Alps

I had the opportunity to visit a friend in Germany over winter break this past Christmas. Having never been, I jumped on the opportunity. Turned out Germany is a great country to be in during Christmas because it is a pretty big celebration out there. Cities were packed with Christmas markets. While there, we decided to take a trip over to Austria to go skiing in the Alps. We found a cheap place to stay right at the base of the mountain with this nice older lady that immediately made us take two shots of vodka before she let us unpack. It was definitely a great time. This trip was mainly for snowboarding but of course I brought my camera. The Alps were definitely one of the most beautiful mountains I had ever been to and the snowboarding was awesome. I took this shot at the top of Hintertux Glacier. This is a bracketed shot that I used luminosity masks on to get the best lighting. Hope you like the...

Grand Teton

I was traveling on my motorcycle to a campground that was located right off Jenny lake near the Grand Teton mountains when these clouds started appearing. I didn’t want to stop since I was so close to the campground and I knew that I needed to set up my tent once I got there. But I just couldn’t pass up this shot though, so I ended up pulling off to the side of the road to snap this one off. This route through Wyoming is hands down, one of the most beautiful drives that I have done. I went through the middle of Yellowstone to get here and this was my next stop. These mountains are one of those places is hard to believe how amazing it is until you actually see it. The clouds just added to the drama of the scene. I took this with my Nikon D810 mounted on a tripod. There are 5 bracketed photos for this shot and used luminosity masks in Photoshop CS6 in order to get the lighting I was looking...

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...

Horseshoe Bend

While visiting Page, Arizona to check out Antelope Canyon, I also ended up stopping at Horseshoe Bend. This was right off one of the main roads going into Page and it was a really short hike, probably about a mile and a half or so. This is an pretty iconic spot for photographers because of the way the Colorado River loops around the canyon. I lucked out on the day I went because it had been cloudy every other day that week and I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to catch a glimpse of the sunset, but fortunately the clouds broke at the right time. It was fairly packed for a weekday night and there were photographers lined up throughout this spot. I was able to squeeze between a couple that were right where I wanted to be without obstructing there view. I took about 7 different exposures for this shot because of the difference in lighting between the sky and the ground. I wanted to get as much detail as possible in this case. You can actually see a group of rafters at the bottom of the canyon if you look closely. I edited this photo in CS6 and used Nik Color Efex Pro which is now free since Google bought them out. Hope you like the...

Catalina Island

I recently took a short vacation that I had been long awaiting ever since I came to California, to Catalina Island. I never was able to get too much time off or would always forget about it when I did but fortunately I finally had the chance. Just a few weeks before I leave on my cross country trip too. This is Avalon, the port that we went to and I’m sure most people visit when they go here. This beach is called Crescent Beach for a reason and it is hard to do this place justice in just a single photography. But it was like a little vacation paradise. All the shops were owned by locals and it literally takes about an hour to drive around the whole island on a golf cart. So needless to say it is very small. Two days here was plenty of time to see everything though and I was fortunate enough to be able to snag this shot before it was too late. That little coliseum looking structure is called the casino although it isn’t actually a casino. It has a movie theater, a ballroom, and a island art and history museum. The reason why it is called the casino is because in Italian, casino means a gathering place. I took this shot on the side of a road that skirted the island. This is made up of 5 exposure and I used Luminosity masks for blending. Hope you like the...

Leading Lines

It’s been a while since I have been out taking pictures and it has been even longer since I have posted any. Since I have gotten out of the Marine Corps and became a civilian I have been keeping pretty busy. Holding two jobs, a relationship, and keeping in touch with friends takes a lot of time but fortunately I was able to venture off the other day for a few hours to get some shots at this beach. This was shot at Corona Del Mar, my usual favorite spot to go to when I am short on time and I can’t travel too far. Every time I have visited this beach I have always gone to the area that is a little South of the beach that is next to the canal. This time I decided to try somewhere new and go a little further South past the second beach down that way. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. There were a whole bunch of different spots like the one shown in this picture where the rocks were leading into the water and it was amazing. The only down side was it was a little more crowded than my usual spot and I found myself fighting for a spot to take pictures with other photographers. Usually when I take photos at the beach I face towards the sunset, but this time I tried something different. There was a nice rock formation that was a little further out in the water that I really like and I wanted to include that in my picture, so instead of facing the sunset I actually faced away from it and I found that the colors were just as gorgeous and unique. This is a standard 5...

Heisler Park

It has been a little while since I have gone out to take any pictures recently because I have had a little change in my life situation. Basically, I just entered the real world. I completed my active duty contract with the Marine Corps and started working a full time job along with a part time job so I have been pretty busy. I love the work and keeping busy but photography will always be a passion of mine that I can’t live without. That’s why I was happy to get to visit Heisler Park, in Laguna. This is a rare occasion that I get to visit somewhere new after being here for a little over 5 years because I have already visited most of California. But surprisingly, some of the closest places to me are the ones that I seemed to have overlooked since they never caught my eye. I saw that the sky might prove to make for a nice sunset on this day and I didn’t have time to go far so I settled with a closer location I guess you could say. Turns out, it wasn’t much of settling after all since I am extremely happy with how this photo came out and was fortunate to get such a great opportunity. I shot this just off the path in the park with my Nikon D810. I wanted to take a sunset shot but when I was snapping away at the sunset, it just wasn’t what I hoped. It wasn’t until I turned around that I saw these beautiful colors in the sky. I hadn’t had a sunset like this in some time and I was so happy to get it. I hope you like the...

Looking Back

Here is another photo from the set of pictures that we took on the little shoot that I had with Geena. This was towards the end of the shoot when the sun was getting really low and was right over the cliff at Pines Park, in Dana Point, California. I had her pose for this shot, facing the sun, and caught her looking back without telling her to try this pose. When I saw her do it, I ended up loving how it looked so I quickly snapped away a bunch of pictures to try and get some good ones. The sun was perfect because it was only harsh on the areas of her body that I didn’t mind. Her face came out exposed great and the sun even provided a nice glare in the background. I shot this with with my Nikon D810 and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4. As far as editing goes I did a little color correction, levels and curves, and used Nik Color Efex Pro in order to mess with some cross processing filters and what not. Hope you like the...

Golden Hour

If you have never shot during the golden hour then your are missing out. This is the first and last hour of sunlight during the day. It provides some awesome light that isn’t as harsh as the sun during the middle of the day and gives pictures a nice warm glow. If it was up to me this would literally be the only time I would choose to do shooting. Geena ended up really liking some of the pictures from the first shoot so she agreed to another fortunately. I wanted to do it outside this time and so did she but I didn’t know any good nearby locations that wasn’t a beach. She suggested Pines Park in Dana Point and I’m glad she did because it worked out great. The park overlooked the ocean and had enough trees and what not to take pictures around. This Nikon D810 is proving to be quite the workhorse. It takes amazing pictures and is so great when it comes to editing them afterwards because of the high megapixels that it produces. For this shot I used a 50mm f/1.4 which has been my lens of choice lately for people. It’s just so versatile that I don’t have to constantly change to different lenses, which can be a pain when photographing people. I did some editing in Lightroom and Photoshop for this picture but it was all very minimal. I like using Nik Color Efex Pro when it comes to portraits because it creates a great natural enhanced look. If you got any questions, feel free to ask!...

Redwood Forest

The thing I love most about photography is being able to capture an image just as you saw it at that point in time. Often times we take photos and look at them afterward with disappointment over the fact that they look nothing like how we remember the beauty of the places we visited. I always had this problem when I started off. Eventually I ended up picking up different techniques for shooting and for editing that have really helped me along. It’s been several years now that I have been doing this and I feel that all the hard work is paying off and the effort I put into it can really be seen in my photos. I posted one of the original images that was used in making this final image seen below because I wanted everyone to see how big of a change I was able to make after editing. The initial picture is that problem I discussed earlier with the photo not looking like how I saw it while I was there. A camera can only do so much after all. This is where the artistic side of photography comes into play. You can see from the transformation that I was able to put more depth into the photo and really make it come alive. That is what I strive for with photography. I took this shot at the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz, CA. I shot it with my Nikon D7000 and shot 5 bracketed photos that I later masked in order to get one...