Posts Tagged ‘Macro Photograph’

Return to the Field of Possibilities

Thursday, June 26th, 2014
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Corn Lilies, Summit Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California 2014

Last week, I spent four days filming an interview with the crew from The Luminous Landscape website.  For years, they have offered excellent videos such as the Luminous Landscape Video Journal which features interviews with photographers such as Jay Maisel, Art Wolfe, Charlie Cramer, Bill Atkinson, and Jack Dykinga: Luminous Landscape Store.  They are launching a new series called Seeing with the Masters, for which my interview is the first. Luminous Landscape also ran the Antarctica photographic adventure for which I was an instructor early this year.  To learn about this ultimate journey, see Antarctica 2014 – A Most Amazing Trip. I plan on returning to Antarctic in 2016 with Luminous Landscape! I am also a contributor to the site with a series of essays: Essays by William Neill.

One location I had to share was my favorite meadow along the Glacier Point Road.  Here I found this above group of corn lilies.  In order to find a high, downward view, I had to jump up on two fallen logs, balance my tripod to aim down to capture this pattern.  This high-angled view also allowed me to find another image, shown below.

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Last year, I photographed in the same meadow, and wrote the following article for my Outdoor Photographer “On Landscape” column.  Enjoy and share!

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Field Of Possibilities

Using technology like focus stacking, William Neill creates an otherworldly photo of a roadside subject

Corn Lily Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California  2013

Corn Lily Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF 50mm ƒ/2.5 Compact Macro, five frames at ƒ/11, ISO 200, focus stacking by Zerene Stacker.

“To see a World in a
Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour…” —William Blake

One of the main dilemmas for nature photographers is how to frame an image. The choice of camera position and lens angle greatly affects the image design. Nature often provides us with chaotic lines, shapes and colors from which we must distill and extract the essence of our subject. What we include in the frame, as well as what we exclude, is a key factor in the success of our compositions.

I was in Yosemite National Park recently photographing one of my favorite subjects, corn lilies. Returning to a favorite patch, I was happy to see they were still fresh green in spite of recent hot weather. The leaves were covered with pollen and a light rainfall added some water drops. The wind was blowing, which meant the leaves rarely held still for my camera. On top of that, the best camera position was on the shoulder of the road, with tons of traffic moving the plants as it zoomed past a few feet away.

I tried dozens of framings, using a 24mm tilt-shift, 90mm tilt-shift and 50mm macro. The black-and-white photograph was made using my macro lens [left]. The depth of these leaves was too great to capture, so I tried a simple, but effective application called Zerene Stacker. I exposed five frames, focusing the nearest edge of the leaf, and incrementally turned my macro focus slightly until I had focused on the deepest area of corn lily. Then, I added those five files to the software, which created an image with good sharpness throughout the field of view. While processing the final image, I adjusted the contrast and density to make the spots of pollen and leaf lines stand out.

From my past experiences, I was a little late for most of the corn lilies since they had grown tall, making it difficult to aim downward where the leaf patterns are most strongly visible. Also, other plants in amongst them made for a difficult composition to simplify. I usually prefer to zoom in tightly for a very graphic portrayal. In the wider composition shown here [below], I chose to embrace the chaos by using my 24mm tilt-shift lens. The tilt-shift function helped me retain focus from front to back of the subject area, just like I often did with my 4×5 camera while still using a fast enough shutter speed. I shuffled my location around, trying to find a pleasing and well-balanced pattern in the lush vegetation.

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Field of Corn Lily Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

While creating the black-and-white corn lily image, I clearly remembered one of Paul Caponigro’s finest and most famous photographs. It’s a photograph of an apple that reminds most who see it of a galaxy of stars. I happily acknowledge that inspiration. You can read John Paul Caponigro’s blog post (Paul Caponigro’s son) at www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/7846/masterworks-in-my-collection-paul-caponigro-apple-new-york-city-1964/. I highly recommend that you visit the link or Google to see the image! As I photographed the corn lily, time vanished. Wind, rain showers and sunbeams came and went. I waited for still moments in the wind and for breaks in the traffic. I hid from the mosquitoes inside my parka hood and slapped away the ones that broke through my defenses. In spite of the challenges, I was “in the zone,” blissfully focused on the beauty I saw and felt, and on finding ways to convey it all photographically. Before I knew it, I had spent two-and-a-half hours photographing within a 10-foot section along the road and made over 200 images. That’s my job, and I felt blessed. As I drove home, I was greeted by the most amazing sunset, with golden light shining through pouring rain accented by red clouds. As the rain drenched me, I howled loudly simply for the joy of it all!
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William Neill, an American photographer and resident of the Yosemite National Park area since 1977, is a renowned nature and landscape photographer. Neill’s award-winning photography has been widely published in books, magazines, calendars, posters, and his limited-edition prints have been collected and exhibited in museums and galleries nationally, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Vernon Collection, and The Polaroid Collection. Neill has received the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography.

He is the photographic author of many books including The Sense of Wonder, The Tree, By Nature’s Design, The Color of Nature  and Traces of Time. A portfolio of his Yosemite photographs has been published Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness and a retrospective monograph of his landscape photography entitled Landscapes Of The Spirit

To learn about William Neill‘s one-on-one Yosemite workshops, ebooks and iPad app, see his latest images and learn about his online courses with BetterPhoto.com, visit www.williamneill.com.

If you like this post, please sign up HERE to receive the latest updates to my Light on the Landscape Photoblog.

Yosemite Autumn 2012 Collection / Private Workshops

Friday, August 9th, 2013

If you have dreamed of photographing Yosemite Valley during the best autumn color, now is time to reserve a private Yosemite workshop with me. I welcome single students, as well small groups for 1 or 2 day sessions.

The dates for prime fall color run from the last two weeks of October, and the first week of November.

If you have any questions, message me or contact me through my website:

William Neill Private Yosemite Workshops
http://www.williamneill.com/one-on-one-workshops/yosemite_private_workshops.html

Below is a small collection of photographs made during last year’s autumn season.  Enjoy and share!

I hope to see you in Yosemite this fall!


Yellow Maple Leaves, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/125 second at f/4.5, ISO 400
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 

 


Yellow Maple Leave Impressions, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/2 second at f/5.6, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 

 


Oak and Pine, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/90 second at f/4, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 

 


Backlit Black Oaks, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/15 second at f/22, ISO 400
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 

 


Bigleaf Maple and Merced River, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
6 second at f/27, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


Black Oaks in afternoon backlight, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/8 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 

 


Merced River reflections, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1.50 second at f/22, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


Oak reflections and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/2 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 

 


Oak reflections, El Capitan and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 

Bliss in a field of Corn Lilies

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Corn Lilies, Yosemite National Park, California 2013
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III__TS-E24mm f/3.5L__1/6 sec at f / 19__ISO 400

One of the main dilemmas for nature photographers is how to frame an image.  The choice of camera position and lens angle greatly affects the image design.  Nature often provides us with chaotic lines, shapes and colors from which we must distill and extract the essence of our subject.

This past Monday, I was in Yosemite National Park photographing one of my favorite subjects – corn lilies.  Returning to a favorite patch, I was happy to see that they were still fresh green in spite of recent hot weather.  The leaves were covered with pollen and a light rainfall added some water drops.  The wind was blowing, which meant that the leaves rarely would hold still for my camera.  On top of that, the best camera position was on the shoulder of the road with tons of traffic moving the plants as they zoomed past.

From my past experiences, I was a little late for the corn lilies since they had grown tall, making it difficult to aim downward where the leaf patterns are most strongly visible. Also, other plants in amongst them made for a difficult composition to simplify.  I usually prefer to zoom in tightly for a very graphic portrayal. In this composition, I chose to embrace the chaos by using my 24mm Tilt Shift lens.  The TS function helped me retain focus from front to back of the subject area, just like I often did with my 4×5 camera while still using a fast enough shutter speed.  I shuffled my location around trying to find a pleasing and well-balanced pattern in the lush vegetation.

Time vanished. Wind, rain showers, and sunbeams came and went. I tried dozens of framings, using the 24mm TS, my 90mm TS and my 50mm macro.  I waited for still moments in the wind, and for breaks in the traffic.  I hid from the mosquitoes inside my parka hood, and slapped away the ones that broke through my defenses.  In spite of the challenges, I was “in the zone,” blissfully focused on the beauty I saw and felt, and on finding ways to convey it all photographically.  Before I knew it, I had spent two and a half hours photographing within a ten-foot section along the road, and made over 200 images. That’s my job, and I felt blessed.  As I drove home, I was greeted by the most amazing sunset, with golden light shining through pouring rain accented by red clouds.  I howled loudly as the rain drenched me.

Enjoy and share!

Bill

My Favorite Images from 2012

Friday, January 18th, 2013

I am finally pulling together my favorite photographs from 2012.  It is always helpful to take the occasional assessment of our own creative progress. The annual ritual of posting a “best of” has gone viral.  You might be interested in reading an essay I wrote on the subject several years ago in my On Landscape column for Outdoor Photographer on this subject.  I am pleased with the selection, which includes new Impressions of Light images, iPhone images, studio macro setups as well  as landscapes taken around my home and in nearby Yosemite.  Since I started teaching private workshop sessions in Yosemite, I’ve been visiting Yosemite Valley much more often so you will see a batch of new Yosemite images taken this past fall and winter.

This year I have numbered each image, which will make it easier for your to let me know which ones are your favorites.  It will be fun and helpful for me to have your feedback.  I will value a list of favs, or general thoughts on what work you respond to the most.  After I assess your feedback, I will then make a final edit of 10-15 that are my top selects of the year.  If you have your own list of top images for 2012, please add your link in your comments below.

Regarding my private Yosemite sessions, you might enjoy seeing the Flickr group that I started for my students to share their photographs with each other:  William Neill Private Yosemite Workshops.

I look forward to your comments and favorites for my 2012 portfolio.

Happy New Year,  Bill

Best Of The Year:  An annual review of your images can point you in new directions of creativity

1. Sunrise, Santa Monica State Beach, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/1 second at f/19, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


2. Sandpiper at sunrise, Santa Monica State Beach, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/4 second at f/13, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


3. Oaks and sunbeams, sunrise, Ahwahnee, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/60 second at f/11, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


4. Poppies and Lupine. Merced River Canyon, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/2 second at f/32, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


5. Redbud, Merced River Canyon, 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1.50 second at f/22, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


6. Lilies, Ahwahnee, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
1 second at f/22, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


7. Nautilus Shell Detail, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
15 second at f/13, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


8. Nautilus Shell, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
20.00 second at f/22, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


9. Stones, 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
3 second at f/22, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


10. Ceiling at The Tech Museum, San Jose, California 2012
iPhone,
1/120 second at f/2.4, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


11. Sunbeams and Fog, San Mateo Coast, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/750 second at f/8, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


12. Sunbeams through Fog, San Mateo Coast, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/2000 second at f/2.8, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


13. Rock Formations, San Mateo Coast, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
1/1 second at f/22, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


14. Hostas, New Boston, New Hampshire 2012
iPhone 4S,
1/120 second at f/2.4, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


15. Ferns, New Boston, New Hampshire 2012
iPhone 4S,
1/20 second at f/2.4, ISO 80
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


16. Elderberry Leaves #5, Ahwahnee, California 2012, Ahwahnee, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
1.50 second at f/22, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


17. Pine and Clouds, Sierra Nevada, California 2012
iPhone 4S,
1/640 second at f/2.4, ISO 50
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


18. Half Dome at sunrise, Leidig Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1 second at f/22, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


19. Gulls at sunrise, Natural Bridges State Beach, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
8 second at f/27, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


20. Yellow Maple Leaves, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/125 second at f/4.5, ISO 400
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


21. Yellow Maple Leave Impressions, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/2 second at f/5.6, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


22. Oak and Pine, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/90 second at f/4, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


23. Backlit Black Oaks, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/15 second at f/22, ISO 400
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


24. Bigleaf Maple and Merced River, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
6 second at f/27, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


25. Maple Leaves, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/4 second at f/9.5, ISO 400
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


26. Black Oaks in afternoon backlight, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/8 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


27. Merced River reflections, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1.50 second at f/22, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


28. Oak reflections and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/2 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


29. Oak reflections, El Capitan and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


30. Willow Leaves, autumn, Ahwahnee, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1 second at f/4, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


31. Oak Forest in Fog, Ahwahnee, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/6 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


32. Oaks and Fog, Ahwahnee, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/3 second at f/22, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


33. Oaks at sunrise, Ahwahnee, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, TS-E24mm f/3.5L,
1/10 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


34. Winter Sunrise over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/3 second at f/13, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


35. Sunrise clouds over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/8 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


36. Ice Pattern, Merced River, Yosemite National Park 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1.50 second at f/32, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


37. Winter Sunset on Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/1 second at f/16, ISO 100
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


38. Winter Moonrise over Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1 second at f/11, ISO 800
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

Open Studio at William Neill Photography – Sierra Art Trails Oct. 5, 6, and 7th.

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Once again, I am participating in the Yosemite Foothills Open Studio Tour – Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 5, 6 & 7, 2012. My home studio will be full of my fine art prints, books and posters. I hope to see old friends and meet new ones!  Let me know if you think you can make it, and ask any questions if you have them.  Also, share this with friends who you think might be interested.  Thanks!

See the official web site for more details:
http://www.sierraarttrails.org/index.html

My living room gallery set up for Art Trails in 2011!

Open Studio at William Neill’s Home