Some landscape photography books and websites claim that sunset photos are amateurish and should be avoided by true Landscape Photographers as they are plain boring.
One of the most inspiring views in our planet is an spectacular sunset, or a sunrise if we are early risers. It is no surprise that we all aim up our cameras to remember and to share the view. I’ve seen simulations of Martian sunsets and they look sad and nearly colorless. I will not be a colonist there, trust me. In the Moon, with no atmosphere, they are just black!
So here I am, sharing yesterday’s sunset in my corner of our beautiful planet. I hope you will find it as pretty as it looked to me!
Last week I had the pleasure to hear a concert by the Orquesta de Costa Rica with vocals by La Colmena Performance Arts Center. They chose to sing pieces from well-known Musicals and did so remarkably well.
That day I was carrying my Olympus Pen-F and a couple of fast primes and, even though we were seated towards the back of the theater, I decided to do some viewer’s perspective photos. When I have this camera in my hands and am shooting people I always end up doing black and whites: it must be the looks of the camera body…
What you see here are not the in-camera black and whites as I had to do a little processing and cropping. If I’d had a chance to frame better the photos by moving around I’d probably be using the superb Pen-F originals.
I feel my approach gives the performer’s photos a nice classical look, but… what do you think?
An ultrawide lens (anything below 24 mm in 35 mm equivalent format) can provide a sweeping view of an open landscape, but I also find it important for crowded forest and tree covered environments.
The widest rectilinear lens I own is an 11 mm lens by Irix and it is an excellent lens, but these pictures are made with other lenses. They are landscapes I made while testing an ultra wide 11 mm lens by Venus Optics on my Z7 alongside a 12 mm Samyang fisheye lens. I no longer own either lens but the photos I made that afternoon are good representatives of what can be done with these optics.
One thing I sometimes dislike about ultra wide rectilinear lenses is that elements in the corners of the image can look too stretched, like sucked into the frame. Because of this, I sometimes actually prefer using a fisheye lens: when used carefully, one can can hide the strong deformation we associate with their extreme projection. By keeping the horizon near the center of the frame, it remains straight on a fisheye lens image. In other cases, the image can be reprojected (defished as some people call it) to avoid the curved corners.
You can be the judge now and decide if this approach works as I really wanted to include nearby elements from a restricted point of view: I was literally shooting from a barbed-wire fence in all the photos I show here.
Have you tried using fisheye lenses for landscape photos?
After seeing, and taking, many snapshots of the water on a sunny, tropical beach it is not difficult to notice that the water always looks frozen and the movement and intensity of the moment is missing.
The first time I saw photos of Slime Mold fruiting bodies, the equivalent of fungal caps, I couldn’t help thinking about life on another planet. The fact that these organisms actually turn into a slowly creeping slime when they are not in the reproductive stage sure helps my mental image of something alien.
These sporangia, a more technical name for the reproductive structure, are barely over one millimeter in length (one mm is about 1/24th of an inch). I am not very good at finding them, but there is a large and enthusiastic group of hobbyists and scientists that are constantly publishing photos of Myxomycetes, the technical name for the Slime Molds… they are good at finding these little marvels!
These are among the first ones I have photographed. As you know, I am more of a landscape/wildlife photographer but… Hey, one must adapt to pandemic life! I was lucky to spot them growing on some rotting wood logs on the back of my garden.
My friend Federico Valverde was nice enough to identify them for me. He is a retired biologist that has found new fire for his scientific brain finding Slime Molds and photographing them. These beautiful Slime Mold species are named Arcyria incarnata.
Visiting a new area in Costa Rica nearly always means a change in the avian species around. Granted, some birds seem to pop up anywhere but there are always nice surprises.
The place we were staying was on the slope of a hill, with a long balcony overlooking the coast. A few feet below the balcony the Stachytarpheta shrubs were busy with hummingbirds flying non stop.
The high viewpoint revealed the beautiful design on the tails of female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. But I was not too successful in getting eye-level shots of the males… well, I already had those anyway from their seasonal visit to my garden’s Stachytarpheta.
Soon I noticed two species I had not photographed before: the Cinnamon Hummingbird and the Blue-throated Goldentail. The first, kindly chose a well-located perch and posed for me. The Goldentail I shot perched on a dry inflorescence… enough to show its blue throat, but it was again the elevated viewpoint from the balcony that provided a nice picture of both its thick red bill and its magnificent Golden Tail.
Every year, when migratory Vireos are getting ready to fly back to their breeding habitats in North America, they make sure to feed on the seeds of Bocconia frutescens. When the fruits open, the black seeds, covered partially with a red aril, are suspended on the middle of a ring… ready to eat.