5 Lessons Learned From The Grace of Landscapes

Landscape photography at its finest is like being rocked gently in the cradle of creation. It’s spiritual for me. Some of my biggest, deepest, most defining moments have happened out there. I feel the best when I’m out there, resonating with eternal songs.

So I thought I’d share my top 5 of “lessons from landscapes”. Five is the number of Grace, which is at the end of the day, is what I experience every time I’m out there.

1. Radiate From The Center of Your Being 

Find your core truth, the one that lights you up on the inside. Discover the source of All That Is and where it lives inside of you. Open your inner ears and listen to it. Focus on it. Then radiate its light into your world. It’s how we were designed to operate.

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Quick Chats & Croton-On-Hudson

As I sit here with a nasty code in by doze in NYC… getting ready to travel home tomorrow… I look back and marvel at all I got to experience whilst here in NYC over 2 short weeks! OK, I’m paying the price for it now, but I’m feeling like a very lucky girl right now.

One of the marvelous peeps that I got to spend time with was Rick Sammon. First at his fall workshop in Croton-on-Hudson along with his amazing wife and partner Susan Sammon – she’s the BEST!  Then he agreed to do a Quick Chat with me at Photo Plus Expo:


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Moon Over Manhattan

Surprising – and Panoramic – Moments

I keep saying I don’t shoot panoramas, then I go and shoot another panorama. Like this one, of the Manhattan skyline taken from Queens. It’s not the hugest panorama ever created… 115,000 pixels across… but it’ll fill up a decent-sized wall nicely.

It happened pretty much by accident too, which is one of the best things about it!

A long lookAt a big city, where being Mooned only makes it more beautiful.(6 image panorama)

When Music Meets Photography

It seems like minutes ago that the hubs and I were in New York. But it’s going on a couple of weeks now. Sheeesh! Time flies!
One evening, we went with Joe’s kid Caleb – who’s a badass drummer – to one of his gigs over in Queens. It was fun, at the L.I.C. Bar. That stands for Long Island City, which I guess is technically where we were.

It was a lovely, warm night… and we’d gotten there early. Caleb was all set up and ready to go too. He looked at me and said “There’s a really cool view of the Manhattan skyline at the end of that road”… pointing to that road… “Wanna see it?”

I said “Sure!”, thinking “What does the kid know about great views?”.
So he walks us down to this little park at the end of the road and my jaw dropped. Dropped, I tell you! Hit the ground. Full on gapeage.
The sight was spectacular! Of course EVERYONE photographs the Manhattan skyline, but I wasn’t about to let THAT stop me!

I thanked Caleb profusely (my respect for his artistic eye skyrocketing) and set about capturing this breathtaking vista.
It was a little before sunset, so I had a chance to scope for a bit. Then I went to town.

Close up, Far Away – Covering the Gamut

I photographed wider first, then as the sun started to create cool reflections against the buildings, went for color block close ups like this, which I shot with my Canon 70-300 f/3.5-5.6:

June...Both the month and the girlWas utterly over Manhattan, each in different ways.

And generally covered every bit of the scene at different focal lengths, different compositions.

Then I hustled back to C’s gig. It was only an hour and I wasn’t about to miss it!

Random note: I discovered a beer at L.I.C. Bar called Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen that I absolutely fell in love with! I’m not much of a beer drinker, but lordy, I could get used to that one!

But Then… the Night. Yummmm!

Gig done, sun was down, moon was up; Joe and Caleb wanted to go get a beer elsewhere. We ended up at a really nice bar at that same park I photographed in earlier. And guess what I saw:

This, a single shot captured with a Canon 24-70 f/2.8:

ManhattanSkyline

and when I looked to the right, this (same lens):

Queens, NYSet anchor, rest a spell.You may be out of your element, but you're not out of your mind.So fill up, replenish.You can take the world tomorrow.

.. and then I thought to myself: “Self. This would look amazing on a wall BIG.”
Self agreed.

So we photographed that sucker BIG. Made a nice panorama, 7 images across… complete with the moon, the reflection, the river, even the plane with its long exposure streak. (I could’ve eliminated the long exposure streak. But I like it. It makes it so… that moment.). Used that trusty 24-70mm f/2.8 with my Canon 6D, which is phenomenal at night! (which was also the reason I brought it)

So, I don’t know what to say about panoramas anymore. I guess I do them occasionally! HehHeh.

Behind-The-Scenes: Truckee River

Have you ever been on vacation or a road trip and come across a really beautiful spot that you’d LOVE to photograph – but under less than optimal conditions? Maybe the light isn’t right, there are no cool clouds to offer some punch – but the place itself is lovely, you’d love to capture it and you don’t have the option to lie about until everything is perfect? I know it’s happened to me! So as part of my ‘short video tutorial’ series, I made this one to offer some composition tips and post-processing ideas that can help you make the most of “meh” shooting conditions.


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Behind-The-Scenes at Big Bend with Karen Hutton

I photograph in my area quite often. Even though I might hit the same spots more than once, it’s always a fun challenge to find new ways of seeing them. This day, I decided to bring y’all along with me and share one of my favorite stops. It’s not the easiest kind of shot, with all the deep shadows and bright whites in the snow… but I never care. I just like standing by the water’s edge, listening to the roar of the river and seeing what kind of goodness I can walk away with. In this video I talk through what I did THIS particular day, using multiple exposures and a few different compositions:

Silky Water and HDR

I love silky water, but as a rule I don’t use filters. I do own a Lee Big Stopper (10-stop neutral density)… but I only break it out once in awhile for variety.
I don’t have anything against filters. Alot of my friends create astounding images with them. But it boils down to personal preference. I just don’t like fussing about with gear. It makes me feel impatient and anxious, then just plain irritated. I DO like to set up quickly, go into falling leaf mode, take photographs, move about and be one with nature.

RushingHomeToYou

Consequently, HDR (high dynamic range) photography is a gift from god for me. Continue reading “Silky Water and HDR”