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Featured Photo – Green River Sunset – Canyonlands

Posted in Featured Photos with tags , , , , , , on March 17, 2010 by macdanzig

Technical Data:

Camera:  Canon 1Ds MkII

Lens:   24-105mm f/4 L at 45mm

Aperture:  f/11

ISO:  100

Post Processing:  3 images blended using “Exposure Fusion” in Photomatix Pro.  Adobe CS4 for finishing adjustments.

About:

This is one of those photos that really reminds me of the place and time in which it was taken – and evokes the same feeling as when I took it….   Canyonlands National Park in Utah is one of my favorite places on earth.  It sees far less visitors every year than it’s sister, Arches National Park and for my money is probably the second most amazing large area (geologically speaking) in the southwest.

The evening I shot this, I was originally planning on going to Dead Horse Point for sunset, but some Japanese large-format photographers I met up with at False Kiva that day convinced me to go to the Green River overlook instead.  I’m glad they did.   There was a storm off in the distance looking westward and just after the sun set, an afterglow lit up the rain clouds.

Standing at the edge of the cliff in the ‘Island in the Sky’ district that overlooks the Green River and White Rim road, you are 1500 feet above the foreground you see in the photo.  This kind of height almost lends itself to an ‘aerial’  sort of feel.

It took me a long time to finally get to this one in my back catalog and I’m not sure why, but I’m fairly certain it has something to do with the fact that I am a procrastinator when it comes to processing bracketed exposures…  For the processing, I used Photomatix’s ‘exposure fusion’ algorithm, rather than ‘merge to HDR’…   Darwin Wiggett first told me about exposure fusion not too long ago and I love the results when compared to making HDRs, which depending on the scene, can often look garish and unnatural no matter how much time you put into them.

Here is what my settings looked like for the three bracketed exposures that I blended.

I then sent it to CS4 and did some levels adjustments, as well as a subtle Selective Color layer and sharpening.

thanks for looking

-Mac

Featured Photo – “Astral Expedition”

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

© Mac Danzig

Technical Data:

Camera:  Canon 1Ds Mk II

Lens:  Sigma 15mm Fisheye

Exposure:  382 seconds

Aperture:  f/5.6

ISO:  100

Story Behind the Photo:

This shot is part of an idea I had for quite some time. I can’t say it came out the way I planned, but just being here at the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park is an incredible experience in itself.   It was only mid-October when this was taken and the wind chill at night was pretty harsh, even for a cold weather lover like myself.   There was so much fine sand and dust being kicked around, you had to change lenses under your coat, unless you wanted a sensor full of dust spots.

We purposely camped here during a full moon and it was a little too bright for my taste… I usually only shoot star trails during a new moon.  Normally I like to get at least 20 minutes on a star trail shot, but 5 to 6 minutes was just about maximum for an exposure here, considering the desert floor reflects quite a bit of moonlight… On top of that, the sky was quick to wash out, so the exposure had to be watched closely.   One positive regarding the full moon was the exceptional visibility we had while searching for foreground subjects in the middle of the night.
I would love to come here some time during a half moon and get the proper illumination of the entire landscape, while still opening up for over twenty minutes.
This is one of those fairly-remote, magical places that really deserves a few trips a year, considering I live only a few hours away…

enjoy…

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Featured Photo – “The Truck Stops Here”

Posted in Featured Photos with tags , , , , , on December 6, 2009 by macdanzig

Technical Info

Camera:  Canon 5D

Lens:  17-40mm f/4 L @ 17mm

Exposure:  1/1000

Aperture: f/4

ISO:  400

Software:  Adobe Lightroom, Adobe CS2

About the Photo

The “Ghost Town” of Nelson, Nevada is not a far drive from greater Las Vegas.  I’m always interested in this type of place, so naturally with me living in Vegas for almost 2 years, I had to visit at least once.

I wouldn’t call it a true Ghost Town.  It still has inhabitants, and is located along a route that leads to an area of the Colorado River just south of Lake Mead that sees a decent amount of recreational traffic.    So, this place full of old remnants, doesn’t have the isolated, enchanting feeling that a lot of real ghost towns have, but if you’re in Southern Nevada, it’s worth a stop.

This disused and abandoned truck was in a gravel lot which included some antique gas pumps, an old out-house, and some other dead vehicles.  (You can see an old water reservoir in the background)…   Of all the stuff I looked at here, this truck seemed the most photogenic.  The sun had just set behind the hills in the distance when I took this, so the backlighting was not that big of an issue.  I exposed for the sky and then pulled the shadows back out in Camera Raw.   Even though there were some great colors in the scene, especially with the truck’s many colorful peeling layers of paint, I finally decided on Black and White for this one and I feel it suits the mood best.

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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