Eastern Sierras Day 2- 21 minutes in Nirvana

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We scouted a few areas for Moon-set/Sunrise and we all fell in love with Intake Lake 2. We were planning to camp on Night 2 and instead of camping a little further north we change plans and camped at Intake Lake 2, and we all agreed it would be a great location for the morning’s shoot. We could sleep a few minutes longer, and be in our chosen spots well before the fishermen arrived.  We set up our camp, made dinner, and shortly after dark I crawled into my tent and bag and fell into a deep sleep. My alarm was set to 4:30AM again.  I didn’t even take pictures of the campground!

I slept pretty well. I only stirred when my hip started to ache. My pad wasn’t as full as it should have been. When my alarm went off I turned it off and dozed in my warm bag, dreading getting out of it, and facing the cold morning, and dressing, before making the trek up the bathroom.  I should have dug out my slip-on pair of shoes the night before, but forgot to do that.  Jonathan was out of his tent first and came by mine and rattled it, asking if we were up. Rainey had bunked with me since I have a two person tent. We both murmured, “yes, I’m up.” Next, I heard Rene unzip his tent, and then Jonathan’s car alarm went off, no doubt waking the whole campground! Nik was sleeping in the car and when he got up to exit he set off the alarm.

Someone set the alarm after Nik got in to go to bed. 🙂 As if the alarm going off once wasn’t bad enough somehow it got triggered a second time! I got up and out of my bag and tent after that. I’m sure the whole campground was ready to stone us to death! Hopefully they all were able to get back to sleep.

We dressed, grabbed our bags and headed for the lake for the Moon-set/ Sunrise as quietly as we could.

I found the spot I had chosen the day before, but I was so far from everyone else so I moved to the beach with Rene, and Rainey.

I was very glad to have the company. Daylight was coming fast, and for  21 minutes I was in Nirvana!

Moon-glow on the Eastern Sierra Peaks

Moonset over Intake Lake 2

Pink clouds and Moon-glow on the Eastern Sierra Peaks

Moonset over Intake Lake 2

Alpine Glow on the Eastern Sierra Peaks

Alpine Glow over Intake Lake 2

It’s not often one gets Moon-glow, Color, and Alpine Glow all in one morning! I couldn’t have ordered a more perfect morning shoot. There were even Trout jumping high out of the water to catch breakfast. I wish I timed my images better to have caught just one, alas…I didn’t.

Shortly after the color faded we were packing up when a group of fishermen came to fish where we were. We welcomed them with open arms, and wished them well with their endeavors, and went on our way to find other photographic jewels around the lake.

Rainey, Rene, and I hung out together while Nik,and Jonathan went their own way. Rainey, Rene, and I went around the lake to try and find a Grebe that was swimming around the lake. We weren’t able to get the second inlet to find it, but we did find a lovely little cascade of water we stopped to photograph, and along the way we found a memorial.

Memorial at Intake Lake 2

Intake Lake 2 hike

I used my Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Soft Focus Optic to try some landscapes. I like the dreamy, painterly

feel the images have.

Fallen tree on Intake 2

Fallen Tree on Intake 2 Lake_5384

Fishing

Fishing

The color of the morning was gold

Autumn Gold

Intake 2 was my favorite location this trip.  It’s a great place to camp, and there is plenty to photograph

here.

Cameras: Nikon Df, Nikon D700

Lenses: Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8,  Nikkor 180mm f/2.8d, LensBaby Composer Pro II w/Soft Focus Optic

More to come…

Fall in the Eastern Sierras Day 1…

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED!

Myself, and  friends Rainey, Rene, Jonathan, and Nik got an early start on Day 1 of our trip to the Eastern Sierras. Our alarms were set for a  4:30am wake up so, we could shoot the Moonset over Convict Lake. Moonset over Convict Lake

We spent most the day in the Bishop Creek Area. The foliage there was very good overall. Some portions were stripped by the storm the week before, but for the most part it was full, dense, and pretty. I used my new Df, and had my D700 for back up.

I took only two lenses; my Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8, and Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D. I wanted to be fairly light, and not have too much stuff to worry about. My pack was still heavy!

Observing Color from a Ridge

Fall Color ICM Abstract

ICM- (Intentional Camera Movement) Nikon D700 w/180mm f2.8 lens. Getting pleasing blurs gets easier

the more you do it. The trick is slowing down your shutter speed then moving your camera up, down or zoom it!

On the one below I zoomed, and shook a bit. Does it make you dizzy?

ICM Aspens

Fall Color Bishop Creek

The Gate

I also took my LensBaby Composer Pro II with the Soft Focus Optic. I had fun playing with it, and used it more than I thought

I would. I even took an image of my friend Rainey. I’ll ask her if she minds if I post it later.

Rosehips

I think we had our timing just right for the foliage, and weather. It’s overcast, stormy looking, and windy in the Eastern Sierras now which will strip the leaves off a lot of trees. But Jeff Sullivan of JeffSullivanPhotography says there’s still hope! He writes, ” We still have the cottonwoods coming in the 5000 and under elevations, (Bishop to Lone Pine and many Nevada counties) so there will be another round of opportunities if we don’t have a deep frost that rushes them towards brown.

Let’s hope there’s no deep frost and there will still be some color to enjoy for a few more weeks!

More to come…

P52 42/52 Lee Vining Creek

Copyright ©2014 Deborah M Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

I’m back! I had a lovely 4 days in the Eastern Sierras with friends, Rainey, Rene, Nik, and Jonathan. We got lucky and went when the color was peaking in the spots we visited. I have quite a few images I like from the trip that I’m still rating and tagging, but here’s one image I made yesterday at Lee Vining Creek. It was so nice to see the creeks, and streams with water. All the creeks near my home are bone dry!

P52 42 of 52 Lee Vining Creek

I made this image with my new camera: The Nikon Df. I’ve been saving for it since I rented one back in February.

Nikon Df with Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8 mounted

I used it for 4 full days of shooting and it performed very well in daylight, and low light. I love how light it is compared to my D700.

Right now I only have two complaints:

1) Nikon did not provide a LCD screen protector with it, so I need to get one STAT!

2) The battery drained too quickly when shooting the last morning in 26º ambient temps. I’ll have to get a 3rd battery soon.

Other than those two complaints I’m happy with the camera. I hope we have many good years together.

As of now my D300s will either be passed down or possibly sold, and my D700 will be my back-up/second camera.

Image 1) Nikon Df| Nikkor 17-35mm w/B+W 6 stop ND filter

Image 2) Nikon D700| Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D

More to come…

Test Driving Adobe’s ACR 7.0

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I recently received the new version of Photoshop CS6. I downloaded it and had some time to play with ACR 7.0 today.

ACR is the acronym for Adobe Camera RAW. The latest version has had a total revamp. They’ve retooled all the sliders and the algorithm giving us more control to recover highlights, shadows the blacks, and whites.

They’ve replaced the Recovery slider with several new sliders.imagethey’ve given us a Whites, Blacks, Highlights, and Shadows sliders.

I’ve got quite a few files in my archives that I’ve been saving for the time my editing software would be able to recover the data and save the photo. Let’s look at what I’ve been able to recover today.

I took this photo in January 2012 while on a New Year’s Trip in the Eastern Sierras with friends. I haven’t done any retouching to it at all in this shot. I only added my tag, and resized it for the web.

It’s completely blow out in the upper left sky where the sun was shining, and a lot of the mountain range is lost in the shadow. I thought I used my 2 stop Graduated Neutral Density filter on this shot, but by the looks of it I grabbed my 1 stop by accident.

Here’s what I was able to recover using CS6 new ACR 7.0.

It’s amazing the amount of color  that I was able to recover, and there are even a few wispy clouds there that couldn’t be seen!

I made all the adjustments in ACR using the new highlights, shadows, whites, and black sliders. I also adjusted the contrast,  and exposure then I opened  it in Photoshop to remove some spots, add my tag, and resize it for the web.

ACR 7.0 made the upgrade worth it to me.

 

 

“I’m waiting for you Morning Star…herald of the dawn.” ~ Deborah M. Zajac

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

“Rise quickly for I am numb with Winter’s morning chill.
My fingers ache for your warm embrace.”~

That’s my plea every sunrise shoot, and to be honest most nights too! My fingers are the first to go numb, and I’ve not found a hand-warmer or pair of gloves to keep me warm enough to thwart the chill.

This is a shot from Convict Lake taken the third morning of 2012.  Seeing sunrises like the one my friends and I saw on this morning make the early rise, drive time, and standing in the cold worth it!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 17-35@17mm| f13| 10 seconds| ISO200| Manual Priority| Tripod

Autumn in the Eastern Sierras

Copyright © 2010 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

This is near the “Tree Tunnel” off the road to North Lake and Bishop Creek I believe. While my companions were photographing the “tree tunnel”, and the creek a little further down I wandered up the trail and found a boulder out in the creek- really this was flowing like a river, and jumped over onto the boulder and set up my tripod to take this photograph.
It was easier jumping on the boulder getting out here than it was getting back…the gap seemed a lot smaller when I jumped out here- why does that always happen? I didn’t fall in! Phew!

Exposure and PP- I used my Hoya warming 81A filter for this scene. I wanted to bring out those lovely reds, oranges, and yellows. I also used my B&W 0.9 Neutral Density Filter to cut the glare of the water and slow it down just a wee bit.
Vibrance, clarity, levels, played with the color adjustment- but liked it the way it was shot originally, and a little sharpening, and resized.

When out taking photos I like to zero in on the little details too. Here’s a little bunch of Aspen leaves. I liked the reds, and greens, and the vein patterns.

“Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them —
The summer flowers depart —
Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,
Except your musing heart.”

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning