Welcome to our new Blog. This blog will be updated with the latest news about upcoming art shows, trips Tony has taken, photo tips and tricks, product reviews, and any other information that relates to Natures Finest Images.
Can hardly believe another year has passed. It was a fairly productive year for new images. Here are my favorites from 2016. Enjoy!
We were honored to have 7 of our images selected for the new plaza banners at Telluride Mountain Village. Be sure to check them out if you're in the area - they're HUGE at over 9' tall!
Everyone seems to be doing their "15 favorites from 2015" so I thought I'd join them. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I couldn't narrow my favorites from the past year down to only 15. So, here they are:
Bear Rocks Preserve in West Virginia. The wind NEVER stopped which made it quite challenging to capture this image.
Elakala Falls in Blackwater Falls State Park - West Virginia. I had to be patient with this image as the lighting was constantly changing with the moving clouds.
Grist Mill - Babcock State Park - West Virginia. Ever since I saw an image of this mill over 20 years ago I had it on my bucket list of places to shoot. I finally had the opportunity this past year and hit the one day the colors were peak and the water was flowing.
Capitol Reef National Park - Utah. Talk about luck to have some cooperative horses in just the right position at sunset!
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument - Dance Hall Rock - Utah. This past year I tried my hand at some night photography. I placed my gas lantern behind the small knoll in the foreground so it wouldn't be in the shot but still would light up Dance Hall Rock. This feature is about 70-80 feet tall.
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument - Horizon Arch - Utah. This is another location I've been wanting to shoot for quite some time. It was pure luck that I got this shot as I arrived literally 2 minutes before the light on the rocks was gone. We almost had to spend an unplanned night in the desert since we didn't set waypoints on our GPS going in.
White Aspens - Utah. My wife found this image in a remote area of Utah. There were some black rocks behind the aspens which really made them stand out.
Zion National Park - Left Fork North Creek - Utah. I've done the hike to the Subway numerous times over the past 28 years and have never shot this particular crack in the ground with the water flowing through it. No, I did not place those leaves there. This is how we found them when we arrived.
Zion National Park - Utah. I took this image about 45 minutes before sunrise. Most photographers go here at sunrise but the pre-dawn glow is simply amazing. If you look closely, you can still see some stars.
Zion National Park - Utah. This is the same shot only taken at sunrise the same morning. Not sure which one I like better.
American Basin - Colorado. This is probably the best year I've seen at American Basin. The columbine were also profuse.
Chimney Peak and Courthouse Mountain - Colorado. After 3 days of winter storms, I could see the clouds starting to break up from our house. I ran down to this location and was simply in awe of the scene happening in front of me. It was one of those incredibly rare sunsets where everything comes together.
Aspens - Colorado. The aspen trees in spring can be almost as beautiful as in the fall in my opinion.
Governor Basin - Colorado. I've been going to this location for over 25 years but never seemed to have time to go for sunrise. Now that we live here, it takes a very short time from our house to get here with the dirtbike. I went here 3 mornings in a row to get this image.
Molas Pass area - Colorado. This is another image that I was able to capture by living here. I could see the clouds to the west clearing so I knew it would be a high probability of a good sunset. It didn't disappoint.
Mount Sneffels - Colorado. I actually took this image from our front deck one morning this past spring.
Old pickup and fall colors - Colorado. I've probably walked right by this old pickup over a dozen times going to another location. This past year it caught my attention with all the color around it.
Curved aspen trees - Colorado. This particular location is quickly becoming "discovered" by the throngs of photographers that come to this area. Hopefully it stays pristine and doesn't get trampled.
San Juan Mountains - Colorado. Once in a while the clouds cooperate and move just where you want them.
Mt. Sneffels and San Juan Mountains - Colorado. This is a relatively unknown pond on private property. We had a dusting of snow the night before and a perfect reflection which made everything come together.
Stony Pass - Colorado. This was by far the best year I've seen at Stony Pass in all my years of going there.
Sydney Basin - Colorado. This took me a couple of mornings to get this image. This is another location where the dirtbike makes it SO much easier and quicker to get to.
If you're in the Ouray area, be sure to stop by the Visitor Center on the north end of town. They are now carrying our line of greeting cards from the local area as well as matted and framed fine art photographs.
We're pleased to announce the Ridgway Visitor Center is now carrying our line of greeting cards from the local area. They also have a great railroad museum to check out if you're in the area.
We are pleased to announce that we will be displaying a lot of our new work at the Divide Ranch and Golf Club for the 2015 golf season. The clubhouse opens to the general public Friday, May 15th. Our work is displayed throughout the clubhouse, restaurant, and pro shop. If you're in the Ridgway, Ouray, or Telluride area, be sure to stop by. Even if you're not a golfer, enjoy the restaurant and bar with some of the best views in the country.
After considerable research into printers, inks, and greeting card papers, we're proud to offer 5"x7" greeting cards for any of the rectangular images on our website. If you would like a greeting card for a panoramic image, please contact us directly. All greeting cards come with an envelope for mailing. At this time, we are also offering free shipping on any greeting card orders.
Since the image is printed to the edge of the card and there's no printing on the image, these would be great for framing and displaying.
Check out our new Facebook business page HERE. Be sure to "LIKE" the page in the main banner to get notifications of updates on our travels, new images, and sales!
I received my Nikon D800E several weeks ago and have been ingesting the 400 plus page manual as time allows. I've been shooting a Leaf Aptus 75 medium format digital back the last couple of years and have heard that the new D800E should come very close to the resolution produced by medium format digital. Well fortunately, I now have both cameras to see if this is true or not. The Nikon D800E has a 36mp sensor while the Leaf Aptus 75 has a much larger sensor with only 33mp.
I took all test images within several minutes of each other. On the Nikon, I used the Nikon 14-24mm lens set at 24mm, f-11, with a 2 stop graduated ND filter for the sky. On the Leaf, I used the Mamiya 35mm lens, f-11, with a 2 stop graduated ND filter for the sky. These focal lengths are virtually identical given the format size difference of the sensors. I also used mirror lock-up before every shot to reduce vibration. So, as you can see, we are going to be looking at basically an apples to apples comparison of sensor resolution and shadow detail.
Please note that this is not a scientific test in any way, shape, or form. It's simply me testing my two cameras against each other.
Here are the full view images from each camera. First, the full image from the Nikon D800E:
And here is the full image from the Leaf Aptus 75:
As you can see, the Nikon has an overall "warmer" tone to it. Now lets get into the details. I'll let you make your own conclusions from the following portions blown up to "actual pixels" in photoshop and placed side by side for comparison. Just an FYI, both cameras shoot at 240dpi native resolution (RAW). There were absolutely no adjustments made to any of the images other than converting to jpg for the internet.
Conclusion: In my opinion, the Leaf Aptus still holds a VERY slight edge over the Nikon D800E when it comes to resolution and shadow detail. BUT, when you factor in the enormous price difference between the two setups, the Nikon is by far the clear winner given the fact that the resolution and shadow detail differences are so extremely minor. Anyone in the market for a Leaf Aptus 75 digital back with a Mamiya AFDII body and lenses?????
As you can probably tell by now, I have totally rebuilt and re-designed the Natures Finest Images website. I'd like to give special thanks to Dave Bartlett for re-designing the main logo. I'd also like to thank my photo buddies Earl Robicheaux, Paul Beiser, and Richard Ressman for their brutally honest feedback during the long process.
Some improvements you'll see are:
1. MUCH larger photos - Depending on your screen size, they will be displayed at the maximum size possible. For best results, view them on a 24" or larger screen. You'll see a huge difference. They will also resize for any mobile device.
2. Online purchasing - after many years of folks asking for this option, and after many years of looking for the perfect software at a reasonable price, I feel I've found the perfect fit with www.zenfolio.com. Trust me, I've looked at most of the software out there as well as companies that specialize in building photography websites. For the price, I can't recommend anything better than zenfolio. If you decide to use them for your own site in the future, use coupon code 67F-8H6-4AS for a 10% discount on your purchase.
3. Captions on the photos - you'll notice that some of the photos have captions under them. As time allows, I hope to eventually add captions to every photo on the site.
4. New images - in addition to the images previously displayed on the website, you'll find some new ones throughout the galleries that have never been shown before.
Some things you'll eventually see in the future will be a "clearance" button where I'll offer certain pieces at greatly reduced prices, videos of portions of certain photo adventures, photo tours (this may be a while), and possibly novelty items for sale such as greeting cards.
Feel free to leave me comments about the new site. I'm always looking for feedback and recommendations. Thanks for stopping in!