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.
Glen Alpine Falls at Sunset
This time of year my calendar just seems to spontaneously fill up. However several weekends ago I found myself lazying around on the couch all Saturday morning. By noon, I thought to myself “how did this happen” and “why aren’t I out there stealing a piece of beauty to keep for myself?”. Lately I have been on a bit of a waterfall kick. So I grabbed my phone and started searching for waterfalls around Lake Tahoe. Eagle Falls came to mind, but I have shot it during the day and very much wanted to shoot the sunrise there.
Scouting my shot for sunset.
Driving up in the middle of the night just for the sunrise didn’t sound too enticing so I figured I’d look for another good waterfall to capture on that day, spend the night in Tahoe and then capture the sunrise over Eagle Falls. As soon as Glen Alpine Falls popped up on the phone, I knew that was where I would be chasing the sunset.
Glen Alpine Falls
I hurriedly packed for an overnight visit, scoured the internet for a cheap, decent room where I could lay down for a several hours before casing the sunrise. I was on the road within an hour and made it to Glen Alpine around 3:00pm – just the way I like it. I had ample time to explore the general area and plan my sunset shots. It was far more majestic than I had hoped.
With time to spare, I went up to Lily Lake to explore and have a late lunch snack before heading back down for the sunset at the falls. It was a very relaxing day well worth the effort to get out there. I highly recommend it and will be going back to explore the Glen Alpine Trail soon.
Continuing from: https://bryanallo.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/paris-day-1-eglise-de-la-madeleine/
After my visit at Eglise De La Madeleine, I walked down towards Place de la Concorde [Concorde Square??]. It was undergoing a major renovation and presented little photo opportunity so I ambled through Jardin des Tuileries till I arrived at the Louvre. This was the highlight of my day. I have seen so much about this landmark in various media so it was really nice to finally see it in person.
At this point of my visit, I realized Paris was a really big tourist destination. Everywhere I went there were throngs of tourists. I had packed a 10 stop filter which my good friend Steve was kind enough to let me borrow before I left. I hoped that the 10 stop filter would enable me to take very long bulb exposures that would ultimately erase the crowds of tourists from my shot. I did not even come close. There were that many tourists and that much traffic everywhere I went. 5 minute exposures looked like your typical 15 second exposure. This was even more evident when I shot the Eiffel Tower at sunset several days later.
I realized the only way I could shoot Paris would be to shoot at night only. So I just scouted for a few hours during the day and then started to take my shots after sunset and often went on through the night into the early morning.
Blew through the Louvre and ended up at Pont Neuf on the river. Not sure what it is about it, but I just love this bridge. When I returned later that night I was pleased to find calm waters on the river. This meant I could get some really cool light reflections using extended exposures. I proceeded to retrace my steps from earlier in the day upon arriving at Pont Neuf. Below is a wide shot of the bridge followed by a panoramic shot. This was close to midnight with sparse activity around downtown and much fewer people. It was relaxing and refreshing to be able to just take it all it uninterrupted.
Yesterday I managed to break away from the Memorial Day weekend duties for a couple hours. I grabbed my camera gear made a much needed escape to the old Sacramento Area along the river. I noticed earlier in the day, we had very nice, picturesque, high altitude clouds. I thought they would make for spectacular colors during magic hour. Alas, by the time I got to the river banks and found a good spot, they had all dispersed. Never-the-less I captured the lights from the Delta King to the Tower bridge. I had been meaning to capture this view for a while now. These shots and time lapses will eventually go into a subject compilation for the city Sacramento and surrounding areas.
This time I broke habit and put the 5D Mark III on time lapse duty and used the 7D for panoramic and still shots. There were three reasons for this:
- I could use my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens on the 5D to give me the ultra wide angle coverage I wanted for the time lapse which the 24-105mm f/4 L did not provide.
- I could use my 17-55mm f/2.8 lens (only fits the 7D) to capture my Panoramic shots. This lens is still the best lens in my kit. Better than the 24-105mm f/4 L in all respects except build.
- I was trying a slightly different approach to my time lapse settings which would benefit more from the 5D’s wider range of usable high ISO noise suppression. I shot in Shutter Priority (typically a No-No for time lapse) however with a twist. I set ISO to auto and used Max-ISO. I wanted to use a fixed shutter speed to ensure a consistent water motion and texture capture. This worked out quite well. I will shoot a few more time lapses to fine tune this technique.
Here is a quick shot I took of the view after setting off the 5D for time lapse and before getting the 7D ready for stills.
I like the Panorama feature on my LG Optimus G phone which allows me to take a quick rough panoramic shot and edit it to determine if that location has the composition I am looking for. One of many tools I use to increase the rate of success of my shots. Below is my test pan shot from the 7D’s position.
And now for the final panoramic shot at magic hour. The lights didn’t quite come on as/when expected but then again nothing ever is as expected. I stitched this shot manually – like most of my panoramic shots, I find it’s just a better way to do it. It gives me much more control of my output. It’s worth the extra 15-30 minutes to get it right. The final shot is about 15,000 pixels and was down sampled here to about 3,400 pixels for sanity’s sake :-). The 17-55mm f/2.8 lens’ ultra sharp optics and the 7D’s high pixel density was able to resolve and render pictures hanging on the walls inside the Delta King’s dining room. This was at a focal length of 35mm! This is the reason I will be keeping and using the 7D for years to come – with the right lens, it has some serious resolving power.
Click the image for the larger version.
Old Sacramento after Sunset
I will publish the final time lapse composition in another post.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing.