid toned areas and for them, particularly professionals making a living on their work, a more frequent upgrade may be a necessity, but for my own work it isn’t.
I have to be completely honest with you; I did recently break down and buy a Nikon D7000. I know, I know but the D7000 is a major advancement over the D70s and the image quality is good enough that I’m also creating my fine art images with it. The latter being the main reason I decided to upgrade, with film my timeline from image creation to finished print was measured in months and I wanted to be able to share my work in a much more timely manner. After doing an extensive amount of research and testing I’ve found that I can make beautiful 40 inch prints from the D7000 when paired with a sharp lens so I’ve started to retire my good old film camera. Before you start thinking I’m a hypocrite please remember that I passed on a number of upgraded cameras before going with the D7000 and I really do expect to be shooting with this camera for a number of years. Maybe the D10,000 will be in my future.
So the next time you see that newly released, high mega pixel beauty sitting in your local camera store and you reach for your credit card, take a moment and ask yourself “Do I really need this?” your answer may surprise you and besides, learning a new camera is a pain.