TJT Photography: Blog en-us (C)Ted Truex (TJT Photography) Wed, 31 Dec 2014 22:16:00 GMT Wed, 31 Dec 2014 22:16:00 GMT TJT Photography: Blog 80 120 Lichen on Sandstone I went exploring the other day and came across a sandstone boulder covered in Caloplaca lichen. This genus of lichen has many species and I'm not going to guess which one(s) are on the boulder. The color of the lichen ranged from black to gray to brown and orange to green and lime green. I thought it was striking so I stopped and started capturing images.

Here is an image shot at ISO 100, 50mm, f/6.3, 1/80s, handheld.

Lichen on Sandstone (Vertical)Lichen on Sandstone (Vertical)


Lichen on Sandstone (Vertical)

Shooting handheld and wanting to get a sharp, well exposed image means having to compromise on something. You need a high enough shutter speed to overcome movement from holding the camera. One way to do that is to shoot at a higher ISO. Another way to do that is to open up the aperture. I did not want to shoot the higher ISO and so I tried f/6.3 at 1/80th of a second. I knew (and confirmed by 'chimping') that the image was not going to be in-focus and sharp everywhere.


To get the image in-focus and sharp everywhere I was going to have to use the tripod and shutdown the aperture to expand the depth of field. As I was composing images, I noticed a crack running through the boulder and that the lichen had grown along the crack. I decided to use the crack as part of the composition.

Here is an image utilizing the crack. It was shot at ISO 100, 105mm, f/22, 0.3s, on tripod.

Lichen on SandstoneLichen on Sandstone


Lichen on Sandstone

This shot was captured with the camera aimed down onto the rock. After taking this shot I started changing the focal length on the lens to see if I discovered any other interesting compositions. Instead I discovered that with the lens pointed straight down, the weight of the glass and other components (gravity) is greater than the coefficient of friction from the zoom mechanism in the lens. This meant that when I found a composition at 50mm and then I let go of the lens the focal length increased to 105mm because of gravity pulling the lens. While that stopped me from capturing some images, it did give me the idea to capture an image using a zoom effect.
Here is an image utilizing the zoom effect. It was shot at ISO 100, zooming from 50 to 105mm, f/22 at 0.3s.
Here is the same zoom effect image converted to grayscale. 
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]]> (TJT Photography) Caloplaca Caloplaca lichen Caloplaca sp. Canon 5D MKII TJTPhotography Ted Truex lime green orange sandstone zoom effect Tue, 30 Dec 2014 22:57:11 GMT
Best of 2014 At the end of December I review the images I captured in the previous year and find the 5-10 'best' images. This blog posting is the result of that activity and highlights my best images of 2014.


All of the images in my 'best of' came from two back-to-back workshops in Utah with James Kay Photography. I have now been on 4 of Jim Kay's workshops and can wholeheartedly recommend them. The first week was spent in Capitol Reef National Park and the second week was spent in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

So onto the images...


Water, Sandstone and Changing CottonwoodWater, Sandstone and Changing Cottonwood


"Water, Sandstone and Changing Cottonwood"


Creek and Clouds PanoramaCreek and Clouds Panorama


"Creek and Clouds Panorama"


Kayenta GoldKayenta Gold


"Kayenta Gold"



"Reef Panorama"


Rock and Backlit CottonwoodRock and Backlit Cottonwood


"Rock and Backlit Cottonwood"



"Castle Panorama"


Sunrise on Temple of the SunSunrise on Temple of the Sun


"Sunrise on Temple of the the Sun"



"Along the Way"


Grass and Sunlit CliffGrass and Sunlit Cliff


"Grass and Sunlit Cliff"


Calf CreekCalf Creek


"Calf Creek"


I hope you like these images from 2014. Feel free to leave a comment, share this blog, visit my website, add me to a circle on Google+, like my Facebook fan page or follow me on Twitter.

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]]> (TJT Photography) Best of 2014 Capitol Reef National Park Cottonwood GSENM Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Kayenta Panorama Sandstone TJTPhotography Water Sun, 28 Dec 2014 20:38:06 GMT
Best of 2013 At the end of December I review the images I captured in the previous year and find the 5-10 'best' images. This blog posting is the result of that activity and highlights my best of 2013. I did not snap the shutter as many times as I wanted in 2013. The first half of the year is when as I was the most productive visiting both Death Valley National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument before June.

In January of 2013 I managed to spend a couple of days in Death Valley. An amazing place with lots of photographic opportunities. I took this photograph ("Rock Detail") in the afternoon somewhere along Artists Drive.

Rock DetailRock Detail


The one night I was in Death Valley, I ran out to Badwater Basin to photograph the Milky Way and captured this image I call "Interior Light and Airplane Trail".

Interior Light and Airplane TrailInterior Light and Airplane Trail


The next morning, I headed back to Badwater Basin. I captured "Early Morning Curve (B&W)" in the morning light.

Early Morning Curve (B&W)Early Morning Curve (B&W)


I spent the rest of the morning exploring the park and then headed home. Outside the park boundary I saw a Tear Drop trailer on the side of the road and thought I would stop and ask the owner if I could take a picture with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background but before I could grab my camera the owner took off. I ended up grabbing "Rock, Salt Flats and Sierra Snow Peaks" instead.

Rock, Salt Flats and Sierra Snow PeaksRock, Salt Flats and Sierra Snow Peaks


In May I spent a few days in a photo workshop with James Kay photographing in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. I highly recommend his workshops. My "Best of 2011" gallery has several images captured in the San Rafael Swell on a trip with Jim in the fall of 2011. "Overlook Dawn" was captured the first morning of the workshop. Overlook DawnOverlook Dawn


During the workshop, we visited a couple of slot canyons. "Red and Gold in Peek-A-Boo Gulch" was captured in Peek-A-Boo Gulch at mid-morning.

Red and Gold in Peek-A-Boo GulchRed and Gold in Peek-A-Boo Gulch


"Dust and Light" was also captured mid-morning in Peek-A-Boo Gulch.

Dust and LightDust and Light

This image, "Sunset Arch Classic View" was captured at...wait for it...sunset towards the end of a long day out photographing. It's the 'classic view' because Navajo Mountain is framed under the arch. Sunset Arch Classic ViewSunset Arch Classic View


The second slot canyon we visited is called Zebra. If you visit this canyon make sure to photograph both directions. The erosion in the downstream view has very different textures from the erosion in the upstream view. Notice the sharp edges in this image I call "Upstream Angles (B&W)".
Upstream Angles B&WUpstream Angles (B&W)


This last image, "Lower Calf Creek Falls in Motion" was captured at mid-day and is an 80 second exposure.
Lower Calf Creek Falls in MotionLower Calf Creek Falls in Motion



I hope you like these images from 2013. Feel free to leave a comment, share this blog, visit my website, add me to a circle on Google+, like my Facebook fan page or follow me on Twitter.

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]]> (TJT Photography) Artist Drive Badwater Basin Best of 2013 Black and White Death Valley GSENM Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Lower Calf Creek Falls Milky Way Peek-A-Boo Gulch Sunset Arch TJTPhotography Zebra Slot Wed, 01 Jan 2014 19:08:31 GMT
Western Bluebirds in my Backyard A couple of disclaimers: First, I am not a Western Bluebird (or any kind of bird) expert. Second, I am not an expert bird photographer.


Male Western Bluebird at my home made fountain/birdbath.

Everything I think I know about Western Bluebirds, I learned from the internet. I highly recommend the California Bluebird Recovery Program website, especially this page that discusses food and water for Bluebirds. I also recommend the Southern California Bluebird Club website. Other great resources include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Wikipedia.


As far as bird photography, I can recommend the Bird Photography page from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Backyard Bird Photography page from Nature Photographers Online Magazine. Also, there are many, many great bird photographs on the internet if you want inspiration.


Ok. Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, let's get onto the topic of this blog. California has two kinds of Bluebirds. The Mountain Bluebird and the Western Bluebird. I have been fortunate to have a pair of Western Bluebirds visiting my home made backyard fountain/birdbath. Previously, I had photographed Western Bluebirds at Castaic Lagoon (part of Castaic Lake Recreation Area). When I found this pair visiting my backyard, I decided to see if I could photograph them at home.


First dilemma, if the birds don't regularly visit my backyard, I can't photograph them there. So how do I keep the birds visiting? I did some research and I found that a source of water is very important for Western Bluebirds. I found the birds drinking from my bird bath one day but I did not know if they were regular visitors. The sound of water attracts birds so I made sure that my home made fountain/birdbath was 'noisy'.


Home Made Fountain/Bird Bath


I also decided to try to encourage the Western Bluebirds to visit by offering mealworms. I bought a mealworm feeder with guard from Drs. Foster and Smith. Pricey but it turns out in my case to be worth. Keep reading. Before I bought the special feeder, I picked up some mealworms at my local pet store (buy the 'regular size') and put the worms out in a bird feeder I had laying around. A Black Phoebe found the worms and started regularly cruising the feeder for the mealworms. I realized that the Western Bluebirds would never get any worms if I did not do something. Internet to the rescue. Switching to the guarded mealworm feeder helped although I did see the Black Phoebe squeeze in and take a worm one day.


Second dilemma, when the Western Bluebirds do visit, I need to be present to snap the shutter. If I am present, the birds are likely not to be present. I solved that problem by using the Ameristep Doghouse Blind. I had purchased the blind a couple of years ago (probably the subject of another blog) but it has not had any use. Until now.


Ameristep Doghouse Blind and Home Made Fountain/Bath


Ok, so now I have water for the Western Bluebirds and food for the birds if they can find it (and will enter the cage to get the worms). I also have a blind so that I can get some pictures if (1) I am sitting in the blind when (2) they come get a drink. I say 'get a drink' because in the few times I have seen this pair of birds, I have never seen them bathe, only drink. Well I noticed that activity at the fountain/bath goes in cycles and I decided I would sit in the blind and get some pictures of the other birds that use the bath. Like the Yellow-rumped Warblers who regularly visit.

Yellow-rumped Warblers Bathing

So I was sitting in the blind waiting to photograph Yellow-rumped Warblers when the pair of Western Bluebirds appeared. I got a couple of pictures of the male and then he left and the female showed up. I got this picture of the male drinking water.

Male Western Bluebird

I got this picture of the female sitting on top of the shepherd's crook where I hang the Bluebird Feeder. It turns out the female has found the meal worms but I missed her actually inside the feeder.

Female Western Bluebird

Now that the female has found the worms, I think it is only a matter of time (and a little luck) before I get some pictures of these two birds eating in the feeder and bathing in the fountain/bird bath.

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]]> (TJT Photography) Santa Clarita TJTPhotography Western Bluebird Yellow-rumped Warbler backyard bird photography backyard birds Sun, 03 Feb 2013 03:37:44 GMT
Using NIK Software on Fall Colors A recent cold snap caused the leaves in my Flowering Pear to finally go yellow/orange/red and start to drop. I took a picture in the shade one afternoon. I processed the image using Adobe LR4 and CS6, NIK Dfine 2.0, Color EFX Pro 4 (CEP4) and Silver EFX Pro 2 (SEP2) and posted it to the Google+ NIK Software community. A member of the community liked the image and asked if I used a black and white layer behind the color layer to bring out the detail. I decided to describe how I created the image in this blog update. By the way, the short answer is no.

Here is the image, "Fall Leaves", and link to larger version.

Fall LeavesFall Leaves I captured a raw file using a Canon 7D, ISO 1600, 50mm lens at f/8 for 1/100s.

The following description sounds complicated but it took less than 5 minutes to do these steps and produce this image. I imported the raw file into LR4. I 'auto' adjusted the image in LR4 ( exposure +.75, contrast -4, whites +23 and blacks -10). I then opened the file in CS6. The first thing I did in CS6 was to open a Dfine layer to clean up the noise. I made no adjustments to the automatic noise reduction settings (I really like Dfine 2.0). I then opened a CEP4 layer and used the Detail Extractor and Tonal Contrast filters to pull out detail and make the image pop. I like SEP2 to control highlights so I opened a layer in SEP2. In the neutral preset, I use the loupe and histogram to find the zone 10 highlights. If the highlights look good, I cancel out of SEP2 and discard the layer. If I think the highlights will be distracting, I add a single control point and reduce the brightness. I save off the layer and then select the SEP2 layer in CS6, set the layer type to Multiply and reduce the opacity of the layer (in this case to about 15%) to bring back the color. I then merge the layers and save it off.

That's it. I know it seems like a lot of work and I'm sure there are many other ways to get the same results but I find this method simple and straight forward.

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]]> (TJT Photography) 2.0 7D CEP4 Dfine NIK SEP2 Santa Clarita TJTPhotography canon fall leaves orange yellow Thu, 10 Jan 2013 02:49:45 GMT
Planned Images versus Unplanned Images  

   Recently John Mueller (here is his website, his John B. Mueller Photography page on FB and finally, his FlickR page) started a FB private community for West Coast Landscape Photographers. John started the community to foster a more social "atmosphere", something he finds disappearing on FlickR. Members of the West Coast Landscape Photographers have posted discussion topics including one started by Jamey Pyles (here is Jamey Pyles on Wordpress and here is Jamey Pyles on FlickR).

Jamey started a discussion by asking " you find yourself following the light you are after, or the location you have been wanting to shoot?". Responses in the forum were interesting and got me thinking. Initially, my response was that I try to find interesting locations and then wait for the right light and that will not change. But every now and then I see some extraordinary light and I start scrambling to find something interest to shoot to take advantage of the light. For today's blog, I have two images to illustrate the discussion about chasing light versus chasing the location.

Some members of the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association had a discussion and mentioned the historic trestle at the Iron Horse Trailhead. I can't recall any particulars on the discussion (it may have occurred on the SCVPA FB page) but I did remember enough about the discussion (someone mentioned the trestle) that I decided to check it out for future photo opportunities. Over several months I wandered around the trestle and thought of several 'scenes' I hoped to capture. One would be a composition that included the trestle, clouds and some fall color, one would be a composition that included the trestle but emphasized clouds and one would be a composition that emphasized the trestle. I have captured two of these compositions to date.

The first is "Fall Color and Trestle". There are cottonwoods in the Santa Clara river and these clouds arrived (without rain) while there was still some color on the trees. I used five images to create this image (Canon 5D Mk II, 16-35mm lens at 16mm, f/22 with a Lee 2 Stop GND with exposure times of 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 and 2 seconds and the images merged in NIK HDR EFX Pro 2). I am pretty pleased with this result.


Fall Color and Trestle


The second is "Slab, Trestle and Passing Storm". This storm did bring a little rain. It arrived after the leaves had dropped from the trees near the trestle. This is from a single image (Canon 5D Mk II, 16-35 at 16mm, f/22 for 1.6 seconds with a Lee 2 stop GND, ISO 100). Again, I am pretty pleased with the result. I am still waiting for the right circumstances to create the image emphasizing the trestle. Who knows, it may never happen.



The last image is one I shot earlier this week, was completely unplanned and I think it is one of my top five images for 2012. I captured this image because of the incredible light at sunset. I was on my way to an appointment near home and as I drove into the Santa Clarita valley, I saw amazing clouds and sky across the valley. I finished the appointment and I started thinking of places nearby to shoot this amazing light. I did not have my camera gear with me (which may have been a blessing) and had to drive home. The sunset at 4:48PM and I got home at 4:35PM so I thought "oh well, there will be another sunset" but I could not keep the incredible light out of my mind. I could not drive anywhere interesting in time to be able to use the light so I decided to grab the camera and run into the Paseo system near my house. I shot 4 scenes (none of which stood out) and then got worried about rain. I turned back for home and found this composition at 4:40PM.


The Sky ExplodedThe Sky Exploded


I did not have my tripod, which is probably just as well because the light and clouds were quickly changing anyway. This is a single image (Canon 5D Mk II, ISO 2000, 16-35 at 16mm, f/3.5, 1/250s). I reduced the image noise and brushed the lower half of image to bring out detail in the sidewalk in LR4. As I was taking this picture, I noticed the clouds directly over me were moving the opposite direction from the clouds in the distance. I thought, that's not good and I was right. less than a minute later, it started to hail. I actually heard the hail coming at me about 10 seconds before it arrived. Needless to say, I ran back to the house.

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Have a good week.

]]> (TJT Photography) Canon 5D MKII Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Iron Horse Trailhead NIK HDR EFX Pro 2 Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association SantaClaritaCA TJTPhotography clouds fall photography sunset trestle valenciaCA Sat, 15 Dec 2012 18:48:30 GMT
SCVPA Digital Image Competition I just finished 3+ months working a special project in Washington, DC for my day job and during that time I did not touch my camera gear. When I completed my work on the project, I went on Personal Time Off and took my camera gear out of the closet. Now that my life is getting back to normal, I will try to update the blog regularly.


In October, when I was home for a weekend, I submitted two entries to the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association (SCVPA) Digital Image Competition. The SCVPA holds monthly meetings, supports various events for the city of Santa Clarita and holds several image competitions during the year. The November competition was for digital images (as opposed to printed images) and was judged by George Deloache and Duane Murphy. The 8 competition categories included Portrait and Landscape. Images were judged using elements and scoring similar to the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) 12 Elements of a Merit Image. Ribbons were awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each category. There were also  "Best in Show" and "Judges Choice" awards. Additionally, any image scoring over 80 points was awarded a Merit image ribbon.


Having my images judged in this type of competition was a first and I learned a lot. The judges reviewed each image, scored the image and then briefly commented on the image detailing what they liked and what could be improved in the image. I submitted one image in the portrait category and one image in the landscape category. In the portrait category I submitted a crop of this image titled "Cierra".



In the landscape category, I submitted a crop of this image titled "Handrail is the Line, Beach is the Destination".

Handrail is the Line, Beach is the Destination


Neither image won a ribbon in their respective categories but the scoring range for all entries was narrow and  "Handrail is the Line, Beach is the Destination" scored 80 points and so was awarded a Merit ribbon. I was able to modify my landscape entry based on the judges comments and I have to say that I agree that the updated image is superior. Here is the updated "Handrail is the Line, Beach is the Destination" image.

Handrail is the Line, Beach is the Destination


Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
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Have a good week.
]]> (TJT Photography) Canon 5D MKII Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Digital Image Competition Leo Carrilo Leo Carrilo Beach SCVPA Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association SantaClaritaCA TJTPhotography photography valenciaCA Thu, 15 Nov 2012 23:23:32 GMT
Photography is like Golf The title of this blog update might not make sense if you don't play golf (I'm making the assumption you are a photographer). Golf is a sport that has both a technical side and an artistic side. So does photography.


Before you strike a golf ball, you have to understand certain technical details. These are things like the wind direction and wind strength, the humidity in the air, the condition of the "lie" of the golf ball (is the ball teed up, in the fairway, in a divot or in the rough), the golf stance (and the resulting effect on the golfer's posture and swing), and finally the distance the ball needs to travel to it's intended destination. 


In photography, there are technical details that need to be understood before capturing the image at the desired exposure. These are things like the available light, the range of shutter speeds available based on other parameters (for instance ISO), intended affects of the various camera settings (for example, a "slow" shutter speed to impart a sense of motion), and the available apertures based on other parameters.


So the golfer assesses the technical details and considers the possible results and then makes some decisions. He/she decides which club to use and what kind of shot shape (ball flight) needs to be created to realize the desired result. The photographer does the same thing. The photographer decides which camera settings to use (aperture, shutter speed, ISO setting) in conjunction with the image composition to create the desired result.


So what else is in common? The visualization of the end result. The golfer imagines the curve and flight of the golf ball given the stance, wind, club, etc., before he/she executes the swing. The better golfers are able to visualize the shot and then execute what was just visualized. The photographer does the same thing imagining the resulting image given a slow or fast shutter speed, large or small aperture and "slow" or "fast" ISO setting. The resulting image reflects the sum of these technical inputs.


In both photography and golf, the results are not always what was intended. But here is where the photographer has it all over the golfer. There is no LightRoom or Photoshop for golfers.

Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
Have a good weekend and keep shooting (or golfing).
]]> (TJT Photography) Santa Clarita TJTPhotography golf photography photography and golf valenciaCA visualize results Fri, 06 Jul 2012 22:56:55 GMT
Late Again - Favorite Fotos From FlickR for Friday, 4/20/2012
This was a tough week at my other job so I did not spend much time on FlickR. To catch up, I decided to browse through the latest 30 images from each of the groups I have joined to find five interesting fotos. Your  'groups' page on FlickR can be sorted in alphabetical order or by recent activity. I decided to try to browse the 'oldest latest' images and to do that I sorted by recent activity and then started with group at the bottom (oldest recent activity) and began working my way up. When you access a group, you are presented with the thumbnails of the most recent dozen images but beneath those images is a widget that expands the thumbnails to the most recent 30 images. So I went to each group, bottoms up in terms of recent activity, and then expanded the thumbnails to the most recent 30 images and began browsing. I found five favorites in probably 6 groups but I can't say for sure because the groups list will re-sort based on recent activity.
This weeks five favorites are:
In this first image, I like the overall composition along with the sense of movement conveyed by the lines of the water. I also like the leading lines of the rock stream bed.
"Red Oasis" by Clay Carey
This image caught my attention with the foreground sandstone leading to the dwelling as well as the repetition of the poles on the dwelling.
"The Doll's House" by IntrepidXJ
I like the 'rule of thirds' placement of elements in this image as well as the color and contrast used to draw your eyes to the maple leaf.
"Fall Leaves 9946" by Kurt Preissler 
Pronghorn Antelope are one of my favorite subjects so this image immediately grabbed my attention with the subject. Additionally, I like the bokeh in this image likely created by the combination of a long lens and large aperture.
"_MG_1537 - Pronghorn buck. ©Jerry Mercier" by jerry mercier
This last image struck me as one I would have composed had I been in the same location at the same time. I like vertical images, the use of the water pocket in the foreground to spark interest and the way the storm clouds lead into the image. I realized that IntrepidXJ had two of the this weeks 5 favorite images and so added him/her as a contact so I can follow the images that IntrepidXJ posts to FlickR.
"Monument Canyon Clouds" by IntrepidXJ
 I hope you enjoy these FlickR images as much as I do. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
]]> (TJT Photography) Clouds Colorado Plateau FlickR TJTPhotography bokeh favorite photographs photographs photography Sat, 21 Apr 2012 13:26:00 GMT
Favorite Fotos From FlickR for Friday, 4/13/2012 The theme for this weeks favorite images is tranquility. As I was sitting listening to the rain (and now thunder and rain) and thinking about this weeks blog update, I realized that one of the reasons I like rain and rainfall is the sense of calmness and tranquility I experience when I stop, listen and watch. Living in Southern California, the opportunities to feel the tranquility brought on by rain are not very frequent but I also realized that there are other things that affect me in the same way.

The Photographic Exhibitions Committee (PEC) of Professional Photographers of America uses twelve elements when evaluating an image. One of those elements is impact. Impact is described as "the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion." When I saw the water on the grass after a morning rain I realized the scene evoked the emotion of calmness. 



When I saw the smoothness in the water beneath the waterfall I had the same sense of calmness and tranquility.


Water and Stonework at Dusk

So I decided to search FlickR for images that evoked those same emotions. I used search terms like 'japanese garden', 'water rock' and 'zen garden' and found these five images. All of these images evoke tranquility, calmness and peace but they are also interesting in other ways.

I like the placement of the central rock and sense of movement in this first image.
"Non-Rolling Stones" by Miodrag Bogdanovic mitja

I like the use of the water falls as a leading line in the next image.
"Botanical Garden Waterfall" by BARLEY MOON PHOTOGRAPHY

I like the clean edges, concentric circles and the placement of the lantern in this monochrome image,
"Zen Garden" by LomiMonk [Brian]

I like the shadow lines in the water and rock texture in this next image.
"Birdbath Rock" by bratjerm

I like the depth of field and use of the bamboo as a leading line in this last image.
"Bamboo for you..." by hollyberry1204

 I hope that both of my recent uploads as well as these FlickR images evoke the emotions of peace and tranquility when you look at them. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.

]]> (TJT Photography) FlickR TJTPhotography calm favorite photographs garden peace rock stone tranquility water zen Fri, 13 Apr 2012 13:00:00 GMT
Favorite Fotos From FlickR for Friday, 4/6/2012
Another 'late' blog update. This weeks favorites are a bit of a mix. They range from the typical sunrise/sunset images that seem to grab my attention to a really interesting capture of a horse in a field to a monochrome image of man made things.
Recently I was out trying to find California Poppies. To that end, I have been searching FlickR for recent images of poppies to see what others have been finding (and where). That is how I came upon this image of California Poppies captured near Bakersfield, CA.
I was searching for recently uploaded images captured in states bordering California (I am thinking of taking a road trip) and I came across this spectacular sunset with surf.
I was searching again for recently uploaded images, but this time in California (still thinking I need a road trip) and came across this wonderful monochrome composition.
I may have to travel to Colorado for work. If that happens, I may add a day or too to the trip and take my camera gear. So I searched recently uploaded images from Colorado and came across this beautiful portrait.
This last image screams 'spring!'. The way I found it is a little different. As you see if you look at the bottom of my blog pages, I am on Google+. One of the photographers in my 'Nature Photography' circle posted this image and a description of an exchange with an un-named organization who wanted to use this image in a calendar they were selling. But they wanted it for free. Knowing that this photographer is also on FlickR, I searched out the image to include is this weeks 'Favorites'.
I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
]]> (TJT Photography) FlickR Sunset TJTPhotography california poppy favorite photographs flower fork horse spring Sat, 07 Apr 2012 08:55:00 GMT
Favorite FlickR Fotos for Friday, 3/30/2012 'late' blog update. I had a long day yesterday driving on northern Los Angeles County and southern Kern County looking for wildflowers. I was partially successful. You can visit my Places Page on my website or my FlickR PhotoStream to see some of the images I created including this one of my new jeep (which I used to kill an hour driving down part of the unmaintained Old Ridge Route only to hit a locked gate). That day in the field might become the subject of another blog update.
This week I am highlighting macro images found on FlickR. Paraphrasing from Wikipedia,  a macrophotograph is a photograph where the captured image is larger than the life size of the subject. Macrophotographs are created using a macro lens. A macro lens is a 'long' barreled lens designed for close-up focusing. When photographing objects up close using a macro lens, the depth of field becomes very shallow. This shallow DOF is one of the challenges in macrophotography but it is also one of the tools applied in creating the final image. Because the DOF is so shallow, the photographer must make decisions on what will be in focus (and hence the subject of the image) and what will be out of focus (also called bokeh, which helps accentuate the subject of the image). 
Macrophotographers will use tools like a tripod, off-camera flash and a cable release to create the image. Depending on the subject they may have to use other tools including clamps or wire and sticks to hold the subject steady while composing the image. When you search on FlickR for macrophotographs you will find that two subjects dominate: insects and flowers. Obviously, the photographer is not using clamps to hold the insects steady but when you see some of the incredible images created, you will wonder where the photographer got the patience it must take to get the final image.
As I said, two subjects dominate (insects and flowers) but they not the only interesting subjects for macrophotography. Other natural objects make outstanding subjects as do man made objects. Here are five of my favorite macrophotographs from FlickR.
"Hoverfly macro in flight" by New Era 51
"Jumping Spider" by Billy'o
"Chrysanthemum 3" by Welderman63
"Hey Gringo! Si, I'm Talking To Joo ..." by gecko47
"Sea Shell" by Len Mod
I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
]]> (TJT Photography) FlickR TJTPhotography favorite photographs jeep grand cherokee macrophotography Fri, 30 Mar 2012 13:00:00 GMT
Favorite FlickR Fotos for Friday, 3/23/2012 This week I thought I would spotlight some images created using optical filters. "The Basic Book of Photography" by Tom and Michele Grimm has a full chapter on filters. You can find a good discussion on photographic filters (including internet references) on Wikipedia. Given that I have immediately pointed you to other material, you may have guessed that this blog update is not a treatise on filters, their use, etc.

Filters are just one of the many tools that photographers use when creating images. There are hardware tools like optical filters, tripods and monopods, ball heads, panning heads, nodal rails and robotic panning heads, gimbal heads and bush hawk shoulder mounts. There are software tools including raw image editors, filters and processors and post-raw image editors, filters and processors. Manufacturers of these tools include Acratech, Adobe, B&W, Bushhawk, Cokin,, HDRSoft, Kirk, Lee, NIK, OnOne, Really Right Stuff, Singh-Ray, Tiffen, Wimberley and more.

Which tools to use and why is both science and art. Some hardware tools are used to stabilize the camera and lens for long exposures. Some hardware tools are used to stabilize the camera and lens while allowing motion on the X and/or Y axis. Some hardware tools are used to alter the light before it reaches the film or digital sensor. Some software tools are used to "stitch" digital images together to create panoramic images but most software tools are used to alter the affects of light after capture by the digital sensor or capture by film scanning.

Over time I have accumulated many of these tools and while I have many to chose from, my approach to creating an image has always been less work is better. I almost always use a tripod with a ball head. I sometimes use a gimbal head. When I am composing the image, I start out by visualizing the image. I then mix science and art by assessing the lighting and it's affect on the composition. Sometimes I use a circular polarizing filter, sometimes I use a graduated neutral density filter and sometimes I use a reverse graduated neutral density filter but I use them all with the same purpose: alter the light to fit the composition. Sometimes I find that the images did not turn out the way I wanted  and I will use software tools to try to alter the results. When using the software tools, I try to make changes using the raw image editors, filters and processors first. If the image is still not where I want it, I then use the post-raw editors, filters and processors. One thing I am not very good at is remembering to make notes about what filter (if any) I used when capturing the moment in camera. Sometimes I can look at the image and figure out what I did but when I am doing my best work, I can't tell if I used a filter.

Anyway, if you have read the blog update this far, here is your pay-off. The images I am spotlighting today were all found on one of two groups on FlickR. Some images were found in the group "LEE Filters" and some were found in the group "Singh Ray Filters". All demonstrate both the science and art of using a filter to create a memorable image.

"Beach of dreams II" by Vincenzo Mazza -

"Currumbin Rocks" by lovephotos10

"El Dragón Sediento" by Iván Cajigas

"Staithes Dawn Light" by Rob Ferrol

"Sunset" by Martin Mattocks (MJM383)


I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
Have a good weekend and think "rain"!

]]> (TJT Photography) Adobe CPL GND Kirk LR4 Lee Filter NIK PS5 RGND RRS Singh-Ray Filter TJTPhotography favorite photographs Fri, 23 Mar 2012 17:59:00 GMT
Favorite FlickR Fotos for Friday, 3/16/2012 Normally, I highlight five favorite photos in my Friday blog. This week, the list is a little longer.

I love the southwest United States. Images created in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah desert environments capture my attention. So this week, I decided to highlight images created on the Colorado Plateau. Roughly, the Colorado Plateau is region centered on the 4 corners region of the U.S. and encompasses approximately 130,000 square miles. Wikipedia has a great overview of the Colorado Plateau including pointers to more information.

I have spent time exploring the Colorado Plateau by car (staying in motels) and on foot (sleeping under the stars). I have day hiked on the Colorado Plateau and I have backpacked on the Colorado Plateau. The backpacking trips include the Grand Canyon, Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs wilderness and areas north of Lake Powell on both Sierra Club and private trips. Through these adventures I became acquainted with some of the organizations (like the National Resources Defense CouncilSouthern Utah Wilderness Alliance  and Great Old Broads for Wilderness) who are trying to protect these areas for future generations. The Colorado Plateau is really unique and worthy of protection. 
The Colorado Plateau includes heavily visited places like Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks and less visited places like Coyote Gulch in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. The heavily visited locations are usually easy to reach while the less visited are not. Some places are less visited because of the difficulty getting there (2 days by foot) and others simply because of they are so far off the main highways (60 miles each way on washer board dirt). Somehow the reward of getting there adds to the beauty. My list of places to visit on the Colorado Plateau is long. It is so long that I decided to expand the number of highlighted images from the usual five. I hope that these images inspire you to visit the Colorado Plateau and to think about the issues threatening the future of this area.
I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
]]> (TJT Photography) Colorado Plateau FlickR Great Old Broads for Wildlerness National Resources Defense Council SUWA TJTPhotography favorite photographs Sat, 17 Mar 2012 06:00:00 GMT
Favorite FlickR Fotos for Friday 3/9/2012
This week, I decided to highlight great photographs created in California but with a twist in that the location could not be in a National Park. I put this restriction on the images because every week I look at many images created in National Parks located in California. I do this when moderating the photograph submission to the FlickR group, "Best of U.S. National Parks".

There many great places to create images in California. For "National" locations, you can chose from National Parks, National Historic Parks, National Monuments, National Preserves, National Forests, National Recreation Areas, National Historic Sites, National Seashore, National Historic Trail and the goes on. Then there are California State Parks, Preserves, Recreation Areas and more. Next there are County Parks and Recreation Areas. Then you have city owned/maintained areas.

There is a common theme to the images: all have a body of water in the photograph - two are of lakes and three are of the Pacific Ocean. Maybe next week I'll refine the restriction and eliminate images containing water. The images this week are all from areas that I have visited but never photographed: Lake Tahoe, San Diego, Big Sur, San Francisco and La Jolla. All are locations that are on my 'bucket list' of places to create images.
Here are this weeks 5 favorite images found on FlickR:
I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
]]> (TJT Photography) Big Sur FlickR La Jolla Lake Tahoe San Diego San Francisco TJTPhotography favorite photographs ocean water Fri, 09 Mar 2012 20:37:00 GMT
Fire on the Horizon, Dante's View, Death Valley National Park Two weeks ago, on an overcast afternoon, I went to Dante's View in Death Valley National Park hoping for some drama at sunset. When I got to the parking lot it was cold, windy, hinting at rain and not very promising. I hiked out to the view to look things over. I did not have my camera because it was looking more like "dinner time" then anything else. I wandered around considering what I would do if the sun would/could break through. I had my choice of were to work because with the clouds, wind, temperature and the appearance that rain was imminent, it was very empty and only one other person had a tripod and camera (and he was leaving as I walked by him).

It was my first visit to Death Valley National Park and it was to be my last sunset in the park for a while. I looked around for a few minutes and noticed that the earth at one saddle in the trail was a rich red color and would make a nice foreground. I hustled back to the car realizing that I was losing what little light there was, grabbed my gear and hustled back to the saddle. This image is one of a few that I created on the saddle before moving out to a point that looked more directly west (this image is actually oriented more to the north).

The sunset opportunity did not turn out like I hoped but I ended up creating several images that I really like. As I type this I am struck with the thought of what I would have missed if I gave up and headed out to find dinner.

Image particulars: Canon 5D MKII, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM at 16mm, f8, 1 second exposure, ISO of 100 and B&W Circular Polarizer. Post processing included Adobe LightRoom 3, Photoshop 5.1 and NIK Viveza 2.

If you enjoy reading my blog, please drop a comment or send me an email. Also, feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.

]]> (TJT Photography) CPL Canon 5D MKII Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Dante's View Death Valley National Park NIK Viveza 2 TJTPhotography Sat, 03 Mar 2012 16:00:00 GMT
Favorite FlickR Fotos for Friday, 3/2/2012
I hate it when work gets in the way of life. I have a real job and a dream job. Recently, the real job got in the way of the dream job to such a large degree that I had very little time to discover new and interesting photographs on FlickR. When I noticed that I had only found a few new favorites, I "cheated" and reviewed what my contacts had been uploading.
Here are this weeks 5 favorite images found on FlickR:
I have no idea what the title of the following image translates to in English, but I don't need to, the image doesn't need it...
This image was created in Death Valley in a canyon I did not have an opportunity to visit when I was there 2 weeks ago...
This image was created by one of my favorite photographers on FlickR. John is also a co-worker...
I became aware of the photographic talent of oracle11g when he submitted an image to the FlickR group, "Best of U.S. National Parks", a group I help moderate. Arches National Park is on my bucket list...
Robin Black Photography is another of my favorite photographers on FlickR. You can easily kill a couple of hours looking at the Robin Black Photography photo stream on FlickrR...
I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
]]> (TJT Photography) FlickR TJTPhotography favorite photographs Fri, 02 Mar 2012 14:00:00 GMT
Favorite FlickR Fotos for Friday 2/24/2012
I spent last weekend in Death Valley National Park. I highly recommend visiting this treasure and capturing your own images. A weekend is not enough time to see everything but you can visit some of the more iconic locations. I arrived Friday afternoon, scouted around a bit, and then went out to Badwater Basin for sunset. In my last blog I shared some of the inspirational Death Valley pictures I found on FlickR and knowing that I was limited to two sunsets and two sunrises, I drew up a short list of places I wanted to try to visit. Badwater Basin was first on my list. 
This image from Badwater Basin with the polygon shaped salt residue in the foreground and the setting sun kissing the Black Mountains is called  "Black Mountain Glow". I spent the first few days of this week processing images from the trip (you can see some of the results at my website) before getting back to cruising FlickR looking for interesting Photographs.
So over the last couple of days I poked around on FlickR and found the following 5 images:
Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
]]> (TJT Photography) Death Valley National Park FlickR Outdoors TJTPhotography favorite photographs Fri, 24 Feb 2012 14:00:00 GMT
Favorite Death Valley FlickR Fotos 2012
I am going to Death Valley National Park for the first time. As is true for many photographers, photographing Death Valley is on my bucket list. I have been doing some research including reading "The Photographers Guide to Death Valley" by Shellye Poster, two of the Photograph America newsletters (#001 and #104) from Robert Hitchman and visiting the NPS Death Valley National Park website. While researching where to go, what to shoot, time of day, etc. I searched FlickR for images.
There are a lot of great Death Valley images on FlickR. The ones I am referencing here are 10 of the favorites I found while searching recently:
Death Valley - Artist's Palette by Steve Sieren Photography
Charcoal Kiln's with Snow by MKMPHOTO5
Ice Capades by von kessels
Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley by Rudi1976
Eureka Dunes Sunset by Nitschke Photography
Planet Salt (Badwater, Death Valley National Park, California) by chaybert (Brian Rueb)
Sand Dunes Death Valley, CA Roll 431- 7 ---10-31-81 by km6x0
Racetrack Star Trails by jmgoldstein
Dante's View Inferno - Death Valley California by Steve Kody
Dunes, Eureka Valley, Morning by G Dan Mitchell
I hope you find these photos as inspiring. I did.
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]]> (TJT Photography) Death Valley National Park FlickR TJTPhotography favorite photographs Wed, 15 Feb 2012 20:45:00 GMT
LowePro Sunset Recently, I have been exploring the Santa Clarita valley and nearby areas for locations to shoot sunrises or sunsets. The Santa Clarita valley is north of Los Angeles and is the location of the city of Santa Clarita, the 4th largest city in Los Angeles county. The Santa Clara river, for which the city and valley are named flows west from the San Gabriel mountains meeting the Pacific ocean near Ventura, California.

The sunrises and sunsets can be spectacular when you have clouds move in from the west (the typical storm pattern) into the valley. With the last un-channeled river in southern California running through the valley, one would think there would be many opportunities for great images. But the city of Santa Clarita alone has over 100,000 residents and all of these people need infrastructure: roads and freeways, gas stations and markets, movie theaters and amusement parks, etc. So finding a location that favors natural elements over man made ones is difficult.

LowePro SunsetLowePro Sunset
LowePro Sunset

In trying to avoid scenes with roads, markets, cars and the like, I have been searching for locations above the valley floor. Central Park, sort of located "centrally" hence the name, is the largest recreation area within the city boundaries and supports many activities. It is the location of many cross country running meets because it has flat areas and hilly areas making for interesting course layouts. Adjacent to the park is privately owned land that overlooks the Santa Clara river. In hunting for locations, I had seen these hills and wondered how to access them. Using google maps, I found a way to access the private land using part of the cross country course that originates in Central Park.

The sunset on the evening of February 11th, 2012 looked promising and I decided to try to shoot the sunset from the private land. I grabbed my camera bag and rain gear (it spit for a minute but rain was never an issue) and hiked south from Central Park. The good news is that when I finally got on the top of the right hill, I was rewarded with the view that I wanted. The bad news was that this was the private land I had been seeking but it had been graded and stripped of vegetation in preparation for building houses. I am not sure when the grading occurred (it was likely before the current housing bust) but the land is slowly recovering. At some point the housing market will recover and the owner will build out the houses with the side affect that the views from these hills looking out across the valley will be limited to a few people. Because the land had been graded and the scrub brush is slowly recovering, there was not anything interesting to use in the foreground so I improvised by using my camera bag.

In the meantime, I was there, set the aperture at f/8 and captured a few images. I had been in this general area one other time and did not relish hiking out in the dark so on that occasion, I left when there was still some light and as a consequence I missed it when the sunset "exploded". This time I brought a flashlight and waited but the sky never went boom. It was still very nice.

Image particulars: Canon 5D MKII, EF 16-35mm/f2.8L II lens at 16mm and f/8, .6 sec, ISO 100 using a Kirk BH-3 ball head on a Gitzo GT2541 tripod.
The image, LowePro Sunset and others are available at my website.

]]> (TJT Photography) Canon 5D MKII Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Clouds Gitzo GT2541 Kirk BH-3 No People SantaClaritaCA Sunset TJTPhotography lowepro computrekker plus AW urban scrubland Mon, 13 Feb 2012 06:00:00 GMT