Outdoor Exposure Photo

  • Rain In The City Makes Magic

    Plaza de la Paz

    Plaza de la Paz, Guanajuato

    Normally I get a little bummed when I get up early for photo shoot to find it raining. But on our second day in Guanajuato I was perfectly happy with the light drizzle. Night cityscape photography is just about the only time I like to shoot in the rain. The mix of colorfully painted buildings and well lit callejones (alleys) in Guanajuato make night photography here particularly beautiful anyway. But one thing that can enhance that beauty is if the cobbles are wet, causing them to shimmer, reflecting the color and light.

    Calle Tecalote in the Rain

    Calle Tecalote in the Rain

    It wasn't raining hard, but I still got thoroughly soaked as I wandered around the streets in the dark. Keeping the camera lens dry was also a challenge, especially for the 20-30 second exposures that were required while using a circular polarizer and an aperture of f/16 in low light. In the northwest US, rain is common enough that there are usually awnings or covered entries to hide under when shooting cityscapes in the rain. Not only are awnings rare in this arid part of the world, but most buildings don't even have any sort of eaves to hide under. I was only able to take a few images before my gear and I were wet enough to call it a morning. Still, I'm excited about the images I did get and hope to have another chance to photograph in the rain while I'm here. On the other hand, I might give up that chance if it meant I could get some warm, sunny weather. I'm layered up and freezing at the moment since the houses don't have insulation, double pane windows or weather stripping.

    Guanajuato Streets in the Rain

    Guanajuato Streets in the Rain

  • Mountain Mining Towns of Mexico

    For the entire month of January I'm taking my photography in a slightly different direction and exploring the colonial mining towns of central Mexico. My blog will act as my travel journal. I'll be posting images and stories about the project here every couple of days.

    Guanajuato Sunrise

    Guanajuato Sunrise

    So, why this particular region of Mexico? Several reasons actually. Guanajuato, the city that I will be based out of, is the sister city to my home town, Ashland, Oregon. The two towns share geographic and cultural similarities. Both are located in valleys in the mountains, both are university towns and both have theater festivals and strong art culture. Since the two towns became "sisters" there has been a continuous exchange of students, teachers, musicians, artists and city leaders. My wife has been coming here for several years to attend Spanish language school. This year our sons are old enough to begin taking Spanish lessons, so we decided to move the entire family down for a month of language immersion. I made a short trip to Guanajuato about three years ago and fell in love with the photographic potential of the architecture, character and beauty of the town. During this more extended stay I hope to do the kind of in depth photography that comes with familiarity with a place and also travel to some of the other towns and environs in the region.

    Early colonists came to the mountains of central Mexico to mine for metals and minerals. The towns are often built on steep hillsides in narrow valleys. In Guanajuato, most of the roads are in tunnels beneath the city and the town is accessed via pedestrian streets and very narrow and steep alleys. The colorful houses are stacked upon each other like a big game of tetris and the alleys can be almost as narrow, deep and winding as slot canyons in Utah. Needless to say, Guanajuato and the other mining towns in the region are popular with photographers.

    Calle Potrero

    Calle Potrero, Guanajuato, Mexico

    My focus this month is to continue the photography that I started on my previous visit and try to create the most beautiful, dramatic and expressive images of the area that have ever been taken. I have a virtual office set up here so I can continue to work and do business via the Internet. Processing images on my laptop is difficult. The lesser contrast, resolution and speed mean that the images I post during the trip will be as good as I can get them, but will be in rough draft form. All of them will need to be remastered when I get home, but hopefully they will give you an idea of what I'm going for.

    For those of you who think I'm in Mexico to relax in the sun, not quite. Guanajuato sits almost 7,000 feet above sea level and the average temperature is 62 degrees F. January is the coldest month and temperatures at night can drop into the 30s. Today it is cold and rainy. So, this isn't a Mexican beach vacation I'm on here. While I like to sit on the beach and surf as much as anyone, the culture, scenery and history of this place will make it a very rich experience of living, learning, spending time with my family and doing my work.

  • 2010 Photography Workshop Announcements

    I will be leading or co-instructing several indoor and outdoor photography workshops during 2010. The first two that I am able to announce will be in partnership with the Best of the Northwest Photo Workshops run by David Cobb. I will be co-instructing these workshops with David and they include field work at some of Oregon's best locations as well as indoor instruction on photography techniques and digital workflow.  You get two professional instructors in one workshop! You can find more information on the Best of the Northwest Photo Workshops and register at the Best of the Northwest website. The Best of the Northwest Photo Workshops are popular and fill quickly, so register soon to reserve your spot.

    On the Best of the Northwest Workshop calendar I will be co-instructing the following two workshops.

    South-central Oregon Coast

    February 26 - March 1, 2010

    Based in Coos Bay/North Bend we'll be photographing dramatic cliffs, waterfalls, sand dunes, crashing waves, and also tidepools.

    Redwood National Park & Northern California Coast

    June 11-14, 2010
    We'll be photographing the spectacular giant Redwoods during the wild rhododendron bloom. We'll also be visiting the beautiful northern California coastline.

    Redwood Forest

    Best of the Northwest Workshop leader David M. Cobb is a nature and wildlife photographer who has hiked and photographed throughout the world. A member of NANPA & the GWA, he is a regular contributor to a variety of gardening, lifestyle, nature, and travel publications as well as calendars, cards, books, brochures, and other printed materials. David is a genuine human encyclopedia of the best photography locations and how to photograph them. In addition to the two workshops David will be doing with me, he will also be leading a variety of other workshops in 2010 with co-instructor Jonathan Ley to locations such as Victoria, the Palouse, Crater Lake, Yellowstone and the Tetons.

    Workshop space is limited and they fill quickly, so contact Best of the Northwest Photo Workshops to reserve your spot.

    Contact info:

    Email: dmcobbphoto@aol.com
    Phone: (503) 224-1856


    P.O. Box 286

    Mosier, OR 97040

  • 2009 Nature's Best Photography

    Each year Nature's Best Photography Magazine sponsors the Windland Smith Rice International Awards, one of the biggest and most highly acclaimed international nature photography competitions. Each year they receive tens of thousands of entries. In 2008 I was very humbled to be chosen as a category winner for my image Lunar Eclipse Over Mt. Shasta. As a category winner, that image was displayed in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History for six months. This year I was surprised again to have two of my images receive Highly Honored awards in the competition.

    Earth Bound Suns was honored in the Plant Life category,

    and Shadow Lands was honored in the Weather category.

    In addition to the excitement of being included in the Nature's Best Awards again, it was also an honor to be represented along with other northwest photographers who I know and admire, including Kevin McNeal, Jon Cornforth and Dennis Frates.

    Nature's Best 2009

  • Good Cheer!

    Lake of the Woods in Winter, OR

    Wishing you wonder, mystery, adventure and good light in the New Year! Thanks for being a part of Outdoor Exposure Photography!

  • Finally Some New Images On The Site

    I really enjoy almost every aspect of the work I do. Going out in search of light and visually enticing scenes to photograph takes effort, but it is also good fun and a worthy challenge. The countless hours I spend painstakingly guiding each image through my workflow, applying the processing and developing skills I have learned over the last decade is also quite enjoyable and rewarding too. So is producing prints, and sharing my images with others on various websites, in publicatons and at galleries and exhibits. However, I have to admit that the tide of progress often stops flowing when it comes time to introduce new images on my own website. We all have portions of our work that is less engaging and more tedious than others. The process of putting new images on my site, which is the way that I share them with my largest audience, requires several layers of work I don't particularly look forward to.

    I'll spare you all the details, but in brief it requires renumbering all the images to be uploaded, creating web sized images and thumbnails for each image, giving each image a title, keywords, caption and the organizing it into various departments and categories within the structure of my site. Once all the data entry is complete the database is uploaded to the software that uses the information to create the web pages and link structure for the new content. Any mistakes or typos cause havoc on my site, so I have to look carefully for bugs, repair them in the database and then allow the software to build the site again. Depending on how many images there are, the entire process can take me as much as a week.

    Needless to say, this chore often slips off the top of my to do list to make way for more engaging or more pressing business. It has been nearly eight months since I last added new images to www.OutdoorExposurePhoto.com but I finally got it done. The good news is that there is now a large collection of new work created in the last year up on my site just waiting to meet the public. If you are keen to take a look at the photography I've been up to I invite you to take a look at my latest additions.

    I wonder when I'll catch up with the hundreds of stock images still waiting for their turn to see the light of day?

  • Pacific Northwest Photography Podcast Interview

    Talented outdoor photographer, Adrian Klein, is now producing a great podcast called Pacific Northwest Photography. Adrian recently interviewed me for his podcast, which you can listen to on the player above. During our conversation we chatted about favorite locations, adventures and photography equipment. I also give the behind the scenes tales of the two images below. You can also get the complete story behind my intolerance of goat flavored food products.

    I highly recommend checking out Adrian's photography at www.adrianklein.com

    and his photography blog at http://adriankleinphoto.blogspot.com/

    On Adrian's home page you can subscribe to his PNWP Podcast by clicking the red musical note.

    Lunar Eclipse Over Mt. Shasta

    Lunar Eclipse Over Mt. Shasta

    Double Falls, Glacier National Park

    Double Falls, Glacier National Park

  • Peeling The Moon


    Peeling the Moon - Cracked desert mud near Escalante, Utah.

    David Cobb and I came across this cracked, peeling mud layer in a wash while hiking in the desert along Hole in the Wall Rd in Utah. We were drawn, not only to the curled and cracked patterns, but the pock marks that must have been left by a rain shower. Without the cracks it would be hard to tell apart from a high altitude view of the moon's surface.

    There was harsh 10 o'clock light at the time, so I shaded the area with my jacket and noticed a great warm glow on the curled portions which was reflecting from the brightly lit bank of the wash. There was also a very slight blue cast in the flat sections which were reflecting the sky. The RAW file has pretty low contrast, but after working a bit in both RAW conversion and in PS to draw out the histogram and increase the contrast, this is the result. I often look for low contrast scenes to photograph knowing that the effect of enhancing the contrast later will give results that I find visually exciting.

    Canon 5DII, 24-105mm f/4L IS, 1/6 sec @ f/22, ISO 100

  • Blurred Water Effect

    I recently had a question from a photographer about achieving the classic blurred water effect that many landscape photographers use during full daylight. The blurry water effect comes from using a long shutter speed (.5 sec to 10 sec depending on speed of water) to allow the motion of the water to appear smooth.  In low light situations it can be easy, and sometimes unavoidable, to get a long enough shutter speed without any assistance. When more exposure time is needed also make sure you are using a tight aperture (f/22+) to let in less light and a low ISO (50-100) to decrease your camera's sensitivity to light. In slightly brighter conditions a polarizing filter, which holds back about 1 stop of light, can help give a long enough shutter speed to get blurry water. In brighter daylight conditions you might also need to use a neutral density (ND) filter, or combinations of ND filters, to block some light (3 stop up to 10 stops depending on how bright it is) and give you a slower shutter speed. Singh-Ray and other filter makers also have variable ND filters that allow you to "dial in" the amount of filtration you need.0383912-20090722-Edit

  • Oregon Exposure App for the iPhone

    Oregon-Envi-3-bigI'm proud to announce the release of my second iPhone app which is called Oregon Exposure for iEnvision. As with my first iPhone app, Outdoor Exposure for iEnvision, it was created in partnership with the fine folks at Open Door Network. They produce an entire line of iPhone apps based on their iEnvision software platform.Oregon-exposure-screen2

    Oregon Exposure for iEnvision runs on any iPhone or iPod Touch. It contains nearly 100 stunning images that show the grandeur and beauty of Oregon. The images are arranged into galleries by region. Each photo captures a bit of Oregon's personality with the artistic attention to composition and light that my photography has become known for.Oregon-exposure-screen4

    I'm really excited about this application because as resident of Oregon for 35 years it is a place that I am very close to and feel strong connections with the geology, nature, climate and culture. Several years worth of photography work have gone into creating the images in this new iPhone application.  I really wanted the app to be a worthy tribute to my home state and a way that people who share my enthusiasm can take a bit of it with them. It is a great way to keep Oregon close at heart and to share it with others who might not have had the opportunity to visit.Oregon-exposure-main1

    You can download the app from the iTunes store: http://itunes.com/app/oregonexposureforienvisionOregon-exposure-screen3

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