Gorilla Grip Tripod

by on Dec.25, 2008, under General, Photo Talk

tripod

tripod

I wanted to write about the best Christmas present a sister could ever give… This year my sister got a (knock-off) gorilla grip tripod… We have been looking at one of these for quite a while, but never really thought to pick one up. This is going to be great for our blog-cams. We often would like to to blogging and other quick-pics and are unable to hang on to the camera, and this handy device is the easiest way to do it. I have only had this thing for about 2 hours, and it has already far exceeded my expectations.

One note for those that may be in the market: make sure you have a quick “head” release for the camera, the one I have is quick release with a lock, and it is low profile so it doesnt add to the size of my slim-profile Canon PowerShot SD870IS. 

For obvious reasons, I would not recommend ever putting a DSLR on one of these.

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Freezing + Patience = Good Photo.

by on Dec.22, 2008, under General

Hey everyone!

I wanted to share with all of you a photo I made the other night. We got a chance to go up to Airport Mesa, which overlooks most of West Sedona under that shadow of Thunder Mountain. My goal was to create a 5-exposure HDR shot at sunset. Unfortunately, the temperature was quickly falling, combined with the wind from being up so high. (FYI: Sedona is about 4500 ft. above sea level) My friends Jamie and James from Phoenix came up to visit for a couple days and nobly braved the cold with me. We waited until sunset (around 5:30PM) and I let the sky go mostly dark over a course of 30 minutes before starting to shoot. Perfect exposure for the HDR was 200 ISO, f4, at 1.6. I took a series of 5 shots about every 2 minutes to get the best range in color for the sky, and after a little contrast and sharpening adjustments in PS, this was the result.

Chris was right, I’m going to be spending quite a bit on canvas me thinks… This is by far one of the most photogenic cities I’ve ever been to. It’s certainly a must-see for anyone, and especially for landscape photographers. I’ll be posting more from the trip soon, but thought you’d all get a kick out of this one.

-Steve

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Enhancing the Image…(The Power of Photoshop)

by on Dec.20, 2008, under General

Hey guys. I wanted to share with all of you a photo that I had taken here in Sedona. I am a huge believer in getting it right in the camera. There’s no amount of photoshop in the world that can fix an uninteresting photograph. When I was studying photography in college, we always used to say, “Garbage in…Garbage Out…” and that really is true. Now, arguably, nature doesn’t always play nice. Sometimes, a little bit of photoshop magic can salvage an otherwise average shot. Photographers often don’t reveal their particular photoshop editing techniques, mainly because they aren’t confident in what they produced, or they think it degrades the purity of the art form. What matters is the end product. Start with a well exposed image, good composition, and an interesting subject, and voila, you’re now “recycling” your image instead of trying to save “garbage”.

For example, in the image below, I shot this at around 4:00PM in December sunlight. It was a solid overcast day for most of the day except for this brief window of light overlooking Cathedral Rock. I thought to myself, “well, it’s not ideal, but hey…how often am I in Sedona?” I made sure to nail the 3 basic rules to any great shot: subject, composition, and exposure. I originally placed the image online, and Chris (being the photoshop guru that he is), went through and did a hand-edit of my photo. Now, when I say hand-edit, I don’t mean he applied a whole bunch of expensive filters to make the photo look better; what I mean is that he went through and accentuated the best parts of the photograph.

For example, in any great photograph, especially in landscape, the differences in highlight and shadow are what give the scene its unique look and feel. It was an ominous day, except for this one beam of beautiful light illuminating a masterpiece of nature. However, as beautiful as it was, the shadows and highlights just weren’t dramatic enough under an overcast softbox in the sky. Chris went through and added in some dynamic lighting. This is achieved through selectively “dodging” and “burning” highlights and shadows to give them more contrast against each other. If you look in the upper left hand corner of the image, you’ll see the original photograph. I think I was using a Cloudy white balance, which warmed up the clouds unnaturally. Chris desaturated the sky using some transparent gradients in photoshop. If you look in the bottom right hand corner, you’ll see how Chris “enhanced” the image by adding additional contrast and punching up the differences between highlights and shadows. This made the rock appear much more pronounced and gave it added clarity and definition.

I really was impressed with how well Chris edited the image, and I wanted to note it in our blog. Understanding light and how it interacts with your subject is the single most important concept a photographer must grasp. It’s not something you can just learn from a book, rather, it is understood through practice, experimenting, and of course, mistakes. Chris has a thorough command of this concept, and I have to say that KKP is very fortunate to have such a talented photographer/editor on our team.

Thanks for the edit Chris! (I’m sure he’ll send me a bill later…) ha.

More photography to follow!

-Steve

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Rain or Shine…It’s time for some photography!

by on Dec.18, 2008, under General

Hey guys (and gals),

It’s still raining here in Sedona…it even snowed during lunch. Be that as it may, the family and I went for a ride around town and scouted out some breathtaking vantage points. Although it was overcast, there were occasional breaks in the cloudcover which provided some interesting lighting on distant cliffs and mountains. For lunch, we drove up to the Oak Creek Brewery which is located in a little village of shops called Tlaquepaque. (Pronounced “Tea-Locky-Pocky”) There was a beautiful wind chime and statue garden as well as cool arts and crafts shops. Perfect for an engagement session! (hint hint all you destination brides)

I was able to create 3 or 4 panoramas of some of the famous rock formation around Sedona. (Thunder Mountain, Courthouse Butte, and Cathedral Rock) There’s an old airstrip on top of the mesa overlooking the main street of Sedona. It was an incredible view of practically the entire town. I’ll be heading back up there in a day or so to shoot Sedona at dusk.

Hope you enjoy the photos!

Shots from throughout the day…

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Greetings from Sedona!

by on Dec.17, 2008, under General

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to share some cool shots from Sedona, AZ. I’m out here with my dad visiting my Uncle Ken and Aunt Linda who just built a phenomenal home out here in Sedona overlooking Red Rock State Park. It’s been rainy ever since we’ve been here, but it’s supposed to clear up later this week. So, hopefully, I’ll be able to get those really cool sunset vista shots. I’m also trying out the new d700 that KKP recently acquired as well as my new LG Dare cell phone camera. I’ll be posting shots throughout the week, so check back soon!

Panorama of the house.

Panorama of backyard view. Absolutely beautiful.

HDR Photomerge. 5 Exposures.

HDR Photomerge. 5 Exposures.

Lunch at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, also the place where John McCain gave his concession speech.

Lunch at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, also the place where John McCain gave his concession speech. Photo taken with the LG Dare.

Architecture at the hotel was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, who served as a consultant on the build.

Architecture at the hotel was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, who served as a consultant on the build.

Shot of the rainy patio. This hotel catered to some of the most famous people in the world, including JFK.

Shot of the rainy patio. This hotel catered to some of the most famous people in the world, including JFK.

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Holly and Andy

by on Dec.03, 2008, under Client Slideshows

Hi everyone! Just wanted to share with all of you a video on some friends of ours, Holly and Andy. Andy works with Brad and I at Ashland and we were honored when he selected us to be his photographers for the big day. We had some very windy weather when we originally shot their engagement session, so we followed it up with another session a few weeks later on Ashland’s main campus. Luckily, AU looks like a botanical garden 90% of the time. Definitely great to have home field advantage. Check it out!

-Steve

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