Lens Lugger takes best of Show at Asheville Foto Fest

From Linda Vanetta…“During the last of week January 2015, I took a trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone led by photographers David Hartfield, Bill Lea and Chris Norcott…”

Red Fox by Linda Vannetta, Best of Show at Foto Fest 2015

Red Fox by Linda Vannetta, Best of Show at Foto Fest 2015

 In attendance were 6 other fellow photographers. It was a great tour with many opportunities to photograph beautiful landscapes and a variety of wildlife including buffalo, red fox, coyote, wolf and bobcat.

The red fox were seen near Colter Bay in the Teton National Park. They must be fairly used to people as they didn’t seem too skittish and we were able to get some really nice shots.  I was using my Nikon D90 with my 75-300 lens, on tripod of course. Crop factor gave me a bout 420 at the long end.  Still, a 600-800 would have been real nice, especially with other wildlife that were further away than I could close in with what I had. 

The Tetons and Yellowstone are especially beautiful in winter time and I highly recommend going.  And going with the above photographers is even better. We were shuttled around the Tetons in SUVs and in Yellowstone we were in guided snow coaches as no regular private vehicles are allowed on the roads during winter time.

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Lens Luggers with time on their hands, or when camera takes over…

This day things started out pretty ordinary, at 6:53AM, with a bear leading us into Cataloochee Valley. _DSC4977

Then, I had a talk with the camera about trying to do better…

Susan and Louis at brunch

Susan and Louis at brunch

The plan was to make some pixels of an elk or two and a little brunch at the Palmer House.


We found the famous Fireplace room…

Some close ups–

 through Bob Grytten

through Bob Grytten

Louis at work

And Louis got busy with the camera.

Guess I startled him shooting through the old glass window.

Louis agrees to model for some experiments…

Rooms have a life too…I think the camera started stretching a bit, feeling it’s oats and maybe rebelling from the little early morning talk after the bear…

Hmmm!First, Susan noticed something strange with her camera…

…then Louis held on tightly to his camera.

Hold on

Then Susan started spinning. Walls were bending…

Let me get something straight…

Louis was attacked by his camera and liking it. But before anybody else get’s bent out of shape…Louis in Limbo

We had to get outta there. Help!!

Stay tuned as we try to unravel this strange event…

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Special by guest blogger Duke Miller – Paris Through My Lens

Corner moment by Duke Miller

Corner moment by Duke Miller

Duke Miller – Paris Through My Lens by Duke Miller –

In May, I participated in the “Paris Through My Lens” street photography workshop, conducted by Valerie Jardin. I discovered her in a podcast by Darlene Hildebrand of the Digital Photography School. Valerie is originally from Normandy, France, a huge benefit to the ten students. Her pointing us in the right direction each day was every bit as invaluable as her street photography smarts and the training we received.

The workshop begins with a tutorial, illustrated mostly with Valerie’s work. The rules are simple: a) Seek timeless captures; b) no “postcard” shots; and c) “Bring me a view of the Eiffel Tower I’ve never seen.”

Conversation by Duke Miller

Conversation by Duke Miller

For six days, Valerie shepherded us to strategic locations. We then set out in teams of two, photographing people in the act of being themselves, creating “street portraits” (posed), and occasionally shooting just things that identify surroundings. Chief among her concerns were placing us in safe neighborhoods and timing the light.

Combining public transport with seven or so miles a day walking, you begin to realize Cafe three by DParis is a street photographer’s bliss. You could literally stand at any corner for a day and get your fill of suitable moments.

My camera of choice for street work is the Sony RX100-IIM, for its large sensor, inconspicuous design, and light weight. Most all captures are at Auto ISO, Shutter Priority (1/250 sec.), and with lens zoomed to 35mm full frame equivalent. I created a memory setting so I could instantly return to these base settings for quick response to opportunities that arose.

park moment by DMy takeaway: This was my seventh trip to Paris, and it occurred to me that whenever we travel, we “look” at lots of things. But on a street photography quest, relentlessly looking for appealing captures and, on many occasions, interacting with subjects, you truly “see” things, and you get to know more of the culture. The common hesitation to approach strangers vanishes quickly. (I was only turned down three times out of hundreds of opportunities in the six days!) In hindsight, the experience rates “bucket list” status. It is that exciting, that much fun, and far exceeded any expectations.

The details: Cost is $3600, includes Ducka nd I Towerwelcome and farewell dinners; luncheon cruise on the Seine; and Hotel Les Grandes Hommes, opposite the Pantheon. ($1300 single supplement.) If you want to know more about this and other workshops by Valerie, click here.

Added Video a must!!

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Slow Down by Guest Blogger Michael Ritter

Cross by Michael Ritter

Cross by Michael Ritter


I captured a very interesting image this morning and it made me think about how so many photographers are too quick to leave a location without waiting to see what develops. I thought you may want this for the blog so I wrote up my thoughts on the subject.

“Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.” – Simon and Garfunkel

A lot has been said and written about waiting until after the sun sets to capture the best color and the strongest images. Very good advice indeed but what about shooting sunrises?

If you follow this logic in reverse it would then make sense to arrive at your location before the sun comes up. After all without the glaring, bright fireball burning a hole in your camera’’s sensor you should be able to capture some very dramatic light bouncing off or through the clouds.

That does assume that there are some clouds. In both sunrises and sunsets, clouds can be one of the most important components of your image. But with sunrises clouds can make for some very interesting images after the sun comes up (but not too high in the sky).

The above image that I took on September 5th of a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean was taken from Amelia Island. I was there before sun up, took my shots, waited for just the right light and ended up with a few good images.

When I was finished I paused, sitting on a bench with my camera still on the tripod, to just take in the beauty. As I was sitting there the clouds opened up shining a shaft of light down on the ocean below. But what made this very unusual was the cloud formation in the center of the frame. It was a cloud in the shape of a cross. To me, that makes this image very special. If I left right after the sunrise I would not have had the opportunity to capture this image.

The image was taken with a Nikon Df with a Nikon 28-300 lens. 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 100, 180mm. edited in LR5

Michael Ritter mug shotThe lesson in this is to be patient. Slow down. Get there before the sunrise/sunset and stay afterward. Wait for the unusual and sometimes you will be rewarded.
—-  Michael Ritter


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Controling light to help photos work…

Controlling light …

Holding a diffuser. Photo  by Susan “B” Lawrence

Holding a diffuser. Photo by Susan “B” Lawrence

In other words,hot spots are controlled, detail is obvious, and a certain feeling is projected.

One tool that is effective in making an effective image is a diffuser. They come in different sizes, the 24″ and 32″ most popular as they cover a larger area while still being portable and collapse to a size that can be carried in the backpack.

Violet wonder by Diane Jettinghoff

Violet wonder by Diane Jettinghoff

We found many choices on the internet at amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/175-9188644-0610422?url=search-alias%3Dphoto&field-keywords=photo+defusers.

Creating a simple shadow on a subject can sometimes create a similar effect.

Redirecting light…

Another simple technique for an otherwise lifeless image is to redirect light into the subject. Reflectors come in Gold tint for a softer light, Silver for sharper light, and white for an effect in between. They are often bundled up with a package from the same source listed above for diffusers or at many place that sells photo accessories. One could actually use a bright article of clothing or even their hand to redirect a shaft of light onto a subject.

Watching the background…

Removing unwanted bright spots in a scene can often be done using an “eraser” tool or “spot remover” in a post production program. Some photographers even carry a muted piece of fabric to place behind a small flower to cut down on distracting white spots. Think about a dark jacket in a pinch.

Bob Grytten photo

Bob Grytten photo

Where was I?

Taking a picture of a nearby sign can help recall our Location. A simple name with marker on a pad and photographing it can also work. And who wouldn’t like additional details about an area, especially if thinking about a later story or multimedia program.

Diane last of the steps at Graveyard Fields. Bob Grytten photo

Diane last of the steps at Graveyard Fields. Bob Grytten photo

And we always like to have fun…

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Lens Luggers in the field

From a field shoot, some images…

Scottish Highland Cattle by  Susan “B” Lawrence

Scottish Highland Cattle by Susan “B” Lawrence

Forest light by Susan “B” Lawrence copy

Forest light by Susan “B” Lawrence copy

 Photographer Chuck Coburn at work, GSMNP

Photographer Chuck Coburn at work, GSMNP

May Group, Soco Falls Platform, Diane, Susan Chuck, Charles, Tripods

May Group, Soco Falls Platform, Diane, Susan Chuck, Charles, Tripods

bud drop by Beverly Slone

bud drop by Beverly Slone

Group BRP 3rd shoot,

Group BRP 3rd shoot,

Graveyard Fields by Diane Jettenghoff

Graveyard Fields by Diane Jettenghoff

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Amazing Photo Technology

Thanks to Lens Lugger Jerry Stone for sending this in…

This is a photograph by Lee Holt, a new acquaintance that I met shooting sunrises at Marineland.
Lee is a Professional Photographer working out of Jacksonville.
The reason that I’m sending this to all of my photographer friends is something very interesting.
This image was taken with one shot with a Canon 5D MKIII @ 30 Seconds.
Notice the water and clouds, it looks to be at three different shutter speeds, but “not so”.
The lightening has acted as a strobe light, freezing the water and clouds, while the center portion reflects the 30 second exposure.
I thought that all of you would enjoy and find this interesting.
Ole Jer.
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High Correlation between Photography & Music – Epic Productions

Correlation between Photography & Music — Epic Productions

Being that there is a high correlation between photography and music, when Lens Lugger Jerry Stone sent in the  Chinese Fireworks, my thoughts jumped to this Elk Finest Moment piece from Apple’s iMovie program on the MacBook Pro a few years ago.

Here’s the note from Jerry Stone that caught my attention… entitled Chinese Fireworks http://www.youtube.com/embed/_LpMB1OZ53g?feature=player_detailpage%22%20frameborder=%220%22%20allowfullscreen%3E%3C/iframe%3E&autoplay=1

My interest more piqued, I googled “epic music” and reached these comments from fellow blogger … https://eyesometric.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/epic-music-what-makes-it-epic/.

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Photographer accidentally photographs Bear in Cataloochee Valley

Bill Thomas would say, “If you want to photograph nature, take a walk in the woods and sit down and and wait. It will come to you. On this mid morning after the elk, I did just that. I began filming various elements of nature and engrossed. After about 45 minuets I left. It wasn’t until I was back in the studio reviewing the film that I noticed something moving at the top of the frame. Holy Cow, there’s a bear, just breaking into the stream. Then it was gone! Man, Bill was right.

When mentioning the experience, someone suggested about being careful. Thomas also said, in his book, “Talking with Animals.” Animals attack Fear. They pick up on the scent of fear we give off. Nothing to fear, no attack. It was an interesting morning.

Here’s the Video. Find the Bear near the top of the frame…

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Building in Emotion, Moods, or feeling into our photography

Lady With Flowers, Perguia, Italy, Published in Brochure & other places. Bob Grytten Image

Lady With Flowers, Perugia, Italy, Published in Brochure & other places. Bob Grytten Image

Memorable images begin with first understanding Graphic tugs at the heart.

In this image, Lady with Flowers, a number of things are going on. For openers, the simple rule of thirds is expanded to include two quadrants – the face and the flowers. Design elements on the marble wall also help direct the eye toward an area in the image.

And, of course, what I think is the most compelling factor, the lady’s sweet smile and direct look, her eyes.

The shoot went  like this. We were in Perugia, Italy and from across the square I saw this figure. I took a grab shot, then went over to her and asked in Italian, if I could take her picture. She said, “Yes.” I raised the camera and fired.

Obviously, in the moment it took to shoot this image, I wasn’t thinking about all the graphic factors mentioned above. Either they were already inside my mind’s eye or it was just coincidence how everything came together. Essentially, the picture looked right, so I released the shutter. That’s the bottom line.

So, the process goes like this. We read as much as we can about the composition/graphics, take as many classes as we can on the subject, then practice. Practice is the key, if one wants to get to the place where Mood, Emotion, etc plays a factor.

But, we practice the things that work, as best we can, then go from there. It helps if a person is motivated, has a purpose. Then we stay at it.

The key is internalizing the stuff. “Practiced Intuition” it was described. Once it becomes part of us, the fine points can take hold.

Mushroom Orig

Mushroom Original

Yesterday in Cataloochee Valley, after the elk had gone in we took a stroll. We had nothing in particular in mind to shoot, as is often the case. It was about 7:30 AM and the light was yet to come into the forest floor. This image is what the scene was like; however, it felt much more quiet, serene.

Mushroom cleaned up

Mushroom cleaned up

The images I settled on more closely reflected the sense of place I felt.

One of the aspects of an image with emotion, mood or feeling is that it seldom requires any caption.

The amount of under exposure helps reduce the distracting leaves to and accentuates the shadows. Made with a long lens. If the lens does not allow close focus on it’s own, either an extension tube or close up diopter may help. Settings were Aperture Priority, f/8, 1/320 sec, -2.0 EV

Mushroom side of treeThis next image seemed to almost speak. “Here I am, by myself. Look at me hanging on…”

The image stands out as it is back lit and the background defused and the fungi higher in the frame. It provides a sense of place. Made with a long lens to isolate the subject, moved close for the background to fall away.

Another possible image appeared on our way walking back …

Snail - aloneA subtle shaft of ambient light was showcasing this little guy. One can almost feel his aloneness. Made with a long lens although any lens could also work, as long as focus is maintained and subject is placed in a quadrant that is off center.

Rosebay Rhododendron f:6.3, 1/125 sec

Rosebay Rhododendron f:6.3, 1/125 sec

This Rosebay Rhododendron was photographed at Aperture Priority with EV set at -1.0. With Aperture priority  the camera selects the shutter speed to produce proper exposure. Then I used the EV setting to under expose a bit to help the mood I wish to project. On some digital cameras under exposing can create objectionable noise. With my mirrorless camera that is not as much of an issue.

Forest light

Forest light

When it comes to landscapes, creating a slight light down the road helps to draw they eye and creates a place one might want to be. Using a vertical lens and tipping the top of the lens forward allows foreground detail to invite the viewer into the scene. The slight edge of the ferns on the right side softens the image a bit suggesting where we are. “S” curves are another soothing element we can incorporate to help the feel of the image.

For the viewer this composition could be anywhere. The key with our photography is to design it to emit a feeling, mood or emotion in the viewer. If someone says or feels that they want to be there, we’ve succeeded.

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