Mount Diablo and East Bay Hills; a new Premier Photo Gallery (Where I live.)

Posted October 17th, 2013 by
Categories: Bay Area, California, Photos, Sunrise

Picture: Spring sunrise over green hills, near Orinda, California

Image: Spring sunrise over green hills, near Orinda, Californiaa

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve finally gotten a chance to post a new gallery on my web site, featuring images from my own local area. Introducing my newest Premier Online Photo Gallery, including pictures of Mount Diablo, the Diablo Valley, and the East Bay Hills. The East Bay Hills includes both the Oakland and Berkeley Hills, as well as the Diablo Range foothills, and especially my own local favorite hiking area, Briones Regional Park.

I hope you’ll please take a moment to check out all the wonderful images I’ve posted over three pages of lightbox thumbnail galleries. And if you’re so inclined, I’d really appreciate it if you’d click on one of the Share or Like buttons at the bottom of the gallery thumbnails. (Or at the top of this blog post.)

All of these images are available for publication and use by businesses, or as fine art prints or wall murals for corporate business offices or residential homes alike. If you have any questions about any image in the gallery, please contact me. If you’re a local business interested in putting a text-based web link to the gallery to show off this wonderful area, please feel free. But I do ask you contact me for permission before using any of the photos on a commercial web site.

While you’re there, please check out my two other Premier Photo Galleries, Yosemite National Park (Horray for re-opening!) and a collection of Panoramic Photographs.


Image ID#: lmo-1099aM



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A Photographic Life… and then what?

Posted October 14th, 2013 by
Categories: Photographers

Picture: Photographer shooting sunrise light on North Peak, Hoover Wilderness, Eastern Sierra, California

Image: Photographer shooting sunrise light on North Peak, Hoover Wilderness, Eastern Sierra, California

What happens to our pictures after we’ve shed our mortal coil? What are our families left to do with all the thousands of photos we’ve taken during our life-long quest for those perfect shots? Keep them? Abandon them? Spend weeks of their lives sorting through them, deciding which to keep and which to let go of?

I ask this following a powerfully personal and moving experience I had last week. Some of you may recall that early this year I devoted some of my energy to selling some photography gear for a woman whose husband died after a bout with cancer. Unfortunately, they got married while he was struggling with the disease, and since he was convinced he wasn’t going to succumb, they really didn’t discuss much of anything to do with his photography or his photo business. Worse even, when he did quickly succumb to the ravages of the disease, he took all of his business and photo-folder encrypted passwords with him.

Now this woman is moving out of state. She doesn’t want to bring the many tens of thousands of slides her husband shot, everything from Antarctica, to polar bears, to climbing, to flowers galore, with her on the move. There are boxes and boxes of his slides sitting in her house. So to help her, I spent a full day culling through his collection, pulling what I as a Photo Editor would consider the best of his collection. My job was to Read the rest of this post »

A great but strange Yosemite experience thanks to the US Gov’t.

Posted October 10th, 2013 by
Categories: California, Mountains, National Parks, Photos, Reflections, Water, Yosemite

Picture: Vogelsang Peak reflected in Vogelsang Lake at sunrise, near the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, Yosemite National Park, California<

Image: Storm cloud over Lake Tahoe at sunset, from South Lake Tahoe, California

This last Monday evening found me driving home from the Eastern Sierra along Highway 120, crossing over the Sierra via Tioga Pass Road through Yosemite National Park. It was truly one of the best and most unique experiences I’ve ever had in Yosemite. Unbelievably, I owe the thanks to the United States Government Shutdown, which effected all of America’s National Parks, including the closure of Yosemite. Even though the park was closed, people were permitted to drive along Tioga Pass Road (Hwy 120), yet they weren’t allowed to stop or recreate.

Now every other time I’ve crossed through Yosemite at night, including the dead of night, I always though of the park as being ‘asleep’. I knew people were in the backcountry or camping, employees working, rangers doing their patrols, but yet the quiet park merely felt at rest.

Driving through the park on Monday night, I was hit with the palpable feeling that the park was EMPTY, as if people had vanished from the earth. I was getting to see Yosemite as she was, by herself, like a peaceful sleeping giant, untouched by the footsteps of humans trodding across her skin. This was a different Yosemite; a Yosemite that knew only of Planet Earth and the timeless processes by which she was created, evolving through the eons, and not beholden to the skitterings of tourists and recreational vehicles. I felt humbled and honored to be in her presence during this unique moment, even though I was just passing through.

How bizarre, to think I owe this unique experience to a government shutdown, by a government whom I’m sure will be but a mere blip of existence when defined by time as measured by the land we call Yosemite.

And how quiet was it? While a few cars passed me heading in the opposite direction, there wasn’t another vehicle in my lane, either in front of me or behind, from 5 miles east of Tioga Pass, until I pulled into downtown Groveland; a distance of almost 75 miles. It was one of the best, most-memorable, peaceful drives I’ve had in a long, long time.


Image ID#: tiga-2073



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Seeing the Light – A Free Presentation at the San Francisco Apple Store Oct 9th

Posted October 4th, 2013 by
Categories: California, Eastern Sierra, Newsworthy, Photos, Presentations, Sunrise, Water

Picture: Sunrise at Hot Creek, Eastern Sierra, California

Image: Sunrise at Hot Creek, Eastern Sierra, California

This next Wednesday, October 9th at 7:00pm, I’ll be giving a free presentation called ‘Seeing the Light’ at the Apple Store in downtown San Francisco for the Bay Area Photography Events Meetup group. At this presentation, I’ll be discussing how I use nature’s light while shooting my landscape and travel photos.

For more information, or to sign up, visit the BAPE Meetup page.


Image ID#: SRA_HotCreek_112



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Autumn Insanity Photo Workshop in the Eastern Sierra 10/18

Posted September 27th, 2013 by
Categories: Autumn, California, Mountains, Photo Workshops and Tours, Photos, Travel, Workshops

Picture: Fall colors on aspen trees below Mount Dana, Eastern Sierra, California

Image: Fall colors on aspen trees below Mount Dana, Eastern Sierra, California

First off, let me say this is just nuts; maybe even insane…

Just within the last couple weeks I was asked if I’d be interested in running a photo workshop in the Eastern Sierra for one of the Bay Area’s local Meetup groups. Timing for organization and dates was short, and the Meetup organizer only had one weekend in October available. Always up for an adventure or an opportunity to teach, I said, “Sure, why not?”

So if you’re interested in spending a few days in the Sierra, I’ll be leading an Autumn Sierra Landscapes workshop for the Bay Area Photography Events Meetup, from Friday, October 18th through Sunday October 20th. The insane part? It’s only $195.00 for the whole weekend. Given the late timing of the season, and the short announcement window, the organizer set the workshop fee. To be honest, I suggested a number of times the price should be higher. In fact, the price is a fraction of what I’d charge for my own group or private workshop. It’s insane, I say; Insane.

We’ll be exploring the areas from Mono Lake to Bishop, with specific locations to be determined based on fall foliage conditions and weather. Needles to say, with this incredible price, the workshop fee doesn’t include lodging, transportation, or meals.

So the question is, are you feeling a little insane and wish to join us? If so, you can check out the Meetup Information page, and if you have questions about logistical aspects, I’m sure the organizer will be happy to answer. If you have any questions regarding equipment, locations, techniques to be covered, etc., let me know and I’ll be happy to answer as best as I can.

And again, just to be completely honest, I think the price is too low. But since this is a Meetup Group Event, what I can also say is that you’d be insane not to recognize what an incredible bargain this is for the value of spending several days out on location learning how to take better photos.


Image ID#: 111024_YOScr-0052



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The Day the Music Died

Posted September 23rd, 2013 by
Categories: Glacier National Park, Montana, National Parks, Photos, Sunset, Travel, Water

Picture: Sunset light through clouds over Lake MacDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana

Image: Sunset light through clouds and campfire smoke over Lake MacDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana

Well… not really the Music, but rather the day my D800 died… again.

I’m finally getting a chance to dig into some of the images I shot this summer while on my extended family vacation. Included among those photos was this panorama I shot at Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park. While my kids were busy throwing rocks into the lake, I was busy taking photos of some clearing storm clouds at sunset. Not more than a dozen frames after shooting this panorama, my Nikon D800 rolled up its eyes and started flashing the dreaded ERR message. That’s the Nikon equivalent of a PC Blue-Screen-of-Death. Never again during the course of that trip would my D800 capture a frame. It was dead, dead, dead.

But I suppose in retrospect, if you were gonna check out, stop working, or for that matter, simply and suddenly drop dead for no apparent reason whatsoever, be you a camera with an ERR, or a mortal human shedding your mortal coils, ya gotta’ admit… if you had to choose a time, place, and scene to go out on, this sure wouldn’t be a bad one. However, unlike most mortals who’ve escaped the earthly bonds, I can report that my D800 has been successfully resurrected (again) by Nikon Professional Services. Unfortunately they were unable to provide any information about what specifically caused the dreaded ERR. I think the technical term was “…just one of those things.”

(Technical Details: 7-vertical frames, stitched together using PShop CS6; file 24″x60″ at 300 dpi)


Image ID#: 130718a_MT-0382



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San Francisco PPGBA Presentation Tomorrow 9/19

Posted September 18th, 2013 by
Categories: California, Coast, Newsworthy, People, Presentations

Picture: Photographer couple shooting the sunset at the Marin Headlands, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Marin County, California

Image: Storm cloud over Lake Tahoe at sunset, from South Lake Tahoe, California

A quick and friendly reminderif you’re in or near the San Francisco Bay Area; I’m giving another of my “Two Books, Two Approaches” presentations tomorrow night, Sept. 19th, in South San Francisco for the Professional Photographers of the Greater Bay Area (PPGBA).

Since this is a professional organization the presentation will vary slightly from my more anecdotal version with a bit more info related to the business considerations involved with taking on book projects. Also, and again because it’s a professional organization, there is a cost for admission. For more info, please visit: http://ppgba.org/calendar/9_19_gary_crabbe/

If you show up, be sure to say hello!



 

This week in Marin County

Posted September 9th, 2013 by
Categories: California, Coast, Photo Workshops and Tours, Photos, Point Reyes, Workshops

Looking over the Great Beach,Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Image: Looking over the Great Beach,Point Reyes National Seashore, California

I’ll be visiting Marin County twice this week, and I want to offer up a reminder to let you know about what I’ll be doing in case you’d like to attend one or both of the events.

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, Sept. 10th, I’ll be giving a presentation of my “Two Books / Two Approaches” for the Marin Photo Club’s Education Night. The event is open to the public and is free. In this presentation, I discuss the shooting of my last two book projects, Greetings from California, and Photographing California; vol. 1 – North. The Marin Photo Club holds their Education Night meetings at the Anthem Church facility at 50 Los Ranchitos Road, San Rafael, just across the freeway from the Marin Civic Center. The presentation is set to run between 6:30 and 8:30pm. (NOTE: The venue for the presentation has been changed from what appears listed on the MPC website.)

Then on Saturday, September 14th, I’ll be teaching a one-day photo workshop called “Panoramic Point Reyes.” Obviously as the course title suggests, I’ll be teaching about shooting panoramic photos at Point Reyes. Put on by the non-profit Point Reyes Field Institute, the course runs from 1:30pm to 8:30 pm and meets at the Red Barn Classroom. There are still spaces available if you’re interested in attending. For more info or to register visit the PRFI Photography Course Page.

Shoot me a note if you’re planning to attend either of these events.


Review: Landscapes in Lightroom 5 by Michael Frye

Posted September 4th, 2013 by
Categories: Books, Photographers, Reviews

Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide by Michael Frye

Image: Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide by Michael Frye

Now that my summer vacation has officially come to a close, the kids are back in school, and I’ve finally got the wheels of my business turning again, I want to share a few new things with you. I previously mentioned that I had very little (if any to none) time for tending to my own business matters while on the road with my family or sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows. However, I did get to enjoy and review the work of some other very fine and talented photographers.

First up is a new e-book called Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide, by noted fellow landscape photographer Michael Frye. I’ve had a chance to meet Michael several times, and he is truly one of the nicest, most humble and quietly reserved photographers out there today. And like his own persona, one of the things I’ve always admired about his work is how it speaks with a quiet clarity, both in terms of composition and processing. There are no baseball bats trying to hit you over the head with crazy HDR or insanely saturated colors trying to compete for attention in a sea of such screaming imagery. His process is more about massaging, balancing, subtle emphasis, and area control, rather than turning all the knobs to “11″.

Image: Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide by Michael Frye Now I’m no photoshop whiz, or an uber-technical type. In fact, I don’t even consider myself an artist. I tend to operate on a very simple path, and Michael does a great job presenting the content of this book in a very clear, simple to understand, and easy to follow manner, with plenty of supporting illustrations adorning this 87-page e-book. The latter part of the book contains a half-dozen selected image examples, each of which has a variety of unique compositional or elemental characteristics. With these, Michael walks you through his image processing workflow, but also takes the time to expand on the ‘why’ – his mental thought process behind the choices he’s making, and the tools he’s using. And if that’s not enough, one of the great hidden bonuses of this book is more than an hour of special private video tutorials linked to the e-book showing specific details of how best to use some of Lightroom’s most important features and tools which he is discussing in a particular section or example.

As much as I like Michael and his work, and in the context of this being a review, perhaps the only criticism I could make is that I think his e-book is perhaps a bit mis-titled. It’s *not* just about Lightroom 5 exclusively. It’s still 90% relevant and worth investing in if you only own Lightroom 4 and want to better understand how to get the most out of your landscape or nature photos.

In the first half of this e-book, Michael explains in-depth why Lightroom has taken a quantum leap as an RAW image processor; namely the introduction of the 2012 Process Version… which shipped starting with Lightroom 4. Now granted, understanding the 2012 process is a huge deal, as is knowing how to best use the tone controls and how the default settings have changed since earlier versions. In this book, Michael does a fabulous job explaining this in a very clear, concise, and easy to understand manner, as well as showing how to incorporate this information into a managed workflow for processing RAW files. But… this information isn’t exclusive to Lightroom 5; in fact, I’d say owners of Lightroom 4 will gain just as much value from this ebook as owners of Lightroom 5, simply because of the amount of information passed on about understanding the 2012 processing engine.

Image: Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide by Michael Frye The information specific to the new features exclusive to Lightroom 5 only takes up a few pages of descriptions, albiet described with the same easy to understand clarity. The examples given later in the book do touch on some of the features of LR5, like the new advance healing brush; but in many instances, if you only own LR4, you won’t feel left out or left behind at all, and will be able to follow along with just about everything presented. And speaking of following along, Michael also provides the untouched RAW files of the example images he uses in the book, as well as a set of B&W processing actions that he provides for incorporating into your own workflow. This way you can use the same images as presented in the e-book, and watch first hand as you process the same image file using the workflow steps Michael has laid out, and see exactly what each step in the process is doing, and how it builds towards a final artistic vision.

I would definitely recommend Landscapes in Lightroom 5 by Michael Frye to any user of Lightroom (version 4 or 5) who wants a better understanding of how to get the best control over your RAW processing techniques or workflow, especially if you’re just starting to work with RAW files. Click on the text links or on the e-book cover at the top of this post to order.

(Disclosure, I should note that although Michael was nice enough to offer me the opportunity, these are not affiliate links. They’ll take you straight to Michael’s web site so you can order direct from him. I’m not pushing this to make any money for myself. I want to keep my reviews clean from any affiliate ties, and to make recommendations – or criticisms within a clear and clean venue.)


Point Reyes Panoramic Photo Workshop – Sept 14

Posted August 29th, 2013 by
Categories: California, Coast, Panoramic, Photo Workshops and Tours, Photos, Point Reyes

Picture: Panorama at Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Image: Panorama at Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Come join me for a one-day photographic workshop called Panoramic Point Reyes which I’ll be teaching in conjunction with the Point Reyes Field Institute, a non-profit educational and experiential partner of the NPS & Point Reyes National Seashore.

–> Click here to register. < --

Come explore Point Reyes with a very specific photographic perspective. We’ll spend the day learning about the techniques for finding and creating compelling panoramic images with a distinctive Point Reyes flavor. Emphasis will be split between in-field compositional choices using a variety of subjects, both natural and man-made, and classroom discussion of workflow and post-production techniques. The day will start with a classroom presentation, followed by spending the remainder of the day in the field concentrating on finding great panoramic subjects to photograph. We’ll continue to shoot through sunset into the early evening light. If extreme weather is an issue, we’ll spend additional time discussing digital and creative processing for nature photography. All skill levels welcome.

Contact myself or the PRFI with any questions.

I hope to see you there!

–> Click here to register. < --

PS: I’ll also be teaching a 3-day workshop at Point Reyes Nov. 22-24 (The weekend *before* Thanksgiving.) More info & Registration can be found a little further down the page on the PRFI site.