DEAR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND PHOTOGRAPHY LOVERS! I want to thank all of you who have encouraged and supported me in doing what I love to do....take pictures and share them with you! Through the years this blog has also become my 'photo journal' where I can return and remember what I've enjoyed photographing in the past, and I will continue to post my photos and photo commentary here. I also enjoy seeing the creative work of my fellow photographers, but I 'look' much more than I comment because of time restraints. Maybe you are like me in this regard. Several years ago I was urged to post my photos on Facebook (and Instagram), because I was told "this is where everyone is posting photos these days". I finally did so, and was amazed and humbled at how many photography 'friends' I acquired in a short time. So if you are among my blogger friends who are finding it easier and quicker to connect through other ways, here are additional places you can find me: Facebook - Karen Lund Larsen Instagram - Karen Larsen Photography
Monday, October 16, 2017
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Monday, September 25, 2017
Near Cedar Breaks National Monument
This is one of my favorite little spots for fall color near Cedar Breaks National Monument in southern Utah. It has most all of my favorite mountain elements....aspens, pines, and a peaceful little stream. I was so happy to discover that the huge wildfire that consumed over 50,000 acres in this area several months ago, came very close, but spared this beautiful area. I enjoyed a colorful first day of autumn here, even though it was cold and windy, at around 10,000 feet in elevation.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Friday, September 22, 2017
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Sawtooth National Forrest, Idaho
Sometimes it just takes moving the camera a few feet left, right, up or down to create a more attractive composition. I changed my perspective down a couple of feet to keep the tree from blocking the background, and I like how the shape of the branch nestles into the shape of the mountain.
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Thanksgving Point, Utah
This was one of those times where I combined two photos to make a more pleasing composition. Both were taken the same day, at the same place, but from a different perspective. I loved how the morning light was shining on this single water lily, but from the angle I wanted to shoot, there was nothing but boring, dark, murky water behind it. (For those who know my photography well, you know I rarely take nature photos with a plain background. In fact, I believe that an interesting background is one of the main parts of a composition that turns an average image into a great image.) Anyway, first I knelt down and composed my shot of the lily so it would appear in the bottom left hand corner of the frame. Then I stood up and composed an image of a patch of lilies that formed a diagonal and was a short distance behind my main subject lily. I locked focus on the main lily, then recomposed on the background patch of lilies so that they would appear soft and out of focus. I always shoot three bracketed shots; one set for a normal exposure, one set 1 stop over exposed and one set 1 stop underexposed. (My camera then takes all three shots automatically with one click of the shutter.) Camera settings were: 1/640 sec, f/6.4, 250 ISO and I was using a 200 mm lens handheld. When viewing all the shots at home on my computer, I found I liked the underexposed shots the best for two reasons; first and most important was that it made for a more dramatic and interesting image with the lily much lighter than the background, and second, it hid all the murky, ugly stuff under the surface of the water. Editing was simple. I combined the two in PS, cropped, sharpened, and added a bit of vibrance and contrast.
Monday, September 4, 2017
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Solar Eclipse 2017
I was not going to bother taking photos of the eclipse. I figured there would be a zillion photographers with ginormous telephoto lenses who would get far better shots than I would ever be able to get. But at the last minute, I just couldn't resist, so I drug Jeff out of bed around 3 am and we drove 5 hours...(well I drove and he slept), to about 40 miles east of Jackson, Wyoming. And despite all the hype, there was very little traffic along the way. We parked in a beautiful area of pine trees and wildflowers, along with just a few other eclipse watchers and waited for the big event. The time of totality was indeed an eerie event. The sky turned a weird color and was dark enough to see stars, and the temperature dropped dramatically. In the end, we were both glad we made the effort to witness this event.
P.S. A friend made the following comment on my facebook post of this photo: "What filter did you use? 10 stop ND would probably not be enough to protect your camera." Here is my response:
I went to a class at Pictureline about photographing the eclipse. The instructor said you can buy an expensive filter or you can make one. He suggested buying a special solar optical film sheet and making your own. He showed examples of cutting out the bottom of paper cups that would fit over your lens and taping the film over the resulting hole. He stressed not to tape anything directly onto your lens because there could be the possibility of damaging the lens, but also because you would need to take it off quickly to photograph when the sun is in totality. I looked on line and saw all different ways of constructing DYI filters, all of which seemed too much of a bother. I didn't even know where to purchase that special film. Then a few days ago I was in Pictureline again and they had just received a shipment of squares of that film, specifically for the eclipse. I decided to buy a sheet and the clerk said I was lucky I showed up when I did as they would be sold out that day. When I got home I had the brilliant idea to just tape the film over my lens hood with painter's masking tape that could be removed easily. It was easily done, and I could quickly take the lens hood off and on the camera as needed. Took less than 10 minutes to cut a circle of the film and tape it on. I kept thinking this probably won't work, or else surely someone else would be talking about doing this. Anyway, it worked like a charm! Here is a picture:
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Friday, August 18, 2017
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Friday, August 4, 2017
Shoshone Falls, Idaho
What a surprise! I have traveled within a few miles of this beautiful place many times and never knew it was here! This is Shoshone Falls in Idaho and I took this photo just before sunset a few days ago. Hard to imagine that at times these falls completely dry up....according to the park ranger.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Monday, July 24, 2017
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Friday, July 21, 2017
Out With the Old, In With the New - A difficult Decision!
As a long time nature/landscape/travel photographer, for years I have carried around a full size Canon DSLR and usually five or six L series lenses plus other accessories, weighing approximately 20 lbs., (more if I include my tripod). But I am now at a stage in life, (I will not use the S C words), where I do not want to carry such heavy gear, nor do I want to be scaling craggy cliffs or fording raging rivers to get the perfect shot. I am, however, in good health, go on day hikes, and travel to beautiful places where I continue to enjoy my photography addiction...I mean hobby. If you are in a similar situation, then read on:
My goal has been to see if I could successfully wean myself from my beloved Canon equipment and replace it with a system that would:
* Deliver the same quality as my Canon gear without breaking the bank.
* Give me a variety of lens choices comparable to my Canon lenses.
* Be more compact, more manageable, and weigh less, (which are the only real reasons to make this change).
Additionally, I do not need or want to carry:
* Every possible focal length lens, like a heavy 600mm telephoto.
* Multiple cameras, laptop, and a myriad of accessories.
* A backpack that has every bell, whistle and compartment to carry equipment needed for extended trips.
With these criteria in mind, two years ago I began my internet search by reading web and blog posts of many professional photographers I follow, to learn about the gear they use. I began to see posts about mirrorless cameras and learned they were smaller, lighter and delivered excellent quality images. As the months went by, a number of these photographers began using mirrorless cameras as a second camera, and eventually, many of them totally switched to a mirrorless system.
I was fascinated with this new type of camera and wondered if it would be a passing fad, or would mirrorless cameras become real competition for the tried and true DSLR. (Years ago I had several professional photographers tell me that the new digital cameras were only a fad!) As months went by, I kept reading more and more great reviews and so I began investigating the leading contenders.
This will not be a technical review of the various mirrorless cameras that are currently popular. The major brands all produce excellent images and all have their pros and cons, which will appeal to a wide diversity of photographers. I probably should have rented my top 3 choices for a hands on experience, but in the end, I made my decision based on several photographers I admire, whose shooting style is similar to mine, and whose criteria for choosing a camera system was the same as my criteria. They did 'test drive' my top three choices and chose Fuji, and so did I.
When my Fujifilm X-T1 arrived, I was amazed at how compact and light it felt in comparison to my Canon 5D Mark II. I loved how it fit in my hands, and I loved having dials on top of the camera so I could see at a quick glance what my settings were, instead of having to scroll through pages on an LCD screen. I thought surely a camera this small could not deliver the quality of images my Canon did. But I was wrong! I purchased this camera with the 18-55 kit lens, (which incidentally has great reviews), and forced myself to use only one lens for a year. Fuji is known for the superior quality of the lenses they produce and I found this to be true. My images were sharp and beautiful. In addition, this little camera has more bells and whistles than I will ever use, in fact, everything and more than my Canon.
Although I was impressed and pleased with my Fuji, I wasn't convinced it could possibly be my primary camera. I was sure I would eventually come across a situation that only my trusted Canon could handle, so when my husband suggested it might be time to sell all my Canon gear, I said absolutely not!! Why that was almost like asking me to sell my children! (I may have taken care of my camera almost as if it were one of my children!)
Fast forward another year and I have now upgraded to a Fujifilm X-T2, and have added a 10-24mm wide angle, a 55-200mm telephoto, and a Lensbaby macro lens to my collection, all producing beautiful images. There are many more Fujifilm lenses to choose from, but for now I am satisfied that I can accommodate a wide range of shooting situations. Oh, and I have put it all in a very small, very light weight, very reasonably priced, no frills camera backpack made by Lowepro. To compare weight and size, which were very important considerations for me: Canon gear with backpack, 20 lbs., 13x18 ins. approximate dimensions; Fuji gear with backpack, 9 lbs., 9x13 ins. dimensions. What a difference!
Bottom line, I have definitely succeeded in finding a camera system that I love and meets all my criteria! Now I don't think twice before grabbing my gear to take with me, just in case I run across a great photo op. And before I plan a photo hike, I don't weigh the 'pros' of being out in nature doing what I love, with the 'cons' of coming home exhausted with an aching back and sore shoulders. Learning how to use a new camera has forced me out of my comfort zone and given me renewed enthusiasm to improve my photography skills. To paraphrase an admired photographer who also recently made a similar switch, "it has made taking pictures fun again"!
So if it is time for you to take the plunge and change to a camera system that better meets your current situation and needs, I can tell you it is possible. You can find a system that fits your personal criteria and shooting style. It is possible to teach a slightly older but better dog new tricks, and the challenge may result in giving you the incentive to become an even better photographer!
Oh, and by the way, my beloved Canon has not been touched in two years! The time has finally come to say goodbye and find it a new home!
Oh, and by the way, my beloved Canon has not been touched in two years! The time has finally come to say goodbye and find it a new home!
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Albion Basin, Utah
Just above Alta Ski Resort
The worst kept secret in Utah for landscape photographers, wedding and on location portrait photographers, and anyone who wants to see this beautiful place. It is just a short drive from either the Salt Lake City area or the Provo area. For a brief time in July the wildflowers are spectacular!
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
I have driven past the trail leading to this lovely little oasis on the Mt. Nebo scenic loop dozens of times and never bothered to stop and check it out until yesterday. After a short, easy walk off the main road I was pleasantly surprised to find this little photogenic gem. Of course about 10 other adults and 25 kids were enjoying it with me! I set my camera on a tripod, sat down next to it on a big boulder and waited and waited and waited. I had to be quick to get even a couple shots without people crowding into the composition!!
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Spray of SparksAre you thinking traditional fireworks?? I would never have guessed how this was done if I hadn't gone to a very fun photo club outing last night. It involves a piece of cord, a wire whisk and a pad of steel wool. Tied to one end is the whisk with the steel wool stuffed inside, and on the other end is a person who lights the steel wool and then swings the cord in circles. This is my favorite of some very cool designs that I captured. (Oh, and don't worry, he was standing on a small pier and the sparks were hitting water.)