About this photo: Retreating from the Storm by Andres Leon

Though it never rained this day, the incoming dark clouds gave us a pause before deciding to start our hike to  Apikuni FallsThis short hike was our inauguration to our six day long experience in Glacier National Park. 

My friend Christina fell back a few yards as the rest of us hiked upwards to the waterfalls, and as I looked back to see her, my hands hastened towards my camera so I could capture this image. For the briefest of moments she appeared alone in the vastness of the landscape and as the mountain reduced us all to tiny figures on the ground. 

"The chief proof of man's real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness."
 - Arthur Conan Doyle

Photo Details:

  • Canon 5D S
  • Canon 24-105mm L lens
  • Exposure: 1/80sec at f/11
  • Focal Length: 40mm
  • ISO: 100

I used Lightroom to perform some basic adjustments such as brightness and shadow recovery, color correction, and dehazing. I then used Photoshop and Nik's tools to bring more detail to the clouds and the mountains as well as reduce some noise.

Glacier National Park in July 2016: Unforgettable experience soon to be Extinct by Andres Leon

I had the wonderful opportunity to fulfill one of my ultimate travel destination desires. Visiting Glacier National Park in Montana was a truly magical and inspiring experience. Nelly and I met up with our great friends Harry and Christina and traveled to the East side of the park where we stayed at the St. MAry's KOA. We spent 6 days hiking about 37 miles of this magnificent park. Though exhausted and sore in the end, it was an experience I would happily repeat any time! In fact, if you are an avid hiker and photographer like myself, I strongly urge you to visit this treasure before its main attraction: the glaciers located on the higher elevations points of the park, disappear for ever. This event is believed to occur no later than 2020, less than four years from now. 

The classic modes of transportation provided by the park to reduce traffic are great to look at, but require patience and flexibility to make them enjoyable parts of the experience. 

The classic modes of transportation provided by the park to reduce traffic are great to look at, but require patience and flexibility to make them enjoyable parts of the experience. 

The park provides many short hikes that are both easy and enjoyable. Trail of the Cedars and Apikuni Falls are well maintained and easy to access  However, to truly appreciate the beauty this place has to offer, I suggest you push yourself a bit and embark on the more strenuous paths such as Grinnell Glacier Lake and Iceberg Glacier lake. Both hikes are over 10 miles long but provide some of the most inspiring views I've ever encountered. You can reward your effort of reaching the lakes by dipping your feet, or perhaps your whole body, in the glacial water. Believe, you've not felt cold water until you submerge yourself in one of these lakes.

Grinell Glacier Lake.. the water was... chilli. (And yes.. that white stuff on the water behind me are icebergs!)

Grinell Glacier Lake.. the water was... chilli. (And yes.. that white stuff on the water behind me are icebergs!)

Though not done processing most of the images from this trip, I just wanted to share a few I have done. I will post more details about these images later. Enjoy!

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: DREAM LAKE SUNRISE by Andres Leon

I had a chance to visit Rocky Mountain National Park in early March in a winter photography workshop guided by David Kingham (www.davidkinghamphotography.com). It was a truly fantastic experience. For a Floridian like myself, the hike up to this spot called Dream Lake was a little tough, but worth it nonetheless. I find it very inspirational and reinvigorating to get out of my comfort zone and experience new and extreme environments and terrains so I can appreciate what I have, where I live, and the many opportunities and options I have as a photographer. Thank you, David, for such a fantastic experience!

This image is a composition of two different exposures blended together using Lightroom and Photoshop. The first exposure was for the highlights (the sky, the distant cliffs, and the snow up in the mountains). The second exposure was for the darker areas such as the foreground rocks and trees. While normally it would be advisable to not use a polarizing filter this time (the reflection of the mountain tops on the water would have been particularly interesting to capture) the wind caused the water to be far too disturbed and the reflection would have been too muddy. Instead I chose to use the polarizing filter to clear the water reflection and bring out the beautiful colors and textures from the submerged wood piles near the bottom of the image. 

Image Details:

  • Canon EOS 5D S with a 16-35mm L lens
  • ISO 160
  • Focal length: 23mm at f/13

About this Photo: Downtown Miami From Brickell Key by Andres Leon

Like all large metropolitan cities, Miami is filled with unique and interesting views and perspectives that often go undiscovered. Many of these places can only be reached if you have connections to these locations and can access them to make the perfect composition. This image is a perfect example of having the right connections. This image was taken from Brickell Key and faces towards the west as Brickell key Drive (SW 8th Avenue) merges deep into downtown Miami. Using a low shutter speed allowed me to smooth out the water under the bridge and also create the wonderful streaks of light from the the cars' front and rear lamps as they passed back and forth on the bridge. Unfortunately I only had a polarizing filter with me and was therefore unable to use a sharper f-stop such as f/11 or f/16; I had to use f/20 to get the water to cooperate. But it turns out that this aperture still gave me sufficient sharpness at the center and around the edges to make it a successful image.

I feel many more composition opportunities are possible from this location. I hope I can revisit this spot with more interesting clouds, perhaps even a nice storm, in the horizon.

Image Details

  • Canon EOS 1D-X
  • f/20 at 88 seconds with a polarizing filter to reduce glare and light
  • ISO 100
  • 24-105mm Lens at 55mm focal length 

Also, I would like to mention that this image  was among the top 10 best images in the 2016 CityScapes Art Exhibition – Overall Category and also received 5th place in the Photography & Digital Category at the Light Space and Time Online Gallery. From a group of over 450 entries to this online exhibition, I feel immensely grateful for the opportunity to be counted among such fine artists. I also want to thank Diana Mendez for giving me the idea and opportunity to capture this scene.

About this Photo: The Greenery in Coral Cove by Andres Leon

Coral Cove Park in Tequesta, Florida never disappoints. It is without a doubt one of my favorite places to photograph any time of the year. The unusually warm weather this winter is a probable cause for the excess moss and greenery on the coral rocks at the beach. 

This morning's sunrise was superb, but I wanted to focus and pay particular attention to the green and the texture this vegetation had on the rocks and the dramatic imagery it created as it contrast with the water, sand and the blue sky in the horizon. This image is the result of blending two exposures: one focusing on the rocks and the green foreground, and the other exposing the sky and clouds out there in the background.  This time I used a polarizing filter to help bring the colors and tones of the rocks and also accentuate the blue sky at the top.

 

About this Photo: Water and Earth Collide by Andres Leon

The morning when this shot was taken (October 4th, 2015 at Coral Cove Park in Tequesta, Florida) proved particularly challenging. Hoping to catch the sunrise behind some very interesting cloud formations out in the horizon, the scenery changed and the sunrise turned out to be less interesting than I hoped. Although, to be perfectly honest, every sunrise in South Florida is a wonderful experience :)

I decided to stay a little later than usual as I noticed the tide was rising and the water was approaching the sand and rocks in very interesting patterns. As these were being hammered by the water I realized that these splashes would make a very interesting image at just the right shutter speed: too long and it would make the water too silky and smooth; too short and it would capture just drops in the air. So i stayed and took several hundred shots. This one is my favorite. It shows the amazing power water has to create and shape a truly dynamic sense of movement and action. 

Picture Details
Canon 5D S with a EF24-105 L Lens
1/6 sec at f/16
ISO 125
Focal Point at 32mm

Applied various Lightroom, Photoshop, and NIK filters to bring out the details on the rock, water and the sky.

About this Photo: Cypress Knee in Fisheating Creek by Andres Leon

During the Christmas holiday break I decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather we've been having here in South Florida and traveled to Fisheating Creek Outpost to do some kayaking. The temperature was perfect and the winds and overall weather were nothing short of amazing.  The water levels were also quite high which allowed me to navigate the creek into areas not normally accessible by waterways during this time of the year. This is one of the images I was able to capture and was happy creating. The the sun and the clouds didn't cooperate in this shot, I was still happy with the composition and the overall mood of the moment. 

Image Details:
10 sec exposure at f/22 with a 0.9 neutral density filter
ISO 100
35mm focal length using the 16 - 35mm L Lens from Canon on a EOS 5D S.

In order to take this shot, I had to wade in the creek a few yards away from my kayak, setup my tripod and camera in about 5 feet of water, and hope that no gators were in the vicinity to say hi :) 

Loved the experience and time doing this and hope it inspires you to come out and enjoy the water and beautiful scenery near you. 

Cheers!

About this Photo: Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia and the Tholos by Andres Leon

The "Tholos" (named after its architect, Theodoros of Phokis) is perhaps one of the most iconic and well know structures among all the ruins in Delphi. It is interesting to note, however, that no one really knows exactly what it looked like when it was intact or even its real purpose; even the erect columns are but restorations from the original.

For the first time in several days we were blessed with interesting clouds and a promise of much needed rain. The wind was howling and the smell of rain filled the air. So I hastened my step and hurried down the path from the main road to get to these structures before the downpour made it to our area. Thankfully, the fear of wet hair and damp clothes scared most visitors and made the area free of pesky and unsightly tourists. The area was mine! At least until the water came down.

These image is a blending of three different exposures to help maximize the dynamic range. One exposure for the sky, one for the mountains and foliage, and one for the highlights including the columns. 

Aperture f / 22
Exposure: Manual
ISO: 100
Flash did not fire
Focal Length:  40mm
Camera: Canon EOS 5DS
Lens: Canon 24 - 105mm L

Processing Tools used: Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop CC, NIK's Define (noise reduction), Color Efex Pro (for detail enhancement and other adjustments)