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Photographing Joshua Tree National Park by Adam Jacobs

Joshua Tree National Park is so different to any other National Park I’ve visited in the States. For much of the time, It’s vast, arid and other-worldly landscape makes you feel as if you are in Mars. However, the park is incredibly interesting and has plenty to explore and photograph with its diversity offering ample opportunities for landscape photographers: there are areas where cool cactus formations are clustered together and other regions where enormous and interesting rocks formations have been formed from seismic activity and sculpted by hundreds of years of erosion structures. In fact, I could even imagine it making a great backdrop for a fashion shoot! And then, of course, there are the Joshua Trees. These trees, twisted and contorted in their appearance, have a Medusa-esque look and despite apparently falling in number still stretch in many parts of the park further than the eye can see.

Entering Joshua Tree National Park

Entering Joshua Tree National Park

Desert Sunset - Joshua Tree National Park

Desert Sunset - Joshua Tree National Park

A classic Joshua Tree at sunset - Joshua Tree National Park

A classic Joshua Tree at sunset - Joshua Tree National Park

Barker Dam in Joshua Tree was the only place I found water in the Park. I was told by some locals that it was extremely rare for it to be this full so I stuck around and was rewarded with an amazing sunset! See the photos and video below.

Barker Dam in Joshua Tree was the only place I found water in the Park. I was told by some locals that it was extremely rare for it to be this full so I stuck around and was rewarded with an amazing sunset! See the photos and video below.

Behind the scenes with my trusty Gitzo Mountaineer tripod photographing Barker Dam.

Behind the scenes with my trusty Gitzo Mountaineer tripod photographing Barker Dam.

One of my shots from the amazing sunset at Barker Dam in Joshua Tree National Park!

One of my shots from the amazing sunset at Barker Dam in Joshua Tree National Park!

And another sunset at Barker Dam.

And another sunset at Barker Dam.

A cholla cactus garden in Joshua Tree National Park

A cholla cactus garden in Joshua Tree National Park

San Francisco Based Photographer Adam Jacobs Landscape Photography To Buy Joshua Tree National Park-13.jpg
Skull Rock at Midnight. This creepy rock formation that sits right in the center of Joshua Tree and clearly resembles a skull I shot at midnight on Halloween! Thought it was appropriate.

Skull Rock at Midnight. This creepy rock formation that sits right in the center of Joshua Tree and clearly resembles a skull I shot at midnight on Halloween! Thought it was appropriate.

Arch Rock - Joshua Tree National Park which reminded me of a mini version of the arch in Canyonlands in Utah.

Arch Rock - Joshua Tree National Park which reminded me of a mini version of the arch in Canyonlands in Utah.

San Francisco Based Photographer Adam Jacobs Landscape Photography To Buy Joshua Tree National Park-7.jpg

Couldn’t help but pull over at the side of the road and capture a field ofJoshua Trees at dusk as I was driving out of the park.

Californian Light in Black and White by Adam Jacobs

I have been blown away by the quality of light in California on my trip here. Yesterday, I took a short trip out of San Francisco to Ocean Beach and spent a hours just observing people wandering along the beach as beautiful light refracted, reflected and bounced off the ocean casting all kinds of shadows and interesting shapes and lines. 

These three images were some of the favorite that I shot with the figures showing the scale of the beach and the ocean; this is especially noticeable in the photograph of a sole man wading in the Pacific (the middle one) which is perhaps favorites . Black and white conversion helped accentuate the strong highlights and shadows and really bring out the dynamic range in these images; I just can't get enough of those rich, velvety blacks. 

Adam Jacobs Photography California San Francisco Beach Landscape Fine Art Dog
Adam Jacobs Photography Fine Art Black and White California San Francisco Beach
Adam Jacobs Photography Fine Art Black and White Photography Landscape California San Francisco SeaScape Ocean

 

 

Using Manfrotto's Xume System by Adam Jacobs

I've had a lot of fun the last few months experimenting with Manfrotto's new lens filter suite which works with the Xume system. Essentially, the system means that you can attach filters to your lenses much faster and more efficiently using magnets rather than having to waste time screwing them on, risking breakages or damaging equipment as with conventional systems. Take a look at this video I made below: 

Here's an article I also wrote explaining a little bit more in depth on the system and how it can be used practically in the field to help you take better photos and not miss that perfect shot...just click on the photo below! 

 

 

 

The Milky Way by Adam Jacobs

High up at 9000ft in the meadows of one of my favourite National Parks, Yosemite in California it was amazing to see the Milky Way clearer than I had ever witnessed before. Using a long exposure and manually focusing the camera to infinity, my camera was able to bring out the wonder of the sky above that was so clearly visible given that I was away from the light pollution of the city. I included some foreground elements to contextualize the grandeur and vastness of our universe. This shot is going to look great blown up big! 

Adam Jacobs_Milky Way Space Photograph


Behind The Scenes of a Magazine Shoot by Adam Jacobs

Below is a behind the scenes video made by my trusty assistant for the day Tutti Del Monte. We spent the day shooting The Concession Golf Course in Sarasota, Florida for a feature for the largest golf magazine in the Arab peninsula, "Middle East Golfer" that involved mainly photographing the signature holes of the Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin designed course but, also some of the delicious food offered in the award-winning restaurant that guests can enjoy after their round. We also got to taste some of the delicacies once we were done.... Yum! Thanks to The Concession for their kind hospitality and accommodating all of our requests.

Adam Jacobs Photo Sport Photography Concession Golf Course


The Abandoned St Agnes Church by Adam Jacobs

Continuing my Abandoned Spaces series, I recently visited St Agnes, a gothic and majestic church just outside downtown Detroit which has been abandoned since late 2006. 

Following its completion in the 1920s, the church quickly grew and by the mid fifties was the focal point of a thriving community serving approximately 1,600 families, three priests, 22 nuns and an adjacent girl's high schools with just under two hundred students. 

However, by the mid 1980s the LaSalle neighbourhood in which it sits, had become run down and dilapidated leaving the church with only 160 families worshiping at the space. Although a number of cost cutting measures were made to try and save the church, it was soon deemed impractical to keep it open and it was forced to close in 2006. Coincidentally, St Agnes once so splendid and grand, even hosted a sermon by Mother Theresa in the 1980s where she spoke to thousands; she even insisted that all food provided at the event be given to the poor.

As with so many of Detroit's ornate buildings since closing, scrappers have colonized the space removing all the valuable piping from the organ whilst precious glazed tiling from walls and pillars has been stripped away. On entering, I also noticed that weather and further vandalism has ripped away much of the facade as the floor literally crumbled under foot as I carefully explored the space with my cameras. As with all abandoned churches, it is somewhat creepy and a little eery to see places of worship in such a sad and sorry state.  

I hope my photographs do the space justify. I certainly feel that they are a worthwhile addition to my ongoing series which I hope to exhibit soon. 

The Entrance to St Agnes Church through the main double doors which are now padlocked shut. 

A view of the inside of St Agnes Church, Detroit where one can clearly see where the floor has broken up and valuable tiling stripped from the walls and pillars by scrappers. 

One solitary church pew remains in the abandoned St Agnes Church in Detroit, Michigan. 

I think this guy was a character from the Adams family; his face was tagged all over the abandoned church. 

A better view of the destruction and warping of the pillars inside the abandoned St Agnes Church, Detroit. Michigan. 

I love the way the light streamed through the huge church window which would have formerly been stained glass, illuminating the church pew. 

The stairs leading up/down to the balcony. 

A view from the balcony of the abandoned St Agnes Church in Detroit, Michigan showing the extent of the damage to the space. 

Northern Lights by Adam Jacobs

Northern Lights Trip-10.jpg

I recently decided to take some time off commercial shooting and traveled to Northern Norway  to photograph the Northern Lights. After extensive research, I decided to base myself out of Tromso. This small university town sits about 300 miles inside the Arctic Circle, is appropriately cold (about -17 degrees Celsius!) and has a healthy reputation as one of the world’s best places to see the Aurora Borealis; a natural phenomenon caused by the collision of solar charged particles and atoms when entering the earths atmosphere and magnetic fields.

You need three things to see the lights: clear skies, minimal light pollution and maximum solar activity. On arrival, things were not looking promising as my flight was delayed by a huge blizzard and as my cab took me the short cab to my hotel visibility was no more than five feet…this was not going to be easy.

I had done a lot of research beforehand on Google Earth and OS maps to see where the best places might be in order to get good photographs of the lights; I wanted to ensure that I got some water in my shots to achieve some reflections from the lights. However, on the first two nights I was out until 5am having driven 3 hours out of Tromso in search of clear skies and saw little more than the shot below due to inclement weather. This photo was taken on the Eastern coast looking out on the Atlantic Ocean and although the green activity of the lights is JUST visible behind almost 100% cloud cover in camera, it was barely visible to the human eye. Also, it was taken in gale-force 35 metre per second winds (the strongest I’ve ever experienced). In fact, the wind was so strong that it stripped some of the paint off my 14-24mm lens.  Needless to say I was already planning my return trip next year with my spirits dampened by two nights of failed attempts of chasing the lights.

Determined not to give up though I headed out the next night with a different strategy to head west towards the Finnish border having seen on radar that there was the possibility of the clouds parting and some clear skies developing for a few hours just before midnight. Fortunately, as I got further and further away from civilization I began seeing stars until the whole sky was covered in constellations as I sped eagerly towards a Fjord that I had identified could potentially make for a good photo spot. I couldn’t have timed my arrival any better as I pulled over, looked up and began seeing one of the most phenomenal sites I’ve ever witnessed in person. Words cannot do it justice as you see flashes of coloured lights meander and manouver their way across the sky; it as if God is playing with a paintbrush. The show lasted about four hours and I’ll let my pictures describe the scenes better than my words.

I was very lucky as I have spoken to numerous photographers who have spent weeks in Tromso and seen very little. On the other hand, you could turn up for a day and see a far better show than me; you really are at the whim of nature. Nevertheless, I left more than contented. Thanks to Arctic Guide Service for their help and advice.

p.s. I also got extra lucky on my SAS plane on the way up to Tromso when speaking to a flight attendant and telling them about my planned trip. They happened to be able to see the Northern lights from the cockpit during the flight and invited me into the cockpit! Even better they let me take my camera in (you never know unless you ask) which I was amazed at; truly blessed and an unbelievable experience to be able to see them from the air as well as ground. The below shot was therefore taken by resting my camera on the dashboard of a commercial 737 at 37000 feet with the towns of Northern Norway below whilst my camera was resting on the cockpit making an impromptu tripod.

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