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Every month in our Photography newsletter, we feature the work of a new photographer who has contributed to our Photography Newsletter Flickr group. This month, we chose the photo Touchdown - Claude, Texas by Texas-based photographer Jeff Lynch.
Peachpit: What inspired you to take this shot?
Jeff: Photographing inclement weather in the Texas panhandle is always a treat. I spotted this storm, which was building west of Canyon, Texas, and moving rapidly to the northeast. I'd driven about fifty miles to get ahead of the storm and had just turned south towards the leading edge of these incredible tunnel clouds. I pulled over at the entrance to a rancher's pasture to get a few quick shots as the storm rapidly approached.
I set up my tripod, leveled my camera, and began to compose the scene when it dawned on me that the tall grass directly in front of me looked freshly "trampled" or blown down somehow. I didn't see the same phenomenon anywhere else in these hundreds of acres of grass and was left wondering if I'd stumbled across a "crop circle" or the touchdown of a recent micro-burst from the storm. It was an eerie feeling standing there in the middle of the Texas plains, watching this ominous thunderstorm sweep across the sky and wondering if I was pushing my Irish luck just a wee bit much, but the results were well worth the risk.
Peachpit: Camera settings?
Jeff: This shot was taken with a tripod-mounted Canon 5D Mark II set on Aperture Priority (Av) using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/16, for 1.3 seconds at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer.
Jeff: Post-capture processing on the RAW file was done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 and using Nik Software's Color Efex Pro plug-in to soften the look of the clouds while maintaining the sharpness of the grass. I can't take credit for the beautiful tunnel clouds and dark blue and green colors. Only nature can produce something this spectacular.
Peachpit: Matte or glossy?
Jeff: I generally print using matte finishes to present the least glare to the viewer. I find it helps folks appreciate the subtle shades of blue, green, and gray we experience here in Texas during a thunderstorm.
Peachpit: Who or what inspires you?
Jeff: I find inspiration comes from the incredible variety of landscapes that surround us here in Texas. We live in a region full of diverse scenery from the piney woods in the east to the desert in the west, and from the bayous in the south to the high plains and canyons in the north. All preserved and protected by the tireless efforts of the folks at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
I would be remiss if I didn't give credit to those individuals who pioneered landscape and nature photography here in Texas. Folks like Wyman Meinzer, Earl Nottingham, Laurence Parent, Jerod Foster, and Kathy Adams Clark paved the way by showing us the incredible beauty found in the 269,000 square miles of our vast state. And I can't neglect my friends across the globe such as Mark Krajnak, Ray Ketcham, John O'Connor, and Sabrina Henry who continue to provide daily inspiration, encouragement, and humor to this old man wandering around Texas with a camera.
Peachpit: Who are you? Where can we find you online?
Jeff: I'm a commercial, landscape, and nature photographer based in Sugar Land, Texas. I like to tell folks that my commercial work supports my family but my landscape and nature photography supports my soul. I enjoy sharing my favorite locations and landscape techniques with groups of enthusiastic photographers each spring during the Texas Landscape Safari workshop.
Being born well before the age of personal computers, I've had to learn a lot in the past few years about social media, blogging, and electronic marketing to make my business successful. I started my blog, Serious Amateur Photography, a few years ago with the hope of sharing my passion for photography and maybe attracting a few visitors with my scenes of Texas. Today, it's taken on a life of its own with thousands of visitors from across the globe joining in the discussion, asking questions, and offering encouragement. I've made some great friends through blogging, Flickr, and Twitter, and I’ve reached more folks than I ever thought possible.
My blog: http://blog.jefflynchphoto.com
My Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jefflynchphoto/
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jefflynchphoto
You can also find my work in my first self-published book, Hill Country Landscapes, available on my blog. My second self-published book, Landscapes of the Texas Plains & Canyons, will be available before Christmas.
It was a great pleasure to have my work featured in Jeff Carlson's recent book, Canon Powershot G10/G11: From Snapshots to Great Shots, published by Peachpit Press, as well as his upcoming book, Canon G12: From Snapshots to Great Shots. It still amazes me what results you can get from cameras like the Canon "G" series.
Do you have a newsletter-worthy image to share? Post it in our new Photography Newsletter Flickr group, and you might just see it in the next issue!