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Exploring The Gulf Coast With The Fujifilm X-T2

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A Day Of Landscape Photography…

While I was on holiday with my family near Rosemary Beach, Florida, my dad and I took a day to explore the coast in search of great seafood and photography. We found both!

The best tips I can give you for shooting in the mid-day sun is to look for high-contrast scenes where the natural shadows make interesting compositions, and you will also want to take a really powerful ND filter to add interest to water and clouds. You will notice in the VLOG and photos below that I used the high-contrast light AND a 9 stop ND filter for almost every photo I captured. Always take advantage of the creative tools in your camera bag, and if you don’t own filter already, feel free to watch my video where I tell you all about my favorite filters for landscape photography. Also, the filter company even gave me a discount code that allows my viewers to get 10% OFF of all of their products. All of the info is in the video.

Take Care Of Your Gear…

In closing, make sure you really think about which bag you’re using in the field when you’re around a ton of sand and salt water like I was. Sand and salt water can ruin gear so fast! I highly recommend two bags for these situations, and you can watch my video reviews of them HERE: MindShift Gear Rotation 180 Pro Backpack Review | LowePro Whistler 450 AW Backpack Review

Below, you can see the photos and VLOG from my day of landscape photography on the gulf coast...

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 | Polarizer And 9 Stop ND Filter

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 | Polarizer And 9 Stop ND Filter

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 | Polarizer And 9 Stop ND Filter

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 | Polarizer Only

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 | Exposure Blend


 

 

I’m In Panama City Beach For The Next Week!

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The Land Of Vibrant Sunsets…

My family and I always spend about 8-10 days out of every year in Panama City Beach, Florida. The gulf coast has amazing seafood, white sand, clear water, and magical sunsets! Need I even say more? We just arrived a couple of hours ago, and I’m already craving fresh seafood!

We always like to stay in a large high-rise with a corner unit, so I can photograph the sunset from the balcony without any buildings standing in between me and sunset. Yes, my wife specifically looks for corner units so I can take better photos. I’m a lucky man :-). Speaking of that, if you guys or gals ever need to book a fun-filled Disney vacation, my wife will handle everything for you for free! She is a Disney travel agent, and I can promise you that there is no one in this world that knows more about booking Disney trips than her. She has been doing this for 9 years, and You can check out her page HERE.

Anyway, it’s going to be an extremely fun week, and I can’t wait to spend time with my family, eat tons of seafood, and take some awesome photos! Of course, I have already put the X-T2 to work on tonight’s sunset, and you can see that photo below. If any of you live here,  shoot me an email and maybe we can do a photowalk one day.

Let’s just hope the “wave incident” from last year doesn’t happen again! I’ll put that video below so you can see me and my D810 dripping with water…

Fujifilm X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8 XF WR

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Disney Day 6(Last Day): Reflections In Magic Kingdom And A Creepy Ending At The Haunted Mansion

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The Best Day Of  The Week…

After walking around the Disney parks for a week and trying to manage the late nights with early mornings, it was so nice to have a relaxing day with no reservations or plans of any kind. Since today was our last day, we all decided that we wanted to spend the day in Magic Kingdom taking photos of the kids, watching the parades, and just walking around slowly to enjoy all of the architectural details that Disney has to offer. 

I’m glad that I ended up packing all of my Fuji lenses for this trip because I was able to see which lenses I used the most. My two most-used lenses all week were definitely the Fuji 18-55 f/2.8-4 kit lens and the Fuji 35 f/2 prime lens. I used the Fuji 55-200 telephoto lens a fair bit as well for the parades and wildlife, but the other two lenses lived on my X-T2 most of the week. The 18-55 with it’s incredible OIS, covered most of my architecture and low light photos, while the 35mm f/2 covered the family photos and Disney character portraits. Now I know for the future that those three lenses are my must-have camera kit for travel. If you’re interested in seeing the entire Fuji kit that I took to Disney, you can watch that video HERE.

Night Time And Rain In Magic Kingdom With A Haunted Ending…

If you have been to Disney before, you know how magical everything becomes at night. Almost every square inch of the park is lit up, the weather cools off, and most the crowds start to leave park. Lucky for us, we have been staying on Disney property all week so we took advantage of the Disney “Magic Hours” from 10pm t0 12am. The “Magic Hours” allowed us to stay in the park two hours later than regular guests, and that is typically when I capture all of the long exposure Disney photos that you see in my portfolio.

Not long after nightfall, it started raining pretty hard, but we were ok with that since we knew it would clear the park of even more people. Pro tip: When it rains in Disney, 90% of the people think they’re going to melt if they get wet, so that means you get the park to yourself. While it was raining, we walked around in all of the cool shops on Main Street in Magic Kingdom, and I got to capture a really cool photo of a professional glass blower who was working on a new piece for the store’s collection. I really like the way his photo turned out! I have always believed that everything happens for reason, and had it not rained that night, we would have never gone inside that little shop, and I would have never captured that photo. Pretty cool 🙂

After we shopped around in the stores and purchased some good ole Disney merchandise, we noticed that the hard rain had turned into a light sprinkle, and there were no humans to be seen in any direction! It can be a little weird walking down Main Street in the busiest theme park in the world with no people in sight, but that is exactly how I like it. Most people just don’t take the time to wait out the crowds…

It was a very enjoyable night being able to ride all of our favorite rides with no wait times or people… Well, until my friend Joseph and I asked the wives if we could ride The Haunted Mansion on our way out of the park…big mistake  😯 . We were making our way to the front of the park so we could head back to the hotel, and as we were walking by the rides and stores, the lights were blacking out one-by one. It was a little creepy since we were the only ones left in the park, but we just assumed that they were closing things up since it was a little after midnight at that point. We also figured that The Haunted Mansion would probably be closed since everything else was closing as we walked by.

Well, as we approached The Haunted Mansion, we saw one single cast member standing outside the line waiting for people to come in. Of course, Joseph and I walked up to ask her if it was still open, and the lady didn’t say one word. She just starred at us with a straight face and pointed towards the ride. We were already a little creeped out at that point, but we assumed that her pointing meant that we could go through the line. If you have never ridden The Haunted Mansion before, you won’t know what I am talking about, but before you actually get on the ride, they take you into a pretty big room where they act out a short little skit that is supposed to be playful and scary at the same time. It’s fun to watch people get a little freaked out before getting on the ride, but I have the entire skit memorized because I have been riding The Haunted Mansion since I was a little kid. I also know that every time I have ever ridden  The Haunted Mansion during magic hours, they skip the little skit and let you get right on the ride. Naturally, I assumed they would do the same in this situation since it was literally just me and Joseph. I was wrong… One of the cast members took us into the big room, a shorter version of the skit played throughout the speakers, all of the doors around us shut, and then BOOM…the lights went out. Before the light went out, we were the only two people in that big room. BOOM! The lights came back on, and there were two girls dressed as creepy maids that randomly appeared about 6 inches away from our faces. We literally felt their breath…

After that insanely creepy moment, those two girls opened the door that lead to the ride, and we finally got on. Even more creepy things happened while we were on the ride, but that is a story for a different day. It’s really late and I still have to pack up my stuff and get some sleep since we’re leaving to go home in about 7 hours(yikes). Thank you all for following the blog all week and going on this Disney adventure with me and my family! Just promise me you’ll think twice before rinding The Haunted Mansion after hours.

Enjoy viewing all of my best photos from our last day…

Fuji X-T2 | 35mm f/2 WR | This is one of Disney’s awesome cast members in the “circus” section of Magic Kingdom. This guy’s face had such a unique look, so I had to ask him for a photo. Luck for me, he said yes!

Fuji X-T2 | 35mm f/2 WR | This is my beautiful baby girl, Scarlett. My wife and I envisioned this photo before we ever went on this trip, and we made it come to life. This little green patch of AstroTurf is great for photos of the kids with the castle in the background! 

Fuji X-T2 | 35mm f/2 WR | This is the glass blower that I got to photograph when we ran into the shops to escape the rain after sunset. I just love this image!

Fuji X-T2 | 18-55 f/2.8-4 Kit Lens | This is a photo of Magic Kingdom’s classic steamboat. Looking at this scene made me think of the old steamboat Mickey cartoon.

Fuji X-T2 | 35mm f/2 WR | This was the very last photo I took. We were on the way out of the park, it had just started raining again, and I saw those refections just singing my name. Obviously, I had to stop and grab a set of photos even though I got soaked. It was so beautiful!


 

Disney Day 5: Epcot At Golden Hour And German Sausage

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Golden Light, Another Great Sunset, And Snacks…

We all went back to Epcot tonight because…well, Epcot is a whole different world of magic and culture when golden hour hits. The countries all start to turn on lanterns and beautiful lights, the weather gets cooler, and all of the golden light starts reflecting off of the huge man-made lake in the middle of the Epcot World Showcase.

Our wives were looking at all of the souvenirs while Joseph and I were taking photos and drooling over the light hitting the architecture all around us. After walking around a bit and enjoying some family time and photography, the wives wanted to get some snacks. They were talking about ice cream, some kind of French fruit parfait, etc etc. This is where Joseph and I offered to take the kids, part ways from the ladies for a little while, and find some “man snacks” in another country. 

After getting distracted by taking photos of the kids around the park, we finally arrived in Germany at Biergarten to get some homemade sausage and authentic German beer. Typically, I’m not a beer drinker, but when I travel, I love experiencing new things. 

After we all enjoyed our snacks, we met back up with the wives and continued to have a fantastic evening! Family, friends, food, and great photos. Couldn’t ask for a better night! Below, you can see a few of my photos from tonight. Time to get in bed and gear up for tomorrow!

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4 | This photo was captured about 45 min before sunset. Everyone else was watching the Chinese dancers preform under this beautiful structure, but I was focused on capturing the golden light and interesting clouds.

Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4 | The sunset was so good that I had to take a photo even though there wasn’t a great foreground at the time. However, I thought it was a pretty interesting image since I captured two countries and a hotel in one single photograph. Across the lake, you’ll see Morocco on the left, The Swan & Dolphin Resort in the middle, and France on the right.


 

Photo Contest Winner Announced & Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas To All Of My Awesome Viewers!!

Thank you so much to all who participated in the Christmas Photo Contest! 

It was very fun going through everyone’s entries, and we even had two honorable mentions along with the winner. It was very tough deciding on our favorite out of the top 3 photos, but the winning photo showed wonderful technique and a simple/powerful composition. 

Here is the winning photo and the video where I announced the winner:

Photograph is ©LewisMarroquin.

winner-photo


 

Autumn Night On The Lake

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The Magical Smell Of Autumn & My Sixth Sense

This was just one of those Autumn nights that I’ll always remember. I was at the lake hiking most of that day just enjoying the outdoors, and I wasn’t planning on staying for sunset since I was pretty tired from the 6 mile hike around the mountain. However, I had this odd feeling, and I like to think that I have this kind of “sixth sense” about the weather.

I started smelling the smoky air, I felt the sweet Autumn breeze on my face, and I just knew that everything was right in the world for a great sunset on the lake. As you can see, I did end up staying for sunset, and mother nature rewarded me with this photo. Moral of the story: “Always let your conscience be your guide.” 

-Eric


Ascending To The Heavens

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Quadcopter Photography

I think this was one of the first really good sunsets I photographed with my quadcopter. I am still blown away by the technology and the ability to capture photos from hundreds of feet in the air with full control over ISO, shutter speed, and even HDR brackets!

The Sunset

I was on the ground shooting the sunset with my Nikon D810, and I just wasn’t quite getting the results I Wanted. I kept seeing these beautiful beams of light popping out of the clouds that were sitting in front of the setting sun. Years ago, I would have had to give up on the shoot or rush to another location before the sun went away, but all I had to do to remedy my compositional dilemma was simply send my quadcopter up to the perfect spot. 

-Eric

NEW PHOTO – “Ascending To The Heavens”


Landscape Photo Vlog #2 And A Summer Sunset

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Chasing Down The Sunset!

I was super excited about shooting the sunset because we had some severe weather coming in. If you pay attention to the clouds as much as I do, you will start to notice that the best clouds and sunsets come right before and right after bad storms.

As you will see in the video, I had a little trouble chasing down the sunset, but I believe I captured a pretty good image in the end. I hope you all enjoy vlog #2!

The Photograph

Once I finally made it down this steep hill by the shore, I was able to find a good foreground for the composition. As you can see, I used the angles of the rocks to point the viewers right into the sunset. I ended up only having to post process one photo instead of blending the brackets because the mid-ground was not interesting enough to bring into light. 

I made a video explaining when and how to use HDR so that you don’t ever use HDR as a crutch when you’re having trouble finding a solid composition. You can watch that video HERE.

-Eric

NEW PHOTO – “Summer Sunset”

 


 

The Edge Of Night -Dedicated To My Late Grandfather

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A Dedication to my late grandfather, Frank Mosley…

I love shooting sunsets, but it can be very hard sometimes to find truly magical sunsets here in Georgia. What makes a sunset magical? Well, it takes a few elements that all have to come together at the same time. The clouds have to be the right size and texture in order for the colors to reflect off of them, the colors have to be the perfect mixture of orange/purple/pink, the sun can’t be covered by any clouds so that the warm golden light can kiss the surroundings, and THAT is what makes a magical sunset…


I found this location and captured this photograph 4 hours and 11 minutes before my grandfather passed away and went to heaven. THIS photo turned out to be the truly magical sunset that I very rarely get to see. Some might say that it’s just a coincidence….. I say that God opened up the sky in the most beautiful way to bring home one of the best men I ever had the pleasure of knowing and being able to call my grandfather.

-Eric

NEW PHOTO – “The Edge Of Night”


 

The Grey Havens

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Lake Allatoona

Sunsets will forever be in every photographer’s portfolio.  HOWEVER, due to the high volume of sunsets all over the web, I only like to capture the really unique ones.  In my opinion, the uniqueness of a sunset is all in the texture and shape of the clouds.  You may notice while browsing through my portfolio that most all of my sunsets have really interesting clouds or colors.  I do this because most viewers don’t get impressed when looking at a sunset that they have seen a million times on every travel blog, post card, or website.  Keep that in mind when you plan to capture certain scenes.

I visit Lake Allatoona anywhere from 2 to 5 days per week waiting for the “perfect” sunset to come along.  Yes, I have thousands of sunset photos that I have never even processed because they don’t have that “unique” quality that I look for.  I may be too much of of a perfectionist sometimes, but I also know that in order for my work to inspire others……it has to inspire me first.  Enjoy!

-Eric

 NEW PHOTO – “The Grey Havens”


 

Thunderhead

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Tornado Warning At Sunset

Threatening clouds, 40mph winds, tornado warnings in several different counties, and where do I find myself?  Duh!  I followed the last bit of light to the shores of Lake Allatoona!  When severe storms start to turn the sky into a mixture of that unsettling greenish-orange color, one would/should typically find somewhere to take refuge.  However, those crazy colors and clouds can produce some pretty insane looking sunsets!

So, I took my chances since all of my camera gear is weather sealed.  I was on the shoreline for about 40 minutes getting hit with rain and harsh winds before the beautiful orange sun revealed itself for just enough time to capture this unique image.  My favorite images are the ones that I know i’ll never be able to recreate.  I had no clue how crazy the clouds looked when I was actually at the lake shooting because I was so focused on what the light was doing.  I ‘m sure you can imagine my surprise when I got back to my workstation and saw this image on the computer.  I was very pleased that I bagged this shot after getting abused by the elements for 40 minutes, and I was very thankful that I remained safe the entire time I was there!

Final Thoughts

Often times, landscape and outdoor photographers are referred to as “creatures of the light.”  The explanation to this is that we almost always shoot when the light is at it’s most attractive time of day.  We get up early to shoot at sunrise and stay out late to shoot into sunset and the twilight hours.  However, there are a LOT of people and other photographers that think outdoor photography is as easy as going outside and pointing your camera at something pretty and coming home with a masterpiece to hang on the wall.  Honestly, it would be great if it actually worked like that!  I am not saying this to boast by any means.  I just want to inspire people to challenge their comfort zone and push their creative boundaries to make beautiful pieces of art!  If you want to know where to start, I would recommend looking at some of my photography training videos so that you will understand how far you can push your camera.

  In conclusion, I encourage EVERYONE to get out of the house and take photos whenever you can.  One of my favorite quotes is from Indiana Jones who says, “If you want to be a good archeologist, you have to get out of the library.”  Let that sink in 🙂

Have a great week!

-Eric

NEW PHOTO – Thunderhead