Landscape Photography – Cypress

Here’s a shot I didn’t really like until I decided to “finish” it using Photoshop CS4 and Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro plug-in filters. One of my favorite filters in Nik’s collection is called “glamour glow” and although it’s not designed for landscape work, it does a great job of adding contrast and vibrance to any image. I’ve found that this works especially well for an image with an overall green tone since it really does makes the leaves seem to glow.

My inspiration for this image can be found in Diane Varner’s wonderful Daily Walks photo-blog. Diane’s mastery at nature photography and Photoshop are really second to none and I look forward to viewing her incredible images each morning.

Cypress

Cypress at McKinney Falls State Park – Austin, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM hand-held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/11 for 1/30th of a second at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film. Post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4 using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro filters. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 40D, Landscape Photography, McKinney Falls State Park

Landscape Photography – Looking Upstream

Oops! Quick change of plans. I’m heading for the Angelina National Forest late this afternoon (about 150 mile drive from Sugar Land) and I’ll be up before dawn to catch the sunrise over Boykin Springs. This time of year the early morning light is much warmer and softer, especially in the East Texas Piney Woods.

Here is another image of rocks, trees and water taken while looking upstream at the Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, Texas (birth place of President Lyndon B. Johnson). I’ll be visiting this wonderful park once again late next week to (hopefully) capture some beautiful sunrise and sunset shots. We’ve had a little rain lately so I’m hoping for better waterfall shots as well.

By the way, the difference in exposure between the foreground (rocks & water) and the background (sky & clouds) in this image was almost 5 stops. Rather than bracket my exposures to create an HDR image I decided to use a 3-Stop/Soft rectangular Singh-Ray Graduated Neutral Density Filter held in place in front of the lens using a Cokin “P” Series Filter Holder.

In my opinion, no Photomatix Pro, Lightroom or Photoshop technique is as simple and as foolproof as using an ND-Grad for this common landscape situation. Don’t take my word for it, read what landscape professional Steve Kossack has to say on the subject of “using graduated neutral density filters”.

Looking Upstream

Looking Upstream at Pedernales Falls State Park – Johnson City, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/9 for 1/100th of a second at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film. Post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

You can also find a 1200 x 800 version of this image and many others on my Flickr site.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 40D, Landscape Photography, Pedernales Falls State Park, Texas Landscapes

Landscape Photography – Reflections in Black & White

Thanks everyone for those great comments on Saturday’s post. I appreciate all my friends taking up the slack while I was out in the heat.

When I wander the back roads of Texas I seldom know exactly what I’m looking for until I see it. I may drive hundreds of miles (as I did in the past few days) in search of some allusive subject or location to photograph. More and more I find myself searching for a subject that speaks to me of peace and quiet, both of which are in short demand these days. This still little spring fed lake in the Angelina National Forest of East Texas fit the bill perfectly!

Reflection in Black & White

Reflection – Angelina National Forest, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 25mm, f/16 for 1/15th of a second using a Singh-Ray 3-Stop/Soft graduated neutral density filter. Shot at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film and post capture processed in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Angelina National Forest, Canon, Canon 40D, Landscape Photography

Landscape Photography – Curves

Here is another image taken last month at the Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, Texas. I’m heading back to the Texas Hill Country later this week for a few days of landscape and nature photography. It’s going to be hot with the daily highs hovering around 102F, so I’ll probably stick to shooting during the “golden hours” during sunrise and sunset.

Curves

Curves – Pedernales Falls State Park, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 95mm, f/16 for 1.6 seconds using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND neutral density filter. Shot at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film and post capture processed in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 40D, Landscape Photography, Pedernales Falls State Park, Texas Landscapes

Landscape Photography – Sunset on the Rocks

I had a great time photographing the sunset at the Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, Texas on Friday evening. I arrived about an hour before sunset and had plenty of time to hike the falls and find a good spot or two. Unfortunately, the drought in central Texas continues and there was very little water flow running between the huge granite boulders and rock shelves. Only a few still pools of water to catch the sun’s final rays and provide me with a nice reflection to capture. When the water level is this low you can see millions of years of sedimentation in the granite. It’s humbling to sit there and imagine the water flow that it took to carve these rocks into their unique shapes.

Sunset on the Rocks

Sunset on the Rocks- Johnson City, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 50D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 73mm, f/13 for 1/13th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar digital film and post capture processed in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 50D, Landscape Photography, Pedernales Falls State Park

Landscape Photography – More Neutral Density Filter Magic

Remember the days before Photoshop? When the photographer used his skill and experience to capture an image even though the scene was far beyond the film’s dynamic range? When “post” (post capture processing) meant pushing or pulling during film development or dodging and burning during enlargement? When a graduated neutral density filter could span the four or five stop difference between the foreground and the sky? When the photographer spent hour after glorious hour behind the camera, trying out different color filters, different speed film stock and different exposure combinations in his or her quest for a decent image?

In some ways I miss those days and find myself now spending more and more time trying to get back to my photographic roots. No, I don’t miss the cost, mess and hassle of film development and darkroom work, but I do miss the time spent behind the camera working on various techniques to perfect my craft. These days I seem to spend four hours in Lightroom and Photoshop for every hour behind the camera. I’ll be the first to admit it. I love digital imagery but not the tedium of post capture processing. Sorting and keywording is obviously important but boring beyond belief. Processing RAW files into finished JPEGs is more interesting but after a while, even the allure of CS4 begins to fade.

Take this image for example. I could have spent hours using various Lightroom/Photoshop techniques creating an acceptable image from a RAW file where the dynamic range of the scene far exceeded my camera’s capabilities. Yes, I could have bracketed three to seven exposures and blended these into an HDR image in Photomatix. Or I could employ a simple 4-stop, soft, graduated neutral density filter to tame this scene’s dynamic range to show the incredible cloud cover over these rolling hills in central Texas on a hot July afternoon. It took me four or five exposures before I got the image I wanted “in camera”, but the resultant RAW file took only seconds to process in Lightroom before the scene looked as I remembered it.

Here’s the important part! I enjoyed creating this image “in camera” much more than I usually do with images I have to “fix” in Lightroom or Photoshop. It took longer to capture this image but far less time to post process and for me, the enjoyment of photography is being behind the camera looking through the viewfinder.

Packsaddle Mountain

Clouds Over Packsaddle Mountain – Kingsland, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 50D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 47mm, f/11 for 1/200th of a second using a Singh-Ray 4-Stop/Soft graduated neutral density filter. Shot at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film and post capture processed in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 50D, Landscape Photography, Texas Landscapes

Texas Landscape Safari – Gorman Falls

Here is one of the incredible sights you can expect to photograph if you decide to join me on this fall’s Texas Landscape Safari. The beauty of Gorman Falls in the Colorado Bend State Park near Lampasas, Texas is truly unmatched in all the Texas Hill Country. It’s like climbing down a steep Texas gorge into a tropical rain forest. Unexpected and wonderful!

Moss & Rocks

Moss & Rocks – Gorman Falls, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 40D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/8 for 1/15th of a second at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film and post capture processed in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Colorado Bend State Park, Landscape Photography, Texas Landscapes