Moody Falls

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.

Hidden Waterfall

I shot and processed this hoping to capture a scene that evoked a far flung waterfall that was newly discovered.  Did I succeed?

BTW: this wasn't too hard to get too, but it did require a river hike for about 25 minutes.

Canon 7D with Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 lens @ 14mm.  Processed with Lightroom and Perfect Efex 4

One More B&W...Well Not Quite B&W

I've been anxious to post this photo that I finished editing a couple days ago. 

Handheld Canon 7D with a friend's 8-15mm Fisheye lens.  Processed with Lightroom, Perfect Effects and Perfect B&W

Handheld Canon 7D with a friend's 8-15mm Fisheye lens.  Processed with Lightroom, Perfect Effects and Perfect B&W

 I am really happy with how it turned out.  I had this in my editing queue for a couple months because I liked it but wasn't sure how to make it good enough to meet my standards for putting on the website.  I've been experimenting with a technique I am calling the "Not Quite" style where I edit the photo in color, then in B&W and slightly bring back a hint of color by slightly reducing the opacity of the B&W layer.  In other words it's not quite color, yet not quite B&W. I'm by no means saying this is anything new, but it's something I'm experimenting with for some photos.  In this particular photo I vignetted it heavily to go along with the tunnel effect created by the 8-15mm Fisheye lens I used to take this shot.

This photo is available for purchase as a print.  Just click the photo to see full size and if you want to purchase, click the shopping cart on the top.

Another Waterfall Exploration Day, Part 2

Continuing with photos from yesterday's trip to Taa Falls and Azaka Falls.  Today's is of Taa Falls.  I tried to get some different perspectives of these falls vs. just the straight on type (I did take plenty of the straight on type as well).  I had to wade across the shallow river and walk around to the side.  I was battling the water spray getting on my lens constantly and was not winning.  This photo has some photoshop work to get the water spray out of the photo.  This is an HDR; it's the only way to capture this much contrast in the scene.  The waterfall pool area is fairly dark, yet I wanted to get the blue sky with the clouds as well.  I didn't tonemap it in the HDR program, just combined them into a 32bit image and did the processing work in Lightroom, with some Photoshop as stated before.

Canon 7D with Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 (wet) lens on Tripod balanced on one rock with two legs in the water. 3 bracketed photos at 2 stops each combined into a 32bit HDR image in Photomatix Pro; then worked on in Lightroom. Photoshop used to remove some water spray from the lens and bring out some detail.

Another Waterfall Exploration Day

Actually we went to two waterfalls today.  The first one is called Taa Falls and requires some river trekking (about 25 minutes worth), which will resulted in getting our feet wet.  Once you get there, you turn this corner and this 80 foot high rush of water is right there.  It is a beautiful site and I spent about 1 1/2 hours there taking photographs.  After returning to the car, we went to to another falls that was just down the road.  This one was just off the road and accessible via a walking path.  It was very different in that it wasn't a hard drop, but it was a cascading falls that went up about 150 feet at its zenith.  These falls are called Azaka Falls and the photo today is from there.  There are some old banyan tree roots hanging over the side of the mountain and are integrated into the falls.  After seeing this I was thinking how creepy they looked and decided to go B&W for this one.  There are many more falls to see here on this little island; more to come.

Fukugawa Falls #1

A couple days ago I posted a photo from Fukugawa Falls #2, which required a long hike/bouldering through a river to get back to a second waterfall.  Today I am showing the main falls which has an established trail and is much easier to get too.

Canon 7D, 24-105mm 4.0. Processed with Lightroom and Color Efex Pro

Fukugawa Falls Hike

Went on an adventure today with some fellow photographers.  We visited Fukugawa Falls here in Okinawa.  Getting to the main falls wasn't the adventure though; that was just the start.  The main falls are about a 10 minute hike on an established trail from the parking area.  While these falls are impressive and a good photo op; the mission today was to hike back to falls #2, which did not have an established trail and required climbing the slippery rocks along and in the river for about 45-60 minutes.  Both falls are impressive and I got some great photos of each, along with some other types of small falls along the way.  In addition to the photos, I really enjoyed the company of David, Chris, Sean, Jonathan (David's son) and of course Bear (Chris' Lab) and getting to know these other guys much better.  

I also want to thank my friend Michael, who wasn't able to make it today, for lending me the 8-15mm Fisheye that was used for this photo.  

I'll be posting some more photos from this hike today over the next couple days so stay tuned for more.

Canon 7D, 8-15mm Fisheye, 2.5 second exposure. Processed with Lightroom and Color Efex Plus



Photo Lesson: Compositional Mystery

Where did I take this photo?  Did I trudge through miles of trails and risk life and limb and thousands of $$$ in photo gear to "get the shot"?

I think all of you already know the answer, but this is the point of today's Photo Lesson.   You don't need to spends thousands traveling to exotic locations or plan an all day hiking trip to get great photos.  Find places around you and compose for mystery.  Search for framing that doesn't include the 100 people/tourists milling about, be patient and wait for an opportunity to get a clean shot, and walk around and find different angles so those who view your photo have some mystery on how and where you "got the shot".  Don't get me wrong, there is value in traveling and going to the isolated locations for great photographic opportunities, but its not the ONLY time to be active with your camera.  See my previous lesson on looking for different angles at the post titled, "It's a Matter of Perspective (Composition)".  Now on to the backstory of the above photo.

The Narita-san Shinshoji Temple complex is quite vast and varied.  One could spend all day just wondering around and taking photos of the beautiful grounds.  On the day I was there, I only had a few hours so I walked quickly and tried to capture some interesting areas.  I featured a photo from this location on January 13th on my post titled, "New Year's Prayers on a Pole". This photo of the waterfall was a bit of a challenge.  I didn't bring my tripod and in order to get the silky flow of the water, I needed to have a slow shutter speed, which means I need to be very steady to keep the whole photo from going blurry.  I did this by pushing my camera up against the rocks as a steadying device.  A little secret of this photo is that if I didn't tell you it was at a massive tourist attraction, you couldn't tell if this taken after some long and arduos hike into the back woods somewhere.  I call it Compositional Mystery.  You see a lot of that from me in my landscapes and seascapes.  You see a grand vista, but don't realize 10 meters behind me there is a major highway or resort or some other type of encroachment of civilization.  Below I am including another photo from the same location but a different viewpoint without the Compositional Mystery.  Still a good photo, well composed and interesting, but there is less mystery as to where I took it.

One of the main points I am trying to get across with this and the previous lesson is to take your time around an area.  Yes, it wil irritate your non-photographer spouse, children, friends etc, but it is worth it to spend just a little more time looking for the right composition vs. just showing up to great location, stop where everyone else is stopping, snap off a photo and move on.