Monday, June 30, 2008

Reminder Notes

Do you read books on photographic technique, listen to Radiant Vista critiques, take workshops, read photography magazines only to go out in the field to shoot and forget all you have learned. I find I do. I get all excited setup my tripod and camera and start shooting away.

This became very apparent to me when I was shooting with Ralph and Jack in Oregon. We would stop somewhere and I was off shooting in a second while Ralph and Jack walked around surveying the possibilities. I had been so accustomed to working quickly, when I was with non-photographers, I forgot what it was like to take my time. Ssslllooowww Dddooowwwnnn I started telling myself. In my haste I would forget about what I had read and supposedly learned. I'd get home and be disappointed that the depth of field was not right or the ISO was to high or, well, you get the idea.

So as we were driving around Oregon, Jack told us of his preparation process. He listens to comforting music, sits quietly and generally puts his mind in a creative mood. This got me thinking about my own shortcomings and how I might prepare myself better for a photographic outing.

I haven’t tried Jack’s techniques but I have decided to prepare myself with psychological and technical reminders. Today I created my first set of ‘Reminder Notes’. I have taken tidbits of information from influential photographers, typed them on sheets of paper then laminated them. They will now go into my camera bag.

Before I set out on a photographic journey I will pull them out, sit for a while and ponder their messages. They will help me slow down, think of what it is I want to say, be more deliberate and in the end make better images.


Sunday, June 29, 2008


More from Oregon.

Around the bend from Bridal Veil Falls the algae under the water gives the water it's green glow.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rhododredron at Multnomah Falls

It was a Friday before the crowds arrived. The rhododendron in the foreground against the out of focus falls in the background provides an exquisite composition.

Speaking of crowds. We visited the falls early in the morning on Friday and Saturday. Both days, especially Saturday, the crowds were very very small. But on each day we went by the falls in the afternoon. Multnomah Falls is right off the Interstate and you wouldn't believe how many people pack into that place, unless you've been there of course. I just can't imagine my only experience with this or any of the falls in the gorge being so filled with people.

There is alot to be said about getting up before the crack of dawn not just to catch a beautiful sunrise but also to have an intimate encounter with nature, minus all of the people.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To Clone or Not To Clone

I made this photograph last year in France. It is the first time I ran into, not literally of course, a Peacock, let alone a male in full display. I quickly snapped a number of images from different vantage points and ended up selecting a different Peacock image to upload to my web site. I like this image quite a bit but for 3 glaring problems, the three white flowers. They are a total distraction to the activities of the Peacocks, which is quite interesting.

The other day my wife was looking thru some of my images and came upon this one. She really liked it and wanted a print. But I couldn't get by the flowers.

I'm no stranger to the clone stamp. I have no hesitation when it comes to removing elements of an image that are distracting or out of place. I'm not trying to duplicate 'reality' but create a pleasing image that says something to the viewer. For 'reality' look at Newsweek or a newspaper, they shouldn't be using the clone stamp.

So the image presented an interesting delemna. These three white flowers are quite distracting but they are in some very inconvenient places and are much larger than distracting elements I typically remove. But what the heck let me see what I can to.

The most challenging part of the 'manipulation' was to get the female Peacock to look half way normal since so much of the flower covered her. I first tried the clone stamp but that effort was futile. So I ended up copying a portion of the left side of the Peacock, flipped it over and put it on the right side. Using the transform tool I evened things up followed by the clone stamp to clean up around the Peacock. If you look real close you can see where the transitions are but unless you're looking for it you probably won't see it.

Cloning out the middle flower was pretty basic and simple. In the end I left the far left flower in but I might change it's color to make it less noticable.

The resulting image is quite believable and I really like it. If I hadn't told you what I did you probably would have never known how it came to be.

So the question remains, to clone or not to clone. For me this was a fun thing to do. I will frame the resulting image for my wife, we'll hang it on the wall and enjoy it. But will I sell it if someone wants it? Well, yes I would, but the purchaser would be told of the process I went thru to make it what it is.

Somewhere between removing a misplaced pebble on a beach and rebuilding a Peacock there is a line that gets crossed. One the one side I wouldn't think twice about removing the pebble but on the other side, well I just couldn't sell something as heavily modified as the Peacock image without full disclosure. Probably no one would know but me. But I would know and it's a little to much 'manipulation' for me.

Thoughts and comments are welcome.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sunrise at Tillamook Bay

Well the sun rose but we didn't see it. This is Jack's favorite sunrise location along the coast. This small boat is always present. Funny thing is that there are no buildings or other boats in sight. There once were but everything is gone, except for this one boat. The tide was going out so the water just covered the mud flat.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Maidenhair Fern

Oh the ferns in Oregon. I felt a bit overwhelmed trying to photograph them but I like this one. And no I didn't ratchet up the green saturation.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


The rhododendrons grow wild along the Oregon coast and we were lucky to be there when they were in bloom.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Shooting Partner

My brother Ralph on another great day for photography at Cannon Beach in Oregon.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunset at Wildlife Refuge

Last night I went to the Sherburne Wildlife Refuge for sunset. This is a 6 frame HDR image when the light was exquisite. Shot with my 17-40mm at 17mm and f/11 with my 5D.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Haystack Rock

It was a cold rainy afternoon of May 22, 2008. Ralph and I had met at the airport around noon, Ralph flying in from Calif and myself flying in from Minnesota. We headed right over the Cannon to begin our 3 1/2 day photo adventure in Oregon.

This 2 second exposure using the Singh Ray Vari-ND filter smooths out the rugged sea and give us some nice sweeping lines of foam to carry us thru the image.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Jack Graham

During my trip to Oregon in April 2008 I had the pleasure of meeting Jack Graham. My brother Ralph had met Jack while shooting at Mono Lake and had shot together a few times. Jack had invited Ralph up to Oregon for a shoot and since Ralph and I were planning a shoot of our own we decided to make is a threesome.

I couldn't have imagined a finer weekend soending some individual time with Ralph and two whole days, I mean two whole days from 4:30am to 9:00pm, shooting with Jack. Jack took us to all of the coastal and Columbia River Gorge hot spots. It was really an amazing experience.

Jack conducts a variety of workshops in Oregon. Believe me when I say you will be in for a great treat attending a Jack Graham workshop. He will make sure that you see the best there is of Oregon at the best times of the day and give you all the hints and secrets along the way.

Check out Jack's website, you'll be in for a treat.


Sunset in Oregon

Between 4/22/08 to 4/26/08 I met my brother, Ralph Nordstrom, and Jack Graham in Oregon for three and a half days of shooting. We shot the Oregon coast and the Columbia River Gorge.

Being Oregon it was overcast and rainy most of the time. However on Saturday we had a beautiful day with lots of sun and wonderful clouds. But as the day wore on the clouds inscreased and as it often happens in the midwest, I'm from Minnesota, the weather turns unpredictable. In the evening we stood at the Womens Forum overlook looking east as the storm gathered steam. As the sun fell lower in the sky the rain started falling and the lightning began to strike. One of Jacks sunset locations is the Vista House a short drive from the overlook, so we headed there.

The three of us, along with a few other photographers, were setup looking west toward the setting sun. It continued to rain and thinder boomed around us. We were hoping the sun would appear under the cloud bank and light up the underside of the clouds. The sun did appear but a heavy rainstorm had moved between us and the sun. As can be seen from the image below the suns light was diffused by the rain and filled the sky with colors fromreds to purples. It was a magical moment.