Monthly Archives: July 2012

Why you should always shoot RAW when capturing lightning

Due to a video hosting change this tutorial is currently offline. I will have it back online soon.

Shooting lightning is really not that much different than shooting anything else when it comes to trying to “get it right” in camera, but lightning does present a lot of variables that simply don’t exist in most other genres of photography.  In this tutorial, I explain why I believe that you should ALWAY shoot RAW when photographing lightning, and a few things that can be done to recover an otherwise overexposed lightning shot.

I hope you find this short tutorial useful and always appreciate any feedback you might have.

Posted in Tutorials

Capital Lakefair – Olympia Washington


Lakefair Reflections

This past week Olympia hosted Capital Lakefair.  This is a fun event that has events packed into almost the entire week, there really is something for everyone, especially for photographers.  All 3 of the images in this post were taken from the capital grounds which overlooks downtown Olympia, you have already seen a number of images from me from this very place, and offers a great vantage point to take some long exposure images of the carnival.  Not only do you get the motion of the rides, but you also get great reflections from Capital Lake.  This first image is just that.  All of the images in this post were captured with my Nikon D7000, but more specifically with my Sigma 50-500 Bigma lens.  I absolutely love shooting this lens at night, I don’t know if there is a lens out there that does such a great job at creating gorgeous starburst effects around lights.

Spinning Wheels


One really interesting things that happens when you are shooting from a distance with a long lens is what is known as a compression effect.  This is the very thing that makes a telephoto lens popular for portraits, but when taken to the extreme, it can really make objects appear much closer than they actually are.  This second image is a great example of that.  For this shot I was zoomed in to just under 400mm and you can clearly see the ship “Global Wisdom” in the background.  That ship is a massive cargo ship that carries logs to Japan from the port in Olympia.  In this image, it looks like it is moored right at the “back door” of the carnival, but in reality it was almost a mile away according to Google maps.

Warp Drive


Finally, have some fun when you are out shooting.  This third image, which actually might be my favorite of the evening, was created by simply zooming my lens while taking a shot.  Give it a try, you can get very interesting results and each and every image you make this way will look different.  The trick is to try a lot of different things.  Zoom in on one shot, and out on the next.  Try different compositions, the composition you make a more traditional image with might not be the right one when making an image like this.  I made about 20 exposures to get one that I really liked, and while the rest are not worthy of sharing, IMO, they were a lot of fun capturing.

Posted in Photography

My IR Photography Post Processing Workflow

Due to a video hosting change this tutorial is currently offline. I will have it back soon

This tutorial is a re-post of a tutorial that I had previously posted on the old blog.


This screencast tutorial documents how I handle post processing on images captured with an IR converted dslr. Even if you are not an IR shooter, there are some general tips and tricks that you might find useful.

Posted in IR photography

Capital Lightning

Captial Lightning

Lightning over Puget Sound and the Washington State Capitol building

When we moved back to the pacific northwest from the Arizona desert this spring I really thought it would be harder to get lightning images.

Last night I was heading down to the capital campus to make some images of the Capital Lakefair that is going on this week in Olympia.  As I was driving, some isolated thunderstorms started developing to the south and were moving north.  I diverted from my initial plans and started shooting the storms.  They were weak, but I did manage to get 4 or 5 good lightning images from them, which will be posted later.

As the night progressed, a large number of storms developed and moved through the area, I will say, the isolated thunderstorms tend to move a lot faster than I am used to with the Arizona monsoon.

I ended up shooting for almsot 4 hours and even ran into a couple other photographers who were out taking advantage of the storms as well.  This image came at the very end of the night, and I really do wish I would have been aimed just a little further to the left as I missed part of the strike, but IMO that sky more than makes up for the missing part of the strike.  This image was captured from Overlook Park and you can see the state capital building if you look closely.

I hope you enjoy the image and I am really glad that I have been having the opportunity to get my lightning fix in.

Posted in StormChasing

This is supposed to be fun!


At some basic level, each and every one of us to make images started doing so because we really enjoyed it. It was fun.

Somewhere along the way it becomes more of a business, with all of the stress and headaches that go along with any business.  As serious photographers we get wrapped in the nonsensical things like debating gear and debating whether that 2 year old camera is “still a good” camera.  We worry about when the next print order is going to come through or when we will be contacted by the next magazine with a license request.

What we seem to forget, at least I do from time to time, is that all of this is actually supposed to be fun.  We are supposed to actually enjoy making images.

After moving into our new house 3 months ago, you might think that we had all of our boxes unpacked and that we were completely moved in, you would be VERY wrong about that.  last night I was going through yet another box of stuff that I should have never loaded on a moving truck in the first place and I found a couple packets of chemical light sticks.  I just had to set the camera on a tripod and play a bit.

What’s the moral of this post? Have some fun with your camera.  You started shooting for a reason.

Posted in Photography, Uncategorized