early May blog post on spring Eastern Sierra conditions contained a collection of possible outcomes and opportunities for spring. I've been out a few times since then, checking the emergence status of various wildflowers, the water level at Mono Lake tufa sites (and their muddiness, since they form over springs), unpaved road access conditions, snow levels and lake iceout conditions around Tioga Pass, pond water levels and reflection opportunities in Yosemite's Tuolumne Meadows, bird and wildlife photography opportunities, and so on.
|All of the photos in this post are from May 2016|
|A quick iPhone snapshot is good enough to record conditions, break out the DSLR upon returning in better light|
It's important to me for my knowledge to include photographic technique and post-processing skill. Anyone can apply a filter in post-processing software or use a certain technique to make a landscape look wacky, and there's nothing whatsoever wrong with that, it it's the style someone chooses, rather than is trapped into through less than optimal exposure technique or lack of alternate post-processing workflow options. Getting through the end-to-end digital photographic process with realistic results is like walking a tightrope: bay far the easiest thing to do is to fall off. There are subtle things you can do all along the way to optimize results. You don't need the latest camera or software, it's more about fine tuning the various steps.
|Backlit storm clouds at night|
Ansel Adams produced timeless results by producing heavily manipulated but seamlessly realistic results, while popular trends included hand-tinting photographs to add color. Most of us don't know the names of his contemporaries today. No doubt Ansel could have had great commercial success producing those colorized postcards, but any era's hot trends can look cartoonish years later, out of the unique social context of the time. We're not immune from that today: I have over-saturated digital photos from the mid-2000s, tonemapped HDRs from the late 2000s, and I've dabbled with luminance masking, color light painting, and lately software filters. I gravitate more realistic results, and for the experiments with various trends, I'm gradually re-processing many of the more over-the-top post processing results. It's useful to try a range of things to settle on your own preferred style, and to continue to try new things for variety and to see if you want to broaden your options for post-processing any given scene in the future. So I want to maintain a broad enough collection of experiences to be prepared to help photographers who want to expand their own skills.
While the goal of my pre-workshop explorations are mainly to visit locations to assess conditions, it'll be a fun challenge to line up the sites for great light and weather during the workshop next week.
|iPhone 6S+ panorama|
With the storms in the past weeks I haven't been out for night photography as much as I would like, but we should have a great time in Bodie June 4/5, and I hope to be out a few times in the coming nights to assess a few new locations as well.