California Photo Scout for iPhone

California Photo Scout for iPhone

Recently I released an iPhone application for fellow photographers who visit the Golden State of California.

I have spent 10 years photographing California and I am making this knowledge available to you in an inexpensive iPhone application. The convenient on-the-go travel guides contain everything you need to know to succeed on your travel photography adventure. You can carry the large database of locations in your pocket and you do not even need internet access to read any of the articles.

The offline capability makes this companion especially useful when you travel the back roads, have a limited data volume or travel California from abroad. It even works well on your iPod. You just do not depend on data coverage, yet you have the full interactive database readily available.

Tap your way through each location and get photography tips and insider information that can make your photographs stand out. Each article comes with GPS coordinates that make it easy to find your way. Discover nearby locations to maximize your time and get the most out of your trips.

I am continuously extending the location database. Each application update adds new locations to the already extensive database and is completely free. The application is much cheaper than any travel book of California, despite the great depth of information contained within. I will increase this price with the next major release. Get your copy now, before the price goes up.

California Photo Scout Premium - Andre Gunther

California Photo Scout Application Website

On Location: Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Chaco CultureNational Historic Park

Chaco Canyon is the best-preserved site of early settlement in the United States. Located in New Mexico, miles from paved roads and service stations, the most exiting historic park does not receive the same amount of visitors as other parks. Unlike other spectacular locations like Canyon de Chelly or Mesa Verde, you can freely explore Chaco and even enter most of the sites. This makes Chaco Canyon much more desirable for photography. 

Eventually the park service will develop the road to Chaco and limit access to the ruins as more and more tourists will start visiting the park. Currently you can still have many places of the park to yourself. You do not have to wait a long time for a clear undisturbed view of the ruins, thanks to the relatively small amount of visitors compared to other places. 

Painting with Light - Understanding Light

Mobius Arch, Light Studyc

I photographed this series of Mobius Arch during my recent trips to the Alabama Hills. All six images show the same subject, with four images taken from nearly identical points of view. Yet all images look profoundly different from one another, simply by the different properties of the light.

The first row shows two images that I took during sunset. The last row shows two images I took during sunrise. The quality of light changes very quickly during this time. A few hours before sunset and a few hours after sunrise, the landscape looks flat, washed out, and the high contrast between shadows and sunlit regions gives your images an entirely different quality.

I painted the two images in the center row with a powerful flashlight.

Help, my pictures are blurry - Part 1: Camera Shake

Learn how to take tack sharp photos!

Sharp Shot 

One of the most common questions I receive in the comments and via email concerns sharpness. Readers are not satisfied with the quality of their pictures and seek advice. It is not surprising, considering that blurry photographs are nearly impossible to salvage and can ruin an otherwise exceptional shot.

In this article series, we will investigate the most common causes of blurred pictures:

  • Camera Shake: Caused by long exposure times. Image stabilization can only do so much; learn what you can do to avoid it.
  • Motion Blur: Fast moving subjects can cause blur. Learn what to do about it.
  • Wrong Focus: What are the focus techniques that will give you sharp pictures?
  • Depth of Field: What you need to know about it to get sharp shots.
  • Wide-angle Lens Focus: Some points you should know if you decide to go wide.
  • Telephoto Lens Focus: And the other way around.
  • Camera Issues: Many blame their tools for poor artistry. Sometimes the gear really is to blame; find out how to test your camera.

The Sigma 8mm Fisheye Lens

Fisheye, the widest lens choice, offers a tremendous creative potential.

Find out what you can do and what you need to know about fisheye lenses.

People through Fisheye Lens 

I am addicted to wide-angle photography, its creative challenges and opportunities. Wide-angle lenses require rethinking your composition constantly. Eliminating clutter with a normal lens usually entails leaving it out of your frame, thus simplifying your composition. This is rarely possible with wide-angle lenses. Instead, you take advantage of their perspective, making distant objects very small. Eliminating clutter thus, requires moving around and changing your composition continually. 

I like this kind of photography. It forces me to reconsider all my compositions and puts me on a much steeper learning curve. I also love the resulting pictures, since they differ so much from the way we see the world with our own eyes. 

Telephoto lenses are creativity inhibitors. Photographers at sports events never move. They “only” have to frame and shoot. Everyone can get the same shot, even when they stand a few feet apart. Creativity then boils down to the right moment and the right subject. 

Hybrid Off-Road Adventure with Rooftop Tent

Easter SUV Trekking through the Backcountry of Death Valley.

Ford Escape Rooftop Tent 

My 4WD Hybrid Ford Escape had already proven its worth on a 7,000 mile winter trip, crossing the Rocky Mountains twice in bone chilling weather with record snow falls. My sure-footed companion sips fuel like a compact car, yet offers the storage of a family van and enough ground clearance for backcountry adventures. Hybrids are fun, as long as you don't drown the battery in mountain spring water like I did. 

San Francisco Presidio and Golden Gate

Fort Point Military Band

We went to San Francisco twice last weekend, in anticipation of a big project I am working on and hope to complete before summer. 

I photographed the Presidio and Fort Point. I was very lucky, since Fort Point celebrated Living History Days with civil war actors in period customs. It was a lot of fun and while we were there, I also photographed some of the spectacular views you can find at the Presidio and the Main Post, from where the Presidio grew to its current spread.

I parked my car and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge to boost my Golden Gate Portfolio. 

Both locations are a lot of fun to discover and the pictures really turned out exceptional (all shot with the Canon 7D). Check them out and come back for more, the project is far from done.

Golden Gate South Tower

How much color is too much color

Color Comparison

Which of these do you like best?

Confronted with an unprecedented range of software programs and sliders, digital photographers sometimes struggle finding the right balance. Browsing through the websites of my esteemed photography colleagues, I get the feeling that the opinions on color treatment seem to diverge, rather than converge. New software companies, like Topaz Labs, satisfy the need of the extreme end of the spectrum, while purists contest the unnatural appearance of these pictures. Composition and lighting alone used to make good photographs, but today it seems that color treatment becomes just as important. Since all our senses are overloaded every day, it becomes harder and harder to make a visual impact. Attracting a viewers attention may require a bold statement, but how bold is too bold and how much is too much? 

Are you a purist or a color fetishist? Which of the above pictures do you prefer? To make your decision easier, I have put larger versions below. Let's hear your thoughts!