Moraine Lake – Canadian Rockies

The Shot

A pretty straightforward shot, but still one my most popular photos. Not only in social networks but also in print. I guess, it is simply the stunning scenery, that convince people of this shot. Moraine Lake is and Lake Agnes are my favorite parts of the Canadian Rockies. Both are near Lake Louise but by far not as crowded. Especially Lake Agnes is the lesser known and only non-glacier fed lake on the area. I can’t wait to go back and see all this again.

 

Others

If you are interest in prints of my work, please feel free to contact me. I am available through G+, Facebook, Twitter and of course my website (www.andredistel.com)

If you have any questions, please feel free ask

Cheers,
André

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Best shots of 2012

News

It’s that time of the year again – actually it’s the first time for me to a full-year review and pull out my personal 10 most meaningful and best shots of 2012. Due to surgery in Dec 2011 I wasn’t able to get out as much as I wanted for the first half of 2012. Looking at the whole year, I have almost made twice as many photos in 2010 and 2011.

Having said that, I had the opportunity to travel to more countries and explore unknown territory for me. One week of full-time shooting in Australia was great and this is also the majority of my shots, which I chose to be my personal favorites of this past year.

 

The shot was taken from Bonn highest mountain (hill) the “Ölberg”. Countless times, I hiked up and down just to create this one perfect sunset photo. A light like this only appears a few times a year and being spontaneous is a must in capturing that perfect moment. The mountain is set back a little bit from the others and gives this perfect landscape portrait. The grass green hills in front, the setting sun, reflecting on the Rhine River and sending the last rays in the city of Bonn, the former German capital. Just seconds before it completely disappeared behind the clouds. Magical and unique.

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Recently featured by National Geographic Traveler and the new Front Cover of the 2013 international Syndey Guide published by National Geographic. My personally biggest success this year – I just had to include this shot. The Sydney Harbor Bridge along with the Sydney Opera House represent the symbols of Australia and Sydney in itself. A fantastic sunrise, could not have been more spectacular opened some amazing colors in the sky just after the sun had set.

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After about an hours of bushwalking in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia, I found these beautiful cascading waterfalls flowing into the pool below. The spot was just perfect with the lush green moss, leaves and trees deep in the valley, basically not getting any sunshine.

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The Three Sisters, is a spectacular rock formation in the Blue Mountains of NSW, Australia. Most spectacular at sunrise and sunset. The view is absolutely mind-blowing and one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The Three Sisters is a popular tourist attraction, but I’d recommend avoiding the crowds and go later in the day or very early in the morning. I did both on my last trip and was the last one to leave and the first one to arrive the next morning. I took hours each time to wait for the perfect light. At first I was disappointed, about the overcast sky. However coming back and examining the photos on a large screen I have to say, that I was lucky, as add a lot more drama and mystery to the overall scene.

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A sunrise shot from Australia Eastern shoreline. As the sun rose behind me, it lit up the clouds and I used a longer exposure to capture the changing colors in the sky as well as to create a beautiful water area around the rocks. A moment, that just feels perfect, when you already see the outcome on the little screen on your camera and know it was worth getting up at 6am on your vacation. Seeing it on the big screen and as a print is even better.

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An early morning sunrise after heavy storms the day and night before make for some great clouds and colors the next morning. Lucky to witness the spectacle, I used a long exposure technique to capture the waves coming in at the shoreline. A deep drop just in front of me and hoping my tripod would stand firm for the time of exposure. Taking it all in, in a “Moment of Silence”.

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This particular location is somewhat tucked away and hard to get to. Once you think you have seen Cathedral Rock, find out, that it is not accessible from where you thought it would be. Under time pressure, I drove around the area to try and access this dramatic scene from the other side. It was already getting dark and I climbed through very unstable and slippery terrain, jumped between rocks and deep rushing water to the spot I took this photo. It is always rewarding when you see a photo turns out even better than what you would have imagined, which makes this one of my personal favorites.

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As the evening came to an end, I went to the spot, I wanted to take photos of during the late night hours. Two images made it into the Gallery. One of them is displayed here at the later point in time with an exposure of 140 seconds. The areas around the rocks and the shore create a beautiful highlight in the photo.

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Spending some time in Newcastle, NSW, Australia and visiting some friends allowed me to visit the local tidal pools. Not being an Australian and seeing those pools, I thought there were the greatest invention ever. So easy, almost no maintenance, safe and simple. The photo you see here was actually not planned for. I was walking along the pool to get to a different spot, when I stopped and moved a few meters back. Having this composition in mind, I set up my equipment and I am glad I did. If I had to come home with one shot that night – it would have been this one. One of my Top10 favorite photos from 2012.

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I have spent quite some time in Cincinnati or better on the side of the river in KY during my time as an intern and also during my time working in Canada, having my back-office in the KY close to the airport. I know the area pretty well and this time, finally took my photography gear, knowing I had one night off. I went up to Mount Adams to get this shot, which is compromised of 43 individual images carefully stitched together. The total shot is roughly 173 Megapixel. The 43 images were taken each at f/8 with 15 seconds exposure. I have not been able to process the shot any further, but will do so when I have more time. The original PSD file is over 2GB in size! I have a full-res shot for you available to look at, at http://www.andredistel.com/cincinnati_panorama.jpg - file size is 28MB so it might take a while to download depending on your connection.

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2 Bronze Awards at the Epson Pano Awards

I am happy to announce, that I received an email earlier yesterday with the news, that I have been awarded with two Bronze Awards at the International Epson Pano Awards. The Panoramic Awards by Epson are the worlds largest international competition for panorama photography. Entering for the first time in this award, I just call Bronze a success and guess. The bronze awards were give for the Amateur competition, which basically just means, that I am not a full-time photographer and earn less than $20,000 / year with my photography.

 

We have also been working hard on this website and to make it more attractive. A re-launch was done earlier this year with a new look to it. The formerly white background has been changed to black and new photos have been added mainly in the South America section.

 

Thanks again to all those, who have purchased prints so far this year. We could already collect a good amount for charitable organization.

 

 

Survival

A new shot from a recent trip to Lauca National Park is now online – “Survival”. Chile is such a vast and diverse country, reaching from the cold arctic in the south to nothing but desert in the far north. Lauca National Park gives some great photo opportunities, for those who can make it up there. At an altitude of 4,500m and more, Lauca is certainly not for everyone and altitude sickness “Soroche” is not uncommon.

For more infos about Lauca visit the Chile & Atacama Desert Gallery. To view this photo in large, click here.

Tunnel of Light

I am currently in the process of titling all of my images – well at least my portfolio and gallery art. It’s an important part for me and the viewer. With the title I am trying to bring across thoughts, ideas, feelings and messages at the time of capture and the ultimate goal I had in mind at that time.

The latest gallery addition “Tunnel of Light” in image taken in the world famous Antelope Slots, just outside Page, AZ in the Southwestern US. An incredible place for photography, but also hugely disappointing if you don’t plan ahead. Do some research about times, tours and equipment needed in the slots. Most people don’t get the opportunity to go there more than once so make sure, you are well prepared and get home with the shots you wanted to get.

I can recommend Chief Tso-Tso Tours (or something like that). We had a fantastic guide and were taken in separately and not with the large “Asia Group”, which gave us the time we needed to walk through and enjoy.

Feel free to comment if you want to know more

Landscape Photography Workflow Tutorial

I have recently switched from Aperture 3 to Lightroom 4, thus my workflow has changed! I wrote a new free tutorial which can be found here: Landscape Workflow Tutorial with Lightroom 4

If you are out there and shootings lots, you probably want to know, what is the most efficient way to get everything sorted, organized and processed when you get back, right? Well, I have read many photography workflow tutorials – and they were all different. That’s the beauty of it. Every photographer has its own unique style about photography and the processing. A few things are the same everywhere such as backups, importing, etc. however quite a few aspects are very different and depend on the style. That’s why I called this tutorial “Landscape Photography Workflow Tutorial”. My style of photography is landscape and I have found that the following fits my needs the best and helps me to get through thousands of shots, when I return from a location fast, easy and with minim risk of loosing images.

 

To give you a bit of a background, I shot with a Nikon D7000, 16GB Sandisk Extreme Memory Cards and use Apple Aperture for most of my processing and organization and only shoot RAW.

 

  1.  Getting back from a shooting, I import the memory cards into Aperture. My iMac has nice SD card slot on the side and importing goes pretty quick. Usually importing from a SD card slot or memory card reader is faster than direct import from your camera. Also, there is no worries, that the batteries will drain, when importing a few thousand photos from even higher capacity cards. My Aperture presets are that all of my photos are automatically imported into projects, which are separated by date. So shooting only on one day, will put all files into one project folder. Coming back from a vacation, the shots are automatically sorted by date, neatly separated by project date.
  2. Immediately after the import is finished, I run a quick backup with the build-in Aperture Vault on an external storage drive. All photos remain on the SD cards, until I am sure, everything has been imported properly and after all backups have been successful.
  3. Now comes the part, that takes much time but helps tremendously in moving forward. I start to rate all photos from “rejected” to “5 stars”. This is fairly easy with the plus and minus button on the keyboard. In addition to the rating, I also mark all images, which were shot as a panorama “blue” and all photos, which will become HDR “red”.
  4. Photos will fall into separate “smart folders” automatically according to their rating. I do not process 1-3 stars, delete rejected photos, and process only 4-5 stars shots. However, even though I do not process 1-3 star shots, I usually keep them. I find myself more often going back to these photos and raise their ranking to 4 or even 5 stars. As my processing skills advance, I find new creative ways to make more out of them, as I initially thought.
  5. All of my processing is done within Aperture. I do not use Photoshop – honestly I am probably the only photographer, who does not even own a copy of Photoshop. I find that Aperture, gives me all the tools I need. I usually do slight adjustments on saturation and vibrancy, curve adjustments, hue, chromatic aberrations, cropping, etc. – basically whatever I feel is necessary, to the give the photo the look I want it to have. Some photos do not require any adjustments at all, whereas others where shot in very difficult conditions and require a bit more of processing – but that’s just normal among photographers. What film photographers used to do in the lab with chemicals, we do on the computer.
  6. After the whole processing is done, I export the best shots and upload them to my portfolio here and / or publish them one at a time on Google+ or Flickr.
  7. The finished images, then go into my archive folders and are backed-up again via the Aperture Vault on the external storage device.

I hope I didn’t forget any steps. If so, feel free to let me know and I’ll add them :). Below is a screenshot from my current Aperture Library Layout. I hope it will be helpful to some of you.

Cheers,

André

aperture library photo workflow

aperture library photo workflow

Parinacota Volcano Photo

The shot of the majestic Parinacota Volcano was taken last October. To get to this remote place, you have to fly into Arica (Chile), rent a car (4WD highly recommended) and drive up to Putre. We actually come from San Pedro de Atacama and took an overnight bus to Arica, which was not too bad. We decided to go with TurBus as they are the most reliable company, however, Pullman would have been also a good choice. It is usually early enough to buy tickets a couple days before. One word of warning though. We slept almost through the night but when we woke up, we realized that we did not release the pressure as we would have done, when being awake. Your ears will hurt for a couple hours really bad – but eventually it will pass.

We picked up a rental car at the Hertz counter in Arica (nice airport but only 5 flights a day and deserted!!!). On your way to Putre you will drive through gigantic switchbacks and up to an altitude of 3,500m. If you are not used to altitude, stay one night there to acclimatize. It really makes a difference. We already spend the previous days on San Pedro de Atacama at 2,500m and went up for day trips over 5,000m, however, staying at 3,500 and more long-term can cause severe headaches and altitude sickness – also called Soroche.

I certainly felt it, a couple of hours after arriving in Putre. I walked around a bit in the little town but had to return to our lodge (I can highly recommend staying at the Terrace Lodge. The only nice place in Putre really) soon after. Drink lots, don’t eat too much and no alcohol during the first night!

The next day, we went up to Lauca National Park and spend most of the day at an altitude of 4,500m. We were fine but be careful. Walk slowly and again drink lots! We visited several places, but the Parinacota volcano is certainly the highlight. It is also the border to Bolivia and you will see trucks lined up, waiting to cross the border further down the road.

This particular shot is a 50 megapixel panorama carefully stitched together using the awesome Doubletake program for Mac. I used a Nikon D7000 and 85mm (135mm) F/1.8 lens, handheld. With this size print you can print wallpapers, prints massive ads or simply frame it. It is a simple but stunning shot and one of my personal favorites.

You can find more details about this shot here

Feel free to ask or comment if you have any questions or remarks.

Doing something very unconventional…

…can be very rewarding. During our recent trip to South America (Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Galapagos), I often used my 85mm portrait lens for close up landscape shots. Before we did this trip I decided to trade my 18-200mm travel lens for a 12-14mm and 85mm 1.8. I decided to make no more compromises on quality but swapping lenses more often. It worked well and fast and I am glad I did it. After sorting through 3,000+ photos there were a lot more really good ones among them as usual. One reason might be, me progressing in my photography skills, another might be the equipment.

Now this particular shot is not spectacular but I like it. I think I have never seen a mountain side with such a straight line. The forms and lines of this photo is what really get me. And even more amazing, I used a 85mm f/1.8 lens (135mm on the D7000) and I am more than pleased with the result. Instead of doing what magazines and online articles tell you, try the unconventional way and shoot something with a lens, that you usually would not use for that purpose.

The shot was taken at Lagoon Miniques, about 150km south of San Pedro de Atacama in the Northern Altiplano at 4500m above sea level. (yes, the air is very thin up there…)