Archive for December, 2011

Top Ten Posts of 2011

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Ice and reflections along the Merced River, Yosemite, January 19, 2011

Ice and reflections along the Merced River, Yosemite, January 19, 2011

The year has flown by! Here are my most popular posts from 2011; I hope this list helps you find some tips or articles you may have missed, and get a head start on making your best images in 2012.

Are some of your favorites missing from this list? I’d love to hear which posts you liked best, as well as what topics you’d like me to cover in 2012.

Thanks for making 2011 such a great year! Your comments and participation add immensely to the quality of this blog. I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

Jan 4: 2010: My Best Images

Jan 6: White Balance for Landscape Photographs – Part 3: A Special Problem

Feb 3: Digital Photography Basics: Reading Histograms

Mar 11: Lightroom or Photoshop?

Apr 7: Digital Photography Basics: Adjusting Exposure

Jun 22: Yosemite Valley Under Water

Jul 8: Why Am I Taking Forty Frames of the Same Thing?

Aug 25: Lightroom HDR

Sep 15: The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite iPhone App is Available Today!

Dec 5: Lunar Eclipse This Saturday

 

—Michael Frye

P.S. Tune in New Year’s Day to help pick my best images from 2011!

Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author and photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite,Yosemite Meditations, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, plus the eBook Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom. He has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.

 

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 23rd, 2011
Yosemite Valley After a Snowstorm

Yosemite Valley After a Snowstorm

Last night Claudia and I went to the Bracebridge dinner at Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel. This is a wonderful event—musical theater combined with a seven-course dinner and Christmas celebration. And believe it or not Ansel Adams was heavily involved with the creation of this event in its current form. He re-wrote the script and music in 1929, and performed various roles, including the jester, or “Lord of Misrule,” for much of his life. Ansel was a very talented musician—and known for his great sense of humor!

Mike and Linda - the "Visiting Squire and Lady"

Mike and Linda - the "Visiting Squire and Lady"

The story, loosely based on Washington Irving’s sketchbook “A Christmas at Bracebridge Hall,” is that you are Christmas dinner guests of Squire and Lady Bracebridge in their medieval English manor. Our good friends Mike Osborne and Linda Eade were invited to be the “Visiting Squire and Lady,” which means they got dressed in costume and sat on stage with the actors who played Squire Bracebridge and his family. Some of you have met Mike during one of the many workshops he’s assisted for me, and I thought you might get a kick out of seeing him and Linda in costume, so here’s an iPhone snapshot of them before the dinner. And even if you don’t know Mike or Linda, I hope this puts a smile on your face!

Claudia and I got to be the Visiting Squire and Lady a few years ago, and it was a blast. But I seem to have conveniently misplaced the photos somehow…

Well as you can see, we’re really enjoying the holidays. Wherever you are, I hope you’re warm and safe, enjoying the beauty of the season and the company of family and friends. To all who celebrate it, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Photo Critique Series: Re-Processing a Misty Forest Scene

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Photo Critique Series: “Mist” by David Eaton, Part 1 (direct link to YouTube)

Photo Critique Series: “Mist” by David Eaton, Part 2: Processing (direct link to YouTube)

Yes, the critiques are back—finally! This critique features a beautiful forest image called “Mist,” by David Eaton. The photograph was made in an area called The Chase near Birmingham, England.

This is my second video critique, and I’ve broken it into two parts. The first video discusses the processing (briefly), light, composition, exposure, and sharpness. In the second video I demonstrate how I re-processed the image in Lightroom.

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New Critique Tomorrow… and Tioga Pass is Open!

Monday, December 19th, 2011
Ice mollusk, Tenaya Lake

Ice mollusk, Tenaya Lake

If you’ve been wondering if I’ll ever do another photo critique, the answer is yes—look for one tomorrow. Sorry it’s been so long, but it’s just been a crazy busy fall!

In other news, both the Tioga and Glacier Point roads in Yosemite are open. This is rare for December, but the weather has been so dry and mild that there’s little snow up in the high country.

Any unusual conditions bring interesting photo opportunities, and the cold temperatures combined with lack of snow means that there are some great ice formations along the Tioga Road, like this natural ice sculpture I photographed at Tenaya Lake about 10 days ago.

Also, I hear there’s some great ice skating up there on Tenaya, Tioga, and Ellery Lakes! There’s no sign of snow in the forecast, so these roads should stay open for at least another week.

Another item: congratulations to friends of this blog David Hoffman, Jon McCormack, William Neill, Penny Otwell, and Greg Russell for having their work accepted into the 27th annual Yosemite Renaissance exhibit. It’s nice to be in such good company! And an extra congratulations to Jon, who won a “Commended” award in the prestigious Travel Photographer of the Year competition. Great stuff Jon!

And another thing… the end of the year is approaching, so once again I’ll be asking for your help in choosing my best images of the year. Look for something within the next couple of weeks.

I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season, and not rushing around too much getting ready!

One Space Available in My January Workshop

Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Spotlight on Bridalveil Fall

Spotlight on Bridalveil Fall

Just a quick note to let you know that, due to a cancellation, there’s one space available in my Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom: Mastering Lightroom workshop, January 16-20, 2012. And since it’s in January, it should be no problem to get a hotel room this late—and at off-season rates! Click here to register and grab that last space.

Meanwhile, my Spring Digital Camera workshop is full, and the Eastern Sierra Fall Color workshop filled within a few days. But there’s still space left in the Hidden Yosemite (July), Full Moon Night Photography (July-August), and Digital Landscape (October) workshops.

—Michael Frye

Related Posts: 2012 Workshops AnnouncedTwo New Workshops for 2012

Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author and photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to YosemiteYosemite Meditations, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, plus the eBook Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom. He has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.

Eclipse

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
Oak Tree and Lunar Eclipse Sequence, December 10th, 2011

Oak tree and lunar eclipse sequence, December 10th, 2011

For me the hardest part about photographing last Saturday morning’s lunar eclipse was finding a good location. The fully-eclipsed moon would be close to the horizon in the west-northwest, so I needed a clear view in that direction, ideally with an interesting object in the foreground.

No place in Yosemite seemed to fit—too many mountains in the way. But I thought a remote region of western Mariposa County, with rolling hills and scattered oaks, might work. A week before the eclipse I scouted this area and found a photogenic oak tree on top of hill that seemed to line up with the projected path of the eclipse.

Friday night my student Erik and I got a couple hours of sleep, drove out to this spot, hiked up the hill, set up our cameras, and started our interval timers to capture a sequence of moon images ten minutes apart. We had a long wait, but it wasn’t too cold, and we enjoyed our peaceful, moonlit surroundings. A pair of great-horned owls serenaded us, and groups of coyotes howled at regular intervals. At one point Erik watched four coyotes climb a nearby moonlit hill, then saw one of them stop and howl.

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New eBook by Jim Goldstein

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Photographing the 4th Dimension - Time

Jim Goldstein has just released a new eBook called Photographing the 4th Dimension – Time. In the book Jim describes seven different slow shutter speed and video techniques for making more creative photographs—including long exposures, light-painting, star trails, time-lapse, and cinemagraphs.

This book is a great way to delve into some new, fun, and creative aspects of photography. If you’ve never tried photographing star trails, making time-lapse videos, or creating cinemagraphs, Jim makes it easy to get started by giving you step-by-step instructions, sometimes including video tutorials.

Just browsing through the book can inspire you to try some new techniques and give your photography a creative kick in the pants. Personally I was intrigued by the cinemagraphs, where part of a still photograph is animated. Some cinemagraphs I’d seen before looked rather cheesy, but after viewing some of the examples here I realize that they can be done subtly, and beautifully, so I’m eager to try them—and it’s nice to have Jim’s detailed instructions for doing so.

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Lunar Eclipse This Saturday

Monday, December 5th, 2011
Lunar Eclipse Sequence, 1:23 a.m. to 4:49 a.m., August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse Sequence, 1:23 a.m. to 4:49 a.m., August 28, 2007

Before getting to the topic at hand, I want to let you know that eight people have signed up for the Eastern Sierra Fall Color Workshop since I announced it last Thursday. The limit is twelve students, and I’m sure it will fill up soon, so if you’re thinking about signing up don’t procrastinate!

Okay, on to the eclipse. Before dawn this Saturday, December 10th, viewers in the Western U.S. and Canada will be able to see a total lunar eclipse. If you live in the eastern half of the U.S. unfortunately you’ll only be able to see a partial eclipse. People in most of Europe, Asia, and Australia will also be able to see a total eclipse, though in Europe it will be visible at moonrise on Saturday evening. This NASA page shows where the eclipse will be visible throughout the world, and this page shows more detail for western North America.

Moon Position

If the weather cooperates, and you want to try make your own eclipse photographs, here are some tips. (I’ve copied some of this from my post a year ago, but the information about the moon position is all new.)

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Free eBook From Craft & Vision

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Craft & Vision Free eBook

Craft & Vision has just released a new eBook called, appropriately, Craft & Vision: 11 Ways to Improve Your Photography. The book includes eleven different articles, including Tame Your Digital Exposures, by David duChemin, The Power of the Moment, by Eli Reinholdtsen, Slow Down and Learn to See, by Stuart Sipahigil, and Learn to Direct the Eye, by Yours Truly.

And best of all, it’s free—zero dollars, now and forever. You can download your copy here. And tell your friends!

Two New Workshops for 2012!

Thursday, December 1st, 2011
Aspen circle, June Lake Loop

Aspen circle, June Lake Loop

Eastern Sierra Fall Color: Composition and Creativity Among the Aspens

October 18 (eve.) – 21, 2012

Is an eye for composition something you’re born with, or can it be taught—and learned?

The technical aspects of photography are pretty concrete. With a little instruction anyone can learn to read a histogram or control depth of field. But composition, creativity, and seeing are more nebulous. The infinitely varied world we photograph doesn’t lend itself easily to compositional rules and formulas. There’s a reason no one has yet developed an app that tells you when you’ve framed a good photograph!

I used to think an eye for composition was innate, but over the years I’ve changed my mind. I’ve seen my own compositional skills improve with time, but more importantly, I’ve watched many students—even some who thought they lacked that innate ability to “see”—grow and develop their sense of design, sometimes in great leaps. Composition can be taught, and learned by anyone. And no matter how long you’ve been making photographs you can always learn more.

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