Travel

New Blu-ray DVD - "My Stretch of the River"

In 2013, I moved nearby the American River in Sacramento, CA. I immediately began photographing and documenting my explorations of the river by my home. "My Stretch of the River: A Photographers Journal" contains over 300 images of the scenery and wildlife I encountered over a one year period, narrated with journal entries about my experiences.

Come along on this multimedia adventure of still and video images captured from the land, the water and air. Explore this urban wilderness and learn how the healing power of nature can make a difference in your life. See River Otters, Great Blue Herons, American Mink, Green Herons, Canada Geese, Mule Deer, Egrets and more as I share his year long adventure with you!

                                                       Watch the trailer!

                                                                     

 

                                                                     

Here are some comments from previous buyers:

"What a wonderful experience this is to share the river with Lewis. This man has such a passion for what he is doing. The energy he has is quite evident. On a daily basis he is there to capture what Nature allows a man to see. So often he is the only one patrolling this unique stretch of water. He certainly has made it his own place and the animals and birds are just so much a visual enhancement. From scene to scene Lewis allows us be a part of these wonderful adventures. I will allow you to follow as well the scripting that leads us through a discussion of the days events. I have watched the piece twice now and know that I will see it many more times and never tire of the experience. Hopefully by the end of the year I will be able to join Lewis and share his stretch of the river."

 

 "Wonderful video in so many ways; wonderful photography and videography, wonderful nature experience both wildlife and landscape. Lewis' production and story makes it seem like you are on the river with him. It's captivating yet very meditative. I highly recommend this video for photographers, videographers, nature lovers and anyone just wanting a beautiful and peaceful hour of calming relaxation at the end of a busy day. I also recommend buying it vs renting it as you will want to watch this over and over."

 

To buy the Blu-ray DVD click here.

New Bear Trip Video!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out my new promo video for "Bears, Bears and Bears, Oh My!" And to learn more about the tour click here

Lot's of cool bear pictures!

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVmoYel3yzw

What an amazing time to be a photographer!

 



We are the luckiest photographers of all time! We have cameras that can make images that were impossible to photograph just a few short years ago. I can’t even imagine what it will be like in another 5 years!
 
I just recently got back from travels to India where I took two Canon cameras with me, the older Canon 1 D Mark IV and the brand new Canon 1 Dx. Both preformed admirably. In my “normal” landscape photography I use a tripod 95% of the time, but in India I knew that in most temples, monuments, etc I would not be able to use a tripod. This meant if I wanted good pictures I would be hand holding my cameras. In the past this would have limited what I could shoot, but not today! With both of these cameras I was able to comfortable shoot over 6400 ISO and with the 1Dx I could even push it to 25,600 ISO! That’s a long way from the Kodachrome 25 I used when I started out in photography!
 
This made so many photo opportunities that would not have been available to me otherwise. One strong example is the portrait I made of the woman rug weaver lit by a single flame lantern at ISO 12,800! In another example, the night scene of Varanasi (4th image), I was standing in a moving boat on the river and still able to photograph at night!
 
Click here to see all the images big!
 
 
Most of you know I am a big believer in HDR imagery to gather the full tonal range of a scene. I found it absolutely necessary to shoot HDR in many of the locations I traveled including monuments and other buildings. By using these high ISO capable camera I was able to hand hold 3 bracketed shots at 2 stop increments to get full tonal images in very difficult lighting situations without the need for a tripod! If you look at the first two images on the page you will see two prime examples of what I was able to do.
 
So next time you are thinking about a camera purchase no matter what brand camera you use, don’t be as concerned about the number of pixels the camera has but pay more attention to how well the camera can perform under low light and how fast the frame rates is, allowing you to shoot 3 exposures for HDR in under a half a second!
 
We are truly at a time of “if you can imagine it, you can shoot it” It kinds of makes me feel sorry for all the talented photographers that have passed before us. I wonder what it would have been like if some of them had these capabilities. ( I can’t help but wonder what one of my idols, Ernst Haas could have done!) But I am also jealous of all those who will come after me and be able to create images I can’t even imagine today!
 
Happy, Holidays,
 


 

Bird Adventure in Florida

 I had a great time photographing in Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, FL last week. It is a small wetlands that has a great concentration of birds, turtles, and alligators! I also took a run down to Brian Piccalo Park in Pembroke Pines to photograph Burrowing Owls. There is so much to see in this region of Florida! I took most of my pictures with my Canon 1DM4 but I sure wished it had the focusing system of my new 5DM3. Too bad they didn’t make the new 1Dx so it would auto-focus at f/8 like all the other 1 series cameras. If they had I sure would like that camera, but for now I’ll stick to my 1DM4 for my wildlife camera so I can use my teleconverters on my 100-400mm and my 500mm. I used the 1.4x and the 2x TCs on a lot of my bird images.

 
To see some of my bird images click here.
 
Next week I am speaking in Dunn Loring, VA (near Fairfax). For info click here.
 
I just had 2 cancellations for my bear trip to Alaska in July so there is now room for 3 more! If you want to experience a great trip click here.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My first set of Photoshop DVDs “The Photographer’s Toolbox for Photoshop: Exposure and Color” have been updated to CS6 and will be available for shipping on May 4th. Place your order here and use the coupon code of DVD2012 and save 12.5%. (even though it says CS5 on the page!)


 

Take care,

 

A Good Day (Night) in Paradise!

 

The men in my workshop were a little reluctant when I asked “Who wants to go out and shoot the stars over the tufas at Mono Lake tonight?” I got responses like, “How late will we be out?” “Do we have to get up for sunrise again tomorrow?” And of course the one real enthusiast in the group responded, “You bet!” But with a little persuasion they all decided to come. I am sure part of the reluctance was they had never taken pictures at night before, let alone hiked down to the tufa towers in the dark! But once I got everybody set up, all the cameras set to manual, the proper ISO and exposure settings, the cameras in focus, and we started making images, they were thrilled!
 

It was a great night. Here are some of the examples. All taken with the a Canon 1D Mark 4, 17mm f/4 TS lens, mounted on a Feisol 3372 Tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH55 Ball Head. Exposures range from 15-25 seconds, f/4.5 for the stars and f/8 for the moonrise and ISO from 3200-10,000.

 

Enjoy,

 

 

New Blog Entry - Tibet 2011 Part 4

 

Two more images, the last for a few days! These were both taken in Kathmandhu, Nepal. The first is a pano of the Boudha Stupa, the largest stupa in the world, and the second is the stupa at Swayambhunath Temple.
 
 
The pano was done in 8 shots hand held with the Canon 1Ds mark 3 and the 24-105 L lens at 24mm, stitched together in Photoshop. The second was done with the Canon 1Ds Mark 3 and a 17mm TS lens at 4 seconds and f/18 at ISO 100.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So many more images to go through, but this week I am busy making new images!
 
Take care,

 

 

 

 

 

Pang La Pre-Sunrise

 

 
Just a quick entry today! Two more from the latest trip to Tibet. Both taken at Pang La, a mountain pass. The Himalaya Range is looking south. You can see 4 of the 6 highest peaks in the world - the Makalu (8.462 m), Lhotse (8.516 m), Everest (8.848 m) and Cho Oyu (8.201 m). The pano is made of 9 vertical images taken with my Canon 1Ds Mark 3 and my 100-400mm L lens at 115mm. Exposures were .6 sec at f/14, ISO 100, mounted on Feisol 3372 Tripod and Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead. Stitched together in Photoshop.
 
The second shot is facing north with prayer flags and stars. I lit the prayer flags with my flashlight. Same camera, 24-105mm L lens, exposure was 20 sec at f/6.3 at ISO 1600, same tripod setup.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Enjoy!
 

 

 

 

 

Tibet 2011 Part 2

 

What a great morning! I took the group out in the dark, early one morning to get to this vantage point, giving us a different look at one of the most famous icons in Tibet, the Potala Palace. After being in all the “standard” tourist locations crowded with Chinese tourists, it was nice to be the only ones at this location! We had a great morning with wonderful light before sunrise (see previous blog). And once the sun came up we were treated to another magnificent display of light.
 
This image is a HDR image created from 5 exposures taken at one-stop increments on Aperture Priority at f/14. I used my Canon 1Ds Mark3, a 24-105L lens, a Feisol CT-3372 tripod with LB-7572 Leveling Base, and a Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head. The images were processed with Photomatix Pro to create the HDR image.
 
As you can see the light makes all the difference in the world and fortunately we had great light!  
 
Enjoy,
 

 

Tibet 2011 Part 1

 

I just got back from 2 weeks traveling in Tibet and Nepal. I saw many great things and took lots of wonderful pictures that I will be sharing in the weeks to come. From The Potala Palace to the dancers of the Cham Festival and the Tibetan Opera at the Tashilhunpo Monastery to the sunrise on the Himalayas from Pang La to the brilliant sunset on Mt. Everest from Base Camp it was a great trip! Now I am a bit jet lagged, I woke up at 2 AM wide awake and came to the office for 3 hours before crashing again at 5 AM! I just finished placing all my images into Lightroom and now need to edit and keyword them.
 
It is good to be home again and one of the best things about being home is appreciating the freedom we have in this country to express ourselves in forums such as this blog and on social network sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter all of which are banned in China. So when you browse the Internet and visit your favorite sites just be thankful for all your personal freedoms and think about those in the world that are not as fortunate as you and send your prayers or best wishes hoping that someday they too will be able to enjoy true freedom! Free Tibet!
 
Enjoy the photos,


 

 

 

 

 

          

Visualization

 

There are times when I look at a scene and I see it as a finished print and not as the scene before me. Ansel Adams called this “previsualization” but just the act of visualizing is foreseeing the outcome so the “pre” seems a bit redundant, but what ever you call it, having the foresight to realize the potential of what you are seeing is the key. When Ansel would use this term, it was to describe how he could foresee how he was going to interpret the scene before him into the tonalities of black and white. When I visualize something, I am usually seeing how I am going to bring out the colors and the light in the scene before me.
 
For example, on my last trip to Alaska to photograph the bears (see previous blog entry), I booked a window seat (I am usually an aisle guy) because I knew I would see some amazing scenery. I booked a window on the right side of the plane knowing as we flew up the Alaskan coast I would see some great mountains, glaciers and tidal flats. I carried my Canon S95 point and shoot camera in my pocket so I could easily take pictures out the window. This is a great little camera as it fits in my pocket, has a large sensor for point and shoot standards, and is capable of shooting raw.
 
As we were coming into Anchorage there was a fairly low tide and the plane banked several times out over the Cook Inlet. Looking out the window I could see all these great patterns in tidal zone. Unfortunately through the airplane window the colors were not that vivid, but nonetheless I liked the patterns and as I flew over and looked down. I visualized the scenes before me with great light and bold color. I shot several images as we came in for our landing.
 
When I got back home and finished looking at the bear pictures, I turned my attention to these aerial images. I really liked the patterns I was seeing but was disappointed that the images looked so flat and dull, because my memory was of how I visualized the images, not of what I actually saw! Fortunately I know a bit of Photoshop, so I knew that I would be able fulfill my vision. While some of you “purists” may call this cheating, I am not going to get sucked into that debate. I come to photography from a fine art background, not a journalistic background, so for me clicking the shutter is harvesting the raw material and postproduction an extension of the creative process.
 
All of the finished products are in my album Alaska and you can see them larger here. But here is one of the originals to give you an idea of what I mean. I hope you enjoy the images. I plan to print them as large canvas prints and feature them at an upcoming show I am having in January. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Enjoy!
 
 
 
 

News
 
Digital House℞ Call℠

I have been doing my “Digital House℞ Calls” for about a month now and I have given lessons to people in Washington, Florida, New York, Ohio, and Texas to name a few of the locations I have “gone” without ever leaving my house! I have covered topics as diverse as “creating composite using layer masking in Photoshop” to “ the Adjustment Brush” in Lightroom, and “getting realistic looking HDR images with PhotomatixPro". And the best part of all every one of my students has exclaimed how much the lessons have helped them solve a problem! Do you have something you need help with? If so click here.
 
I am giving a free lecture sponsored by Canon in San Francisco October 12 for more info click here
 
I am giving a series of Lightroom and Photoshop classes at Viewpoint Gallery in Sacramento in October for more info click here

 

 

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