MANZANAR NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

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Manzanar is most widely known as the site of one of ten camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in California’s Owens Valley between the towns of Lone Pine to the south and Independence to the north, it is approximately 230 miles (370 km) northeast of Los Angeles. Manzanar (which means “apple orchard” in Spanish) was identified by the United States National Park Service as the best-preserved of the former camp sites, and is now the Manzanar National Historic Site, which preserves and interprets the legacy of Japanese American incarceration in the United States.(WIKI)
For me this is always such a sad, sad site to see. Americans imprisoning Americans. It just goes to prove what I have always been saying. The Bill of rights should be called THE TEN SUGGESTIONS.
I think every American should pay the place a visit and certainly, bring the kids.Photographing is a simple matter of bringing your camera. Just straight forward shooting, even with cell phones will do the job.
For this image I used my old and deceased Nikon D5000. Those cameras get very angry when you pour a ice chest full of cold water on them. I replaced that camera with the Nikon D5200
I love the articulated display, something I feel to be essential on every photo shoot I do.

I used the same equipment for this image, taken at the camp cemetery with Mt Whitney in the background.

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Two different lenses but essentially one type of photo

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The more or less standard way to photograph something up close. Use a medium tele, in this case a 135mm and shoot wide open (lowest f/stop number” for that beautiful bokeh or blurred background. It’s also a good idea to experiment with 2 or 3 different f/stops for different effects.
This is the way most people like to do their close-up photography.
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I however, have a different solution, for a more different and “wilder look”.
I use the Nikon Fisheye for a lot of my closeup imaging. I set the f/stop at f/2.8 for maximum bokeh.
The flowers are starting to bloom, so now is a good time to stock up on lenses. Don’t be shy about using Nikon’s Fisheye. It rocks!

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FRYING EGGS ON THE DEVILS GOLF COURSE IN DEATH VALLEY

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Of course you can’t fry an egg at 120F!
I thought it funny that someone had tried to do that just before I arrived.
I looked around but could not find any campers nearby, so I assume they got disgusted and left.
No photography tips with this short article, I just wanted to share this because I thought it was funny.
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MADE ONE FRIEND AND ONE WHO THOUGHT ME CRAZY

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This was at Badwater Basin in Death Valley. It was about 120F or 48.9C in the month of July. The gentleman and I got to talking, I found out they were from Finland. We laughed about the difference in climate. Then he said “coming to Death Valley in July is crazy, no?” I told him no, it’s not crazy. I told him that whenever he told the story about going to death Valley he would have bragging rights because he went in July, probably the worst month. He would be able to thrill his friends with stories of death threatening temperatures and the high price of ice.
That cheered him up but his wife said something like “Oh my Gott” and moved on. There is no pleasing everyone.
Sure July is a horrible month to visit Death Valley, but any woos can go in December.
Anyway, I have to laugh thinking about his wife because my granddaughter Megan felt pretty much the same way.
There are no secrets to photographing in Death Valley. Bring plenty of liquids, make sure your ice chest is full of ice and keep your body covered if you are sensitive to the sun.

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Shoes Growing On Trees

I love to photograph roadside oddities and always break for them!

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I suppose this is a modern day version of the “Shoe Tree”
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HARD DRIVES DO CRASH NO MATTER HOW HARD ONE MAY PRAY

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Not a pretty picture but it happens to everyone who owns a computer with a hard drive. Sooner or later KEEERASH! I had a growing problem with my hard drive which I chose to ignore for about six months. When the computer finally died, I knew I was in trouble.
So, I got on the Dell website and ordered me another computer, one with two 1TB hard drives. What I got was one computer with one 2 TB hard drive. The guy from Bangladesh had a wee problem with Engrish.
Since I was delighted with the rest of the computer I decided to keep it as it came but ordered another hard drive from Amazon.com to make backup copies.

I do of course make copies of all my images on CD-ROM disks. I’ve been doing this for about 10 years now and as a result, I now have over 15,000 images on CDs. Transferring all those images from CD to computer took a while, but I have the images! Unfortunately I treated those images much like negatives, I did not save the processed images. That’s what I’m doing now. Going back and working all those “negatives”.
Everyone needs a backup plan, so I hope my tale of woe will help a few people. You can see some of the images on my Flickr account.

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Canyon de Chelly continued

AA-DSC03063Canyon de Chelly is entirely privately owned. You will need to hire a native guide to take you into the canyon. I highly recommend you do that. The sights are worth the price.
I get asked a lot about the equipment I use for my picture taking. For the most part I shoot with a Nikon D90, a Nikon D5200 with various lenses ranging from fish-eye to 1000mm.
I will write about those as I post pictures of them in use.
Just to confuse matters, the picture above was taken with a Sony SLT A77, which I really like because the camera is always in “LIVE MODE”. It also has a pull out tilt/swivel view finder that really comes in handy.

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Moulton Barn In HDR

I have largely gotten away from doing HDR images because I found I really did not need to go to the bother.
There are scenes with extreme lighting that call for HDR, but for the most part I don’t need it. Dealing with moving elements in the picture is one of those hassles I don’t need. For today’s entry however, I want to present a beautiful picture of Moulton’s barn in the Grand Teton’s National Park.

moulton barn grand teton mountains joe grossinger photography imageClick on this picture for a larger image
Moulton’s Barn (there are several in the area) has become a cliche because everyone and his aunts and uncles have photographed it.

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I used Photoshop CS5 to render this image into HDR. Yes, I have the customary 3 images, one under exposed by one f stop, one properly exposed and one over exposed by one f stop. You can take these pictures hand held but the failure rate goes way up, so better carry a sturdy tripod.

There is one very important consideration when shooting for HDR. Make sure your camera is set to aperture priority. You don’t want your depth of field changing with each image, and blurring your end result.

The following image is from theĀ  identical original file to the one above, but it’s from a single image, instead of three. It’s not HDR. I worked this image using NIK Software.
picture moulton barn grand tetons national park joe grossinger photographyClick on this image for a larger view

It hardly seems worth the effort to go through all the bother of doing an HDR, when I can get this kind of result with just one jpg. This is why I recently stopped doing HDR images and also stopped using RAW files. They are a waste of time and resources.
More on this later.

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One cool tip for photographing landscapes

Just a short entry today. I’m still suffering from the post traumatic stress from Christmas and I’m still staring New Year in the face. Hahahah! Well, I bet I’m not alone with this.

people landscape monument valley joe grossinger photography imageClick on this image for a larger view

Most people do their best to leave all vestiges of human existence out of their landscape images. I am of the opposite persuasion. I try to include people in all of my landscape shots. I firmly believe people add interest.

Here is an app that looks interesting. I swear, I’m going to have to get an Iphone!

NightCap is a photography app that extends the maximum exposure time of the iPhone camera to a full second.

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