Tag Archives: forest

My Favorite Photos of 2016

Here is a selection of my favorite photos from last year.  It was an interesting year.

I was doing most of the marketing photography for Brooks Institute.
The school was shut down in October.

I photographed strong, graceful and talented women.

I found a sleeping mermaid.  Been looking for a long time.

I went on a night dive in Hawai’i with 7 manta rays.
It was way more exciting than I thought it would be.

I paid a lot of attention to light and the magic of Lightroom.

I spent hours with a lizard, looking for something different.

I watched an extraordinary man with a kite and a surfboard do things
with the wind and waves that I didn’t think possible.

Light & Motion LED’s – part 1

Over the past year I’ve been working with the people at Light & Motion to show off their incredible Stella LED lights. There’s lots of benefits to using LED lights for both photography and video. These continuous lights are powerful, lightweight, don’t generate heat, don’t need to be plugged in, produce daylight balanced light, are dimmable and, as a bonus, several of the Light & Motion Stellas are completely submersible. I’ve got the Stella 5000, Stella 2000 and the Stella 1000 lights.  They can go anywhere I can go.

This last spring I did a shoot with some friends on a camping trip to Big Sur. We were setting up a outdoor, fashion-style shot in a creek to show off the qualities of the lights. I’m photographing Gabbie Morfeld and there’s a Stella 5000 on a light stand to my right as the key. The Stella 2000 that we’re using as a backlight is clamped to a branch, and the Stella 1000 is in the creek filling in shadows. Photo © Daniel Brittain

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Here you can see the little Stella 1000 just sitting in the water. Check out how sharp the 120° beam angle is, which allows for very precise feathering of the lights. Photo © Ralph Clevenger (l) and Daniel Brittain (r)

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The shot on the left is the final of Gabbie with the 3 lights. I lit the portrait of Daniel with just the Stella 1000 underwater in front of him. ISO 2500, f/4, 1/60th sec with the Sony A7R2, 16-35mm f/4.

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Lighting Magic

I’ve been fascinated by “light painting” ever since seeing some of O. Winston Link’s amazing steam locomotive images from the 50’s.

Combining multiple images lit with only a single light is a favorite of today’s architectural photographers and I wanted to see if I could apply the technique to camping scenes. So I read Eric Curry’s great book, Painting with Light, Lighting and Photoshop Techniques for Photographers published by Amherst Media and watched some great behind-the-scenes videos of him lighting his complex scenes at his website: American Pride and Passion.

 

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One of my latest images is of a tent in a stand of Aspen trees. There are not as many details to worry about in this scene so it was a little easier to light. I used five different images, lit with a flashlight plus a fluorescent lantern in the tent. All images were shot at f/5.6, 15sec, ISO 400 with the 14-24mm lens.

Camp Food

It’s hard to beat sitting around an evening campfire listening to the sounds of the woods as night falls. When you add the sounds and smells of food cooking over the open flames, life is truly good. Mary Jane makes this amazing meal; layering potatoes, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, onions and sausage, dotted with butter and drizzled with olive oil, all wrapped in a foil oven. Then it’s 30 minutes in the coals, plated on warm camp ware and served with a nice red wine or cold beer. People from other campsites follow the smells and ask us what we’re eating. You can check out other camping recipes at About.com Camping.

 

Mary Jane’s famous camp dinner.

 

I shot the image on the left with a Lensbaby Composer. These are really fun; rent one and try it out. You can get a similar effect in Photoshop with one of their blur filters (that’s what I did for the campsite image below).

 

Painting our campsite with light.

 

Rubber Boots

The thing about shoes is that if we trust them, we can go anywhere.  That’s why I think your shoes are one of the most important tools for location photographers.  Whether it’s bare feet, cowboy boots, climbing shoes, flip flops or snowshoes, if your feet are happy you won’t think twice about where to step to get the shot.  The rubber boots I wear, Xtratuf Boots, were recommended by a friend of mine, Tom Backer, who shoots for TV shows like Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers.  My feet are happy.

Kayla McKenzie and I working Hare Creek in Limekiln State Park, Big Sur, California.

Fun with rubber boots and a 16mm fisheye.