News from Rod Barbee Photography
September 2012 Rod Barbee Photography Newsletter
Wow. It was about a year and a half ago that I began planning the Iceland trip. And now it's over. Just like that.
But I can't wait to go back. I've written a little about it below and my guess is that after awhile you'll all get sick of me singing the praises of Iceland. Or telling tall sagas about the trip.

During this trip, since we had plenty of clouds in the sky, I did a lot of checking of my histogram. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to have severely overexposed skies or severely underexposed shadows. A lot of the time the histogram was showing me that I had captured all the information without clipping at either end. This gave me a lot of room to work while processing the images. In the coming weeks I plan on adding a few entries to the Lessons section of my website, showing before and after examples and outlining how I went about finishing an image.

Iceland wants to be your friend
Let's just say for the record that I love Iceland. And not just because there are endless possibilities for a landscape photographer. Frankly, that might actually rank fourth or fifth on my list of reasons for why I love Iceland.
And while I was in Iceland for only two weeks, what I found is that the people are wonderful, there's virtually no crime, the climate is my kind of climate (I'm a warm wimp so the cooler Icelandic climate is right up my ally), and there are no cougars or killer spiders to haunt my every waking hour.
Plus, Iceland really wants to be my friend (and yours too).
Iceland highlights
I've been trying to decide what my most favorite part about my Iceland trip was. The cool August weather definitely ranked high, but it's really hard to come up with one thing. Maybe because there is no "one thing." I liked the feel of being in Iceland. It didn't feel like I was in a foreign country, it felt comfortable.
But there were highlights, and plenty of them.
I really liked walking around Reykjavík, and I don't like cities as a rule. And I really liked Gulfoss; it's a waterfall that needs to be experienced to be appreciated. Small towns like Stykkishólmur were fun to explore, though I fear a group of photographers sporting large tripods stuck out like a---something that sticks out. But maybe not. Icelanders don't seem to mind and they're probably getting used to it.
The Icelandic highlands are a graphic landscape photographer's playground. If you enjoy photographing places like Washington's Palouse region, or Death Valley, you'd feel right at home in the highlands.
Photographing Icelandic horses was enjoyable as well as amusing. These horses are so friendly that they'll even let you braid their hair.
Lots of highlights. I even learned how to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull.

So you want to see some pictures? I've posted my Iceland gallery here. I've even included Google map links so you can see where the pictures were made.

The 1/3 Myth
You've seen those pictures with a sharp foreground - maybe some flowers - and an in focus background - like a mountain. These are usually made with wide angle lenses with the foreground very close to the camera, usually within a foot or two.
Getting everything in focus is done with a technique called hyperfocal focusing, which is basically focusing the lens at a point so that depth of field extends from that focus point toward the camera and away from that point towards the background. Enough so that everything appear in focus.
The big question I always get is: Where should I focus?
There's a rule of thumb out there that says to get everything in focus, set your aperture to f/22 and focus a third of the way into the frame. The idea is that you need to focus beyond your foreground so that the range of depth of field will cover the entire frame. This is true. That's the concept of hyperfocal focusing. But the advice to focus one-third into frame should be tossed onto the junk pile.
Think tank special
Another offer from our friends at Think Tank Photo:
Here's a special offer for September that might be of interest. Should you order one of their popular Urban Disguise® shoulder bags, you can receive one of their Urban Disguise® Attachment Straps or a Shoulder Harness V2.0 for free!

With Think Tank Photo's completely upgraded and larger Urban Disguise shoulder bags, you can travel in style while still protecting your valuable equipment from prying eyes.
The Urban Disguise V2.0 Series is specifically designed for professional digital SLR equipment, with some models including special laptop compartments. Each model features multiple pockets, YKK lockable zipper sliders, a comfortable, padded shoulder strap, and a seam-sealed rain cover. Specifically:

  • Urban Disguise 35 V2.0 - Carries a 13.3" laptop with a regular size DSLR or a 10" netbook with a pro size DSLR. Also carries a 70-200 f2.8 attached to a DSLR with two to three additional lenses.
  • Urban Disguise 40 V2.0 - Carries regular or pro size DSLR with a standard zoom lens attached and two to four additional lenses.
  • Urban Disguise 50 V2.0 - Carries up to a 15.4" laptop, a regular or pro size DSLR with a standard zoom attached, and two to four additional lenses.
  • Urban Disguise 60 V.20 - Carries up to a 17" laptop, a regular or pro size DSLR with a standard zoom attached, and three to five additional lenses.
  • Urban Disguise 70 V2.0 - Carries up to two pro size DSLRs with lenses attached in main compartment. Can fit a 70-200 f2.8 attached to a pro size DSLR.
Receive one of these free with your order! The Urban Disguise® Attachment Straps lets you attach Modular, Skin, or Multimedia components to the sides, and a tripod to the bottom, of an Urban Disguise V2.0 shoulder bag. Or, receive a Shoulder Harness V2.0, which converts an Urban Disguise shoulder bag into a backpack.

2013 Workshops and Tours
I've been steadily adding to the workshop listings on my website. I recently posted next year's Columbia Gorge waterfalls trip, the two Palouse workshops, and the Olympic National Park workshop. I'll be adding more so keep coming back to take a look.
The remaining workshop season
Just to let you know, there are still spaces available in my remaining 2012 workshops. Canadian Rockies is coming up in a few days but there's still time to sign up (and maybe even get a hotel room--better check that first though). And both the Colorado Fall Color and Zion workshops have plenty of space.
The Colorado workshop (Sept. 26-30) has enough signed up so that Don will at least run it on his own and I'll leave the Zion workshop (Oct. 31 - Nov. 4) open for signups until at least the first of October.
Which brings me back to Iceland, where we started. This February I've got a winter trip planned to Iceland with Tim Vollmer. Now even though it's Iceland, it doesn't get all that cold there. Not like Yellowstone or Minnesota or some of those other behind-bitingly cold places. No. Iceland does get snow but the winter temperatures are in the reasonable range. But they do get auroras. Pretty, pretty auroras. And along with the winter landscapes and icebergs, I'm hoping we'll get lucky enough to photograph auroras as well. The trip is Feb. 20-25 and, according to Tim it can be extended if you wish. On my recent trip to Iceland, my wife and I and a some friends stayed on a few extra days and on one of those we booked a day tour through the travel company that organized the photo tour. And it was wonderful. And not just because we got see and photograph puffins.
So click on over to my workshops page if any of this sounds tempting.
That's if for now. I'll be posting more workshops in the coming days. If you want to be kept up to date you can subscribe to my blog feed, or follow me on Facebook or Twitter. You can find all those links on my contact page.

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Rod Barbee Photography | 172 Robin Lane | Port Ludlow | WA | 98365