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 – Hill Country Drive

Here is another of the incredible sights you can expect to photograph if you decide to join me on this fall’s Texas Landscape Safari. The area just northwest of Austin, Texas covers some of the beautiful and picturesque scenery in the state. From this lookout at the Inks Lake State Park you can follow the Colorado river all the way north from Inks Lake to the Buchanan Dam. In October, the air should be crisp and clear providing a wonderful opportunity to capture some beautiful landscape images. Come and join me for a Hill Country drive during the Texas Landscape Safari this fall.

Hill Country Drive

Hill Country Drive – Burnet, 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 50mm, f/11 for 1/50th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional 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, Inks Lake State Park, Texas Landscape Safari, Texas Landscapes

Really Right Stuff L-Plates Need New Home

UPDATE: The BGE2-L40 L-Plate for the EOS 40D w/battery grip has been sold.

UPDATE: The B40D-L L-Plate for the EOS 40D has been sold.

UPDATE: The BGE2-L50 L-Plate for the EOS 50D w/battery grip has been sold.

Thanks for responding to my post. I’m really glad this wonderful gear has found a new home.

Since I’ve sold all my Canon crop body cameras and lenses, I have three Really Right Stuff L-Plates in excellent condition that are looking for a new home. These are the BGE2-L50, BGE2-L40, and B40D-L L-Plates. Each Really Right Stuff L-Plate is designed to exactly fit the EOS 40D (B40D-L), the EOS 40D with the BG-E2N battery grip (BGE2-L40) and the EOS 50D with the BG-E2N battery grip (BGE2-L50). These incredible little devices are machined from a solid bar of aluminum and anodized with a scratch resistant black coating.

For those of you not familiar with how an L-Plate works take a look at this video tutorial by Really Right Stuff.

Really Right Stuff L-Plates

If you’re interested in buying any of these L-Plates please drop me an email using my Contact Me page. They are priced at $50.00 each (plus shipping) which is less than half the original price. If you’re interested just send me an email and I’ll reply back with a PayPal request for payment which you can pay by credit card.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 40D, Canon 50D, Photography, Really Right Stuff

Texas Landscape Safari – Lower McKinney Falls

Here is another of the incredible sights you can expect to photograph if you decide to join me on this fall’s Texas Landscape Safari. McKinney Falls State Park in Austin , Texas is a hidden gem in the middle of central Texas. This wonderful little state park boasts one of the most picturesque water falls in Texas that is only a few minutes from downtown Austin. The upper falls is a well known swimming hole but my favorite place is the usually deserted lower falls with its beautiful rock formations.

Lower McKinney Falls

Lower McKinney Falls – Austin, 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 24mm, f/11 for 1/25th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional digital film. The image was post capture processed in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4 using Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro filter. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 50D, McKinney Falls State Park, Texas Landscape Safari

Three Key’s to Landscape Photography

In Scott Kelby’s latest book The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3 he talks about the three keys to landscape photography.

  • Gear: Having the right equipment and knowing how to use it.
  • Preparation: Scouting your locations in advance so you’re in the right place at the right time
  • Luck: Sheer unadulterated luck!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen these three keys written down before but they’re absolutely true, especially the last one, Luck! Having said that, I do believe that having the right gear and being prepared go along way in determining just how lucky you can be.

Take this image for example. I had scouted this location several times before and knew that the best light would occur just as the sun sank below the rocks to my left at Pedernales Falls. I also knew that I’d have just minutes to capture this scene before the warm, directional light from the sunset was gone. So I setup my tripod and camera about 45 minutes early, composed the scene in my viewfinder just as you see it here and waited for the magic to happen.

I took about two shots per minute for the next half hour or so as the sun slowly set and the image came alive with a wonderful warm glow. When I returned to the hotel after dark it took me only minutes to select the best exposures and process them in Lightroom to display and print. The right gear and good preparation allowed me to get lucky and capture a few really nice exposures that evening.

Rocks and Trees at Sunset

Rocks and Trees at Sunset – 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 47mm, f/16 for 4/10ths of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional digital film. The image was post capture processed in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 50D, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, Landscape Photography, Photography

Landscape Photography – Slow Curve Ahead

Here is another image taken a few weeks ago at the Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, Texas. I’ve never seen the Pedernales river this low before. The layers in the granite where the water has cut through are wonderful to capture at sunset.

I love taking long exposures using the Singh-Ray Vari-ND neutral density filter. This wonderful little device is an absolute miracle worker when it comes to long exposures and is worth every penny of it’s $370 (USD) price. You turn the filter element to the “min” setting to compose and focus and then to the “max” setting to take your shots. No other neutral density filter comes close to the functionality of this little beauty.

Now if nature would just provide us a little more rain here in central Texas!

Slow Curve Ahead

Slow Curve Ahead – Pedernales Falls, 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 8 seconds using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND neutral density filter. Shot at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional 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, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, Landscape Photography, Photography