Field Trip to Santa Cruz Beach - The Rocks


The Art of Seeing


Lesson Info

Field Trip to Santa Cruz Beach - The Rocks

we've done a lot of work with telephoto lenses today want to switch to something else we're in a situation with border washing around the rocks if I put on my white angle lens seventeen to thirty five nick or oh my d eight honored and I mounted on a tripod and I add a neutral density filter I'm gonna be ableto do something with my camera that leads to a scene my naked eyes can see so here's the game here's the game we're gonna play we're going to find some rocks that anchor to see escape and then we're gonna let the sea do its thing I see some candidates right here so see those four five rock stared ofwater still washing around it when a plan my camera mounted on a tripod I've got my eyes show now at one hundred and I'm getting a shutter speed of two and a half seconds because I've got this neutral density filter so I'm gonna run out their plan to camera and then I can trigger it from here so I don't get my feet wet that's the idea right now it's doing nice things nice things I'm gonna...

let the water kind of usually the best moment is when the water's washing back to the ocean we're getting a nice pattern that's a little bit disrupted because there was another wave coming in I'm looking for a nice pattern so water coming in kinda nice not a big enough wait let's let's see what you got okay so my subject is the rocks at least nominally it's the subject but it's really the interaction between the rocks and the water that flows around it but because there's so much suggestive stuff in there you know it's really important to have something that anchors to scene and that's why I've got the tea stack in the distance you know look at it again see this is old flowing motion but by having that see stick sea stack and the cliffs over there it creates a sense of space between the foreground in the distance and that's a wide angle lenses to I can stretch the perspective with a telephoto lenses we are compressing the perspective that's what we were doing that the goals because we were able to make the sea stack look like it's right on top of the gulls and here we're doing the opposite so we're creating more space so and look at it the rocks are in the shade cliffs are in the sun and yet we're not losing detail so there's a little bit of highlighted on the right hand side that are overexposed you see the blink he's come on there you know it's a setting it's an optional setting in my camera that that highlights things that are blown out on we'll see if there's if there's a display of a history graham but we all know what those things look right like right and that is really a critical tool for judging your exposure him but that's okay essential information is here in the rocks and over there so we still have maybe well it's that's a good question but it doesn't really matter because with the right angle lens I'm getting depth of field all the way especially I closed my aperture rolled away down so that I could achieve a longer shutter speed so I really have a depth of field that goes from you know two feet to infinity I found a nice spot on the rocks in this intertidal zone I look for a nice pattern even distribution of the rocks I include the sea cliffs in the background that air still illuminated by the sun and I'm just waiting for the water to move in oh here it comes here it comes and now shooting so this is beginning to look like something it's ah this isn't unprocessed image so it's shot as a roll filed which looks you know like a flap image but you just imagine what I could do hereby adding contrast separation in the colors bringing the sky down a little bit there's a there's a lot of interesting ingredients here shutter speed of up to six seconds have twenty two and the water will create a really interesting effect look at that but maybe that shutter speed is a little bit too long because now it's a complete wash what if I make the shutter speed a little faster so I can see a little bit more of the energy of the water so what can I do I will increase the I s o two five hundred I will open the aperture and no man a quarter of a second it's the same composition but the water will be rendered differently and here it comes she looks different same spot hell verb you like this better than the previous one it's all subjective right um so you've gotta play the whole range of shutter speeds you don't really know exactly what's going to be the sweet spot because every time the surf comes in and does something differently it's different but I'm not liking that rock in the foreground this much I need to find another position there was one rock that was just too big in the center of my composition here it looks a little bit more balance I'm gonna try a different lengths after I do a few more shots with my white angle try something that is a little bit shorter here comes the water one more time I did some landscapes that seventy to thirty five to wait nick or lands which is one of my workhorse lenses but now I'm going to try and go back towards telephoto shops a more compressed perspective it's still the same idea it's water playing around the rocks but just looking a little bit farther up I'm switching to a twenty four to one twenty four not quite as fast the lens but still very sharp and the fact that I'm losing a stop doesn't make any difference because I'm closing the aperture all the way so this is a really this is a really good thing to keep in mind when you considering your which lenses to purchase on dh do you pick a really fast lens which has a wide aperture or you satisfied that's something that doesn't go quite as far open my friend galen rowell who's a mountaineering photographer liked really compact lightweight lenses he said you know most of the time I closed my aperture down anyway to do these landscape photo so why should I drag heavy land surrounded me and that's a good thing to keep in mind as you considering your own purchases you know if you're shooting a lot of twilight or if you're doing work with wildlife then you may consider a so called fast lens but in most normal applications you can get away not just get away you may actually prefer something that is more compact when we looked at some of your images of the jungle you were showing how you have to dry some of your lenses and cameras out this question's coming up a lot foxy sixty five and christy etcetera how do you deal with all the sand and surf that's blowing into your camera when you're on this kind of location and indeed into your bags as well you have to clean things out when you get home so simple meanwhile keep things in those camera bags as much as possible and just take one lends out at a time the question here along the question of weight and equipment where is the best balance between the newer full frame cameras which tend to be heavier and the ah a psc cameras which are lighter and seem to have many of the same features we could talk about that for for quite a while because indeed there's a there's a new kind of camera on the market now that isthe getting a lot of attention from professional photographers and from the industry at large these are not dslr cameras that are based on on a concept that has been around for a long time the mirror that is built into these slr cameras is what projects light onto a viewfinder on when you remove the mirror from the design of a camera you can read engineer a camera and it can become much more compact so the new generation of mira lis cameras is much more small a much more compact and they can still deliver very high quality images because the optics are not affected by mirror or no mirror so a number of manufacturers are very moving into that space and you know the public is paying attention and you know I have them too yeah therefore a compact field trip they are the way to go thank you to be a little bit more reach duck showed me a frame that gave me the idea that we can extend ourselves into the distance so I'm going back to where he's standing and then see what I can do that what we're seeing here this direction we're getting back light on what has backlight emphasize its shapes so check this out now we're getting okay yeah really interesting contrast between the flowing water and the rocks there's no color left because we're looking against the light but you know what a long shutter speed you know we're really seeing these waters of the water wrap around the rocks and it almost looks like a like a zen landscape right so I'm gonna do a little bit more of it that there's a little bit of color in the sky not too much we're not going to get flaming red's tonight it's really more about finding a balance composition between a handful of rocks it if you follow the idea of a zen composition then really that means less is more we don't need to see fifty rocks find four or five and you help only you get out of my right angle view back into more of a telephone of you because you have a very similar and you have a twenty four two one five and I have a twenty four on twenty and that actually was exactly what what happened alive is looking in that other direction and demonstrating to melissa but I was doing with my vita angle lens duck was pointing in another direction and he had a longer lens and that made me see that there is another point of view and that is why it is so valuable to go out with like minded people because you inspire each other together you see more than you can by yourself thank you doug I'm intuition is that if we go a little bit higher up the beach we're going to see the rocks a bit more separated if you're down there is gonna be difficult to see them quite as well defined as when we're here I think it's just a matter of a couple of feet and of course it's all about timing you know what I see with my naked eye is not what the camera records it's rocks in time way go ten seconds that's beginning to look like something I hope it sharp because of wind was still blowing I haven't looked at these pictures critically but I think I may be right at the edge on dh but these long exposures it becomes really critical to keep the camera rock steady and you don't want to trigger it with your own hands that is very releases are are an essential device I started off looking at a white angle composition in that direction and then I noticed that the setting sun was creating a really interesting backlit situation over here and the long time exposures I can create a really it ferial view of water washing over the rocks there's no color left in the scene it's just silhouetted shapes and it really begins to look like something different even during the half hour that even standing here you can see the shift in light you can also see that the tightest coming up so there's mohr water surrounding the rocks now it's really working here okay the last frame more water please does one of my favorite frame so today this looks really nice in in to my eye and I hadn't quite succeeded in this shot quite the same way as we did that afternoon as I mentioned on camera not a lot of color it almost looks like a black and white but this will look sharp erred and some of the previous frames so it may be that water is washing around the tripod legs I don't know what but you know at least I got one that is really good people sean who's joining us online is saying this is fascinating that when I go to a beach like this first I always think there's just nothing to photograph and yet here you are demonstrating the beauty of what you hear I started off looking in that direction but a wide angle lens I saw the water wash over the rocks and there was really beautiful light on the distant sea cliffs try to combine the two in one landscape view and what a wide angle lens does it is extending the perspective I did a longer exposure but I didn't see enough definition of the rocks in the water and then I began to look in this direction just then the sun was going down I was looking against the light and then I do that I begin to see the rocks mohr as shapes so the view I know have better slightly longer lens compresses the perspective instead of extending it and it uneven longer exposure I was able to show something that the naked eyes can't see rock surrounded by water swirling overtime it looks really beautiful very high contrast a milky flow of nearly white water and black rocks I'm gonna show you what I saw in both my camera captured I'm very happy what I've learned here is something that I've already known for years which is that the first idea may not necessarily be the best one you've got to keep probing you've gotta get looking different directions change lenses and go with the flow as the light shift and as the water shift you've gotta be conscious of the new opportunities the sun is setting so the light levels are going down but we've got this beautiful reflected light now coming off the sky a bit of an orange yellow glow and it's doing beautiful things to the surface quality of the rocks so I looked it delight and now I'm looking against the light showing the patterns in the foreground and a little bit of the water washing over the rocks in a distance not polite right may need a little bit more distance here yes because now I'm getting more color in the water maybe not quite right I'm just feeling my way into a new situation as the light is going down at this time in the evening it's all about light the specifics don't matter as much as the mood in the landscape you need a bit more balance between the rocks in the water and I'm waiting for one more way I started off a bit of ight angle lends aiming to do a landscape that included rocks in the foreground and the sea cliffs in the distance my fight angle lens can extend that respect if and I created space in between foreground and background then I did a time exposure I added a neutral density filter tutor lens and that enabled me to extend my shutter speed to several seconds that create ah a little bit about thes neutral density filters I know we need to wrap things up but those are very useful tools for this kind of landscape photography you know neutral density filters come in different densities yo anywhere from one stop to stop to ten stops there are also some neutral density filters that are variable and those are made that companies like sing ray the standard neutral density filters are made by all the big filter makers like hoya or tiffin and I've got several of them in my my camera back the variable neutral density filters are handy because you can rotate him and then as you rotate him maura mohr density is added to the filter to drawback is that they're very thick they've been yet your lens very easily and then they are not coming from the best makers they can add a little bit of a color hugh to your uh to your image so I would say start off by getting one that is at least five stops in density or maybe you go all the way and get her nate stop neutral density filter the beautiful swirling motion of the water surrounding the rocks but I didn't quite like what I've seen even though I wanted to you know the water swirling around the rocks I kind of destroyed the definition of what I was hoping the scene so then duck showed me an image that made me realize that I should look in the other direction with a longer lens I love this about working that other photographer shall we help each other see it's not just my point of view everybody can contribute to the other collaborative creativity so I am the longer lansing that direction looking against the light and then I was finally seeing what I had in my mind type dark crocks shaped by the setting sun and with my long shutter speed that was able to make the water surround the rocks creating a smooth milky flow zen scape but that time light was going down I was still seeing all kinds of beautiful patterns in the rocks of my feet so I did a couple of frames but really the most beautiful moment of us rocks and water in time and I think we're close to wrapping it up we've seen a lot today and just when I thought way we're going to wrap it up I looked behind me there's a moon beautiful pink light on the horizon fading light on the cliffs I'm gonna try and get down to the rock small more time and shoot with the life instead of against it this is the afterglow of the day and it's the most beautiful light there is there's a huge diffuser in the sky and it's happening right now any questions from the audience online we've got loads of questions about mirror on dh locks except do you want to talk about gear this point sure actually question to me do you use mirror up on longer exposures that's why jae pyung graph yes I do okay that wasn't that helps because then then you do not do that kind of in the mirror is thrown up toe let light in it can create a little bit of vibration that can affect the sharpness of your image having said that sometimes I forget I'm in too much of a rush okay and christie's asking when does france decide which to which to use the l plate on his camera or the collar on the lens andi I talked about that earlier on and then I have been I used a long lens that it has its own lens collar that is my preferred mode of attaching the whole rig to the tripod so the l plates were first to do bracket that is in my camera body and it means that I can put the camera in a horizontal position or in a vertical position on the tripod on dh k stamp is curious about focus because they're wondering what mode you're using from moving wildlife and indeed the moving water who a forty for the moving border the focus was not that important because everything was but in my depth of field for working with wildlife you have to be much more selective but can we save that for another occasion but definitely on a perch question was how do you control chromatic aberration boy that is another topic that technical so let's save that too for for another session evening mate absolutely any questions here from our studio audience before you go on okay let's get going because there's still a few things to come right this is a long day see how the cliffs are glowing now that on lee started a couple of minutes ago so that's our highlights highlights in the distance they draw you in and give you this expand that experience oh yeah light is doing it ok some changing the view it's it's not easy to appreciate the nuances of the light on this screen but it is really quite exquisite wasn't it dog and when you're when you're standing there you have become mohr aware of how the light shift this is exactly in that kind of time that we refer to as magic light after sunset for half a knauer things are shifting very rapidly from a warm light before the sound set towards a cooler light and especially if you get some clouds in the sky that kind of mixes the warm glow that is thrown back onto the landscape with the cooler light that you see creep into the shadows and that is absolutely wonderful for working that as a landscape photographer I'm now aiming the lens up to incorporate the moon as a reference point for the twinkling of the moonlight on the water surface it will be interesting to see how the moonlight traces itself on the water surface that moonlight isn't oh sorry I'm interrupting quite away I hope so I was I was thinking that maybe you're the reflection of the moon with would show here the way it does you know even the sound sets you see it reflected in the water as well but the shutter speed was just too long it n trace itself very well but it's just a ny idea that I had and then it's not possible to actually execute it they need to see les I think we need to wait for less indians light and then the moon becomes stronger but I'm not I'm not sure we're gonna last that long but what has been working is that afterglow from the sun but it's slowly fading away no but I think we got the best of it we came to the beach in the middle of the afternoon we worked with the goals in the dynamic nature of the landscape and then he ended up on the rocks with water washing around it we started doing long exposures and then as a gift at the end way saw this amazing glow of the sunset reflecting against the sky basking the whole landscape in this beautiful pink life it's been nothing but highlights all day long I'm very happy well wait what a beautiful shot of you and this and this image is made in exactly that same spot but those rocks aren't there anymore to see rolls them around the beach changes shape all the time so as I said earlier that beach cannon is different every time I visited so that was a fantastic day but it was beautiful and melissa brookmeyer is saying I really like that these field trips have been incorporated into this workshop to see how fran's approaches the scene and his use of different lenses and perspective is very very interesting tow her andare uses just saying they just love being out there with you now we have some images from melissa and doug that we're going to take a look at now from the shoot oh melissa ah applause that is gorgeous look at that hell it only cost one pair of shoes ah that's a small price to pay that's that's absolutely lovely thank you look at that gorgeous composition it's a curve that goes around and you've really made wonderful use of the light over live is looking at this section remember that you brought in the scene right that is really beautiful the sun in the sky is so beautiful and the lights on the rocks color in the rocks gorgeous thank you very much from doug duck wow so that's the other point of view well switch to a vertical and you were working maurin that same area where I extracted that image from but you extended it up to the to the cliff face and grounded it in a different voice over I was looking at an abstraction you related it to them to the rest of the landscape just is beautiful thank you oh wow oh tell us about this one doug well when your water on the rocks terry I noticed that and so I took out my uh my close up lens that I can uh it's a doctor lands and put on the end of my twenty four two one o five and use it as a macro and there's a bunch of barnacles there's some a little water pools and stuff in there and I thought that make an interesting image that is really beautiful weaver so focused on the bigger landscapes that way didn't have much time for for all the intricate details there is well this this really works for me here nice pattern throughout the one thing that I would have liked to have seen is something else here on the on the bottom right hand corner because then it would have been absolutely balanced as a as a composition but as it isthe kudos and then you went back to dead direction again kind of heavy on the rocks here so different emphasised and one that I ended up with it but just as valid wow boy you you all did really well there that day I really like the these two girls flying here can be seed is it possible to see the shutter speed can we see the tech specs of the image I think we can probably not this thing this format but it appears that your shutter speed is at least two fiftieth maybe even five hundred of a second and that keeps the girls very crisp beautiful other view so beautiful moment that ah with the wave just crashing they're nice and then yet one more detail um all of these images of really gorgeous you created quite a portfolio in monday oh thank you yeah

Class Description

Join world-renowned National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting for two days of instruction and inspiration that will change the way you look at photography and what you can do with your own camera.

With experiences from three decades of work in wild places – from the Amazon to Antarctica, Frans will introduce you to new ways to capture the wonders of the natural world with a camera. His class includes presentations about creative ideas and technical skills, and also features landscape and wildlife photography instruction during special field workshop sessions at prime photographic destinations along the California coast — Frans’s home ground for the past 30 years. The course will conclude with a critique of images submitted by viewers.

If you’re passionate about nature photography and want to improve your own photographic vision, you will be inspired by this unique course from a master photographer and teacher.