Oak Leaves, Reflections, Spring

Posted on 23 March 2015 | 2 comments

Oak Leaves, Reflections, Spring

Oak Leaves, Reflections, Spring

Oak Leaves, Reflections, Spring. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. October 24, 2014. © Copyright 2014 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Autumn oak leaves, reflections of sky and sandstone cliffs on stained rock

This was a wonderful autumn day of exploration, re-visiting a familiar place, wandering with friends, and photography. We drove a short distance down a back-country road from our campsite to get to the start of a canyon, beginning in a spot where there is little in the surrounding landscape to indicate what is hidden here. We left our vehicles on the flats at the edge of a shallow valley and dropped into it. The valley quickly narrowed and it wasn’t long until sandstone walls towered above as we traced the meandering course of the stream that had cut this canyon. We travelled slowly, making detours as the spirit took us, and halting to concentrate on photographic subjects we discovered along the way.

Eventually we arrived at a sort of “half-subway” (referencing a well-known Utah landscape subject that is far from this spot) where the creek rounded a bend in a narrow section of the canyon and has cut away rock back underneath the overhead walls. At the lower end of this section we arrived at a wider flat area, though the canyon was still quite narrow, and we paused to eat, talk, make photographs, and ponder. Across the bend in the creek a smooth rock wall dropped down from beneath a thickly vegetated ledge to the banks of the creek, and water seeped from cracks below the ledge, providing enough water to keep the rock constantly damp, and autumn leaves from an oak tree on the ledge were scattered on the rock.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Canon 5Ds and 5Ds R Pre-Orders Available

Posted on 22 March 2015 | Comment

 

Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR

Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR

Recently Canon announced the upcoming Canon EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R DSLRs, 50.6MP full frame cameras that should provide extremely high system resolution for those of us using full frame DSLRs for our photography. I just got word from site-affiliate B&H Photo that pre-orders are now available for both models of the camera. Yes, I pre-ordered mine…

The two models are nearly identical with the “R” model canceling the anti-alias (“AA”) filter that is present in the non-R model. The R model should be capable of slightly higher resolution, though it could be slightly more susceptible to aliasing and moire effects when shooting certain subjects that contain very small and regular geometric patterns.

Which should you get? Beats me! If you are mostly a landscape photographer the R model might be a good choice. If you photograph subjects that are not natural and which tend to have repeating patterns, the “regular” model might be a safer choice. In the end, I believe that both will produce excellent resolution.

Do you need a 50MP DSLR? That is also a good question. (It extends to asking whether you need a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, whether you need a full frame camera, and more — always important things to consider when making expensive photography equipment purchases.) For most people, such a high resolution sensor will probably not make their photographs visually any better. You certainly are not going to see the difference in web, email, or other images that are displayed on a computer screen. The primary advantages of a 50MP sensor will be for those who work very carefully — typically using excellent lenses and good technique and shoot from the tripod — and who make very large prints that already push the upper boundaries of what is possible with 20+ MP sensors.

How good is it? It is too soon to know for certain, though the picture is becoming clearer as review copies get into the hands of photographers and writers and as more sample images begin to appear on the Internet. Canon has made some sample .jpg images available, and I did some resolution testing with one of them a few weeks ago. I downloaded it and applied some minor post processing of the sort that I would typically use. I resized the image to 30″ x 45″ and  and then make a print of a letter-size section of this image — it looked very good. The detail was excellent and I could not see any concerning distortions or artifacts in the image. Encouraged, I went back to the computer and resized to a truly huge 60″ x 90″ size (!) and made another letter-sized print. Things still looked good for such an extreme enlargement. (You can read more about this test here.)

The estimated release date for the cameras is currently given as “June 2015.” I’ve seen dates as late as June 29 suggested and I’ve also seen speculation that it could be a bit earlier.

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American Avocet, Reflection

Posted on 22 March 2015 | Comment

American Avocet, Reflection

American Avocet, Reflection

American Avocet, Reflection. San Joaquin Valley, California. February 27, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

American Avocet and reflection, San Joaquin Valley wetlands

I have written before — often! — about the tremendous numbers of birds in California’s Central Valley, especially in the winter when migrating birds overwinter here. It is easy to be most impressed by the birds that are the biggest, the most unusual, those that are found in almost unbelievable numbers, and those whose cries are most striking. Frankly, very few experiences can compete with the sound and fury of many thousands of geese taking to the air at once, the magic of squadrons of cranes gliding in at dusk, the grace and size of the slower-moving egrets and herons, and too many others to list.

I’ve never been the classic “birder” type — the guy with the scope who searches out and identifies any and all birds — though I have become much more sympathetic to the passions of such people as I have spent more time among these remarkable birds! More recently, as I have returned to these places more and more frequently, I have gradually become aware that there are many other birds besides the big, impressive specimens mentioned above. These include individuals such as the hawks and owls, small birds that also live in flocks such as red-winged blackbirds, and a bunch of smaller birds that hang out in and around the water… like the avocet shown here. At one end of a refuge where we frequently photograph there are some quiet ponds along the side of the access road. I rarely see the bigger birds here, but I have recently learned that there is a lot more going on here than initially meets the untrained eye. On one of our recent visits I spent some time photographing avocets against the mostly smooth water in the morning just after the fog had cleared.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Meadow Grass and Frost

Posted on 21 March 2015 | Comment

Meadow Grass and Frost

Meadow Grass and Frost

Meadow Grass and Frost. Yosemite Valley, California. March 1, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Early morning frost on dormant winter grasses in a Yosemite Valley meadow

On a late-winter morning like this one there could be snow in Yosemite Valley, and even without new snow there is likely to be a bit of it lying around in shady areas. But not this winter. This has been the fourth of a series of very dry years in California, and this year was especially unkind to the Sierra. By the end of the season the snow pack looks to be barely 10% of what it would be in a typical year, and the situation is even more dire since this is only the latest in a string of such years. So it was not surprise to find this meadow snow free, with only a bit of frost suggesting the season.

We arose early on this morning and headed out close to sunrise looking for a meadow with the common winter low fog. We finally found a bit of it in this meadow, though it was dissipating quickly. Before it went away we headed out into the meadow to see what photographic possibilities we could find. I first focused on the frost itself and on some of the winter-dormant brush and bushes around the meadow’s edge. Then I moved back into the main part of the meadow, where these bent over and dried grasses reminded me of the patterns I might find in flowing water.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

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