Chris Laskowski Photography: Blog en-us (C) Chris Laskowski Photography (Chris Laskowski Photography) Mon, 29 Jun 2020 03:49:00 GMT Mon, 29 Jun 2020 03:49:00 GMT Chris Laskowski Photography: Blog 85 120 Wow! The difference three years makes! Hey all - I have been very very very busy in the past three years but all is now back to photography.  In this trying time of a world-wide pandemic, I have been able to refocus and concentrate on what I love - my photography.  

In this time - I have gotten better at my chosen hobby - I have traveled across the country (Moving is NOT a fun thing to do - especially a 3000 mile one).  I have learned quite a bit and will be sharing some of my notes in upcoming blog entries.  Topics I hope to cover are locations in the Oregon/Washington area with a particular focus on waterfalls; Night photography; Equipment choices and why I chose those items; Hiking and Coastal shot notes and much more.

To start - my updated kit is:

  • Pentax K3-IIs
  • Pentax K5
  • Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6
  • Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8
  • Pentax 16-85mm f3.5-5.6
  • Irix 15mm f/2.8
  • Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro
  • Pentax 1.4x Teleconverter
  • Benro tripods and ballheads
  • Fomatt-Hitech ND filters
  • Gobe circular polarizers

I chose Pentax many years ago - I was a Pentax film shooter and my film lenses would work with Pentax DSLR bodies.  I have grown to enjoy the feel, balance, reliability.  The rubber-coated magnesium, water resistant body puts up with all I can dish out.  There are many other reasons but the best reason is - I like the way the camera feels and I am comfortable with it.  

When I go on a trip - depending on whether I drive or fly - will determine the backpack I take and what I pack.  Normally - one body, the Sigma 10-20mm lens, Pentax 16-85 lens, filters, batteries, LensPen, spare batteries...  That would be my standard, everyday, shoot 95% of my pictures kit...

On my next installment - Thor's Well - one of my favorite places to go and take photos...


]]> (Chris Laskowski Photography) how-to pentax photography shot-kit travel update Mon, 29 Jun 2020 03:49:00 GMT
Update - Finally!! Been a busy few months - forgot all about a Blog post until yesterday.  I have had a lot going on - from trips to the NC mountains, to a Texas trip, Washing DC and all places in-between.  The camera is always with me and my site is growing by major leaps and bounds!  I am focusing more on HDR photography and have recently tried my hand at Focus Stacking.  

On the latter, I invested a little money and purchased a cheap 5x Macro lens, lights, focus rails.  It is very tedious but it is also fun.  To see what something looks like when magnified to high resolutions - Wow!!  A whole new world.  Also - a whole new creative outlet.

HDR - I don't like the over-the-top look but I do like how I can blend several exposures to bring out the details that a single picture cannot show.  The human eye has a huge advantage over photography in dynamic range - several f/stops higher.  HDR photography is a good attempt to replicate what the human eye sees.

With all of that - I am antsy to get out and get some cool photos and push the HDR envelope.  Many of my recent waterfall photos are HDR and - personal preference - I like them.  I like the details I can see in the rocks, the strings of water flowing, the fine details.  All of that being said, there are still many places that I cannot pull-off and HDR photo - Washington DC comes to mind - because a tripod is needed in most instances.  If I shoot with fast shutter speeds, I can pull it off.  With landscapes however, I shoot with low ISO, high aperture and slow shutter - all dictate my use of a tripod.  I will start designating photos that are HDR so that you can see examples of how I like to present this form of digital darkroom developing.

This blog needs to grow.  I see that - but - time is a limited commodity and I will post as I can.

Until next time - Happy Photos!

]]> (Chris Laskowski Photography) Wed, 19 Apr 2017 12:12:29 GMT
Busy Photo Times Hey all (if anyone is actually reading this...)!

Summer is in full swing but quickly coming to a halt.  I am ready for fall and the colors!!!  Have my (now) annual waterfall trip to the mountains to shoot some of the colors with waterfalls!  Also have a trip coming up to Utah and Arizona.  Going to Antelope Canyon to take a few pics as well as many other sites.  

Check out my "Featured" section for some new photos from my last trip to the Outer Banks.  It was humid but fun.  Did my first astro photograph.  It was tough with the ginormous asian tiger mosquitos attacking from all directions - as well as the sliver of a moon illuminating the sky.  I will be trying this again - but in Utah - away from any light pollution.  Hopefully the moon will cooperate and go to bed early.


Happy Travels!

]]> (Chris Laskowski Photography) Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:19:20 GMT
Long Exposures I am going to try to cover some of the basics of long exposures - stuff I learned from individuals, things online and items from my personal practice in this type of photography.

A Neutral Density (ND) filter is a must.  You may be able to get by with a Circular Polarizer but the ND works better and produces nicer results.  I carry several densities, 0.6, 1.2 and a Hoya NDx400.  As I have been trying this technique more, I notice that I could really use 2.1.  If I had to do it over again, I would get a 1.5 instead of the 1.2, but that is just a personal preference (I have noticed the slight desire for a bit longer exposure on some waterfalls where the 1.2 was just not enought).

Make sure you keep the filters clean at all times.  I have recently been going through my photos and noticed many that had spots from dirty filters on them - I now ALWAYS carry at least two lens cloths and one LensPen with me.  I check the filter after every shot when I am around waterfalls (the falls produce a wind that carries mist and constant attention is needed) and also shooting other subjects.  Nothing is more frustrating than a dirt spot that cannot be cloned out in post-processing, ruining a great photo.

When using a dark ND filter, you will definitely need Live View if your camera has it.  This makes framing the picture so much easier than using the optical viewfinder in DSLRs.  I am able to frame with a 0.6 ND filter with no issue.  The 1.2 is a little difficult - especially in shady forests on overcast days - Live View is used in this instance.  With the NDx400 - no question - Live View only.  Using the viewfinder with this filter is a no-go as all that is seen is blackness - Same as if I would have the lens cap on and trying to get a photo.  

When taking photos with long exposures - especially those of 20 seconds or more (shorter if in bright light) - the viewfinder needs to be covered.  I carry the viewfinder cover and a spare with my gear at all times.  I read about and experienced light-leaks with exposures in bright sun.  The photos have definite red lines in them - can't do anything with these except delete them.  Covering the viewfinder fixes this issue.  If you don't have the viewfinder cover, a dark cloth can be used.  It is just so much easier to use the cover.  Chances are - B&H Photo has the proper cover in-stock for your camera.

A sturdy tripod is a must!!!  This is required for sharp photos.  Also - remember to turn-off any shake-reduction in the camera or the lens.  The mirror being locked up also helps (but Live View will do this for you).  What I found through reading and experience is that the camera's built in 2-second timer locks the mirror and gives me time to be away from the camera and for it to settle before exposing the image.  I also use a cable-release when taking these photos.  I want to be as certain as possible that there is no movement.

All of this takes practice.  I am not at the level I want to be with my long exposures but I can say that I have definitely improved my skills at capturing these images.  Check out "Long Exposures" and "NC Waterfalls" galleries on my site, these are examples of what I described above.

Until later - Happy Photo!!

]]> (Chris Laskowski Photography) ND cable release hoya ndx400 live view liveview long exposure neutral density tripod waterfall Thu, 14 Jan 2016 15:43:26 GMT
A New Year!! Wow!!!  What an amazing year 2015 was!!  And 2016 looks like it will be even better!!

I have been experimenting a lot with a Hoya ND400 filter - you can see the results here:

Plans have already been made and tickets purchased for a return visit to the Desert Southwest - including Zion NP, Bryce, Grand Canyon and (I am looking forward to this...) an all day photo tour of Antelope Canyon - both Upper and Lower!!

Waterfalls will again be on the agenda - Spring and Fall.  The list I have includes a few revisits and nine new ones (so far).

I have a new folder to check - it is "Newest Photos" where you can easily find all of my newest photos.  Currently - it has the latest from a trip to the California coast.  Just uploaded those and was it a nice, fun time.

I really need to start posting more on the blog - including some tips I have learned through the past few years - maybe a resolution to do that would be in order...we will see.


Until later - Enjoy the pics!

]]> (Chris Laskowski Photography) Sun, 10 Jan 2016 21:22:50 GMT
Hello and Welcome to my blog!! Welcome!  Something new for me to try - blogging.  I plan on using this for updates on trips, photos, tips and anything else I can think of related to my passion and hobby - Photography

I guess the place to start is with my equipment bag.  I have a very comfortable Lowepro backpack that carries my camera - a Pentax K5-IIs.  For lenses, I use a Sigma 10-20mm, Sigma 17-70mm and Tamron 70-200mm.  I have circular polarizers for each as well as several ND filters of densities ranging from 0.6 to a full 10.0.  Tripods - depends on whether or not I am flying. If flying, I have a nifty Davis & Sanford Traverse that folds down to a cool 12" and extends to nearly five feet and supports  whatever I can put on it.  My main tripod is an Induro aluminum tripod (AT-214) with a Giottos ball-head.  Very sturdy and steady.  It is only a pound heavier than a carbon pod and it holds its own when set in a flowing river.  

I also carry a first-aid pack, GPS tracker, external battery for the GPS (allows over 30 hours of continuous use), maps and compass, flashlights, rope, whatever I need to keep me safe when hiking to and from waterfalls as well as around them. 

That sums up a basic bag - which I carry when hiking to new waterfalls.

Yes - waterfalls are my passion.  I have visited many in North Carolina and am constantly trying to visit as many as I can.  It is a feeling that is indescribable - the power of the falls, the sound of the water, the serenity that being around them brings.

To see more waterfalls - check

]]> (Chris Laskowski Photography) Carolina Chris Laskowski Chris Laskowski photography Laskowski blog chrislaskowskiphotography pentax waterfall Mon, 26 Oct 2015 00:19:07 GMT