The Flatirons, just west of Boulder, Colorado. But seen in infrared, and with some color tweaks in post-processing.
I love the Flatirons, but they’re one of those subjects that is exhaustively photographed here in Colorado. So, how to make a shot of them that doesn’t look like a million others? Oh, and I went hiking on kind of a “blah” sort of morning — light overcast, some snow on the ground (but not enough to really set off the rock). My regular color photos taken with a regular digital camera were… underwhelming.
Fortunately, I also took along my E-PM2 camera body (which I’d had converted to full spectrum imaging), and a 720 nm infrared filter. Do a little color channel swapping, fiddle a bit with levels to separate the rock from the trees, and presto — you’re on a distant world.
Olympus E-PM2 camera (full spectrum conversion), M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ lens, 720nm filter
ISO 200, 19mm, f/8.0, 1/250 sec
So the high point (physically) of day 3 on the Inca Trail is Runkurakay Pass — with views just as good as Dead Woman Pass had, but not nearly as painful to get to. Just before the pass, the trail winds between two small hanging lakes (I haven’t been able to find any reliable names for them). First, we’re looking uphill / west across the lower / larger of the two (you can see some of my hiking buddies on the trail above it to the right).
This shot looks up Moraine Park (a glacier-cut valley) to the continental divide. The peaks here are relatively low — only getting up to a bit over 12,000 feet above sea level (Colorado has many “14ers,” 14,000 foot tall mountains, further south).
A muted, somewhat ghostly shot for you — from Upper Antelope Canyon in Arizona:
A few things to note if you want to visit either Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon for photography:
Only the upper canyon has nice, wide alcoves like this; also, it’s easier for people with mobility issues to move in, thanks to its relatively-wide sandy floor.
You need to move fast (and get a little assistance from your guide) to get a shot of an alcove that doesn’t have other people in it — this is particularly true for the upper canyon.
It helps to visit the upper canyon in the winter — you can see light rays in various places in Summer, and since this is well-publicized, the place is even more crowded then.
The upper canyon has a two-way pedestrian flow (as opposed to the lower canyon, which has an entrance on one end and an exit on the other), so there can be jostling as people try to go their separate ways.
Over the holidays, my family took an old-school road trip down to Arizona to visit relatives. Along the way, we came across an interesting geological feature that I’d never even heard of before — an old, eroded bit of volcanic material called Church Rock:
Located 10 miles east of Kayenta, Church Rock (nicknamed after its supposed resemblance to a cathedral from some angles) is part of a whole string of interesting geological features in this part of the country. On the far horizon, you can see the chisel-shaped tip of Agathla Peak, in Monument Valley. I think the line-up of features makes a good composition, although something like a 16:9 crop would reduce the impact of the foreground nicely.
Every few weeks, the folks atCraft & Vision release another title in their fine series of photography eBooks. Their latest contribution was just released today â€” itâ€™s Portraits of Earth: An Introduction to Landscape Photography, by David duChemin. As you might expect from the title, this eBook is a thorough discussion of landscape photography. And given that David cut his photographic teeth (so to speak) as a portrait photographer, it also makes sense that the eBook to some degree chronicles the learning process he went through in applying what he knew of portraiture to the world of landscapes.
Land — scouting tricks, visual scale, finding a new angle
Water — tips and tricks, safety, scale
Snow — metering, white balance, condensation, capturing snowfall
Details — macro landscapes
Along with its text, Portraits of Earth includes images from all seven continents, taken from 2009 through 2012. And all its images are presented with their EXIF data, so along with composition ideas, you can gain a wealth of practical knowledge from each.
While the title is billed as “An Introduction to Landscape Photography,” it goes into significant depth and is a worthwhile read for even experienced photographers and is a fantastic value for $5 — you get a DRM-free PDF eBook with 62 (double-width) pages, full of explanatory text and a wealth of helpful example images.
You can’t actually walk on this beach (it’s reserved for nesting sea turtles), but a trail through the site runs right past it — and it makes a great foreground for shots like this! The only real problem is that trash tends to wash up after storms, so you need to clone it out of your shot (since, obviously, you can’t walk out and get it off the beach).