Rainbow over Klamath Lake

Rainbow over boaters on Upper Klamath Lake, southern Oregon.

Here's one from my summer vacation in Oregon. 

Got lucky, sort of. Showers passed through the area in the early evening, so we thought it might be a good time to take some photos at the Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. Five minutes after stepping out on the boat dock at Rocky Point -- ta-da! -- a rainbow appeared. 

The ducks shown below went by the rainbow first. After they cleared out, the boat went by. 

I like the top photo better as you get a better idea of the surrounding landscape and I like the way the sun is hitting the hills at left. Both photos were taken with a cheap 55-200 telephoto lens on my Nikon D5100. 

Feel free to check out my portfolio on my SmugMug site and follow me on Twitter

--S.H.

Geese and an early evening rainbow after rain showers on Upper Klamath Lake in southern Oregon.

Dripping Cave

Dripping Cave in Orange County.

Wood Canyon in Orange County earlier this month. Used my new Singh graduated neutral density filter to darken the right side of the frame.

 

--S.H.

 

 

Photographing the Boss

If you're a Bruce Springsteen fan -- and I am -- there's a great post on Backstreets.com about photographer Eric Meola's road trip across the Great Basin in 1977 to photograph Springsteen for the "Darkness on the Edge of Town" album.

Many of those photos have never been seen. The awesome one at right wasn't used until 2010 when Springsteen released "The Promise," the great double album of songs that didn't make the cut for "Darkness."

The storm in the photograph inspired a key verse in "The Promised Land" but is an achievement of its own -- the road vanishing in the distance, the boiling clouds, the sun on the hills in the distance and Springsteen leaning against one of the kind of cars he so often put his characters in.

Eric Meola: I bow before you, sir! The composition of the photo is pretty much perfect. Meola's new book "Streets of Fire" can be purchased online. Speaking of "The Promised Land," below is a sweet version from 1978 when the song was brand spanking new.

And here is an iPhone pic I took at Bruce's show at the Sports Arena in April during the Apollo Medley.

Bruce Springsteen sings the Apollo Medley at the L.A. Sports Arena on April 27, 2012. I took this with my iPhone 3GS -- quality so-so but looks better after being processed in Snapseed.

 

 

--S.H.

Top photo by Eric Meola



 

Teeny tiny Los Angeles skyline

I was hiking in the Angeles National Forest yesterday and when returning home stopped at the pullouts on Angeles Crest Highway just below Red Box for one of my favorite scenes -- the distant view of the L.A. metro area at sunset. I shot this one with my relatively new 10-24 wide angle lens out of curiousity. I just wanted to see how it would do at such a distance and, besides, I like putting man-made things into some kind of context with the surrounding landscape. 

Here's a photo I took from almost the same exact location last Christmas Day, using my telephoto lens. Better sunset that day for sure. But I like them both. The wide angle lens is ridiculously sharp, the telephoto lens gives the primary subject, downtown L.A., more attention. 

Find these photos kind of interesting? Visit my SmugMug page for more and follow me on Twitter.


--S.H.

Space Shuttle over L.A., part 2

Another photo from yesterday's Space Shuttle Endeavour flyover of Los Angeles. Although there were blue skies directly overhead, the haze in the distance sucked the big one and drained much of the color from the above scene. 

So...I went ahead and stripped out the rest of the color and converted the photo to a black and white shot in Lightroom and then gave it a crop. Nothing great, but mildly interesting with the old time newspaper feel. 

And, yes, that's the mighty downtown L.A. skyline as seen from the hills above JPL on the Pasadena/La Canada-Flintridge border. That's the Santa Monica Mountains in the foreground (aka Hollywood Hills) and that big bald patch is the old Toyon Landfill. The tallest building is the U.S. Bank Tower, which cinematic-minded readers will recall got a giant laser beam up the kazoo by the big bad UFO in "Independence Day." 

--S.H.

Space Shuttle Endeavour over Los Angeles

The space shuttle Endeavour flying over the Los Angeles area on Sept. 21, 2012. The photo was taken from Chaney Trail in the Angeles National Forest looking toward NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
Although I work in a downtown L.A. high-rise, I rolled the dice and decided to watch the Endeavour's flyover from the San Gabriel Mountain foothills above NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

I thought I might be able to get a little closer and I was hoping to get a photo of the shuttle with downtown L.A. and the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance. Unfortunately, there was mostly smog in the distance. 

But the shuttle had a nice flyover and I grabbed a few shots with my crap-o 70 to 200 mm Nikon lens, which somehow manages to kind of work despite being dropped in the ocean and caught in a Mojave Desert sandstorm. 

The light kind of sucked, so I ran the above photo (which was heavily cropped) through the Snapseed app on my iPad and gave it a vintage feel. Suddenly not so bad. The effects help make up for lack of perspective -- let's face it, this photo could have been taken anywhere along the shuttle's voyage from Florida to L.A. 

Here's my portfolio. Follow me on Twitter

--S.H.

Endeavour flies west

The Endeavour is enroute from Florida to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Tomorrow is a big day for shutterbugs in L.A. -- a chance to get a great photo of the shuttle over the area. The flyover is scheduled to begin about 11:30 a.m., with the shuttle carrier touching down at LAX about 12:45 p.m.

There's a great Flickr group with photos of the shuttle being carried west. 


Check out this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kakridas/8008194119/in/pool-spaceshuttleendeavour

And this one, taken from an office building in Houston: http://www.flickr.com/photos/larrysieraski/8008130712/in/pool-spaceshuttleendeavour/

And the one below, taken by Lars Plougmann of the shuttle over Austin, Texas (to see the photo on Lars' Flickr page, click here):


I hope I have something decent to add to the group come tomorrow! 

--S.H.

Band in an alley


Went to snarf out at some food trucks that park on El Molino and caught this iPhone pic of an an alley next to Zona Rosa. Low light = crappy iPhone pics (I still have the 3gs) but the Camera Awesome app has many filters that make photos look more art-like and cancel out the digital noise. It might even work as a small print.

Please spend hours gazing at my portfolio and purchasing prints you may not even want. And follow me on Twitter

--S.H.

Buses on a bridge

Shutter 1/80th second, ISO 3200, f/3.5, 10 mm on Nikon 10-24 lens. Camera: Nikon D5100 on tripod with remote release. Shot in RAW, processed in Lightroom. 

I went out last night to practice some night photography and went to the Colorado Avenue Bridge over the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena - aka the Suicide Bridge. There was a sliver of moon setting in the West and I was hoping to get a photo or two of buses (I work for a transit agency) with the moon in the background. 

That didn't really work out -- the moon set before I could get properly set up and my wide-angle lens made the moon too small. But I got these shots, which I kind of like. 

I converted the top one to black and white because I liked the mood and I purposefully kept it dark and didn't crop; sometimes having empty spaces in a frame is interesting and I was trying to convey the lonesomeness that goes with riding a bus at night. 

The bottom photo isn't quite as interesting -- I was just trying to capture the motion without blowing out the light coming from the old-timey streetlamps. I kind of like the colors. 


Shutter: 1/6 second, ISO 400, f/5.6, 24 mm on 10-24 Nikon lens. Camera: Nikon D5100 on tripod with remote release. Shot in RAW, processed in Lightroom. 
 

Please visit my portfolio on SmugMug and follow me on Twitter

--S.H.

Kearsarge Pass photos

The view from Kearsarge Pass, elevation 11,760 feet. The Kearsarge Lakes are on the left in front of the Kearsage Pinnacles. Bullfrog Lake is just right of center.

My big photographic purchase of the year was a Nikon 10-24mm wide-angle lens. I shoot mostly landscapes and there's been a few times in recent years when I wanted a lens that could go wider than the 18-55 lens that came with my Nikon D5000 (since replaced with a D5100 after a little kayaking accident). 

Shortly after the lens showed up, I drove up to the Eastern Sierra for a couple days day hiking -- including a hike long on my to-do list, the five-mile stomp uphill from Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass on the border between the John Muir Wilderness in the Inyo National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park. 

It was a great day. The above photo was taken from the pass shortly after noon -- pretty good light for mid-day thanks to the clouds. Those are the Kearsarge Lakes with the Kearsarge Pinnacles behind them. At right is Bullfrog Lake -- the trail down the west side of the pass leads to Charlotte Lake and a junction with the John Muir Trail/Pacific Crest Trail. 

The bottom photo was taken looking east toward Onion Valley and the Owens Valley. 

NEW IMAGE: Backpackers approaching Kearsarge Pass, the boundary between the John Muir Wilderness and Kings Canyon National Park.

In the spirit of photographic improvement, let's self-critique! In the top photo, I should have taken an extra second to look through the viewfinder as I captured a sliver of the trail in the bottom right of the frame. No huge deal, but somewhat distracting to my eye. 

In the photo right above, I should have anticipated this shot and found a vantage point that allowed me to get all of the lake in the frame. I really like this photo but I am curious what it would look like with the entire lake and with some sun on the lake to bring out the color. 

Here's one more--I saw these folks up at the pass while descending the switchbacks and was able to whip out the telephoto lens in enough time to get a shot. I kind of dig it -- the Sierra up this high is really just a big pile of rock with an occasional sprout of vegetation. 

Backpackers take photos atop Kearsarge Pass, as seen from the trail below.
Check out the rest of my Kearsage Pass gallery on my SmugMug site. Feel free to purchase countless copies to cover your entire wall and ceiling, thereby enriching me in the process!

--S.H.

4th of July pet parade

Daisy the flying chihuahua, an annual participant in Bend's 4th of July pet parade.
Daisy the flying dog at the Bend, Oregon, 4th of July pet parade. This is apparently an annual thing for the chihuahua, whose owner swears she digs it. Her nerves seemed fine to me -- I couldn't stop taking pics of the damn dog. (Photo on SmugMug site here)

I shot this with my Nikon D5100 and processed it with the Snapseed app on my iPad, using the vintage filter. Snapseed is the best app I've found so far for the iPad and iPhone -- it's not as powerful as Photoshop, but allows for some nice adjustments to bring most photos up to snuff, along with the filter options.

One of my faves this year -- there are only so many chances in life to photograph dogs wearing goggles suspended under red, white and blue helium balloons. 

Please check out my portolio and follow me on Twitter.

--S.H.

Beach day


It was a brainmelter type of day on Saturday, so I made the San Gabe Valley-to-beach migration with my bike, pedaling from the Republic of Santa Monica down to Manhattan Beach. The above photos were taken with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone 3gs.
Top: plane taking off from LAX from Dockweiler beach.

Middle: the scene in Manhattan beach.

Bottom: The Marvin Braude bike path between the boat channel to Marina del Rey and Ballona Creek.

Nothing great photo-wise -- composition is okay -- but always fun to play around. It would have helped to follow the old photo saying and get closer (a lot closer!) to the subjects all three of these pics.

As for Hipstamatic, I'm not sure why I like it. For one, Hipstamatic is kind of cutesy, with the app designed to look like a camera. For two, I can't fucking stand the hipster crowd. For three, the user processes the photo ahead of time by selecting the type of film and lens -- meaning the user ends up trying a lot of combos (and perhaps spending some dough) to find combos that are palatable.

That said, I've gotten some results I like. The snapshots the app creates have a nice aesthetic and mood (again, especially if you get close to your subject).

Please check out my portfolio at stevehymon.smugmug.com. If you dig Hipstamatic here's a gallery with some of my other pics using the app.

--S.H.



Grand Park


If you're looking for a good place to try some night photography in downtown Los Angeles, it might be worth wandering over to the new Grand Park and taking some shots of the fountain. I took this tonight with my iPhone -- with the Camera Awesome app and some processing in Snapseed. I'd like to try again with the real camera to bring out the detail in the DWP Building in the background and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at left. 

Please check out my portfolio at stevehymon.smugmug.com.

--S.H.

The Mayor


I took this photo of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa using the Camera Awesome app on my iPhone 3GS. He's aboard a Metrolink commuter train, taking questions from the media about new anti-collision technology (I was covering the event for my work with a government agency). 

It's hardly a great photo, but it's kind of interesting. The Mayor is engaged with his interviewer, there's another train out the window and the guy in the background is at a pleasing angle. And the black-and-white gives it a newspapery feel. The obvious knock on the photo is the dead space at the top left and that the guy at bottom left was darkened too much. 

Camera Awesome is, in fact, a pretty great photo app -- it was developed by SmugMug, the photo sharing website (which I use). There are many dozens of effects and filters available and I think the app lends a nice texture to photos.

One major complaint: while the app saves some basic info about each photo, it doesn't save the info about which filter was used. Fix it, folks! 

To see my portfolio and perhaps spend gobs of money on prints, licensing and other stuff, please visit my SmugMug page.

--S.H.

Mr. Big Head

Sammy at Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara, California.
We all know the world needs -- no, make that demands -- more photographs of my dogs.

The one featured above is Sammy, a yellow lab we rescued when he was eight or nine.


The photo was taken at Arroyo Burro beach in Santa Barbara, which is blissfully dog-friendly -- unlike most beaches in Southern California. I shot the photo with my Nikon 5100 and my 10-24 lens and then added some fish-eye effect with Photoshop Elements. 


Bored at work? Check out more of
my pooch photography! And don't be shy about draining your kids' college accounts to buy dozens of copies of my photos and related gifts from my SmugMug site-- I need more expensive camera junk! 

--S.H.

Two views of a spectacular sunset over the Big Pine Lakes

NEW IMAGE: A massive thunderhead produces a lovely sunset over Fourth Lake in the Big Pine Lakes Basin of the John Muir Wilderness. Please see the Big Pine Lakes gallery. The sun sets over Fourth Lake in the Big Pine Lakes basin of the John Muir Wilderness.

My partner and I backpacked into the Big Pine Lakes earlier this summer. It was the first time I brought my DSLR and there was a good reason: I had just shelled out some serious clams for a Nikon 10-24 wide-angle lens.

On our first night, we decided to camp at a very not-so-great site next to Fourth Lake, figuring we would upgrade the next day. A thunderhead had been building over the Owens Valley all day but it seemed distant.

And then it wasn't. Suddenly the clouds moved up the valley and pushed out over Fourth Lake. We both grabbed our cameras and began shooting away -- the great colors lasted only a few minutes.

Above are my two favorite shots, both taken from the small isthmus on the lake's western shore. On the one hand, I like the big rock in the bottom photo; wide-angle lenses really want you close to something. I gave the photo a somewhat healthy crop to make the rock even more prominent. The crop left a small patch of blue sky in the top right of the photo. Not sure how much I like that -- it seems out of place in the overall composition, although it also shows what the rest of the sky looked like.

On other hand, I really like the shape of the trees in the top photo and I think this one looks a little more natural, although I didn't do much to either photo in Photoshop Elements -- the colors were really this vivid.

Here are some of my other favorite photos. And please feel free to peruse my SmugMug site and spend gobs of your hard-earned money on prints, photo-related gifts and digital licensing.

--S.H.