Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful

Please click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

The Shimmering Expanse

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”

by Norman Vincent Peale

Title: The Shimmering Expanse
Photographer: Ken Lee
Info: Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens, two Tiffen 0.9 neutral density filters, F/32, 10-second exposure, ISO 200, taken New Year’s Eve 2011.
Location: Goat Rock Beach, Sonoma County, California, USA

Adam and his son gazing out at the crescent-shaped bay at Goat Rock Beach, watching the sun set for the last time in 2011. This photo uses the same long exposure technique as described above.See all photos on my travel blog:
http://elevenshadows.com/travels/sonoma2011/Want to find out more about how this long exposure photo was achieved?
https://kenleephotography.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/featured-photo-sonoma-coast-fun-with-long-exposure-photography/

Equipment:  Nikon D7000, Tokina AT-X 116

 

Advertisements

Photo: Sunrise on the Spire – The Amazing Secret Coastline of Los Angeles

Please click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

This holiday week, if you’re in Southern California, think about how lucky you are with the weather.  And if you’re visiting, enjoy a visit to the coast!!

Title: Sunrise on the Spire I
Info: Nikon D7000, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 with B+W 1.8 ND filter. ISO 100, 10 second exposure, f/11.
Photography: Ken Lee
Location: Los Angeles, California USA

Equipment:  Nikon D7000, Tokina AT-X 116

 

Photo: The Amazing Wild Coast of….Los Angeles

Please click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

A beautiful warm day in late October. Lisa and I went to the most beautiful beach in Los Angeles.

These are long exposure photos. This one is a ten-second long exposure. The challenge to me is to try and keep the tripod still when the ocean water is ebbing and flowing, pulling on the tripod, pulling the soft wet sand away from the tripod and wrapping seaweed around the tripod legs! I always jam the tripod in as hard as possible, and this certainly helps, although of course not always!

And the other challenge is to try and keep the water from splashing on the lens or the camera. I destroyed my Nikon D90 at Bowling Ball Beach by having water splash on it, frying the circuit board.

Title: Sunset on the Secret Coast
Info: Nikon D7000, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 with B+W 1.8 ND filter. ISO 100, 1.6 second exposure, f/11.
Photography: Ken Lee
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA.

Equipment:  Nikon D7000, Tokina AT-X 116

 

Featured Photo: Ventura Pier And the Passage of Time

Ventura Pier, California - Long Exposure (color)

I woke up early Monday morning and decided that I’d take some long exposure photos of the Ventura Pier.

I felt like I was at the beach for an hour, but I was there for almost three. The process of doing long time exposures seems to blur time. Michael Kenna mentions something that I believe has something to do with this quality.

“Getting photographs is not the most important thing. For me it’s the act of photographing. It’s enlightening, therapeutic and satisfying, because the very process forces me to connect with the world. When you make four-hour exposures in the middle of the night, you inevitably slow down and begin to observe and appreciate more what’s going on around you. In our fast-paced, modern world, it’s a luxury to be able to watch the stars move across the sky.” I love this quote so much that I devoted a blog post to it a few months ago.  It really summarizes how I feel about photography.

This photo was taken with my trusty old 18-200mm lens, a lens I call my “walkabout” lens. Perfect for travel due to its flexibility. The camera was just above the shade of the pier, so I stood in front of the camera, blocking the sunlight from  the lens. Let this be a lesson to you never to forget your lens hood – my folly is your gain! 😀

The glow of the water is from the morning sun, but the long exposure gives it a mystical quality.  It is not “Photoshopped” in any way except for some of the usual contrast and sharpening.  The cool otherworldly look is solely due to the long exposure!

Ventura Pier, Nikon D90, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens, f/29, 10 second exposure, two Tifffen 0.9 ND filters – at Ventura Pier, California.

Featured Photo – The Dreamy Pacific (Long Exposure Photo)

I’ve gotten a few questions about how I shot the main featured photo on the top, so it’s this week’s Featured Photo!

Northern California

I took this photo in the Lost Coast, the most isolated stretch of coastline on the West Coast of the United States. I love the rugged coastline here, and feel like I have the entire beach to myself.

This is probably one of the most difficult photos I’ve taken.  It was cold and windy, whipping the ocean spray onshore.  I had some issues with condensation and salt water spray, but managed okay by covering the camera with a plastic bag until it was time to shoot. Adding to the difficulty was that the beach was not sandy, but instead filled with rocks, so because of the strong wind, I jammed the Feisol Travel Tripod hard into the rocks to try and secure it, and then hung my camera bag on the hook provided in the middle.

I took this photo before sunrise using a 30-second exposure to achieve the ethereal, misty look from the movement of the ocean water. I think this look is beautiful. To try and minimize camera shake, I fired the camera using the Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord. I still managed to get a few spots of saltwater on the lens despite my best efforts, so I cloned them out as best I could.

I used a couple of Tiffen 72mm Neutral Density 0.9 Filters, a colorless filter that reduces the light entering the lens.  I did this to enable me to keep the shutter open longer to achieve the ethereal effect from the moving water.  And related to this, some of you may notice that I’m using a really small aperture.  Why?  Two reasons. One is that, once again, it lets in less light, which allows me to keep the shutter open longer, creating a more ethereal feel.  The other is that I have a larger depth of field, the range of distance in which things are in focus.  Or, to put it another way, more of the photo is sharper than if I had used a wide aperture.

Ken

Equipment:  Nikon D90, Nikon 18-200mm VR II Nikkor Telephoto Zoom Lens, Feisol Travel CT-3441S Rapid 4-Section Carbon Traveler Tripod (I’m actually using the CT-3441T, which is extra tall), Tiffen 72mm Neutral Density 0.9 Filter

 

Featured Photo: Sonoma Coast – Fun With Long Exposure Photography

Sonoma Coast – Fun With Long Exposure Photography

I just came back from a trip to Sonoma to welcome in Year 2012.  On New Year’s Eve, I took a few of the photos on my trip with a technique called long exposure, keeping the shutter open for long durations.  This technique keeps stationary objects sharp while blurring, smearing, or even obscuring elements that are moving.  In these photos, the moving waves of the Pacific  appear ethereal and otherworldly.

Sonoma Coast

The above photo is a long exposure shot of the rocks at Goat Rock Beach during the setting sun, captured by leaving the shutter open for five seconds to create the otherworldly misty look of the waves pounding the rocks. This is a technique that I used last year at Black Sand Beach near Shelter Cove in the Lost Coast region of Northern California.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens, two Tiffen 0.9 neutral density filters, F/36, 5-second exposure, ISO 200.

Sonoma Coast with Adam and son

This is great fun!  Here, Adam and his son sat still for ten seconds in this unusual photo. The photo is a long exposure in which the shutter is held open for ten seconds, creating the otherworldly ethereal look with the surf in the rocks below.  You can see where Adam’s son checked up on me to see whether we were finished or not, blurring his photo.  Anything that moves will blur, appear as a ghostly image, or in some cases, actually disappear.  If I have my shutter open for several minutes or more, as I do with my night shots in Joshua Tree, I can wander through the frame without it appearing in the finished photo.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens, two Tiffen 0.9 neutral density filters, F/32, 10-second exposure, ISO 200.

Shimmery Pacific Expanse

And in this ten-second long exposure photo, the Pacific is turned into a glowing ethereal expanse, with Adam and his son watching the sun set for the last time in 2011.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens, two Tiffen 0.9 neutral density filters, F/32, 10-second exposure, ISO 200.

I set my camera to have a very small aperture (opening).  This creates a larger depth of field, keeping more elements in the photo in focus.  And also, because the day was still bright, a small aperture allows less light to enter the camera, enabling me to keep the shutter open for longer periods of time without overexposing the shot.

But to allow the shutter to stay open for even longer, I also used two Tiffen neutral density filters.  Neutral density filters are colorless filters that reduce all the colors of light equally, allowing for greater exposure time and additional flexibility.  Two of these stacked together allowed me to keep the shutter open for five to ten seconds, even in relatively bright light.

Equipment:  Nikon D90, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens, two Tiffen neutral density 0.9 filters, Feisol tripod, Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Trigger Cable.