Riding Shotgun by Terry Schmidbauer
Riding Shotgun, a photo by Terry Schmidbauer on Flickr.

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We were making our way from Santa Rosa, CA to Yosemite Valley and it didn’t make sense to stop every couple of minutes to snap a photo so I just started taking shots from the passenger seat while we were moving. It was a fun little exercise that got me thinking fast while trying to anticipate a shot. If I missed something there was no going back so I kept my eye in the viewfinder. When something I liked came into view, I pressed the shutter release and started looking for the next shot. At first the images were pretty average but once I got into a rhythm I actually captured some interesting images.

I’ll be posting some of the more successful images in the coming days. I’ll start with this one because it starts to tell the story of the trip. This was taken while driving thru the Sonoma Valley. During our trip, we tried as much as possible to stay off of the interstate and drive the secondary highways. This made the travel times longer but we were able stop anytime we needed either to take a photo or walk the dogs. And it was a just a better way to view this beautiful part of the country we were traveling thru. Everywhere on the interstate has the same general look no matter where you are in the country and you really only get a feeling for where you are when you get off and take a side road.

Milkweed Meadow by Terry Schmidbauer
Milkweed Meadow, a photo by Terry Schmidbauer on Flickr.

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This is a testament to the power of a good exposure, a camera with good dynamic range and the Lightroom 4 development tools. I shot this in the late afternoon in the meadow at Yosemite Village. I was walking in the meadow and noticed my wife taking pictures of the milkweeds. As she took a break to take in her surroundings, I snapped a picture. The color version is not bad but looks too much like a snapshot. By converting to Black and White I was able to add the drama this image needed. I added multiple graduated filters to direct the eye toward the focal point. I then used the color sliders to darken the sky and lighten the grass. I finished with the brush tool to fine tune the details. I lighten some grass around the figure to give the illusion of light spot lighting in that area. I finished up by adding some definition to the s-curve in the pathway, which also helps bring the viewer’s eye to the focal point.

Sunset in Sepia by Terry Schmidbauer
Sunset in Sepia, a photo by Terry Schmidbauer on Flickr.

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This is another shot from the north coast of California. It was raining all day as we traveled thru the Redwood Forest. But we timed it right as the sun came out just as it was setting on the coast.

This was taken on a monopod. I had both a mono and a tripod with me on this trip but this scene was light enough to hand hold at ISO 50 so I chose the monopod for a little extra stability. It worked out well, I was able to shoot and move around the scene quickly which made the best use of the little time I had as the sun was setting fast.

The bright spot in the clouds didn’t appear until I was making my way back to the car so this was shot after I was very familiar with the scene. Sometimes that’s what it takes to really nail the composition. Usually the first shots are throw away so it’s better to walk around and find something you really like.

"The Birds" by Terry Schmidbauer
"The Birds", a photo by Terry Schmidbauer on Flickr.

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This was taken a couple of weeks ago on the north coast of California near the place they filmed “The Birds”. These were my models I arranged a head of time for the shoot and I directed them to get close to the edge without being in danger. The weather was better than I could have ever expected and according to my models, this may have been the best weather this location has had in months.

For a final image I may add some clouds to the left side but I wanted to post this un-retouched image before I start any retouching work. I do like the balance created by the clouds and cliff but for a stock image, a couple of streaky clouds on the right side may help it sell.

Yosemite at 35 mph by Terry Schmidbauer
Yosemite at 35 mph, a photo by Terry Schmidbauer on Flickr.

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I shot this from the passenger seat while driving thru Yosemite National Park. The National Parks were designed to be seen from a car so this shot seems to be fitting. What is really interesting is how the peak feels static while the foreground is in motion. For the two days I was shooting at Yosemite, I was thinking of contrasts, not just contrasts of light and dark but also of concepts. This is a nice contrast of motion.

Home with a View by Terry Schmidbauer
Home with a View, a photo by Terry Schmidbauer on Flickr.

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Another shot from the north coast of California. I took this with one hand on the wheel which is not the best idea but I just couldn’t pass up this shot of the house on stilts. What I wasn’t expecting was how great the inside of the car helps the framing in this composition. This was truly a “happy accident” as I wasn’t looking thru the camera to take the photo, just aiming.

Cloud Weight by Terry Schmidbauer
Cloud Weight, a photo by Terry Schmidbauer on Flickr.

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This was shot on the North Coast of California. This is very simple but at the same time, has a lot going on in this composition. I saw the spotlighted water and decided to use it as a compositional element. I centered it and the put the horizon line in the lower portion of the frame to give the composition weight with the large over hanging clouds. Simple and at the same time very powerful!

Head out the window! by Terry Schmidbauer
Head out the window!, a photo by Terry Schmidbauer on Flickr.

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Here’s a quick update of our west coast trip. We are traveling down the coast western coast of the US and plan to head into Yosemite sometime next week. We are currently in the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon and will be heading to Redwood National Park and staying in Eureka tomorrow night. I’ve been shooting a lot of photos for both of my agencies but I’m really looking forward to Yosemite and shooting something for myself. The only problem is there maybe snow in the Serra Mountains so we may have to change our plans and stay along the coast. We have no destination, we’re just traveling and taking photos, good times!

Dynamic Angles by Terry Schmidbauer
Dynamic Angles, a photo by Terry Schmidbauer on Flickr.

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After two weeks of shooting Christmas backgrounds I got back to shooting what I like best, active lifestyles. This is Sarah, a model that I’ve worked with a couple of times now. I shot it at Alki Beach in Seattle on Saturday during the golden hour. I’m getting to the point where I only want to shoot during that hour before sunset. I get so many more keepers. But I will guarantee that when I submit this one to the stock photo agencies; at least one reviewer will reject it for having lighting problems. I did shoot her from the other side too but this has so much more drama.

Christmas is for Microstock! by Terry Schmidbauer
Christmas is for Microstock!, a photo by Terry Schmidbauer on Flickr.

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I shot a 1500 images in the last couple of weeks and ended up with just over 70 for Holiday Backgrounds for stock photography. Man, I’m alread tired of Christmas! I uploaded my collection to the major microstock agencies like Shutterstock and iStock where they are waiting for approval. But you can see my full collection here: terryschmidbauer.photoshelter.com/gallery/Holiday-Backgro…