Welcome to my Snethkamp PhotoArt Blog. The Blog posts you find here will cover a variety of topics, mostly on photography but I’ll include anything that I find worth sharing. Please visit the links I include and feel free to share your thoughts with me. I’ll post your comments as long as they are productive to the conversation. Enjoy.
Big Sur California. What an incredible drive, what incredible views, what incredible wildlife.
Michele and I drove from Santa Barbara to Monterey Bay 2 years ago and it was one of the best vacations we've had. It's also a photographer's dream and some place I could spend years exploring. The big in Big Sur certainly holds weight here. Everything is on a grand scale. Big cliffs, big ocean, big view, big trees and big animals.
Here's a view looking back down the coast to the south after crossing a bridge. Some of the homes here are big too, and spectacular to match.
All along the drive, we saw plumes of mist exploding into the air from the pods of humpback whales surfacing to breathe. When we passed a spot where cars were stopped and their occupants were staring over the cliff and chatting like giddy school kids. What we found was that we were about 600 feet over the ocean and directly below us was a pod of humpbacks feeding. AMAZING. I added a doubler to my 200mm lens and took a variety of shots as the whales circled underneath blowing bubbles to create a 'net' to trap their food, then surfacing with mouths agape to filter the krill out of thousands of gallons of water with each mouthful. Even at this height, it was easy to hear them communicating with one another, slapping the water and clearing their blow holes and taking breaths. All around them circled sea lions which you can see at the bottom of the photo. I wonder if any of them accidentally get swallowed up? What happens then? Game over I'm guessing. Makes me reconsider my thoughts of how amazing it would be to be one of those kayakers you see on the internet who've taken the amazing videos of whales surfacing and eating just feet from their boats. What happens if YOU are in the middle of one of those mouth fulls?
The sun set not long thereafter. I wish I could spend days shooting the sunsets, sunrises and views in Big Sur. The sun shining through the clouds looked like showers of gold dust falling from the sky.
Sunsets seem to attract photographers like bears to honey. The quality of light a sunset casts on subjects and the sky itself as a subject make a great sunset hard to resist capturing.
The real light quality of this image shows when it is front or back lit with high-quality lighting.
Here's the image in a large scale installation setting.
Arguably the most successful living photographer today, Peter Lik is a master at capturing the quality of light and reproducing it in his final images. Take a look at some of his images on his site with this "sunset" search:
A close up view of one of the jet turbines that used to power the Concord.
This particular engine sits in the lobby of the private Austin Executive Airport on the northeast side of Austin, TX. It's been meticulously restored and sits on display for all to see up close and personal. There's something amazing about the seemingly endless network of parts that make up this marvel of engineering.
Ron W. Henriksen is the brainchild and founder of Austin Executive Airport and he's written a very interesting history of how it all came about. Chapter 11 details how he purchased and restored the Rolls Royce engine. The entire book can be read at this link: Austin Executive Airport: A History
Thanks to Mr. Henriksen for sharing his passion with us and for preserving such an amazing piece of aviation history.
The National Cathedral in Washington DC is one of those places you can't visit without taking photos. When I visited several years ago it was still early in my photography journey. That unfortunately translated into a very small number of high quality images. There are so many things I would do different knowing what I know now. Although I'm sure I could say that about the vast majority of my early and some of my recent photography.
This photograph was taken in one of the secondary chapels which is also a crypt. The crypt contains the remains of a number of former priests from days gone by as well as some amazing wall illustrations and textures. Being that this was one of my early photos HDR was a technique I practiced quite a bit and which allowed me to capture a quality of light that translates the feeling of the chapel quite well.
If I could change one thing it would be the lens I shot this with. At that time I didn't have a quality wide angle lens like I do now. That lens would have allowed me to capture so much more of the rooms character and historic inhabitants. In fact, I believe I would have some incredible shots from the main chapel as well with that lens.
I'm always interested to know what you think.
And, here's an HDR image of one of the bell towers.
This photo of cypress trees along the banks of the Guadalupe River near San Antonio, TX was one of my first HDR - High Dynamic Range photos.
One of the potential problems with HDR photography, especially a few years ago in its infancy, is the tendency to over process. Over processing creates a variety of artifacts in an image and can lead to a very surreal or fake looking image. I've learned a lot since taking this photo and it's highly unlikely I would call this image a final product in my current process. However, if I shot this photo today I don't think I would have stuck with this image which, although over processed, has a wonderful quality about it.
I've exhibited this photo and shared it quite a bit and people always seem to have a strong opinion about it. Some dislike it, many like it, and almost everyone thinks it looks a bit "spooky". How wonderful! After all, isn't that what makes an image or a painting or any other work of art remarkable? Whether people like it or dislike it, almost everyone feels strongly about it and that's what makes it a great image. There's not a whole lot of middle ground but rather a love it or leave it feeling and a reaction. Either way, it stirs emotions.
How does this photo make you feel? What are your thoughts? How do you think it would look printed life-size and displayed in a large lobby or on the side of building?
You can read more about HDR photography in my post about HDR master Trey Ratcliff.