14,505 by alexnoriega

2015 Autumn in Olympic Tour with Alex Mody
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Here’s another new image – a telephoto view of Mount Whitney, California during a stormy sunrise. Whitney is the tallest peak in the lower 48 states, at 14,505 feet.

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Nocturne of Shadow by alexnoriega

Twilight falls on the curvaceous sand dunes of Death Valley, California.

I’ve been wanting to get back here to make images like this since my last (completely unproductive) visit three or four years ago. My month-long trip is nearing its end, and I’ve got many new images coming, but this may end up being my favorite. I’ve had mostly zero skies to speak of on the southwestern leg of my autumn travels, but that’s actually advantageous for images like this. It helps not to be distracted by an explosive sky and tempted to put on a wide-angle lens, when focusing on more intimate telephoto compositions. The light on these dunes is simply magical when the sun is low on the horizon.

If you like the look of my images, you may be interested in knowing I teach my processing workflow and techniques online via Skype! By popular demand, I’m also offering pre-recorded videos on a preliminary basis, since I’m on the road. Though they’re not finished products with proper video production (I plan on beginning to release those this winter), these videos have all the information on my most important techniques, and they come at a discount as opposed to a personalized session on Skype. I also offer private workshops, and I’ve got a bigger tour for 2015 announced already. You can find more information or contact me at my website: http://ift.tt/YdCotQ

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The Two Towers by alexnoriega

2015 Autumn in Olympic Tour with Alex Mody
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A unique view of the tufa formations of Mono Lake, California under stormy skies at sunset. Looks best on black.

Since the water level here has dropped in the past couple of years, compositions incorporating water or reflections are much harder to come by. This left me looking for a frame for these strange towers, and this was what found. I thought the curling wave formation of the foreground, along with the stormy skies, looked pretty SPOOKY.

This image is comprised of several stacked exposures for depth of field at f/22 for the foreground frame (it was mere inches from my lens), one for the main formations at f/16, and one at f/8 for the sky.

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The Crystal Maw by alexnoriega

This is an updated process of one of my favorite images, originally posted early this year. Better clarity, punchier highlights, more shadow detail, MUCH less blue saturation, a more appealing hue, and a slight crop to this rendition. It’s closer to reality, while being in line with the vision I had for the shot. I’ve been slowly revising it over the past seven months or so, and I think it’s finally dialed. I guess something about winter in Minneapolis must have made me unable to see the ridiculous colors of a few images I put out around that time. Below is the text that accompanied my original post.

—–

Wisconsin’s Lake Superior ice caves require walking across a couple miles of lake ice to reach. Luckily for me, I chose to live in the Midwest the first winter they’ve been accessible since 2009. I missed a couple of rare freezes in the northwest while I was gone, but I gained this in exchange – and it’s exactly the type of ice image I’ve longed for.

This image has a short story to accompany it. The formations you see at the top, framing the image, are maybe 3 feet off the icy floor. I went on a day that was relatively warm (+25F), and the floor was turning to supercooled slush farther into the cave. I had to lie down/crawl around in it for almost an hour to compose this image. When I stood up after shooting, I panicked.

I COULD NOT FEEL MY BUTT. This wasn’t the numbness I had experienced growing up snowboarding, sledding, and playing in the snow. This was much worse. Was my butt frostbitten? Would it become necrotic and fall off in a couple days? Had I just sacrificed my gluteus for a single image? Is any image worth losing a butt over? I awkwardly hobbled the two miles back to my car, and didn’t feel a single thing until I was on the road home.

I’m still worried my butt is going to fall off, guys.

I’m scared.

Now, contrary to what might be suggested by what you’ve just read, I can assure you I am capable of acting in a professional manner. Along those lines, if you like the way my images look, you may be interested in knowing I teach my processing workflow over Skype! Please visit my website for more information: http://ift.tt/YdCotQ

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Arclight by alexnoriega

2015 Autumn in Olympic Tour with Alex Mody
Private Workshops and Tours
Private Online Post-Processing Instruction Via Skype
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Brilliant sunrise light illuminates fresh snow at Oregon’s Crater Lake. This is an image I’ve been waiting years to make. Since first arriving in Oregon a few years back, Crater Lake has been one of my favorite locations, and I’ve gotten to know it quite well through my many visits – so I knew exactly what I was looking for. When I saw two new feet of snow in the forecast, I adjusted my plans to be here and shoot the day after. For Crater Lake, two feet is a laughable amount, given that it typically receives closer to 50 feet of snowfall per year – but it was enough to make it appealing in an otherwise dismal winter for snow levels here in the Pacific Northwest.

Winter here is beautiful, but it presents its challenges: one can only drive as far as Rim Village on the south rim, and all the best spots that allow one to really incorporate Wizard Island are found on the west rim. This means snowshoeing for miles is a necessity. This wouldn’t be such a huge deal, except the best light is at sunrise – meaning you’re either camping overnight in the snow, or getting up at 4am.

I chose the latter option, and for the entire second half of the two-hour trek, the sky was already burning pink and red. This motivated me to get the hike done quicker, and I arrived at the end of the red stages of sunrise, as the light started to become orange. Given that the snowpack was 10+ feet lower than it should have been this time of year, my planned compositions weren’t 100% ideal, since it was tougher to get above the trees – but I think I still made it work. I always get asked why I don’t include the rest of the lake on the left in shots from this area – well, for one, it’s rather empty; two, there’s a rock wall and some fairly unappealing trees just out of frame to the left; and three, I’d be unable to nail down the composition in-camera (I tend to avoid panos/stitches for this reason).

I chose this particular spot/composition because of the clear views of Mount Scott and Garfield Peak, the elevation above (and proximity to) Wizard Island, the foreground snowdrifts, and the space to allow the trees to cast shadows on the snow. This is the closest spot that I knew would satisfy these requirements, and it was 6 miles round trip. I’m not one to regale my audience with exaggerated tales of the difficulty involved in getting a shot, but 6 miles snowshoeing with frequent elevation change feels more like 15 miles backpacking in the summer – and I had to do it on 2 hours of sleep. Worth the nausea and soreness the next day!

On repeat in my head with every step I trudged and mile I drove, as well as while processing: hummingbird heartbeat

A bit of tech info: this is mostly a single exposure, with some of the brightest highlights around the sun recovered from a darker bracketed exposure. The sunstar/flare is natural – I’ve found shooting Nikon’s newer lenses at f/11 to f/16 will often produce more interesting results than the “traditional” f/22 sunstar (provided you have something that partially occludes the sun, such as the rim of the lake here).

For information on processing instruction, workshops, and prints, visit http://ift.tt/YdCotQ.

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Arclight by alexnoriega

2015 Autumn in Olympic Tour with Alex Mody
Private Workshops and Tours
Private Online Post-Processing Instruction Via Skype
Like my Facebook Page

Brilliant sunrise light illuminates fresh snow at Oregon’s Crater Lake. This is an image I’ve been waiting years to make. Since first arriving in Oregon a few years back, Crater Lake has been one of my favorite locations, and I’ve gotten to know it quite well through my many visits – so I knew exactly what I was looking for. When I saw two new feet of snow in the forecast, I adjusted my plans to be here and shoot the day after. For Crater Lake, two feet is a laughable amount, given that it typically receives closer to 50 feet of snowfall per year – but it was enough to make it appealing in an otherwise dismal winter for snow levels here in the Pacific Northwest.

Winter here is beautiful, but it presents its challenges: one can only drive as far as Rim Village on the south rim, and all the best spots that allow one to really incorporate Wizard Island are found on the west rim. This means snowshoeing for miles is a necessity. This wouldn’t be such a huge deal, except the best light is at sunrise – meaning you’re either camping overnight in the snow, or getting up at 4am.

I chose the latter option, and for the entire second half of the two-hour trek, the sky was already burning pink and red. This motivated me to get the hike done quicker, and I arrived at the end of the red stages of sunrise, as the light started to become orange. Given that the snowpack was 10+ feet lower than it should have been this time of year, my planned compositions weren’t 100% ideal, since it was tougher to get above the trees – but I think I still made it work. I always get asked why I don’t include the rest of the lake on the left in shots from this area – well, for one, it’s rather empty; two, there’s a rock wall and some fairly unappealing trees just out of frame to the left; and three, I’d be unable to nail down the composition in-camera (I tend to avoid panos/stitches for this reason).

I chose this particular spot/composition because of the clear views of Mount Scott and Garfield Peak, the elevation above (and proximity to) Wizard Island, the foreground snowdrifts, and the space to allow the trees to cast shadows on the snow. This is the closest spot that I knew would satisfy these requirements, and it was 6 miles round trip. I’m not one to regale my audience with exaggerated tales of the difficulty involved in getting a shot, but 6 miles snowshoeing with frequent elevation change feels more like 15 miles backpacking in the summer – and I had to do it on 2 hours of sleep. Worth the nausea and soreness the next day!

On repeat in my head with every step I trudged and mile I drove, as well as while processing: hummingbird heartbeat

A bit of tech info: this is mostly a single exposure, with some of the brightest highlights around the sun recovered from a darker bracketed exposure. The sunstar/flare is natural – I’ve found shooting Nikon’s newer lenses at f/11 to f/16 will often produce more interesting results than the “traditional” f/22 sunstar (provided you have something that partially occludes the sun, such as the rim of the lake here).

For information on processing instruction, workshops, and prints, visit http://ift.tt/YdCotQ.

via 500px http://ift.tt/1vyVKVF