I’ve Reached the Pinnacle of my Photography Career…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2013 by cdtennant

…it’s all downhill from here.

It’s hard to imagine topping the success and excitement the last several weeks has brought. At the beginning of the summer I was hard at work – along with my friend Adam – on our first e-book: “Photographing the Adirondacks: Fall in the High Peaks Region”. We are very proud of the finished product which is currently available from our website www.adkbook.com. During that time I was notified that an article I had written entitled “8 Bold Ways to Improve Your Waterfall Photography” had been accepted for publication in “Photo Technique” magazine. My first published (photography) article! They gave me a generous 6-page spread and it came out beautifully. Apparently one of my photos was even in the running for the cover shot. Though it didn’t pan out, it is quite an honor to have an article alongside one by Chuck Close’s assistants on photographing the President of the United States!

September/October 2013 issue of "Photo Technique" magazine.

September/October 2013 issue of “Photo Technique” magazine with my article “8 Bold Ways to Improve Your Waterfall Photography”.

Following that milestone I learned that another article of mine, about the Adirondack State Park in New York state, was selected as a feature article in the October issue of “Popular Photography” magazine! I spent a lot of time crafting the article (there’s a reason I am a photographer and not a writer!). The editors did a terrific job and I am incredibly proud of the finished product. They selected a nice mix of photographs (intimate landscape, B&W, panorama, etc…) to compliment the text. The Adirondacks is a place dear to my heart, making the publication extra special for me.

October 2013 issue of "Popular Photography" magazine with my feature article on the Adirondack State Park.

October 2013 issue of “Popular Photography” magazine with my feature article on the Adirondack State Park, “New York, Forever Wild”.

To cap off the eventful summer, Adam and I spent an amazing week exploring the Canadian Rockies.

So how do you top a summer like this? I have no idea. And I don’t expect to. In a few years, I suspect I’ll be reduced to photographing the stray cats wandering through our yard…

My E-book is Now Available!

Posted in Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2013 by cdtennant

New-Cover

It was a dark and stormy night… oops, wrong story. Let me try again. It was during a brutal winter storm in late 2012 that my good friend – and talented photographer – Adam Baker and I met in Ithaca to toss around the idea of producing an e-book together. And now 9 months later, we are excited to announce that it is finished and available for purchase! If you want to read more details of how the e-book evolved, read on. To get right to the good stuff though, check out our website: http://www.adkbook.com where you can preview and buy the book. (In fact, I dare you not to look at our website! It is simply stunning, though we can’t take any credit for it. We are indebted to the uber talented Tyler Finck. Not only did he create the website, he also produced the font that we use for the cover and throughout the book. He’s one talented dude).

Since getting to know Adam several years ago, we’ve been fortunate to take several photography trips together. In fact, just a few weeks ago we returned from an intense week-long stay in the Canadian Rockies. Each trip requires a huge amount of planning and virtual scouting. We have been the beneficiaries of numerous e-books from other photographers. But we quickly realized that for one of our favorite places to photograph – the Adirondack State Park in New York – there were little to no resources available to photographers. Sure there are plenty of coffee table-style picture books from the region, but nothing that tells you where and when to shoot. After photographing the region for several years, we put our collective notes and photographs together to produce “Photographing the Adirondacks: Fall in the High Peaks Region”. At over 6 million acres the Adirondack State Park is simply enormous! So the first e-book in the series is dedicated to the High Peaks region (loosely centered around the village of Lake Placid). This informative e-book is over 100 pages, and in addition to 50 beautiful photographs, includes GPS coordinates, detailed driving directions and descriptions for 24 of our favorite locations. You can preview and purchase the book for only $7 from our website.

Check It Out!

Posted in Photography on August 18, 2013 by cdtennant

Recently I’ve been busy doing a complete overhaul of my photography webpage. I’m thrilled with the way it has turned out – bigger graphics, easier navigation, cleaner layout and more. I’d love for you to check it out. If have any comments about how the site can be improved, please let me know. Enjoy!

Chris Tennant Photography

Screenshot of my new and improved photography website.

Screenshot of my new and improved photography website.

On a side note, I just returned from 7 days and 7 nights in the Canadian Rockies with my friend Adam Baker. We explored and photographed Banff and Jasper National Parks and everything in between (we drove 1,500 miles during those 7 days)! Now I have 85 GB worth of images to wade through. If you’ve ever been to the Canadian Rockies, what is your favorite spot? I’d love to hear.

In the heart of the Canadian Rockies - absolutely breathtaking!

In the heart of the Canadian Rockies – absolutely breathtaking!

The Art of the Intimate Landscape

Posted in Awards, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2013 by cdtennant

I recently learned that I had won first place in the “Patterns & Textures” category of the Virginia Wildlife magazine’s annual Photo Contest. Of course this image does have a lot of texture – as well as contrasts in color – which is why I entered it. But I think it represents the lost art of the intimate landscape. An “intimate landscape” refers to extracting a small composition from the larger overall scene. It’s easy to get caught up in the beauty of a location, and attempts to capture it often involve trying to cram as much of it into the frame as possible. Often, however, this approach does not translate well for viewers. Rather than communicating the grandeur of the place, what comes through is a lack of intent or cohesiveness in the composition. In many instances it is more effective to isolate a subject or focus on an intimate or unique feature. Look for reflections, even ones that are not mirror-like, for abstract shapes and patterns. And don’t restrict your search for colorful foliage to trees, look down as well. It’s a refreshing reminder that beauty is not only found from soaring summits, but can be literally right at your feet.

My image of a frost covered leaf won first place in the "Patterns & Textures" category.

My image of a frost covered leaf won first place in the “Patterns & Textures” category.

Blackwater Falls State Park

Posted in Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2013 by cdtennant

Before moving to Virginia 12 years ago, I had spent 4 years in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of New York (where I did my undergraduate work). I was spoiled by the beautiful gorges and the countless waterfalls and cascades that were so easily accessible. After moving south of the Mason Dixon line my love of waterfall photography never waned, but my opportunities did. A waterfall requires water and a rapid elevation change. I am surrounded by lots of water, but no elevation change to speak of. So I was thrilled when I learned about Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia. Though it’s still a bit of a drive at 275 miles, the chance to photograph an array of amazing waterfalls makes it worth it!

I first made the trip at the end of April 2012. The spring greens in the mountains were vibrant and there was just the right amount of water flowing. Everything was perfect – except for the clear, cloudless sunny skies. It’s extremely difficult to photograph waterfalls with direct sunlight on them; technically (to capture the full dynamic range) and aesthetically. I still came away with some photographs I am proud of – in fact, one of them won the Grand Award from the West Virginia Land Trust.

Elakala #2 falls. Image available for purchase.

Elakala #2 falls in Blackwater Falls State Park.
Print available for purchase.

But I wanted another chance so I headed back at the end of April – exactly 1 year later from the first trip. This time it was overcast and drizzly – perfect for waterfall photography. But I failed to realize that last year’s mild winter was why everything was so green for my 2012 visit. One year later it looked like it was still the middle of December. The other thing I did not count on was the destruction due to super storm Sandy. The downed trees and debris in the gorges and waterfalls was alarming. I’m afraid the very photogenic Elakala #2 falls (above) will not be the same again for some time.

Though from a different vantage point than the photograph above, it's clear that these falls will not be the same for some time.

Though from a different vantage point than the photograph above, it’s clear that these falls will not be the same for some time.

The lack of foliage in the mountains, the debris and the drizzly conditions (that occasionally became a downpour) forced me to abandon my trip a day early. While disappointed, on the other hand it means I’ll just have to head back again for another chance to photograph this marvelous area!

Wanting to avoid a "compositional rut", I was able to get a unique vantage point of these falls.

Wanting to avoid a “compositional rut”, I was able to get a unique vantage point from behind these falls.
Print available for purchase.

The vibrant green moss contrasts with the orange rock below.

The vibrant green moss contrasts with the orange rock below.
Print available for purchase.

One oft he many waterfall gems in the park. This one requires a fair amount of scrambling to access.

One of the many lesser known falls in the park. This one requires a fair amount of scrambling to access.
Print available for purchase.

haze

In addition to waterfalls, there are grand vistas to photograph as well. On this visit, rather than the warm tones of a sunset, I was startled to find a blue haze caused by smoke from a wildfire.
Print available for purchase.

Hoarding Data

Posted in Photography, Software with tags , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2013 by cdtennant

I’m a bit of a hoarder, especially when it comes to my digital image files. I’ve read articles on how to organize your digital library and often it involves removing out of focus and poorly exposed images immediately. But I have a difficult time deleting even the blurriest, overexposed image. There are at least two reasons for this: (1) memory is cheap and (2) advances in post-processing software.

I came across a photograph I had taken last fall. It had promise, but a large portion of the sky was clearly overexposed. Typically I bracket my exposures for any composition so that I can recover blown out areas in post-processing by hand blending multiple images. For whatever reason, I failed to do that here. I recently upgraded to Adobe Lightroom 4 and heard great things about it’s ability to recover detail in highlight regions. So I gave it a try and was amazed.

Portion of original RAW image.

Portion of original RAW image.

Portion of final image - after processing in LR4 and CS6.

Portion of final image – after processing in LR4 and CS6.

Lightroom 4 uses a completely new processing engine – which takes a bit of getting used to – but clearly the results speak for themselves. For those interested, here are the settings I used in LR4.

LR4 settings used to recover details in highlight regions.

LR4 settings used to recover details in highlight regions.

So software can already deal with the grossly over/underexposed image. Surely it’s safe to delete out of focus photos! Well, not so fast. The folks at Adobe are already working on a feature to correct out of focus images. It really must be seen to be believed. So hang on to those files!

"Plains of Abraham", Adirondack State Park, NY

“Plains of Abraham”, Adirondack State Park, NY

Getting Back

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 30, 2013 by cdtennant

I’ve always had a difficult time keeping up a regular blog – I’m afraid I’ve spread myself too thinly across social media in its various incarnations. However, I’m going to make a concerted effort to write more consistently. The last few months haven’t been terribly eventful, but there are some upcoming projects and trips that I’m very excited about! (Enough so that I think they are worthwhile sharing with you!)

A few weeks ago I entered some photos into the West Virginia Land Trust’s inaugural photo contest. I was a finalist for the “People’s Choice” award and despite my attempts to round up support from social media to vote for my photographs, I couldn’t compete with the other entries (or rather, I couldn’t compete with the number of friends/supporters of those photographers). Fortunately they also had a Grand Award that was decided by a judge and not simply a popularity contest. And I was thrilled to learn I had won it! The prize is a beautiful enlargement of my photo in a rustic wood frame. For most photographers this might not be too exciting, however I rarely ever print any of my photos for personal use. So this was a treat indeed.

My Grand Award from the West Virginia Land Trust.

My Grand Award from the West Virginia Land Trust.

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