Cali Lewis and John P are giving away my downloadable HDR Video tutorial. Head over to the Geekbeat.TV page to find out how to enter.
A Week of HDR Tips!
I’ve got a special thing-thing for you this week! A special week of HDR tips! Rick Sammon and I are doing this thing together for fun, and I hope it helps give you some good ideas to take your art in new directions.
Go see HDR Tip #1, along with links over to Rick’s blog as well!
This first tip is entitled, “Create Your Own Future”.
Daily Photo – A Gentle Stream Through New Zealand
All this news out of New Zealand is still upsetting. I’ve got a lot of contacts and friends down there… and I know it’s a rough time. Not much I can do… feel a little useless… so about the best I can do is post some serene and gentle photos of the nicer side of nature. I hope all my friends down there find it gets a little easier as the days move forward.
Come join me in San Jose! Thanks to the nice people at Adobe, the event is free, so I look forward to meeting you!
I’ve been invited to speak as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series, sponsored by the Advanced Technology Labs at Adobe. The talk is on Feb 24 at 1 PM PDT in the Park Auditorium at 345 Park Ave in San Jose. I’ll be talking about the future-present of photography, post-processing, HDR, and a little bit of everything.
Daily Photo – The Little-Known Submarine Secret Dropoff Location in Lost
What would a week be if I didn’t make arcane references to Lost, Firefly, Arrested Development, Burn Notice, the Simpsons, or Sledgehammer? Well… here goes the weekly quota…
Te Anau is one of the most stunning locations in the world. Located near the distant southern tip of the south island of New Zealand, it’s the home base for countless breathtaking excursions. About two hours from Te Anau is this place at Milford Sound. It’s called a “sound”, but it’s really a fjord. I heard an explanation of why it was not named correctly, but that escapes me now. I’m sure our smart members of the community here that are Kiwis can clear this up for us!
I know that some of you are coming to OpenCa.mp to see me speak — but if you are a blogger or into social media, I highly recommend you come see Scott Kublin talk (see Scott’s session here). Just trust me on this one.
This is the coolest way to follow Twitter (@TreyRatcliff) and Facebook! It’s called FlipBoard for the iPad, and I have been using it quite a bit. It’s great! Basically, it is a clever way to see what is happening in Twitter in a magazine format. Whenever anyone posts a link, FlipBoard gives you a nice preview of the whole story.
I have created many Twitter Lists of good people to follow for various categories — artists, scientists, funny people, the Stuck In Customs community, and more!
To honor ReadWriteWeb and its founder, the great Richard MacManus, I decided to post a new photo from his homeland of New Zealand today.
On the way to Milford Sound, there are a variety of little rivers that twist and turn into the mountains. I didn’t have nearly enough time, but I did a small amount of hiking to find some good compositions. I WILL have enough time, when I go back later in November or so of this year. Maybe I’ll spend a month or so this time, so I can really get out and do some serious hiking.
Even though I like to leave a little mystery in my photos (like that unusual maelstrom around the bend), I don’t like to have these mysteries in real life. I had to hike that direction to see what was there! And what was there? Hmm… maybe we’ll save that for a future shot!
Yesterday I met Joseph Linascke in LA. He’s as great a guy in person as I expected. I had hosted This Week in Photography with him several months ago, and we have always been trying to get together. It was good to finally meet him in person!
Do you organize your photos on an Apple and interested in using Aperture to make the job easier? You should get Joseph’s Aperture eBook. That thing is over 100 pages long and filled with all kinds of good stuff.
Daily Photo – About to Explore Milford Sound
Milford Sound was one of the three places that everyone in New Zealand told me I had to visit. And after arriving there, I’m glad I did! It was a bit foggy and cloudy while I was there, but it made for a nice mood. The light rain would get a bit annoying on the lens, but we all learn to deal with these little bummer things that happen. Nothing is perfect and nothing is easy…
These days are difficult for shooting. There is sometimes not a good or obvious angle, so it takes a lot of hiking and consideration before I finally pull the trigger. I hiked all around the coast for a bit before settling on this spot. Not too long after this, I got onto a huge boat to take me out towards the ocean. That afforded me a lot more angles and unexpected shots, which I’ll be sure to include in a future post.
I made a quick video as I was going from one fjord to the next in Iceland just two days ago. I’m editing it now and hope to upload soon… so stay tuned!
Daily Photo – The Last Pier
I made two long drives to Milford Sound. Actually, on the first one I didn’t quite make it all the way because it got too dark. These are the perils of stopping a lot to take photos… but no matter, really, when you see stuff like this. How can you not stop for a photo?
It’s tempting to go out on the dock to take photos, but tiny ones like this tend to shift around with the waves. That can cause all the photos to be misaligned and can cause quite a processing mess. I spend enough time post-processing as it is, so I can’t imagine purposefully setting myself up for more!
I recently edited together and posted this scene from the south island of NZ, when I was out in this beautiful meadow at sunset. I was using a 70-200mm lens, so I used this to add to my Nikon 70-200 Review.
If you’d also like to see the resulting photo, check out the Video on the Valley of Abundance page.
Daily Photo – Manhattan Living
When I was in New York City, I had the good fortune to spend time with Steve Simon. We had breakfast at this great little French place and then went around to do a bit of shooting. We stopped at his place and went up to the roof. Peering over the side, I saw this and thought it was kinda nice… so I grabbed a quick one.
Be sure to visit Steve’s site on the link above. He has amazing work and I am sure you will get a kick out of it!
I arrived a little late to the show, and the girl that clicked us in said there were over 200 people there! Crazy! But it was really awesome to see this World’s Largest High Resolution Tiled Wall display. I enjoyed meeting a bunch of new people, seeing other artists, and checking out the whole scene.
A gentleman there named David Ingram (Dingatx on Flickr) grabbed this photo below to give you some idea of the scene.
Daily Photo – The Spray of the Tasman Sea
This was an incredibly difficult photo to achieve!
I did this one live, in front of my HDR Workshop in Tokyo. I like to tackle new photos in front of people so they can see how I struggle through the HDR process. It’s never easy… and I like to talk out loud and let people know my thinking process. I think this is a very interesting way to give a live tutorial, rather than go by some automated and predictable script. The way you think about all the unexpected problems, dodge and roll with the issues, and synthesize various tools to accomplish an end goal is an interesting process.
You’ll also see this on the upcoming HDR DVD. One night after an outing, I came back to process some brand new photos, and they all got to see me struggle through a few pieces to come up a satisfying work.
This was shot very recently when I was down on the extremely frigid coast of the Tasman Sea, on the southwest edge of New Zealand. With a wide-angle lens, you need to get in really close to this icy cold spray to get the splashes just right… I was completely soaked after this, and it felt (and smelled!) like I had just finished a multi-week crab hunt in the arctic!
Flashback Photo – I’ve Reached the End of the World
You can see the edge of this one from the giant wall display above… This one was also taken not too far from Antarctica…but on the opposite side of the globe down near the southern tip of Argentina and Chile. The huge display allowed my son and I to walk up very close to it… there is a little iceberg there, and he saw the two rocks. He asked me what they were, and I told him that I threw them out there while waiting around!
This is probably an unexpected lens for me to buy, but I’m really getting a kick out of it! I’ll be sure to update the Nikon 18-200 Review when it is all done. I’ve been using it a lot in the last few weeks and I quite like it. I wasn’t sure for a while… mostly because it is a DX lens. But I am using it in a bit of an unconventional way — anyway, a full review will come when I get a bit more time!
I added a few pictures of the new lens on my camera while here in Japan. You can get an idea of the relative size of the thing… it’s certainly a lot smaller than the 24-70mm or the 70-200mm. By the way, this will be the crux of my review… that is more convenient and lighter, and the higher f-stop is not a problem whilst in a tripod.
The 18-200 lens retracted at 18mm on the body of a Nikon D3X
Daily Photo – From the Forest, Across the Valley
I’ve read several interesting anthropological studies of what people like to see in paintings. I assume the same thing goes for photos. I don’t hyper-analyze all the constituent parts, but I do notice when they come into play naturally. There are a number of features that are desirable, most of which track back to a genetic history of the Pleistocene. One interesting bit is that we like the idea of being near the protection of a forest while looking out across a wide plane that has a sense of scale.
Well there is plenty of that in New Zealand! This spot was found on the long drive to Milford Sound. I had so many wonderful distractions along the way… how can I not stop for something like this?
People commonly ask me how to get an “HDR Camera” (see link for recommendations). Well, I have to tell them that there is no such thing as an “HDR Camera”. But there are certain types of cameras that are better at making HDR photos than others. The secret to HDR is not really in the camera, but in the software and process. If you are new, I have all that laid out in my HDR Tutorial.
I used to recommend the Nikon D40 as a good entry-level camera, but I just can’t do it any more. Yes, you can make a decent HDR out of a single RAW file, which the D40 can certainly do, but it is not always optimal. I have organized the three categories of camera into “Good”, “Better”, and “Best” to make it simple for people that are just getting into the sport.
I talk to thousands of people that are new to photography (or just about to get more serious about it), and you’d be surprised how many people ask me, “So where do I get an HDR Camera?” The most important thing is that your camera can do auto-bracketing. I only know about and recommend Nikon cameras — I am just not all that familiar with Canon. Although, if you have a Canon DSLR camera, you should be just fine.
New Newsletter Soon – Free How-To Video
If you like the photo below, I have a how-to video that will be included with the newsletter. It’s free, and I promise not to spam you. I send about one per month, and try to fill them up with beautiful things… The newsletter is spreading like wildfire! If you are not yet on it, fill out this simple thing below and get ready…
Daily Photo – The Valley of Abundance
I started the day in Queenstown and decided to cut out early because it was too stormy. That was too bad, because I was really excited about going up the mountain to do the street-luge. I did it near Rotorua on the north island and had a great time.
Anyway, I was disappointed to leave, but I had a good feeling about where I was going to next towards Milford Sound. The feeling paid off, because I found this place as the sun was setting! This valley could have been more perfect, but I just don’t know how! On this one, I used my 70-200mm lens, which is typically not a lens I use a lot for landscapes. I made a little handheld video that I am going to get edited together for the newsletter crowd to see first!
HDRspotting.com was started late last year as a spin-off of this site. We started it because we wanted to drive more traffic to and get more attention to other interesting HDR photographers and artists around the world. I knew that existing engines were not really doing a great job of spreading around and “creating” attention. So, in essence, we have created what I call an “attention generation engine”.
I knew that my photos were above average — and I had over 20 million views on Flickr. But then I would look at some of by friends’ photos (and even the photos of strangers), and I saw they only had a few hundred or a few thousand — and their photos were just as good if not better! Anyway, I thought it was high time to make a new site, designed to generate more traffic and attention to other photographers out there, and that was the origin of HDR Spotting.
Since then, whenever I have a speaking engagement or photowalk, I always have nice people come up to me and tell me how much more traffic they are getting. Often times, their views have gone from maybe a few dozen into the thousands. That’s great! And I think it will only get better from here.
Note that HDR Spotting is still in beta and is invite only. I do not hand out codes. You’ll have to get a code from an existing member, but I understand they are sometimes handed out in the HDR Group on Flickr or on Facebook. Anyway, this concludes the little HDR Spotting update. Be sure to check out the HDR Spotting Front Page too — new photos roll in there on a constant basis.
Daily Photo – Deep in the South of New Zealand
I drove over 4,200 kilometers while there — it was just a wonderful experience. Towards the end of the journey, we started making deeper and deeper into the southern island, where things seemed to get more wonderful and wild every kilometer.
The weather was crazy the whole time! It would go from sunny to violent little storms to random winds to perfect calm. During one of those transition periods, I was halfway to Milford Sound by this beautiful little lake when this rainbow peeked out. I quickly got into position to capture it, but then realized I had on the wrong lens! The 12-24mm was okay, but this really called for the 24-70. Despite worries of rain getting into the chamber, I switched out lenses, doing my best to keep all the elements at bay.