I have made several trips to the Columbia River Gorge area over the past few years. This beautiful stretch along Scenic Hwy 30 just East of Portland, Oregon has been a beautiful treasure for hikers, photographers, nature lovers, and tourist for years. Unfortunately, due to extremely careless actions of one or several young teens, reportedly setting off fireworks near Punch Bowl Falls, this area will likely never be the same. Over 33, 000 acres had burned at one count. If you have ever been to this beautiful area and are familiar with some of the beautiful waterfalls and their locations in the Gorge, you can’t help but be devastated and heartbroken as you view some of the fire images.
Fortunately, no lives were lost but 3 homes burned and local business which rely on tourism will likely be devastated as many consider revising vacation plans. Even I had planned a photography workshop in the Gorge for 2018, which is now on hold indefinitely. Undoubtedly, the Eagle Creek fire will cost us all in terms of the loss of some beautiful areas to explore and photograph, but the local economy and small businesses that depend on visitors will likely suffer as well.
I read one opinion that the teens in question are not to blame. Rather, it is global warming, logging and capitalism at fault. Really????? Now I have no desire to rehash arguments, pro or con, about global warming. As far a logging, there is not logging in the Gorge and logging as an industry in Oregon has been greatly reduced over the years due to environmental issues. No, the cause and blame is clear: the carelessness and insensitivity of young kids, who maybe lacked proper guidance or mentoring from adults in their lives. But it goes beyond that. In recent months we have heard of even adults who clearly were aware of their actions, being prosecuted for defacing landmarks in national parks. In some cases actions like these are irresponsible careless acts and in other cases deliberate criminal acts. Either way we must do more to educate our young to preserve and protect the beautiful natural resources we have the good fortune to enjoy. I am 66 years old and will likely never see again see the beauty of the Gorge as I remembered this past Spring.
During a recent Craig McCord Night Photography workshop at the Flying W Ranch in the Kansas Flint Hills , I brought along a newly acquired Rokinon 12mm f/2.8 full frame fish eye lens. The workshop was to focus on night photography and I was reluctant to put into play the Rokinon fish eye, not yet having explored its potential. My focus was properly on the workshop attendees. However, the next morning I decided I would run it through a few paces with some test shots.
Wow, the tack sharp image quality blew me away. I already owned the Rokinon 24mm f/1/4 and the 14mm f/2.8, both of which are fine manual lens and are high performers in photographing
the night sky. Already I could see this new 12mm fish eye lens would be a great addition to my night shooting tool chest. The lens is totally manual, but the manual focus is not a problem and in most cases you seem to have infinite depth of field. There is very little field curvature issues and coma aberration is almost non-existent, a huge consideration in astrophotography.
Price?? Well, that is another plus. You can pick this jewel up for around $400 or less through B&H Photo. You can probably get it even cheaper through Greentoe Name Your Price. This is a far cry from say the Canon 11-24mm L for about $2800.
Filters: Like most fisheye lenses, you can’t really use filters without some rather expensive adapters and special filters. I don’t really see this as an issue however because of how and when one employes this lens.
I could go on but I will leave it at highly recommending this as an addition to your equipment bag, especially if you like a little astrophotography.
Just finished up planning details for my night photography workshop in the Kansas Flint Hills. I must say there is something about night photography that I really enjoy, the sense of mystery, the vastness and beauty of the night sky, all making one realize how insignificant we are in relation the universe.
Exploring subject matter and doing a little night photography in preparation for my workshop made for a cold and lonely night. That is one of the drawbacks. Late nights, especially in the summer months when it does not get dark until late, can really mess with your sleep pattern. But I must say the reward can make it all worthwhile. If you are out alone though, the darkness can be rather spooky. On this night there were horses out in a pasture at this location. I knew they were there but they mostly stayed a couple hundred yards away. After setting up one camera to take multiple continuous shots to potentially be used in a time lapse sequence, I retreated to my vehicle to relax. It was cold and a little windy so I thought I would warm up and check my email on my phone. After about 10 minutes relaxing in my car something banged on the side of my truck. Scared the bejeez out of me. Turns out the horses must have gotten curious and decided to pay a visit and bump my truck as if to say, BOO! Well, it worked. I jumped out of the truck to see what or who was there. I then noticed a group of four or five horses begin to wander off, probably engaging in a little horse’s laughter among themselves, having succeeded in spooking the visitor. Having someone else along has a number of benefits, if for no other reason than combatting loneliness and warding off those unsuspecting bumps in the night.
Notwithstanding the interesting experiences of the evening, I came away with a few images and was able to compile this brief star trail/Milky Way time lapse.
A few months back I posted that I was going to lean toward returning to my black and white roots, that I would focus this year on my black and white work. Now, I soon realized I could not do that in the purest sense. I still must work in color as well to support demands of my photographic workshops. But still I am committed to printing only my personal b/w work for any exhibit or simply my own personal enjoyment. Here are a couple of images included in late work that I hope you enjoy. Would love to hear what you think.