Archive for landscape

Featured Photo – Blue Canyon Star Trails

Posted in Featured Photos with tags , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by macdanzig

Technical Data:

Camera:   Canon 1Ds MkIII

Lens:   Canon EF 17mm TS-E

Aperture:   f/4

Exposure:  1357 seconds (approx 22 min)

ISO:  200

About the photograph:

“Blue Canyon” is another one of the amazing and remote gems in the Southwest that has an incredible array of rock formations which are extremely delicate.   The name is a bit of a misnomer, as there isn’t anything “blue” about it.   During the same photography trip that eventually included White Pockets, my good friend and I headed to this, another part of Arizona seldom seen.   With some extremely helpful information from a great local photographer, we easily found this canyon after a few hours of driving through the highways and back roads of Arizona. – Just in time for sunset.   Unfortunately, the sky was flat and boring, just as it was during much of that week in the Southwest.    Fortunately for me, my friend is a night time long-exposure fanatic like I am, so we hung out for about 90 minutes after dusk and began composing some star trail shots…   Like I often do with star trails, I located Polaris (the north star) and composed my foreground to work with it, thus creating a spiral-like effect over the long exposure.

Normally, I like to shoot star trails under a new moon (that’s no moon at all) or at least during a time when something less than a half-moon has already set below the horizon.  This helps me achieve a very long exposure time without the sky getting blown-out or overexposed…    This time, I shot under a 25% moon which was really great because there was no need to light-paint with an artificial source.   At the same time, I was restricted to a sub-30 minute exposure, but as I am learning- the need to expose for an extremely long time isn’t as important as the other elements involved in  capturing a perfect star trail shot.  The longer trails from 1 or 2-hour long shots aren’t even always that aesthetically pleasing, in my opinion.

While we were there, I also took some moonscape shots with higher ISOs.  I will be posting some of them soon.   In the end, I was very happy with the way this shot turned out.  The need for post-processing was very minimal as well.

One thing I must touch on again is how incredibly delicate these structures are.  This isn’t a place that will hold up to many human visits and because of that, I am not ever going to publish directions to this area.  Unfortunately someone eventually will, and unless the local Navajo council (which governs the land that Blue Canyon is on) does something to regulate visits, we may see a similar situation as what happened in Fantasy Canyon in 2006.   For now, the remoteness of the area and relatively unknown terrain will keep most people away.  But if you do go there, please watch where you step and tread lightly.  This will help ensure the physical preservation of this magical area for future visits.

Thanks for looking

-Mac


Lower Antelope Canyon

Posted in Featured Photos, Travel Reports with tags , , , , , on January 14, 2010 by macdanzig

© Mac Danzig

Tucked into a convenient location just outside of Page, Arizona and less than 5 minutes from Horseshoe Bend, is the popular Antelope Canyon.  It is broken up into two areas (Upper and Lower) and is governed by the local Navajo Tribal Council.

Both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon see a good amount of tourism during the busy seasons (Spring and Fall) and although breathtakingly beautiful, they are not spots known for complete solitude.   However this should not stop you from visiting and seeing the amazing formations in the slots that have been carved over millions of years as water cut through sandstone.   The town of Page is an excellent place to stay during a trip to the National and Tribal parks of the Southwest.   I often use it as a halfway point to lodge between trips to Coyote Buttes and Monument Valley.  You may also find yourself here if you visit Grand Staircase Escalante.

These slot canyons can be extremely hard to expose for, depending on the time of day you decide to go, but well worth the challenge.  Antelope Canyon is one of the few photographic locations that is usually best in mid-day light when the sun is high, making it a perfect place to shoot in between the normal landscape spots of the area which require morning and/or evening light.    The following shots were all taken with the Canon 5D and the 17-40 L.   I recommend changing lenses as seldom as possible here, due to the high content of sand and dust on the slot canyon floor.   Strong winds can kick up a small sandstorm without warning.

© Mac Danzig

Rather than writing a long-winded essay on this well-known geological attraction (there is plenty of info throughout the internet),  I’ve decided to share some of my favorite shots from Lower Antelope Canyon, which sees less visitors than it’s Upper counterpart and is just as full of limitless photographic potential….

Enjoy.

© Mac Danzig

© Mac Danzig

© Mac Danzig

© Mac Danzig

© Mac Danzig

© Mac Danzig

Thanks for looking

-Mac

Featured Photo – Powder on Red Rock

Posted in Featured Photos with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2010 by macdanzig

© Mac Danzig

Technical Data:

Camera:  Canon 1Ds Mk II

Lens:  Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro

Exposure:  1/2500 sec

Aperture:  f/5.6

ISO:   200

About the photo:

It may be January but in Los Angeles lately it hasn’t felt much like the cold, snowy winter I know and love from my days  growing up in the northeast.  My affinity for the winter months made me remember a rare photo from last year that I wanted to share.

Rarely does it ever snow in the greater Las Vegas area, but last year around this time while I was living in West Las Vegas, we were treated to 2 days of actual, real snowfall.    Luckily at the time, I lived less than ten minutes from Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  I woke up the morning after the snow day and the light was beautiful and the sky clear.   I had to be at the gym for training at 8am, so I left early, took a detour and drove into the mountains heading for the large group rock formations in Red Rock Canyon, which are the major feature of the Keystone Thrust Fault.

What I found was a seldom-seen view of these normally dry, sun-baked desert mountains, completely covered with a dusting of snow, and a group of low, slow-moving clouds hovering at the peaks.  The light was still good at 7:30 and I used my 100mm prime lens (handheld) to get the shot.

Online, I don’t post the full-resolution version of any of my photos for obvious reasons and this web-size does the original 4900×3300 pixel image zero justice , but if you look closely at the larger version, you can see just a small amount of the detailed captured in this shot.  Yes, those are trees in the upper middle part of the mountain.  That can give you a sense of scale to the size of this giant fault.

Thanks for looking

-Mac

Featured Photo – Home… (again)

Posted in Featured Photos with tags , , , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by macdanzig

Technical Data:

Camera:  Canon 1Ds Mk II

Lens:  TS-E 17mm f/4 L

Exposure:  30 seconds

Aperture:  F/8

ISO:  100

Post Processing:  Lightroom 2, PTGui

About:

Los Angeles at dusk….

I always wanted to do a sequel to an older daytime shot of the same scene that I had taken a while back when I first started shooting.
I always felt that the original one was over-processed, (although it is one of my most popular photos among clients) so I wanted to do something a little bit different. It’s really hard to photograph here because of the pollution and smog, but the visibility was pretty good on thanksgiving day, so I hiked up and this time, I decided to go directly above the sign, so that there was no chain-link fence in front of the letters. They patrol this with a helicopter every hour since there have been vandals in the past trying to take advantage of such a high-profile landmark. Fortunately for me, they must have had the evening off or something, cause I wasn’t bothered by any helicopters.

There is something about the perspective of shooting from behind the sign that I really like.  When you’re up at this spot, you can see almost all of greater Los Angeles, and on a good day, you can even see to Catalina Island.  It’s a surreal feeling to be right where so many tourists up to a few miles away are pointing their cameras at any given time.  It’s fairly silent up here, except for the hum of the city that you can tune in on if the wind is low…
I used my 17mm TS-E to stitch a two-shot panorama together. (One shot shifted to the left, another to the right.) This helped me get the entire sign in the frame even though I was so close…

I still need to come up here during the day sometime when it’s clear out and do a better day shot than the original.

Also, here’ a link to a zoomable panorama I made of the city that same night from this spot: www.gigapan.org/gigapans/37968/

Thanks for looking

-Mac

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Snake River Sunset in Autumn

Posted in Featured Photos with tags , , , , , , on December 2, 2009 by macdanzig

Technical Info:

Camera:  Canon 1Ds MkII

Lens:  17-40 F/4 L @ 28mm

Aperture:  f/8

ISO:  100

Filter(s):  B+W #502 graduated ND filter

Processing:  Blend of 3 exposures, each bracketed 2 stops apart.

About the Photo:

This was from my very first visit to Grand Teton National Park.  If it’s your first time photographing here, I suppose an iconic shot like this is somewhat obligatory.  I found myself here due to it’s accessibility.

That evening, there were dozens of photographers at Oxbow Bend, and if you know me,  I am always opting for an area with as few people as possible.  So I decided to stay at this spot for my first attempt at photographing the Tetons at sunset.

There were 5 or 6 other photographers at this location and they were all complaining about the trees that were “in the way” of the river, which I don’t quite understand… Seems as though alot of people just want to re-create the same exact Ansel Adams shot for some reason, and their idea of how the shot “should look” is based upon Adams’ work.  One lady repeatedly complained and even suggested that the park service should cut down the trees, thus rendering the scene more similar to the famous shot from decades ago…   (This one of the many reasons I usually stay away from “touristy” locations, but Grand Teton is such a beautiful place, I’m willing to compromise.)

I really like all the trees, I just wish I could have avoided the sun-spots/ lens flare, but with the angle of the sun, and the fact that I was using a grad ND filter in front of my lens, they were probably unavoidable…  Even with the grad ND filter, I doubt I could have achieved this look without bracketing exposures.  The sun was far too bright.

Autumn is a great time to visit the Tetons and Wyoming in general because of the foliage. alone.

Thanks for looking

-Mac

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The long road out of DeLamar

Posted in Featured Photos with tags , , , , , , , on November 22, 2009 by macdanzig

© Mac Danzig

Technical Data:

Camera:  Canon 400D

Lens:  100-400 L @ 160mm

Exposure:  1/640 sec

Aperture:  f/8

ISO:  400

Story Behind the Photo:

This is what the last of Delamar, Nevada’s residents saw as they abandoned the old mining town in 1909…  Facing west, this is the only way back out.

Delamar was nicknamed “the Widowmaker” because the gold mined from the town was embedded in quartzite, and the process to separate the gold resulted in dust that contained fragments of rock that scarred the lung tissues of anyone who breathed it – and caused death within months.  (Silicosis)
Nearly all of the men who mined in Delamar eventually died from this and it is estimated that at one time there were over 400 widows living in the town… Needless to say, it’s a ghost town now and a fairly hard-to-find one as well.

The road to and from Delamar is beautiful and remote. We even saw some wild horses on the way back right before this picture was taken… I unfortunately didn’t get any acceptable shots of the ruins themselves due to hard mid-day light.  Delamar is a place that I definitely need to re-visit and hopefully spend at least one night at, to get some good night time long-exposures.

 

 

thanks for looking

-Mac

 

 

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Featured image – Wyoming Stars

Posted in Featured Photos with tags , , , , , , on November 7, 2009 by macdanzig
WyomingStars

Wyoming Stars © Mac Danzig

 

Technical Data:

Camera:  Canon 1Ds MkII

Lens:  Canon 24mm f/1.4 L

Exposure time:  1204 seconds (just over 20 mins)

ISO: 200

Aperture:  f/3.5

 

Story Behind the Photo:

I always thought this would be a great subject for star trails… Everyone has seen the quintessential sunrise shot here, but I wanted to try something different.   Me being a long exposure/ star trail enthusiast, I am always thinking of the perfect foregrounds for this kind of capture.

I just shot this in March 2009 in Grand Teton National Park… The first time I time I visited this place in autumn of ’08, it poured rain and the cloud cover was 100% all day and night, so I couldn’t even get a sunrise shot, let alone any night time photos…

As luck would have it, the second time was a charm and with the help of a sky devoid of the moon’s light, I was able to get this shot…

When I shot this, Teton NP was pretty much snowed-in with gigantic drifts except for the main road through the park… I rented snow shoes earlier in that day, and at night made the mile-long trek down the closed-off Antelope Flats road through 2 feet of snow in pitch darkness… (snow shoes definitely help, but they don’t stop you from falling through the snow at least once every 5 minutes, if you’re me)    Once here, it was a great feeling to have the area to myself, without a ton of photographers like there would be in the morning during summer time… Coyotes and Owls called back and forth in the darkness during this 20 minute exposure…

This was my first time using my then-newly-acquired 24mm 1.4L and am am very happy with the results… I light-painted the barn itself with a small spotlight for about 2-3 seconds.   It was difficult to get the light painting exactly how I wanted it, because the snow on the foreground, as well as the lighter wooden posts in front of the barn were easily overexposed on my test shots, due to their reflectiveness…   The barn itself absorbed light rather than reflecting it, so it needed much more exposure to the spotlight than the beams in front…  After a few tries, I found the right light-painting formula for this shot.

If it wasn’t so damn cold, I might have stuck it out for an hour-long shot… Oh well, there’s always next year…

 

 

thanks for looking

-Mac


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