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UNM PhD Graduation Portraits Albuquerque New Mexico with Jess

UNM PhD Graduation Portraits Albuquerque New Mexico with Jess

PhD Portraits on UNM Campus Albuquerque New Mexico

Our very own Jessica graduated from UNM with her PhD in Medieval Studies! How do you note such an occasion? With a campus crossing portrait shoot using the giant U for university, the library where many books were checked out over the years, and the lobos on campus with which to run into the future with! Add in some close-ups and an epic jumping shot, and you have an amazing portrait session to remember an even more amazing accomplishment! Congrats Jess Jess!

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Jumping Matrix Style with help from layer masks

Yours truly leaping a chasm! This is a blending of 4 different action shots using a simple layer mask technique.In case you missed it last week, I do take time away from being behind the camera to continue my love of rock hopping and leaping objects (see here).  I made the leap over the above chasm-ish span several times each time trying to go further.  I did not actually move fast enough to be seen multiple times in 1/500th of a second.  How I made the above image was to combine four of the shots taken in one burst of shots on my Nikon D300 (capable of 6 frames per second).  Since the DSLR was on a tripod all the background matched up perfectly, as does the exposure since that was set manually.  The only thing moving over the series of shots was me.  Then, it was just a matter of using layer masks in Photoshop to produce the multiple exposure, or Matrix, looking image.

These shots layered on top of each other produced the above shot.Using layer masks to blend multiple images is not a difficult type of digital photography editing.  I have written a tutorial on how to use layer masks here.  Give this photography tip a try and post your results in the comments below!

Edward Medard Park and Reservoir Trees HDR & Jumping

Live Oaks showing their roots in Edward Medard Park - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR tripod mountedIt had been too long since a couple of old college friends and I had one of our outdoor adventures together.  That was remedied by a recent visit to the surprisingly amazing Edward Medard Park and Reservoir in Plant City.  They said it had hills, so I was expecting some modest plain grass covered round and soft hills.  I never expected to step into an alien environment where live oaks sat perched upon angry hills of clay-like dirt with all their roots exposed in a display of their might.

A fearless tree climber in Edward Medard Park - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/8 ISO 200 1/40th tripod mountedAfter a few handheld shots with my 80-200mm f/2.8 lens, I quickly relized that was not the setup ideal for photographing this environment and switched to my 17-50mm f/2.8 lens and mounted my Nikon on my Induro carbon fiber tripod the rest of the day.  Without that wide lens I would never been able to capture one friend who is an avid tree climber surprisingly high up in the branches of this long limbed live oak.

uprooted tree in Edward Medard Park - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR tripod mountedEdward Medard Park has more traditional looking Florida outdoor areas by the reservoir itself offering shady live oaks, with roots all neatly underground, well, save for one that was uprooted long ago.

Jason performing trademark "Liu Kang" leap - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/2.8 ISO 800 1/800th tripod mountedJust to show you I did not spend the entire time behind the camera, in the above shot you can see yours truly performing my patented "Liu Kang" method air leap over some roots perfectly shaped like hurdles on a tricky downslope.  Some of you who have know me well will already have seen my debut of this move, which was over a much more dangerous gap.  I set up this shot with my Nikon D300 mounted on my tripod with all the settings dialed in.  

photography tip:

As you can see shooting an action shot into the sun required some very unusual settings.  My DSLR photography lesson students should be able to see I used settings I have told them probably never are needed, such as using f/2.8 on a wild angle lens.  In order to expose the subject (me) enough, a long shutter speed is needed especially shooting into the sun like this.  However, to freeze the action, a fast shutter speed is needed.  The solution to this is to go ahead and set the needed shutter speed, 1/800th of a second, then adjust aperture and ISO until there is enough exposure to show me and not worry if the sky gets blown out.  So that is my photography tip for action shots into the sun!

Using the tripod all day did not slow me down, but rather freed me much more to make the photographs I wanted to and still enjoy all the action with my friends.  Shooting on a tripod is not physically demanding and the setup is pretty easy to carry, so I did not get tired from having a camera hanging off me all day.  Plus, since I did not have to constantly keep taking a camera strap on and off, but rather just let the tripod stand up on its own, it was really easy for me to switch from photographer to adventurer.  I just had to leave the camera standing where it was on the tripod then explore the area as I liked.  

As you can see Edward Medard Park, despite the unfortunate name, is a great place for photography and adventure!

--official website and directions 

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  • Stormy Rainbow Sunset Beach Florida Wedding

    Rainbow on their wedding night! Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 250 1/125th strobist - Nikon SB-800 on light stand

    Storms were surrounding Sunset Beach on Treasure Island, Florida that evening.  They were rolling on from the west, and from the south, most unusual.  However, Lynda and David were to be married under the open sky right on the beach.  Fortunately, the ceremony was not a long one, and all we saw in the distance was a rainbow, not lightning.

    Sand pouring ceremony Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 250 1/125th Nikon SB-800 hotshoe mounted TTL modeLynda and David were a very elegant and polite couple.  Photographing them was a pleasure.  I was glad that David wore a dark blue jacket to contrast nightly with the white of Lynda's dress.  They ended their wedding ceremony by pouring sand into a heart shaped glass keepsake.  

    Lifting the bride! Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 250 1/125th strobist - Nikon SB-800 Speedlight on light standIn a way, I kind of prefer shooting on the beach with stormy skies rather than a pure sunset.  The former make for a dramatic backdrop and adds energy and dynamism to a shot.  Standing on the beach we can feel the surrounding energy too, and the slight element of danger.  Nevertheless, Lynda was willing to show off her quite good vertical leap.  We were able to get the above shot on just the third take.

    westward is peaceful Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 250 1/125th strobist - Nikon SB-800 Speedlight on light standYou may have noticed I used the same settings for all four shots: 

    • aperture - f/8
    • ISO - 250 (I confess this might be a mistake, probably meant ISO 200)
    • shutter speed - 1/125th
    • exposure - manual mode
    • strobe power - 1/2 (manual mode & off camera flash, save for one shot) 

    So if you find yourself shooting on a stormy evening on the beach facing westward, try giving those settings a try and post a link to your shots in the comments below.

    The storm?  Not a drop fell until I was already in my Lexus listening to Common take me home.