Tag Archives: eastern sierras

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Fall-The Gathering**OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH**

With my last new image for the month, I am hoping to make more people aware of the importance of regular mammograms. If discovered early enough, a woman can beat cancer. I did not know this, until witnessing it firsthand. It made me realize how important it is to share this message.

The gathering at North Lake takes place at sunrise, during fall in the Eastern Sierras. I arrived here while it was still dark, and was greeted by an early season snow storm. Using my headlamp to navigate the area, I quickly found a spot to set up, just before the place became overrun with photographers. The storm broke for a short time during sunrise, allowing for a small window of opportunity to capture some High Sierra Mountain light.

Keep Tahoe Beautiful

A summer sunrise sheds light to awaken a beautiful lupine field at Lake Tahoe

The day’s first sun rays awaken a beautiful lupine field, during a summer sunrise at Lake Tahoe.

Recently I experienced one of the most beautiful scenes I have witnessed, while photographing wildflowers at Lake Tahoe. However, even with the excitement of capturing new images, I could not ignore the sadness I felt during my visit here.

Not that long ago, this particular view could not be experienced. The recent record-low snow pack has resulted in a dramatic drop in Lake Tahoe’s water level. Due to this fact, both locals and visitors could now experience the immense beauty of an area once completely under water.

Standing in the middle of all this, taking in the breathtaking show, my goal was to photograph the beauty. However, my biggest hope is that the coming winter produces a large enough snow pack to return Lake Tahoe to a healthier level.

Landscape Photography During a Storm

Storm Light at Lake Tahoe

Two sayings speak to this shot. First, the one about a picture can’t do a scene justice. Standing there in the driving hail, witnessing multiple lightning bolts was quite the experience, but as hard as I tried I could not capture one bolt. The main part of the storm cleared right at sunset, so I was disappointed by the lack of color in the sky; however I was happy to come away with one shot from this quick but memorable trip.

My decision to shoot at Lake Tahoe was based purely on the storm in the forecast, and the chance of it clearing at sunset. This brings me to the second saying that came to mind. Be careful what you wish for…Yea, right!

Essential Gear

  • Rain jacket with head cover
  • Water proof footwear
  • Water proof cover for photo equipment
  • Keep a set of dry cloths in your car so you can change after the shoot

Landscape Photography Twilight LE Technique

One great benefit of having some interest in the sky during sunrise or sunset is the opportunity to photograph a scene at different times, and be able to come away with more than one acceptable image.

On this particular morning, there was very nice cloud cover above Lake Tahoe. Hoping to make the best of the situation, I set up to photograph not only at sunrise, but also just before and after sunrise. I also used different filter techniques to photograph each moment, so I could capture multiple effects. For this image I used a 10-stop ND filter, to show the effect of streaking pre-sunrise clouds above Emerald Bay. When shooting in the direction of the sun, I like to use a long exposure to obtain this streaking cloud effect just before sunrise and also after sunset, through twilight.

Carefully check the first couple of exposures in the camera’s viewfinder. If you notice blown-out highlights in the sky you will have to adjust the in-camera exposure. Another option is to attach a neutral density grad filter to your Big Stopper filter. This will eliminate blown-out highlights,

Mono Lake Symphony

Image

“Being a Landscape Photographer is not just about standing around for hours taking pictures. It’s about standing around for hours waiting for a moment.”

Moments

Two hours earlier: There I was again, wondering if all my planning and scene envisioning was going to come to nothing. On this occasion, I was standing in the pouring rain at Mono Lake, looking up to the sky trying to decide whether to laugh or cry. I just stood there for probably 30 minutes, when all of a sudden my attention was drawn to the western skies. For it was there that I could see that the storm was coming from, and it was from the West that I could now see some patches of blue beginning to form.

As sunset drew closer, I determined which area of the sky would provide the best chance for drama and color, and then set up my tripod and camera so I could capture the unfolding moments.

Even though there were other potentially good views worth shooting, I decided to concentrate on this one scene. I shot different exposures, to capture the scene in various ways while the changing light painted it’s colorful brush strokes. I used a 240 second exposure for this particular image, to extract as much color and drama as possible from the scene.

During this time of inspiration, I thought about all the hours and moments spent while pursuing my passion for being an ambassador of nature. My thoughts led me to the quote I have written directly below this image. As for the long hours spent waiting, I concluded that moments like this make it all worth it.

How I Was Able to Sell Prints Internationally

“A New Day” Sunrise illuminates Laurel Mountain reflected in the still waters of Convict Lake.

I was honestly a little surprised to be selling my work so soon after launching my new website. Then, after a couple of weeks, I received my first international print order. Wow, I thought; this is amazing! Little did I know of the horror that was to follow.

A few days after the order was placed, I picked up the finished print from my local photo lab. As usual, the lab did a great job and I was so excited to ship the print to my new customer. I arrived at the UPS Store, and proudly requested that they package and ship the print to my new customer in Sydney, Australia. “No problem” the clerk replied, “that will be $143.00.” Well, I was shocked, and at this point realized I was also just a little naive to think that the cost to ship a print this way would have been any less expensive.

Firstly; I did get to sell that particular print, even if it was at a slightly discounted cost. Secondly; I now needed to come up with a solution to complete this sale, and any future print sales that would need to be delivered to potential overseas customers.

After some thought, the solution was quite easy, and maybe obvious to many other photographers. I simply spent adequate time surfing the internet, until I was satisfied that I had found a quality and reliable photo lab as close as possible to the location where the print order was placed. The photo lab also had to agree that they would have the print packaged and picked up for delivery by a major shipping carrier of their choice. I would also request an email containing shipping information, including the package tracking number. This extra service did come at a cost; however I thought it was very reasonable and well worth it to resolve what I first believed to be something I was not even going to achieve.

In the case of the Australia sale, I did not even have to pick up the telephone. Everything was processed using email, including confirmation of a satisfied new customer. Since that first sale, I have successfully processed and shipped prints to Switzerland, Finland and the UK. The first print sold was the image pictured above; “A New Day.”

My Recommendations:

1. When deciding which photo lab to use, first read all their print service information to ensure that they can thoroughly complete the print request. Search for any reviews online about each photo lab you are considering working with. How other photographers rate each labs work, will go a long way in determining which international photo lab you ultimately decide to work with.

2. Make sure their print prices and any extra services needed, such as packaging and shipping are in-line with your sale costs and required profit.

3. Make contact, whether by email or phone if necessary, with an employee at the lab.

4. Communicate your shipping method with the customer.

5. Let the photo lab know that you need to be copied on all shipping information.

6. Follow up with the customer to make sure that they have received the print by the time stated on the tracking information, and that they are totally satisfied with the print quality. I do this with ALL customers, regardless of location.

7. Most importantly; don’t take your print to a shipping store with the attitude that you have done everything perfectly, only to do a complete U-turn, walking out the store almost in tears…Guess who?

Alternative:

Even though I have not tried them, I believe that there are website building programs which offer packaging and shipping, as an option available in their list of services. I decided not to use one of those services, so I can maximize my websites profit potential.

I do however, believe it is very wise to look at as many options as possible before investing in a new business. This has now become more than just a hobby to you, so thoroughly research each possibility, and you will be much more comfortable with the services you choose.

Suggestion:

Try weighing up the pros and cons of both the two website building options listed below. I personally use Photodeck, and have been very satisfied with the results so far. There are also many other website companies and options to choose from.

http://www.photodeck.com/  

http://www.smugmug.com/