Rural decay in southern Oregon





I never paid much attention to this photo, which I shot in July 2012 in southern Oregon. Maybe I should. I found it last night while sorting through older stuff and now I'm completely liking it.


My review: VSCO presets to help make your digital photos look like film


“I’d rather see a movie shot on film. I don’t think they look the same. I think you can duplicate things with digital technology, but what you end up doing is trying to recapture elements of photochemical technology that aren’t there, and they always look a little screwy.”

--Joel Coen, filmmaker in recent New York Times interview.

Well put. And it neatly captures how I feel about digital photography: I like the convenience and immediacy of it, but sometimes my photos -- including some of my favorite images -- look a little too digital, a little too 1s and 0s. 

Or, to put it another way, I’m 47. I don’t expect photographs to look like real life. I want them, even expect them, to look like film. That’s what photography looked like for the first three-plus decades of my life. 

Enter Visual Supply Company presets, which are easy ways to make some of your digital photos look more film-like while working in Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw or Photoshop. I’ve purchased two sets -- 01 (which emulates modern films) and 04 (which emulates slide films), which include some popular and famous films such as Fuji Velvia. 

I’m very happy with my purchase, despite the hefty $150 combined price for both (I purchased both on sale). That’s the same price I paid for Lightroom 4, which I use to process and post digital files from my Nikon D5100. The investment was worth it for me: some of my favorite photos look better. 

Here are a few samples: 



The Owens Valley and Eastern Sierra
 

Ducks at Wrights Lake in the northern Sierra
 

Sunset at Wrights Lake...more pics after the jump! 



Bee on Mt. Wilson



Part of my ongoing efforts to capture a good bee photo. 


Mt. Wilson's transmission towers




Two attempts -- with slightly different processing (using VSCO presets) -- to capture the many transmission towers atop Mt. Wilson above Pasadena. I didn't see the Transformer movies, but I assume one of them included a scene of the towers morphing into something that stomps on things and fires lasers. 

Mergansers at Wrights Lake



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And while on the subject of birds at Wrights Lake, here's a fun shot of merganser ducks -- these are common mergansers and all females. 


Photographing the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley

Dune Walker Original

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I shot this in early 2011 in the Mesquite Sand Dunes at Death Valley National Park. I was never able to process it to my satisfaction so put it aside in favor of a similar photo taken at a different angle and with a narrower view.


A kayaker on Tenaya Lake, Yosemite



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Doodling around with some older photos, I found this one from last year that I like. 



Fritillary butterfly



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I spent more time than I care to admit chasing this smallish butterfly around our campsite at Wrights Lake. But it was morning, the light was nice and it got my ass out of my profoundly comfortable camping chair. 

I'm normally careful about not over-saturating photos -- nothing looks more amateurish, in my opinion. But on this photo I gave the colors a nudge upward because color is the whole point of the shot. The orange set against the green and purple in good light. 

The flower in the lower right corner of the screen is a bit of an eye catch. But it's also in a position that prohibits it from being cropped. So it stays. 

Camera & Settings & Processing: Nikon D5100, Nikon 70-300mm telephoto lens at 300mm, ISO 400, f/14, shutter 1/400th. Shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom 4 using VSCO slide film presets.

If you love it, buy a print here!  SmugMug does a nice job through Bay Photo and prints are very modestly priced. I pump any money I make back into my photography (read: the Nikon D7100 I think I want to buy). 

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

--S.H.


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

Canada geese at Wrights Lake



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While I'm on my black and white kick, here's Canada geese at Wrights Lake in the northern Sierra. The photo was taken from a kayak.

The focus is a soft on the goose in front. But the composition is strong and helps overcome the shallow depth of field. 

It's hard in a boat -- especially on a cloudy afternoon -- to shoot fast enough to freeze the action and at a small enough aperture to get a depth of field. The telephoto lens makes the geese look closer than they actually were. 

Camera & Lens: Nikon D5100, Nikon 70-300mm telephoto lens at 300mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/320th. Shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom.

Buy a print here! SmugMug does a nice job through Bay Printers and prints are very modestly priced. I pump any money I make back into my photography (read: the Nikon D7100 I think I want to buy). 

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

--S.H.

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


Skelton Lake (black and white)




And now I'm starting to wonder if this photo -- which I'm currently liking (stress on 'currently') -- works better in black and white. I posted the color version the other day. 

(UPDATE: No one agrees with me that black and white version is better!)


It wasn't an easy conversion to B&W. I wanted to maintain as much contrast as possible while also lightening up the trees to make them distinguishable from the mountain. More dramatic clouds would also help the black and white version. 

My own three cents is that both versions work for different purposes. The color image shows off the beautiful light and contrasting colors of the Sierra -- the red of the mountain, the blue of the sky, the green of the trees. The black and white, on the other hand, tends to emphasize the composition and may remind the viewer of the rich history of photographing the Sierra in black and white. 

Your thoughts?

Love the above photo? Buy a print! My prints are through SmugMug (very good quality) and are priced very modestly.

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.

Sunset along the Duck Pass Trail



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Another photo I shot last fall in Mammoth Lakes -- on the Duck Pass Trail -- that I forgot to process until now. As sunset shots go, I'm really pleased with this one. I shot it with my Nikon D5100 and Nikon DX 10-24 wide angle lens. 

The silhouetted trees just feel like they're in the right place, giving the image some balance. Maybe I shouldn't have lopped the top of the tree off at left -- I could have shot wider. Normally that could be a fatal blow to a photo such as this. But I think this one works anyway. 

Camera, Settings & Processing: Nikon D5100, Nikon DX 10-24 wide angle lens at 24mm, ISO 400, 1/80th shutter, f/4.5. Shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom 4, using some of the tools that are part of the VSCO slide film preset pack

Love the above photo? Buy a print! My prints are through SmugMug (very good quality) and are priced very modestly. Digital licenses are also available. Questions? Email me.

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.

Skelton Lake

Skelton Lake on the Duck Pass Trail in the John Muir Wilderness near Mammoth Lakes.

Click above to see larger! 

While purging some older photos, I came across a bunch of images I never got around to processing from a trip last October to Mammoth Lakes. Including the above of Skelton Lake, easily reachable on the Duck Pass Trail from the parking lot at the top of the Coldwater Campground. 

The colors are certainly nice -- Bloody Mountain always looks great late in the day. But the reason this photo works isn't because of the colors or entirely the scenery. It's because of the shapes and composition. The way the frame is divided between sky, mountain and lake is pleasing to the eye. 


Camera, Settings & Processing: Nikon D5100, Nikon DX 10-24 wide angle lens at 24mm, ISO 400, 1/100th shutter, f/5. Shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom 4, using some of the tools that are part of the VSCO slide film preset pack

Love the above photo? Buy a print! My prints are through SmugMug (very good quality) and are priced very modestly. Hey, a print may make a nice gift for the Eastern Sierra lover in your life (or lover who likes the Eastern Sierra; you get the idea). Digital licenses are also available. Questions? Email me.

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.

Tioga Lake


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These are the peaks just beyond Tioga Lake. I was at the far end of the lake shooting toward the lakes -- and the more I shot, the more I narrowed my frame so that finally just the two peaks (the one on the right is, I think, Mammoth Peak) were in the image. 

And then I turned the whole colorful scene -- it was a very sunny day -- into black and white. I just think it's a little more interesting this way. Disagree? Well, check out the color, wider version after the jump! 



Sunset at Wrights Lake


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I'm still wading through my photos from camping at Wrights Lake. I posted a sunrise image last week so it's only fair that I show the sunset some respect.


I'm still debating placement of the stump -- it might have worked better a little to the right. Or maybe the duck needed to move a little to the left. 


Well...too late now! 


Camera, Settings & Processing: Nikon D5100, Nikon DX 10-24mm wide angle lens at 17mm, ISO 100, 1/30th shutter speed and f/8. Shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom 4 using the VSCO slide film preset for Fuji Velvia 50.


Love the above photo? Buy a print! They're priced very modestly and may make a nice gift for the kayaker in your life. Digital licenses are also available. 

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 or reproduced without my advanced written permission. All rights reserved. 

Smoke from the Rim Fire in the Eastern Sierra, August 22



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The photo was taken on Thursday, August 22, just north of the intersection of U.S. 395 and Sonora Pass Road while my partner and I were driving south from Lake Tahoe to Mammoth Lakes. It was very smokey in Tahoe but still sunny over 395 -- smoke from the Rim Fire was mostly blowing north but very visible in the east. 

We had seen the smoke cloud before entering Walker Canyon and this is what it looked like after emerging from the canyon. We pulled over and I whipped out the camera while the sun was still peaking through the clouds. 

I didn't push the processing much on this photo -- it really did look cray-cray out with the orange and purplish light reflecting on the Little Walker River.

The photo was taken with my Nikon D5100 and Nikon DX 10-24 wide angle lens. It was processed in Lightroom using VSCO slide film presets

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. Prints and licensing are available for the above photo through SmugMug; my prices are very modest. 

Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook

Related post: smoke from the Windy Peak fire over 395

--S.H.

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

Kayaking the Wrights Lake inlet



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Good photo for back-to-work day. Where would you rather be? In a cubicle counting beans for The Man or in the kayak? Duh. 

This is the inlet to Wrights Lake in the northern Sierra. Paddle to the north side of the lake and look for the very narrow channel through the reeds that provides access to the inlet. Paddle under the first bridge, hang a left and keep going -- you can get as far as a second bridge that carries a trail over the channel. 

Thunderstorms were moving in and provided the clouds. Otherwise, a pretty easy image to take. I used my Nikon D5100 and Nikon DX 10-24mm wide angle lens at 10 mm and ISO 100. The photo was shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom. 

Love the above photo? Buy a print! They're priced very modestly and may make a nice gift for the kayaker in your life. Digital licenses are also available. 

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.