Friday, May 11, 2007

Food For Thought

Quote of the day:

It's weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don't even amount to a couple of hours. ~James Lalropui Keivom

Camano Island

As I have mentioned before, Camano Island State Park is about an hour north of us and a great place to go when the winter weather starts to break on short notice. Clearing storms almost always create the best light for me. There is a clarity to the air and the light that rarely happens at other times. Since these periods happen in Washington for only an hour or so, I generally keep all my equipment packed and the truck gassed up to take advantage of a storm breaking up around sunset. Of course there is the evening commute to deal with heading north out of Seattle, but that is another story.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

From the Files

As I mentioned before, I'm in the middle of the long and somewhat tedious process of scanning most of my old film images. This involves long hours in front of the computer not only scanning, but touching up dust spots and keywording the images. Most of the images I remember, but every once in awhile one comes across my desk that I completely forgot about.

Bodie, California is a great ghost town, arguably the best in the western United States. Run by the California State Parks, it is preserved in a status of "arrested decay". Most buildings are sealed off but the Miller House is open to wander through. At a fairly high elevation and frightfully dry and isolated, the town is worth the effort to get to for anyone interested in history or someone who just likes to explore.
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Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Ferry at Mukilteo

My wife Merril has a term she coined to describe a certain type of light at sunset. Right after heavy overcast, the sun will break through and illuminate everything in the foreground very brightly while the scene in the distance will remain in deep shadow. It is a lighting effect we saw very often when we lived in Portland, so it is forever referred to in our house as "Oregon Light".

I always love when this happens, so Tuesday as I was poking around the Mukilteo Ferry dock and the light broke through, I worked quickly, knowing it wouldn't last for long. As predicted, the light only lasted for a minute or so before dipping back into the overcast. I managed to shoot several images of the ferry illuminated by the sun before the entire scene faded to a soft slate blue. I ran under some abandoned docks I had found earlier and shot several frames on the small waves swishing around the abandoned coloumns.

Before I left, I noticed the lights of the ferry were contrasting with the stormy sky to the north. Another few frames of rather long duration finished the evening. Cropping the image to a panoramic format helped create a more dynamic image.

The best part of the entire shoot was not a single image required any adjustments in photoshop beyond tweaking the exposure or cropping.

Please remember all images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Coal Lake

All the effort required to get to Coal Lake is in the car, slogging up a dirt road. Once you reach the trailhead, you are within a hundred yards of the lake. A classic Cascades lake with heavily forested shores and rocky cliffs. The way it is situated, late afternoon light rarely reaches into the valley of the lake so you are left to shoot during the brighter portions of the day.

Digital is perfect for this type of contrasty photography where the shadows and highlights are too extreme to be recorded properly on film. I used to use a graduated neutral filter to help but here it would be useless with the dappling of light and shade.

Enter the world of digital. I shoot in RAW mode which allows me to record the entire tonal range of the scene. from black to white. I then processed the image twice, once for the shadows and once for the highlights. Using Photoshop I layered the light exposure on top of the dark exposure. Wherever I thought the image was to light, I erased the top layer to reveal the darker exposure down below. After I was happy with the results, I flattened the file to create an image that had good tone in both the shadows and the highlights.

There are many ways to achieve this result. Some are probably better, but this way is very intuitive and works well for me.

Please remember all images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission.

Friday, March 30, 2007

On The Beach

My friend Kristin Roberts is getting married in May. In exchange for doing the engagement photos for her website, she agreed to model for me for an outdoor lifestyle shoot. A rare beautiful day in the middle of winter appeared and we headed up to Camano Island. The first image was straightforward but awkward to execute. I was literally lying on my stomach on the pebbles as Kristin walked straight over me and down the beach. I chose just long enough shutter speed to blur Kristin as she walked but short enough to keep the rocks and background sharp. My neck still hurts from that series.

The second image is obviously manipulated in the computer but I love the results. The original light was just as the sun was setting. For Photoshop fans, I switched to black and white using the channel mixer layer. To me, this is the only conversion option to use since it allows independent control of the red, green, and blue channels. It is just like using a filter, but in any desired amount and in real time as you fiddle with it. I also added film grain back into the digital image to create a high speed and contrasty film look.

Please remember all images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Picnic Point

Seattle weather is known to change on a dime. One of the best things about our new home in Edmonds is that I can get to the water in under ten minutes. Most of this day was spent on the computer as the rain fell steadily. It was late in the afternoon when I noticed it had suddenly cleared (not that the forecast called for this). A few minutes later I was at the water as the sun began to set. This image was taken at Picnic Point County Park a few miles north of Edmonds. Great location for photography or even for a picnic I imagine.

Please remember all images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Deception Pass

Deception Pass State Park is one of my favorite locations for photography. The park spans the channel marking the north end of Whidbey Island. The lands encompass forests, channels, beaches, and an incredible bridge that spans the channel. Although it is only a short drive north of Seattle, on most weeknight evenings, it is nearly deserted.

This time I was on a wide sandy beach on the western side of the island. It was warm for winter (probably in the 60s) and very calm. The light was a beautiful soft warm glow as it ducked in and out of clouds on the horizon. Grasses on the dunes have always been a favorite subject for me but it is rare to get an evening on the sound still enough to keep them sharp. Fortunately the wind cooperated since the light would lasted for only a minute or two at a time before the sun dipped behind another cloud.

After an hour of shooting, I packed up and hiked back to the truck only to notice the setting moon over the Olympic Mountains across the water. I unpacked the gear as fast as I could, chose the 400mm lens to make the moon look as large and close as possible, and was able to squeeze off a few frames in the dim light before the moon finally set on the horizon.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Old Gem

Another rainy day in Seattle so I've spent it at the computer scanning old film images. I found this image in the files that I had forgotten about. Barclay Lake is near Seattle and a pretty easy hike without too much elevation gain. Located a valley in the mountains, it tends to get dark earlier than the peaks do. Early in the season, the light skimmed down the valley and caught the driftwood but left the far shore in shadow. The last minute or so, the log was lit with a beautiful warm glow. One minute later, the entire valley was in shade.

Please remember all images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission

Friday, February 23, 2007

What's New At Jim Lundgren Photography

Welcome to the new source of news for Jim Lundgren Photography. We will do our best to update new images, shoots, and stories of life behind the lens. As always, if you have any questions, want to purchase images, or simply want to chat about photography, Please feel free to contact us.