Sun Rays on Yosemite Valley

Landscape photography workshop in Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Valley sunrise, Monday, May 8, 2018

 We had amazing conditions for the photography workshop in Yosemite last week. This was the first morning’s sunrise, with sun rays shining down on morning fog.  It rained the day before, but he skies were forecast to clear up overnight, so I figured that it would cool down enough to have the water vapor condense as a ground fog.

Heads UpWhen we arrive the next morning, it was just thick enough to reach the tree tops, creating some nice photographic opportunities.

There had been several dozen people at this viewpoint minutes before the sun rays appeared, but once the sun cleared the mountains, nearly everyone decided to go get breakfast. Someone in our group asked about that, but I said “Let’s give it another five minutes.” Sure enough, when the sun closed the gap in the clouds and started shining down between them, light rays started moving around the Valley.

The dynamic range of the scene was too great for one exposure, so the sun ray image above was created from five bracketed exposures, adjusted in Lightroom 5.7 and combined in Photomatix 6 (beta 2) HDR software.

For comparison, I produced a quick field edit of an adjacent sequence using Photomatix 5.  I like the image produced with the newer software better, but the old one still became my most popular posts on Twitter!

It was also one of my most popular posts on Instagram, and posted to my Facebook Page it has received over 22,000 views so far.  I don’t spend much time on social media any more since most sites are moving to more of a “pay to play” model that price small businesses out, but it’s fun to see those rare occasions when an image breaks through the algorithms and actually gets seen.

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Fall Colors in the Toiyabe National Forest

Sun rays break through clouds over the Bodie Hills, October 2015.

#landscapephotography #BodieHills #HDR


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Sunset in Bandon on the Oregon Coast

Sunset in Bandon, Oregon last month, early in my "victory lap" circling the Western U.S., celebrating the release of my California Landscape Photography guidebook!

More from my Oregon/Washington album:
#landscapephotography #hdr #travelphotography #visitoregon


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From The Early Days of G+

This album first shared on August 11, 2011 only received 51 +1s, but it had 58 shares! Now an album is lucky to get 1/4 of the distribution of a photo post, and photo posts do not get full distribution to your contacts who opted in to see them.

The site seemed to be much more interesting under the original algorithms. Perhaps human brain chemistry favors the unexpected, the pleasant surprise which is more likely to come form people NOT related to you as a previous friend? That would be terribly inconvenient for a network being designed to determine and mainly distribute content to your friends and social connections that they feel you can market to.

#landscapephotgoraphy #hdrphotography #HDR

Originally shared by +Jeff Sullivan

In honor of +Trey Ratcliff's photowalk 6:30pm at Stanford tonight, I'm sharing around 200 HDR images I produced in 2009. (Thanks in advance for shares!)


In Album HDR Photos from 2009

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Sunrise over the Salt Flats

This image of an oncoming sunrise was taken in Badwater Basin salt flats in Death Valley National Park last month. It was adjusted in +Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.7, Photomatix 5, and +on1 PerfectEffects 9.

#deathvalley #HDR #On1Pics #landscapephotography
+Death Valley Workshops


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Orion Before Launch Friday Morning

NASA's Orion sits on the launch pad illuminated by spotlights at 6:30 am on its launch day, December 5, 2014.

#orion #nasasocial #nasa #orionfirstflight #HDR


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Can HDR Software Finally Produce High Dynamic Range?

I used it a lot in 2008 and before.  I avoided it like the plague after I bought a camera with better dynamic range in 2009.  Here's why I'm starting to use HDR software more again.
…continued on my blog:
The Redemption of High Dynamic Range (HDR) Software #HDR   #Photomatix   #photographytutorials   #landscapephotography  

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The Redemption of High Dynamic Range (HDR) Software
Joshua tree in Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park When I captured the image above in early 2009, I used a Canon EOS 40D.  Although that was the first Canon camera marketed as producing 14-bit RAW files, it wasn’t alway…

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Alabama Hills Recreation Area

In the Eastern Sierra near Lone Pine, California.
#landscapephotography   #HDR   #Canon  

Alabama Hills Recreation Area near Lone Pine, California.

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Belt of Venus over Kelso Dunes

The "Belt of Venus" refers to the sunrise color you can see in the sky about 30 minutes before sunrise and after sunset.  It is usually a pink color over blue, and it always appears directly opposite the sun because the blue color is the shadow of the earth.  Astronomer +Philip Plait does a great job explaining this twice-daily phenomenon in his +Bad Astronomy blog on +Slate:
Moon Rise over an Arsenic Lake 

The Belt of Venus can be a great opportunity for photographers to catch sky color on blue sky days, when there will be no clouds to catch the sunrise or sunset color. Be sure and arrive so you have at least 30 minutes to get your camera gear out and set up before the color briefly appears for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remember also to plan for a location and composition where you'll be shooting directly away from where the sun will be on the horizon.   So for example you may go to a sunset location to capture the belt of Venus to the west before sunrise, as the sun approaches the horizon to the east.  Like all sunsets, the red/pink/orange colors in the sky are enhanced by the scattering of light through dust or smog particles in the sky, so you'll see the effect and the color strongest low on the horizon in dry, dusty places or places with some degree of smog (California has both).

This image was captured at 6:39 am, 26 minutes before a 7:05 sunrise in Mojave National Preserve in January, 2009.  I captured three exposures so the darkest one would capture the sky well and the lightest one would capture the foreground well.  There are many ways to merge those results later, HDR being probably the most common, with a simple average being another way to get more realistic results with a little less effort.  Both methods can be accomplished with Photomatix software from HDRsoft, and I describe my basic workflow here:
HDR-Friendly Workflow, Using Adobe Lightroom for Realistic Results

I've place a non-HDR singel exposure next to this in My Mojave Desert album for comparison, so if you click on this photo to see it bigger, you can then navigate to the Non-HDR and other photos in this album using the arrow keys on your keyboard or the arrow icons below the photos. 
#astrophotography   #HDR   #sunrisephotography   #mojavedesert   #SoCal   #landscapephotography  

Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve, January 2009

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Topaz Lake Sunrise, 6:57 am Saturday, January 11

This photo was taken only 3 minutes after the last one I posted from this morning's sunrise, but the orange sunrise light had spread quite a bit in that short time.  In a single exposure some of the highlight detail was getting lost, and the foreground rocks were nearly black as well, so I ran three exposures through Photomatix HDR software to recover the highlight and shadow detail.  Ironically, "High Dynamic Range" software has a reputation for producing low dynamic range images, when heavy-handed use leads to garish images with large solid splotches of color with lost detail.  That reputation is not entirely deserved though, since careful use can often result in highlight and shadow detail being improved instead of destroyed.
Exposure and processing details
Canon 5D Mark III with 16-35mm lens at 24mm focal length
Cokin #121 3-stop graduated neutral density filter
Bracketed exposures of .5, 1.3 and 3.2 seconds, f/16 at ISO 100 
Post-processed in +Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.2, Photomatix 5.0
White balance was set to 5412.  I adjusted exposure, brightness, whites and shadows (contrast, clarity, vibrance, saturation were all left at 0), then I used the Lightroom plug-in from HDRsoft to create an HDR file and transfer a 16-bit TIFF file back to Lightroom.  

To see more photos from this album:

#HDR    #landscapephotography    #sunrise    #Nevada   #nvmaglove   #Canon    #DSLR

Topaz Lake Sunrise Saturday, January 11, 2014 6:57am –
The surface of the lake was a little more calm than yesterday, so we had better reflections of the sunrise light on the clouds.

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