My Father and I needed to stretch our legs after riding our motorcycles all day. We wandered down to the beach to lined the outer edge of the hotel we were staying at. It turned out to be an incredibly fun photographic journey for me. Not only was I able to capture some lovely landscape shots, but I was also able to try out a technique that I don’t use very often, the long exposure shot.
I liked the way these rocks were arranged around the edge of the sand and snapped off a few photos. None of the photos I had taken worked for me though. They all had a very high shutter speed which resulted in the freezing of the motion of the waves. I knew that if I was to slow my shutter speed down that I could get the water to blur and give the scene a little more movement. The problem was that I didn’t have a tripod with me. I figured it was worth an attempt anyway.
I held my breath and steadied the camera. I snapped off the photo and then quickly looked at the back of the camera to see if it had worked. I was fairly pleased with the result. Yeah the rocks should be a bit sharper and if I had brought my tripod with me, they would have been. Still I think the photo turned out about as well as you can hope for considering the shutter was open for a full 1/4 of a second.
When I initially started this blog, I was using it as a way to get off my ass and do a little writing. I’ve found that this exercise has been helpful and I’m gaining more confidence in my writing. What I didn’t plan on was how much my perspective on my own photography would change over the course of this blog. I’ve found the process of reviewing older photographs I’ve taken to be quite educational. The photo above is a wonderful example.
I took this photo on my trip through Spain with my Father back in 2007. Back then I was slowly beginning to learn how to use Photoshop as a digital darkroom. I was learning how to use traditional darkroom techniques of dodging and burning to bring out the representation of how I feel the photo should look. Since I was still in the early stages of my education I didn’t know how to push the image as much as I do now.
The lower image is how I had developed this photo back in 2007. I loved the way it looked at the time, but I clearly hadn’t developed the ability to see all of the dramatic potential in an image. I went back to the RAW file of this image this morning and decided to play around a little to see if there were any details that I had missed when I originally developed the photo. As you can see from the top version, there was a significant amount of detail I had missed and as a result I have a much more dramatic, and to me, pleasing photo that I can add to my collection.
My motorcycle trip through Spain with my Father was nearing it’s end. We stopped for the night at one last Parador. This one wasn’t a renovated castle, but instead was a luxury resort nestled along the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s name is Parador Aiguablava and the location is truly remarkable. I haven’t been there since my trip back in 2007, but if it’s anything like how it was during my visit, then it definitely worth adding to your list of places to visit. If you have any interest in visiting, their website can be found here:
After checking into our hotel room, my Dad and I wandered down to the beach. Clouds were building in the sky with the ensuing threat of rain. As a tourist I might have been annoyed, but with my camera in hand I was elated. Stormy skies make for some seriously dramatic photos and I wasn’t going to miss my chance to get a few shots in before the rain started to fall.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I can’t seem to resist taking photos of architectural details and patterns that catch my eye. I found this interesting pattern on the wall of a building in Spain. Unfortunately I took this photo back in 2007 and I no longer remember which building this is, nor do I remember the name of the city I was in. The photo though still grabs my attention every time I see it.
If I were to retake this photo now, I would have either increased the depth of field so the more of the pattern was in focus or decreased the depth of field and placed the pattern at a more extreme angle so that the photo focuses more on a smaller set of the design.
I’m enjoying going back and reviewing these photos. I’m learning even more about how I can improve as a photographer each time I try and figure out different ways I could have improved my past photos.
Back in 2007 my Dad and I took a motorcycle tour through Northern Spain. It’s been quite a while since that trip and so some the names of the towns we stopped in have escaped me. One of the towns we stopped in had all of these intricate alleys that led of from the main streets. We continually found ourselves wander down one alley after another because we were finding all of these wonderful delis and bakeries tucked away. Of course straying from the main road did have it’s price. We ended up getting lost on several occasions.
At one point my Dad needed to take a closer look at his map, so we stepped down another alleys so that we wouldn’t have to worry about other pedestrians running into us. While my Dad studied his map, I walked around trying to get a sense of where we were. That’s when I noticed this small courtyard. I loved the way the stairs and arches were assembled and so I snapped off a photo trying to play with the angles that the architect had created. If I were to take this photo again I would try and make my framing a little more extreme and see if I could make this feel like an Escher painting.
The Parador that my Dad and I stayed in that evening in Spain, was a wonderful old castle that sat on the top of a hill just outside of town. After the sun had set, I noticed that the Parador had a fantastic view of the town below. I grabbed my camera and wandered outside to practice my night photography skills.
This photo turn out pretty well, but if I were too shoot it again, I would make sure to use a tripod because when you look at the photo closer, you can see that the focus isn’t as sharp as it should have been. I also would have adjusted my framing a little more. I feel like the right side of the town is cut off just a bit too much. For the most part though, this photo isn’t bad at all considering I took it five years ago and was still getting my feet wet when it came to night photography.
After spending the day exploring Monteserrat, my Dad and I finally arrived at the Parador we planned on staying at that evening. My Dad had some work that he had to catch up on, so I grabbed my camera and started wandering the grounds of the Parador to see if I could find any interesting photographs out there waiting for me.
This Parador used to be a castle and there were quite a few interesting levels to it. What was fun for me was the fact that some of the walkways led you past the roofs of the lower floors. I love creating photos that have texture to them and I have a weakness for Spanish tiled roofs. I snapped off several photos and was very pleased with the way they turned out.
This photo was fun for me because it not only contains texture among the tiles, but the sky was magnificent that afternoon as well.
Rain can be a real hindrance when traveling. You have to duck in and out of hallways just to try and avoid getting drenched and when you’re traveling on motorcycle it can make a trip out right miserable. As a photographer though, rain can be your best friend.
My Dad and I had encountered numerous rain storms during out motorcycle trip through Spain, but I was having a blast because all of the photos that I had been taking turned out to be quite dramatic. Everywhere I turned I had an incredible sky as the background for my subjects. This view from the Abbey on Montserrat is stunning in it’s own right, but the incredible sky I was given helps elevate this photo to a whole new level.
The Benedictine Abbey located at the top of Montserrat is simply remarkable. It was quite a challenge for my Father and I to drive up the roads of Montserrat on our motorcycles. How anyone was able to bring enough building supplies up this mountain hundreds of years ago to create such a beautiful abbey is truly inspiring.
I’m going to need to make a return visit since I don’t feel that I really managed to capture how impressive the abbey is. I was just so exhausted from our ride up the mountain that I couldn’t focus as much and my photos didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked. Still this photo isn’t half bad and I mean, how often do you get to see an abbey nestled into the side of a mountain.
After a nice stay in the town of Cardona, which is located a little outside of Barcelona, my Dad and I hopped on our motorcycles and rode north a ways. We decided to spend our afternoon exploring Montserrat. Montserrat literally means “jagged (serrated) mountain” and when you’re driving up to it the name is quite accurate. The mountain range looks like the edge of a serrated knife. Driving up the winding road to reach the Benedictine Abbey at the top can be a very stressful trip. I suggest taking the gondola instead.
Once we arrived to the Benedictine Abbey, I was taken in by my surroundings. The first thing I noticed was the beautifully colored prayer candles that lined one of the hallways leading up to the abbey. I had fun taking this photo, but if I were to take it again I would use a smaller aperture so that I could gain a larger depth of field and keep more of the candles in focus.
After leaving Barcelona behind us, my Dad and I began our motorcycle tour through Spain. Instead of taking the standard tourist route and spending our nights in various hotels around the country, my Dad had the fantastic idea of staying in Paradores de Turismo de España, or more commonly referred to as Paradores.
Paradores are luxury hotels through out Spain that are most commonly located in an historic building such as a monastery or castle. The first Parador we stayed in was the Parador de Cardona. You can find their website here: http://www.parador.es/en/parador-de-cardona.
I was so in love with the view of the surrounding town of Cardona, that I had to stop and take a few photos before we even manged to get all the way up the driveway. This photo was taken about halfway up the driveway of the Parador and I think it’s a nice example of the charm of the towns the line the Spanish coast.
My Dad and I traveled to Spain back in 2007 for a wine tasting and motorcycle trip. We decided to spend a few days exploring Barcelona before heading out on the bikes and it turned out to be a wonderful decision.
Neither of us had been to Barcelona before and so we spent our time wandering down small alleys and digging out tourist maps to try and find our way around that magnificent city.
During one of our stops to look at our map, I noticed this balcony with it’s potted Bougainvillea spilling over the edge. I was just beginning to learn how to isolate color in a photograph and realized that this would be a perfect test subject for me. I used a different methods of converting this photo to black and white than I do now, but in my opinion it worked out better this time. I like the fact that the color remained not only in the petals for the Bougainvillea, but also left hints of color in the metal railing and wooden shutters behind the balcony.
The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is a wonderful place to visit. As you would expect, they have done a great job with their aquatic displays, but I didn’t realize that they also had such a nice aviary. There were Lorikeets everywhere.
I had snapped off quite a few photos, but none of them really felt special to me until I saw these two Lorikeets hanging out on their wicker basket. They seemed to be in a more playful mood than most of the other Lorikeets in the the aviary and I wanted to try and take a photo that was different than the previous ones I had taken.
One of the many challenges that you will encounter when you try to take photographs at an aquarium, is the fact that the fish don’t always cooperate. In a tank full of colorful fish swimming to and fro, it’s easy to get a shot of the entire tank, but to capture a close up of a single fish I found to be quite tricky.
I snapped off several photos in an attempt to get a close up of any of the fish in the tanks, but they had either moved too quickly or shifted to a less flattering angle just before I released the shutter. Thankfully I was able to capture this little guy as he peeked his head around a passing Angel Fish.
A couple months ago, Tracey’s 11 year old cousin Imran stayed with us for a few nights. We wanted to find something fun for all of us to do, but it was so hot in Burbank that we needed to get out of the valley. None of us had ever been to The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long beach before and since it was at least twenty degrees cooler there, it made for a nice day trip.
One of the challenges with taking photographs at an aquarium is that for the most part you are dealing with very little light. The aquarium discourages the use of a flash which is fine by me since the flash would just reflect off of the glass anyway and ruin the image. I thought this would make for a nice little test for my new camera to see how well it could handle the low light conditions while I was still only hand holding me camera.
I had just learned about a technique on how to get sharper images and I wanted to try it out. What I had learned is that when you press the shutter of the camera there is a chance that you might shake it a little bit. If your camera is able to snap off several photos in a row though, you can just continue to hold the shutter button down and typically the third or fourth photo that is taken will be much sharper than the first few. I tried this technique out several times and found that it worked incredibly well.