sunrise time-lapse at watson lake with platypod

PlatyPod tripod is a utility tool I’ve started using more often. I bought mine about a year and a half ago and set it aside for a bit, as it was not front of mind. I started using it again and found quite a few new and different ways to support my camera and lights. Now, the Ultra model stays clipped to my Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 camera bag.

Watson Lake, Prescott, Arizona

sunrise photo watson lake prescott arizona

Sunrise image selected from time-lapse captures

Having outfitted my car for camping I was able to be on site for sunrise and moon-rise shoots. I’m sharing some of the sunrise footage I made with my Lumix G9. Capturing time-lapse images adds to possible output. Of course, there’s the time-lapse processed at multiple playback speeds. Multiple images can also be processed together for noise reduction or other creative uses. Individual images can be selected for processing different times.

Time-lapse

Link to sunrise video. It is magical seeing time compressed. There is a different perspective when everything is shown faster. The world can be viewed in many different ways. Being a stills photographer/Lens Based Artist I seem to be drawn to what can be shared starting with individual captures. Putting the photos together gives me another creative outlet.

Low to the ground

platypod tripod at watson lake prescott arizona

Platypod Ultra tripod with a couple leveling bolts in place.

When making this set of images I wanted the camera to be low to the ground which, is a perfect use for the PlatyPod tripod. With no legs the camera is not affected by wind and stays steady Many regular tripods can get low as well, but end up with legs splayed.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

FYI I am currently creating paid content for PlatyPod.

 

slices of sublime moments

Slices of sublime beauty wait in the wetlands of Sedona. The more time I spend in nature the more gifts seem to come my way. I have found however, that I have to be open to the experience.

Open to the experience

Pursuing dragonfly images in the wetlands is joy to me. Having to slow down and observe moments and behavior allow my brain to take a break. Sometimes I have the end in mind to such an extent that I forget to leave room for happy accidents.

This day was not one of those.

Reeds from the wetlands in Sedona, AZ form beautiful shapes curves and lines

Gear

An Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III was fitted out with the new ** M Zukio 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3 lens with an MC 20 2x extender. The long lens compresses the scene and helps create a shallow depth-of-field. The camera rested on a FotoPro Eagle E6L tripod. The built in gimbal head makes it easy to maneuver the camera lens combo.

Back button focus

Because I use back button focus when photographing wildlife the camera only changes focus when it is engaged. Because I have to search for the wildlife through a long lens the focus was slightly off as a scanned the reeds. What I saw was a little slice of magic. That serendipitous moment led me to try this as a technique. Light and shadow in yellows and greens played soft silhouettes in my viewfinder.

I worked the scene and share a couple of the resulting images here.

Post processing

Very little post-production was done on these photos. A little spot cleanup here, a tiny dodge and burn there were all that was needed. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

PS – if you have any questions let me know

** I am testing the 100-400mm lens. Release date is September 15th, 2020

new head shot

It was time to update my head shot. Don’t want to be like the cobbler that has no shoes.

The gear

I set my Lumix G9 with DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens on a tripod. I used the modeling lights of my Paul C Buff White Lightning 1200 flashes (no longer manufactured as I bought these lights when I first started around 25 years ago. Which is a testament to Buff lighting longevity!) Camera right had a 42 inch umbrella about 60 degrees off axis. Camera left another Buff light with no umbrella and a seven inch reflector for the background light.

Settings

Studio head shot

1/80th second f/1.2 ISO 200. Camera was triggered by Panasonic’s Image App on my phone which allowed me to set focus and see what the camera sees. Great for making a self portrait.

Color or Black and White

Black and white processed with Nik Silver EFEX Pro

Using Adobe’s Photoshop the file was processed in color with very light retouching. Removed a couple stray hairs along with a wild eyebrow hair. Nik Silver EFEX Pro (part of the NIK collection) was used for conversion to black and white.

Which do you like better? Color or black and white?

Yours in Creative Photography,          Bob

 

car camping aka boodocking – my build

With all that is going on with Covid–19 this year I knew I wasn’t going to be able to travel in my usual way. That led to outfitting my Toyota RAV 4 for boon docking, AKA car camping. My photographer friend Jose Robertson who came through in his vehicle when traveling 2 years ago inspired me.

The start

About a month ago Jose came through on another trip I had the opportunity to test my set up under his watchful eye. During his travels we camped at Lake Powell, Arizona for a couple nights. He taught me a lot and showed me I needed a few more modifications.

I’ll be doing a more in-depth article for the online magazine Photofocus.com. For now you can get an idea of how I fitted out the car.

A peek into the build

A look in the back. Cot with sleeping pad. Removable shelf. Bins for organization.

Not wanting to add a lot of weight or to remove seats I added a five-inch cot to sleep flat.

A shelf that is installed with no attachments to the car is a huge help. This went through a few design iterations. Especially since the cot was billed as being three inches tall. The shelf was redesigned with the five-inch actual cot height! The bins help organize. Bottom bin is the kitchen with stove, gas, cooking tools and utensils. Top bin holds my personal such as clothes and toiletries.

Assembled

Testing the setup. I assembled the ‘camp set up’ in my driveway before hitting the road. testing is good… Trust me on that!

Here’s an image from Watson Lake in Prescott, AZ with the vehicle in use. I’ll share more soon I’m heading out on a new lone adventure on Monday!

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – my photographer friends will recognize that part of the support for the shade are two background stands I repurposed.

food for thought

I don’t normally get too political. We are an amazing country with lots to be proud of. Lately though we seem to have been backsliding into a morass.

The Newsroom

I will share this clip from the show ‘The Newsroom‘ and ask that you take a moment to watch, listen and process. I think this was from 2012. Don’t get me wrong. We have a great country. Unfortunately, it appears we have been heading down a track of nationalism and ‘me-ism’ that has derailed many of the things which we valued in the past. As this clip is from 2012 our problems obviously didn’t start in 2015 or 2016. They have been building for years. I liken it to the frog in the pot of water that is set on heat. Because the heat builds up slowly it is not noticed until it is too late.

I believe much of our problem has to do with too much money being involved in our political system.

Believing everything you see and sharing it on social media without vetting the information and the source.

Media outlets being under the control of too few people.

Entertainment shows parading as ‘news outlets’ and spewing hate and derision across the airwaves. Hate and fear sell more. I think the terminology used to be ‘If it bleeds it leads.’ Why do we have to constantly see all the bad news without another voice showing all the good that is happening, Every. Single. Day.

We see so much bad news reported that it becomes the only thing we think is in the country.

The best line from this monologue is, “The first step in fixing a problem is recognizing there is one.”

What can we do as individuals?

Perhaps each one of us can begin the healing process one step at a time. Don’t call names. Check your posts before you share. Share as much good news as you can.

I’ll let the clip speak for itself and ask what can we do to get back on track?

Yours in Creative Photography,   (if a bit off subject in today’s post)       Bob

Here’s a link for those who are seeing this in my post notification email. https://youtu.be/bIpKfw17-yY

nightscape photography time lapse

I’ve been enjoying the cooler air at night photographing Nightscapes and Starscapes. Today’s high was 107 here in Sedona, Arizona. Decided to lay low during the day!

Platypod tripod

I’ve been playing with the Platypod Ultra making some time-lapse videos for them. I bought the Platypod about a year and a half ago and wasn’t using it very much. But when they asked me to work it a little more I’ve been finding more and more uses. In addition, it now hangs off my small Think Tank Mirrorless – 20 camera pouch when I go hiking. I’m finding it gives me a stable platform while adding very little weight to my kit.

platypod with mirrorless mover 20

•• Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 with Platypod Ultra Tripod hanging with a caribeaner.

Watson Lake, Prescott, AZ

I spent a couple nights car camping, AKA boondocking, in my RAV 4 during the last full moon. Here’s a time-lapse I made of the moon for Platypod getting up off the horizon. See more of the boondocking story here.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob


For those who are viewing this in the Successful-Photographer email notification here’s a link.
https://youtu.be/eDZ22rnivdk
•• The reason I use the Think Tank MM 20 is that it is small but robust. I’ve been using this bag for about five years and it is only starting to show some wear. Know that I am a mirrorless shooter with Lumix and Olympus gear so It’s just the right size. They make larger models such as the MM 30 for larger camera gear

lets talk infrared photography

I enjoy infrared photography to extend my shooting day. Harsh light doesn’t do much for regular color imaging. I believe it is beauteous, when captured with a camera that has been converted to infrared.

My current camera was converted to infrared by LifePixel. It is a Lumix G6 (now out of production) I keep a Lumix G Vario 14-140mm lens attached. I stay with the standard 720nm (nanometer) filter. It replicates the original black and white ‘IR look’ I enjoy. I’ve written about IR for several publications.

Here are a few links to try out if you would like to learn more.

Courthouse Butte in Sedona, AZ created with camera converted to infrared

https://photofocus.com/quick-tips/infrared-photography-extends-your-options

Created on Oak Creek at Crescent Moon State Park Sedona, AZ

https://photofocus.com/photography/outdoor-photography-at-oak-creek-part-three

Love how the palm leaves render in infrared. Pond at Papago Park in Phoenix, AZ

https://successful-photographer.com/papago-park-infrared

Let me know if you have any questions.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

watson lake prescott arizona camping & shooting

I’m testing out my build on my RAV 4 for boondocking by staying at a local campground. Two  nights here and get to play with imagery including water, unique looking rocks and a full moon.

I’ll be sharing some of the things I found out in some future posts. In the meantime here is my office today and a couple quickly processed images.

Here’s my office for the day.

Hopefully a better version of this image is coming tonight as the sun will be higher in the sky when the moon makes it’s appearance. Two images combined.

Earlier in the day I found this dragonfly perch.

More soon…

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

The Oly OM-D E-M1 Mark three is becoming a favorite. The Lumix LX100 has become my BTS camera. Fits comfortably in a small camera bag, the Mirrorless Mover 20 from Think Tank There is a newer LX100ii version that is a couple hundred dollars more…

click con nation 2020/2021 speaker

ClickCon – A photography and videography conference where the community comes together to innovate, create, and collaborate.”

While the live event ClickCon 2020 has been postponed until next summer, they have collaborated and come together to create something quite innovative: a virtual educational conference that takes place not over one, two, or three days during one week a year, but rather a collection of educational days taking place for a full day, once a month, for nearly a year!

For my part I’ll be presenting an hour on my PhotoSynthesis program in October.

This is a dive into Photoshop as a creative tool to enhance images. I use this type of processing a lot and note that I am a Lens Based Artist.

clickcon nation speaker badge

A year of photo education every Sunday. Or, the day you decide to watch! Get 20% off with code COATES15

“Taking your images to another level is one way to set yourself apart from other photographers. Bob has chosen to move his images to a more-painterly feel. He accomplishes this by fusing many images together utilizing a single subject blended with many textures from nature, decaying made-made items and everyday items found through serendipity. The result is an image that has depth and dimension and will often reveal different things to the viewer no matter how many times it is seen.

Learn more about the ClickCon Nation programing. I’m but a small part… If you use my code COATES15 you’ll get a 20% discount to sign up.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

LED light review f7 pocketlite fold

Got a chance to play with a new LED light called the PocketLite Fold. I had the previous model F7 PocketLite and here’s a review from last year. I like them both. But, I like the Fold more than twice as much. It has twice the light and a built in control from the phone APP DeSal Lite which you can download to control your lights at no additional charge.

Having a small, powerful light is a good thing to have in your kit. This will work super as a fill light, a special effects color light and creative tool. If you are not at a far distance it will even serve as a main light. I measured 1/30th of a second at f/2.8 ISO 200 at four feet. The beauty of working with LED lights is WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob