February 28, 2011

Inspiration: Impromptu Photography

I have been a little uninspired lately and decided to turn to my own images.  I found a few images that reminded me that a photo doesn't have to be perfect or planned to be a good image.  Just getting out and shooting can produces good pictures.  Sure preplanning and previsualization are important too, but just getting out with your camera is what's most important.  So, I've gathered some of my favorite impromptu images that get me inspired to always have a camera on hand.

Camera Gear: Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon Powershot SX100IS, Canon 55-250mm f/4.5-4.6 

Orthodox Jews racing to the Western Wall for Friday night prayer.  Old City Jerusalem. 

Cathedral of the Madeleine.  Salt Lake City, Utah.

Caught this shot right outside my cabin door.  Halong Bay, Vietnam.

Early morning surfer at Newport Beach, California.

Old Vietnamese man fixing his well used bike on the streets of Hanoi. 

Making masks at the Peace Village for Halloween.  Hanoi, Vietnam.

February 24, 2011

Most Useful Android Photographer Apps

I have decided to compile a list of apps that I currently use on my android phone to help me as a photographer.  These apps are easy to use, at my fingertips and all in one place.  If you have suggestions of other (better) apps than please add them in the comments section.  
*I apologize to iphone users, however most apps mentioned below can be found in the apple app store as well.  


This app is probably the most used app on my phone.  I check this every time I am preparing for a sunrise or sunset shot.  It gives you exactly what it advertises:  Sunrise and sunset times.  It even syncs with your location through the GPS on your phone so you'll never miss a sunrise again. 

The Weather Channel

Another great app for every photographer.  The weather can make or break a photo.  Especially if you are trying to get an unusual photo at a popular location.  It also helps to know what kind of equipment you need to bring and if/how you're going to protect you equipment.  The weather can also determine what you shoot.  If conditions look promising for a dramatic sky, get outside and capture it.  



Really, an actual compass you can hold in your hand will be more accurate and more reliable, but this is an app list after all.  Of course a compass is good for finding your way, but it's also great for determining where the sun will come up when you decide to set up after hiking somewhere in the dark.

Backcountry Navigator DEMO

Great for, well, the backcountry.  Downloadable topo maps for offline use.  Find trails, plot a course with GPS points, or search for interesting areas you'd like to explore.  Fun to use and helps get you home after a photo adventure in the backcountry.  Also nice for pinpointing GPS points for those breathtaking viewpoints you found and want to return to. 

Exposure Calculator

Nice little tool for calculating your exposure by changing the shutter speed, aperture, or ISO.  

There are also some good camera apps for the phone's camera, but have only found them to be "fun" and not really useful so I have omitted them from this list.

February 21, 2011

Utah State Capitol

The Utah State Capitol is one of my favorite buildings in Salt Lake.  It sits up on the hill and is visible at nearly every angle in the valley.  The architecture is amazing and inspiring, and it sits amidst some breathtaking landscape.  Here are a few of my favorites of the Utah State Capitol:

Camera Gear: Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon 55-250mm f/4.5-5.6, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Singh-Ray Graduated ND filter, Tripod.

ISO 100  35mm  f/8  3.2 sec.  Canon 17-40mm

ISO 400  208mm  f/7.1  0.6 sec.  Canon 55-250mm

ISO 100  40mm  f/8  2 sec.  Canon 17-40mm, Singh-Ray Graduated ND filter

ISO 200  100mm  f/22  30 sec.  Canon 55-250mm

 ISO 200  100mm  f/22  20 sec.  Canon 55-250mm

February 19, 2011

Story: Airport Casino

I was traveling to Los Angeles for business and stopped over in the city of Las Vegas.  Right off the plane passengers stepped into a large round room full of slot machines.  It was still early enough that the machines looked nearly deserted.  For the next two hours of layover time I got out my camera and started taking pictures.  Slowly but surely, as the crowd in the terminal thickened, the crowd at the slots did too.  People started playing.  Most travelers walked around the slots, curious, smiling, wondering what they could win during their layover. One man hummed and hawed about it for awhile, standing back just staring, thinking.  He finally gave in, lost a few bucks and gave up.  Although only there, in the airport, for two hours I felt like I experienced a taste of Vegas:  Travelers enthralled in the lights and sounds with cash in hand.

Camera Gear:  Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon 17-40mm f/4L

ISO 400  27mm  f/4  1/80

ISO 400  17mm  f/6.3  1/60

ISO 400  40mm  f/6.3  1/80

ISO 400  40mm  f/4  1/100.  Cropped in Lightroom

February 17, 2011

Reynolds Flat

These photos mean a lot to me, but I wont go too deep as to why.  The valley was muggy, depressing.  I hoped as my Jeep climbed up the canyon that I'd find clear skies and a recognizable sunrise.  A low fog was settling on Big Cottonwood Creek and the sun was rising faster than I had anticipated.  I strapped on my snowshoes and photographed as much as I could during the "Magic Hour" after sunrise.  I wanted to stay longer, but I had to get back to the city.  Back to the inversion.  Back to the sadness.  

Early morning at Reynolds Flat in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah.  

Camera Gear: Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Singh-Ray graduated ND soft step 2 stop filter, Cokin ND8 0.9 Filter, Cheap Vivitar Tripod.

ISO 200  17mm  f/14  1/400.  Singh-Ray filter, converted to black and white in Lightroom

ISO 200  40mm  f/14  1/400.  Converted to black and white in Lightroom

ISO 200  17mm  f/18  1/500.  Singh-Ray filter

ISO 200  40mm  f/20  1/2.  Cokin filter to slow shutter speed.