I wanted to post a little about the prints that we selected for the SMUD Exhibit: Through the Lens as part of the first inaugural annual photography month in Sacramento. I went back through my archives to find out when I took this shot and realized it’s been over 4 years ago. It was shortly after I visited Folsom Lake. California was approaching the height of a long drought. As a result the Folsom lake level was so low, it exposed an old gold mining camp/settlement that was otherwise buried under over a hundred feet of water. It was a profound experience walking among the old settlement from the gold rush days. It was also alarming as it underscored the dire situation Californians were facing. I posted about that excursion here: The California Drought – Folsom Lake.
As I walked the lake bed, it suddenly occurred to me that the river by Old Sacramento must have been at it’s lowest level in a very long time. The next thought that came to mind was that the low levels on the river would make for calmer waters and receded banks. This meant that I would be able to get a more dramatic shot at sunset. I was pretty much right on the money. The levels were so low no boats or water crafts didn’t dare disturb the water. It was as beautiful as it was spooky. I also captured a time lapse of the sunset in which you could see this thin ghost-like wispy clouds creeping up the river.
This image took 60 shots – 20 frames (two rows of 10 HDR) each consisting of 3 brackets. I shot it with the Canon 5D Mark III and the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II at 200mm. Composing, stitching and editing this shot took weeks as I would frequently exceed the limits of editing software and memory. Single layers were easily over 1.5GB in size had to be committed to separate files. Opening one layer quickly used up 8-10GB of system RAM, often resulting in data corruption. Producing this shot was a veritable test of patience, well worth the time and aggravation.
This shot like much of my photography is only available in a very limited edition of 10 signed and numbered copies. At the time of this post, only 4 copies remain in the edition. This is a large format print, while it is available in custom sizes, the smallest recommended size is 6.5 feet in length. It can be printed to the scale of a mural without any compromise in fine detail. You can make out wine glasses hanging over the bar inside the Delta King as well as every nut and bolt on the Tower Bridge. You can also make out art hanging on the walls in the office buildings. I am actively looking for opportunities to place at least one of the limited copies as a large format art installation.
It is with distinct honor and privilege that I share this with you. Several of my photographic works were selected for the SMUD art exhibition featuring local photographers. For those not familiar with the Sacramento region SMUD stands for Sacramento Municipal Utilities District. While my audience and collectors over the years have spanned the globe, there is something very special about getting a nod from from my adopted home town.
This exhibit is organized by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and led by Viewpoint Photographic Art Center, a non-profit organization located in Midtown Sacramento, and in collaboration with many partners including SMUD and the City of Sacramento, the community’s first-ever Photography Month Sacramento will take place in several venues throughout April 2018.
“Born and raised in Cameroon, West Africa, photographer Bryan Allo studied his craft in Madrid, Spain. A longtime resident of Sacramento, Allo continues his love of world travel and photography. This exhibition features three of Allo’s very large iconic urban and rural images. His shooting style is more of a realist expression. He shoots what he sees and only retouches his photos to the extent that they better express the beauty of his subject. He believes if a photo is worth taking and is well taken, it is better off left alone. “I take my camera and lenses with me everywhere I go including the bottom of the pool. My carry-on bag is always full of lenses. Clothes are an afterthought. I am obsessed with capturing beauty in all its fleeting forms in the greatest possible detail”.
Three of my mega prints are on display at this exhibit. I will be posting more details on each limited edition print soon. They are as follows.
- Sacramento Sunset (Old Sacramento, Delta King, Tower Bridge)
- Eagle Falls Sunrise (Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe)
- Bassi Falls Sunset (Eldorado Hills)
If you are in or around the Sacramento area or just visiting, definitely take some time time to stop by the SMUD gallery. Don’t forget to get in touch with me so I can meet up with you and walk you through the exhibit for a personal touch.
Staring a moment with Andrew Hindman and the City of Angels limited edition print in the background
If you live in or around Sacramento, you surely must have heard about the Second Saturday Gallery Art Walk. If you are ever visiting Sacramento, I highly recommend visiting the second weekend of the month. Every second Saturday of the month, every art gallery and all manner of related arts and entertainment establishments open their doors all day into the late night, serving wine, music, appetizers and and abundance of inspired art often times presented by the artists and curators themselves.
This Saturday I have the honor and pleasure of featuring one of my fine art canvas prints at the Hindman Fine Arts Gallery. Andrew Hindman has been my print partner for some time now, helping me bring my photography to life through very detailed and painstaking process. This weekend Andrew and his wife Sharon opened their first gallery. It has been a long journey I have been honored to have a front row seat to and share in from time-to-time. For this opening I was honored to showcase one of my limited edition fine art canvas prints – City of Angels (Los Angeles). There was a lot of great energy, a good turnout.
Most notable of the evening was local artist Maren Conrad. She has recently completed a mural in tribute to the movie Lady Bird (watch trailer here) and partnered with HFA Gallery to host signed reproductions of her mural. I later later attended another signing the following day and stopped by another mural art project she was working on. Stay tuned for more on Maren and her works around town.
In all, it was very refreshing to meet so much great talent, energy and the amazing community of friends and family who support it all. One of the many reasons why I love Sacramento and happy to call it home.
My loved ones Rachel and Samantha
Andrew and Maren discussing the finer points
Sharon, Maren and Andrew
Earth Shaker – Monster Jam freestyle competition.
Few things are as quintessentially American as Monster Trucks. While I have always seen video, photos and all manner of media featuring Monster Trucks, up until this past weekend, I had never witnessed a Monster Truck show in person. I got to see the Monster Jam show at the Golden1 Center downtown. It did not disappoint. Photos cannot convey the powerful sensory experience – even more-so as an Engineer and Artist, I found every last detail of the performance extremely impressive from a technical, engineering, artistic and athletic perspective all at once.
Earth Shaker in his penultimate freestyle act.
The forces at play in these Monster vehicles are tremendous, yet they make the most outlandish of feats look effortless. The stresses on both vehicle and driver are constantly riding a fine line between complete self destruction and a well choreographed ballet. The more skilled the driver, the tighter they ride that line. One driver/athlete in particular stood out or a field of very talented, young and capable individuals – Earth Shaker. I watched him clutch, power and brake his way through wheelies, jumps, and stoppies one demand. No one else came close to his level of mastery of these machine. It was a real treat. Earth Shaker in his penultimate freestyle act, drove his Monster Truck on both front wheels. It was amazing, terrifying, and hilarious all at once. What a treat.
What camera did I use. Well, since this was my first time experiencing it, I thought I should just kick back, focus on the show, take it all in and perhaps get a better sense for the subjects from a photography perspective so I may return next time around and give it a proper photographic treatment. My compromise this time was my advanced point-and-shoot – the Canon G15. I had not taken it out in over a year. Surprisingly the battery still had a full charge which was impressive in itself. The wide aperture f/1.8 zoom lens really helped keep a fast shutter under the artificial low light situations. Shutter lag and AF were of course a problem as would be the case with any point-and-shoot. I did however manage to compensate for the lag most of the time. The OVF was a huge help while tracking fast moving subjects. Being able to shoot RAW was also a huge bonus. The resulting images came out much better than I expected. I shot Manual Mode at 1/100s to preserve some wheel spin motion but still freeze the vehicles as I tracked them. ISO ranged from 400-800. What a little gem of a camera. I definitely look forward to covering the next Monster Jam with my 7D Mark II and 5DsR.
Below are some highlights from the show. I hope you enjoy them. Have you ever been to a Monster Truck show. Share your thoughts.
Seattle Skyline from Alki Beach / Duwamish Head, Luna Park
Seattle skyline after sunset from Hamilton ViewPoint Park
It’s been a really busy year. Unfortunately the first thing to take a hit has been my blog posting. I have not been able post as consistently as previously. However I’m happy to say my photography has not taken a hit. I have pretty much dedicated whatever free time I can find to actually doing photography and traveling whenever I can. This means it’s just a matter of catching up and sharing. If you follow me on Instagram (@bryanallo), you will catch more frequent glimpses of my photographic exploits.
I recently returned from a trip to Vancouver via Seattle a little over a week ago. It dawned on me that I had visited Seattle about a year ago as well. I did a lot of Photography but never got around to posting about that trip. I suppose the main reason was I never got around to composing the large panoramic shots I had painstakingly captured. This one was captured just after Sunset, from Duwamish Head at Luna Park, in the Alki Beach area. I scouted this shot all afternoon with my brother who had just moved to Seattle at the time. After scouting the shot, we walked to the burger joint down the street for a late lunch. We returned to Luna Park and camped out there through the sunset. Fortunately Seattle revealed herself. It was quite windy though. This was only compounded by the long 400mm focal length required to get a good framing. My first choice location was Hamilton ViewPoint Park but alas there was what looked like an Ore Ship painstakingly offloading it’s cargo all weekend long right in the middle of my shot. So I went with plan B which did not disappoint at all.
I shot this with the 50 MegaPixel Canon 5DsR and the EF 100-400mm L IS II. I’m not sure I could have done it otherwise. The resulting panorama is half a GigaPixel with boat loads of detail and color. I am very much looking forward to taking this to Limited Edition print. Only 10 signed numbered copies will every be made.
Have you ever visited Seattle? What was your favorite view on the city?
2017 Solar Eclipse start
2017 Solar Eclipse peak
Well as the saying goes, “better late than never”. I did make some kind of effort to capture the solar eclipse a few weeks ago. There was a lot of hype about this eclipse here in the US particularly because it presented an opportunity to many across the country to witness a full solar eclipse. I wasn’t however as motivated or hyped-up as some. I just didn’t think it was worth the hassle this time around considering my work schedule and the travel to an obscure location and deal with the gridlock and traffic jam. This especially considering that there are anywhere from 2 to 5 solar eclipses around the world each year. I simply do not think it is as rare (or special) an occasion as it is made out to be. I would sooner chase the eclipse at a destination that offers interesting and exciting possibilities for photography.
Canon 7D mark II + EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM + EF Extender 2x III
Nonetheless, I did at least take out my gear for the occasion. The view from Sacramento was of a partial eclipse as we were not in the line of the full shadow. I used my Canon 7D Mark II and Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II super telephoto lens. I also used the EF 2X Extender III, albeit begrudgingly. I say this because it softens an otherwise perfect lens but I had no choice given that for solar observation you really need 600mm at a bare minimum. Of course I did not forget to use a solar filter. Originally designed for my telescope, it fits perfectly on my canon lens. I would have liked to setup my Computerized German Equatorial Mount for tracking, time lapse and also use my 1000mm telescope. However I really had more pressing things to get to that morning. So I threw my kit in the truck and headed into my morning commute. I managed to step out of my office a couple times throughout the eclipse to capture a few key shots. Here they are.
Did you capture the eclipse? Did you view it?
Sunrise over Eagle Falls
After chasing sunsets all day over Glen Alpine Falls and Lilly Lake I retired to my room in a little motel on the outskirts of the City of South Lake Tahoe. Yes I did consider just sleeping in my truck as I sometimes do, since I only planned on sleeping a few hours. However, after hiking and standing on my feet all afternoon till after dark, I knew I would need a shower and a good night’s sleep; well 5-6 hours of sleep at least.
Just me, and the Sunrise
I have photographed Eagle Falls several times before. Most recently I visited the falls this past winter and made a daring hike down to the lower falls. I just realized I never posted about that excursion. It was quite and experience to say the least. I’m not sure I want to do that again. None-the-less, there had been one item on my Bucket List and that was to photograph the falls at sunrise. Sunset here is much less dramatic if not drab and unremarkable.
I woke up at 3:30am, showered, put on my winter clothes, prepped my camera gear, loaded up the truck and was on the road just after 4:00am. I arrived at the trail head around 4:30am. I was the only soul at the falls. Sunrise was around 5:30am. This gave me enough time to scout my shot. It was dark, with clear skies. After a few minutes my eyes adjusted and could see the stars. It was beautiful. I used Google SkyMap to determine where on the horizon the sun would appear so I can frame my shot to center it’s radiance. I was all setup and ready to go with so much time to spare that I actually took the time to photograph myself. I always forget to do this and thus have no record of ever being there.
Sunrise piercing through the trees
Nothing could have prepared me for the sunrise over Eagle Falls. Nothing. As the sun started to rise the breathtaking beauty all around me just kept intensifying. It was surreal. One thing I love about sunrises is that they tend to last much longer than sunsets. I reflected back to the previous day as I lay on my sofa just before noon and decided all of a sudden that was NOT now I wanted to spend my weekend. Now there I was the following morning, my soul overflowing. My passion fulfilled. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.
I hope you enjoyed the photos and they inspire you to dare to venture out and explore. The shots are unedited and straight out of the camera, as I tend to do these days. This explains the halos and ghosting typical of in-camera HDR images. The camera has less elaborate HDR algorithms. Who has time to tinker with image editors when you could be out there? I typically only edit/process when I’m taking a photo to limited edition print. The two panoramas here will definitely be available in very limited edition print.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing.