Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

“Evening’s Entrance”– San Clemente, CA – Charlie Stinchcomb (Me) – Transition Day!   63 comments



“Evening’s Entrance”– San Clemente, CA – Charlie Stinchcomb (Me)

Transition Day!  Today is the day that we are transferring (upgrading) from to  Since PhotoBotos might be down for a couple hours, we didn’t want to “short change” a Featured Photographer and we are showcasing one of Charlie’s images instead.  As we noted yesterday, everything will remain the same except that our daily images will no longer show up in your WordPress “Home Dashboard”.  There are a lot of Pros and Cons when it comes to making the decision to transfer to, but, we felt that it was in the best interests of everyone to do so.  Let us know if you would like us to detail our reasoning behind the decision and we will put together a review for our community.

Take it away Charlie!!

There are great rewards in having a camera handy almost everywhere you go.  You don’t have to wait until you are on vacation before you start looking for that prize image to hang over the fireplace.  Some of my best shots are taken during spontaneous brief periods of time where I slip away from a daily activity to capture a shot.   I captured this image between the time my family and in-laws finished dinner and paid the check.  I slipped out (almost unnoticed) for about ten minutes from the restaurant while everyone else was finishing their glass of wine.  I adjusted my camera settings on the quick walk across the street to the beach.  I was able to grab a couple dozen shots of which I thought this was the most appealing!  So throw your camera in the car so you will not miss that next great wall hanger! 

“Death Valley Racetrack” – Death Valley, California – Paul Rojas – Featured Photographer   40 comments



“Death Valley Racetrack” – Death Valley, California – Paul Rojas – Featured Photographer

I was just talking the other day to someone about how we will spend thousands of dollars to travel the world to take photographs, but we seldom take advantage of the magical places within a few hours’ drive from home.  Well, I am guilty of never having been to Death Valley although I have lived in Southern California for almost 20 years.  Fortunately, Paul was there recently and took some spectacular photos including the one featured today.  The tones are incredible.  Read his story below about how things didn’t go as planned yet he got great photos anyway.  Then check out the rest of his portfolios.

Here is Paul with a detailed account :

This was from a trip to the Racetrack in Death Valley, CA a couple of weeks ago to photograph the sailing stones.  Nobody really knows how it is that the stones move, but theories suggest that a rare combination of rain and extremely strong wind could provide the conditions needed to push them along the playa surface.

It was my very first time getting to the Racetrack, so I got there early in the afternoon to allow enough time to scout for compositions. Using a handheld GPS device, I also marked the coordinates of all the stones I found interesting for possible nighttime visits.  After doing so, I just hung around, took goofy shots with my girlfriend, and waited for the right light.  Judging by the clouds overhead, I was optimistic that there would be good light and colorful skies. But just as the sun began to drop below the mountain range, dark rain clouds started rolling in, casting a shadow over the playa.  Though not what I was expecting, I found the gloom somewhat interesting and I liked how it added to the overall desolation of the place.

For the shot, the camera was tripod-mounted and positioned probably no more than a couple of feet away from the stone. With my past landscape shots, I took single RAW shots and used hyperfocal distance to set the focus.  Being so close to the ground and foreground subject though, I was certain to get a soft foreground using this, so I decided to try something different.  In the days prior to the trip, I had been reading up on a technique called “focus blending” and it seemed to be the best way to go about capturing the scene.

To do this, I focused my camera on the foreground stone and took a shot, quickly refocused on the midground and took another shot, then refocused on the background mountain and took a final shot. When I got home, I manually blended the in-focus portions of each of the three shots together in Photoshop to create a single image.  This article by John Williams provides an excellent guide to the technique and post-processing:

Camera/lens: Canon 5D MKII with EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II @ 22mm
Camera was set to Manual and 3 shots taken at the following settings:
Aperture: f/13
Shutter speed: 1/25 sec
ISO: 100
No filters my personal favorite.

“Cathedral Sunset” – Sedona, AZ – Michael Wilson – Featured Photographer   63 comments



“Cathedral Sunset” – Sedona, AZ – Michael Wilson – Featured Photographer

I have been to Sedona, AZ several times with my family and camera in tow.   Known for its red rocks, the scenery here does everything except disappoint.  Michael captures the landscape perfectly.  This photograph gives an entirely different perspective of Cathedral Rock from most other photographs of the area.  If you go back to this photo (click here) you can see exactly where Michael is photographing from up on the rock formation.  Once you have checked out both images then head on over  for some more great images of his home state.

Here is Michael:

I live in Prescott, AZ which is about an hour and a half drive from Sedona.  My wife and I drove to Sedona early one morning to take some sunrise photographs from the saddle on top of Cathedral Rock.  I hiked up the mountain to shoot the sunrise, but the clouds were not cooperating with me.  During the day in Sedona, the storm clouds were accumulating, so I went back again at sunset.  It started lightly raining on my climb up the mountain, so I found a rock overhang to hide under until closer to sunset.  When the sun was getting closer to peeking out from behind the clouds, I put some rain gear on my camera and started taking some shots.  The rain finally let up just before the sun appeared.  I took the protective cover off the camera and watched the sunlight spill out over the canyons below.  There were beautiful views toward and away from sunset at the time. However, this photo was my personal favorite. 

“Ruff Water” – Los Angeles, CA – Seth Casteel – Featured Photographer   174 comments



“Ruff Water” – Los Angeles, CA – Seth Casteel – Featured Photographer

Ok, today’s post might be a bit late because these photos have been circulating around the internet like crazy and crashing Seth’s webpage with boatloads of hits. He has a dozen or so photos that will make you smile even if you are a cat person.   So after you get a taste of the really unique images below head on over to his website at for the full course.  By the way,  Seth isn’t just a talented photographer, but he is a really cool guy also.  He volunteer’s his talents to take photos of shelter pets increasing their chances of adoption. Great work Seth!  His company is based out of LA and Chicago, but is available nationwide.  To keep tabs on his latest plans keep in touch with him at

Now that you are a fan of Seth’s work, you should check out all of his prints, calendars, etc. that he has available *Click Here* 

“Images represented by

“No Cell Phone Needed” – Upper Saranac Lake, New York – Mike Pillows – Featured Photographer   69 comments



“No Cell Phone Needed” – Upper Saranac Lake, New York – Mike Pillows – Featured Photographer

I am sure about 49% of our viewers would love to be the guy in this canoe, while the other 51% would like to be Mike behind the lens for this photo.  No matter which one you choose I am sure this photo brings a calming effect to your day. Enjoy!

Catch up with Mike at his blog  and view his fine portfolio at for more amazing photography. 

Take it away Mike:

“No Cell Phone Needed” was shot from my canoe on ‘Upper Saranac Lake’ in the Adirondacks of NY state. I had found a photo group doing a workshop on the lakes up there and have never been. Drove up and picked up my boat, paddled onto the lake and then it happened… not the photo pictured but kind of a controlled chaos. I had never shot from a small boat before and just trying to line up a shot became kind of comical. I mainly shoot landscapes with a tripod… boats that move with the slightest breeze, not so much. This shot was caught one very early morning, only squeezed off 2 frames but was ecstatic when it came up on my screen.

 Canon 5Dmk2, 24-105IS lens, 1/160th @ f 9.0, ISO 200.

“Horsetail Fire Falls”- Yosemite National Park, CA – Nader Beheshti – Featured Photographer   93 comments



“Horsetail Fire Falls”- Yosemite National Park, CA – Nader Beheshti – Featured Photographer

I have a list in my head of one thousand places and things I would like to photograph and this is in the top five.  The “fire falls” is really just the sun shining on Horsetail Falls at the right angle.  The phenomenon is so rare it can only be photographed a few days in February at sunset. Nader has photographed it as good as I have ever seen it.  After you read how he captured the image (without HDR) then please stop by and enjoy his galleries. 

Here is Nader with the story:

I live in Las Vegas, and as such, I am privileged to attend the CES show in January every year. Last year, during my visit to the CES, I saw a large print of this waterfall being displayed in the CANON booth.  I was completely mesmerized by it. I asked most of the Canon representatives at the show whether they knew the name or location of this waterfall to no avail.  A few weeks passed, and finally, through happen chance; I saw a photo of this waterfall on Google.  After a bit more research, I learned the name and location of this beautiful waterfall.  I also discovered that the ‘glowing lava’ phenomenon is a rare event that only happens during sunset a few days out of the year in February. The information about the exact time frame in February was a bit fuzzy and I didn’t want to take any chances. So I ended up driving to Yosemite every weekend in February in hopes of the “perfect shot”.  At the end, the sun, the earth, the weather, snow and water levels, aligned just right so I could finally obtain this very elusive shot.

Please feel free to visit my Flickr site at:
and my 500PX site at:

Image Parameters:
Location: Horsetail Falls, Yosemite National Park
February 28, 2011
Nikon D700
Nikkor 180mm
f/2.8 lens
iso: 200
exp: -1.7
shutter speed: 1/320s


“A Splash of Light”- Morro Bay, CA – David Pasillas – Featured Photographer   45 comments



“A Splash of Light”- Morro Bay, CA – David Pasillas – Featured Photographer

I think we need a bigger jetty!  I love the sun setting into the whitewater.  It gives a calming effect under such raw power.  I have surfed here many times, but never when the waves were this large.  Dave is very creative in his photography and even uses his Iphone to take some really interesting shots.  Be sure to check them out here or  You can also contact him at

Take it away Dave:

I had heard the waves were going to be massive out in Morro Bay, CA so I made the 45 minute drive to hang out next to Morro Rock with all the other spectators. There was quite a crowd actually, and most of them had the common sense to keep a safe distance. Imagine 12+ foot waves crashing into the jetty creating a cool mist in the air. Not so cool when you have to keep wiping your lens, but I digress. I got a few awesome shots of the waves crashing into the rocks, but this one stood out.

For months, this image sat on my hard drive because I had yet to figure out how to make the most of this image. It looked muddy and bland as some RAW files tend to do. After watching a workshop on HDR, I took the plunge and blended 5 exposures in Photomatix, used Topaz Adjust to bring out some more detail, and color efex pro to add a slightly dreamy feel. The result is the image I call A Splash of Light.

The camera used was a Nikon D60, really just an entry level camera, with the 18-55 kit lens. So who needs the biggest and baddest gear to get a good shot!? This HDR image was created from 1 RAW file.

“Surreal Lightning”- Altus, Oklahoma – Glenn Patterson – Guest Photographer   43 comments



“Surreal Lightning”- Altus, Oklahoma – Glenn Patterson – Guest Photographer

Glenn captures what could be a movie poster titled “2012: End of the World”.  I expect a giant space ship to pop out of the clouds and start leveling the sleeping city below.   I can hear the rumble of the thunder in my minds ear.  The rain seems to explode from the cloud with violent force and the lightning really is surreal.  Glen is a true storm chaser and has a collection of several wonderful lightning photographs. 

For his largest portfolio check out   or for his videos

Here is Glenn with the reality of this amazing photograph:

Took this shot August 21st 2010 around 2am.  I was out and about chasing some Thunderstorms, I particularly like going after Lightning myself when chasing.  The night of shots wasn’t turning out anything spectacular for me, so I was heading back to the house to call it a night, but on my way back I see this small cell off to my west.  The cell wasn’t more than mile or two in diameter, but it had a rain core in the center and lightning was dancing all around it, so I stopped at a small rest stop just 5 miles north of my town Altus, Oklahoma.  I got my window mount secured, the camera set-up, and just started shooting.  It was little surreal that this little storm was so active and having the full moon behind the storm adding some back light to the storm was an added bonus.  Along with the city lights highlighting the left side of the storm made it the perfect set-up.  I’m glad I gave up on the bigger storm to run into this little powerhouse, gotta love the randomness of Mother Nature.

Camera: Canon Rebel T1i
Exposure: 30sec
Focal Length: 18mm
ISO: 200

Processed image in Photoshop CS5. Created a HDR tone map of the image and multiplied it over the original image to help bring out the detail of the clouds.

Catch Glenn on his Facebook page to keep in touch.

”Brooklyn Bridge” New York, New York – Enrico Lachin – Guest Photographer   42 comments



”Brooklyn Bridge” New York, New York – Enrico Lachin – Guest Photographer

This is one of the most vibrant shots of the Brooklyn Bridge I have ever seen.  Enrico does an amazing job of capturing the perfect light on a landmark that has been photographed by millions.  He also has a great shot of the Manhattan Bridge at . Take a look and compare the two.  I loved them both.

 Take it away Enrico:

My name is Enrico Lachin and I come from Arnad, a small village in Valle d’Aosta, in the north Italy.

I shot this image in May 2011 at the Brooklyn Bridge Park during my first vacation in NY.  I love this city!  I’ve always saw amazing photos of the Brooklyn Bridge so I decided to try me to do one.  This shot is an HDR and it has been taken with a Canon 7D (amazing camera!), the Canon 15-85mm lens and a Gorillapod Srl-Zoom tripod.  The camera settings were ISO 100, 20mm f/4,0.  The final result has been obtained using Adobe Photoshop and then Adobe Lightroom.

I advise all people, that want to make a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge, to go to the Brooklyn Bridge Park 1 hour before the sunset, to take the better place on the “reef” and the better light.

Seward Sound Panorama – Seward, Alaska   30 comments



Seward Sound Panorama – Seward, Alaska

Seward is a small town of about 3,000 people that still live life fairly slow.  You can stop in any bar and chat up a local about its rich Alaskan history.  The town is also a great place to stop off and catch a whale watching boat out to the fiords.  The Alaskan Sea Life Center is located in the heart of downtown along the water.  It is Alaska’s only public aquarium and marine mammal rescue center.  This photo is a panorama stitched together from five other images.  I like the tranquility of the scene and its muted colors.  The soft grasses in the foreground suggest summer has arrived while the harsh snowcapped peaks in the background insist winter is never very far off in Alaska.

The Fraggle – Pismo Beach, CA   49 comments



 The Fraggle – Pismo Beach, CA

What is the first word or thought that comes to mind when viewing this photo?  If you are by yourself then say it out loud.  If you are at work then please say it internally.  I don’t want you to lose a cool job that lets you surf the internet for cool photos.  Some people may notice the beautiful sunrise, or the guy with dread locks hunched over the rail.  If you are like me then your eyes go straight to the breaking wave below (3-5 foot reef break).   When I first saw the photo I was very surprised.  It appears to symbolize  “a new hope rising above despair”.  It could be a warm sun rising over a down trodden soul.  What do you see and more importantly feel?

Spoiler alert!  My perception couldn’t be any further from reality.  In fact the rising sun is really setting over the west coast.  The young guy in the photo’s name is Fraggle.  I had a great conversation with him about the area, places to surf, and vantage points for other great photo shoots.  He was a really happy dude living life and 100% stoked to be in the picture.  The reason he is slumped over the rail is because he is watching his friends surf the waves below.  It is funny how a photograph can take a moment in time, a visual record of history, and change the perception of reality 360 degrees.

That’s A Lot Of Pelicans! – Santa Barbara, CA   49 comments



That’s A Lot Of Pelicans! – Santa Barbara, CA

After the title I didn’t know what else to say.  Here is an attempt.  I woke up on a stormy morning at the beach in downtown Santa Barbara, CA.  I walked out to the sand and observed thousands of pelicans just hanging out.  Maybe they were brought in by the storm, or maybe they just had a killer beach party the night before – it is anyone’s guess!  I have seen this several times with shore birds and sea gulls.  I am curious to know if anyone else has seen this phenomenon.  Sorry the photo is a bit gray, but like I said the weather and light were both pretty bad at the time.

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