My $150 investment in figuring out I’m not a landscape photographer.

So I took the Ferrari out for a spin — the fancy lens that I rented for our Las Vegas trip — and made an important discovery:  I’m really much happier with my Honda, photographically speaking.

That is, I really prefer macro-like or at least small-scale photography to landscape photography, at least for my own shooting.  I guess I should have figured this out, since my preferred photographic genre is Random Shit.  But I thought I’d see what I could do with a giant lens that could open up to f2.0 through the entire zoom range of 35-100MM.  (Photo nerds – did I say that right?)  A lens that was described in reviews as having “buttery soft bokeh, with a good nose, hoppy notes, and a peaty finish.”  Or something like that.

Of course, I can’t blame the incredible lens for my lack of skill and preparation.  I actually did a lot of theoretical preparation — checked the time of sunrise on The Photographers’ Ephemeris and set an early wake-up call — to make sure I was at Red Rock Canyon for the beautiful early morning light.  But it turned out that I’d miscalculated sunrise, and I then found myself — this was both hilarious and devastating to my carefully-planned timing — unable to make the stove work in our hotel kitchenette,* requiring additional time to grab some breakfast on the way.

By the time I got there, it was long past sunrise, but I still got some pretty cool shots:

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And, um, WHEW:  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I got bored with taking landscape photos, I took a couple of exposure-bracketed shots and had fun with HDR,** which at this point requires no talent whatsoever.  I toss three bracketed photos into Photomatrix Essentials, and voila!  HDR!

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But not just default HDR, “painterly” HDR:

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“surreal” HDR:

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and “black & white artistic” HDR:

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I’m a regular Ansel Adams!

HDR collage

Stop her before she noodles again!

At this point in the morning, I switched to my Nifty Fifty*** and took the sort of photos I enjoy both shooting and looking at later.  For example, I like the landscape on top of a cactus

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more than the landscapes above.

Here are some more sorta kinda**** macro — or at least small & random — photos.

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More fun with HDR:

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And some fun with Lightroom:

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I had hiked the first couple of miles of the 13-mile circuit through Red Rock Canyon, then hiked back to the car — that’s serious distance for this desk potato! — and drove the rest of the way around the Scenic Drive.

Red Rock Canyon

I stopped at the High Point Overlook for lunch and more amazing scenery.

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Met a couple of cyclists and convinced one to take a photo of me and my cool rental car.  One of them explained that he was going to do “18 or 19 miles today.”  I said, “wow – 19 miles!” He said — you saw this coming, right? — “No. 90 miles. 9-0.”

High Point Overlook

Oddly, I completely failed to convince Tim that I encountered carnivorous wildlife on my hike with either this photo

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or this one.

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As you can see from the previous two photos, the final stop on my Red Rock Canyon Adventure was the Visitor Center, where I strolled past a lot of the sort of informative displays that I’ve been studiously ignoring since elementary school field trips, but did get to meet Maxine the tortoise:

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All in all, a gorgeous and satisfying photographic outing!

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Extra bonus photo of Shibuya, the excellent sushi restaurant where Tim took me to dinner.  I love the food and the decor.  It feels like you’re dining in your own private tree house!

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***********

*In my defense, neither could Tim or our assistant, Dustin, who can make *anything* work.  Nor did housekeeping have a clue — they had the hotel engineer come by later in the day and write out instructions.

** From time to time, I remember what this stands for.  Not just now, though.  But it means superimposing three differently-exposed shots to take advantage of the good exposure in each.

*** OK OK, Nifty Forty-Nine.

**** I don’t think the Nifty Forty-Nine counts as a macro lens, strictly speaking.

1 thought on “My $150 investment in figuring out I’m not a landscape photographer.

  1. Nora Fox

    I just love your blogs and all of the artistry. Wow. And, oh yes, that was the same day I did 90 miles. (in my frumpy looking car). Keep it up, missy.

    Like

    Reply

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