Thursday, June 26, 2008

California Coastal Redwoods

Last month we spent a few days in the most amazing location.
The shots above were taken just a mile or so south of the coastal village of Trinidad. It's like all the cliche coastal-elements are gathered right here, in this easy to access location. About 15 minutes separated the timing of the images above. Both captured using Tamron's 18-250mm zoom. The upper at 250mm and the bottom file at 18mm. Both, using a tripod and mirror lock-up. A 3-stop Lee ND grad filter held the detail in the bright sky on the wider view.

The Northern California coast hosts an unusual merging of lush green, fern-filled tropical forests, butting right up against the classic, rocky, wave battered coast. All this drama, and its even more incredible when you see the addition of the massive redwood trees, herds of elk, and a world class wildflower display.

Three days wasn't nearly long enough....and, we tried to cram as much as possible into the time slot.

We witnessed a couple of the most breathtaking sunsets, ever. And, in this part of the state, famous for it's perpetual fog, it was a real treat. We DID have plenty of fog, but, just when we needed that extra visibility, everything cleared up, and it was quite a show! And, quite a load off my mind, as far as providing suitable photographic locations for the workshop group. Instructors have reputedly been pushed off cliffs after dragging the group to a remote location, only to witness a less than photogenic sunset. I was safe for awhile, anyway.

And, ironically, right in the heart of these towering redwoods are some macro-sized subjects that can easily be overlooked. Slimy and slippery, the majestic Banana Slugs are everywhere. You just don't see 'em, cause the other visual distractions are causing photographers to look for the
trophy landscape panoramics. And, as a result, our heroes, the under-rated slugs, often get overlooked. And, occasionally stepped on.

But, not by us. And, not today. We set up an external, off-camera Metz flash, shooting thru a Westcott pop-up scrim to light up this guy. And it worked out great for a couple macro shots.

You think they look weird from a distance.....check 'em out thru the Tamron 180mm macro lens at 1:1 magnification. "Tack-sharp slime!" You won't read those words on any lens advertisements.

The footing in most of the Redwood forests is certainly questionable. And, almost never is there anything resembling a flat surface to place the tripod onto. The nice feature with the Manfrotto Neo Tech model is that the legs can be quickly adjusted for height, and the positions available as far as leg-spread are limitless. My friend, and student, Jesus Sousa, took this candid shot of the tripod in use, as I shot the image of the fallen log and ferns.

The reason for the wide variation between the color of the two images above is the White Balance settings used on the 2 different cameras. Jesus had his set for "shade" for the shot of me. And, I had used an Expo Disc on my camera to record the colors exactly as they appeared....pretty stunning comparison. And, it saves a lot of post production time getting the colors right.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Flash-Fill Demo in Austin

This video clip was shot by Ken Hubbard, a great photographer, who works in Tamron's marketing department. For this weekend seminar, he was wearing several hats....and what you'll watch shortly features him as the "video-guy" and "photo assistant".

The still images and story below, are also related to this video, and explain part of what's missing in the clip..........

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