Featured Photo

  • Tangerine Dream - Badwater, Death Valley


    The rain this winter allowed a thin layer of water to pool on the Badwater salt flat in Death Valley National Park. Zack, David and I spent the twilight hour exploring the patterns, reflections and glowing light one evening on our recent road trip. The next day my shoes were completely encased in a crusty rime of salt. For scale, if you look closely you may see another photographer out in the water toward the horizon.

    Canon 5DMK4, 22mm, polarizer, 1 second, f/16, ISO 100. The expanded dynamic range of the 5DMK4 allowed me to capture this scene in a single exposure quite easily. The dynamic range wasn't extreme, but too much to get it all in one exposure with good shadow quality on the 5DMK3.

  • Red Racer - Death Valley National Park

    Red RacerI finally made it out to the Racetrack in Death Valley while road-tripping with the boyz a couple weeks ago. Super clear skies were calling out for a starry night shot. Zack and I spent a chilly hour or two experimenting with different light painting techniques. The one I liked the most was the red "night vision" setting on Zack's headlamp. We selected this particular sailing stone because it had a wonderful S-shaped track. For the land exposure, we set the long exposure timer for 4 minutes, carefully walked the track with the light pointed at the ground, groped our way back to the cameras in complete darkness...and then adjusted our technique and repeated. We had lots of screw ups. For developing I blended one 2-minute natural starlight exposure together with the red, light painted exposure. The starry sky is from a third25-secondd exposure to avoid star-trailing.

    If you aren't familiar with the Racetrack or how the famous "Sailing Stones" move around the playa check out THIS VIDEO.

    Canon 5D4, Rokinon 14mm lens. Natural light exposure: 2 minutes f/5.6, ISO 6400. Light painted exposure: 4 minutes, f/5.6, ISO 1600. Sky exposure: 25 seconds, f/2.8, SIO 6400.

  • Red Velvet - Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

    Working on some images to submit for a book on Costa Rica gave me a chance to revisit photographs that were forgotten in my archives from several years ago. This image of a moody sunset at Playa Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica apparently fell through the cracks the first time around. I remember the sky that night was ominous and mesmerizing. I took advantage of the darkness to take a 25-second exposure and create the velvety surf.

    Canon 5D3, 24mm, polarizer, F/18, ISO 100. Two exposures, 2.5 seconds and 25 seconds, blended for dynamic range and water texture.

  • Ghost Forest - Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile


    Fires have burned large sections of Torres del Paine NP in the last 20 years, many of them apparently set off accidentally by backpackers. I never like to see beautiful landscapes burn, but fire is part of the ecological process and these burned out trees do create impact and help tell this particular visual story.

    Canon 5DsR, 25mm, Polarizer. 1/10 second @ f/18, ISO 100.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • Never Hurts to Check

    Bandon Beach, OregonIt never hurts to check back through old images. I apply a fairly rigorous editing process to my images. After a shoot I download the images and then begin the deleting. Using Adobe Lightroom I first find any images that are out of focus, poorly exposed, etc. and delete them. Next I go through and flag all the images that I think may have some promise. Looking at just the flagged images I now go through again and give each image a rank from one to three stars, with three stars being the top level images. Finally I give color codes to some of the stared images, red to indicate a prime select and yellow to indicate a basic stock image. Once this is done I am now able to quickly get back to the best images from a shoot as well as sort them by their potential future use.

    However, I need to stay in the practice of going back and looking through the images that didn't receive a star or a color label from time to time. Often I will find a great image that slipped through the cracks or that I had a bias against at the time, but looks more appealing once I have distanced my mind from it a bit. The photo above of one of the rock formations and beach near Bandon is one such photo. When I took the photo I was hoping for a brilliant sunrise, so when the dawn came with gray conditions I was disappointed, but still dutifully took a few images. My lack of enthusiasm for the day affected how I saw this image when I was first editing the group of images it was in and it didn't make the cut. Nearly a year later I came across it while searching for different beach images. Now that I have had time to distance my mind from the fact that there wasn't a colorful sunrise the image really stands out to me. Now I rather like the dramatic, dark and somewhat ominous feel and muted tones. I have also moved the image quite a bit higher in my ranking system.

  • Intimate Painted Hills

    Intimate Painted Hills

    Intimate Painted Hills

    The painted hills in central Oregon is one of my favorite places in the state. The Painted Hills are located in the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument along Hwy 26 just west of Mitchell. Even though the hills don't cover much area, the patterns and shapes and the way light plays across them is visually absorbing. I often take wide landscapes, but for this image I decided to zoom in for an intimate and abstract study. When photographed like this, the hills really do look painted...or rather, they create a photograph that looks like a painting. I'll have to print this large on canvas and see how it looks.

  • Photo Tip: Blurry Trees

    Much of my photography is of the greater landscape and I'm often trying to present sweeping vistas with sharp detail. However, I also like to photograph more intimate scenes and abstracts. One of my favorite abstract techniques is motion blur. This can be achieved a few different ways and is a particularly good technique for emphasizing leading lines in a photo while smoothing out distracting elements. The final result can often look more like a painting than a photograph.

    I really like to use motion blur with trees that have staight trunks. The technique is more an art than a science, so a lot of experimentation and throw away images are required to get something that I like. I start by setting a relatively slow shutter speed and making a vertical pan (movement) with my camera. I have found that shutter speeds between 1/4 of a second and 1/20 of a second work best. I move the camera up or down, in as straight a line as possible and depress the shutter release as the camera is moving. At slower shutter speeds I pan slower and at faster shutter speeds I pan faster. It is hard to know exactly what will be in the frame so I repeat the process over and over so that I will have many images to select from. Panning the camera while it is on a tripod can help keep the motion steady and smooth, but also limits flexibility.

    Physically panning the camera is often all I need to do to achieve the abstract look I'm going for. Other times I selectively add more blur by using the Motion Blur filter in Photoshop (Filter>Blur>Motion Blur). To do this I'll create a duplicate layer of the background image and blur the duplicate. Then I'll add a layer mask to the blurred layer and paint with a black brush on the mask to bring through any detail from the original image that I want to keep. This digital blurring technique can also be applied to images that were taken in focus without panning the camera. Digital blurring often takes just as much trial and error as panning the camera.

    Several of my favorite photographers have used these techniques to create some wonderful abstract images, including Jesse Spear, Eddie Soloway and William Niel.

  • Blue October Sea

    From a trip to the southern Oregon coast with a group of Ashland photographers a couple of weeks ago. I liked the barnacle patterns on this rock and spent some time working on longer exposures to capture some wave motion for an interesting middle ground. As many of us who like to capture wave motion in our ocean photos well know, it is hard to get in the right position and still stay dry. I ended up stranded on this rock for several wave cycles until the surf went back out enough for me to wade to shore...the surf here wasn't dangerous, just wet.

    On the hike back to the car a woman approached me on the beach and said, "are you Sean Bagshaw?" I immediately wondered what I was in trouble for. It turns out she was with someone in the group. I had wandered off for quite a while and they were ready to go. Since she was walking my way they asked her to have me get a move on. Apparently they had told her I would be easy to spot because I would be carrying a tripod and most likely be wet up to the waist. I hate being so predictable.

    Canon 5D, 16-35mm f/2.8 L @ 28mm, 2 sec @ f/18 and ISO 50, 3 stop ND filter for longer exposure time.

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