My Lesson in Shooting Landscape #3

5:30 PM, 10/12/12, 1/60 sec at f/10, 24 mm, ISO 400, Canon EOS 60D

When I arrived at the top of the mountain for my highly-anticipated sunset pictures, I rushed out of the car with Sophie, camera, and recently acquired monopod, which I thought would be great to use for the sunset shots. Quick. Portable. And the WRONG piece of equipment.  I had a difficult time holding it still and had almost as much (maybe more) camera shake than if I had hand-held the camera.

What did I learn? Lesson #3

First: USE A TRIPOD FOR LANDSCAPE. I said that before, didn’t I? If you look closely at the image above, you will see that the details are not sharp. This image would not print well — not one to hang on my wall.

Second: Notice that my ISO is even higher than in the shots taken earlier in the afternoon as you can see in a previous post. I reasoned that since there’d be less light, I should bump up the ISO. Again WRONG! Keep the ISO at 100 for the cleanest shots.

Nature provided me with a glorious opportunity to create some fabulous shots (just look at the incredible light show in the sky). My inexperience and my haste ruined them. I’ve probably read all of the advice about landscape photography before, and I’ve probably taken notes in workshops on how to take good landscape shots; however, I guess I needed to make my own mistakes in order to learn the lessons.

By the way, if you look closely, you will see houses at the base of this rock formation. Wouldn’t it be super cool to actually live there?

Next post: Sunrise shots the next morning

A Brief Respite and Many Thanks

Know how the drudgeries and duties of life sometime step to the forefront and keep us from doing what we want to do? That’s happened here and I’ve spent the past few weeks organizing, purging, cleaning, doing some part-time work to earn a little extra money, and taking care of those unpleasant tasks of life.

As a result, I’ve been away from my blog community. I’ve been nominated for several awards recently; I am humbled and honored by every acknowledgement and nomination, but I’ve not had a chance to accept and to pass on the honor. I plan to take care of that very soon. My thanks and gratitude to each of you who have nominated me.

Tomorrow, it’s back to teaching as fall break is over, but I’m thankful for my brief respite in this beautiful piece of Arizona.

This shot below is taken from one of the more common sites for sunset pictures in Sedona. Tomorrow I’ll explain what I learned from my mistakes in getting the sunset shots.

The rays of the setting sun reflect against the light rain falling on the Red Rocks of Sedona.

My Lesson in Shooting Landscape #2

Clearly this is NOT a landscape shot, but I want to share with you my overly exuberant travel companion. Sophie was NOT happy to be perched on the edge of a small canyon just off of Schnebly Hill Road in Sedona. Check out that expression: “I want to be home on my couch!” I found out that my Sophie, whom I’ve had for about 3 months, gets car-sick.

Below is one of the first shots I took as we (Sophie, car-sick travel companion & I) drove into Sedona. I was excited to see the storm clouds, which provide a dramatic backdrop as the afternoon sun highlights this famous rock formation. I made two mistakes: 1) hand-held camera & 2) ISO 200. I should have used the tripod. It would have taken only a few minutes to dig it out of the back of the pretend SUV (Subaru Forester does not qualify as a full SUV) but I was in a hurry. Hurry for what? In addition, with an f/stop at 13 and shutter speed at 1/80 of a second, I could easily have dropped the ISO to 100 to get a sharper image.

Lesson #2: Take the time to get your gear together and pay attention to the settings. Go with the lowest ISO possible.

Bell Rock, ISO 200, f/13, 1/80 sec, 55 mm.

My Lesson in Shooting Landscape #1

It’s been weeks since I’ve posted and even longer since I’ve taken a decent photo. Today, Sunday, October 14, is the last day of my Fall Break and I return to teaching my Freshmen tomorrow. My week off was consumed with appointments and a 2nd job (doesn’t this just sound like a teacher?) and time disappeared in a whiff. I was determined, however, to steal just a little time for myself.

Consequently, Sophie and I took a brief road trip 100 miles north into the Red Rock country of Sedona, AZ. We were gone just 27 hours; oh how I wish we could have spent several more days. In the next few posts, I’ll talk about the images and about the lessons I learned during our mini-vacation.

Lesson #1: PREPARE.

This rock is one of the first that you see as you enter Sedona from the Interstate between Phoenix and Flagstaff. All of the different formations have names; this one might be Cathedral, but I’m not sure. If I find out, I’ll let you know.

The stormy skies gave me the perfect backdrop.

Afternoon sun and storm clouds add drama to the Red Rock of Sedona. ISO 200, 40 mm, f/10, 1/160 sec.