November 29th, 2015

A Clearing Storm by Moonlight

Yosemite Valley illuminated by the rising moon, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Clearing storm by moonlight, Yosemite, Wednesday evening.

Last week another storm brought rain and snow to Yosemite. We didn’t get a lot of precipitation, but after the cold front passed through, snow levels dropped down to near 3,000 feet, and Yosemite Valley got about two inches of snow.

Checking the satellite images online Wednesday afternoon it looked like the skies might clear before sunset, so I headed up to Yosemite Valley. It didn’t quite happen; I saw some breaks in the clouds, and faint sunlight hitting Sentinel Rock, but that was all. However, I knew that the nearly-full moon was due to rise about 20 minutes after sunset, so I headed up to Tunnel View to see if the skies might clear in time for the moonrise.

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Half Dome, oaks, and high water, June 16th, 2011, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Half Dome, oaks, and high water, Yosemite. The latest issue of Photograph magazine includes my article “Singing the Blue Sky Blues,” about how to make the most of cloudless days.

Today and tomorrow, everything is 50% off at Craft & Vision. And better yet, they’re donating 20% of every sale to the Red Cross to support Syrian refugees.

That discount inclues Exposure for Outdoor Photography, my ebook about understanding the essential technical fundamentals of photography. I also recommend Piet Van den Eynde’s Lightroom 5 Unmasked and Lightroom 6 Up to Speed as supplements to my Landscapes in Lightroom ebook; while my ebook covers the Develop Module in depth, Piet delves into all the details about the other modules. And I can also recommend anything by David duChemin.

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November 26th, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Autumn morning, Half Dome and elm tree, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Autumn morning, Half Dome and elm tree, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

I have many things to be thankful for today. First and foremost, I’m grateful to all of you for your support, participation, and thoughtful commentary. You help to make writing this blog thoroughly enjoyable.

I’m also grateful for the rain and snow we’ve had recently. We need a lot more, but the winter rainy season is off to a good start.

And I’m very thankful for my friends, and my wonderful family. I’ve been truly blessed to be married to the same kind and beautiful woman for almost 30 years.

Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I hope you all have many things to be grateful for today. Happy Thanksgiving!

— Michael Frye

November 22nd, 2015

Moods of Mono Lake

Fog and clouds over Mono Lake with the White Mountains in the distance, CA, USA

Fog and clouds over Mono Lake with the White Mountains in the distance. On this October morning we had planned to go the June Lake Loop, but some interesting clouds prompted me to photograph sunrise along the lakeshore. As the sunrise color faded, I noticed a layer of fog forming over the lake. We drove up toward Conway Summit to get above the fog, and stopped along the road, where I stayed for about 30 minutes photographing the shifting fog and clouds. This is a blend of three exposures using Lightroom’s new HDR Merge.

Mono Lake is a special place. First, of course, there are those amazing tufa formations. But it’s also unusual to see such large body of water surrounded by desert sagebrush. And then there are the mountains in the background, including the dramatic escarpment of the Sierra Nevada to the west, and the White Mountains to the southeast. Oh, and I almost forgot the wonderful bird life!

That unique setting is often adorned by interesting clouds, and occasional fog. We spent a lot of time in Lee Vining this summer and fall photographing the night sky and fall color, but we also had opportunities to photograph this beautiful lake under a variety of conditions, so I thought I’d show a few of those images here. I’ve included extended captions to give a little information about each photograph.

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November 17th, 2015

September’s Lunar Eclipse

Lunar eclipse sequence with light-painted Joshua trees, September 27th, 2015, Joshua Tree NP, CA, USA

Lunar eclipse sequence with light-painted Joshua trees, September 27th, 2015, Joshua Tree NP, CA, USA

Here, finally, is my photograph of the lunar eclipse on September 27th. We went to Colorado right after this, and then to the eastern Sierra, and in the middle of all that I had to deal with a computer problem, so it’s taken me awhile to put together this sequence.

You might recall that I had planned to go to Death Valley or the Alabama Hills for the eclipse, but a stream of high clouds threatened to block the view, so at the last minute we decided to head further south, away from the clouds, to Joshua Tree National Park.

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November 15th, 2015

First Snowfall

Snow-covered California black oak, late autumn, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Snow-covered California black oak, late autumn, Yosemite, Tuesday morning

I’m in Dallas today teaching a Lightroom workshop for the Sun to Moon Gallery. We have a nice group of people and we’re having a great time, but meanwhile, back in Yosemite, another storm is arriving. I won’t get to photograph this one, but did get to photograph the previous one last Monday and Tuesday.

That storm featured a brief, misty clearing on Monday morning, a dusting of snow on Monday night, and a couple of surprises. It began on Sunday night, but early Monday morning the satellite and radar images showed that there might be a break around sunrise before more precipitation arrived that afternoon. So I drove up to Tunnel View early, and sure enough, it did clear. It wasn’t the most colorful sunrise, but there was plenty of beautiful mist, as you can see in this photograph:

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A quick reminder that the price for my Landscapes in Lightroom ebook and video package will go up on Sunday (at midnight Pacific time) from $14.95 to $27.00. This is your last chance to get the new edition at the old price! The new version has been updated for Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC, and includes eight step-by-step examples, plus ten video tutorials. Click the Add to Cart button below, or visit this page for more information.

Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide
PDF ebook plus video tutorials
103 double-page spreads
14.95 until Sunday, November 15th, after which the price goes up to 27.00

Add to Cart View Cart

Some testimonials…

“Just wanted you to know that I have used LR since the beta the year before it was released. I have used every version since then. In addition, I have taken multiple classes, read many books, and purchased the on-line tutorials of several pretty high-powered professionals. Over the years I have done some pretty darn good processing. But I have never really understood what the heck I was doing with the various adjustments until reading your recent eBook. All of a sudden everything is completely clear, and I am now making adjustments because I know what they will do rather than just noodling around.

“This should be required reading for all Lightroom users, and I am certainly recommending it to my friends. It is light years ahead of anything else I am familiar with. Thanks for writing it…you have changed the way I process!”

— Scott Oberle

“I just wanted to drop you a quick note to tell you that I purchased your ebook and it is excellent. I’m an experienced LR user however I have learned a number of new things in your ebook. Your teaching style is excellent and your photography is outstanding.  I would highly recommend this ebook to anyone looking to improve their image processing in Lightroom.”

— Betty Wiley

“I’m absolutely loving everything about your book! It’s fantastic on all fronts.
And your videos are a gigantic bonus; extremely helpful. I love the clarity of your instructional style.”

— Chris Dierdorff

“I want to thank you for your “Landscapes in Lightroom 5″ ebook. I will mirror Scott Oberle’s comments about having watched lots of videos & instructions, including Adobe’s, on LR5. Previously, before your e-book, I felt like I was still stumbling around the Develop Module without understanding “what” I was trying to accomplish, but more importantly, the “why and how” I was doing something to the image. Your e-book made it very clear. I’ve gone from dreading post-processing to actually enjoying it, because now I evaluate an image, and THEN decide HOW I want to change it.”

— Bill Beckler

“I just got the book and about half way through it. I can’t believe how much I have learned so far. You have destroyed eveything I thought I knew about using LR4. Can’t wait to apply some of this new knowledge on some of my own work. Great job! Easy to read and understand.”
— Bruce Johnson

I would just like to say how good it is to follow your thinking when working on your images. It has made me realize that less is more in so many cases. I’m pretty well versed as regards to LR functions but it is always healthy to see how you tackle problems and come up with such stunning landscapes. To those who are wondering, this ebook is worth every centime. :)
— Malcolm McLeod

I already have my copy! Your writing style makes it easy and educational read. I have already learned several new things and am only on page 19! I am looking forward to working on the examples you provide. I think this is an excellent learning tool.
— Richard Valenti

Just now purchased the e-book, and I have to say it looks like a bargain – even before the discount. You could probably charge twice as much and still sell as many! I look forward to spending some quality time with it and your sample files (not to forget the videos). Did I mention already it’s a bargain?
— Robert Gissing

November 8th, 2015

More Colorado Aspens

Aspens and reflections, Uncompahgre NF, CO, USA

Aspens and reflections, Uncompahgre NF, Colorado. This small, remote pond had a beautiful stand of aspens growing next to it. The trunks remind me of a baleen whale’s teeth.

As I said in this recent post, I had many opportunities to photograph aspens as part of a larger landscape this fall. But of course I photographed more intimate scenes as well, and I’ve included a selection of smaller-scale aspen photographs from Colorado here. Some of these images actually encompass a large geographic area, but I made the somewhat arbitrary distinction of defining an intimate landscape as anything that didn’t include sky.

On our first autumn visit to Colorado last year we split our time between the Kebler Pass/McClure Pass area and the San Juan Mountains. This year we spent the whole time in the San Juans, which allowed us to get to know this area better. There’s always something to be said for that. As you become more familiar with a place, you discover some of the lesser-known locations. You also start to learn the weather patterns, and know where to go at sunrise or sunset when there might be interesting clouds.

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Oaks in an autumn snowstorm, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Oaks in an autumn snowstorm, Yosemite; from the 2013 Yosemite Renaissance exhibit

This is a quick post to let you know that the deadline for entering the 31st annual Yosemite Renaissance competition and exhibit is approaching on November 15th. You can find out all the details and enter online here.

This is a great organization and competition, and the opening reception (next February 26th) is always a really fun event. The competition is “intended to encourage diverse artistic interpretations of Yosemite.” I’ve been honored to have my photographs accepted into the Yosemite Renaissance exhibit a number of times, and always felt I was in good company with many wonderful artists in each show. The photograph above was in the 2013 exhibit.

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November 5th, 2015

An Early Winter Storm

Clouds and mist from Tunnel View, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Clouds and mist from Tunnel View, Tuesday morning

It’s nice to see the Yosemite high country covered in snow on the Sentinel Dome webcam – an uncommon sight in recent years. On Monday a large, winter-like storm reached California, dropping over two-and-a-half inches of rain in Yosemite Valley, and from one to two feet of snow at higher elevations. The winter wet season is off to a good start.

I’m not celebrating too much yet, however, because I remember this happening before. During the last four water-starved winters several large, early-season storms have created initial optimism, only to be followed by months of sunny skies. Let’s hope that this is just the first of many big storms to arrive this winter.

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