beaver creek

Short Water Video Captured at Beaver Creek

There’s something about water and the sound an motion of it that speaks to my soul. It calms. It relaxes. It stimulates deep and comfortable thoughts.

beaver creek photo bob coates photographyStill frame from the video at Beaver Creek. Look below for sound and motion.

I made a short video to share with you from a small little-known creek south of Sedona, Arizona. The place is called Beaver creek and while I often find it barren of people, it is also enjoyed by families, fellow creek water enthusiasts and my photographer friends enjoy an exploration along it’s banks.

Take less than a minute to enjoy the sound and some of the sights. Breath in. Breath out. Relax.

That is all for today.

Yours in creative Photography,      Bob

PS – for those interested this was made with the Lumix GX8 and the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens


beaver creek time lapse

Time Lapse of Beaver Creek near Sedona, Arizona

The video below is a time-lapse of Beaver Creek near Sedona, Arizona. Time lapse of water gives a slightly jerky feel at least the way this was captured and processed. These were captured a frame every 2 seconds and processed out to time lapse at 24 FPS 4K video then slowed 50% in post-production in Adobe Premiere Pro. The sound was added from another clip of video captured at the same place.

Watch for ‘The Dance of the spiders’ in the right-hand bottom corner.

screen shot of beaver creek videoWatch the space pictured above when you look at the video and you’ll find my ‘spidey’ friends.

Images captured with the Lumix GX8 and the Lumix G 20mm f1.7 lens. In a couple of days, I’ll share some video from a different day on the creek shot with the same gear and an entirely different feel.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

studio photography – part two

Studio Photography – Part Two Jewelry

The other day I showed you the set for photographing items in the studio with a beautiful radiating feathered edge glow around the subject..(check that post here) The images from that post were cameras which were larger than today products.

Jewelry is a different subject with different needs but can be on the same basic set. The difference is that the scrim is much closer to the subject than it was for the cameras.

jewelry photoJewelry is well served in this setting.

In the image above the transitions from light to shadow make the color of the beads and turquoise and out from the background, but still have quite a bit of interest overall.

jewelry photoThis is a piece of my wife’s jewelry. She noted that it actually could have used a bit of polishing.

When photographing product you need to know what the subject should look like. Since this was a lesson session, I am the final client and think it looks great. If this were a paying customer, I would have noted more information as to the handling of the piece. Also, sets and product must be kept sanitary and dust free. Being very careful while prepping for shooting can save an enormous amount of time in post production. On the job, I will even use a magnifying glass to ensure there is as little schumda in the photo as possible.

jewelry photography imageRose gold and diamonds. Care with chains and their layout is critical. Here also a shallow depth of field takes some attention away from the chain.

Jewelry with facets such as diamonds need a bit of extra thought, care and maybe a few additional exposures. Facets of stones are highlighted by light striking different surfaces. If the light is hitting one surface, it won’t necessarily be showing off another surface. One way to sculpt the stone to best effect in to make multiple images with the light in different positions. Then by layering the exposures, it is possible using masks to show off exactly the stone as you wish.

Yours in creative Photography,    Bob

studio photography – part one

Set-up for Studio Photography – Product

Getting good, solid lighting is the best thing you can do to highlight the features of products. Today’s post is how I set up to photograph some jewelry and a couple of my cameras. I will suggest you practice lighting techniques long before you need to use them. It allows you to refine the look rather than trying to tweak on set.

This set-up is relatively straightforward yet gives a compelling and professional look to your product photography.

jewelry stidio set for photographyGear in use. Two Paul C Buff X3200 flash heads. One Paul C Buff Ultra Zap1600 flash head. Paul C Buff Octobox (35 inch) Snoot. Strobes are fired with Buff Trigger. A sheet of Non-glare glass. Scrims with diffusion material. Sekonic L478D light meter. Lumix GH5 camera with various lenses depending on the subject to be photographed. Light stands, one with Boom to suspend light over the set.

The power of the lights is not germane to lighting on set. If you work with lights at less power or varied, you will want to put the most powerful one above the set. It will be going through the snoot and the scrim both of which suck up some of your light. With this set, you have the ability to change the size of you lighting circle. If the light from the snoot is closer to the scrim, it will be tighter as shown in this view. If you move the snoot higher, you’ll see the light spread more and feather to a larger circle. The height of the scrim above the product will also have an effect on the light pattern.

The glass (make sure it is non-glare) is suspended above a sheet of black paper. Depending on how much light you pump into the scene and the direction of that light you can create a background for your product that can be gray or black.

You don’t necessarily need an Octobox as a modifier for your main light. I use it because it is quick to set up and break down and gives a solid direction of light. At the very least, you will need to have a softbox. If you use an umbrella, the light is harder to control on the set, and the bounce of light from the walls and ceiling can infect the set. Control is essential.

Let’s look at a couple of camera photos.Lumix LX100 camera. I call this the ‘professional’s point and shoot’. This is an example of going black with very little light from above. Solid but stark image. It will always depend on what look your client is trying to achieve.

gx85 camera 100-400mm lensPhoto of Lumix GX85 with Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 100-400mm f4.0-6.3 lens made with the down light to give some more depth and dimension to the final image the gradient is made with the snoot and the scrim as shown above at the top of the page in the BTS shot but not as close to the scrim.

Let’s pause here until the next installment where the images will be of jewelry using the same set and adjusted accordingly. Part three of this will show before/afters and talk about post processing.

Yours in creative Photography,       Bob






aurora HDR software

Flash Sale – Aurora HDR 2017

I like the fact that you can push the HDR envelope with this software in a very creative fashion. Even better, I like that you can get a realistic image with full density range as well.

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From Tuesday June 27th – Friday June 30th only

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aurora HDR software discount banner

As an affiliate I do a small bit of compensation for you using my links to save money. A win/win with sharing software that I use. Note Aurora HDR 2017 is only available for Mac computers at this time.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob



sunrise fun

Sunrise Photography with Light Rays

On a visit at my MIL’s on the marsh in Delaware last week I found myself up at dawn photographing the sunrise. It’s funny when you are on the road in a different place you tend to get up a little earlier. Sometimes when I am home, I’m pretty darn sure there will be some fun sunrise light, and I fail to get my butt out of bed to get out there and capture it. Luckily I’ve been traveling quite a bit, so I’ve been fortunate to see and capture some lovely images here and there.

Being from Sedona, Arizona I don’t give much thought to the effects of humidity and air-conditioning. This led to a pretty happy accident when I went to raise my camera to my eye to make this image. The lens was covered with condensation. I kinda like the result below.

sunrise fogExtra soft-focus due to all the moisture on the lens.

Luckily the clouds hung in there for a while which gave the lens time to shed its self-imposed filter. Below see the image Straight Out of Camera.

delaware sunriseSOOC image which gives the RAW materials to help on to a creative image.

I’m a big believer in post processing to give an image all the impact it deserves. The scene shown above does not describe the scene as it was. There were more saturation and punch. We’ve all made images we thought were just like what we saw and been disappointed, especially back in film days, for those that remember that medium.

The image below is much more as the scene appeared, but I’ve also added just a bit of creativity by blending the two images together.

delaware sunrise photoTwo images above combined to give my interpretation of the scene.

The soft image was used as the bottom layer in the Photoshop file. The sharper image was dragged on top and the blend mode changed to Multiply. Multiply has the effect of darkening the image by one full stop of light. I wanted a bit more of the soft and moody photo to add to the photo and lowered the opacity just a bit to help it blend a bit more.

I like it. What are your thoughts??

Image captured with Lumix GX85 and the 12-60mm DG Vario-Elmarit f2.8-4.0 lens. These new lenses are pretty darn sweet although it moves away from the f2.8 setting early on the zoom process. They are well built. Focus smoothly. And a new feature, a locking lens hood.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

think tank bags

Think Tank Bag Discounts

thiink tank summer savings banner Because I am an affiliate I get to share some deals with you on occasion. I’m a big fan of the Think Tank line of bags. One of my favorites is the Mirrorless Mover 20 belt/shoulder bag. It’s perfect for my Lumix cameras with just enough space for a camera with a small lens and 2 other lenses, batteries, tiny tripod, extra sd cards and a bit more.

I’ve had this bag for over three years I believe and it still shows no wear and tear. If you want this bag or the Mirrorless Mover 30 which is a bit bigger you’ll have to pay full price. but if you are interested in many of their other bags, Think Tank Photo have just announced what they’re calling their “Sizzling Summer Savings.”  With it, you can save up to 30% on some of their most popular gear, including their Urban Approach and Perception shoulder bags and backpacks, Retrospective Leather and CityWalker shoulder bags, and the My 2nd Brain laptop bags.

And don’t forget, by using my special Web link, you will receive free gear and free shipping with your orders! Learn more here.

think tank artHere’s a small sampling of the gear that is on sale.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob



time lapse play

Learning Time-Lapse Through Practice

I’m always testing and trying to find out more about the tools that I use in photography and image making. This example is taking a bunch of still images and combining them into a video known as time-lapse.

Time-lapse of water flowing on Beaver Creek in Sedona, Arizona

I used to avoid creating time lapse videos because of all the steps that were involved. Making the images, which involved using an intervalometer and hard to follow calculations to gather the photos. Downloading the pictures. Processing the images. And, finally, combining the images through software into the final video.

creek play photo A crop from one of the stills from the spider play video below

There are two things that have gotten me more interested in time-lapse videos, and both have to do with the ease of getting to the final product.

One is the settings built into the Lumix line of cameras which makes it simple to calculate the frame rate and capture of images without additional gear. AND (this is the BIG on) the capability to process finished time-lapse videos in-camera with a variety of settings including speed of playback and quality. This is huge!

The other is a simple processing program called Time-Lapse Assembler. A very easy to use bit of software. Select your images. Set the playback frame rate. Set the quality. And Viola! Time-lapse video complete.

From the same location I set in a new place and in playing back the time-lapse I found the spiders dancing around the scene. You need to watch carefully as they are small critters. I enjoy the shapes and forms of the ripples as they combine and reshpe due to the combining of still frames verses straight video capture.

I got a bit more creative in putting these videos together using Adobe Premeire Pro. Because I was able to process the time-lapse into 4K video size that allowed me to move within the scene zooming in on the spider action. This also allowed for the sound of water to be added. You won’t get sound when making time-lapse video because you are combining still photos. I recorded some other video to get the water sound track.

Images were made with the Lumix GX8 with a LUMIX G II LENS, 20MM, F1.7 ASPH

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob



outdoor photography part four

Outdoor Photography – The Gear Part Four

In part Four of this series on outdoor photography, I talk more about the why’s of the gear I carried on this occasion. You can see results from the shoot by checking out part three and working back to the previous posts.

Take a look at the video below for an in-depth look at my photo kit for a full day hike.

Video explains my reasons and gear choices

Here are links to all the photo gear from this adventure.

Lumix GX85 with the Leica 100-400mm lens – Rangefinder style camera with five-axis image stabilization – 4 pounds

Lumix G6 converted to Infrared by LifePixel (link to G7 with 14-140mm Lumix Lens the G6 has been discontinued) – 2.2 Pounds

Lumix GX8 and 20mm 1.7 lens Rangefinder style body. – 1.5 pounds

Think Tank ‘MiriorlessMover 20’ Belt Bag with 7-14mm f4.0 lens and  12-60mm f2.8-4.0 lens – 3 pounds

MeFoto Roadtrip Tripod – 4 pounds

Total weight – just less than 15 pounds. If I knew I wasn’t going to be photographing any focus brackets or exposure brackets I could leave the MeFoto Tripod behind. But, you never know. Rather be safe than sorry!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob



outdoor photography part three

Outdoor Photography – Walking Oak Creek Part Three

This is a four-part series. Here are the links to previous posts. Part one. Part two.

When out photographing for the day the camera that is converted to infrared makes shooting under the sun high in the sky quite interesting. Non-visible light can be captured with an IR converted camera. Lumix G6 (link to newer camera G7) with 14-140mm Lumix Lens. I used LifePixel for my conversion to a 720nm filter. There is quite an array of information on their website to help you decide what kind of IR filter to have installed on your camera. Many people put their older camera models back into service this way.

Usually, mid-day is not an ideal time for making images due to the high contrast of the light. This is exactly what makes creating images with an IR camera work the best. There’s high contrast, but it renders as dramatic with blue skies trending toward black and clouds picking up this iridescent glow. Green vegetation will provide white tones. This complete change in the way we view a scene creates excitement.

black & white infrared photo cathedral rockGreen trees render white. Blue skies turn black with white puffy clouds. Infrared photo made with Lumix G6 converted to IR.

The benefits to creating IR images in the digital realm is that what you see on the live viewfinder is what you get. To make this happen, I set the camera to monochrome and shoot RAW plus jpeg. The resulting image on the back of the camera makes it easier to judge what the final will be. The RAW files will come into the camera in a magenta color and need processing. The jpeg file will be just as you see them and still need a little post production work but don’t have as much information in the file. The RAW plus jpeg is the best of both worlds.

cathedral rock detail photoThis photo is a detail of the center of Cathedral Rock. The 14-140mm zoomed for in-camera cropping.

infrared photoI enjoy the light and airy feeling of deciduous trees when rendered with infrared.

side view of cathedral rock sedonaTaken with side light a bit later than ‘normal’ time of day for IR imagery and with side-light leads to very contrasty image rendering. I like it because it’s a wee bit different. Always looking to experiment.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – if you have a question don’t hesitate to give me a shout by leaving a comment!