Monthly Archives: February 2012

Lenses – Everything you need know to pick the correct one

Lenses

I don’t think there is any question asked more at internet photography forums than” What Lens should I buy” and I don’t think there is more confusion than the answer that people get. There just seems to be a general confusion about lenses and why do we even have more than one or why do we have this one over that one. So I thought I would take a moment and talk about lenses. They are after all, our camera’s eyes. 

Crop Factor

Before we talk about anything, let’s take a moment and talk about “Crop Factor”. When camera focal length is expressed they are expressed in a length that would be in play on a 35mm Film Camera or a “Full Frame” digital camera. However camera with a smaller sensor APS-C or 4:3rds cameras have a crop factor to them that must be taken into account to understand how you will actually see using this lens. 

A 50mm lens on a Full Frame Camera or an APC-C camera is still a 50mm lens; however, the APS-C camera with its smaller sensor only sees a smaller area of the lens area. This is the crop factor. For most Canon’s this is 1.6x for most Nikons this is 1.5x and for 4:3rds camera this is 2x. So we multiply the Focal length times the crop factor and that would tell us what the lens would look like on a Full Frame camera. In other words it will have the same Field of View (FOV) 

So in our instance a 50mm lens on Canon 60D will have an effective FOV of  an 80mm lens on a Canon 5D MKII 

All the images in this tutorial have been shot on a Full Frame Camera (Canon 5D) and are expressed in full frame focal length. So you if you want a lens that looks like a  particular FOV that I have taken a photo of, make sure you know it will look different on your cropped sensor camera. So do the math to find the focal length that will look like it looks on your camera. 

Focal Length

Why do we have different focal length lenses? The first reason that comes to most people’s minds is “Magnification”. We have a subject far away so we want to bring it closer with a telephoto or we have something large in front of us and we want to fit it all in with a wide angle. But as I will discuss in a bit, that may not be the real or most important reason we choose different lenses, but it could be. 

Here are what different focal lengths look like standing in the exact same spot shooting the same subject.

 

 

 

We can see, if we wanted to photograph the entire cliff area from where we were standing, we would need a wide angle lens (17mm). But if we wanted to shoot the Lifeguard Tower and were unable to get close to it (As may also be the case when shooting wildlife that we wouldn’t want to scare away) we would need a telephoto lens (200mm). 

And that maybe all you need to know, but it doesn’t tell the whole story because that is not how we may actually or we SHOULD actually be shooting and what the real and major differences may be in Focal Length. 

The real difference between different focal lengths is not so much about Magnification as it is about Field of View and Perspective. 

Field of View is the width of the View that the angle of view provides with which the lens sees. A wide angle lens has a Wide Field of View, and a Telephoto lens has an increasingly narrower Field of View. We can see that clearly with the images above. and the Diagram below

 

Perspective is: the perceived relation ship of the background in our image relative to where our subject is. If we have a subject 30 Feet in front of a brick wall and we keep them at that distance. That distance never changes. But depending on Focal length, the perceived distance from subject to background will change as we increase focal length. 

So now knowing these two things, lets look at what happens to the look of an image when we not only change focal lengths but move accordingly to keep our subject framed exactly the same in every image (equal magnification) 

So looking at our images what do we see? Besides some angular distortions which I will discuss in a bit, the look of our subject remains relatively the same. But look at our background relative to the subject. As we change focal lengths from wide angle to telephoto the amount of background visible gets smaller and smaller. Also the perspective gets closer  from subject to the background as we move from Wide Angle to Telephoto

These are two things that you should keep in mind when choosing one particular lens over another as they can change the look of your image entirely. 

Focal Length Ranges and suggested focal lengths

These are only suggestions as I have shot Portraits with 24mm lenses and shot landscapes with 200mm. I have included the ranges in both Full Frame and cropped equivalents in parenthesis. 

Wide angle lenses: 14mm to 35mm (8mm – 24mm)

Normal Lenses: 35mm to 60mm (24mm – 40mm)

Mild Telephoto: 70mm to 180mm (50mm – 120mm)

Long Telephoto: 200mm to 800mm+ (120mm – 500mm+) 

Suggested focal lengths (NOT hard and fast rules) 

  • Landscapes: 14mm to 35mm Wide Angle lenses
  • Portraits: 85 to 135mm have been the portrait standard, many photographers are turning to 200mm as the go to portrait lens (on Full Frame) Popular Zoom Lenses for portraits are the 24-70mm and the 70 – 200mm
  • Macro: 50-60mm if you can get close to your subject i.e. flowers. 100mm or longer if you have a subject that would be easily scared away i.e. insects. Use TRUE macro lenses that have 1:1 capabilities and short minimum focus distances.
  • Wildlife: 200mm if you are shooting in a zoo or your backyard. For serious Birding or Wildlife in Nature 400mm+
  • Sports: depends on the sport and distance to subject: May be as short as a 70-200, But 300 – 400mm telephoto are the more common
  • Automotive: A wide variety depending on what you are shooting, Whole car shots will look good in Midrange lengths 50mm to 100mm. But for certain shots a wide angle looks great. Doing detail shots of parts of the care may bring back out that 50 to 100mm range
  • Architecture: Because we usually don’t have the ability to move back, wide angle lenses are standard faire. However if you are serious into Architecture you should look into “Tilt-Shift” lenses. These allow for correction of angular distortion when you are unable to shoot on a level plane to the building/room. I.e. shooting up or down on something. 

Angular distortions

Here is the same image shot at 17mm and also at 105mm. As we can see in the 17mm there is a lot of angular distortion. Sometimes it’s good to use that for a look or whimsy to our photographs. But other times we need to have something look as good and natural as it can. Thinking of this in a portrait role, using a wide angle lens close up to a person can cause distortions in the face that may not be appealing and will make an area closest to the lens look larger than it actually is, i.e. giving someone a big nose.  (Again notice the perspective compression in the 105mm image)

The Depth of Field Semi-Myth

Here are the 3 things that affect Depth of Field (DOF)

  • Aperture
  • Focal Length
  • Distance to subject 

All are absolute truths, however in practice, “The only thing that affects DOF is Aperture” HUH? Why?…

Why? Because we move.  

In practice we keep our subject framed the same regardless of our focal length. We move a distance equal to the change in our focal length; therefore the two cancel each other out. 

Look at these three image shot at: 

50mm at 5’ from subject

100mm at 10’ from subject

200mm at 20’ from subject 

Even though the DOF looks different in each image, in reality the DOF is, for all practical purposes, the same (there can be some slight differences especially as we get closer to the Hyperfocal distance of a lens/aperture) 

But why do they appear different? Why does it look like the 200mm has a shallower DOF? Perspective Compression: Because that lens focal length bring the background into closer view (even though the distance hasn’t changed) we can better see that the background is out of focus, even though it is  out of focus the same amount in the  wider angle shots. 

What to look for in a good quality lens

Lenses are rated on a number of things.

  • Build quality: Use of good materials and manufacturing
  • General Sharpness
  • Sharpness throughout the aperture range: ( Most lenses are sharpest stopped down a few click from their maximum aperture)
  • Chromatic Aberrations or CA: This is a condition where all the frequencies of light  don’t align correctly and it is seen as color banding at the edges of objects or edges of contrast
  • Edge Distortion: Some lenses will start to distort the image as you move to the outer edges of the frame
  • Focusing: a good, fast accurate and silent focusing motor
  • Constant Aperture: Better lenses will have a constant maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. Less expensive lenses will have a different aperture depending on how zoomed out you are. You will often see them expressed such as this. 17-85mm f/4-5.6. This lens has a maximum aperture of f/4 at 17mm and f/5.6 at 85 mm. As opposed to say the 24-70 L f/2.8 which has a constant aperture regardless of zoom.
  • Constant Focus Lens or a “Parfocal” lens. This is most often found only in high end lenses. This is a function where the lens maintains focus even as you zoom or change focal lengths
  • Vignetting: Look for lenses that do not vignette or have darkness near the corners or edges. Some lenses will only vignette at wider apertures so check at all apertures. Vignetting IS easily fizxed though and even some great lenses do do it. So it’s not always a deal breaker
  • “Fast Lenses”: Lenses that have a wider maximum aperture are called fast lenses because they let in more light allowing for a faster shutter speed. Most people want them because they allow for a shallow DOF. But they also have other benefits such as working in lower light, a brighter viewfinder and they allow Auto-focus system to work better. On most auto focus systems the outer focus points are sensitive or effective down to only f/5.6 light (Heavy Shade) The center Focus point is effective down to f/2.8 (dusk) but you can only take advantage of that if you have a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or better
  • Bokeh: I have to mention this because it is on everyone’s lips. But better lenses are said to have a better bokeh or quality of the out of focus area. I refer to it as Boke Ehh, more on that later

Zoom Lenses vs. Prime Lenses

There is always a big debate over Zoom Lenses vs. Prime lenses (Fixed Focal Lengths). I really don’t get into it. They both have their place and advantages.  

Prime lenses can be sharper for a lower price. Lighter weight, faster, less complicated designs therefore better quality, possibly less CA and Edge distortions. Their downside is that you may need to change lenses more often and also carry more different lenses with you. The downside of changing lenses often is that there is more chance for dirt to get on you sensor which can be a problem in tough terrains (Desert/Beach wind) 

Zoom lens advantages are, more available focal lengths in one lens/ less lenses to carry. Less lens changes. The disadvantages are; heavier weights, more complex designs which can lead to lower image quality. Higher Price 

Years ago it was clear if you wanted higher Image Quality, prime lenses were the clear choice. But with improvement in Zoom lenses lately, there may be little to no difference between quality Zoom and Prime lenses. The choice is clearly up to you. 

For me and the way I shoot and the conditions I shoot under I use a lot of Zoom lenses. I do however lust after a couple primes that I long to have in my kit. 

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization can be a handy thing to have in a lens. It allows for hand holding a lens at shutter speeds about 3 stops lower than you normally could hand hold that same lens without Image Stabilization. But it is not a cure-all for everything. It’s meant to help handholding shooting a relatively stationary or slow moving object.  

It doesn’t help at all on a tripod, in fact it is usually recommended you turn off IS when mounted on a tripod. It also will not help to stop motion of a moving object, only shutter speed or panning can do that. In fact some of the better IS systems have a Panning Mode so that the control gyros inside the lens do not get confused with the panning motion and make the image worse. 

It can be a nice addition to have if you need to hand hold in low light situations, but it is not the cure all for all motion artifacts

My two lens pet peeves 

“I want a lens I can get a lot of Bokeh with”. Bokeh and a Shallow Depth of field are NOT the same thing and the terms are not interchangeable. A shallow depth of filed is just that. Bokeh describes the quality of the Out of focus field or “Circle of Confusion” and no, Bokeh is not another term for circle of confusion either. It only “describes” how it may appear with a given lens. Better lenses are said to have a better or creamier “Like Butah” bokeh than lesser lenses. I think Bokeh has been given much more attention than it needs. If you are spending more time looking at the bokeh than you are the subject, you kind of missed the meaning of isolating the subject in the first place. But that’s me. 

“I always shoot wide open” Please stop, just stop. I’m not sure where this notion started but I suspect it is one of the many”Tog celebrities” that are on the wedding/portrait lecture circuit and are only two steps removed from a point and shoot camera where a shallow DOF wasn’t possible. (Shooting wide open: Shooting at the widest maximum aperture of the lens) But this insanity has led to almost every new photographer that has just purchased a Canon Digital rebel and the obligatory 50mm f/1.8 to scream: “Help, I’m having trouble focusing”. You’re not having trouble focusing, you have a DOF problem and until you understand how DOF works you will continue to have this problem when you “Always shoot wide open” 

Understand this. With a 50mm lens on a Rebel at f/1.8 and you are shooting a headshot of a person 3 feet from your camera, The total DOF (both in front of and behind the point of focus) is: 3/4s of an inch,  That 3/8th in front of the point of focus and 3/8ths behind. Which means if you have a person slightly, just slightly facing away from you and you focus on the eye closest to the camera, the opposite eye will not be in focus. If you focus flat on both eyes, the nose will not be in focus. Seriously, that is your artistic intent? 

Now you add to this handholding the camera with shooting wide open. When we stand, especially with a camera on our face, we have a tendency to sway forward and back. So you combine our swaying with a ¾” DOF and you can easily see why even that eye we focused on is not in focus. 

Now I certainly understand your intent, you want to isolate your subject by using a shallow DOF just like in this image right?

 

Oh, yeah, that image was shot at f/11. So much for “Always shooting wide open”  

Don’t get me wrong there is a time and place for shooting wide open. But “Always shooting wide open” tells me you do not have a firm understanding of Lenses, DOF and Photography. And also, don’t listen to everything you may hear at those seminars, they may not be any more knowledgeable then you are. 

Thanks for allowing me to get those two things off my chest 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those are the basics of lenses and why we do use one lens over another.

A few Helpful Links

To Learn more about DOF or actually a DOF calculator go to

DOF Masters

For reviews of Canon, Nikon and Third Party Lenses I really like the reviews that Bryan does

The Digital-Picture.com

If you are still unsure of the lens you really want, I suggest renting it for a couple days and really know for sure

 

lens rental

Hope that helps

PT


Alignment – When it all goes wrong

Alignment

Something I have brought up in the past about over-shooting a scene –  taking too many exposures –  popped up last week in one of my images. I was shooting the ocean sunset and shot 6 exposures using AEB + EC (Auto Exposure Bracketing – Exposure Compensation) It’s a quick way to get 6 (usually 5 because one can be a duplicate) exposures of a scene without having to do much figuring.
When I got home I threw the 6 images into Photomatix Pro 4.1 and selected my usual alignment “Match Features”. I use this because often I have some complex objects in the foreground and I need them aligned as perfectly as possible.
I merged the image and what I got was this “widescreen” image. and you can see a misaligned  handrail on the right side.
?
What? I didn’t shoot widescreen! Going back and looking at the images I could see what the problem was as we can see here looking at the six exposures

The first two exposures are so under-exposed they have very little detail left in them for the software to find edges to align. (You can also have this probelm on an too over-exposed image that is totally blown out)
So the simple answer could have been to just eliminate those two exposures from the merge, they may not have had enough information – as is the case when people over-shoot a scene- to even be worthwhile putting in the mix.
So I did that and still using “Match Features” for the alignment mode, Photomatix perfectly aligned the image and did not crop off any part of the image
OK, great. But the truth is, the image did not have the color range I wanted especially in the dusk sky. So I went back and merged all 6 images again, this time choosing “Match Horizontal and Vertical shifts”. Because there was, even in the lowest two exposures a clear line for the horizon, this would be a good choice.
 
Using this method, I got a perfect alignment AND the full range of color and luminosity (and DR) that I wanted for the image.
Just another example that shows us that using the same setting all the time, even if we really like that setting, isn’t always the right choice. And that experimentation may be the best thing to do to achieve your final goal.
One final thing to note was that the image WITHOUT the two darkest exposures was actually darker than the one with all 6 images. (Both used the same tone mapping) this is because the software needed to bring some information down into the shadow area and it brought some of the midtones with it.
Hope that helps
PT

Edit my HDR – Challenge

Reader Stephen P reminded me the other day that I haven’t had you guys edit one of my HDRs in a while.

So I thought I would make it a challenge and a GOOD one.

I’m not going to make it easy on you. This is a very difficult challenge..in fact it may be so difficult, I’m not even going to tell you if it is possible.

AND to make it even  more difficult, I’m not even going to show you My finished version of the image…if I even have one.

So for the challenge I have included 6 full resolution JPEGs of 6 exposures 2 stops apart. I want back a full resolution JPEG or one that is at least 2000 Pixels on the long side.

Send that image to pt (at) thehdrimage.com (you know how to fix that right?) The Deadline is Saturday February 25th at 12:00 Midnight PST

OK, here’s couple guidelines though and a few hints

  • There are 6 images, you may use all 6 or as little as 1, your choice
  • Since you have no idea what the image looks like when I was there I will give you this. It is a desert scene and there was a haze in the air in the distance
  • I made a major mistake with my equipment when I took the shot. You have to eliminate that mistake and for extra points tell me what I did wrong
  • You may use any program or programs you wish, however please provide a brief summary of what you did
  • This is for fun and learning. I retain full ownership and copyright of the image. You may use the images only for your personal use and may not be used in any commercial manner

And that’s it, the rest is up to you

OK, so lets take it one step further. If you thought, ehh why bother? Let’s put a little prize onto this. The winning entry (Judged by me cuz I’m king) will win their choice of the following:

  • Their image printed at 18″ x 12″
  • My version of the image printed at 18″ x 12″ – Signed
  • Or, any image of mine at Fine Art America Printed 18″ x12″ – Signed

I know Whopty Doo. What do you expect? I don’t have Trey Radcliff Bank 😉

So here are your files

 Edit This.ZIP

Ready, Set, EDIT!

PT

Save your Post Processing Work, History and Presets etc

So you worked endless hours on a Image. Now you want to do the same thing to another image or you want to go back and fine tunes what you did but you can’t remember what it is you did in the first place. Today we’ll talk about how you can store some of that information in 4 different popular programs: Photomatix Pro, Photoshop, Lightroom and Nik HDR EFEX Pro.

Photomatix Pro

Now of course most of you know you can save a preset of your favorite Tone Mapping setting. Well if you don’t know, You can. Simply while in Tone Mapping Module, go down to presets and drop down to Save Preset and then Name it what you would like “My Killer Tone Mapping”  etc.

But did you know you can save the settings you used on EVERY image you tone map? Yes, Yes you can. After you tone map an image and go to save it. In the save dialog box there is a check box for “Save Tone-Mapping Settings” .

This will save the one mapping settings you used for that particular image as a .XMP sidecar file in the same folder that you save the HDR image in. When you want to use those same settings again. Simply open your 32 bit HDR Radiance image, or recombine the images you want for the image and then in the preset area of the tone mapping module, Drop down the list to Load Settings and open the XMP file that you want to use.

Photoshop

This is a little known feature of Photoshop that I learned from Eddie Tapp. Did you know you can save to a text file or right into the Metadata of your image (or both) every single click you did on any image you worked on in Photoshop? Well you can. Simply go to your Preferences ( Edit > Preferences or Ctrl/Cmd +K) and on the general Tab at the bottom, Check the box for “History Log”

Then  in Adobe Bridge, You can view every thing you did to an image or if you use the text version, check the text log for the file name you want to see. Now you can’t go back and change the history but at least you will know that you used a Levels adjustment with these settings and you can duplicate that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lightroom

This of course is fairly well know but we will review it anyway. In the develop module of Lightroom, with the left panel flyout open, You can see the History of any image and the nice part is you can return to any state of  that history. If you want to save any particular state of editing to quickly switch between. Simply go up to “Snapshot” and add a snapshot of that state or any other state of the image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nik  HDR EFEX Pro

In Nik HDR Efex Pro. If you want to save a preset of what you may have done for an image. In the left Preset panel; Click Custom and the + symbol and add a preset with the name you want. It will then show it amongst your custom presets. If you want to load a preset that someone else has made, simply go to the bottom of that panel and click the arrow for Load Preset and navigate to where you have that preset stored and apply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope that helps

PT

Just Steps to the Beach

Canon 5D

Canon 17-40L @ 17mm

3 Exposure AV Bracket. @ f/16 ISO320. SS .6, 2.5, 10 seconds

Photomatix Pro 4.14. Usual PT Preset

Levels Adjustment layer, High Pass Filter Sharpening Layer

The Trouble With Trees (HDR)

The Trouble with Trees  

Trees, those dastardly arch nemesis of HDR, especially in winter, devoid of leaves, waiting to strike havoc and fear amongst small children…and HDR artists.
 
What do I mean? Trees against a bright sky pose a big challenge to anyone doing HDR, and for a number of reason. The first and worst, is Haloing. A quite common occurrence in HDR when you have a dark edge next to a bright edge. The HDR program will try to lighten the dark object in tone mapping and when it does, it feathers or “Smoothes” the gradation to the adjacent area. If that happens to be a light area, it creates a halo.
 
 Now it’s bad enough when you have a dark building edge next to a bright sky, But now image 100’s  or 1000’s of branches or limbs against  dark sky. That spells  T-R-O-U-B-L-E

Double Process – The Better Grunge HDR?

Double Processing

Readers familiar with this site know I am not a big fan of the “Grunge” Style of HDR. I don’t say don’t do it, it’s just not my cup of tea (I think I have been watching Wheeler Dealer, the British show, too much this week, Mate!). Although I do admit I would like to have some fun  playing with a grunge style but every time I do my “Fans” or my customers give it a big thumbs down and say they like my more natural or “As the eye sees” style of HDR. And I agree for the most part, I do what works for me.

But what if I were to do a Grunge style, what would it look like? Well, I don’t think it would look anything like the Grunge presets in popular HDR programs. But how would I do it? With a little known technique that well started for me, as a mistake: Double Processing.

Double processing? What’s that? Well quite simply, it is taking your image and running it through your tone mapping…Twice!

So let’s take a look at a couple images from my portfolio down as I normally would do with pretty much my normal process in Photomatix Pro 4.1

The first one is from the old artillery bunkers above the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands

The Next Image is from an abandoned filling station in Vista New Mexico.

Now let’s see what these images look like using the standard Grunge Preset in Photomatix.

 

 They certainly have that look. But they are just too Mid-toned for me. How about if we make them look surrealistic but with some better tonality throughout the image?

So how do we double process in Photomatix. It’s really quite simple. If you are using the Standalone version, after you do your first round on normal tone mapping, you hit process and it applies the tone mapping. Usually at this point you hit save. Well instead, we just press the Tone- Mapping Button again and it takes the image right back into the tone-mapping screen and applies the previous settings again to the image. Or you could change them up a bit if you wanted to go for a different look.

If you are using Lightroom and the image gets taken back into Lightroom after the tone-mapping, simply export that single image again into Photomatix.

For mine, I just applied the same settings again (Strength 70, Saturation 70, Light Adjustments: Natural, Gamma -1.20)

Here are the results

 

Ok not bad, but let’s take it just a bit further and bring in some more of the detail that the Grunge style has. We’ll do that by using some different software. Topaz Adjust 5.

Have I told you how improved the new Topaz adjust 5 is? They have some REALLY useful presets and I’ve begun using some of them on standard images to make what I get in camera look more like what my eye sees when I am shooting. For this example, I just used the “Detail” preset in Topaz Adjust 5, Just to increase our detail and add a  bit of edge contrast.

 

And there you have it, MY version of Grunge. Might not be your style, might not be something my customers would even buy. But it was fun and a different way to do things for those times you might want to go over the top a bit. Or if you’ve already been going over the top, a better workflow that may improve your images.

 

Okay, now where did I put my Cup of  Tea mate?

 

Hope that helps

Anatomy of a Shoot – The Grab

Anatomy of a Shoot – The Grab

 
Sometimes…your best shot of the day is just a grab.
 
Ocotillo California
 
I hadn’t even pressed the shutter once on my trip and I was already pissed off. I was 100 miles from home and I left my wallet home. No money, No Credit Cards, No Drivers License. Luckily they didn’t ask for ID at the Border Patrol Check Point ( No I wasn’t crossing any border, we have Border Patrol Checkpoint within the state) It wouldn’t have been fun sitting around while they checked my status.
 
Piss off point two. I was told there was some great germination of desert wildflowers out at Fossil Canyon ( Shell Canyon) in an area of the desert I don’t normally go to. So I thought I should check it out for the coming weeks when the deserts (hopefully) come alive with beautiful wildflowers to bring a different andcolorful look to the often mono-toned desert landscape. So I drive 100 miles…and there is nothing, nada, zip, zero. I have no clue what they were talking about in a web piece I had read. It was as barren as I have seen.
 
So, I parked and ate lunch anyway and then decided to check out Shell Canyon since I have never hiked there before. It didn’t look promising but I was there and nothing much else to do. Maybe there was some hidden gem up the trail. So after lunch I just grabbed my 5D and a 17-40 L Lens and nothing else for a quick walk into the canyon. Hopefully there would be something interesting. There wasn’t. It was pretty run of the mill as far as desert canyons go. Pretty drab. NO plant life really to speak of. Not even any really interesting formations to shoot. So after about 1/4 mile I turn around and head out.
 
Pretty dejected on the way out, as I near the mouth of the canyon I see this light on a single rock. It looks pretty cool but I don’t think much of it. But I stop and handheld, I fire off a 3 exposure +-2 set and I continue on my merry way.
 
 
I spent the rest of the day in Agua Caliente, a part of the Anza-Borrego desert that isn’t visited by many but there are some nice areas of fish hook cactus, teddy bear chollas and agaves. It’s early in the season so nothing spectacular for color but there was some beautiful light just before mountain sunset (Remember when shooting in a canyon or area surrounded by mountains that the sun will set behind those mountains about  an hour  or more before actual sunset) and I also was able to get a couple shots of coyote and jack rabbit which was nice. I’m usually not able to get as close as I did to them.
 
The day ended on a good note because for me, any day in the desert is a great day. This one was no different. The end of the day is always beautiful there. Even if there is nothing to shoot.
 
I got home and after dinner began to do my sort of the days shoot. I didn’t shoot much HDR because there wasn’t a need to. The light the rest of the day was quite beautiful but not super high in DR. So I processed a bunch of Black and White shots of cactus and the like. I got a few nice shots but nothing earth shattering. At the end I went back and processed that 3 shot I did at the mouth of the canyon.
 
I processed in Photomatix and the color image was nice but thenI took into Photoshop and I processed it using my convert to grayscale action I made…and there it was… that was the IT in it. There was the light you look for and it was at a point in the day where light is usually it’s worst – Midday. It was just a quick grab when there was nothing else to shoot. But that was the shot of the day. The one that makes everything worth the effort. Light – Found
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Be Ready, you never know what you will find
 
PT