The Amazing Colors of Mexico

The colors of Mexico always amaze me as they are pretty much everywhere. Saturday we walked into Los Algadones, MX for the Gringos Go Home celebration. I should mention: that is not what it sounds like.

Yuma, AZ is the highest rated Snowbird destination during the North American winters and Los Algadones is right across the border from Winterhaven, CA, a few minutes from Yuma. So you can see the importance of Snowbirds to Los Algadones and their economy.

They local community is so appreciative of winter visitors they put on the Gringos Go Home party on Saturday where there was festive music, free beer, and free food. It was great!

Like other locations in Mexico, Los Algadones is quite colorful and perfect for my obsession with iPhone ‘Happy Snappin.’ As I wandered the streets I was not disappointed. That led me to this wall tucked in between street vendors.

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I love these types discoveries and the photos I create of them. The vendor next to this mentioned that the wall was 30 years old and hand prints had been added over the years by school children. It is a great story, but the wall says it all to me.

This file is from my iPhone and I then used Adobe Photoshop Mix (the app) to add contrast (make the whites whiter and darks darker) and added some saturation and slight sharpening.
Viva Mexico!

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The Next Photographic Expermient

I just joined Stockimo which is an online agency for smartphone photography. I have learned to love ‘happy snappin’ with my iPhone for quite sometime.

I usually snap away where ever I am and then later open them in Photoshop and play around with the images, simply for fun. I am addicted to shooting on the fly like that. 

Then Alamy launched Stockimo and it got me thinking that while I will continue having fun shooting, I might make some money. So I got busy.

The difference between Stockimo and traditional agencies is that you cannot upload regular stock images from your dslr, they can only be from a smartphone. 

Knowing full well, that I cannot let any digital capture pass by unprocessed, I wondered how I would process the images, so I dug into the apps. There I found Mix by Camera360 and it is quite cool as well. Adobe Photoshop Mix is another app I am playing with. 

I am just now uploading pics to Stockimo to see how it goes and if I make any money I will be sure and write another post stating as such. For now here are a few of my first experiments with Stockimo. 

saguaro_IMG_3184 az_occotillo az_yellow_dog_mine_3170 dog green_onions

This is a lot of fun! 

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Master Back Lighting in Landscape Photography

Back light in nature and landscape photography is very effective lighting technique. When a subject is back lit the sun is in front of you or very close. I like to reference the Lighting Clock as example.

The camera is at 6 o’clock and the subject is in the middle of the clock. If the light is to either side, then it is at approximately 9 or 3 o’clock. I generally think of back light as anywhere between 10:30 and 1:30.

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In this example from the Anza Borrego in CA, the sun is in that zone of 10-12 o’clock. What I love about this photo is that back lighting adds amazing definition to the cactus and especially the Chollas. It looks like fuzz. This approach works on many subjects, even ones that dont look so great side lit.

For processing I added a hint of contrast to make the shadows touch darker, a bit of saturation, and the sky went white which is common in back lit images due to haze and such. So I added a touch of blue back in. Then sharpened a hint as well.

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Nature’s Amazing Palette

It is amazing what Mother Nature provides for our cameras. I looked at this scene and wondered what was happening on Earth to make all these colorful layers? The multitude of colors, i presume, means some specific mineral was ‘spewing’ all over for a while before another mineral came along. It’s fascinating! Any geologists out there?

When you think of creating great compositions, scenes like this dont make it hard. There is not only lines and diagonals adding to the composition, but the horizontal layers as well. There is contrast as well but it’s not lighting. Instead, I call it color contrast: a full range of colors both dark and light bring contrast to the scene. If it was converted to B&W it would have tonal contrast.

This is southern Utah due north of Page, AZ. Shot with a Canon 5D and 80-200mm lens

The eroded hills near Pareah, Utah   Join my mail list on the right side. Get my eBook above. Checkout my online photography course: How to Be a Professional Outdoor & Nature Photographer.

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Getting Slammed in the Grand Canyon

It has been a few years (too many) since my last Grand Canyon rafting trip where I shot this image. It is Granite Rapid which is pretty ‘hefty’ as you can see here. I am standing on the bank of the river and shot this with a 200mm lens.

Most of our rafts and kaykers stop and watch each boat go through one at a time, for photos and safety. There is a sweep boat ‘eddied’ out below the rapid to pick up anyone should a raft flip in the rapid, also for safety reasons. This is one of many large and powerful rapids in the Grand Canyon.

Granite Rapid, Grand Canyon

When I do a trip like this I usually am limited with the amount of gear I can take so I pack my cameras and lenses in Pelican waterproof cases. I take one tripod and one light stand and put those in a small duffel bag. I have another Pelican with flashes, storage devices, cleanibng accessories, and more as well as batteries and lots of them.

Rafting the Grand canyon is a life changing event! If you have done it you know what I mean and if you have not, add it to the bucket list. You will be glad you did!

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