Lollapalooza Evacuated – Photos

5 08 2012

Chicago has, like the rest of the country, been in a drought all summer. Some heavy rain decided to show up once about a hundred thousand people were all packed into Chicago’s Grant Park for the mega-music festival, Lollapalooza. Officials decided to evacuate the whole deal until the storm passed. This turned out to be a really good idea. It was a pounder of a storm with lightning striking all around the area. The evacuees seemed to take the whole thing in stride, with some huddling under any available shelter, and others splashing in puddles like kids. The weather made for some great photographic opportunities too. Here are a few of the shots I took.

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My Radio Interview from the South Pole

22 12 2011

Actual Geographic South Pole Marker, 2011

This is my interview with Radio New Zealand from the South Pole. I was there guiding a 20K ski trip for PolarExplorers. Click the link below to hear the interview:

mp3 of Interview





Big Day at the Bottom of the World

21 12 2011

The centennial anniversary of Roald Amundsen and his team reaching the Geographic South Pole on December 14, 1911 was celebrated last week with people from all corners of the Earth in attendance. Toasting a great accomplishment for Norway and humanity, the Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, Explorer, Børge Ousland and officials from the Norwegian Polar Institute and the NSF each addressed the crowd. At  – 35° C,  fingers were cold holding the camera.

Antarctica is as photogenic as it is inhospitable to human life. The effort required to get there is easily paid back in memories.

I was on this trip as a guide for PolarExplorers.com.

Ilyushin IL-76 on the blue ice runway at Union Glacier, Antarctica

Norwegian expeditioner with cognac from 1911. Mmmm.

Reflecting globe atop ceremonial South pole

Sleeping in a recreation of Amundsen's tent

Refueling at Theil Mountains fuel cache

Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg and Rick Sweitzer

Re-enactment of Bjaaland's famous photo of Amundsen's team at the South Pole

Me with ice sculpture of Amundsen at the Pole

Me at the Centennial celebration

Bluebird day at the South Pole

Ilyushin back in Punta Arenas, Chile at the end of the trip





Do You Need a Google+ Invite? Holla!

20 07 2011

I could not help but feel like the curious little monkey whose best friend is the man with the yellow hat as I read post after post about Google+ on blogs, tweets and websites. I pleaded with others to grant me access to this new time-draining realm of  the electronic water cooler (thank you Andy for the invite!). Now that I have gained access, I am eager to start capturing the potential of the site. I have no doubt that Google+ will become a new stop on my daily computer commute through the countryside of the internet. When I have tweaked my profile a bit, I’ll announce my GRAND OPENING! Surely you can’t wait. Until then, if you want a Google+ invite, click on over to dirkjensenphotography.com and click the “contact” link. Email me a request with “Google+ invite” in the subject line and I will send out invites until Google shuts me down. Be sure to add me to your circles, I look forward to seeing you in a hangout in the future. My Google + URL is

https://plus.google.com/110123743477748462345

Catchy, no?





My Traditional Photography Will Beat Up Your HDR Photography! Nyah Nyah, Nyah!

9 07 2011

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Nobody likes a good fight more than a photographer. Almost any topic regarding photography will raise the the hackles of a shutterbugs. Just go tell a Nikon shooter that Canon makes a better system, or suggest to a group of photographers that a real photographer only uses natural light and never crops an image (be prepared to run for cover). Fighting tendencies notwithstanding, for some reason, I am surprised about how up in arms some folks get about HDR photography.

HDR stands for “high dynamic range” and is a technique for producing an image that captures a range of light values in an image wider than would normally be possible in a single image. A series of photographs are shot with only the exposure changed in each one—exposing for the highest highlights at one end of the exposure range and the darkest shadows at the other end. The images are composited using software and the result is an image that shows dark shadows and bright highlights at the same time.

Unlike the eye, the camera is, and has always been, limited to a relatively small dynamic range of exposure. Overcoming that limitation has been one of the fundamental challenges to photographers. It has previously been necessary to decide if you wanted to maintain detail in the highlights or shadows in an image. The ability to overcome that limitation or to exploit it has defined the careers of thousands of photographers since the first light hit emulsion so long ago.

The super incredible human eye can see and process a much wider range of light to dark than a camera can. While HDR images can simulate our eye’s dynamic range, it doesn’t duplicate it. There is something that happens neurologically that interprets what we see in in everyday life in a way that (obviously) makes perfect sense, i.e. It looks “real.” Somehow, the HDR image often seems “unreal” as if the mind can’t recognize a photograph with a wide dynamic range the way it does with real scenes.

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Now that we have the ability to create an image with a wider exposure range, it makes sense that that would be the superior photographic technique. But there is something hard to define about a “normal” photo that often makes it seem more comfortable and natural to look at than a HDR photo. Digital photography is still held up to film photography for comparison, with current digital technology arguably meeting or exceeding film quality. “Traditional” digital photography vs. HDR photography could be compared to the visual difference between a movie shot on film and one shot in HD. The movie shot in HD sometimes has a hyperreal look to it that the film doesn’t have. If digital photography has strived to simulate the analogue look of film, then HDR images could be seen as a step backwards in photographic evolution. There is no denying that HDR images can be visually arresting. Perhaps the very fact that they do not look a film image earns them a label of non-photographic. This is, in my opinion, ridiculous.

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To claim that HDR images lack merit because they look different or they use a different technique for their creation, can be compared to movements in painting. The realist movement criticized the impressionist movement. Many put realism as a style on a pedestal as beyond reproach. The impressionists’ paintings were brash and unorthodox, appearing to have a lack of skill or control as defined by a desire for a painterly look that imitates reality rather than interpreting it. The impressionist paintings did not appear to be “real” paintings because they were not “realistic.” Similarly, HDR images are often seen as not being “real” photographs. Of course, no photograph is anything more than the photographer’s interpretation of a fractional slice of time captured by the camera. The position and angle of the camera, the choice of lens, aperture and shutter speed, and the decision of when to release the shutter all put the fingerprint of the photographer on the photograph and define the image as an interpretation of reality rather than a copy of reality. The impressionists captured a view of the world unique to each artist that has come to be accepted and celebrated as brilliant in its own right. I have no doubt that HDR photography will one day similarly be seen as an important movement in the history of photography.

I am the first to admit that there is a lot of bad HDR photography being made. But there is certainly a lot more bad “traditional” photography being made at the same time. I think it is important to hang up the boxing gloves on the subject and recognize HDR photography for what it is—a means of self expression for photographers to share their vision with others. Not better, not worse, just different. I mean, it’s not like we are comparing the obviously superior Nikon to Canon.

Just kidding.

Maybe.

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P.S. All the images in this post are HDR images.








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