Author Archives: Bob

Southwest Photography Adventure

Part 3 – Photographing the Sun

Late afternoon sun over the Three Sisters in Monument Valley © 2013 Bob Harvey

Late afternoon sun over the Three Sisters in Monument Valley
© 2013 Bob Harvey

One of the big reasons we love the Southwest is that it lends itself to big bold compositions, with strong simple lines.  Photographing the sun in the Southwest highlights some of the best of that – with shadows often dropping to deep blacks, leaving only the sun, the sky, a black outline of the landscape, and those interesting patterns the sun makes bouncing around inside your lens!

Sunrise © 2013 Bob Harvey

Sunrise
© 2013 Bob Harvey

Sunrise presents a great opportunity for such a design, allowing you to paint the sky with those early morning colors.

Sunrise © 2013 Bob Harvey

Sunrise
© 2013 Bob Harvey

And to design with big bold shapes and lines!

But, these days, with more bit depth and greater dynamic range in our RAW captures, there are even more opportunities.  Sometimes we can capture the drama of the sun, but also a sense of the scene – more than just bold outlines.  Sometimes we can create images that make us feel the bright sun pouring into the scene, washing color into an otherwise black and white world!

First light at the totems, Monument Valley © 2013 Bob Harvey

First light at the totems, Monument Valley
© 2013 Bob Harvey

Monument Valley © 2013 Bob Harvey

Monument Valley
© 2013 Bob Harvey

The recent improvements in bit depth and dynamic range have opened a whole new world of opportunities to compose – while including the sun!

Honeymoon Arch  © 2013 Bob Harvey

Honeymoon Arch
© 2013 Bob Harvey

And, don’t forget those great rays… like this pair in Lower Antelope Canyon!

Rays in Lower Antelope Canyon © 2013 Bob Harvey

Rays in Lower Antelope Canyon
© 2013 Bob Harvey

 

The world of photography has never been filled with so many opportunities.  There was a time when photographers were advised to keep the sun over a shoulder, never including it in an image.  Now, it is an important part of the landscape photographer’s subject.

Note that no special filters were used for the images above.  Neither was any special process – nor the integration of multiple images through HDR.

Join us next fall as we explore the desert Southwest in search of bold photographic opportunities.  We’ll help you master the techniques you’ll use to bring back dramatic images.  Check out our Southwest Adventure at www.naturephotographyadventures.com/workshop/monument.htm

 

 

 

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Southwest Photography Adventure

Part 2 – Photographing the Moon

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© 2013 Bob Harvey

 

In theory, photographing the moon should be rather straightforward, but it seems many people have some assumptions that get them tangled up.

First, the moon is a sunlit object, just like a mountain 0r a face in full sun.  Second, that light has a ways to go, and it passes through a lot of atmosphere after it bounces off the moon.  Still, one can, on a clear night make an exposure that is just 2-3 stops below a straight sunny exposure.  No need to have a long exposure – and the moon will move and blur if you do.

Moonrise © 2013 Bob Harvey

Moonrise
© 2013 Bob Harvey

That was the easy part, now the challenging part.  One has to figure out when the moon will rise relative to when the sun will set.  If the moon rises in a bright sky, it is hardly distinguishable from the blue around it.  If it rises in a dark sky, the foreground objects are dark or may not even separate from the sky.

Mittens at moonrise/sunset © 2013 Bob Harvey

Mittens at moonrise/sunset
© 2013 Bob Harvey

So pick a night when the moon comes up a little before the sun goes down.  Then watch for that magic moment when the sky around the moon is darkening, the foreground objects are catching last (but not too strong) light, and build an exciting composition.  Shoot fast, because the moon is constantly moving in relationship to the foreground, and the light is constantly changing.

Mittens moonrise/sunset 2 © 2013 Bob Harvey

Mittens moonrise/sunset 2
© 2013 Bob Harvey

There are countless ways to mix up late day light with a rising moon – and the Southwest is one of the best places to play this game!

Moonrise © 2013 Bob Harvey

Moonrise
© 2013 Bob Harvey

But wait, there’s more!  In the early morning, you can time things so that the moon is setting as the sun is rising.  And play the whole game again with similar rules.  Only, in the morning, you don’t have to work so hard to predict where the moon will be!

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Moonset
© 2013 Bob Harvey

We love to help people conquer “moon photography”.  If you’d like to get really good at it, come join us in the Southwest!

We’ll blog again in about a week – next time Focusing on the Sun!

 

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Southwest Photography Adventure

Part 1 – The Magic of the Southwest

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Eye of the Sun
© 2013 Bob Harvey

The Southwest is an amazing region to visit – and a great set of photographic opportunities for those who come with cameras!  Pop-out colors combine with big bold lines to carve out stunning compositions – and there is no end to the photography play that a creative photographic mind can encounter.

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Mittens at first light
© 2013 Bob Harvey

We love to bring photographers to this region.  Not only can we put them in great places in great light – but it is the perfect laboratory for participants to master a number of crucial skills.

In this land of strong lines and bold colors, one can tackle the issues of composition and design – without having to worry about working around the complexities found in many other compositional environments.  Learn it here – apply it everywhere else in the world!

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Late light in Mystery Valley
© 2013 Bob Harvey

This is the place to really grasp taking control of metering and exposure.  In this environment you can control the exposure, learn from your mistakes, review trials and adjust exposures until you have perfect images.  Along the way you can build an approach and rhythm that will pay you back everywhere you explore with your cameras.

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Dunes at dawn
© 2013 Bob Harvey

This is a land of deep saturated colors.  Here, often the dynamic range exceeds what one can capture in a single image.  This is a place to learn to design with color… and with deep black shadows…

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Lower Antelope Slot Canyon
© 2013 Bob Harvey

And a place where sometimes you want to throw away all color and “see” the composition in black and white!

Anasazi Granary in Honeymoon Arch, Mystery Valley © 2013 Bob Harvey

Anasazi Granary in Honeymoon Arch, Mystery Valley
© 2013 Bob Harvey

 

Our October 2013 group came home with an outstanding selection of new images.  Techniques were mastered.  Magic moments in nature were witnessed!  Adventures were shared!  We’ll blog more about this in the coming days!
Next up:  Photographing the Moon!

Don’t forget to visit our web page on the Southwest at http://www.naturephotographyadventures.com/workshop.photo.monument.htm

 

 

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Iceland Photography Adventure

Wildlife

Iceland has very few native mammals (the artic fox), many fish and whales, and a wealth of birds.

Puffins©2013 Bob Harvey

Puffins
©2013 Bob Harvey

The long days (it never got dark) of summer convert all that daylight into an abundance of food for migrating birds.  Artic terns make the long journey (and it is not a straight flight) from the other end of the planet to nest along the coast.  Puffins abandon the sea and burrow into cliff faces.  Raptors and ducks and loons and shorebirds show up – again to raise young!

Artic Terns©2013 Bob Harvey

Artic Terns
©2013 Bob Harvey

Great Skua©2013 Bob Harvey

Great Skua
©2013 Bob Harvey

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Puffins on the cliff’s edge
©2013 Bob Harvey

One of the most exciting things I witnessed was when the puffins left the burrow and returned with lunch for the chicks – with an onshore wind.  When it was time to land, the puffins would spin around and face into the wind and land backwards – often tumbling when they made contact with land.  It was not pretty, but it was effective!

Puffin landing©2013 Bob Harvey

Puffin landing
©2013 Bob Harvey

 

One other exciting thing is that a lot is happening in the waters where glaciers calve – and fresh and salt water mix as the tides ebb and flow!

Puffin and icebergs©2013 Bob Harvey

Puffin and icebergs
©2013 Bob Harvey

Artic tern fishing between ice bergs©2013 Bob Harvey

Artic tern fishing between ice bergs
©2013 Bob Harvey

 

Red throated divers, a type of loon, nest in small ponds.  We found them in several areas we visited.

Red throated diver with chick©2013 Bob Harvey

Red throated diver with chick
©2013 Bob Harvey

 

Red throated diver with an eel for the chicks' lunch!©2013 Bob Harvey

Red throated diver with an eel for the chicks’ lunch!
©2013 Bob Harvey

Once again, to be fair to you, I have opted to upload only a few of many images captured.  Now that you’ve seen the images – note that I did not take a long telephoto on this adventure.  My longest lens was 300mm on a full frame camera!

Iceland is an amazing place to witness wildlife nesting and feasting.

 

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Iceland Photography Adventure

Landscapes

If I had to close my eyes and describe Iceland, I would speak of dark colored volcanic hills, draped with lime green mosses.  I would speak of brilliant green grasses rarely interrupted  by trees.  I would tell you about a landscape where, especially along the coast, waterfalls are in your view much of the time.  I would speak of black sand beaches and white fulmars dotting the cliff faces.  Oh, and I would mention that glaciers sometimes lurk in the clouds, often pouring out between hills.

This is a dramatic landscape.  A young landscape that is constantly changing.  A land where the changing geology and receding glaciers often rewrite the book – about how big Iceland is, about where the largest lake is, about which waterfall is highest.

And it’s a landscape that calls the photographer to celebrate it with design!

Valleys shaped by the volcano Katla©Bob Harvey, 2013

Valleys shaped by the volcano Katla
©Bob Harvey, 2013

Dramatic light©Bob Harvey, 2013

Dramatic light
©Bob Harvey, 2013

Calving glacier©Bob Harvey, 2013

Calving glacier
©Bob Harvey, 2013

A shoreline shaped by volcanic activity©Bob Harvey, 2013

A shoreline shaped by volcanic activity
©Bob Harvey, 2013

Cliffs, adorned by fulmars©Bob Harvey, 2013

Cliffs, adorned by fulmars
©Bob Harvey, 2013

Craters of the Laki eruption©Bob Harvey, 2013

Craters of the Laki eruption
©Bob Harvey, 2013

A hidden crater lake©Bob Harvey, 2013

A hidden crater lake
©Bob Harvey, 2013

Waterfalls and lupines©Bob Harvey, 2013

Waterfall and lupines
©Bob Harvey, 2013

Abrupt cliffs reveal the volcanic heritage©Bob Harvey, 2013

Abrupt cliffs reveal the volcanic heritage
©Bob Harvey, 2013

 

 

I could go on and on….

But it’s time I worked up a few images of wildlife!  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Iceland Photography Adventure

Waterfalls

All those glaciers, and the geothermal areas beneath, combine with rainfall to fuel some spectacular waterfalls in Iceland.  Not just one here and there,  but so many that most go unnamed!  Some are huge and powerful.  Others are delicate.  Many are tall.  There are good reasons to stop the action on some – and to go for slow grace on others!  A photographer’s playground!

Along the road to Laki Craters©Bob Harvey 2013

Along the road to Laki Craters
©Bob Harvey 2013

Many have multiple stages©Bob Harvey 2013

Many have multiple stages
©Bob Harvey 2013

A ten shot multiple exposure©Bob Harvey 2013

A ten shot multiple exposure
©Bob Harvey 2013

Oh the patterns!©Bob Harvey 2013

Oh the patterns!
©Bob Harvey 2013

Falling water and basalt columns©Bob Harvey 2013

Falling water and basalt columns
©Bob Harvey 2013

 

Quiet beauty in a narrow canyon©Bob Harvey 2013

Quiet beauty in a narrow canyon
©Bob Harvey 2013

Next up, we’ll look at some of the Icelandic landscape!  This is an amazing place!

 

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Iceland Photography Adventure

Glaciers

Part of the story of Iceland is about glaciers.  This volcanic island is adorned with some pretty fantastic glaciers.  Tongues of those glaciers spill down from the mountains where they are more accessible to the South Coast visitor.

Pool at the foot of a glacier©2013 Bob Harvey

Pool at the foot of a glacier
©2013 Bob Harvey

The eroding and retreating front end of the glacial tongue creates some rather interesting formations.

Arch of ice©2013 Bob Harvey

Arch of ice
©2013 Bob Harvey

As the glaciers drop down toward the lowlands they deform, creating serac zones of shattered ice.

serac zone©2013 Bob Harvey

serac zone
©2013 Bob Harvey

If the terminus of the glacier is in water, the glacier may calve icebergs into the water.  Here on the South Coast some of those icebergs move from the lagoon, taking a short river ride to the black sand beaches along the coast.

Lagoon filled with icebergs©2013 Bob Harvey

Lagoon filled with icebergs
©2013 Bob Harvey

Backlit iceberg stranded on a black sand beach©2013 Bob Harvey

Backlit iceberg stranded on a black sand beach
©2013 Bob Harvey

The operative word is “melting” – as this 1000 year old (and sometimes much older) ice is rapidly returning to its liquid state!

Iceberg meltdown©2013 Bob Harvey

Iceberg meltdown
©2013 Bob Harvey

All in all, it creates great photographic fun – and lots of food for thought!

Now that we have internet access worked out, look for more here!

 

 

 

 

 

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Iceland Photography Adventure

Iceland!  Thoughts of glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, lava flows, and even puffins!

So, on the first day in Reykjavik, what do I shoot?  Well, architecture.  Okay, so architecture conveying how the early Vikings and Celtics dealt with the harsh environment, right?  No, Reykjavik has an incredible new performing arts center – and I just had to play!

So, enjoy some abstracts!

 

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland©Bob Harvey 2013

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
©Bob Harvey 2013

 

Notes…

Over half of my group is now here and we’re headed out on the town for dinner.

It doesn’t get dark here this time of year.  Sure the sun goes down, but darkness never arrives.

I found my first puffin today – but it was on the menu.  I’ll keep looking

Tomorrow the rest of the first group arrives.  Some more play around town.  The next day we set off on our Icelandic explorations!  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

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Turkey Photography Adventure

Ephesus

Ephesus© 2013 Bob Harvey

Ephesus
© 2013 Bob Harvey

Touted as the largest city ever excavated, Ephesus is more important for the roles it played in history – and what it can teach us about the future.

Ephesus© 2013 Bob Harvey

Ephesus
© 2013 Bob Harvey

And, importantly for our small band of photographers – Ephesus contributed inspiring design material that spun into some exciting images!

Ephesus© 2013 Bob Harvey

Ephesus
© 2013 Bob Harvey

This major Greek City, turned Roman City, and possibly the place where the Bible’s Gospel of John was written, sat on a hillside overlooking an important harbor.  The city was an important center of trade.  Under the Romans, the forests inland were plundered for lumber, setting off severe erosion that eventually silted in the harbor, creating a wetland that harbored mosquitos and malaria – eventually creating an outbreak that caused the city to be abandoned.

Elite Housing© 2013 Bob Harvey

Elite Housing
© 2013 Bob Harvey

One area of Ephesus has been excavated carefully and is kept under a roof for protection – an area of elite residences.  The lifestyle here was impressive – as are the archaeological vestiges.  Again, great material for photographers!

Floor tiles in elite housing© 2013 Bob Harvey

Floor tiles in elite housing
© 2013 Bob Harvey

Elite Housing© 2013 Bob Harvey

Elite Housing
© 2013 Bob Harvey

Elite housing details© 2013 Bob Harvey

Elite housing details
© 2013 Bob Harvey

Stones with texts© 2013 Bob Harvey

Stones with texts
© 2013 Bob Harvey

There are so many aspects to this site, so many intriguing corners.  And so many stories to hear.

Sunburst© 2013 Bob Harvey

Sunburst
© 2013 Bob Harvey

 

What a visual treat!

Oh, and nearby are the last remnants of the Temple of Artemis – once one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Unfortunately, as allegiances changed over time, the temple became handy building material for other nearby structures…

Artemis column with stork nest© 2013 Bob Harvey

Artemis column with stork nest
© 2013 Bob Harvey

With the remnants of the temple sitting in a swamp, it makes a nice pedestal for nesting storks!

 

Where next?  Pergamum and nearby Asclepion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Turkey Photography Adventure

Cappadocia – last imagesI know I’ve overdone the Cappadocia blogging – I guess you can tell I am pretty excited about the fun we had composing, dealing with challenging lighting, and accomplishing things that simply were beyond the technical means just a few years back.  But, even more important, is that things you see and learn in Cappadocia inspire you and fill you with awe and respect!

 

Underground City© 2013 Bob Harvey

Underground City
© 2013 Bob Harvey

There was a time, here, when Christians carved huge underground cities where they could retreat and survive.  The entrances to these cities were booby-trapped, much like the gauntlets that Indiana Jones movies feature.  Inside the cities were stores of food, winemaking facilities, wells for water, and sleeping and cooking quarters.

Underground City ventilation shaft© 2013 Bob Harvey

Underground City ventilation shaft
© 2013 Bob Harvey

 

In the fairy chimneys and the walls of canyons, along with residences, there were many monasteries.  Elaborate churches, often complete with domes carved into the rock, were carefully constructed and used.

Rock church© 2013 Bob Harvey

Rock church
© 2013 Bob Harvey

The dedication of these people was evident in the archaeological remains!

Rock church© 2013 Bob Harvey

Rock church
© 2013 Bob Harvey

Dome in rock church© 2013 Bob Harvey

Dome in rock church
© 2013 Bob Harvey

Ceiling art© 2013 Bob Harvey

Ceiling art
© 2013 Bob Harvey

 

Inspired by those who lived a hard life and put so much energy into their beliefs!  Then, step out into nature, late in the day, and be inspired again!

Cappadocia sunburst© 2013 Bob Harvey

Cappadocia sunburst
© 2013 Bob Harvey

 

 

Cappadocia Sunburst© 2013 Bob Harvey

Cappadocia Sunburst
© 2013 Bob Harvey

 

 

Obviously, I could go on and on about this special place.  Cappadocia has captured my imagination!  I’ll be going back next year (hopefully some of you will choose to come along)!  And there will be more blogging to do!  But the next blog from the Turkey adventure will be after Cappadocia.  From this amazing region, we flew to the southern Turquoise Coast to visit Ephesus, touted as the largest city ever excavated.  It played an important role for the Greeks, Romans, Christians, and more!  And the reason it was abandoned will cause you to think hard about our lives today!

 

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