Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Guide Books to California and World Landscape Photography

"Photographing California - Vol. 1: North - A Guide to the Natural Landmarks of the Golden State" by Gary Crabbe is now available! I'm currently completing Vol. 2: South. Gary's new book is the latest book in the popular "Photographing the Southwest" series by Laurent Martres. Laurent is our publisher for these new volumes. Just released last month was "Photographing the World: A Guide to Photographing 201 of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth" by Tom Till. You can get free shipping from Amazon by ordering both books via the links in the column to the right.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Deals for Photographers

Black Friday Sale - Adobe Lightroom 4 - $79.99 (regularly $149.99, 46% off)
This is what I use for 99% of my image editing, even for pre and post-editing star trails and HDR images.  I had been using the beta version of this software and found that my results were turning out better than they had in Lightroom 3, so I upgraded to version 4 in early August.

Black Friday Deal on Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 & Premiere Elements 11 Bundle - $69.95 (regularly $149.99, 53% off)
I recently bought the previous version 10 to get Premiere Elements to edit my time-lapse videos and set them to music.  I mainly use Adobe Lightroom for image editing, but it was nice to get Adobe Photoshop Elements in the bundle for occasional use of layers.

Other products:

Shop Amazon - Black Friday Deals Week

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Set Up a Photography Web Site and WordPress Photo Blog

There are many free photography sites on the Internet you can participate on to interact with other photographers.  Perhaps you'd like to start a blog, where you can consolidate your images and stories in one place.  It's pretty easy to determine that WordPress is the standard for most blogs these days, and there are even free third party applications you can add to use your existing content on those popular photography sites.  You can set up a blog on for free, but when you try that, you quickly find out that they don't allow the installation of those useful third party tools you've read about.

Perhaps you'd also like to create a more comprehensive Web site as a place you can design and control to represent yourself.  But many Web site hosting companies impose storage limits and bandwidth limits.  Will they shut you down and demand more money if you upload too many photos, or your Web site is actually successful and starts to develop visitor traffic?

You can have both: a hosted WordPress blog and your own Web site with custom domain name.  You certainly don't need to buy two domain names and pay to host them separately.  But even if you already bought a hosted site to install a WordPress blog to, you probably installed it in the default way, which could make building a Web site around it unnecessarily awkward.  After trying then buying my own custom domain name and installing WordPress, moving my Blogger blog over and setting up Google+ post to make blog posts over on my WordPress blog, I looked into adding a Web site as well.  At that point I finally figured out how I should have done it the first time, and I deleted and re-installed WordPress.

If you're considering what to to regarding a blog and/or Web site, over on they recommend three hosting companies.  The least expensive one, Bluehost, has a sale underway at $4.95/mo. for hosting unlimited domains, content and bandwidth.  Read some reviews of their service, use this link to check them out:
Disclosure: if you sign up through that link, I'll get a small "affiliate" credit (I have to buy gas and lenses somehow, the rocks and trees don't pay me).  I can do you a big favor in return, and save you the days I spent doing it all wrong, re-doing it, then re-doing it again.  Send me a message to let me know you signed up through my link, and I'll tell you what I learned about installing WordPress... the third time I installed it after trying and rejecting both the free version and a default hosted installation.  I can refer to you many useful add-on applications for photographers, which can help you move content over from Blogger, Google+, and so on.

I'm currently going through the toy box of third party tools, testing them and researching ways to integrate my content from SmugMug and other sites.  Stay tuned, I hope to have something worth showing soon, after Thanksgiving week if not sooner.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Will Video Watchers Really "Tip" To Avoid Ads on Vimeo?

Let's find out.  I turned on the new "Tip Jar" feature for this video on Vimeo:

What do you think, will people reward decent content not marred by ads, or is everything on the internet assumed to be free?

New Business Card for Night Workshops at Bodie

I should have my 2013 dates shortly.  I can't wait to go back!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Perseid Meteor Shower Time-Lapse / While The Sun Was Sleeping, Life Audience

For the Perseid meteor shower this year I shot mostly short star trails sequences, which make short time-lapse movies, so I added footage I hadn't yet shown from 2010 and 2011 and set it all to the amazing "While The Sun Was Sleeping" by Life Audience.

If I remember correctly, the first 8 clips are form the meteor shower, then I added various clips to fill out the time of the song.  I may have shown some of the clips before, but setting them to music is new for me.  I'm working on several more concepts and songs; I'm sure they'll get better and better as I develop experience on the post-production side.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Moon Rise Over Half Dome in Yosemite

Moon Rise over Hall Dome, Yosemite National Park

I've been pursuing moon rises behind Half Dome for many years. The weather doesn't always cooperate, but I've caught it from several different vantage points now, and I have a few more angles to catch it from on return trips.

This time there had been a couple of light snowfalls already in the Fall, so there was a nice dusting of snow and the beginnings of ice on the lakes as I crossed Tioga Pass.  Here's Ellery Lake with Ice and patches of open water.

The light wasn't great as I passed tuolumne Meadows, but upon reaching Tenaya Lake, I found a mirror surface reflecting trees on the far side.  You could get great pictures if you moved away from the families throwing rocks into the lake, and timed your shots to avoid the worst of the ripples they created.

Next I pulled into the Olmstead Point parking lot.  I was shocked at the quantity of people crowding the area so late in October.  I didn't stop.

Then I checked a few stands of dogwood trees tucked into groves of redwood trees, and found the dogwoods brightly colored and beautifully back-lit.

Proceeding for a lap around Yosemite Valley, Upper Yosemite Fall was completely dry, missing even the modest wetness you'll often see on the rock.  Most of the deciduous trees seemed a couple of weeks behind schedule turning color, like the aspen had been in the Eastern Sierra this season.  The oaks were lightening somewhat, but not far enough along to warrant a stop by Cook's Meadow.  I did spot some trees nicely back-lit against Cathedral Rock, so I pulled over.

A large van full of photo workshop customers passed by; I figured I'd catch up with them in a few minutes, either in the turnout opposite Bridalveil Fall at Valley View, or a short while later catching the moon rise. 

Unfortunately in this dry year even spring-fed Bridalveil Fall is nearly non-existent, breaking up into a thin mist partway to the ground.  Noticing the angle of the sun, I stopped to see whether there was enough water in Bridalveil to create a rainbow in its mist.  Sure enough, the rainbow was there, and the low water of the Merced River made a perfect reflecting pool to offer creative compositions including colorful Fall foliage.  Odd that the photo workshop passed it up (perhaps they caught it the day before).

By then it was time to go set up for moon rise.  Curiously, the photography workshop was still nowhere to be found.  Had they really left the park only minutes before one of the events of the year in Yosemite? 

Last year the only other person who had anticipated the moon rise in the position I had chosen was a guy from Seattle shooting on film.  Of course once the moon rose, two or three dozen people joined us!  This year, from another location, I first met someone from Cincinnati.  As it turned out, someone had gotten the word out online, so roughly 2 dozen people more people eventually showed up (and there were apparently a few more at the vantage point I had used the prior year).  

A started one camera at 105mm focal length to capture a time-lapse video of the entire moon rise, and I used a second camera to capture the initial emergence at 400mm then the rest of the event at 200mm.  It'll take me a while to get each sequence processed, but so far it's looking good!  There are even a couple of climbers you can see move slightly in the video, on El Capitan directly opposite the moon in this image.  

I've been pretty busy this year wrapping up my guide book to California landscape photography, but I'll offer Yosemite landscape photography workshops as time permits:

Update August 20, 2014: Thanks to the +Royal Observatory Greenwich  for including my image in their video about the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2104 competition! 

I'm always honored to have my work recognized by the Royal Observatory in London, home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Prime Meridian... the place that every longitude, every GPS coordinate on the planet, is defined relative to!
  See and share the video on YouTube.