Grand Marais Photography – December 2011 Newsletter

 In Grand Marais, Newsletter

December Reflections

December is also a good time for looking back on some of the pictures taken this year. Here are a few that I really enjoyed making this year. Click on the thumbnail to see the full image.

In addition to taking lots of photographs this year, I took a 45 day long kayaking trip. See a picture of what I looked like while taking that kind of trip under the Shameless Self Promotion section.

December Photography Advice

Please, note that the advice here is now outdated. Ignore what you see here and read my new advice here: Filters for Outdoor Photography.

This time of year, Grand Marais photography almost always involves a sunrise or sunset — did I mention that it rises and sets over Lake Superior? To capture it, you need Split Graduated Neutral Density Filters (ND Grads). These even out the brightness between the sky and the ground, which makes a better photo. All of the above sunrise pictures were made with ND Grads and without the ND Grads the pictures would be impossible to take.

Here’s what you need to use ND Grads with your DSLR camera:

  1. Cokin P filter ring sized to the filter threads on your lens.
  2. Cokin P Holder (saw off two of the slots so you don’t see the extra holders when you use it with a wide angle lens)
  3. OR a kit: Cokin Holder plus ring

You then need to buy the actual filters. I recommend getting two ND Grad filters. One soft and one hard. Both in three stops. If you just want to try the filters out without spending a lot pick up number three on the list. I use number two on the list 90% of the time. If you’re going to buy two, buy either both high-end filters or both entry-level filters.

  1. High-End Filter 1: Singh-Ray Galen Rowell ND Grad Soft transition in 3 stops: Great for inland lakes and scenes.
  2. High-End Filter 2: Singh-Ray Daryl Benson Reverse ND Grand in 3 stops: This is perfect of Lake Superior.
  3. Entry-Level Filter 1: Cokin P121: If you just want to buy one filter to try it out. This is the one.
  4. Entry-Level Filter 2: Cokin P121S ND Grad: A softer transition. Similar to #1 in the Singh-Ray selection.

To use these filters, you screw the ring into your lens, attach the holder and then put a filter into the slot on the holder. You look through your viewfinder and move the filter up and down and side to side until the transition line (where the filter switches from clear to gray) aligns with the horizon. If the horizon is uneven, you need to align it so it disappears within the unevenness. Setting your aperture at f/8 or f/11 and pressing the depth-of-field preview button on your camera helps you see the transition line more clearly.

Shameless Self Promotion

Bryan Hansel kayaking tripThis is the part of the newsletter where I push my products and services on you. :) Here’s what I have going on:

  • I still do outdoor portraits in December.
  • Lake Superior Winter Photography Workshop: This year’s workshop happens on February, 10 to 12, 2012. I love this workshop and it always fills up. At this point, we still have space, but if you’re thinking of joining me this year, you should get signed up soon.
  • If the Winter Photography Workshop doesn’t fit your schedule, consider a one-on-one Lake Superior photography instruction or a small group Lake Superior photography workshop. I do these by appointment. We figure out when it works for your schedule and head out to get great pictures and work on what you need to learn.
  • Spring Waterfall Workshop and Fall Photography Workshop: I’ll have the dates set soon.
  • Gales of November 2012 Photography Workshop is set for November 9 to 11th, 2012.
  • With the holidays coming up soon, you should give my 2012 Northern Landscapes calendar away as a Christmas gift or consider giving a print. All my photos are available as a print. If you don’t see the photo online that you want, let me know and I’ll make sure to make it available.

This Newsletter/Blog thingy that I’m doing is available by email. Sign up here. Please, pass this along to your friends (you can email them a copy by pushing the “Share” button below). I appreciate all the support that you have given me over the years.


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Minnesota northern lights over Nothern Lights LakeGrand Marais Lighthouse and Waves during the Gales of November