Antelope Canyon

I took this shot while on a tour of Upper-Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona. I traveled over here just after visiting Havasu Falls and Horseshoe Bend. The place itself was gorgeous and  exactly what I had expected from other photographs that I had seen of the area. The only difference was how packed it was. There are basically two different tours. The regular tour and the photographic tour. Here I thought I would be able to just wander around it myself but unfortunately you need to go on a tour in order to get into the canyon. I wanted to go on the photographic tour because they will block the traffic of people for you and let you use a tripod but it filled up fast and it was also ridiculously expensive. Fortunately, I was still able to grab a few good shots with no one in it on the regular tour. I had to set my ISO fairly high because it was cloudy and dark in the canyon and I didn’t have a tripod. Because of the short notice, I wasn’t able to book a tour during the peak hours when the sun shines in but I was still able to get some good shots. This is actually just one image, no combined exposures or anything. I did some curves and levels adjustments and basic editing. Hope you like the...

Havasu Falls

This was the first place I visited on my cross country trip. I have wanted to go to Havasu Falls for a long time because of how beautiful it is with the blue water. Getting there was the hard part. To get to the trailhead you have to drive 60 miles down this road on an Indian reservation and then hike about 8 miles to a little Indian village that is buried in the middle of nowhere in this valley. Not to mention you need to get reservations a few months out which I didn’t realize until I got there. Fortunately I was able to get a day pass and still visit. There are actually several waterfalls at this location but Havasu Falls was definitely my favorite. This shot is composed of 5 exposures that I blended using luminosity masks. I had to make up for the difference in lighting since it was still light out. Hope you like the...

McWay Falls

If you have ever been to California and for some reason haven’t visited the Big Sur Coastline then another trip is in order. This is one of the most beautiful drives that I have ever taken and I highly suggest. This was another one, of many spots, that my sister and I visited. If you travel up Highway 1, you are bound to run into this beautiful spot. This is McWay Falls. I had visited this spot the first time I traveled the coast but it was in the middle of the day when I got here and the harsh light didn’t do this spot justice, so I never ended up posting a picture. Fortunately, this time I had arrived at exactly the right time. It was literally less than 1 minute after sunset that we arrived here. I was booking it in our little rental SUV in order to get here with enough light. I was so relieved when I found that we had just made it. Upon arriving, I quickly setup my tripod and started snapping away. Turns out that I even had some time to spare because it wasn’t until a few minutes after I had started shooting that some of the best light came out. The sky started turning that warm orange glow, and all that harsh light that was splayed on the rocks had disappeared. I bracketed 3 photos as usual and applied luminosity masks to them in Photoshop. If you have any questions or comments about my technique or my work then feel free to...

Rocky Waterfalls

Along the stream to Bash Bish Falls in Massachusetts, there was this small hidden waterfall that was right on the edge of the water. It wasn’t really a waterfall per say but it was good enough for me. Fortunately it was cloudy out so there was no harsh light around to cast any unattractive shadows. Instead, it was just nice filtered light bringing out all the detail in the rocks and the moss. I had to take bracketed shots for this one because of the difference in light from the foreground and background. I couldn’t correctly expose the background with one shot because then it turned out with the foregrounded being entirely too dark. So I bracketed these shots at -2, 0, and +2. I used the usual Photomatix to combine the three exposure. I had just downloaded the new Photomatix and came to realize that there are these awesome new presets that make the HDR processed images look a lot better than the old presets the previous version used to have. I like to use one called “Photographic” the best and it is rightly named so. I hit a few sliders here and there but half the time I barely need to touch it. I highly suggest checking it out and getting the new version if you haven’t. It is well worth it in my opinion. I should also mention that this is a vertical panorama image as well. I had to stitch two processed images together because I’m unfortunately still using my kit lens to take all my landscape photos. Soon I will hopefully acquire a wide...

Zion National Park

Over July 4th weekend my friend Chris and myself visited Zion National Park in Utah. It was about a seven hour drive from where we were so it was a little bit of a road trip. We ended up getting a campground at this South Campground in the park itself which worked out really well because it was near the tram pick up which took you all over the park for free. The park itself was amazing! There were red rocks like the one seen in this picture everywhere, and plenty of hikes to keep anyone busy. The first day there we did a hike called Angels landing which was about a 5000 ft elevation climb over the span of a few miles. It was an awesome start to the trip. The best part of the trip was the following day on July 4th when we hiked the Narrows and got stuck in a flash flood! The photo below was taken right near the tram stop at a place called the Grotto. There are areas to swim in the water around here since it is deep enough in some places. This was taken a little way up though right around sunset. If you can’t tell, I was standing in the middle of the stream in order to take this shot. During the day there was a lot of harsh light and it was tough to take shots that I was happy with so that is why I waited until the end of the day for this one. This is a bracketed shot, and even though it may seem it, it is not a full HDR. This is mostly processed off of two RAW images with the finishing touches applied in Photoshop. I don’t know if...

Campbell Falls

I just recently got home on post-deployment leave and I have been trying to visit some cool places to take pictures at. I found this amazing site called New England Waterfalls that lists all the waterfalls in the New England area and even gives each one its out rating for how good it is. The rating seems really accurate too considering I just recently visited two of the five star ones that are on the list and they were beautiful. The waterfall pictured below is Campbell Falls which is located at Campbell Falls State Park in Connecticut. It was a little bit of a drive from where I live (three hours to be exact), but it was well worth it. There was even another waterfall nearby that we were able to hit up while we were that far out. It was a short hike to this waterfall and it was a perfect day because it was an overcast sky which provided some great soft light. This is a RAW image file that I combined with the HDR I created through bracketed shots in Photomatix. Very little editing was done in all honesty in order to keep this one as natural looking as possible. Hope you like the...

Dead Sea

This is one of those places where I didn’t think I would ever go if it wasn’t for being in the military. I knew there were some places I would have liked to have seen in Israel but I didn’t think that I would ever make the trip to specifically go here on my own. Fortunately, our ship had a port visit at the city of Eilat in Israel. Eilat wasn’t anything crazy, just a few bars and shopping malls, but from there we were able to take little tour buses around some key spot in Israel. The Dead Sea happened to be one of those places. This place was real wild to visit because I had seen pictures of it before but I never thought that it would actually look like all of them in reality. You can see from the picture what the edge of the beach actually looked like. It as this really hard salt that covered all the rocks touching the water. It was the coolest thing ever. They even had these buckets of mud that you could cover yourself in. The way it worked was you were supposed to cover yourself in the mud from the water and then go take a dip and wash it all over and when you got out your skin would be silky smooth. It worked exactly like that too. I had never had smoother skin in my life. The only drawbacks were that the water tasted absolutely horrible if you happen to accidentally get a mouthful and it burned any kind of open cuts or scratches. Besides that, it was awesome. I looked like a weirdo shooting this picture because everyone else was in the water floating around and I was just setting...

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls was by far the nicest waterfall in Yosemite National Park in my opinion. It is a short hike off the main road that runs through the park and is pretty straight forward. It gets a little slippery as you get closer to the falls because of all the mist that covers the surrounding area which made me have to watch my footing more than once but it was a beautiful area and me and my buddy made several tripps to this spot while in Yosemite. Once you start getting close to the falls you have to climb a set of stairs and this is when you start getting sprikled with all the mist. You can walk all the way to the top where there is a large pool of water that’s awesome for swimming in, especially after hiking around all day. I wanted to get the image to correctly portray the beauty of this spot and I wasn’t able to do that with the zoom lense, which was the only lens I owned at the time so I stitched two images together. The rest of the image is pretty minimally processed in order to preserve the natural beauty of the area. If you ever get the chance to visit this awesome spot I would not pass it up. I processed the photo in Photoshop CS6 with Nik Color Effex...

Yosemite Valley View

I took this shot at tunnel view in Yosemite Valley National Park. This is one of the most photographed views in all of Yosemite and I can definitely understand why. My friend and I had entered the park through a alternate route because we didn’t know otherwise but this spot is intended to greet incoming park visitors since it is right off the main entrance to the park. We found this out as we were leaving but found it out either way. This view gives you an awesome preview of what you will be seeing close-up once you enter the park. You can even see Yosemite Falls to the right of the picture in the distance disappearing behind the treeline. I shot this with a piece of welders glass covering my lense as a make shift 10 stop filter. I have used it many times before and I love the cool effect it gives images.This is a RAW image file that I processed in Photoshop CS6 with Nik Color Effex Pro. I hit this spot during the summer which is supposedly not the best time to go but I was able to grab a few good shots. Hope you like...

Merced Stream

I finally got to visit Yosemite National Park in Northern California. I took this shot from a bridge that crossed over the stream coming from the Merced River that was near the bottom of Nevada Falls. This was the nicest spot I have been at in America thus far. I felt like everywhere I looked there was an opportunity for a picture. The size of the peaks like El Capitan and Half Dome where bigger that any picture I had seen and were harder to hike up than most of the hikes I had been on. There will definitely be more photos to come of this area. Here is just a taste of some of the beauty that you can witness in the park. This whole area was shaded by the surrounding trees which made for great lighting and helped me bring out the rich colors that were all around. The photo picture here is actually comprised of 9 shots. 3 shots were taken for 3 different positions and -2, 0, and +2. I masked through the layers to get the best possible looking shot for each and then stitched them together to make a larger image  considering I don’t have a wide angle lens. This was processed in Photoshop CS6. I also used Nik Color Effex...