Sammy, master of the outdoors



See larger here. Or buy a print and license here

My dog Sammy at Wrights Lake. He's a total sell-out by the way if you're interested in putting his mug on the side of any pet-related product (in exchange for some serious clams, of course). 

Great light and clouds that day. I used my Nikon D5100 and Nikon DX 10-24 wide angle lens, shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom, using VSCO slide film presets (specifically, one of the Fuji Velvia presets followed by many small adjustments). 

Check out more of my work on my newly-redesigned SmugMug site. If you're interested in joining SmugMug, click here for a $5 discount on membership

Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook

--S.H.

This photo is ©Steve Hymon and may not be used elsewhere without my advanced written permission. All rights reserved.

Osprey at Wrights Lake




Osprey hanging out on a dead tree at Wrights Lake in the Sierra Nevada -- kinda near Lake Tahoe. I took the shot with a 70-300mm telephoto lens while sitting in a kayak. 

It was an overcast day, thus the bland backdrop. I have a few other shots with a bluer sky, but this is the best overall image because the bird is actually doing something -- calling out. 

Camera & Settings: Nikon D5100, Nikon 70-300mm lens at 300mm, ISO 100, 1/250th shutter speed, f/8. Shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom 4 using VSCO slide film presets

Buy a print of this photo. My prints are inexpensive, make for nice gifts and are good for sprucing up vacation homes. 

Check out more of my work on my newly-redesigned SmugMug site (I blame SmugMug for any bugs). Follow me on Twitter

A couple of interesting but lesser osprey photos after the jump...


Wrights Lake sunrise



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Not quite an epic-off-the-charts sunrise last week at Wrights Lake near Lake Tahoe -- but a pretty good one. With a few more clouds, the sunbeams would have been more pronounced but this was the best of the four sunrises during my stay at the lake.

I have a few other shots of the sun above the peak and reflecting in the water -- but those are tough to process because of lens flare and the brightness of the sun on the right side of the photo. The images come close to working -- but close isn't good enough. 

Camera & Settings: Nikon D5100, ISO 100, 1/15th shutter speed at f/22, camera on a tripod. Shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom with VSCO slide film presets. 

Buy a print of this photo here -- they're inexpensive and a print makes a nice gift for anyone else who loves this little corner of the Sierra Nevada.

Check out more of my work on my newly-redesigned SmugMug site (I blame SmugMug for any bugs). Follow me on Twitter

--S.H.

This photo is ©Steve Hymon and may not be used elsewhere without my advanced written permission. All rights reserved.

Windy Peak Fire



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Sunset plus smoke from the Windy Peak fire in the Kings Canyon National Park backcountry as seen from Highway 395 in the Owens Valley on Sunday night (Aug. 25). Hikers in the Onion Valley and Kearsarge Pass area must have gotten a real snootful of smoke last night and today. 

All the elements were there for a good image: a dramatic sunset, sprinklers on the field in the foreground, the telephone poles. I tried to get the most striking scene in my viewfinder, not worrying about whether the sunset was centered. 

Black and white version after the jump...


Gas station at night



Taken with iPhone5 native camera, processed in VSCOcam app. 

Guess where? Hint: it is west of the Mississippi. 

--S.H. 

Tioga Pass



Top: bears trapped in snowglobes at Whoa Nellie Deli adjacent to Tioga Pass Road. Taken with iPhone, processed with Snapseed app. 

Bottom: Tioga Lake outside Yosemite National Park. Taken with Hipstamatic app on iPhone5. 

I have a bunch of photos taken in Sierra with DSLR I'll be processing and posting this coming week. The iPhone pics are fun but they always look better small, eh?

--S.H.

Sorenson's beef stew


If you're ever on Highway 88 east of Carson Pass in California, don't miss the stew at Sorenson's Resort. Pair it with the potato salad and a nice sunny afternoon on their patio.

Photo taken with VSCOcam app for iPhone.

--S.H.

Rim Fire panorama


View of smoke from Rim Fire in Western Sierra taken from Eastern Sierra -- near junction of 395 and Sonora Pass Road. My partner Julie took the panorama on her iPhone.

--S.H.

Tomato truck


Golden State Freeway, San Joaquin Valley, photo taken with Instagram on iPhone5. Looks great on iPhone screen, not so great on computer screen -- needs some retouching for that. 

--S.H.

Tuolumne Meadows & Lembert Dome



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I was going through some older photos from 2010 and came across this one, which I had never paid much attention to in the past. I had a couple other real keepers from the same trip and this one never did much for me.
Until the other day when I gave it a look with fresh eyes. What caught my attention were the lines and shapes -- the granite dome Is about the same shape as the mountain behind it.
Tough light. Perhaps a little dark. Shot it as a jpeg on my Nikon D5000, which died in a drowning accident and has since been replaced by a D5100.

I might have had a little more flexibility in the processing if I had shot in RAW. I have another version from 2010 that I cropped tighter. I think this one might be a little better.

Comment please if you have an opinion!

Check out more of my work on my newly-redesigned SmugMug site (I blame SmugMug for any bugs). Follow me on Twitter.


--S.H.

This photo is ©Steve Hymon and may not be used elsewhere without my advanced written permission. All rights reserved.

Horse in Owens Valley

Before:




After (click on photo to see larger):



I've been going through my SmugMug site and organizing old photos, meaning I'm pretty much sitting here at the computer trying not to vomit.

Wow -- some photos I took a couple of years ago that I originally liked actually look like crap!

 Of course, these were taken back in the days of yore, by which I mean 2010 -- the first year I had a digital DSLR. I didn't know jack about processing. And it shows.

The evidence. The top photo was my first pass at processing it back in 2010 in Photoshop. "Processed" may actually be a generous word to describe the dust spots and general dullness that make the image a train wreck, albeit a train wreck with potential. Trust me, I'm not blaming Photoshop. I blame me. 

The bottom photo is the result of me taking an entire 10 minutes this evening to clean up the original jpeg from 2010 in Lightroom 4. I bumped up the exposure, added some clarity, eliminated some dust spots and flies on the horse and then used a couple of onOne presets to warm the image, among a few other adjustments. 

And now it's good enough to put on the wall at home. The composition isn't perfect -- it's probably a little too tight. But it manages to be interesting and it's always better to be interesting rather than boring. 

The lesson for you, dear reader of this blog: Go back and take a look at some of your older photos from time to time with a critical eye. If you're a beginner or intermediate photographer, chances are that you are a lot better at everything now than you were back then -- and you may have a few nice photos that can be substantially improved with a little wiser processing. 

Check out more of my work on my newly-redesigned SmugMug site (I blame SmugMug for any bugs). Follow me on Twitter


--S.H.

This photo is ©Steve Hymon and may not be used elsewhere without my advanced written permission. All rights reserved. 



Devil squirrel



The bad news: the flash on my beloved Nikon D5100 won't turn off -- even in manual mode. 

The good news: while dicking around with it at the park I captured an image that confirms the existence of Devil Squirrels. 

If anyone knows for sure how to turn off the flash for good on the D5100, please comment or email me

--S.H.

Rock climber at Smith Rock



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Here's another photo from my big Oregon trip. This is a climber in Smith Rock State Park. 


It's not a masterpiece, that's for sure. The main subject is in the shade -- which is unfortunate. But I like how the outlines of the rock and the patch of shade break the frame into thirds, which pleasures my eyeballs. Not sure about the patch of sun on the rocks at the top left corner. It's a bit of an eyecatch. On the other hand, I don't like this image if it's cropped too close. 


Damned if you, damned if you don't. Blah blah blah boo hoo....that's photography! 


Check out more of my work on my newly-redesigned SmugMug site (I blame SmugMug for any bugs). Follow me on Twitter



--S.H.

This photo is ©Steve Hymon and may not be used elsewhere without my advanced written permission. All rights reserved. 


Golden Gate Bridge, black and white and color

Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field, July 14, 2013.

See larger here



See larger here 

Driving back from my Oregon vacation earlier this summer, we just happened to cross the Golden Gate Bridge in the last hour before sunset. So, we popped off the 101 and drove to Crissy Field, always a fun vantage point for bridge photos.

The light was great and the clouds were dramatic. I tossed my wide-angle Nikon 10-24mm lens on the camera and took the above photos (as well as a bunch more).


They were both tough images to process because the bridge is a small part of the overall view and the bridge didn't stand out as bold and dark in either of the originals. I suspect some may find that a fatal flaw in these photos. Others probably won't mind and like the overall scene. I like them both; I also suspect that under the right circumstances the light may break a little bit better.


But you have to take what you can get people.



Becoming L.A.





The model of downtown Los Angeles as it appeared in 1940 at the Museum of Natural History. Photo taken with VSCOcam app for iPhone.

--S.H.

This photo is ©Steve Hymon and may not be used elsewhere without my advanced written permission. All rights reserved. 

Pasadena sunset, August 2



Last night at CalTech. Taken with VSCOcam app on my iPhone5. 

iPhones have great cameras, but they don't perform particularly well in low light and this photo had tons of noise. It's not particularly noticeable on an iPhone screen but I almost crapped my pants when I saw the photo on a larger screen -- it was just noise, noise and more noise. 

So I dispatched the pic to my real computer and imported it into Lightroom 4, cranking the anti-noise setting with little abandon and then using the onOne present 'Graduated ND Large." It's not noise-free but I bet I could get a pretty good 8 x 12 print from this (and a good print should always be your goal). 

It was a really spectacular sunset, btw -- I bumped up saturation slightly in the VSCOcam app, but tried to be conservative about it. 

Interested in VSCOcam app? Here's a gallery of other photos I've taken with it. 

Check out more of my work on my newly-redesigned SmugMug site (I blame SmugMug for any bugs). Follow me on Twitter

--S.H.

This photo is ©Steve Hymon and may not be used elsewhere without my advanced written permission. All rights reserved. 

Heceta Head Lighthouse, another view



Click above to see larger please. Forgot I took this one on my previous Lighthouse post.

This is the Heceta Head Lighthouse. If you walk up there from the parking lot, look for the foot path that leads up to Highway 101 -- I took this photo from that trail.


It's a good vantage point and offers a different view. 


Prints and digital downloads of this image are available from my SmugMug site, which uses a very good print lab (Bay Photo) and my prices are very reasonable because I'm a hobbyist and not a full-time pro. An 8 x 12 print with a metallic finish (which I prefer) of the above photo is $10.95 plus shipping. People tend to buy my photos as gifts for others and to decorate second homes and condos; SmugMug also offers framing and ready-to-hang mounts. I appreciate your patronage and pump any money made back into my photography and maintaining my web presence. Thanks! 


Pick your poison and follow me on TwitterFacebook and/or Google+. Here is my SmugMug homepage


I appreciate your patronage and pump any money made back into my photography and maintaining my web presence. Thanks! 


--S.H.

This photo is ©Steve Hymon and may not be used elsewhere without my advanced written permission. All rights reserved. 

My bold new SmugMug homepage



Above is a screen grab of my new SmugMug home page. Not bad for a home page. Click here to visit the real thing. 

But geesh gosh willies, did SmugMug screw up the launch of their new website and its flashy design tools. The new customization tool is about as unintuitive as unintuitive gets and my site took me many more hours to figure out than it should have -- especially considering that I pay SmugMug, not the other way around. 


My site has a lot of work still to do and I'm not quite loving it yet. But at least the home page is bold. Too bad it looks weird on mobile sites, including the iPad -- something SmugMug might want to fix. 


If you're also a SmugMug customer, this video has some helpful tips.


UPDATE, Friday Aug. 2: The site is slowly coming together. This thread on the Dgrin forums had some tips that helped me get past some trouble spots. 


The photo, btw, was taken looking east from Kearsarge Pass on the border of Kings Canyon National Park and the John Muir Wilderness in California's Eastern Sierra. Buy a lovely print of it here if this is your kind of thing -- a 12 x 18 print with metallic finish is $21, a good deal! There are also a variety of mounts if you want to pony up the clams. Thanks for looking! 


--S.H.