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

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

Another Simple Rule for Shooting Waterfalls

If you look through nature photography web sites or magazines like Outdoor Photographer, you notice that most waterfall shots were taken from above the falls looking down. To make your waterfall image more interesting try to get the shot that no one else has gotten, looking up at the waterfall from the middle of the river. Sometimes a slightly different perspective can make a big difference.

Lower McKinney Falls – Austin, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on manual (M) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 70mm, f/16 for 10 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo neutral density and warming polarizer filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 5D Mark II, Landscape Photography, McKinney Falls State Park, Photography, Texas Landscapes

Shoot Everything Around You!

Just a quick tip for a sleepy Monday morning.

In the world of digital photography, film is essentially free. So shoot everything around you. You never know how a shot will turn out unless you actually take it and no one will ever see your rejects!

I shot this image a few weeks ago at McKinney Falls on a cold, damp and dreary afternoon. Given the weather, I was surprised to see so many folks visiting the falls and couldn’t get a clear shot at the part of the falls that most interested me. Rather than become frustrated I began looking around at the water, the cypress trees and the unusual rock formations all around me. I could see all sorts of potential shots, most quite different from the typical waterfall shots I’d planned. I honestly didn’t know if any of these would turn out, but taking them kept me creatively “limber” while I waited for the tourists to wander off.

I notice this a lot at my workshops. Most folks will concentrate so hard on the subject at hand that they forget to look around for other potential subjects. With digital, film is essentially free so I encourage folks to shoot everything around them, looking for different foreground subjects and different angles. If you don’t think this works, take a look at Thomas Hawk’s incredibly popular Flickr stream. Talk about a prolific shooter!

In Motion – (Onion Creek) Austin, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on manual (M) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 47mm, f/16 for 4 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo neutral density and warming polarizer filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 5D Mark II, Landscape Photography, McKinney Falls State Park, Nature Photography, Photography

Rock Solid Motion

Here’s another shot taken a few weeks ago at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin. I’m really enjoying the new Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo filter and how easy it makes long exposure photography. Forgive my shameless self promotion, but did you get a chance to read my recent post on the Focus on Singh-Ray Filters blog yet?

Rock Solid Motion – McKinney Falls State Park, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on manual (M) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 65mm, f/14 for 6 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo neutral density and warming polarizer filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 5D Mark II, McKinney Falls State Park, Nature Photography, Photography

Strange Rocks at McKinney Falls

Here’s another shot taken a few weeks ago at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin. This shot of the upper falls shows just how powerful the flow of water can be over thousands or even millions of years. The crevices cut into the rock are large enough to fall through and I had a tough time just setting up my tripod without slipping on the strange wet rocks.

Strange Rocks

Strange Rocks – McKinney Falls State Park, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on manual (M) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 40mm, f/16 for 5 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo neutral density and warming polarizer filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 5D Mark II, Landscape Photography, McKinney Falls State Park, Photography, Texas Landscapes

Never Put Your Camera Away!

Like baseball, success in photography is all about statistics. In baseball, the more times you’re at bat, the better your average usually is. One simple rule for increasing your “stats” (percent keepers) in photography is to never put your camera away until you get “home”. (OK, enough with the baseball analogy)

I took this shot before Christmas as I was leaving McKinney Falls State Park, on my way back to Sugar Land. I had my camera on the car seat next to me and spotted this beautiful light just peeking through the clouds during the early evening. It was almost dusk and the sunlight was diffused by the clouds just enough to put the trees in silhouette and make the long grass “glow” when backlit.

Winter Fields – Austin, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 100mm, f/16 for 1/5th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray 4-stop graduated neutral density filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

I grabbed my camera and took a few quick test shots through the window and then stopped my car right there on the side of the road. I setup my tripod and camera in less than a minute and started taking exposures using a polarizer at first and then finally using a graduated neutral density filter. I lost the sun in just a few minutes but that brief stop gave me the opportunity to capture some really nice shots that I would have normally driven right past if I hadn’t had my camera handy!

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 5D Mark II, McKinney Falls State Park, Photography, Texas Landscapes

Sometimes You Need to Get Close

In general, landscape photographers will use a wide angle lens to capture those wide open vistas. Sometimes you need to get close however and that’s where today’s wide-angle zoom lenses like Canon’s EF 24-105mm really comes in handy.

I took this shot on a hazy evening about 30 minutes before the sun went down, when the light literally glowed in a golden hue. I used a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo filter to obtain a long exposure and provide some warmth and contrast.

Golden Falls – Austin, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 35mm, f/16 for 2.5 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo neutral density filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 5D Mark II, Landscape Photography, McKinney Falls State Park, Photography, Texas Landscapes

New Poster for Sale

By popular demand (anytime three or more people ask) I’ve added this image to my posters collection and to the next edition of my Hill Country Landscapes book.

All posters are printed on Kodak Professional Supra Endura VC Digital Paper which boasts superb color reproduction and a standard archival value of 100 years in home display and 200 years in dark storage. Most orders will ship in 48 hours and will be shipped flat in a very secure padded cardboard container to protect your poster during transport. To keep things simple there is a flat shipping charge regardless of the number of posters ordered.

To order, just click on the Add to Cart button below and thank you all for your continued support!

Winter Fields

McKinney Falls Winter Fields Poster 20″ x 16″ (MFWF01)
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
$32.00 + $7.00 for Shipping and Handling (USPS 2-5 Business Days)

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 5D Mark II, Landscape Photography, McKinney Falls State Park, Photography, Texas Landscapes

How to Get This Type of Shot

I love Scott Kelby’s photography books, especially the sections that explain exactly how to get a certain type of shot. I think these quick “recipes” as he calls them are some of the best tips and tricks I’ve seen written down in the past 30 years. So here’s my take on getting this type of shot!

From Above

From Above – Austin, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on manual (M) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 47mm, f/11 for 4 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray LB Vari-ND-Duo neutral density filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Characteristics of this type of shot: An abstract landscape image of water flowing over rocks providing that smooth, almost silky texture found in most outdoor photography magazines.

  • The key to this shot is the long exposure (greater than 1 second) that creates the smooth, silky look of the flowing water. You have two choices in how to achieve the long exposure; a) use a very small aperture like f/22 or b) use a neutral density filter. Given the the fact that small apertures can create diffraction blur I tend to use a neutral density filter whenever possible.
  • A good sturdy tripod is a must in a situation like this. Even the best image stabilization offered today can’t prevent blur in a shutter speed over 1 second. I prefer Gitzo carbon-fiber tripods because of their light weight and vibration damping characteristics. They’re a bit pricey but last a lifetime.
  • This type of shot is best taken in the late afternoon when the light is at it’s warmest. This helps provide some contrast between the rocks and the water as well as creating great looking shadows.
  • A final key for this type of shot is setting your camera’s long exposure noise reduction to “ON”. Long exposure noise reduction is a great little technology that eliminates noise in exposures over 1 second by taking two exposures; one with the shutter open and one with the shutter closed. These two exposures are then compared and any digital noise found (usually in the shadow areas) in the first exposure that is not present in the second exposure is “subtracted” from the final image. A neat little trick that almost completely eliminates any noise from your image.
  • A final word of caution. Wet rocks are extremely slippery. Be really careful when shooting around water falls. It’s all too easy to slip and injure yourself if you’re not careful. As nature photographer Bill Lockhart likes to say “no photograph is worth your life” so be mindful of where you step.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 5D Mark II, Landscape Photography, McKinney Falls State Park, Photography, Texas Landscapes