Monthly Archives: May 2010

Twitter

Follow FlemmingBo on TwitterI am now using Twitter and have discovered how addictive and great this tool really can be once you start following a variety of people. Facebook has little use anymore, but Twitter allows me to follow a lot of interesting people and feed me thoughts and ideas from everyone from photographers, actors, astronomers, writers to presidents. I can’t promise I will write anything but useless dribble but I am here on Twitter.
Who do you like following on Twitter?

Recess

My life as a travelling ‘nomadic’ photographer is having a recess after 6 months of adventures through Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Australia and USA with great images, people, experiences and ups and downs. ‘Nomad’ traveling is a large magnifying glass. Perhaps I will write a more detailed report later. Now; rest and non-travelling.

I am now back in Copenhagen for a Summer siesta and work. I do not know what happens after that. Making this up as I go along. Once I catch up on sleep and seeing dear friends there are two big tasks ahead – completely new website and developing all the new images. Stay tuned, I shall continue blogging of course, new images will be posted.

Todays image is recess from one of the hmong village schools I visited in Laos, one of the highlights. These children were so raw, un-spoiled, curious and very charming, felt like adopting a few of them.

laos - recess - blog

These waves are all around us now

These waves. Crashing ashore. Crash. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Crash. Another one. Slow rolling surfer waves crashing ashore. A hypnotic rhythm. The waves, the sun, the sand, the sounds, the feeling of walking barefoot on sand and the smell of the ocean. It all adds up to a deeply healing and calming experience. Brain waves in sync with the oceanic waves.

I am in Monterey, California and I have spent the whole day sitting on the beach staring at the ocean. I had plans to photograph Big Sur but my feet steered me here and many miles down the beach. No one is here. Just me and some great waves. Just the right rhythm. Have to be the right beach with the right waves to create the rhythm. I see board surfers further down the beach. This is hypnotic. I have not written a word all day, not shot one image nor listened to music. Also forgot to bring food and water. I just stared at the waves. I fell asleep on the beach. I woke up and stared some more. Yes this is second nature for you lucky ones on the WA coast, but I was late to discover the drug called the ocean. I am now a serious addict and must, simply must live on a west coast some day.

I did capture images from the coastline driving up Highway 1 a few days ago. A thick morning fog created some lovely shots where the fog blanketed the cliffs on this gorgeous California coast. This is a very quick preview, shot using my 100-400mm lens as the view point is quite far away. Hard to do a good composition when gravity would not work in my favor if I stepped over the edge. I think this image may end up in black and white if I use it at all, have a feeling it would work well.

cliffs in the mist - blog

Yosemite was my final US photo mission. Now I am mostly staring at waves and relaxing before a plane next week takes me from San Fran to some location called Copenhagen. Summer with friends and lots of work developing thousands of RAW files and getting my new website done is the plan. Lots more to come.

PS. Huge street credits if you can spot the origin of the title of this post! Don’t google cheat! And I want the album it’s famous for.

Abstract Antelope Canyons

It has been another week of wonders. From driving a Jeep Wrangler with big off road tires to the otherworldly ethereal Playa Racetracks in Death Valley to following in the footsteps of John Muir, Ansel Adams, Galen Rowell in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is simply staggeringly beautiful. Even with all the tourists and hefty price tags on accommodation and Glacier Point being closed meaning I missed the pano shot I really, really wanted. Still, Yosemite is too beautiful for words. Not one of the famous iconic images prepared me for how tall and impressive the granite walls of El Capitan and Half Dome are. Yosemite is also becoming far too popular and busy but that’s for another post.

Today’s image is something a little different from my grandscapes. I spent quite a few days in Page, Arizona as I really liked that area. Page is right next to Lake Powell but also well known for the slot canyons. There are two easily accessible, Upper and Lower, and they’re quite different and both worth exploring. I got some great light beam shots in the better known Upper but today’s image is from Lower Antelope canyon, which is not as good for light beams but much better for some abstract images with gorgeous reflected sunlight on the walls of the very narrow Lower Antelope Canyon. The longer exposures you do the better as you pick up more reflected sunlight and enhance the beautiful colours on the canyon walls:

Slot canyon - blog. Flemming Bo Jensen

Mother Nature the artist at Wyadup Rocks

Looking back at a few shots from Australia in February I remembered I never got around to posting the sunset from Wyadup Rocks. Now; this really was an extraordinary afternoon and sunset at the best location I reckon on the Southwest coast of Western Australia. Waves like we had never experienced before and some pretty clouds came out to play as well and to top it off, Mother Nature lit up the sky.

It was such an incredible experience and so beautiful that all my images are sorely lacking. There’s just no way to capture this as we experienced it. The waves, the light, the sun, the sound, the smell, the feeling, the smiles. Cannot capture it. Not for lack of trying; I shot plenty but there just isn’t one image which is just right. Only the memory of the experience is just right. There is about 3-4 contenders from the sunset, shot in between the rocks and I can’t get any of them to look quite right and the composition is not quite right either. Good processing ideas much appreciated as I’ll have another whack at developing these in a few months or so when my new website (bet ya never get tired off hearing about it) goes online.

Here’s one of 3-4 final contenders, pretty much straight from Lightroom:

Wyadup Rocks - blog

The road, no the car, is home!

It is a classic Jack Kerouac quote "the road is home/life" and I used to write it constantly along with "no fear", "into the wild" etc. Back when I clung to a clicheed bag of quotes. I am somewhat attempting to break away from that.

I have found that actually my car – is my home presently! I have now travelled over 8,700 kms (5800 miles) here in the Southwest of the US. I thought initially I might get bored with all that driving but it turns out that the one constant home in my present travelling life is my car (it’s a rental so we have to part ways soon though). I actually really enjoy the driving now, music on my ipod fed into the stereo and I take every backroad (I hate the interstates!) possible through the glorious landscapes. Sometimes I get slightly down when I actually get to my destination and park my Nissan spaceship, and can’t wait to fly again. "How you get there is the worthier part" (well, now I’m quoting Firefly but that’s always good!).

It is too cold for me to camp here but for my next US trip I am definitely getting a larger 4WD and buying camping gear so I can skip all the motel beds and camp out! Nothing better than sleeping under the stars but it requires the right conditions. I miss camping very much but it is seriously cold at night here in the desert so it will have to be next time, where I really will make the car my home. Here’s driving on the road, well technically me sitting in the middle of the road, leading to the salt flats of Death Valley:

death valley road - blog

A few minuses: What little ass I have has become the shape of a car seat. My neck, shoulders and back are killing me from all that driving and photography and crappy soft motel beds. My tinnitus kills me ears, something about driving that triggers it. And I feel out of shape, which is a feeling I really hate. I think it will be healthy to de-attach this car from my ass for a while soon!

A little less tech a little more art

A personal rant. Running around all these National Parks here in the US with a camera and tripod one meets and talks to a lot of other photographers. I guess as in all things life, some are great people and fascinating and inspiring…some not so much.

At Momument Valley I met 3 guys absolutely packed with very expensive gear complete with camera vests and survival gear. They couldn’t spot a composition if it was bended in neon for them so they spent all their time trying to outdo each other with gear talk boring me to tears. No, I simply do not care how much headroom RAW has nor do I care how much you are bracketing, HDR processing it, genuine fractals blowing it up etc. etc. 

It boils down to: it’s the photographer never the camera. Why are you shooting this? What are you trying to express? What made you choose that composition? How are you using the light, foreground, middle ground, background, leading lines, colours, contrast? What do you want your viewers to feel when viewing this? What are your favourite locations? The artistic not the technical side is the interesting part for me.

Monument Valley Totem Pole - blog Better post an image as well, this is what I shot while some of the gearheads in Monument Valley discussed bracketing and RAW headroom. Of course, they might have shot something much better, I hardly broke the world record for best composition (actually it’s stolen from Art Wolfe). But I at least kept quiet and enjoyed the sunrise while shooting.

Somewhat ironical this post comes right after I wrote a post on mirror lock up, purely technical – Not saying I am any better myself, just as boring! Still the next person to ask "what camera are you using" I’ll reply "Polaroid. It’s a polaroid!"

Mirror lock up handheld shooting

It has surprised me that some people will use a tripod but not use mirror lock up nor a cable release. Well without a cable release you can use the 2 second timer, but without mirror lock up half the point of the tripod is lost. The slap of the mirror on any SLR camera is probably the largest negative effect on sharpness in any photo (depending on shutter speed of course and assuming the camera is steady). Do a quick test or look up many of the tests online, the mirror slap creates a lot of camera shake and reduces sharpness considerably. This video is quite good at demonstrating the difference. So, enable mirror lock up so you separate the mirror action from the exposure and shoot from a tripod using cable release for ultimate sharpness. And if you are me, try and remember to clean the lenses just once a year as well, that too helps with sharpness.

Now, the real trick and topic of this post is I recently begun to shoot handheld with mirror lock up enabled as well. It works better for stationary objects as you have to double tap the shutter button and with the mirror up of course you have a black viewfinder after the first click! But just learn to hold the camera steady in between clicks and you are fine and even handheld there is a large difference with the mirror locked up before exposure! Takes a bit of practice but it makes a large positive difference in sharpness for your handheld shots.

Week of Wonders

It has been a wonderful week of photography and I have been especially lucky with the light and weather. I was at Grand Canyon just as a snow storm hit. As the 3 hour storm moved on, the sun returned and the light was most special, the otherworldly storm sunlight that I love. Two days later I captured sunlight beams in the famous ‘slot canyons’ of Antelope Canyon and I caught a nice sunset at Horseshoe Bend. I spent several days at one of my dream locations, Monument Valley and the sunrise especially was fantastic but also the storm clouds the next day was something to see. On the way to Moab, Utah I experienced the great pueblo ruins ‘House on Fire’ in Mule Canyon. Then on to Arches and Canyonlands National Park, I knew little of them but they really delivered. Canyonlands is more impressive than Grand Canyon I reckon and on both days I had fantastic clouds due to snow storms. A week of wonders and the landscape here in the southwest US is simply stunning.

The weather changes so rapidly up here in Northern Arizona and in Utah. I sunbaked one day lying on some very hot rocks and two days later I chased snowstorms in Arches National Park! Today’s image is that snowstorm, the clouds were massive and gorgeous and sandstone works so well in this sort of light. Here’s a little teaser, larger stitched panorama to come:

arches snowstorm - blog

My perfect weather would be a hot tropical climate with Australian outback clouds (you know them when you see them) for sunrise. Followed by a clear sky for sun worshipping all day long! Then, energized by the sun, I should like a storm front to move in with some otherworldly light and dramatic clouds. Keep the sun exposed though so it can light up the clouds at sunset. Then, post dusk, clear the sky again for some star trail shots and keep the temperature warm all night for nighttime shooting under a full moon. Too much to ask?

Having chased snow storms for two days in Arches and Canyonlands I had my shots and could take the cold no longer. There was frost on my car this morning, now that does not work for me! So I have moved south again, to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona, where it is warmer. Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite etc. coming up! I look forward to Death Valley, my kind of place and my kind of temperature.