JMag Photography: Blog http://jmagphotography.com/blog en-us (C) JMag Photography jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) Wed, 02 May 2018 02:59:00 GMT Wed, 02 May 2018 02:59:00 GMT http://jmagphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u842667831-o981606273-50.jpg JMag Photography: Blog http://jmagphotography.com/blog 80 120 Photography feature in the SDVoyager http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2018/5/photography-feature-in-the-sdvoyager Screenshot

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) black and white desert in my footsteps landscape nature usa http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2018/5/photography-feature-in-the-sdvoyager Wed, 02 May 2018 02:58:37 GMT
Chocolate & Art Show Los Angeles 2018 http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2018/2/chocolate-art-show-los-angeles-2018  

I will be participating in the Chocolate & Art Show in Los Angeles

February 16-17-2018 

Come join me for a fun night of art, music and CHOCOLATE ! 

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) art show california in my footsteps jmag photography landscape los angeles photography vortex http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2018/2/chocolate-art-show-los-angeles-2018 Fri, 09 Feb 2018 05:46:39 GMT
Color Chase ! http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/9/color-chase Since it is officially fall (my favorite season to go out and shoot all the beautiful color nature is creating), I thought I would make a blog post about photographing the colors of autumn. I would like to share a few tricks that I have learned.

Admittedly, we are not living in the prime locations for foliage photography like the Northeast, or the Southeast, or the Midwest. Those are the regions that produce the most striking and vibrant colors. Locally, though, there is still a lot of beautiful color that will happen a little later in the season -- especially up in the Laguna Mountains  you will see bracken fern which turns golden brown and creates a nice contrast against the green forest and in the Cuyamaca State Park you will mostly see black oak trees.

During the autumn months from September to November, the trees start to change in color. The green leaves turn into vibrant yellows, oranges, reds, and rich browns. Each type of tree has its own special color, and it can vary from year to year for each individual tree. When the leaves change color, the chlorophyll -- which gives leaves their green color -- begins to break down, allowing for the masked pigments to show up. Every leaf color derives from a unique pigmentation process and its color change varies wildly depending on the right conditions of light and temperature.The colors usually flow from North to South and in colder higher altitude regions, it starts sooner.The colors usually arrive at the coastlines toward the end of fall.  

Tips:

1. Shoot in Daylight white balance so the colors will not be neutralized as with AWB.

2. Use your RGB histogram instead of the luminosity histogram so you can see if specific channels are clipped and correct as necessary. Find complimentary colors such as reds and greens for example.

3. Good color isn’t enough. Try to find compositions that help the photograph. Look for dominant elements such as one colorful tree, on a plain or some sort of field, vegetation, or a single leaf isolated against a contrasting blue sky.

4.Experiment with a shallow depth of field.

5. Try more unusual and different angles. Go down low or climb up high.

6. Use a zoom or a longer lens and crop in tighter.

7. I especially love the morning light, just before the sun appears and a little while after it has risen, but the late afternoon and evening light is gorgeous as well. An overcast day will bring out the colors even more. These are probably the best times for me, but you can experiment with other types of light as in the middle of the day, or try to backlight your scene and create sunbursts with a small aperture while shooting directly into the sun. This can also add a lot of atmosphere to the shot especially when some sort of mist or haze is present.

8. Don’t let bad weather hold you back from photographing. Often times in autumn it will rain, storm, or even snow. Rain will bring out the colors even more in the foliage and clouds will add to the images. Take advantage of the atmospheric conditions of fall, such as the morning mists that can add mood and atmosphere to the photographs. In windy conditions, try to experiment with motion blur by putting your camera on a tripod and focus on something static such as a tree trunk. Then use a longer shutter speed and have the surrounding vegetation start to create a soft blurry veil around the focal point such as the static tree stumps. This is perfect for creating more impressionistic photographs.

Hurricane RidgeHurricane Ridge

I have given you some tips that hopefully will help you to go out there and capture some fall colors!

Most important for me, as always is to be present and connect fully with nature. Take a walk through the forest, notice the smell of the foliage, touch the fallen leaves, feel the the different textures of the vegetation, notice the array of colors…Or just sit still and observe for a moment, let the wind blow through your hair, let your eyes gaze softly and see where this takes you. Sometimes one of these moments captures me and that is the one I feel compelled to photograph. I think those are the moments that I connect on a deeper level with what is. 

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) Autumn Fall Colors Foliage In my footsteps Landscape Nature Photography Travel USA http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/9/color-chase Thu, 22 Sep 2016 17:06:46 GMT
Sand Waves http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/9/sand-waves

 

“We all are bundles of electric waves or streams of particles – proton, neutron, and electrons. If a piece of metal can be transformed into electric or magnetic waves, so can a string of sound, a thought, and a desire.”  

- Girdhar Joshi, Some Mistakes Have No Pardon.
 
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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) California Desert In my footsteps Landscape Nature Photography Travel USA black and white http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/9/sand-waves Wed, 14 Sep 2016 17:25:47 GMT
JOIN ME @ BEYOND THE LINES ART SHOW 9/16-9/18 http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/9/beyond-the-lines-art-show-9/16-9/18

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/9/beyond-the-lines-art-show-9/16-9/18 Wed, 14 Sep 2016 17:24:25 GMT
Chocolate & Art Show Los Angeles http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/7/chocolate-art-show-los-angeles I will be participating in the Chocolate & Art Show in Los Angeles on August 19-20 @ the Vortex.

Come join me for a fun night of art, music and CHOCOLATE ! 

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) California In my footsteps Photography and art chocolate show http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/7/chocolate-art-show-los-angeles Mon, 11 Jul 2016 16:13:39 GMT
First Friday: Oceanside Art Walk for March 2016 - Spring Forward in Oceanside http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/3/first-friday-oceanside-art-walk-for-march-2016---spring-forward-in-oceanside Very excited to be showing my landscape photography at Seaside Flowers during the Oceanside Art Walk  on Friday, March 4th 2016 from 5-8pm.

I would love to see you there!

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/3/first-friday-oceanside-art-walk-for-march-2016---spring-forward-in-oceanside Tue, 01 Mar 2016 21:17:04 GMT
Featured Artist on Artsy Shark! http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/2/featured-artist-on-artsy-shark

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) California In my footsteps Landscape Nature Photography Sunset Travel USA http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2016/2/featured-artist-on-artsy-shark Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:51:46 GMT
5 TIPS TO SHOOT HOLIDAY LIGHT PHOTOS! http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/12/5-tips-to-shoot-holiday-light-photos

1. BALANCING TWO TYPES OF AMBIENT LIGHT
When we go out to see holiday lights, it is usually already very dark. This isn't a problem for our eyes but the camera sensor has limitations in these situations. The best time to go out and shoot holiday lights is dusk - that small window of time after the sun has set and before total darkness has set in. The 2 types of ambience that we are trying to balance are the holiday lights and the slowly disappearing evening light. During this time, it is possible to expose for both, and, if you set your camera’s white balance to Tungsten, you will make the already blue sky even bluer. Keeping this in mind, it will take some scouting to find a good composition. Once you have found your place and subject to shoot, you can maximize your time getting the shot right. This could be a fun way to get out of the house and stroll around the neighborhood during the Christmas season. Here is a link to some of San Diego’s hotspots for Christmas lights.

2. BOKEH
Bokeh is the quality of the portion of a photograph that is not in sharp focus. Ever wanted to know how you can capture those beautiful Bokeh shots? It can be achieved by adjusting depth-of-field and choosing the right lens. To get beautiful bokeh in an image, you need to use a fast lens - the faster the better! You’ll want to use a lens with at least an f/2.8 aperture, with faster apertures of f/1.8 or f/1.4 being ideal. The first thing we need to do is get close to the subject, set your camera up on a tripod, and then open your lens all the way. 

The wider open, the better! To increase the likelihood of visible bokeh in your photographs, increase the distance between your subject and the background. You can do this by positioning your main subject very close to your camera. The more shallow the depth-of-field or further away the background is, the more out-of-focus it will be. You can also use shapes and change the look of your aperture which can be quite fun to experiment with. You can buy filters that attach to the front of your lens or you can make some yourself with stencils.

3. LONG EXPOSURE (MOVEMENT, LIGHT TRAILS)

To keep this very basic and simple, follow these steps. Your camera should allow you to control at least the shutter speed. Then find moving lights or an object that is moving while illuminated. Try to visualize how it all plays out in the final image. A street scene with holiday  decorations during dusk and some moving lights (like cars) could produce an interesting scene. Think about how the trails will interact with the rest of your composition. I just recently saw a great shot of a spinning Christmas tree. It caught my attention because I really liked the look, and I also knew that it took some effort to spin the tree with all the lights attached to it :-)

To shoot a long exposure set your camera on a tripod or a steady surface, use an aperture of at least f/8 keep the ISO low and then determine the shutter speed the longer the better! Try to have at least 10-20 sec. but keep experimenting with different intervals. Shorter exposures will produce shorter trails. Longer exposures will give you smooth continuous trails. Use your histogram to check that the highlights are not totally blown out. Shoot RAW if you can, this will give you more options in post processing, you can also use your camera’s BULB mode and a remote control to utilize shutter speeds that go past 30sec. but in an urban setting you can get by without that extra exposure time.

4. CLOSE UP OF HOLIDAY DECORATIONS

Tell the story of your holiday experience with just a few pieces of the whole puzzle. Zoom in on some decorations in the house or elsewhere - such as close ups of food, gifts, activities like decorating the tree - use a shallow depth of field by opening your lens up a little more, maybe include some bokeh from background lights. I recommend using a tripod when shooting static subjects. If you use a tripod, you can use slower shutter speeds and lower ISO’s than you would handheld. If you photograph activites handheld, this would be a good time to increase your ISO. Experiment with this! 

5. ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM YOUR LENS !

This can be really fun and create some interesting and unique photographs! Find lights in an interesting setting - a street scene, a lit up Christmas tree, or any sort of light involving Christmas decoration. Then set your camera on a tripod and use a zoom lens. Now get your exposure figured out and, during the exposure, you will zoom in and out. This will create streaks of light that can be super fun and produce unique photographs. This is very experimental, so keep on trying with different subjects and surroundings!

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) Christmas Holidays In my footsteps Photography USA lights http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/12/5-tips-to-shoot-holiday-light-photos Sun, 13 Dec 2015 01:50:10 GMT
Sequioa National Park http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/12/kings-canyon-national-park  

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" When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe" - John Muir

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) California In my footsteps Landscape Nature Photography Travel USA http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/12/kings-canyon-national-park Wed, 09 Dec 2015 23:30:00 GMT
Horseshoe Bend near Page, Arizona http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/12/horseshoe-bend  It was only a short hike to the EDGE of Horseshoe bend and when I finally sat downoverlooking the Colorado river,

I was filled with awe. ONWARD!  _JMG1237_8_9-Edit-Edit-Edit_JMG1237_8_9-Edit-Edit-Edit

" We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong"

-Anonymous

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) California Desert In my footsteps Landscape Nature Photography Travel USA http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/12/horseshoe-bend Tue, 08 Dec 2015 22:44:17 GMT
Stormy Skies at Moro Rock http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/12/stormy-skies-at-moro-rock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA “There's always another storm. It's the way the world works. Snowstorms, rainstorms, windstorms, sandstorms, and firestorms. Some are fierce and others are small. You have to deal with each one separately, but you need to keep an eye on whats brewing for tomorrow.” - Maria V. Snyder, Fire Study

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) California In my footsteps Landscape Moro Nature Photography Rock Travel USA black and white http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/12/stormy-skies-at-moro-rock Thu, 03 Dec 2015 00:38:51 GMT
Uncertainty... http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/11/uncertainty I finally sat down and processed the photographs from my wonderful road trip with a dear friend. This time my travel focus was not completely on photography, it was more of personal nature, but I photographed most of it anyway :-) I guess, the only difference was the amount of gear I was lugging around everyday. Intentionally, I only packed my EM1 with my Zuiko lens 14-150mm (35mm equivalent 28-300mm). This set up has proven to be great for my travels. While we were driving through the winding mountain roads through Sequoia we had some incredible photogenic weather with dramatic cloud formations, rain, thunderstorms and lots of misty mornings and late afternoons. 

Onward!

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….I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.  Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is, to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer...

 -Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet 

 

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) California In my footsteps Landscape Nature Photography Sequoia Travel USA black and white http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/11/uncertainty Mon, 30 Nov 2015 22:17:08 GMT
BRYCE! http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/8/bryce

"Before there were any Indians, the Legend People, To-when-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. There were many of them. They were of many kinds – birds, animals, lizards and such things, but they looked like people. They were not people. They had power to make themselves look that way. For some reason the Legend People in that place were bad; they did something that was not good, perhaps a fight, perhaps some stole something…. the tale is not clear at this point. Because they were bad, Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them in that place now all turned into rocks; some standing in rows, some sitting down, some holding onto others. You can see their faces, with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks. The name of that place is Angka-ku-wass-a-wits (red painted faces). This is the story the people tell."

                                                     -Paiute Indian legend

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I arrived in the late afternoon on my first day at Bryce. I had been driving all day leaving the valley of fire behind me with lots of wonderful impressions to process. I was eager to finally walk up to the edge of the amphitheater and see with my very own eyes what it is all about. Once I parked my car, I grabbed my equipment and walked over. I wanted to take advantage of the still golden light of the late afternoon. It was much cooler, winter was definitely not over at Bryce, and I had to pull out my cold weather gear to keep warm. When I arrived at the edge of the canyon, I could see that the hoodoos were still partially covered with snow, and it was, of course, crowded with tourists and photographers alike. But, I found a good spot to place my tripod. _JMG9662_3_5_JMG9662_3_5 I took a moment and just stood there and looked…my eyes filled with amazement by the vastness and sheer beauty of this place. I took a deep breath in and despite all the people around me, I felt a stillness and calmness that seemed to consume me. I could hear some voices from some late hikers ascending into the canyon. The snow was melting and the trails were icy and slippery; some people used snowshoes while others just walked very carefully. Part of the canyon was now in shadow and other areas were lit up with golden light. The longer I looked, the more excitement stirred within me. I started to see the different colors in the rocks as the sun started to set, and the hoodoos were showered with the golden light. The lines of pine trees and rock formations in the canyon created all sorts of interesting compositions; the melting snow, still partially covering part of the canyon, was adding interest. Filled with excitement, I framed my first shot. I had spotted a rim covered with snow, which formed a line cutting through the pine trees and rocks. The pine trees, rock formations and the little patches of snow in-between were broken up nicely this way. The sun started to really light up different parts of the canyon in shades of orange. I kept shooting, forgetting everything around me; I couldn't stop…I was mesmerized.  P3130975P3130975OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA After the sun finally disappeared and most people left, I noticed that about 10-20 min after the sun had set, the afterglow of the sunset created beautiful colors contrasting with the now blue sky. I had talked earlier with another photographer from the greater area. He said he didn't quite understand why everyone left right after the sun had set. I agreed, as I had just noticed myself how the hoodoos were glowing. Very excitedly, he showed me a close-up of some which were lit up in shades of red surrounded by the cooler light of the blue hour. It was getting late, and my hands started to get really cold. I wasn't ready to leave yet though. I stayed for about another 20 minutes, but at that point it was really time to pack up, rest up, and get ready for the next morning. I had initially thought of camping, but temperatures were still in the high 30’s at night, so I decided to book a room for my stay in the Bryce area. I was looking forward to sleeping in a bed for the night, take a hot shower, and enjoy hot coffee in the morning. It’s funny how when you remove yourself from some of the conveniences of modern life, a cup of hot coffee and a hot shower can become the highlight of your day….well, besides photographing that is :-) _JMG0014_2_3_JMG0014_2_3 The next morning it was very cold; I put on several layers of clothes, gloves, a hat, and a thick scarf. When I walked to the edge of Bryce, through the snow, I could start to feel the penetrating cold. I assembled my tripod and started setting up my camera. SUNRISE was beyond spectacular here. WOW! I forgot about how cold it was, but it didn't cease being amazing once the sun was up. Now, I started to slowly and carefully descend into the canyon. I was surrounded by the sound of melting snow and people shuffling through the icy trails. Once in a while, I heard some chatter from nearby hikers or a bird of prey flying over. The sun started to light up the deeper parts of the canyon. It was getting warmer, and I was able to shed some layers of clothing. Being inside the canyon was a whole different experience.  When I visit a place with my camera I have not been to; it's a little overwhelming at first, because I see a lot of compositions to explore, but I know I have to get over my initial amazement and keep exploring until I’m captured by something that moves me on a deeper level. I allow myself to be open and keep shooting, but most of the time; the moments that truly capture me are those that resonate with me past the first encounter. Sometimes, this does happen at first sight; sometimes it’s during a return visit, and the ones that I missed visit me in my dreams :-) I have said this before, but photographing is like falling in love.

ONWARD!

 

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) Bryce In my footsteps Landscape National Park Nature Photography Sunrise Sunset Travel USA Utah http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/8/bryce Fri, 21 Aug 2015 05:51:13 GMT
BEYOND THE LINES POP-UP ART SHOW LOS ANGELES http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/8/beyond-the-lines-pop-up-art-show-los-angeles I will be showing my landscape photography at this event and I would love to see you there !

 

 


 

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) Art show California In my footsteps Landscape Los Angeles Nature Photography Travel USA http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/8/beyond-the-lines-pop-up-art-show-los-angeles Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:43:29 GMT
Basic Tips for Shooting Firework Displays! http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/7/quick-tips-on-shooting-fireworks Independence Day San DiegoIndependence Day San Diego Big Bay Boom - Independence Day 2014

Since we are getting close to Independence day, I thought I would share a few of the things I have learned about shooting fireworks.

  • Scout your location  Think about how you can ground the fireworks and add elements into the frame that reveal your location. This will make your fireworks photographs stand out!
  •  Tripod  The camera needs to be as stable and shake-free as possible.
  •  Cable release   To avoid introducing any sort of shake.
  •  Headlight  In case you are in a place where it is very dark, a headlight will help you to find your way around and keep your hands free.
  •  “Magic black cloth”  I carry a piece of black cloth with me to cover the lens in between fireworks bursts. This will allow you to get multiple bursts into one frame.
  •  Lens choice  Anything from a wide-angle to a mid-telephoto works. It really depends on the look you are trying to achieve. It’s easier to start with a wide-angle lens and then try different lenses.
  •  Manual Mode   I will use the first burst to determine my exposure.
  •  Aperture  start at f/8 – f/16   Again, fireworks are bright, so this will allow me to shoot at smaller apertures and longer shutter speeds. I determine aperture from my first test shot of the first burst.
  •  Low ISO   Fireworks are bright, and you really want to capitalize on the ability to use longer shutter speeds so you can have multiple bursts in one shot.  In between bursts, I will use the magic cloth to cover my lens.
  •  Manual Focus  The first burst is also helping me to set my focus. I will manually focus on the burst and then I lock it. Usually the fireworks are photographed from a distance and shooting at f/8 – f/16 will give enough of a range of acceptable focus.

Let me know if you found these tips helpful. I would love to see some of your shots, and I’m looking forward to capturing this year’s fireworks!

Happy shooting and happy Independence day!

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) 4th California Day Diego Fireworks Independence July Photography San USA of http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/7/quick-tips-on-shooting-fireworks Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:16:44 GMT
Monument Valley http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/6/monument-valley “Beyond the glittering street was darkness, and beyond the darkness the West. I had to go.”

- Jack Kerouac, On The Road

Monument Valley - Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii, Valley of the Rocks

This was my first visit to Monument Valley. I was amazed and awed as I stood in the visitor parking lot, above the valley floor, looking at the massive sandstone buttes. From here, I had spectacular views of the valley's most photographed peaks - East and West Mitten Buttes, and Merrick Butte. Monument Valley is what most of us truly associate with the "American West." There was a slight chill in the air – slightly windy, overcast skies. The following day turned out to be very similar, and I started to wonder if I should pack up and leave. I was experiencing bland skies, and the dust seemed to get into every piece of my equipment. But just then, the clouds began to move, the sky opened up a little, and so I decided to stay another night.  P3180328-EditP3180328-EditOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Hopefully, I would experience a better sunrise and sunset the following day. Fortunately, the next day I had better conditions. I thought of hiring a guide and a horse to reach some of the areas that were not accessible without an official Navajo guide, but I then decided to do this on a return trip with more time and better weather. I explored the rest of the valley with my car; the road was steep and uneven and dust kept stirring up as I descended further into the valley's heart. P3170107P3170107OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Passing many of the towering cliffs, red mesas, and spire rocks, I encountered free roaming horses and very friendly shaggy dogs that would come right up at every stop. It seemed they were longing for some human interaction. Now, up close, a lot of the rock formation seemed even more massive, and I felt very small right next to them. I started to become fascinated with the different textures of the rocks, and the changing light kept me driving in circles on this 17 mile loop until it was time for me to leave as the sun started to set. Tired from a day of driving and photographing, I decided to settle down for the night. After another bowl of the delicious vegetarian chili - the food that sustained me on this trip :-) , I started reviewing my images on my laptop only to have my eyes fail on me. That’s when I knew it was time to go to sleep so that I stood a chance of getting up early the next morning to shoot sunrise. _JMG1803_4_5_6_7_JMG1803_4_5_6_7 Not surprisingly, sunrise snuck up on me; the minute my eyes opened, I realized it was already happening. I quickly grabbed my shoes, vest, and hat and started running over to the lookout point. I so wished there would have been time for coffee, but it was too late for that. It wasn't the most spectacular of sunrises, but after two days with no color breaking through the clouds, I was excited to witness this. This is what I had been wanting to see! The mesa was colored in shades of orange, but the sky was still partially covered with clouds which kept moving around. The sun then broke through and lit up the entire valley slowly as it kept rising up. As warm as this looked, my hands were freezing cold and a strong wind had come in. I was trying to stabilize my tripod as I shot, totally enthralled by the sudden change in weather and scene. This experience concluded my visit to Monument Valley, and I moved on to Paria. But, before departing, I got that cup of freshly brewed, hot coffee. Yum!

ONWARD!

 

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) Desert In my footsteps Landscape Monochromatic Monument Nature Photography Sunset USA Valley black and white http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/6/monument-valley Wed, 10 Jun 2015 23:25:53 GMT
Death Valley 2014 http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/6/death-valley-2014

"Once again there was the desert, and that only."

- Stephen King, The Gunslinger

 

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) Desert In my footsteps Landscape Nature Photography Travel USA black and white http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/6/death-valley-2014 Tue, 09 Jun 2015 21:44:10 GMT
UPCOMING PHOTOGRAPHY SHOWCASE @ THE CHOCOLATE AND ART SHOW @ KGB STUDIOS IN LOS ANGELES! http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/5/upcoming-art-show---the-chocolate-and-art-show-kgb-studios-in-los-angeles

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) Art In my footsteps Landscape Photography Wall art jmag photography http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/5/upcoming-art-show---the-chocolate-and-art-show-kgb-studios-in-los-angeles Fri, 08 May 2015 02:37:12 GMT
Slot Canyons – A Mesmerizing Hidden World Below The Surface http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/4/-slot-canyons-a-mesmerizing-hidden-world-below-the-surface Inside the Canyon

“It is really difficult to describe, with words, what feelings being inside a slot canyon evokes;

it would be like trying to describe how it feels to fall in love. It is something you have to experience for yourself"

- Jennifer Magallon

My recent travels took me to Page, Arizona, where a long time dream of mine came true. I was finally experiencing the beautiful light of the slot canyons. For years, I had been looking at photographs of this region, and I was awe-inspired by them. I knew that one day, I would go and experience it with my own eyes. The canyons are located in the Navajo Nation, just east of Page, Arizona. Upper and lower Antelope Canyons are the most visited slot canyons of the Southwest. Upper Antelope Canyon is known as Tsé bighánílíní – “the place where water runs through rocks” – in the Navajo language; and the Lower Canyon Hazdistazí - “spiral rock arches.” Besides visiting these two canyons, I also visited Rattlesnake, Owl, and Mountain Sheep Canyon, and I highly recommend going to some of the lesser-visited canyons to actually have time to connect and experience the beautiful stillness that can be found within them. The canyons felt very mysterious and spiritual to me, perhaps because of their hidden nature. Entering the canyon reminded me of walking into a place like a big cathedral, a place that will leave you in awe with its beauty and vastness and depth – a place of contemplation and stillness and something that demands respect from every visitor.

Slot canyons are very narrow and usually very deep. They can easily be only 3 feet on top but reach down 100 feet. These magnificent canyons have been created by floodwaters rushing through and sculpting the sand or limestone into beautiful sinuous walls.  _JMG2107_10_11_12-Edit_JMG2107_10_11_12-Edit To me, the soft-to-the-touch sandstone looked like dancing waves, with the light being the water gently flowing through it. I’m amazed how our brain is capable of making sense when presented with random data, and shortly after entering the canyons, I started to see all sorts of shapes in the sandstone formations - like human faces/forms, animals, and all sorts of things. I even saw something that reminded me of a wild, dragon-like creature. Some of the slot canyons merely look like a crack in the earth from up top, but once you are inside, you will be able to witness how the beams of light that enter the canyons throughout the day at different angles create a dance of light and shadow and turn the sandstone into shades of yellow, orange, red, purple, and blue. You cannot visit the canyons without a Navajo guide; I highly recommend going on a tour specifically for photographers. You will have the expert knowledge and guidance and also benefit from the very-necessary crowd control done by your professional guide. 

It will also allow you to have at least a few minutes or more to set up and frame your shot before the next tour enters and it gets tight and busy. At times, it is also very narrow and dark, so I recommend having your camera set up on a tripod, remote control attached and just be ready to shoot! Also, because of the narrowness inside the canyons, don't bring a backpack if you don't have to; it is very crowded, and you will not have a lot of time. Be flexible, patient, and do what you can with what you have. Less gear is really more in this situation. I’m specifically talking about Antelope Canyon; I had no idea it would be as crowded as it was, and I wasn't even there in the peak season. I underexposed all my shots by one full stop, which helped quite a bit - plus I bracketed. Shoot from the shadow! It will take a little bit to get a feel for the light in the canyons, but this will help you to get started. You are trying to photograph the reflected light, which occurs when the sunlight hits a canyon wall and reflects that light onto another wall. This is the light that will produce rich saturated colors. If you only have one camera body, I can share with you that I was the happiest with my wide angle lens 16-35mm - and as my post-shoot analysis in Lightroom revealed, I shot most at 16 mm and 35mm. There were a few shots I would have liked to have a longer lens for, so if you have another body equipped with a mid-range zoom, go for it. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Please don't attempt to change lenses in the canyon. Have a filter in front of your lens and keep wiping it often. The sand is very fine and sticky and will be on and in your equipment very fast. Do anything possible to protect your gear. I was advised to buy a bit of putty goo to pick up the remaining sand dust from the body and lens. It worked very well for me - much better than only the brush that I use to wipe off my equipment. 

This was definitely not my last visit to the slot canyons ;-) The dance of shadow and light within the canyons is mesmerizing and kept me engaged and shooting the entire time I was inside. It seemed like a never-ending plethora of possible photographs. I would make my way through the narrow walkways, climb up ladders, and crawl into narrow spaces. Most of the time, my tripod was at its lowest position, and the camera was shooting up, making it very difficult to frame the shot at times. So, the less you carry inside the canyon, the better off you are! 

What really made this visit special was the human connection. My extraordinary guide - he was so kind, modest, and knowledgeable, and he shared so much valuable information with me. He made me understand a lot more about the place than I ever would have learned on my own. Besides being an incredible photographer, he is a studied and talented musician and while we were riding in his car from canyon to canyon, he would play his beautifully composed music for us. In the canyon, he even played the flute. He then shared with us that he only plays his own compositions and when he plays inside the canyons, he feels connected with the place and the people that have once been here but who are no longer with us - he plays for the lost souls in the canyon. We also encountered two small Mohave rattlesnakes in one of the canyons. We were alerted to watch out for them. This was the very first time I was standing in front of a snake in real life; I spotted the first one (to my own amazement since they are surprisingly small). After that initial encounter, I just kept seeing snakes whenever I’d spot a color pattern close to the snake that I had just seen. In the last canyon we visited, our guide told us that he wanted to show us something very special; eager in anticipation of what might be awaiting us around the corner, we followed him inside the canyon. We sat down on a rock and it got really quiet for a moment. We then realized that this was actually the big surprise, so we all chuckled in union, before we leaned into the silence. This less-visited canyon is a place were you can find and connect with complete stillness - something that seems so rare and special in our modern world. I was very thankful to be able to conclude my visit to the canyons with this experience. Thank you!

- ONWARD!

 

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jennifer@jmagphotography.com (JMag Photography) Antelope Canyon Canyons Desert In my footsteps JMag Landscape Nature Photography Slot Southwest Travel USA http://jmagphotography.com/blog/2015/4/-slot-canyons-a-mesmerizing-hidden-world-below-the-surface Fri, 24 Apr 2015 01:08:55 GMT