Benjamin Schneider: Blog https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Benjamin Schneider justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) Mon, 13 Aug 2018 16:08:00 GMT Mon, 13 Aug 2018 16:08:00 GMT https://www.justbenphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u185536944-o1038638450-50.jpg Benjamin Schneider: Blog https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog 90 120 "Forever Yours - The Land" https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2018/8/-forever-yours---the-land

Hi all!

It is been awhile since my last blog post, but I have been really busy. Today I would like to announce that I am involved in the "Forever Yours - The Land" campaign, created by the Palmer Land Trust. 

This campaign is a city-wide project enabling artists to share their passion for conservation, nature and art. I have been working the last few months to find partners that work to conserve and protect our public lands and the amazing landscapes of Colorado. My work with the Palmer Land Trust is only the beginning of me supporting conservation projects and bringing awareness to this very important topic. After all, I am a Landscape and Wildlife Photographer. I want my work to make a difference and to help ensure that future generations have the same opportunities to experience nature than we do.

More more information check out the Celebrate Land webpage: Celebrate Land

 

I also gave an interview to Melissa Stewart and the Tri-Lakes Tribune about my work and the "Forever Yours - The Land" campaign. In case you missed it, here is the excerpt from the newspaper:

 

To inspire the community to connect with and conserve the land, Palmer Land Trust will launch “Forever Yours, The Land,” a month-long, regional art exhibit showcasing 60 artists and 100 venues in the Pikes Peak region on Friday. Palmer Land Trust is a Colorado Springs-based nonprofit organization that has worked to protect public open spaces, scenic areas, landscapes, recreation spaces, as well as working farms and ranches in southern Colorado since 1977. Colorado Springs is projected to surpass Denver in population by 2050. Community sup- port for land conservation is important
to Palmer Land Trust’s efforts, Rebecca Jewett, executive director of Palmer Land Trust said.

Palmer Land Trust garnered financial support from Great Outdoors Colorado to raise awareness about the land and to help instill a passion for conservation in the community. According to Jewett, awareness is the first step in creating passionate conservation advocates who will take a stand for the land, whether it is through voting, volunteering, donating or just appreciating its beauty. Leveraging the vibrant arts community in the region is a way to bring the beauty and inspiration of the land into the city.

“Artists are an amazing platform for sharing that love because nature is an inspiration for many artists, especially local artists, so using their creativity and their passion (is) a way to bring (their) celebration and love for the land into our city for a month,” Jewett said.

Local photographer Benjamin Schneider sees beauty and art not only in mountain ranges but also in the little things that others could miss. Wanting to share his view of Colorado’s beauty with the community, he contacted Palmer Land Trust about participating in ‘Forever Yours, The Land.’ Schneider’s work will be showing at Bella Art and Frame in Monument, starting Aug. 16. “I really want to help people see what I see,” Schneider said of his desire to share his photos. “I think it’s important for us to make sure we keep our open spaces and all those landscapes (protected) because if you don’t, future generations will not be able to use them anymore, and I think we would lose something of our heritage as humans and (that) those are just important spaces.”

Schneider began taking photos in 2009 after seeing his friend’s new camera. He was impressed by the quality of photos,
and decided to buy a camera of his own. He quickly realized a good photo is not solely dependent on the camera, but also on the photographer, so he poured himself into learning his new craft. The German native met his wife when she was stationed at an Army base in Germany. Her military assignments eventually brought the couple to Colorado where Schneider began photographing Colorado landscapes and nature.
“It’s just so much bigger here,” Schneider said. “You have very nice areas (in Germany) too, but you go somewhere and you cannot walk for hours because there’s always cities around, there’s always villages around and that kind of stuff. (Here) you can drive to the mountains and just keep
on walking for hours and (not) see another person if you want to, so it’s definitely justthe size of it.”

Schneider is passionate about using his photography to make a difference. “I would just hope that my pictures help (conservation) organizations do their jobs and help keep open those open spaces so everyone can use them,” Schneider said. “We are still in a military family right now, we move every now and then, so it’s not that I can have a big impact in one specific place, but I think because we move I can maybe have an impact on different places.” Schneider added. For more information about “Forever Yours, The Land,” visit www.celebrateland.org. To see more of Schneider’s photos,
visit www.justbenphotography.com/colorado.

 

Thank you to Melissa, The Tri-Lakes Tribune and the Palmer Land Trust for giving me the opportunity to talk about my passion and to inspire other people to work with us!


As mentioned in the interview, I will be in Monument this week, Thursday, August 16th, to showcase some of my work at BellaArtandFrame and I look forward to meet you there!

Ben


 

 

 

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justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) #celebrateland @PalmerLandTrust Art Conservation Forever Yours The Land Interview Melissa Stewart Palmer Land Trust Tri-Lakes Tribune https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2018/8/-forever-yours---the-land Mon, 13 Aug 2018 16:08:12 GMT
News and Updates - November 2017 https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2017/11/news-and-updates---november-2017    

 

The Small Works Show

I am happy to announce that I will be showing some of my work at the annual small works exhibition in Colorado Springs! This wildly popular show is hosted by The Modbo and SPQR and was voted best exhibition in town numerous times. The opening reception is December 1st from 5:00 to 12:00, and the show runs from December 1st to January 5th.

For more information check out their websites (The Modbo / SPQR) or the flyer below.

See you there!

 

 

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justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) colorado colorado springs exhibit news spqr the modbo the small works show updates https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2017/11/news-and-updates---november-2017 Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:19:17 GMT
Goodbye Adobe! https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2017/11/goodbye-adobe

 

Goodbye Adobe!

We had some nice years together, but it is time to search for a new buddy in my photographic endeavors.

As you may know, Adobe unveiled their future plans for Lightroom a few days ago. Since then every major photography website has published an article about it, and users have discussed the pro's and con's. I do not want to go into detail about all the changes, you can find plenty online.

Adobe has posted a blog article describing Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC. You can find it here if you are interested in the details: Adobe Blog

 

For me, their changes mark the final push I needed to leave Adobe. Since they got basically rid of the retail version of Lightroom (somewhere hidden on Adobe's website) and Photoshop, I am not really happy anymore. Since then I have been searching for alternatives and the recent outlook in the future has added a certain pressure to this.

To my knowledge a software that has been labeled “Classic”, has never made it a long time. Please feel free to comment if I am wrong. I do not see Adobe putting money and effort in two different versions of Lightroom for very long. So in my mind, Lightroom Classic will die sooner or later.

The new Lightroom CC is basically cloud-based and, as far as I know, in order to develop a photo it has to be uploaded to Adobe's servers. I know this version is not intended for professionals, but I assume that Adobe will upgrade it over time and add new features that are intended for professional users.

 

So why is it that I don't like a cloud-based Lightroom?

 

     1.) Control: Once my photos are in the cloud I loose control over them. I might be able to delete them from the cloud, but do I have a guaranty that they are really deleted?

     2.) Probability of Failure: If I develop my photos on my PC I am responsible that my hard- and software is working. With a cloud-based software I add two more variables: The ISP has to do their job to make sure my Internet is working, and Abobe has to do their job to make sure their servers are working.

     3.) Upload/Download speed: Me and my family are moving frequently and there is no guarantee that at our next location the internet will be as fast as it is right now. Also, upload speed is still considerably slower than download speed. At my current location about 15 times as slow!

As we all know a RAW file can be quite large, and on a weekend trip I might take a few hundred photos. It will take me a couple hours just to upload those photos.

     4.) Security: How often do we read in the news lately about hacked servers? My photos might not be what a hacker wants, but once they are online, in high-resolution for everyone to download, they are not worth anything anymore.

     5.) Access: If I ever decide to cancel my subscription, I cannot access my photos anymore. Right now I have at least the RAW files on my computer and would only loose the adjustments.

 

These are just a few reasons I thought about while typing this article, and some might call me paranoid, and that cloud is the future. I am sure that there are valid points and also advantages of cloud-based software, but at this stage of development those do not negate the issues I talked about.

In the next posts I will talk about the alternatives I found and how my workflow changed. Stay tuned!

Benjamin

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justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) adobe alternatives cloud lightroom lightroom cc lightroom classic cc photoshop software https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2017/11/goodbye-adobe Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:56:28 GMT
Product Review - Sleeklens Overlays for Photoshop https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2017/1/product-review---sleeklens-overlays-for-photoshop

Welcome back to my blog! Today I have a Product Review for you:

 

Sleekslens Overlays for Photoshop

 

Sleeklens is a company based in Copenhagen, Denmark that produces presets for Lightroom and Photoshop such as Actions, Overlays, Textures etc.

You can find and purchase all those products on their website: Sleeklens

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the PR Manager of Sleeklens and she offered me 1-2 of their products for test purposes if I would be willing to write a review about them.

First, I have to say that I am a traditional photographer. My standard workflow consists of RAW development in Lightroom and every now and then some adjustments in the Nik Collection series. I do not use presets because I like to have control over every single aspect of my photo and I also do not copy anything into my photos that was not there at the time I shot it.

Now that you know how I work you will understand that I was a bit hesitant about what Sleeklens would have to offer. So I went to their website anyway because even though overlays are not part of my workflow I was curious to play around with those and test them.

Long story short I agreed to test their overlays and to write my honest opinion about them in my blog:

 

1. The Overlays

I picked the “Skies Overlay Collection” and the “Light Rays” since my main focus is Nature, Wildlife and Landscape and those two would be a good match for those topics.

 

2. The Content

The “Skies Overlay Collection” consists of 3 parts: A “Flares” folder with 4 different types of flares, a “Sky Overlays” folder with 177 different types of skies, and a Photoshop Action that is used to match and enhance a photo once you put in your new sky.

The “Light Rays” folder contains 15 different light rays in monochrome (so you can match the color later in Photoshop) and 10 different light rays in color (blue, yellow and orange tones).

Every collection also contains a recipe guide in pdf format that shows you before and after pictures of photos where both products had been used, so you get an idea how a specific Photoshop Action will affect your photo.

 

3. Installation, Guide and Help

The Sleeklens website explains 3 different ways to install the Photoshop Action, so even if you have never used one, you have help on hand to guide you through the process.

Sleeklens also features a blog and a Youtube channel where every collection is explained and where you can see how to work with their products.

 

4. In Photoshop

Once you completed the quick installation and you open Photoshop you will find the “Matching” and “Enhance” actions under your Photoshop Actions in a self-explanatory list:

You can now get to work. I will not explain every step in detail but in general it is fairly easy.

Here is the explained workflow for the Light Rays: Youtube Video 1

 And here you can find the workflow for the Sky Collection: Youtube Video 2

 

5. Results

After I tested it for a while and after I had an idea what every Photoshop action does I was able to get some decent results:

Before:

After:

Here is example number two, this time just a few improvements:

Before:

After:

Example number three:

Before:

After:

As you can tell the changes in the photos are sometimes really dramatic, but sometimes they are just subtle.

 

6. Price

At the time of this review both collections are available for a reduced price. The “Skies Overlays Collection” is now $69 (was $99) and the “Light Rays Overlay Collection” is now $39 (was $49).

My personal opinion is that I would have been satisfied with the content of the $69 “Skies Overlays Collection”. On the other hand I think that the “Light Rays Overlay Collection” is a bit overprized when you compare the content of both products.

 

7. Conclusion

Both products are easy to use and while they are intended for advanced Photoshop users there is still plenty of help available should you need it. The results that you are able to achieve can be pretty impressive and even though I am still not a big fan of overlays I have to admit that they can be useful for some situations.

For example, you have just a few hours at a location before you have to leave again and you will not be able to come back anytime soon. If you are lucky, you get that great shot with awesome light and clouds and all that good stuff. If you are not lucky you might end up with a photo that is somewhat decent but has a really boring sky or not quite the colors you have hoped for.

In this situation these overlays can come in really handy to achieve the look you had in mind when you took the photo. If you are willing to take that step is completely up to you. You are the artist!

 

Did you use these or other Sleeklens products before? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Have a photo-tastic day!

Ben

 

 

 

 

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justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) Light Rays Overlays Photoshop Product Review Review Skies Overlay Collection Sleeklens https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2017/1/product-review---sleeklens-overlays-for-photoshop Wed, 18 Jan 2017 04:43:35 GMT
Hiking Memory - Seven Bridges Trail (My Fall Edition) https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/11/hiking-memory-seven-bridges-trail

 

Seven Bridges Trail – My Fall Edition

This is my fall version of the famous Seven Bridges Trail. Fall version because I like to extend it a little further up to an area with a lot of beautiful aspen trees.

Unfortunately I was not able to do this hike this year, because one of the bridges was closed due to replacement. But with plenty aspen trees in the area it just has to be an awesome photo location!

 

1. Short Overview

Length (out and back):               10,3km (6.4 miles)

Altitude Difference:                    510m (1670ft.)

Time (out and back):                   roughly 4 hours

Coordinates (Starting Point):      38.790289, -104.903980

 

2. Map


 

3. The Hike

The hike starts at the parking lot right after Helen Hunt Falls. The first part of the trail follows Gold Camp Road and is fairly even until you reach North Cheyenne Creek.

There you turn right and follow the creek all the way up over all seven bridges (hence the name) right after Bridge 7. That part of the trail is increasing altitude constantly but is relatively easy to walk and should be suited for all ages.

From here the trail is cut into some rock formations and gets tougher and narrower. You also have to walk along some mountain sides where the trail just consists of sand and gravel that can easily slide down the slope that runs on your side, so be very careful where you step! If you don’t feel comfortable to continue, just turn around and enjoy the many nice spots along the bridges!

Once you cleared the potentially dangerous area the trail gets better again and keeps on climbing up until you reach the area where plenty of aspen trees are growing.

The trail is normally pretty quiet during the early mornings, but gets busier before noon. You will encounter a lot of people by that time.

Here you can download the gpx file for use in smartphone or Navigation System (Right click -> Save As): GPX File

 

4. Photographic Opportunities:

As I mentioned already and as you expected I assume, this trail has lots of photo opportunities!

The little creek with its crossing bridges offers a lot of nice spots and I would sit here for hours would I try to mention all of them! Plan enough time to search and find the best ones. Some of them are hidden by leaves and bushes so make sure you explore the whole area!

Here are some examples to show you what you can expect:

Seven Bridges 3Seven Bridges 3

  

Seven Fall BridgesSeven Fall BridgesSeven Bridges Trail at Fall.
My tripod was setup on a tree branch for that shot. Took me a while to ensure that it was not shaking. Guess if somebody would have watched me, they would have thought that i was a little crazy ;-)

The last part of the hike with all its aspen trees should also ensure plenty of opportunities to get some nice fall shots. As I mentioned I could not see it for myself this year, but I will for sure write an update once I witnessed it next fall.

 

5. Light Situation

It is hard to tell something about the light situation for the aforementioned reasons, but when it comes to waterfall/creek photography it is almost always advisable to photograph it on an overcast day.

This allows for nice even light, without any harsh shadows. It also eliminates blown out highlights in the water.

For the aspen trees I would like to have both light situations: Nice and even on an overcast day but also sunlight closer to the horizon to allow backlit photos of the leaves. I think the area can be really nice in almost all light situations, so I would go there a few times to get a variety of moods.

 

6. Conclusion

A moderate to hard hike with plenty photographic opportunities right outside Colorado Springs.

I went there a couple times already, and I will sure go again. And again…

Highly recommended!

 

If you have any questions or you would like to hear more, just let me know!

Thank you and I hope you have a photo-tastic week!

 

Benjamin

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justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) Colorado Colorado Springs Fall Herbst Hike Hiking Memory Photo-Hike Photography Seven Bridges Trail https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/11/hiking-memory-seven-bridges-trail Fri, 04 Nov 2016 16:30:00 GMT
"Hiking Memory" St. Mary's Falls https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/9/-hiking-memory-st-marys-falls

Hello and welcome back to Just Ben!

As I said in my last blog post I want to create a “Hiking Memory” of all the photo hikes I did so far. I want to use it to remember how a location looked like, how to get there, what photographic opportunities I encountered and so on.

So let’s start! The first hike that I want to upload today is:

 

St. Mary’s Falls

I did that hike the first time on 09 AUG 2016 but I want to do it again soon, because I can’t really recall if there were Aspens near the trail, and being fall one should know that! Now you see, that is why I need the Hiking Memory ;-)

 

1. Short Overview:

Date and Time:                       09 August 2016, 07:30 (7:30am)

Length (out and back):          10km (6,2miles)

Altitude Difference:               roughly 400m (1300ft.)

Time (out and back):              2 hours

Coordinates (Waterfall):        approx. 38.770831, -104.918329

 

2. Map

3. The Hike

The hike starts at the parking lot right above Helen Hunt Falls, which is also the parking for Seven Bridges Trail (Coordinates: 38.790677, -104.903950).

The first part of the trail is a wide dirt/gravel path that used to be a road (as far as I know).

Once you reach the start of Seven Bridges Trail you continue to the left until you reach a blocked tunnel. The trail continues on the left side of the blocked area.

From here on the trail is slowly but steadily increasing the altitude, so you go uphill the whole time. After a while you reach a place where the trail splits up, but it doesn’t matter which one you take since both paths will lead you to the main trail.

From here you just follow the trail all the way up to St. Mary’s Falls.

I just met a handful people that were hiking up while I was going down again, so I think it is not the most crowded hike (at least in the mornings).

Here you can download the gpx file for use in smartphone or Navigation System: GPX File

 

4. Photographic Opportunities

Since I went in August I can only talk about the photographic opportunities at that time…yet.

I am planning to hike it again soon to see how it looks like in fall.

During most of the time you follow the trail right along a little creek that could offer some nice opportunities. I did not stop though, since I wanted to get up there as soon as possible. I was just interested in the water fall that day ;-)

I stumbled over a few mule deer that looked at me like I was crazy running up that mountain. So wildlife is available as well.

The waterfall itself is very nice and offers lots of opportunities. I took some pictures that day, but the light was pretty bad already, so I am not really happy with those.

From the waterfall you also have a nice view over a part of Colorado Springs and the plains east of the city.

I will go there again early morning and in the evening to see how the light changes in that location.

 

5. Light Situation

When I reached the waterfall it was almost 8:30am and so the light was not really in my favor.

The complete waterfall was already hit by direct and very harsh sunlight. I also had no clouds at all that day, so there was no point in waiting for a cloud to smooth out the sunlight.

I cannot really predict yet how the light will look in the evening, so I will have to check that soon.

 

6. The Photos

Even though the light was not in my favor I still got my camera out to get some pictures and played around with different angles. That way I know already what will look good when I come up next time, and the light is better!

I used a wide angle lens (Canon 17-40mm F/4) and tried to get close to the waterfall to make it a dominant part of the photo. I then backed off and changed my location for a while to get a feeling what would look best.

 

7. Conclusion

A moderate hike with a nice waterfall and also some photographic opportunities on the way up the mountain.

 

If you have any questions or you would like to hear more, just let me know!

Thank you and I hope you have a photo-tastic week!

Benjamin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) Colorado Falls Hike Hiking-Memory Mary's Memory Photo-Hike Photography Plan Planning St. Wanderung https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/9/-hiking-memory-st-marys-falls Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:52:22 GMT
How to plan a Photo-Hike https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/9/how-to-plan-a-photo-hike

Hello and welcome back to Just Ben!

I haven’t been working on my blog for a while (busy, busy all the time…) but I finally found some time to write another post.

Today I want to start a new series about the hiking trails I use to get some of my pictures. I will call it my “Hiking Memory” because it will also act as my personal log book. By writing down what I saw and experienced during my hikes I want to create something I can always go back to if I want to take a picture of a specific location.

This enables me to remember what views or locations a hike offered, if it is easy or hard to get to it and so on and so forth.

Before we start with our first hike, I want to talk a little about how I pick the hikes I want to walk (or promising photo locations in general), and also about what problems or issues might occur when you plan a hike but you have never been there yourself yet.

 

Here is in short how I plan my photo hikes:

  1. Search online for trails that are in the general area I want to go to
  2. Pick some trails and research if there are nice photo locations
  3. Create the hike in my Hiking App
  4. Check how the light will – most likely – be at my chosen locations
  5. Make a plan on when to leave the house to make sure I am at the right location at the right time
  6. Prepare backpack and equipment

 

Let’s look into the details. First things first, here is number one:

 

1. Search online for trails

Most of the time I either use Google Search and just search for hiking trails in my specified area, or I use http://www.alltrails.com which has lots of prepared hikes ready to go for you!

I also found two great websites that provided some great information for hikes near my hometown Colorado Springs:

http://www.cospringstrails.com/index.html

http://www.coloradophotohikes.com/pikes-peak-area-trails.html

I really appreciate the work of František Trenkler and Steffani GreenLeaf and would like to use this opportunity to thank both of them for their great work! It really helped me to find some really nice spots in the area! Thank you!

 

2. Research photo locations along the trails

This is fairly easy since all the websites I mentioned above have photo galleries so you can see what to expect of the trails. Google picture search or Google Earth are another great source to figure out where the best spots might be.

Sometimes it is hard to judge a trail just from pictures though, and sometimes they trick you quite a bit. I had planned a hike a couple weeks ago that was supposed to have a lake. The pictures on the website I found it showed a lake and so I didn’t bother to double check on google maps or google earth to see if there really was a lake. Hint: I should have checked it…

Anyway, I went on my hike and after about an hour going constantly uphill I arrived at the “lake”. The lake was actually a small pond , something like some people have in their backyard. I don’t know how that picture tricked me, but it got me good ;-) Of course the nice “Mountains-reflecting-in-the-lake-picture” I had in mind never happened.

 

3. Create my hike in my hiking app.

For most of my hikes I use an app called komoot that I had bought in Europe a few years ago. Unfortunately this is their main market right now and there are not many pre-planned hikes in the states yet.

This is not a big deal though, since I almost always have to derivate from the original planned hike anyway because of nearby locations and possible photo opportunities.

Once I am done creating my hike in the app I get a map and some additional information about it.

For example: altitude change, weather, distance, time to complete (of course this is an estimate for the walking part only.

 Don’t forget to account for your photo stops!!) and condition of the terrain.

 

 

4. Check how the light will be

This is – at least for me – the tricky part. I use Google earth to get at least an idea how the light could be at a specific date and time. In case you haven’t used this yet, here is a screenshot of google earth to show you where you can activate the function:

 

See that little icon on top that looks like the sun behind a mountain? That’s where you will find it.

A slider will appear in the top left corner where you can adjust date and time. I set it to the date I want to go on the hike and then zoom in to the locations I picked. By adjusting the slider I then see how the light will change as I go forward or backward in time.

 

5. Based on the information I get here, I plan the time that I need to leave the house, arrive at the trailhead and reach my photo locations.

What google earth will not tell you though is the weather! So always check the weather before you head out!

Tip: Give yourself at least half an hour to an hour more time than you think you will need. Something unexpected might occur on the drive or on the trail and you also have to get a feeling for the location, so you know how and where to setup your camera. Don’t rush!

 

6. Prepare backpack and equipment

When it comes to the camera equipment this is pretty much self-explanatory.  You need to decide which lenses you will need, check your batteries, check your filters, check you cards and so on and so forth.

When you hike in the mountains make sure you always have enough water and some snacks with you. Believe me when I tell you that the high altitude is just soaking the water out of your body. Stay hydrated! Most areas have valuable information about that topic and you can find much more searching online. If you are not used to hike in high altitudes plan in more time – you will need it – and make yourself familiar with safety rules and regulations!

 

These are the basic steps I take when I plan to take photos of locations close to a hiking trail. I hope this helps and you found some useful information. If you need additional help or would like to ask a question: Just let me know!

 

Thank you and I hope you have a photo-tastic week!

Benjamin

 

PS: The first hike I will add to the Hiking-Memory will be St. Mary's Falls! Don't miss it!

 

 

 

 

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justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) Colorado Hike Hiking-Memory Memory Photo-Hike Photography Plan Planning Wanderung https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/9/how-to-plan-a-photo-hike Mon, 12 Sep 2016 19:21:07 GMT
Welcome to Colorado! https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/7/welcome-to-colorado

Welcome to the beautiful Colrado!

First of all I have to say sorry that my last blog entry was quite a while ago. A lot happened in my life and I just had not the time to sit down and write.

We have finally arrived in Colorado and after weeks of packing, cleaning, moving, unpacking, cleaning, and so on and so forth, I and my family have finally settled in Colorado Springs.

I have done several wood projects already (my desk didn’t survive the move… R.I.P.) and so I decided to build my own desk. I always wanted a huge desk to have lots of space on it. Long story short: After many days of heading to Lowe’s (repeatedly), screaming, yelling, sawing, screwing and screwing things up (also repeatedly…) the desk is finally finished and I really like it. So I finally have a place again to put my computer equipment that is not the floor.

The Second big news is that I finally own the Canon 5D Mk III! This is my first full frame camera and I love it! Finally I can shoot wildlife in the morning or after sunset without sacrificing image quality due to grain. The little grain this camera produces on high ISO settings is easily removed in Lightroom, so yeah!!

As you might have noticed already I implemented a new gallery called “Landscapes – Colorado” on my website. I have uploaded a few pictures already (all made with the 5D) and will continue to fill it up with the best locations Colorado has to offer!

I and my family went on some awesome hikes already (still have to get used to the altitude though…) and we will continue to do so. I have already planned a couple hikes to some location I need to check out soon. Unfortunately I cannot reach some of them now due to road maintenance and closures, but I will get there eventually. Pikes Peak is waiting as well. I know, I know. I have been here now for almost a month and still was not on Pikes Peak. Shame on me. But! I ran the Manitou Incline already. Ok…it was not running… it was more falling up the steps. But I made it J

 

The next few weeks will be really busy too, so I don’t know yet which photographic topic I want to tackle next. If you have any ideas or if you want me to talk about something specific please write it in the comments.

 

Thank you and I hope you have a photo-tastic week!

Ben

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justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) 5DMkIII Building Camera Canon Colorado Colorado Springs Desk Full Frame Manitou Incline Photo Pikes Peak Wood Work https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/7/welcome-to-colorado Thu, 14 Jul 2016 18:22:20 GMT
Macro Photography - Part 2 https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/5/macro-photography---part-2

It’s been awhile since my last blog entry, my apologies for that. My parents are visiting us right now and we are trying to keep them entertained as much as possible.

My new light-former and the Macro tubes came in about a week ago, but I only had one chance to use them yet. What I can tell you so far is the following:

 I find it hard to determine the new minimal focus distance that changed due to the use of the macro tubes.

I really didn’t know that I was so used to the minimal focus distance of my lenses, that a change would affect me so much. But I guess this is just a matter of getting used to it and I can already see the potential of those tubes once I mastered them.

Minimal movement of your object brings it out of perfect focus.

This is nothing new, everybody that tried macro photography once knows that your focus area is quite narrow. Since the macro tubes “magnify” the object, that effect is even increased. So if you needed patience before (“stupid wind, would you stop now!!”) you need even more patience now.

 

The new light-former proofed to be useful as well. While I anticipated that it would be tricky to use it because of the bulkiness (which is true), it was still pretty useful to light-up my objects.

It’s main purpose is definitely not macro photography, but it can still be used for it. I would not recommend to use it without a tripod or for fast-moving objects, but it can be used quite effectively for everything that sits still.

Here is one of my first examples I shot with this combination and while it is definitely not one of those picture I would put up for sale on my website, it still shows the potential of the combination.

1/250 sec at F11, ISO 400

 

The bug was sitting on a blade of grass approx. 1 meter of ground. I was sitting pretty still, so I had time to setup the tripod and attach the round flash diffuser to the camera. Unfortunately it was still windy, so I had to wait for those few seconds it settled and the grass was not moving anymore. Most of the times exactly then the bug started to move … you get the idea …

I will continue to test and use the new equipment and will keep you updated on the experiences I make.

I hope you have a photo-tastic week!

Ben

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justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) Kansas Light-former Macro Macro Tubes https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/5/macro-photography---part-2 Tue, 10 May 2016 17:30:26 GMT
About Macro Photography and Kansas under Clouds https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/5/about-macro-photography-and-kansas-under-clouds

I finally have a blog. Yeah!! And now I am sitting here at my table and try to think about what I want to share with you. This is my first time blog in like ever, and I do my best to keep it interesting. If you have ideas on what and how to improve please let me know! I am always looking forward to comments!

 

The first topic for today is Macro Photography:

So far my Macro equipment consists of a Canon 100 2.8 L Macro Lens. That's about it. But I want to dig deeper into that topic, because I find it very interesting how much details one can see in even the smallest animals. Just a regular fly is so much more intriguing when seen close-up. Yeah, they can be pretty annoying when you are sitting outside on your patio, but if you take the time to look a bit closer, you will discover amazing details you didn't even know existed!

I read some articles, magazines and other blog posts on macro photography and found it time to invest in some additional equipment. Over the weekend I ordered two things:

  1. A set of extension tubes from Movo Photo
  2. A Round flash diffuser that can be used for macro and portrait

I am not quite sure yet how versatile the flash diffuser will be, since it is very bulky, but I will be able to use it for portrait as well, and so I will give it a try.

The package should arrive tomorrow and I will grab my camera as soon as it arrives and will head outside to get some testing done. I will keep you updated and will post some pictures and my experiences once I am comfortable with the new equipment. So exciting!

 

 

The second topic for today is photography on overcast days:

 

We have that kind of weather now for over a week ( a least if feels like that) and while I understand that those overcast days can provide awesome soft light I always find myself a bit hesitant to actually go outside and shoot.

 

It is a nice, soft light, but on the other hand it is also very dark for the camera. Let’s assume I try to get a picture of that Osprey hunting (I actually really try that now for a couple weeks, but that’s a topic for another post). In order to compensate for the light I have to raise the ISO since my adjustments for time and aperture are limited (Hunting Osprey at 1/10sec. anyone…?).

But wait! Didn’t we learn that high ISO values increase noise in our pictures?

Right, and here we have my problem. In such light situations I have to increase the ISO to levels that increase noise and smooth down the picture in a way, that I can hardly use it anymore.

I hate noise in my photos and try to avoid it by all means. Maybe this is also a problem of my camera. I use a Canon 7D and while sometimes the noise level on a certain degree seems acceptable, sometimes the photo is completely useless.

 

Does anybody have a Canon 7D and made the same observations, or am I just too picky when it comes to noise in my photos?

Please let me know what you think about it, I really appreciate your feedback!
 

Have a photo-tastic week!

 

Ben

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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justbenphotography@gmail.com (Benjamin Schneider) High ISO ISO Kansas Macro Overcast https://www.justbenphotography.com/blog/2016/5/about-macro-photography-and-kansas-under-clouds Mon, 02 May 2016 16:48:34 GMT