Jim Zuckerman's Blog
10 f/stop ND filter
Sunday, March 26, 2017
10 f/stop ND filter

The first morning on this ice beach here in Iceland was overcast. The sky was dark and brooding, and in contrast with the blue glacial ice it was beautiful. For this shot of a uniquely shaped chunk of ice, I used a 10 f/stop ND filter which allowed me to shoot with a 30 second exposure. The waves blurred perfectly giving this image an ethereal look. I used my 100-400mm Canon zoom for this picture. The filter size for this lens is 77mm. I only had an 82mm neutral density filter with me because I was anticipating using it with the 16-35mm III Canon wide angle zoom. So, to use the larger size filter on the telephoto lens, I realized quickly that I couldn't hold it in place because over 30 ...

The Ice Beach
Saturday, March 25, 2017
10 f/stop ND filter

After the ice cave, I went to the Jakulsarlon Lagoon -- the ice lagoon -- to photograph the stunning chunks of ice that have broken off from the nearby glacier. From the lagoon, the ice is carried down a river to the sea and, depending on the wind and the currents, ends up on the 'ice beach'. We had two amazing mornings on the beach -- one morning with an overcast, brooding sky, which was stunning, and the second morning where the sky cleared about a half hour after sunrise and we had incredible light. The way the brilliant, low angled light illuminated the large (and small) chunks of ice was amazing. The ocean was very rough and the waves were huge, thus making it treacherous to get close ...

Another ice cave shot
Friday, March 24, 2017
10 f/stop ND filter

Here is another shot of the spectacular ice cave my photo tour group and I photographed yesterday. Again I used a 7-frame HDR composite to show detail outside the cave as well as inside of it. I set the camera for one f/stop increments between the exposures, and I also used a high frame rate -- 14 fps on the Canon 1Dx Mark II -- so I can make the series of exposures quickly before someone steps into my picture. I shot this with a 16-35mm lens set to the widest focal length, and the ISO was 200 with a lens aperture of f/20. It looks like it would be quite cold inside the ice cave, but it was actually comfortable. Outside, though, the wind was very strong and it was frigid. 

Ice cave group shot
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
10 f/stop ND filter

My photo tour group and I photographed one of the highlights of our trip today. We entered a stunning ice cave along the southern coast of Iceland. It's called Crystal Cave because of its beauty, size, and remarkable contours of blue ice. What you see here is the participants in my photo tour shooting the mouth of the cave. This is a 7-frame HDR image at 1250 ISO. I used a tripod, of course, and I exposed this image with a Canon 15mm fisheye lens. There is no apparent distortion because the ice is so abstract that it's impossible to discern the exact shape of the walls and ceiling. I used a high ISO so when I made the sequence of shots, the shutter speeds would be relatively brief. This ...

Northern fulmar in flight
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
10 f/stop ND filter

I'm in Iceland right now with another photo tour group. Yesterday we photographed two beautiful waterfalls, and this one -- Seljalandsfoss Falls -- had hundreds of Northern fulmar birds flying around the thunderous waterfall. The top part of the falls was hit by direct sunlight while the bottom portion was shaded, and that created too much contrast. Therefore, I focused on the birds as they flew past the falling water. This image is cropped but otherwise unmanipulated. My settings were 1/6400, f/5.6, 640 ISO. I used such a fast shutter to make sure both the swiftly flying bird and the waterfall were tack sharp. 

Foggy morning in Venice
Monday, March 20, 2017
10 f/stop ND filter

I worked on another composite -- this time the background was a Venetian bridge shrouded in fog. it was a beautiful scene, but I felt it needed a costumed model. I used the pen tool in Photoshop to meticulously select the many spaces in the wrought iron railing so the model, Cindy Peterson, appeared to be behind it. This took me about an hour to do. Cindy was originally photographed in bright diffused daylight, so I tried to tone her down and then I added additional fog/mist to the image in an attempt to make the lighting on her similar to the light in the night scene. I feel this isn't 100% successful because the shadows on her would be a bit different had she really been standing there. ...

Cyan surrealism
Friday, March 17, 2017
10 f/stop ND filter

The great thing about a photo tour is that it doesn’t end when you go home. There are hundreds or thousands of images to work on and experiment with. With images from the carnival in Venice, the sky is the limit in terms of creativity because the costumed models are like fantasy creatures. They can be combined with so many environments to make unique and artistic images. I do love the look of the Venetian costumes with medieval backgrounds, such as in Venice, but after doing this photo workshop for over 10 years now, I try to think outside the box. One of the best models in Venice is Sophie Farfalla who makes stunning costumes and poses elegantly for photographers. For this composite, ...

Elevated viewpoint
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
10 f/stop ND filter

Elevated viewpoints are often compelling and dramatic. I seek them out wherever I travel, from rooftop restaurants to hilltops. In this shot taken at the holiest Hindu site in the world in Kathmandu, Nepal, I had climbed some steps to overlook the temple and saw this sadu -- holy man -- framed perfectly in the carved arch. I used the Canon 100-400mm lens for a tight closeup of the composition. This lens is only three ounces heavier than the 70-200mm f/2.8 Canon zoom, but it has a much better range especially for filling the frame with distant subjects. And the new version of the 100-400mm is tack sharp. My settings for this picture were 1/640, f/8, 1250 ISO. 

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