Archive for Fall

Autumn in PDX

Posted in Photo Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2012 by chamimage

Autumn Waterfall

I was worried that we wouldn’t have any fall colors this year in the Northwest due to the dry summer and early fall.

I knew the Portland Japanese Garden would have some color due to its various maple tree species. The first weekend in November is ideal there, but if you want to photograph the Japanese maples you need to go earlier.

Due to totally forgetting to set my clock back I was an hour early for the 10 am opening of the gardens, so stopped at Hoyt Arboretum and the Viet Nam Memorial on the way.

Washington Park Railroad

The fall color in the west hills of Portland were amazing. why was I worried? Conditions were perfect, with just the right amount of leaves on the ground, while the trees were not looking the least bit bare yet.

The Japanese Garden was awesome as well. As I was approaching the parking area I remembered that I had made a note to myself last visit to come on a Monday next time to be able to take a wide angle photograph without twenty people in it.

Needless to stay, I forgot and the garden was packed with people. There were more tripods than I have ever seen there, despite the two dollar tripod fee. The problem with Monday is that they are only open from noon to 4 pm on Monday instead of 10-4 like on Sunday. I had planned on working fairly tight this time, anyway, so the people didn’t bother me much except where the path was narrow. I missed only one shot because it was just too narrow for people to get around my tripod and there was no end to the stream of people wanting to get by.


One of my classic photographs is the waterfall pond with leaves swirling in an eddy in front of the waterfall. My best shot of that is on film and I have been trying to get it on a digital image. Last visit the swirl was too slow despite a dark, brooding sky giving me a long exposure, and the blur was not as good. Yesterday there were no leaves in the water. I’m not sure if someone removed them, or if the source tree was removed.

I entertained myself with koi blurs in both ponds. I’ll probably post those in a later blog after I’ve had time to process them.

It turns out that I could have entertained myself shooting fall colors in the West Hills of Portland all day without the Japanese Garden, but who can pass up red, orange, white, and pink maple leaves, koi, a waterfall, leaves on water, leaves on rocks, and emerald green moss everywhere?


Columbia Gorge

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2011 by chamimage

Wahkeena Creek

The Columbia River Gorge is a lovely place to be in the fall. I spent the day there on Monday with my friend, Sandy Nykerk, visiting from Bozeman, Montana. It was fun to see the reaction of someone from sagebrush and rattlesnake country to our lush rain forest.

Wahkeena Falls has always been my favorite in years past, both for the photography and the loop trail for a good hike. The young hardwood trees have finally grown up to obstruct the view of the falls from below now. They have also runed the shot of the creek above the bridge at the top of this photo.

Latourel Falls

Of course, the lushness of the forest comes at a price. We had only two rain showers on Monday, one at noon and one that ended the day at 4:30 pm. Not bad for Oregon. We did fight the wind and spray all day, as the drops on the lens and the wind artifact in the trees attests to in this photo of Latourel Falls. We gave up on photographing Multnomah Falls altogether due to the volume of spray being blown around. The green mold on the rock walls might give another hint at a bit of dampness year round.

Stone Wall

I loved this mossy stone wall. It snaked through the forest and would have made for some great sinuous curve photos had it not been for all of the tree limbs and brush in the way of the wider shots.

Bridge Over Latourel Creek

If you like bridges, this is a great place. I finished this image and the next one with a filter recipe in the new Color Efex Pro 4 that I like called Warm Sunset. It stacks polarization, sunlight, and vignette filters. I made some tweaks to the image above.

The image below is the filter effect untouched. A bit too warm for me in most cases, but I guess that is the point of the filter.

Latourel Creek Bridge

Helicon Focus in Photoshop

Posted in Photography Technique with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2010 by chamimage

The Moon Bridge

A Japanese Garden in autumn offers up a million photographic possibilities all at once, so I was surprised that after a whole day of shooting on Saturday I had only 128 images on my card. For one thing, I was being very selective and after setting up for an landscape, would take one or two images and move on, not really working the scene like I might otherwise do when not feeling overwhelmed with other possibilities. The other factor was that after setting up for a shot like this bridge, it would take a good twenty minutes of waiting to get the people off of it. People tend to linger on a bridge, it turns out. Note to self, next year go on a Monday, not a Saturday.

Japanese Lantern

In editing my images from the day I found four identical images of this scene. They were all the same exposure so I knew I didn’t do an HDR. In looking closer, I discovered that I was fudging the focal point on my exposures just a bit each time, trying to find the hyperfocal point where there was maximum sharpness throughout the depth of field. Faced with the four images, a light went on over head head. There is a program, called Helicon Focus, that blends a series of images with the focus adjusted a bit further back in each image. For a flower macro on a breezy day, you can shoot it at F4 and still have full depth of field. I don’t own that program, yet, but I learned from George Lepp last spring that you can do the same thing, with mixed results, in Photoshop. So I did.

First you need to have taken the images on a tirpod so they are all exactly the same, except for the focus point. Select all of the images in Adobe Bridge by selecting the first one and then holding down the Shift key while clicking on the last image. Then under the  Tools drop down menu, select Photoshop>Load files into Photoshop Layers. This will open Photoshop and each of the images will be on its own layer.

Then, in Photoshop, again highlight all of the layers as you did in Bridge and click on the Edit drop down menu and select AutoAlign Layers. This will line up the images in case you bumped the tripod leg, etc. Then, under the Edit drop down menu, select Auto Blend Layers and click on Stack Images in the dialog box. Photoshop will then keep the sharpest areas of each image to produce a new image with better sharpness throughout. Very cool.

If you look at the masks of the layers you will see the areas of sharpness that were selected from each image. I don’t know how Photoshop does that, but I’m glad it does. George Lepp says the Helicon Focus software is more likely to get it right for any given set of images. The trick to a good result is not to move the focus too far between images. Any areas of unsharpness in there will stick out like a sore thumb.

By the way, George Lepp has a new book out. I don’t have it yet, but it is on my Wish List at Amazon and I’ll get to it as soon as I finish Moose Peterson’s new book and the Freeman Patterson book I started.

Lion Cubs Playing

Have a great week, and don’t forget to play. And wag your tail a lot.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Posted in Photography Technique with tags , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2010 by chamimage

Autumn Colors

These photographs were taken exactly 24 hours apart at Minto Brown Park in Salem, Oregon during my daily dog walk. I have a new pocket camera, a Nikon P7000, so have been trying to get in the habit of taking it with me and shooting more photographs on a daily basis to try to develop the old creative eye. I took the above photograph with the P7000. I liked it so much that I brought my D300 with me tonight to try to further explore the possibilities of this tree with a 28-70 lens.

Brewing Storm

I knew as soon as I saw the haze on the horizon early on that the same shot was not going to be available, which is too bad because it is going to rain for several days and the leaves on that tree will be long gone by the time it finishes.  I tried a few shots at the tree tonight, thinking maybe I would take a sunny sunset,  flat light,  rainy day tryptich or something, but the flat light was just not working. These bare trees fit the mood of the light much better. I used a bit of Glamor Glow to soften the trees a bit ( I warned you in the last post I was going to use that filter until we all got good and sick of it).

Autumn Sunset

I made this photograph from the same spot in November, 2007 with my little Lumix pocket camera. I used a Nik film effect filter, selecting Kodak Ektachrome 100G as the film, in processing it.

It’s Getting Autumn-y Out There

Posted in Photography Technique with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2010 by chamimage

Caribou on Autumn Tundra

We are finally starting to get some fall color in Oregon. Everything has been about a month late this year. Of course it will never rival the autumn tundra in Alaska. When we first found this young bull caribou he was in a road maintenance area beside the gravel pile. We just had to set up our tripods on a little bluff and wait for him to work his way out there to the right spot and making the photograph was like falling off of a log.

Red Maple Leaves IR

“…because who I am shapes what I see, I couldn’t have created that picture until this year.” Chris Orwig in Visual Poetry

I love this quote from the Visual Poetry book. I took the above photograph in 2001 on Velvia slide film. It is a nice photograph and prints well, but the reds that make it interesting all fall outside of the sRGB color spectrum, so if I try to display it on the internet, all of the reds turn to mud. I have sat on it, knowing I wasn’t quite through with this image, until this weekend. I finally bit the bullet and bought Color Efex Pro from Nik software, which has an infrared filter in it. This photo is a blend of a black and white infrared layer with some color added back in varying degrees. I then added a Glamor Glow filter effect to soften it further. I would not have been this adventuresome with an image in 2001, even if I could have back then.

Wildebeest Herd HDR

“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.” Anatole France

Funny how we evolve over time, and thank goodness for that. An artist friend just viewed my slide show from Africa last month and declared it totally different from what I brought back in 2007. I have to agree. For one thing, I got all of the basic shots out of the way in 2007, so had the freedom to experiment this trip. The above photograph is a five image HDR. I added some Glamor Glow, again, to pop those grasses in the foreground. I’m probably going to abuse that Glamor Glow filter for a while, until I and everyone around me gets good and sick of it.

Pine Tree Grain Pattern

“Whether you think you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” Henry Ford

This is one I could have easily produced back in 2004 when I made this image on Tioga Pass in the Sierra Mountains of California. I have no idea why I have neglected it for so long. Perhaps I just didn’t appreciate it until now. My favorites seem to change over time as I evolve, as well.


‘Tis Autumn

Posted in Photo Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2009 by chamimage
Autumn Dogwood Tree

Autumn Dogwood Tree

Just wanted to throw up some fall colors I photographed last weekend. “Tis getting autumn-y out there. This was shot from the deck off of my office with a 200-400mm VR lens.

Maple Leaf

Maple Leaf

This leaf just sort of jumped out of the pile while I was raking and said “look at me!” So I did. It was getting kind of dark out there, but a 15 second exposure with the 105mm macro got the image for me. The polarizer didn’t remove all of the reflection so I tried darkening and saturating the colors in the HSL feature in Camera Raw and it worked, but I liked it better this way in the end.

Log Cabin

Posted in Photo Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2009 by chamimage
Log Cabin

Log Cabin

Who knew people liked log cabins so much? This is a log cabin I photographed in Denali National Park in Alaska. It was one of several cabins the rangers used to use when they patrolled the park by dog sled in the winter. What a life that must have been! I posted this photograph on Flickr and got about 2 1/2 times the usual views.

     Flickr is a dangerous place as far as people ripping off your photograph and using it elsewhere without permission. I only post little 50 kb thumbnails on there, but still. But, I just love getting inspired by looking at other peoples photographs, especially people that shoot stuff that I don’t shoot or would never have thought of. Rather than be a voyeur, I choose to participate and post my own photos, however dangerous or stupid that might be. I think I get more out of it than I risk, but then I have no knowledge of how often my photographs have been ripped off, either.

     I saw a video today in which Arte Wolfe, of Travels to the Edge television show fame, has recently started putting his stock photographs on Photo Shelter instead of with the giant stock photo agency, Getty Images. Seems Getty sales were declining and they take a fair bite out of the fees, so Arte uses Photo Shelter now and keeps more of each sale. The TV show doesn’t hurt bring viewers to his site. I use Photo Shelter since Digital Railroad went bankrupt and my viewer traffic is way down from what it was on Digital Railroad. Times change and we must adapt, eh? Maybe I need my own TV show to generate site traffic.

     The below photograph was from Denali National Park, as well. We were fortunate to have views of Mt. McKinely, which you must be careful to call Mt. Denali around any Alaskan. It was named by gold miners after then- candidate William McKinley from Ohio. The gold miners backed him because he was in favor of the gold standard, as opposed to the silver standard his opponent favored. Since there weren’t a whole lot of people in Alaska to object, the name stuck. McKinley never stepped foot in Alaska and it really hurts Alaskan feelings to have their mountain named after him rather than the Athabascan name of Denali, which they prefer. The problem is that the Ohio politicians are more powerful than the Alaskan politicians so the mountain has never gotten renamed. Denali menas “The Great One”.

Wonder Lake Canoes

Wonder Lake Canoes