June 29, 2010

Hope and Cory Wroblewski/ Fairbanks!

 On June 19th I was fortunate enough to be able to photograph the wedding of Hope and Cory in Fairbanks. I couldn't of had a more wonderful couple to work with. They were as easy going as I am and it was a pleasure to spend a couple of days with them. Their family and friends were equally as charming.
 It was a beautiful day with every sort of weather from beautiful blue sky to overcast with a bit of rain.
 Here are some of my favorite photos from the day!

June 25, 2010

Alaska State Parks 40th Anniversary Poster

 I found out while I was in Costa Rica that one of my images was chosen for one of four posters the Alaska State Parks is putting out in celebration of their 4oth anniversary. Here is the preview they sent me. I'm thrilled to be lucky enough to have an image that represents Alaska and the State Parks!
 This was taken on Wrangell Island at Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site. The ancient rock carvings are still just lying along the beach for anyone to find and photograph. A lot of people make graphite (pencil) etchings of the rocks on paper as well. I've shown this image before as part of a southeast stock photo trip I took a couple of years ago. This is one of the most time consuming images I've ever taken but also one of my favorites. I had read about the petroglyphs and new I wanted to try and create an image with a mysterious mood to it. No one is quite sure who did the carvings and why. I had seen some great images of the rocks with that late afternoon golden glow on them but didn't want to replicate that idea. I decided to find my composition and wait until after sunset- around 11:30pm- to shoot. I used a couple of flashes to light up the rocks in the foreground- propped on rocks and a backpack, a neutral density filter to darken the sky and bring its exposure value closer to the foreground exposure, and I triggered it all with a remote signal while hopping on the rocks in the background. The camera was mounted on a tripod of course! It took me several attempts to get the exposures correct and get a decent silhouette of myself. It was one of those times when it was all over that I knew I had a nice shot! Every now and then I get lucky!

June 22, 2010

Costa Rica Day 3/ Arenal

Here are some images from our first day near the Arenal Volcano. We stayed at the Arenal Observatory Lodge which is the prime place for capturing night time images of the lava boulders tumbling down the mountainside. The volcano was particularly active during our stay and several times I nearly had to change my pants after an outrageous "WHOOOOOSSSHHHH!" of smoke was expelled from the cone. It was truly incredible to hear such a powerful force of nature. The gardens are beautiful and full of photo ops of flora and fauna, especially birds. There are several photos of the group in action here as well. The snake is a fer de lance. One of the most dangerous snakes in the world. It's not so much that it's venom is the most deadly but the snake is very agressive by nature and does not hesitate to bite when slightly threatened. Needless to say we never walked around at night without a flashlight and a slight quiver in our gait!

This was taken of our local naturalist guide, Pedro, during a mini-flash workshop before leaving Villa Blanca. I set the ambient tungsten light to around minus 1.5 stops and the shot Pedro with an off-camera flash through an umbrella.

June 15, 2010


 These are from the grounds of The Hotel Villa Blanca in the San Ramon Cloud Forest. This is an amazing morning each year. The hotel has a "hummingbird garden" where they set out feeders for the humming birds each morning just for a short while. For us "serious" photographers the guides put nectar in some of the local flowers to create a more natural photo op. Villa Blanca is very conscious of the fact that the birds need to stick to their natural diet and not become dependent on the nectar so they remove the feeders for the rest of the day.
 It's truly a delightful experience to have 50 or 60 of these wonders darting about at incredible speeds. It's a great opportunity for the group to practice their stop action techniques. We were shooting with shutter speeds of 1/1000 to 1/4000. The best technique seemed to be to pre-focus on a point in manual focus and shoot as much as possible once the birds approached. Even then we still ended up with more pieces of birds in the frame than "keepers"!

This is Andrey Villabous. He works for Villa Blanca and I have taken his photo for the past three years. It's always a pleasure to see his smiling face. This year we got a little fancy with two speedlights, one in front and one from the back/ side. 

The sun was setting and I saw this beautiful light hitting this attractive couple. I ran out and asked if I could take a few photos and in less than 3 minutes the light was gone!

 We spent part of the day exploring two near by towns. Sarchi has a unique workshop powered by a water mill. This is the official site of manufacture for Costa Rica's trademark symbol the Oxcart. The country credits the oxcart for bringing them into the modern era. With it they were able to transport coffee in large quantities to the various ports thus giving Costa Rica a much desired and profitable export. And boy is it good.

 In Grecia we  convinced on of the local "Ticos" to suffer a photo session as we all took turns with this characteristic gentleman. The red gothic church behind him has a metal exterior and was a gift from Belgium in the 1890's. It is the Cathedral de la Mercedes.