March 23, 2011

Location: Moab

How do you photograph a place that is one of the most photographed places in the world?  Rather, how do you photograph it differently?  Last weekend I went to Moab to run the Canyonland's Half Marathon and made sure to get some photography in, at the patience of my sister and brother in-law.  We had little time to soak in all that Moab has to offer, but we made the most out of every minute we had.  Even with our big run looming over our heads we still trekked as fast as we could to make it to Delicate Arch before sundown.  Just seeing one of the most recognized landmarks of Utah (if not America) that close was amazing.  Every time we drove through the Arches National Park we all just gawked at the sheer awesomeness.  We all made sure to plan a future trip to give Moab and the Arches it's due.

Camera Gear: Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Singh Ray ND Graduated Filter, Dolica Tripod

ISO 400  17mm  f/10  1/30 sec

ISO 200  20mm  f/11 1/250 sec

ISO 200  20mm  f/11  1/250 sec

ISO 200  40mm  f/8  1/200 sec

March 22, 2011


Holga 135 BC.  Just got a roll developed and found this.  The colors are so vivid and the composition so simple.  It's always exciting to get a roll of film developed, although it can get expensive.  Digital's instant gratification just isn't the same.  

March 17, 2011

Inspiration: Lynsey Addario

Afghan Women
Photograph by Lynsey Addario.

“I saw two women on the side of the mountain, in burkas and without a man. In Afghanistan you seldom see an unaccompanied woman. Noor Nisa, about 18, was pregnant; her water had just broken. Her husband, whose first wife had died during childbirth, was determined to get Noor Nisa to the hospital in Faizabad, a four-hour drive from their village in Badakhshan Province. His borrowed car broke down, so he went to find another vehicle. I ended up taking Noor Nisa, her mother, and her husband to the hospital, where she delivered a baby girl. My interpreter, who is a doctor, and I were on a mission to photograph maternal health and mortality issues, only to find the entire story waiting for us along a dusty Afghan road.” - Lynsey Addario
Photo by Lynsey Addario, National Geographic

As of Tuesday morning, Lynsey Addario and three other journalists have been missing in Libya.  They were covering the recent protests and revolution in Libya.  Lynsey Addario has been covering the Middle East and the issues there for the last decade.  Her stories on Women in Afghanistan, Women on the Frontlines, and Talibanistan have recently won her the MacArthur Fellowship Grant.  She has been one of my favorite photographers and a major inspiration for me and my interest in photography.  I am continually inspired by her work and the stories she continually produces.  Journalists and photojournalists around the world embed themselves into dangerous areas and situations to inform the world.  Their line of work is dangerous and things like this can happen quickly.  We should remember that these journalists risk their lives in these hostile areas to get us the news we freely take in.  I pray for their safety and hopeful return. 

You can see Lynsey Addario's work here

March 13, 2011

Architectural Lines

I've always gravitated toward simple, clean, classic design, whether it's in my photography or my attempt at fashion and design.  I find inspiration in clean lines, pattern and simplicity.  Architecture has always fascinated me and though it's not my photographic specialty I do enjoy photographing it and am often inspired by it.  So I've decided to start some kind of project of architectural lines and attempt to portray it  as I see it.

Reflections of the sky in a modern building downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.

Downtown Salt Lake City Library.

Simple, architectural, clean.

March 10, 2011

How To: Lens Distortion

After a long day at work, I decided to test out my new tripod at the Salt Lake City LDS Temple.  Lighting was great and the new tripod worked well, but when I downloaded my images to my computer I noticed the temple looked more like the leaning tower of pisa than the SLC Temple.  This was because of lens/barrel distortion.  I have a great 17-40mm Canon lens, but at 17mm it can start to distort straight lines, especially towards the edges.  It's not necessarily the lens' fault, lens distortion is expected with any wide angle lens, but I knew I had to fix it.  So I did a little research and found a program called PTLens and immediately downloaded the free trial.  After fiddling with the controls a bit it became easy.  In minutes I was fixing my unpleasing images and turning them into what I had envisioned them to look like in the first place.  I still haven't experimented with the other capabilities this program offers such as chromatic aberration and vignetting, but they should be a great addition.  This program, or any program like it, is a priceless addition for any serious photographer.  I know when my free trial is up I will have no problem forking over the $25 for the full download.

Here are some examples of the capabilities of PTLens:

The ground looks level, but the temple is completely tilted.
With the help of PTLens the temple is standing straight. 
When titling the lens up to fit the building into the picture distortion like this is very extreme.
Again, PTLens fixes the problem and gives the image a professional look.

To say the least, I was impressed and excited to improve my photography so much with such little effort.

Note: Tripod was great and easy to get use to.  For the money, it's awesome.  I just hope it can stand up 'til I can afford a real professional tripod. 

March 05, 2011

Griffith Observatory

I didn't think I'd be giving directions when I got into the cab to go to Griffith Observatory, but the driver insisted that my destination was the LA Zoo in Griffith Park because he had no idea what an observatory was.  Long story short, I was grateful for the amazing navigation capabilities of my smart phone and eventually got to my destination.  Besides the rough start, by the end of the evening I felt I had made a smart choice by spending my only night in LA at the observatory.  Great views of the city, a sunset over the ocean, views of the hollywood sign, and a museum visit all in one location.  To say it simply, I was photo happy.  However, there were a few things I wish I had brought along with me, like a tripod and a zoom lens, but I was able to compromise by using ledges for stability and little creativity for lack of a zoom lens.  It is always good to challenge yourself, even if it's not necessarily on purpose.  So, I did what I could with my shortcomings and explored every inch in and around the Griffith Observatory.  

Hollywood sign from afar.  Not having my zoom lens forced me to get creative, but I think that's why this shot works.  A close up of just the Hollywood sign would have been just like every other.  This shows the proximity to the observatory and tells more of a story.

An interactive and stimulating museum inside offered a nice break while waiting for better lighting outside.  

A corridor chronologically displaying every supernova and black hole from the big bang theory to a Pluto-less solar system. 

Magic hour lighting.  Griffith Observatory and the city of Los Angeles.  

When a handrail comes in handy as a makeshift tripod.  An observer watching the lights of the city transitioning from day to night.

Another time when a tripod would have been nice, but a statue's ledge seemed to do just fine.