Welcome to the blog for Thomas Parry Photography. My purpose is to inform the public about photographic projects I have recently completed as well as those in progress and planned for the future. I will periodically post articles about different aspects of photographing nature, people and places. As I work with new hardware and software tools, I will pass along lessons learned that may aid other photographers. I will periodically write reviews about photographic equipment with which I have experience and books I read that may be helpful to others. I hope you enjoy reading my blog and return frequently. I invite your thoughts, good ideas, opinions and feedback.
| 15 December, 2013 01:11
Thomas S. Parry, Field Contributor, Nature Photographer Magazine
This is the second installment of a two-part article that was published in the Fall 2013 E-Edition of Nature Photographer Magazine and is reproduced here in its entirety. Part one provided background information on the Antelope Slot Canyons in detail and was published in the Summer 2013 E-Edition of Nature Photographer Magazineand this part will discuss how to photograph slot canyons.
Slot canyons are narrow and deep fissures in the earth carved over millions of years into the desert floor. These unique geological formations began as hairline cracks in desert sandstone that gradually widened over time by the flow of rushing water originating from flash floods. The interiors of such canyons are nothing short of magnificent to behold displaying large, twisting curls, arches and whorls radiating the incandescent glow from sunlight above and presenting a magnificent panoply of colors.
As with all forms of landscape photography, it’s all about having the right light to add drama to the scene and there is no substitute for good light when photographing slot canyons. Most of us who do landscape photography are preconditioned to expect optimal lighting around the “golden hours” of sunrise and sunset. The beauty of photographing slot canyons is that it is not necessary to arise at the crack of dawn nor wait until near sunset to capture the best light inside of the canyons. The Antelope Canyons are narrow and deep, which means that the sun must be high overhead before appreciable amounts of light begin to illuminate their walls. The optimum hours for slot canyon photography are during the middle of the day, between about 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Also, contrary to elementary principles of general landscape photography, clear blue skies are most ideal for work in slot canyons. The full range of radiant colors visible in slot canyons will not develop under diffuse lighting, such as in cloudy or overcast weather.
Photographing Slot Canyons
Success in photographing slot canyons is all about recognizing the dynamics of reflected light and observing the subtle gradations in intensity and hue as the light enters from the openings at the top of the canyon and penetrates down toward the canyon floor. For the best photographs without resorting to high dynamic range (HDR) exposure techniques, carefully avoid including any visible sky in the frame as the contrast with the dark canyon interior will far exceed the dynamic range of what film or digital sensors can capture. Including any sky will cause portions of the image to be totally blown out or other darker areas to be substantially underexposed. For similar reasons, avoid any surfaces, such as areas of the canyon walls, bathed in direct sunlight. Although there are portions of the slot canyons that are so narrow and deep that they appear very dark even at mid-day, absolutely avoid the use of flash and avoid other photographers who may be trying to expose using flash. The flash will totally wash out the varied radiant colors created by the reflected light from above.
Search for light that has been reflected off of the red canyon walls above. The key is to look for areas within the canyons where sunlight is directly striking a wall and then shift your attention to the opposite side of the canyon in search of glowing orange and red areas to photograph. The areas illuminated by this reflected light will be the most colorful and will have manageable contrast together with smoother transitions. At the right angle, your eye will perceive subtle changes in hue and intensity as the reflected light penetrates deeper. Blue skies will often produce blue or purple reflections at the deepest levels of the canyon. With the right light and correct exposure, use of color filters and significant saturation adjustments in post processing are not necessary to detect the beautiful coloration. Other than normal camera calibrations in Adobe Photoshop and minor adjustments to contrast, no color alterations were made to any of the images accompanying this article.
As the sun moves across the sky throughout the day, the appearance of areas of the canyon walls receiving direct and indirect illumination will be dramatically altered. Even with the passage of just a few minutes, the formations within the canyon will undergo marked transformations. It is a good idea to plan your visit to allow time to make multiple trips up and down the canyon as the location and intensity of lighting varies through the four-hour mid-day timeframe of optimum photography. If backtracking is not possible but time and means allow, visit the canyons one day in the morning and another in the afternoon hours. The lighting will be dramatically different at each time of day.
Another reason to avoid visible portions of sky when shooting toward the top of slot canyons is the tendency to introduce lens flare, which in addition to creating distracting polygonal-shaped bright objects into your image due to light reflecting off the lens elements, may also create a haze that will dramatically reduce contrast and may lead to undesirable color casts in your images. This will overwhelm the subtle gradations in reflected light. Three things that can be done to reduce the likelihood of flare are first, make sure the lens and filters you are using employ antireflective coatings and second, are well cleaned. Third, use a lens hood. The hood will also protect your valuable lens when walking through narrow canyon straights. If using a zoom lens with a hood, you may best avoid flare by first zooming out to the widest angle the lens allows and ensuring no sky is visible in the field of view and then zooming in to capture the desired scene. If bright light is still directly striking your lens, the only other option to avoiding flare and getting a good capture is to consider changing position. Slot canyons include many overhanging ledges that can be used to shield your lens from direct lighting. Also, be patient. The light changes quickly and a difficult shot in one minute may become a prize shot a moment later.
Getting the Proper Exposure
Because slot canyons are normally quite dark, especially at their deepest points, a good, steady tripod is absolutely essential as many exposures will require from ten to thirty seconds for a good capture. Although long exposures made with digital sensors can result in excessive noise in the image, this can be minimized by shooting in RAW mode and keeping the ISO settings at 200 or lower. Post-production noise reduction algorithms in software applications such as Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, NIK, Aperture, or DXO do an outstanding job of eliminating noise, especially from RAW files. Also, to achieve uniform sharpness of foreground and more distant features within the canyons, it is necessary to use small apertures. I recommend a setting somewhere between f/11 and f/22. A circular polarizer, which will increase the length of exposure even further, will be a valuable tool to minimize undesired reflections while bringing out the intense colors of the canyons. To obtain the images in this article, I used a Gitzo tripod with an Induro five-way pan-tilt head that allowed me to position the tripod legs and camera body in a variety of directions at different angles to accommodate the uneven canyon walls and narrow canyon floors. With rock-solid support, I equipped my camera with a circular polarizer and used aperture priority settings for all captures.
As I have alluded to before, be mindful that a properly-framed shot within a slot canyon may contain considerable dynamic range, so it is particularly important to avoid exposing bright highlights. The exact amount to dial down the exposure will depend on the circumstances of each composition and your personal preferences. It is a good idea to include some darker areas in your composition to offset and accentuate the highlights in the scene. Begin by bracketing exposures upwards and downwards and pay particularly close attention to the histogram display rather than depending on the camera’s LCD display. The LCD will rarely display accurately what was really captured.
Finally, I recommend using the widest angle lens you have available. The canyons are very narrow and constricted in terms of space and in order to capture a broad, flowing feel to the walls and achieve maximum depth of field, the wider the field of view the better. The images I shot in this article were done with a 24-70 mm f/2.8 zoom lens set primarily at 24 mm. Although I am very pleased with the results, when I return to the canyons in the future, I intend to use either a 10-22 mm or fisheye lens to achieve the most dramatic perspectives within the canyons.
As for the care of your valuable equipment, remember that dust is a major factor in these canyons and, without taking some protective measures, will wreak havoc with and possibly cause damage to your equipment. On windy days sand will rain down into the canyons from the desert above—sometimes in large amounts. Similarly, when throwing sand to accentuate light beams, a fine dust will quickly accumulate on your equipment. Under these conditions, I placed a plastic garbage bag over my camera while carrying it in the canyon. I cut out a small opening in the side of the bag through which I could place the lens so that only the tip of the lens barrel was exposed. A rubber band held the plastic surrounding the lens barrel tightly to prevent dust from leaking in. It is a forgone conclusion that changing lenses in the canyons would lead to serious consequences for your sensor. Before entering the canyons, decide which lens you wish to use to photograph and leave that lens securely fastened for the duration of the shoot. That said, no matter how well you protect your camera and lenses from the dust, you will still end up with fine dust particles in the nooks and crannies of your camera and lens. Following the conclusion of my day of shooting, I used a can of compressed air to thoroughly clean my camera and lens. Do not remove and change lenses until you have blown out the fine particles or you will introduce dust into your sensor.
When you visit a slot canyon, there is more to see than tall, motionless rock walls. The light beams, visible in Upper Antelope Canyon during the summer months, penetrate the darkness of the canyon and make for magnificent, dynamic images. To enhance the visual prominence of the light beams, the Navajo guides will toss sand from the canyon floor just prior to making an exposure. The dust will reflect portions of the light beam, which will enable you to capture the shaft of light.
In Upper Antelope Canyon, you will find bowls smoothly carved into the canyon walls that frequently fill with sand that falls from above. As the bowls overflow with sand, the sand begins flowing over the edge of the bowl and creates the appearance of a waterfall made of sand.
Other things to look for when in the canyons include large trees or logs that become wedged high up in the canyon by a flash flood. Also, the flow of smooth sandstone striations on the canyon walls is sometimes disrupted by barnacle-like protrusions made from other forms of rock that erode at different rates. It is also common to find tumbleweeds that have blown into the canyons, which can introduce contrasting colors and different textures into your compositions.
Some Final Thoughts
Although scores of photographers visit the Antelope Canyons every year and publish countless numbers of images, don’t let that discourage you from visiting and photographing the canyons yourself. Your compositions will be uniquely yours and will hold great meaning to you. Everyone who sees the canyons for the first time with their own eyes experiences something awe inspiring and beautiful that subdues the human spirit to the majesty of nature’s handiwork. Be patient with the other visitors keeping in mind they are also as awe-struck by the beauty of the place as you are and are trying to capture their own memories. Although your time in the canyons will be limited, resist the urge to just photograph everything. Put your camera down and take time to behold with your own eyes the majesty of nature’s abstract sculpture studio.
| 09 December, 2013 06:41
Thomas S. Parry
For the past several days (early October 2013) the California Central Coast region has seen a large influx of Brown Pelicans as well as Black Cormorants following a normal migratory and breeding cycle. The birds number in the thousands and literally crowd the coastal rocks at Point Lobos State Reserve in Big Sur. I’ve been visiting the reserve over the last several days to observe and photograph the birds and have never seen this many in one place at one time. The chatter, squabbling, cawing and grunting of the many birds formed an extraordinary cacophony of sounds. Adding to the bird chatter were the sounds of the undulating seawater, pounding surf and bark of sea lions in the distance. Being there amongst these thousands of birds was an extraordinary and unforgettable multi-sensory experience
Brown Pelicans are large, mostly dark brown birds with white to pale yellow necks and black feet and legs. Their most distinguishing feature is a long beak with a reddish-colored hooked tip and a huge throat pouch. Their legs are short and all four toes are webbed. Their wing span may be up to six feet, they soar well, and often glide low over the water. Both males and females look alike and are indistinguishable.
There are seven or eight species of pelican in the world. The breeding habitat for Brown Pelicans ranges from Anacapa Island, California south to Chile and from Maryland to Venezuela and Trinidad. After breeding, they may appear as far north as British Columbia and Nova Scotia. They are the only species of pelican that is strictly marine in habitat, never found more than 20 miles out to sea or inland on fresh water. They prefer shallow inshore waters such as estuaries and bays.
Brown Pelicans feed on mid-sized fish that they capture by diving from above and then scooping or dipping the fish into their pouch. I saw many of the birds feeding, which was precipitated by very high seas and pounding surf during the prior three days before my first visit to the reserve last week. The pounding seas bring scores of fish upon which the birds are able to feed. Brown Pelicans hunt for food often with very dramatic plunging dives. After capturing the fish they rise to the surface and drain the water from their pouch. They point their long bills up and swallow the catch. It is not uncommon that Pelicans are often robbed of their catch by gulls before they get the chance to swallow. The pelican's beak can really hold more than its stomach. Pelicans are commonly seen around fishing ports within their range, where they roost on piers, docks, and fishing boats feeding on scraps.
Brown Pelicans typically nest on small offshore islands such as those common within Point Lobos State Reserve. They nest in colonies and are sensitive to disturbance by tourists and fisherman while breeding. They usually lay two or three eggs and incubation lasts 28 to 30 days. Both parents care for the naked, helpless chicks. They feed their chicks by regurgitation, which is common with other bird species. Adult sexual maturity is reached after two to five years.
The images provided with this article were captured between October 2-4, 2013 at Point Lobos State Reserve in and around Bird Rock and China Cove. I have included several flight shots and a flight sequence. These images are available as custom pigment prints on fine art matte or luster paper in a variety of sizes. Please contact www.thomasparryphotography.com directly for more information and pricing information.
You may view the following HD video that captures some of the activities and behaviors of the birds as they frolic together in an ideal marine setting.
Additional information regarding Brown pelicans may be found at the following links:
| 09 December, 2013 06:41
Thomas S. Parry, Field Contributor, Nature Photographer Magazine
The following article was published in its entirety in the Winter 2013 electronic edition of Nature Photographer Magazine. You may visit the Nature Photographer Magazine website at www.naturephotographermag.com for more information on the issue and/or to download a copy of either the app edition for iPad or the PDF version.
For nearly seven hours on Tuesday, June 5th (or Wednesday, June 6th if you were in the eastern hemisphere), much of the world's attention focused on a rare and beautiful astronomical event as our nearest planetary neighbor Venus passed directly between the Earth and the Sun. Known as a planetary transit, such an occurrence is similar to a solar eclipse by the Moon. While the actual diameter of Venus is more than three times that of the Moon, Venus appears much smaller, and moves more slowly across the face of the Sun, because it is much farther from the Earth.
Composite of eight images of the transit showing the movement of Venus across the sun's disk during a five-hour span of time beginning with the moment of first contact (upper-left image) at 3:09 PM PDT yo near sunset (lower-right image at approximately 8:10 PM PDT.
Above: Sunset view of transit of Venus at approximately 8:20 PM PDT in the Monterey, California area as the sun dips below the horizon. This was the last view of the transit before sunset on the U.S. West Coast.
This extraordinary event was the last time most of us will ever see this happen in our lifetimes as it won't happen again for another 105 years until the year 2117. If Venus and the Earth orbited the sun in exactly the same plane as the sun, transits would happen frequently. The orbit of Venus, however, is inclined to the orbit of earth so when Venus passes between the Sun and the Earth every 1.6 years, Venus usually is a little bit above or a little bit below the Sun and is not visible in the Sun’s glare. Earlier transits of Venus helped astronomers determine the Earth-Sun distance, estimate the scale of our solar system and measure the speed of light.
Transits of Venus have an unusual but highly predictable pattern of frequency. They occur in eight-year pairings every 105 to 121 years. The last transit occurred in 2004 but prior to that it was over 121 years earlier in the year 1882. It will be 105 years before the next pair of transits occurs, separated by eight years. Then the pattern of 121, 8, 105, and 8 year intervals will again repeat. Since the invention of the telescope, transit of Venus pairs occurred four times to include 1631 and 1639, 1761 and 1769, 1874 and 1882, and 2004 and 2012.
Having never witnessed a transit of Venus (the transit of 2004 was not visible in North America) and knowing I would never see another one in my lifetime, I was very excited to experience and document this event. Fortunately, the California central coast where I live was graced with beautiful clear skies and optimal viewing conditions. I set up my telescope for viewing and my camera gear to photograph the transit. The Sun’s disk displayed several impressive sunspot arrays.
Starting time for the transit was 3:09 PM PDT. I watched through my telescope as Venus took its first tiny bite out of the Sun at first contact. Over the next few minutes, Venus gradually moved further onto the Sun’s disk and became completely visible silhouetted against the limb of the Sun at the time of second contact at 3:29 PM PDT. From that point on, Venus floated slowly and majestically across the face of the Sun reaching the point of mid-transit at 6:29 PM PDT. The Sun set at 8:15 PM PDT before the transit ended so I was not able to see or photograph third and fourth contact but I was able to capture some sunset images revealing the silhouette of Venus as the Sun approached the horizon.
Like the annular eclipse of the Sun a little over two weeks ago, witnessing this transit gave me a very real sense of the scale of our solar system and the dynamics of celestial motion. It also provided a sense of perspective of how small in size we are on a cosmic scale as we journey through space on this small blue planet we call Earth yet how significant we are in the eyes of a divine creator who manifests to us the majesty of his handiwork through this and countless other events each day.
Included with this article are some images I made of the transit. All images were made using a Canon EOS 40D DLSR equipped with a Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM telephoto lens set to 400 mm and operating at an effective focal length of 640 mm. A special glass solar filter was used for all but the sunset images.
First contact 3:09 PM PDT. Venus takes the first tiny bite out of the sun at the top of the image.
Second contact 3:29 PM PDT. The full disk of Venus is visible against the sun.
Venus' position approximately two hours into the transit.
Mid-transit position of Venus at 6:29 PM PDT.
Sunset view of transit of Venus at approximately 8:15 PM PDT Monterey, California area as the sun dips below the horizon.
Additional Information and Links
For additional information about the 2012 transit of Venus to include images and outstanding videos, please visit:
| 09 December, 2013 06:41
In April 2011, National Geographic Magazine published an article titled Miracle Above Manhattan describing a unique urban revitalization project underway in Manhattan’s Lower West Side. The project, known as the High Line, really captivated my attention. “What was so unique about the High Line and why did I find myself so interested in it?” I asked myself. When I think of urban revitalization, what comes to my mind are efforts such as cleaning up dilapidated inner city areas and beautification through renovation of buildings and structures or the addition of parks. It is a process of gentrification of old neighborhoods that were once considered undesirable places to live into places with eateries and galleries that add a special quality of life and attract new residents. Such efforts are underway in more or less degrees in many large American cities and they are bringing with them an enhanced quality of life to inner city dwellers. The High Line project embodies all of these things and more. What caught my attention and impressed me the most about the High Line was how a community living for decades under a harsh, dingy, heavy, black steel structure that supported an elevated rail line that once brought freight trains directly into factories and warehouses was able to formulate a vision, face overwhelming challenges from NYC public officials and muster the resources to convert the railway structure falling fast into decay into a beautiful strip park greenway that has become a veritable urban oasis. And, they did so at less cost than would have been incurred had the city moved forward with its original plans to demolish the structure. Today, the High Line extends a mile and a quarter along Manhattan’s Lower West Side between Gansevoort Street and 30th Street and allows unobstructed pedestrian movement above the crowded city streets along a converted railway track bed lined with beautiful native trees, shrubs and flowers as well as benches to sit down and relax. After reading the National Geographic Article, I knew that this was a place I wanted to one day see and experience for myself.
The original High Line was built by the New York Central Railroad between 1929 and 1934 to lift dangerous freight trains above Manhattan’s busy streets. Originally extending down to the St. John’s Park Terminal at Clarkson Street, the High Line was part of a much larger rail infrastructure project known as the West Side Improvement, which eliminated street-level train crossings from Spuyten Duyvil to Lower Manhattan. The High Line’s trains carried meat, produce, and dairy products into warehouses and factories at the third-floor level. It was known as the “Life Line of New York.”
For many years, the High Line was a vital part of the busy manufacturing landscape of the industrial West Side. However, as trucking began to replace rail as the primary means of moving freight in New York City, train traffic declined on the High Line, and the southernmost section was torn down. By 1980, the trains had stopped running completely. What remained of the High Line, from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, was slowly taken over by a self-sown landscape, showing the power of nature to conquer even monumental, man-made structures.
In 1999, with the High Line threatened to be demolished, neighborhood residents formed the non-profit organization known as Friends of the High Line to advocate for the preservation and reuse of the structure. In 2002, under the direction of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Council, the City of New York boldly committed to transform the High Line into a one-of-a kind park. Innovative design was central to the vision. The goal was to create a public landscape as unusual and unexpected as the High Line itself. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the Park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget.
My desire to see and experience the High Line came last month (October of 2012) when I traveled to New York City for a family reunion and to photograph the inner city of Manhattan. I made it a point to spend a good portion of a day walking the full length of the High Line. Using New York City’s public transit system, I made my way to the southern terminus of the High Line at Washington and Gansevoort Streets. This area, often referred to as the “Meat Packing District,” is characterized by buildings that have been around since the early twentieth century and, while there is much activity in the area, there are signs of decay in the infrastructure.
Seeing the heavy, black structure supporting the elevated rail line from a distance gives, at first glance, the appearance more of an abandoned relic than an urban oasis. But as one gets closer, the presence of trees and shrubs growing on top of the platform becomes more apparent and lures one to ascend the steps to see what is really there. As I ascended the steps to the top of the platform, I felt the commotion and din of the big city give way to the peace and serenity of a magnificent botanical garden. I felt I had truly entered an urban oasis.
Walking on the High Line is unlike any other experience I have had in New York. I felt like I was floating along 30 feet above the city. There is a sense of being connected to life in the city streets and yet far away from it—as if in another world. There were no traffic signals, crowded sidewalks or vehicular congestion to worry about. Being drawn as I am into natural surroundings, I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful trees, shrubs and flowering plants. It was a joy to sit down for a spell in the warm sun on a bench surrounded by well-manicured gardens and enjoy Hudson River views. As I walked the High Line and passed between very old buildings and magnificent new ones, the changing cityscape never ceased to amaze me. Time seemed to stand still and sense of distance faded. I must have walked the equivalent of some twenty city blocks but it didn’t seem like it was more than two. And it seemed to take no time at all!
I would offer this final thought. The High Line transformation embodies the fulfillment of a vision of ordinary citizens like you and me and their dedication to creating an innovative urban revitalization project that has raised the standard of living and quality of life in an area that would have fallen into total urban decay. Tens of thousands of West Side residents have been benefitted by new jobs, new and beautiful apartment buildings and rising property values the High Line renovation has brought. If you have never visited the High Line, I encourage you to do so on your next trip to New York City. It is well worth the time and a wonderful respite from the usual popular NYC attractions.
Reference links for additional information.
The High Line official website:
National Geographic article Miracle Above Manhattan:
The High Line glides across the bustling avenues of Chelsea, past the wavy modernism of Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel straight ahead in this view. Gehry's building is the shorter one; Nouvel's is the taller one behind it.
| 09 December, 2013 06:41
Thomas S. Parry
I am pleased to announce the publication of my first-ever collection of impressionistic, illustration-style, fine art images of New York City in a beautiful photographic book titled Three Days In Manhattan. The book showcases more than 100 spectacular images of subjects ranging from arial cityscapes to the unique geometry of buildings and architecture; from bold and colorful street art and graffiti to gaudy, fancy cars; from ambitious, forward-thinking urban renewal projects to the depths of subway stations; from the din of Times Square and it's surrounding theater district to picturesque and tranquil Central Park. And in all of these places, people are pictured "on the go." The images that form this collection were captured during three days of walking the streets of inner-city Manhattan in October of 2012.
For me, this collection represents an experiment of sorts in mastering and refining a unique form of photographic expression. It is a deliberate attempt to blend the best of traditional photographic processes and composition at image capture with the creation of an impressionistic, illustration-style, interpretation in post-processing in which the resulting image appears more hand-drawn than photographic.
Most fine art photographers know that the development of true artistic expression is envisioned at the compositional stage and realized in the post-capture processing phase. While in New York, I wanted to capture more than just images of the city. I wanted to create a collection of interpretive-style, artistic, colorful, illustration-like images that would convey my unique vision of this American cityscape and its people. Prior to traveling to New York, I had started experimenting with processing photographic images using a high-dynamic-range (HDR) process using the Apple iPad with the objective of creating bold, saturated, high contrast, illustration-like images commonly found in magazines. Using a series of iPad-based applications, I worked out the processing sequence that would lead to a bold, colorful, almost line-art type of appearance--as if it were an etching. Impressed with the result, I felt this technique would provide me with the means to portray Manhattan with the artistic license I wanted. As I composed and made the captures, I tried to visualize the end result of what I was seeing through the viewfinder. All of the images contained in this book were processed using this technique. The majority of the images were captured using a Canon EOS 40D DSLR and supplemented with additional ones taken using an Apple iPhone 4S and iPad 3.
For the vast majority of us who do not call New York City home, many of our perceptions of this great metropolis are formed through what we see in motion pictures, hear in music, view on television or read in books. Not everything seen, heard, viewed or read through the popular media, however, necessarily reflects the day-to-day reality of a place or its true personality. I have long wanted to capture my own vision of the New York City personality and share my interpretation of what I saw through my lenses in an artistic, impressionistic way. That is what this book is all about.
Published through Blurb Press (http://www.blurb.com), Three Days In Manhattan is available in three editions. The collector's edition is a beautifully hardbound book in medium-format (8x10 inches) landscape orientation with special heavy weight pro-line pearl pages. The softbound edition, also medium-format (8x10 inches) landscape orientation, contains the same high-quality, heavy weight pro-line pearl pages. The printing process really highlights the beautiful colors in the images. The e-book edition for iPad shows dramatic color saturation and fine detail in all of the images on a backlit retina display. It is the least expensive edition and may be easily downloaded and viewed on the Apple iPad using the iBooks app.
You may click below for an online preview of the book. Should you wish to purchase one or more of the editions, just follow the online prompts from the preview. Included with this article is a sampling of images from the book. I offer beautiful custom pigment prints on archival fine art matte paper in dimensions up to 11x14 inches of all images that appear in the book. You may peruse additional images from Three Days In Manhattan in my online galleries on my website or you may contact me directly regarding the purchase of any image you may be interested in.
It is my sincere hope that you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them. I welcome your thoughts and feedback on my work.
On a personal note, I left New York City on October 27, 2012 just a day before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy and escaped the destruction wreaked by that terrible storm. The images that appear in this book were made just days before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy to the New York City metropolitan area. Many lives were lost and many people displaced and rendered homeless due to extensive property damage or the loss of their homes. Few of us can understand the suffering they are going through in the aftermath of the storm. The lengthy process of cleaning up and rebuilding what was destroyed has begun. In an effort to contribute in some small way to helping with the rebuilding effort and those displaced by the storm, proceeds from the sales of Three Days In Manhattan will be donated to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
This book is dedicated to the great people of the New York City metropolitan area and their resolve and strength to rise above and overcome one of the greatest natural disasters ever in the history of that city.
| 09 December, 2013 06:41
By Thomas S. Parry
Chinese New Year is a two week spring festival that has been celebrated for over 5,000 years in China. Chinese New Year (also called the Lunar New Year) occurs in the early months of the calendar year, typically January or February and this year falls on February 10th. This is the first of what are 15 days of celebration and the start of the Year of the Snake. Chinese New Year is a time to welcome longevity, wealth and prosperity.
The San Francisco Chinese New Year celebration originated in the 1860's during the Gold Rush days and is now the largest Asian event in North America as well as the largest general market event in Northern California. The celebration includes two major fairs; the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and the Chinatown Community Street Fair. All the festivities culminate with the Chinese New Year Parade.
Having myself been born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Snake and having never attended the celebration in San Francisco, I decided to attend this year’s festivities in celebration of the “Year of the Snake.” So, on Saturday, February 23, 2013, I arrived early in the day to explore Chinatown and found the entire area swarming with visitors. There were booths set up with contests and games, food items and long lines of people entering their names in raffles to win a new car. It was fun to explore the many and varied shops in Chinatown. There were individuals and groups performing musical numbers. Of course, a visit to Chinatown would not be complete without going to one of the fine Chinese restaurants and ordering a meal with several entrees and sharing them together.
The fifteen-day celebration in San Francisco culminates with the Chinese New Year Parade. I had read that the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade was named one of the world's top ten parades and is the largest celebration of its kind outside of Asia. Starting at close to six o’clock in the evening with tens of thousands of spectators watching, over 100 units participated in the parade. Many of the floats and specialty units featured the theme of this year's Chinese zodiac sign the Snake. Nowhere in the world have I experienced a lunar New Year parade with more gorgeous floats, elaborate costumes, ferocious lions, and exploding firecrackers. Some of the parade units featured elaborately-decorated floats, high school and college marching bands, martial arts groups, stilt walkers, lion dancers, Chinese acrobatics, the newly-crowned Miss Chinatown USA and the Golden Dragon. Although nearly three hours had passed since the parade started and it was getting chilly outside, the parade was still going on and I waited patiently for the grand finale, which was the Golden Dragon. When he finally appeared, the Golden Dragon was lit up from head to tail and was well over 200 feet long. He was accompanied throughout the length of the parade route by the deafening sounds of more than 600,000 firecrackers!
I learned that the Golden Dragon was made in Foshan, which is a city of more than 3.6 million people in central Guangdong Province in southern China. The Foshan dragon masters formerly made all the costumes for the Cantonese opera, and the Golden Dragon bears many operatic touches, such as the rainbow-colored pompoms on its six foot-long head. It is festooned from nose to tail with colored lights, decorated with silver rivets on both scaly sides and trimmed in white rabbit fur. The dragon, carried on a skeleton of bamboo and rattan, consists of 29 segments. It takes a team of 100 men and women working in rotation to bear the Golden Dragon the full length of the parade route. It is understandable why rotating dragon bearers is so important given the size and weight of the dragon and the strength needed to move it through the streets.
Included with this article is a selection of photographs I made while participating in this incredible event and include images of Chinatown itself, close-ups of some of the parade performers and the parade itself. These pictures, however, cannot do justice to the magnitude of this event including the delicious foods, the smells in the air, the music, the deafening firecrackers going off and general atmosphere of celebration and friendliness everyone feels while there. But, they do give a sampling of what I experienced during my visit to San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Special note: All parade images were shot in available light using a Canon EOS 40D equipped with a Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 L USM lens set to f/2.8 at either ISO 1600 or 3200 extended. Noise adjustments were accomplished using Adobe Camera Raw 6. Rapid action of the performers combined with very low levels of available light made these images very difficult to capture.
Showcase of Nature Photography: Second 2012 Special E-Edition of Nature Photographer Magazine Now Available
| 09 December, 2013 06:41
Thomas S. Parry, Field Contributor, Nature Photographer Magazine
The Nature Photographer Magazine Second 2012 Contest Winners Special E-Edition issue is available for electronic download either in PDF format or as an iPad app viewable in the Nature Photographer Magazine Library App available from the Apple iPad App Store. This edition of Nature Photographer Magazine is their second special edition showcasing the talent of some of the world’s best nature photographers. The issue contains more than 120 images each in two-page spreads. One page is devoted to displaying the image itself with the image title and the photographer’s name. The second page contains information about the subject of the image, image capture details and photographer biographical information. In addition, there are clickable links to photographer’s websites and special slideshows. If you love beautiful nature images and own an iPad, the number and variety of images in this publication and their stunning beauty will bring hours of enjoyment. Indeed the images in this issue set the bar very high on photographic technical and artistic excellence. It is definitely worth making the very small investment to own this special edition. If you don’t own an iPad, you may download a PDF version of the same publication viewable in Adobe Reader from the Nature Photographer Magazine Website at http://www.naturephotographermag.com.
I was privileged to have four of my images win the Second Nature Photographer Magazine photo contest and be included in this edition. I was especially surprised and humbled to learn that one of my images won the First Prize award. Given the extraordinary beauty and quality of the images published in this edition, I feel very honored and humbled to have my work recognized in this way. I feel incredibly honored to be published alongside the magnificent work of such talented nature photographers, any of whose work could have merited the first prize award. The four images published are as follows:
Image 1: First-Prize Award Winner: Runoff from Grand Prismatic Spring
Photographed August 31, 2012 at Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Section of Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Canon EOS 40D, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM lens, focal length 24mm, f/6.3 at 1/100 second, evaluative metering mode, auto exposure mode, ISO equivalent 200.
Having an abstract feel to it, this image is a natural collage of sorts. It pictures water runoff from the Grand Prismatic Spring captured in the late afternoon and, at the same time, the reflection of clouds and blue sky from above just after a storm had passed through the area. The reddish color in the moving stream is caused by the presence of bacteria in the warm water. The adjacent pools of calmer standing water make the reflection of the sky possible.
Grand Prismatic Spring, located in the Midway section of Yellowstone’s Lower Geyser Basin, is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone and is the third-largest in the world. Size of the spring is 250x380 feet and the water temperature varies between 147 and 188 degrees Fahrenheit. Runoff water is considerably cooler, which provides the optimal environment for bacterial growth. The spring is situated upon a large mound surrounded by small step-like terraces. This is where the image was captured.
Image 2: Great Fountain Geyser at Sunset
Photographed August 31, 2012 in the Firehole Lake area of Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Canon EOS 40D, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM lens, focal length 55mm, f/10 at 1/100 second, evaluative metering mode, auto exposure mode, ISO equivalent 250.
Great Fountain Geyser sits in the middle of one of the most beautiful sinter formations in Yellowstone National Park. The sinter forms a series of terraced concentric reflective pools around the geyser's 16-foot diameter vent. Even if the geyser isn't erupting, the venting steam and the surrounding reflective pools make for a beautiful sunset composition.
Great Fountain is a fountain-type geyser. Its eruption interval ranges from 9 to 15 hours but its short-term average interval is usually stable enough that the eruptions can be predicted to within an hour or two. Great Fountain's maximum height at eruptions can range from 75 feet to over 220 feet. Duration of eruption is usually about one hour but durations of over two hours have been recorded.
Image 3: Dead Tree
Photographed April 24, 2011 near Yavapai Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Canon EOS 40D, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM lens. Focal length 25mm, f/14 at 1/200 second, center-weighted average metering mode, auto exposure mode, ISO equivalent 200.
While visiting the Grand Canyon during the Easter Weekend of 2011, I was hiking along the South Rim in the late afternoon hours between Yavapai Point and Maricopa Point as storm clouds began moving into the area. Along the trail, I came upon a dead tree that appeared to have been standing there lifeless and alone for many years. The lone appearance of the tree set against a warmly-lit, dramatic, late-afternoon backdrop of the Grand Canyon really caught my attention.
Image 4: Big Sur Sunset
Photographed November 11, 2012 at Garrapata State Beach, Big Sur, California. Canon EOS 40D, Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 L USM lens, focal length 45mm, circular polarizer, f/22 at 0.4 second, center-weighted average metering mode, auto exposure mode, ISO equivalent 200. For camera support I used a Gitzo tripod equipped with an Induro five-way pan tilt head.
One Saturday afternoon in late November last year, I was photographing seascapes in and around the Monterey Peninsula area and, as the afternoon wore on, I noticed a number of high clouds starting to roll in over the area. I took notice of the clouds because high clouds (primarily cirrus) in November, under the right conditions, can translate into colorful and breathtaking sunsets along the California central coast. I decided to head for Garrapata State Beach only 30 minutes south in hopes of capturing silhouetted rocks and pounding surf against a dramatic, multi-colored sky.
When I arrived, I found beautiful waves—some very large—pounding against the rock formations and the cloud deck was increasingly shrouding the harsh light of the sun in such a way as to create a beautiful, warm and diffuse glow across the sky and seascape. A short time later, oranges, reds and purples began to emerge even before the sun set below the horizon. My intent was to lengthen the exposure time enough to capture some wave action as the sky got darker but not overexpose the image and lose the delicate sunset hues. Once the sun had set below the horizon, the clouds exploded into intense yellows, oranges, reds and magentas while the sky above became a deep, dark blue. The mix of colors and the contrast between clouds and sky were spectacular.
| 09 December, 2013 06:41
Thomas S. Parry
The Hugo Hotel is an abandoned tenement building designed by Theo W. Lenzen located on the corner of Sixth and Howard Streets in San Francisco’s South of Market District. The hotel is the site for the “Defenestration” sculptural mural installation created in 1997 by artist Brian Goggin with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The oldest hotel on Sixth and Howard Streets, the Hugo has been vacant since a fire burned out several rooms in 1987. The unreinforced masonry building also suffered structural damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. In 1997, a group of artists led by Brian Goggin transformed the Hugo into an immense sculptural mural called "Defenestration." Scavenged furniture and appliances were modified by the artists to make them appear animate and then cleverly affixed them to the outside walls of the building. It appears as if tables and chairs are leaping out from the windows or falling from the roof and running across the walls. Lamps are corkscrewed from some windows and sofas, refrigerators, bathtubs, even a grandfather clock are all visibly appearing to cast themselves out the windows. There is even a television set situated on the precipice of the roof poised to come crashing to the ground. Originally intended to be a short-term exhibition of about two years, the furniture has remained there to this day, still appearing to leap and run about and squirm through the windows. Untold thousands of photographs have been taken of the Hugo and its famous “falling” furniture. It is a designated sightseeing stop in the city. It is also very much represents a “housing crisis” turned into public art.
Per artist Brian Goggin, "the concept of 'defenestration,' a word literally meaning 'to throw out of a window,' is embodied by both the site and staging of this installation." The Sixth and Howard Street location in the South of Market District is part of a neighborhood that historically has faced tough economic challenges and has often endured the stigma of “skid row” status. It is also at the heart of the area that was the hardest hit in terms of loss of life in San Francisco's devastating 1906 earthquake. In the early 20th century, the South of Market area was the most densely populated part of the city outside of Chinatown. It was home to thousands of working-class and poor people, many of them immigrants and transients. Sixth Street was lined with cheap hotels and boarding houses. Most of them were two- or three-story wooden structures, but many corner lots featured five-story rooming houses that could contain as many as 300 small rooms.
The total number of those killed near Sixth and Howard in the earthquake will never be known, but it has been estimated to be 500 or more. Eyewitnesses at the time report that 150 to 300 people died inside adjacent structures. Whatever the final toll, Sixth and Howard was the place where the most people died during the earthquake and fire. And the permanently falling furniture that adorns the Hugo Hotel is a grimly appropriate reminder of that horror.
Reflecting the harsh experience of many members of this community, the furniture is literally off the streets, thrown out and unappreciated. Goggin points out that "the simple, unpretentious beauty and humanity of these downtrodden objects is reawakened through the action of the piece. The act of 'throwing out' becomes an uplifting gesture of release, inviting reflection on the spirit of the people we live with, the objects we encounter, and the places in which we live."
"Defenestration" has now endured for sixteen years, although most of the original sideshow-themed paintings have disappeared beneath constantly-changing murals of polychrome street art. As a work of conceptual art, the Hugo Hotel is universally appealing and is well-liked. But there is a very human side to the story. It is not generally understood that the Hugo remained empty for over twenty years because its owners cared more about profits than people. They refused to repair and maintain the building as it was intended to provide low income housing. And they were unable to sell it because their asking price vastly exceeded the building’s actual market value. Their flagrant lack of concern for people in need reflects an attitude that for years has been tacitly encouraged by the policies of local government. After nearly a decade in which the city haggled with the owners concerning the disposition of the Hugo, the city announced that it planned to seize the building by eminent domain to demolish it in favor of developing affordable housing in the area. This is the root of the controversy over the Hugo and why it is viewed as a housing crisis turned into public art.
I visited and photographed the Hugo Hotel and defenestration exhibit twice in the month of August as part of my San Francisco documentary project. My first visit allowed me to photograph the structure in morning light and I captured a combination of wide angle shots of the building and telephoto/close-up shots of the furniture and the polychrome murals surrounding the street level of the structure. The second visit was at the end of the day one week later to capture wide-angle views in the warmth of late afternoon. Some of the images accompanying this article were post-processed in black and white and accentuate the furniture in color. This is purely my own interpretive approach to this very unusual and unique display of public art.
Homeless people, a common sight in the South of Market District, frequent the corner of Sixth and Howard at most times of the day.
A sampling of the many "street-level" polychrome murals surrounding the Hugo.
Interpretive (color, b&w and b&w/color combination) fine art pigment prints are available for more than thirty-five views of this fascinating structure in a variety of sizes through Thomas Parry Photography at www.thomasparryphotography.com.
References cited for this article, further information on the works of Brian Goggin, additional historical information regarding the Sixth and Howard district of San Francisco and details regarding the imminent demolition of the Hugo hotel may be found at the following links:
| 08 December, 2013 13:56
The Timeless Faces of China is my first-ever photojournalistic anthology that captures a cross section of the people of the most populous country in the world. This book was born out of my sincere desire to connect with the Chinese people. They are remarkable in every way and are as interested in getting to know westerners as much as we are interested in getting to know them, if not more so. I made friends wherever I went in China. For me, the development of this book was a labor of love and I am pleased to share it with all who are interested. The printing and production quality are first class and I am pleased with the reception it has had thus far.
Beautiful child I met in Chongqing City Park. Retired educator/professor in Chongqing.
Three-generation family in Zhengding
This is what one reader had to say about The Timeless Faces of China:
| 08 December, 2013 13:56
In my travels, I am not much interested in documenting the political conditions in which people live or in making political statements about a nation but rather in capturing openly and honestly how people live their day-to-day lives and meet their needs. I believe that all people, regardless of their culture, their socio-economic conditions or their ideology, have the same fundamental needs—to live, to learn, to love and to leave a legacy for future generations.
As such, The Timeless Faces of China makes no political statements of any kind about China, nor is it a statement about this vast nation’s character. The pictures in the book represent an honest portrayal of people who are much like you and me—people who are trying to live their lives to the fullest, plan for the future and contribute to their community. Included below is a sampling of some of the photographs from the book. I believe they give a sense of the cross section of Chinese society I was striving to portray.
Beijing: Musician performing at the Temple of Heaven.
Shanghai: Young woman dressed in traditional costume.
Zhengding: Young child warmly welcomes me on a Buddhist holy day.
Jingzhou: Young school girl emerges from the archeological museum.
Wanzhou: Venders sell fresh produce in the central market.
Wanzhou: Butcher shop in the central market.
Shijiazhuang: Early morning rush hour and more people riding bicycles than driving cars.
Shanghai: Woman scrubbing clothes on a street corner in the city center.
Beijing: Shop owner waiting for customers in the old city quarter.
Xi'an: Tang theatrical performer during performance.
Jingzhou: Drum performance troupe greets Yangtze River travelers upon arrival at Jingzhou port.
Chongqing: A grandfather shares a tender moment with his grandchild.
Shanghai: A chic young woman gets her boots polished.
Shanghai: A young boy enjoys life playing in a shopping area of the old city.
| 08 December, 2013 13:56
Thomas Parry, Field Contributor, Nature Photographer Magazine
Twice each year, the magnificent California coastline serves as a destination for one of earth’s most remarkable animal migrations as scores of northern elephant seals arrive on western U.S. shores. They come in the late spring for about one month to molt and once in the winter for a longer time to rest if they are young or to give birth and breed if they are mature. The rest of the year they are at sea. While at sea, they are solitary and spend their time navigating thousands of miles deep under north Pacific waters as they forage for food. Named for their great size and large, pendulous noses resembling an elephant’s trunk unique to males, elephant seal bulls grow 14-16 feet in length and can weigh as much as 5,500 pounds compared with females who grow 9-12 feet and weigh between 1,000 and 1,800 pounds. Thanks to the enactment of protective measures almost a century ago, we can enjoy these magnificent creatures today and for generations to come.
Although they are solitary and alone foraging and feeding at sea nine to ten months of the year, elephant seals create a highly established social structure when ashore during the breeding season. The seals form harems in which the dominant, or “alpha,” male surrounds himself with a group of thirty to forty females within his territory. Alpha bulls fiercely and jealously defend their harems and confrontations between males are not infrequent. Some battles between males can become bloody as they slam their massive bodies together and gash each other with their large, sharp teeth.
Pups are born within a week of the female’s arrival on shore. Feeding on its mother’s rich milk, the pup grows from a normal birth weight of 60-75 pounds to 250-350 pounds in less than a month’s time. At the end of the nursing period, the females will mate with the alpha male. Pups are weaned when the mother abruptly departs for the open sea. By this time, the weaned pups have quadrupled their original birth weight and some may weigh as much as 500 pounds. Left on their own well after the adult males and females have left for sea, pups rapidly adapt to an ocean environment by mid spring when they will leave the rookery and head out to the open sea.
Walking through the sand dunes and into the seal rookery at the height of the breeding season, one feels as if they are entering a world apart. It is a scene filled with activity and seeming commotion as alpha bulls bellow deep throat vocalizations to warn off interlopers, hungry pups squawk to be fed, and females squabble with each other over prime nursing locations. There is an unceasing din of gargles, grunts, snorts, belches, bleats, whimpers, squeaks, and squeals creating one of the most distinct cacophonies of sound in nature. Approaching a full-sized sixteen-foot long, 5,500 pound bull to within 75 feet can feel daunting and intimidating. Seeing newborn pups or actually witnessing a birth are miracles of nature to behold. These are experiences that will never be forgotten and will bring us a greater appreciation of the majesty of the creatures with whom we share this earth.
You may read my full article in the Fall/Winter 2011-12 issue of Nature Photographer Magazine, available in bookstores and on newsstands through March 2012.
Northern Elephant Seals resting on the sand at San Simeon State Beach, CA.
Northern Elephant Seal colony at San Simeon State Beach, CA.
Northern Elephant Seal females frolic on the sand at San Simeon State Beach, CA.
Young Elephant Seal female at Año Nuevo State Reserve, CA.
Northern Elephant Seal bull at Año Nuevo State Reserve, CA
Northern Elephant Seal bull at Año Nuevo State Reserve, CA
| 08 December, 2013 13:56
I’ve learned over the years doing wildlife and bird photography that patience is a virtue. Photographers have no control over the subject and must often wait quite awhile for the subject to be in the right position. They must also contend with getting the right light for the conditions in which they find themselves. More often than not neither the subject’s position nor the light source is ideal. Truth be told, much of good wildlife and bird photography happens as a result of being in the right place at the right time; just dumb luck!
Fortunately, for those who persevere in their efforts to get the perfect shot, every now and then seemingly out of nowhere, dumb luck prevails and nature serves up the perfect combination of angle and light to produce a breathtaking, impactful shot. Nature did this for me last Monday, January 16 while sailing on Monterey Bay and observing grey whales. Out of nowhere, five Brown Pelicans in perfect formation swooped down over the water and rapidly headed toward our boat. Acting quickly, I tracked them at 200mm with a very high shutter speed to freeze the birds’ motion and peeled off several frames in rapid succession. The result is this beautiful shot of the pelicans heading in perfect formation low over the water toward the boat. The angle was right and the light was perfect! I was lucky!
| 08 December, 2013 13:56
Every year, beginning in October and lasting through December, tens of thousands of North American Monarch Butterflies migrate more than 2,500 miles south to escape the extreme cold of winter in the northern and central states and Canadian provinces. Monarch Butterflies are the only insect known to make such a lengthy and challenging migration each year. Monarchs from states east of the Rocky Mountains will migrate deep into Mexico and overwinter in Oyamel Fir trees. Monarchs west of the Rockies migrate to the Eucalyptus tree groves of the central and southern California coastline. It is in these locations that Monarchs will hibernate December through February.
In March and April, the hibernating butterflies come out of hibernation to find a mate. They then begin the migration back to northern climes as temperatures warm up in search of milkweed plants upon which to lay their eggs. This process starts the first of what will be four generations of Monarchs that will live throughout the year. The eggs hatch in about four days into caterpillars. For about two weeks the caterpillars will eat the milkweed and be fully-grown at which time they will attach themselves to a stem or a leaf and transform into a chrysalis. Within the chrysalis, the body parts of the caterpillar undergo a metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly. Once the butterfly emerges, it will fly away and feed on flower nectar. Unfortunately, this generation of Monarchs will only live for about two to six weeks. They will mate, lay their eggs and generation number two begins its lifecycle.
The second generation of Monarch Butterflies is born in May and June and the third generation is born in July and August. These butterflies will go through the exact same life cycle as the first generation dying in two to six weeks after becoming a beautiful Monarch.
Interestingly, the fourth generation of Monarch Butterflies is different than the first three generations. The fourth generation is born in September and October and goes through exactly the same process as the first, second and third generations except for one part. The fourth generation of Monarchs does not die after two to six weeks. Instead, this is the migratory generation that will journey to the warmer climates of Mexico and California for the winter and will live for six to eight months until it is time to start the whole process over again.
Between November and January this year, I traveled to several Monarch overwintering sites on California’s central coast including Pacific Grove, Pismo Beach and Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz. I was gratified to find the quantity of overwintering Monarchs to be substantially higher than what I’ve observed over the last two years. Two factors adversely impacting Monarch migratory patterns and numbers are eradication of milkweed by farmers and destruction of the trees in which they hibernate each winter. Milkweed is essential for the caterpillars to develop. Without it they cannot survive. Also, Monarchs instinctually return to the same trees each year. No one knows how or why this happens given that each year a different generation of butterflies completes the long migration.
To me, these butterflies are a wonder and miracle of nature. What is most amazing about the life cycle of the Monarchs is how the four generations of butterflies works out so that the Monarch population can continue to live on throughout the years, but not become overpopulated.
| 08 December, 2013 13:56
Budapest is one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful cities. Located in the center of the Carpathian Basin in east-central Europe, Budapest is filled with countless architectural wonders including stately government buildings, grand hotels, medieval castles, historic churches, ornate opera houses and majestic bridges. Mingled with the man-made beauty of the city’s architecture one finds magnificent statuary, tranquil river walks, meandering parks, thermal mineral baths and bustling pedestrian-only shopping areas. Straddling the Danube River, the present city was formed from the joining of west bank Buda and east bank Pest 17 November 1873. While vestiges of the former German and Soviet occupations are still visible in Budapest, the Hungarian capital city has transformed into a thriving center of commerce and a vibrant cosmopolitan metropolis of more than two million people.
In June of 2006, I spent ten days in Budapest on a work-related assignment and was fortunate to see a great deal of the city at different times of the day and in the evenings—all on foot or via the public transit system. Budapest especially comes alive at night and transforms into a magnificent city of lights, giving rise to the appellations Paris of Eastern Europe and Jewel of the Danube. I sought to capture the vibrance and beauty of this city in every waking moment I had free.
Over the past few years since my trip to Budapest, I have viewed again and again the many photographs I took of this beautiful city during my time there and thought about how I could share my vision of Budapest. I decided to convert into black and white some of the images I took. As I did so, I found they took on a life of their own. For me, they transformed from reality into fine art. I then proceeded to convert many more images and decided I would select 120 of the best images I had taken and carefully convert them into black and white. This was a long process that involved making careful color conversions, digitally “dodging and burning” and creating the right amount of contrast and sharpening for each image. Stirred by what I saw in the images, I decided to create a picture book that would represent my “vision” of Budapest.
I have begun the design and layout phase of my new fine art photography book titled Visions of Budapest. The book will showcase approximately 120 stunning black and white images that capture the beauty in the art and architecture of this magnificent European city. In an effort to create a truly fine art appearance, the book will feature heavy weight matte finish pages with the finest binding. It will be large-size square format 12x12 inches and will present one image per page. I anticipate having the project ready to go to press by the end of February 2012.
Below are some sample images that will appear in the book. Others may be viewed in my online galleries under Budapest. All images are available as fine art pigment prints on archival matte paper. Please contact me for more information on available print sizes.
| 08 December, 2013 13:56
On a weekend in late 2010, while photographing the rugged California coastline in San Mateo County near Pigeon Point Lighthouse, I ran into a beautiful red tail hawk sitting quietly on a fence near the ocean front. I paused and observed the bird for awhile from a reasonable distance. The position of the bird and angle of the light striking him were unforgettable. Problem was I was shooting seascapes with my wide-angle lens and did not have my telephoto lens close at hand to capture the shot I really wanted. The wide angle was not sufficient to isolate the bird and capture the beautiful details of the plumage and the eyes.
Because I sensed the bird seemed content to remain in the position he was in for a time, I decided to retreat back to my car parked somewhat nearby and get my 100-400 mm telephoto lens. Fortunately, in the time I had taken to get back to my car, switch out my wide-angle lens with the telephoto and get back to where I first encountered the bird, he was still there. Well aware of my presence, the hawk kept his eyes focused closely on me as I stealthily approached him in hopes of getting as close a shot as I could. I then framed and focused carefully and started peeling off frames as the bird became more nervous with my approach. At one point the hawk, feeling a bit threatened, ruffled his feathers and majestically took flight.
After completing the day’s shoot and reviewing the many photos I had captured, there were two images of this hawk that really stood out. One shows a beautiful profile of the bird’s head with a raised wing in the background (as appears on the homepage of my website) and the other shows a tack-sharp head-on view of the bird’s head while he was ruffling his plumage prior to takeoff. It was this second shot that was selected for a finalist award by Photographer’s Forum Magazine in 2011 and subsequently published in the Photographer’s Forum Best of Photography 2011 volume published in December 2011.
I have said many times that getting good photographs of wildlife, especially birds, is about being in the right place at the right time. I was in the right place at the right time but with the wrong lens. I gambled I could get back to my car, get the right lens and still get back and get the captures I wanted. This time I won!
Red Tail Hawk Profile Shot
Red Tail Hawk Ruffles Plumage in Preparation for Flight.
Red-tail hawks range in size from 18 to 25 inches in length and may have a wingspan of up to four feet. They weigh approximately two to four pounds. Their coloring is dark brown to gray brown on the back side of their bodies and on the top of their wings. They typically have light brown or cream undersides and a cinnamon colored neck and chest. Red-tail hawks have a dark band across their bellies and a broad, round, rusty red tail giving rise to its name. The female is larger in size than the male.
North America is the natural habitat for these birds. They range from the far north throughout Canada and the United States to as far south as Mexico and Central America.
You may view the published image at the Photographer's Forum website at http://pfmagazine.com/wp-content/plugins/p-gallery/index.php?level=picture&id=8618
Technical specifications for the images: Canon EOS 40D equipped with Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM telephoto zoom lens with focal length set to 400 mm at f/5.6 and 1/200 sec.
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Calendar Of Posts
- Slot Canyons: Nature’s Abstract Sculpture Studio (Part II of II)
- Brown Pelicans
- The 2012 Transit of Venus
- A Walk on the High Line
- Publication of "Three Days In Manhattan"
- Year of the Snake: The 2013 Chinese New Year Celebration in San Francisco
- Showcase of Nature Photography: Second 2012 Special E-Edition of Nature Photographer Magazine Now Available
- The Hugo Hotel: A Housing Crisis Turned into Public Art
- Publication of The Timeless Faces of China
- Timeless Faces of China is an Honest Portrayal of Chinese Society
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- Visions of Budapest 
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- Three Days in Manhattan 
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