Steve Bruno Photo


April 2015

One Word Photo Challenge: Sun


Our plane was landing in Hawaii as the sun was going down. For a brief moment, the sun hid behind a band of clouds on the horizon, making this shot possible.

WPC: Motion appears in a variety of subjects

I went searching through the archives for this week’s challenge, because I didn’t think I was going to find motion in my landscape photographs.  I prefer those to be sharp and still, but I even found some surprises there.  I couldn’t really chose a favorite, but maybe you’ll have one.

Auto racing at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI
Auto racing at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI
Waves crash the shore near Hilo, HI
Waves crash the shore near Hilo, HI
Drummer in action
Drummer in action
Stars above the forest of Mount Charleston
Stars above the forest of Mount Charleston
LPGA Hall-of-famer Nancy Lopez
LPGA Hall-of-famer Nancy Lopez
Parker Creek moves swiftly through it's canyon
Parker Creek moves swiftly through its canyon
Could there be motion in a solid object?
Could there be motion in a solid object?
Nighttime on the streets of Seattle
Nighttime on the streets of Seattle

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Motion.”

This is a sales pitch?


The National Association of Broadcasters held its annual convention recently here in Las Vegas, and one of the largest exhibits was put on by Canon.  While they were here to promote the video capabilities of their DSLRs and some higher end video equipment, Canon has its foundation in still photography.  Prints from stills decorated some of their exhibit space, with one in particular that caught my attention – not so much for the image, but the process.

The image, being touted as a 2.1 gigapixel panoramic image, was taken with the new 5DS R model camera.  The camera itself takes 50 megapixel shots, and this panorama was comprised of 108 separate frames.  Now, I would have been astonished if a camera could take a photograph this clean in one shot, and even very impressed if it was put together with, say, a dozen shots.  But 108?

As I stated in a previous post, digital photography finally attained a quality level that matched or exceeded what I expected from my film camera when Photoshop fine-tuned their photomerge feature.  I was out there trying all kinds of lenses in all kinds of situations to see how far this software would let me go.  Most merge shots I take are usually made up of between 3-8 frames.  I have taken up to 40 shots on a couple occasions, and I have determined that is where I am going to draw the line.

For those of you who’ve never put together an oversized panorama before, let me explain the procedure.  First, let’s start with image capturing.  A 40-shot panorama usually takes me about 10 minutes to complete.  This is the quick part.  I always take photos in RAW format, so when I open up the images, I save the settings applied to the first shot, then apply same settings to all the rest.  An hour later, this is still the quick part.  I have a fairly decent computer, and I have yet to get Photoshop to process 40 images at once.  After watching the progress bar not making progress for 30 minutes, I realized I was going to have to build these panoramas in blocks or columns.  After several failed l attempts, I finally completed the first of these in four hours.  This is not counting failure time.

I do not envy the people who took or assembled the 2.1 gigapixel panorama.  There are only a few times I might take a 40-shot panorama again, but never 108.  For one thing, the light has to remain constant during the exposures.  Canon’s shot was taken in nighttime, but I can’t imagine a daylight scenario where this would work.  Open shade with no breeze, maybe?  I’m very patient, but I don’t believe there are very many photographers willing to put this much effort into one photograph.

I once scanned a 4×5 film that I thought was very sharp at 1.2GB.  When viewed at 100%, it was showing the grain of the film.  However, when the client printed it on fabric, it looked stunning.  The large panoramas that I have completed are just under 1GB in size, and the detail exceeds anything I could scan from film.

In making panoramas, I have to remember that it’s still all about the final single image.  I never had much use for a telephoto lens until now, but many telephoto shots put together make for a nice perspective.  This last shot was taken at Red Rock Canyon, from the Calico Hills 1 area.  It is a popular area for climbers and hikers, and as I scrolled through the final image, I was finding great details.  Final photo made of 15 images with a 300mm lens for a file size around 450MB or 160 megapixels.  You may have to zoom in with your browser window to see this more clearly.

Calico Hills 02

Earth Day 2015

April 22nd is Earth Day, an idea originally started in 1970. It also marks the day that Ansel Adams passed away in 1984.  Adams was one of the greatest advocates for the environment and our role as stewards, so this post is a tribute to him.  The town of Kanab, Utah uses the slogan “Greatest Earth On Show”, which is hard to refute given its proximity to Zion, Bryce, and many other unique locations.  In keeping with Adams’ style my black and white photo comes from Zion National Park, Utah.

On the 45th anniversary of this day, I can’t help but think that we haven’t made very good progress as stewards of the earth.  Our rapidly growing population can only place more stress on resources that are already being pushed to their limits.  News stories abound about overfishing, forests being cleared or rapidly dying, greenhouse gas emissions, water shortages, etc.  I’m not sure if there is a more blatant example of our mismanagement of natural resources than China’s current water situation.  In their rush to industrialization, they have depleted thousands of rivers, and are now in an effort to channel water from the southern part of the country northward to the civilization centers.  Having lived in a desert for the better part of my life, the message has always been out there for water conservation.  I hope this crisis instills the same message to the Chinese.

It has taken many years for the problems facing us and our planet to build, and they won’t be going away overnight.  Perhaps a reminder like Earth Day will make us think about our daily decisions and any long-term ramifications.

Happy Earth Day!

WPC: Early Bird (2) – Sedona

Sedona Sunrise

I was in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon to shoot the autumn colors. The canyon runs mostly north-south and is so deep that there is no golden hour. On the flipside, I can photograph all day long that time of year in the canyon.

It was early morning, and it appeared as though it was going to be a bland day. Autumn can get hazy sometimes, and there wasn’t anything motivating me around Sedona, so I headed out towards Red Rock Crossing. This has always been a sunset shot as far as I was concerned. I had never seen a morning shot of it, or been nearby to see that there was potential for a morning shot here. I was really just biding time until I had enough light to get back into the canyon.

There is a fair amount of planning that goes into my photo trips, and then sometimes I just get lucky. As the sun came up, there was no scurrying around to get this shot. The day before or the day after might have worked, but I think I timed it precisely.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Early Bird.”

WPC: Early Bird – Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

To this day, this remains the most spectacular sky I have ever seen in Las Vegas, and certainly a top five anywhere. Unlike most photos where we only get to see a snippet of what’s happening, this sky had a similar appearance as far as I could see.

When I’m on the road, it’s a given that I will get up early to try to get the best light for my subject. This was in my backyard, relatively speaking. I had watched the weather segment on the news the previous night, and the timing of an approaching front looked as though it might coincide with sunrise, so I set my alarm.  I drove out to nearby Red Rock Canyon, and well before the sun hit the horizon, I knew it was going to be incredible. The clouds were consistent, and not very low, so the color just came through in waves as the sun started to hit the horizon. It is the only time I’ve had friends call me later in the day to see if I was out there capturing the sunrise.  Apparently, it was like a red beacon coming into everybody’s home in Las Vegas.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Early Bird.”

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Close-ups

It’s way too windy outside to attempt any close-ups, so I thought I’d have some fun with my camera indoors. The source for this shot – a 2013 US quarter with the tribute to Mount Rushmore (just a reminder that it’s tax time for procrastinators). This is an uncropped shot taken with a Pentax 40mm lens with two extension tubes. Exposure 1/3 second f/8 ISO 200.

In response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

WPC: Afloat – Yosemite

We were in Yosemite in springtime, when a cold front passed through. The next morning there were chunks of ice floating down the river that hadn’t been there the previous mornings. We traced it back to the source – Yosemite Falls. The spray from the falls had built up a layer of ice close to a foot thick during the night and was now melting. This probably happens on a regular basis there, but I have never seen photos of it.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: Afloat

The source for all the ice:

Yosemite Falls in spring, Yosemite National Park, California

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: yellow or wildflowers

I was down in Arizona this week, and while the early flowers have succumbed to the heat, the cactus are now beginning to show. And, as it turns out, there’s a little bit of yellow in this one.

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