Last Saturday, I decided to head out early to get in a sunrise shoot at Hamahiga Island. I usually don't get too many keepers from these type of shoots because the exceptional lighting is so fleeting, you usually only get one look from one position before it is all gone. Fortunately the light had several different stages on this morning and I made a concerted effort to not stick to one area taking a lot of photos of the same thing. I changed lenses, moved locations and I was fortunate that good light stuck around for awhile. You can see the captions for some more about each of the following photos.
I have not been very productive in my photography lately. So it was nice to grab an opportunity to go shooting yesterday evening. I decided to see what the sunset would look like from White Beach, a Navy base on the eastern side of the island and not too far from where I live. I like this location because of the numerous small sea stacks grouped together just off shore. While in these photos they look like one continuous small island, these are actually many small rocks outcroppings sticking out of the water. Fortunately, I arrived about 30 minutes before sunset so I was able to do some scouting ahead of time. Another bit of good luck was that the water was at a low mark so I was able to easily get to an area that is usually covered in water. I found two locations that I thought would be a good composition and setup the tripod.
The photo above was from my initial location. Planning is the key to getting the final result; it is not a matter of racking off a bunch of shots then trying to make something work when you get back to the computer. Sometimes there are lucky breaks (the puddle on the bottom right reflecting the clouds in the sky is an example of this; it wasn't there when I setup but with the tides coming in it filled and I got lucky to get a reflection), but to get what you're looking for it requires a vision ahead of time. Now as you probably know about me now, I'm not afraid of post-processing, but what you may not know is that most of that post-processing is considered before I've taken a single shot. I understand what the limitations of the camera are and while I try to do as much as I can on location and in the camera, I have a good idea of what I'll need to do back at the computer. I used an ND filter to smooth out the waters and aligned the sun just left of the large point on the rock on the right.
Headed out on a road trip on this New Years Day with my wife, two daughters and sister-in-law. While driving out near Kaishu Doro Bridge, we saw these paragliders getting ready to take off. I immediately pulled over, hit the hazards and grabbed the camera.
Most landscape photos are with wide-angle lenses. This technique is often used to show-off the grand scale of a beautiful scene. By using foreground objects with a wide-angle lens you can make perception tricks, making small near objects look larger than massive far away one. I will normally do landscape images in this fashion, but yesterday I wanted to try something different.
It has been a few weeks since I made a concerted effort to go out and shoot. Lately I've spent a lot of time digitizing old photos and VHS tapes and the skies here have not been very exciting for awhile now. Yesterday, I decided I wanted to get out and take some photos. I headed out an hour before sunset and while driving to the west side of the island, I still had not decided where I wanted to go. As I was driving I was watching the skies and thinking what would be a good composition. As I approached Kadena Marina, I had an idea and decided to pull in and see how it would come together. I thought it might be interesting to do a telephoto shot of the island with the sunset in the background. Fortunately I arrived about 20 minutes before sunset and did some quick scouting to see what look I wanted. Of course one of the challenges of sunset shooting is you usually only get one, maybe two, compositions before the sun is gone so you need to be firm with what you want to go with before setting up because, you can't really decide as you capturing the moment that this isn't going to work and try other alternatives. This is also why we landscape photographers will go to a location over and over again because the light can be different every day and present new looks, and we can try those other compositions we considered but couldn't do with the 10-20 minutes one has with a sunset. As I was doing my scouting, I saw the upturned row boat out on the island and definitely decided to go with the telephoto route so I could clearly see the boat in the photo. I did take some wide-angle photos, and may post them some time, but I liked this look better for this day.
I had bypassed this photo during my first time going through the photos from this location last summer. Recently as I was doing a quick scull through my library I came across this photo again and decided to take another look at it. I worked on this in Lightroom enhancing the setting sun color in the sky and slightly increasing the exposure of the bird to stand out a little more. A little contrast and clarity and it was done.
This is Azaka Falls here in Okinawa. They're very easy to get too, but I really struggled on how to compose this area. The hanging roots with the water flowing through them intrigued me, and I tried some closeups focused on just that spot. They were alright and may post them again, but in the end I felt the wider look gave it more depth and sense of what was going on there. I decided to go B&W because of those roots. I think it gives it a more moody feel than what color can do.
Haven't been out much shooting lately, but had this one in the queue for a couple weeks.
Decided to get up early and wonder the Coliseum grounds. This is a rework of a photo during our trip to Rome in 2012. I used the new Lens Corrections in Lightroom and processed it with the just released Photomatix Pro 5. If you have any interest in blended photos or HDR, you definitely want to check this new program out. I just got it, but the big change now is the Contract Optimazer screen. This will bring your bracketed photos together but keep it realistic without the crazy HDR artifacts seen in this genre. In the new photo above, I did go a little artsy in my post-processing but it was for effect. The photo I did last year is below to show the difference.
Okinawa is such a beautiful place. No more words necessary.
On my second day in Rome, I set out before sunrise to catch the Coliseum as the sun come up. After that, I headed out on a random walk and ran into this grand plaza.
This will be the last one from my early morning excursion to Miyagi Island this past Saturday. I debated whether to put this one up or not. It has typical things a landscape photo should; strong foreground objects, large object in the distance, dramatic clouds, good light etc, but just doesn't hit me the way one of my published photos should. Your thoughts are welcome.