Farmer’s silhouette, seen through train window

Landscapes, Photography, Portraits, Travel

Above: A farmer in the distance is seen, silhouetted while working, through a train window. The stark emptiness of the image is what makes the person seem so prominent. Cool colors, green and grey-blue, create a relaxed and open landscape that contrasts the farmer’s firm form. 

1/2000 sec. at f/9.0 ISO400

Sunflower Fields Forever

Landscapes, Photography, Travel

I rarely talk about picture specifications. But on this occasion, through some stroke of luck, a difficult image turned out.

These sprawling sunflower fields were shot from the window of a moving train, somewhere in Switzerland. Camera settings were ISO 3200, 1/800 of a second at f 4.0.

Even though the picture isn’t fully sharp, it would have been nearly impossible to get a better result. I could have slowed my shutter speed to get a smaller aperture, giving more sharpness, but with motion I think a fast shutter speed is more important. ISO 3200 is already pretty high, so I don’t think much would be gained by going to 6400 and getting more noise.

A good image captures a feeling, and to me this represents a very fleeting moment of extraordinary beauty.


More Paris Street Photography

Photography, Street, Travel

Above: Color and form first attracted me to the setting below the Eiffel Tower, then a fellow photographer in a too-see-through dress added some unique content.

The post title says it all – street photography from beautiful Paris. 

I really like how all the elements form an abstract nature: water jets slice through the frame, a young girl apparently in the path of large sliding figure, and the flat perspective give the viewer leeway in interpreting the image. 

Statues, sprinklers and fun in the sun.

Statues, sprinklers and fun in the sun. July 9, 2013. 

Cigarettes and coffee play an important role in French culture.

Intently writing and smoking in Paris.

Intently writing and smoking in a Paris cafe.

Sometimes a subject catches you taking the photograph. That happened when a lady standing in lovely light with great hair saw me snap my shutter. Perhaps my favorite element in the image is the suitcase-pulling pedestrian in distance. 

Getting the glare, July 8 2013, Paris.

Getting the glare, July 8 2013, Paris.

Inside Notre Dame Cathedral

architecture, Photography, Travel

Above: The ceiling of Notre Dame Cathedral

I’ve been blogging about travels in Europe last summer – since my objective is to go mostly chronological  this is one of my last posts from Paris, save film shots or missed images. This is also my last post from Notre Dame Cathedral. Today we travel inside. 

With anything so grandeur it’s impossible to capture to the feeling of being there. Indeed that could be said for any photograph. 

Arches and chandeliers inside Notre Dame Cathedral

The main altar inside Notre Dame from behind

The main altar front, complete with floor cleaning. Notre Dame Cathedral, July 10, 2013.

The main altar front, complete with floor cleaning. 

Notre dame has many altars, the following photo is one of the side altars.


Side altar, Notre Dame Cathedral, July 10, 2013.

Photographing inside Notre Dame Cathedral does require a somewhat advanced digital camera. The lack of light means shooting at ISO 1600 minimum.

Arches and a chandelier.

Arches and a chandelier.

Music Monday: Clinton Fearon

Alaska, Music, Photography, Portraits

Please excuse my lack of posts in the previous week, I had been traveling with limited use to internet.

Jumping back into posts today with a brief Music Monday. Clinton Fearon, Jamaican Reggae artist, played a solo show on Alaska Live with Lori Neufeld  March 8, 2013. Check out his podcast on KUAC’s website. 

There was a shortage of light during this particular shoot, so even at ISO 3200 my shutter speed was a somewhat testy 1/25th of a second. Thanks to a steady hand and image stabilization I was able to get a few sharp shots. One cool effect of a slow shutter is the blurring of Clinton’s strumming hand.


Clinton Fearon uses music to spread his message of hope and love on Alaska Live, with Lori Neufeld.

Music Monday: The Young Dubliners on Alaska Live

Alaska, Black & White, Music, Photography, Portraits

In an effort to increase the regularity of posting I will be creating a few themes for Far North Light. Today is the inaugural day of Music Monday, where I feature photos of the various venues and concerts I’m involved with around Fairbanks.

Capturing the essence of music in a photograph is no easy task. Obviously the biggest hurdle is lack of auditory signals. What is possible is trying to capture the symbiotic relationship band members share with one another, as well as audience members. Much like a sound wave reflecting off ceilings and walls, energy fills the studio or dance floor, it’s that energy that is possible to photograph.

Often to capture the intensity a plethora of obstacles must be navigated. Studio settings don’t offer audience members, or the added energy they bring, to incorporate into the photo. Bright spotlights accompanied with dark surroundings can easily lead to blown out highlights or indiscernible shadows. My technique is expose so no highlights have lost information, then bring back detail in the shadows. Rarely is ISO set below 1600. Another common impediment is a cramped enviornment: instruments, bodies and microphones can easily decapitate an important figure in the background. Thanks to the near unlimited picture taking ability of digital, shoot enough and there’s bound to be good frames.

As I mentioned in a previous post I’m doing a professional media internship for KUAC, Public Radio of Alaska. I assist Lori Neufeld in the production room for her show, Alaska Live, a live-music radio program feature Alaskan and visiting artists. The most recent band to play in the studio was The Young Dubliners. This Celtic-Rock band played a mellow version of their stage show. Check out the podcast here. 


The Young Dubliners perform on Alaska Live in KUAC’s studio at University Alaska Fairbanks.


New years eve: Alaska Satellite Facility tracking aperture and fireworks.

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography

A satellite-receiving dish is seen as fireworks celebrate the end of 2012 and the start of 2013 on the ski trails at University of Alaska Fairbanks. Known also as a tracking aperture, the 11-meter dish is part of the Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) of the Geophysical Institute’s Satellite Tracking Ground Station (STGS). The 11-meter X- and S-Band system, along with a smaller 10-meter dish, are just one appendage of a world-wide Near Earth Network, run by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The high latitude of ASF’s ground station allows for 11 connections per day with polar-orbiting spacecraft, ASF then downlinks, processes and distributes data.

New Years Eve Sparktakular 2012

New Years Eve Sparktakular 2012

I tried to correct the color of the tracking aperture, which had a yellow caste due to artificial lighting, while maintaining true hues of the fireworks. To accomplish this I set my white balance on the dish, lightened the shadows and slightly saturated the image. What made the biggest difference was a slight curve, increasing the highlights and decreasing the shadows, of the red and green spectrums. The end result, I feel is very close to what would have been seen.

My ISO was 125 and tripod shooting was essential, and exposure times were 10 to 15 seconds.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry. Bridge over Tanana River.

Alaska, architecture, Landscapes, Photography, Weekly Photo Post

I wanted the image I picked for the photo challenge this week to be geometrical at it’s core, not just elements of geometry. Rectangles, triangles, trapezoids and two half-circles dominate the composition. Critically: Even with a slight crop the image holds a lot of dead space and is mostly made dramatic by the fuchsia, late-August sunset.

Here’s a link to a blog titled mustbewonderlust, with pair of striking photos from Australia of the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House.

Happy Monday and a safe week to everyone.

Please click on the image to view full size.

Bridge spanning Tanana River, looking north From Nenana, Alaska. Aug. 21, 2011.

© Robin Wood

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big. Big splash at the Sikuliaq Launch.

Photography, Travel

How great the image I was about to post fits perfects with the photo challenge this week.

Last saturday the 261-foot Sikuliaq launched into the Menominee River from Marinette Marine Corporation, Wis. The National Science Foundation owned and UAF operated vessel entered the water at a steep, 60-degree angle. It created quite a splash. Unfortunately the cloudy sky that deposited rain all day long makes it difficult to truly appreciate the size of the wave. The person on the tug boat in the lower left corner offers some perspective. Stay tuned for more Sikuliaq coverage.

Knowing it would happen fast and be unpredictable I went with a wide-angle lens and a high, 3200 ISO so I could use a quick shutter speed.

Here’s a Daily News-Miner article covering the christening and launch ceremony, as well as some science capabilities and the future journey of the Sikuliaq, co-written with my advisor Lynne Lott.

Please click on the image to view full size. © Robin Wood

Research Vessel Sikuliaq gets its first taste of the water, Marinette, Wis. 25mm at f13, 1/1000 sec.

Mt. Rainier: I fell asleep beneath the flowers

Landscapes, Macro, Photography, Travel

Wildflowers are a main attraction to be found on Mt. Rainier. There are obviously many others: great views, unique structures, waterfalls, glaciers and abundant wildlife. I will feature them all in the weeks to come. But it’s Friday, so let us relax, enjoy the beautiful fall and maybe daydream a little. To facilitate those feelings take a look at the pretty purple flowers.

Please click on the image to view full size.