January 5, 2010

Happy New Year! Manizales - Behind the Scenes

Happy New Year everyone!! We're very excited to start this new year and see what lightenupandshoot.com turns into! We're all very excited to have the amount of followers, visitors, facebook friends, skype contacts that have boarded this lightenupandshoot.com bus! So buckle your seatbelts, this 2010 is going to be an amazing year for all of us!

We have a ton of fun stuff planned for all of you folks and we can't wait to share all of it. But, first thing is first. The ebook!! The ebook should be done shortly, like we said in the video we just keep adding and adding and adding stuff to it, so delivery has been a little delayed! Don't worry you should have it by 2011, Just kidding!!

More info and pics after the break!


So in this video we share a little of what we did during our Christmas break! Manizales is one of Colombia's most scenic cities (at least that we have been to). It is constructed on the ridge of a mountain so you go up on one side of the city and down on the other. It leaves for some spectacular landscape. Although the city was beautiful, we had a mission - El Nevado del Ruiz!

El Nevado del Ruiz is 17,388 feet above sea level and freaking freezing.  Windy, snowing, way too cold for me...oh wait...it's pretty much like all of the USA is right now. Definitely not our 73 degree Medellin weather we are in love with.

We took a bus tour to the top of the mountain with a guide named Felipe. Very kick ass tour guide and I highly recommend him. Email me for his information, not sure he wants everyone to have his cellphone number. The tour stopped a couple times along the way to help everyone to get used to the lack of oxygen. YES I SAID LACK OF OXYGEN! Apparently the higher you go, the less you breath. Sounds fun huh!! We were told to eat fruits and not smoke....fruits check..no smoking..come on it's just 15,000 feet. I mean people used to smoke on airplanes so whatever...I'm smoking (Kids reading this, smoking is bad and do not do it. We are professional stunt people and only smoke for entertainment purposes, SO DON'T SMOKE!!).

Every stop the bus makes we take the opportunity to take some shots. Our first stop was around 3500 meters and the fog was unreal. All of the pictures where coming out with an overexposed/misty/dreamy look. Even really close shots, just goes to show how thick the fog was. At first we tried with speedlights to add some contrast....doesn't work!! So speedlights and softbox go back to the bus. We decided that this is one of those rare moments that we actually say - WE'LL FIX IT IN LIGHTROOM! Add a little contrast, maybe some blacks, maybe a curve or two and we should be all set.

Here's an example of before the foglift in Lightroom:

and after:

Ok, so this was done by these settings, see low lazy just screen captured it for you. Note : This is in Adobe Lightroom. Even bigger note: Adobe Lightroom is the same as Adobe Camera Raw (as far as processing goes) so if you have Photoshop, you can use these same settings in Adobe Camera Raw. And the biggest note: THESE DO NOT APPLY TO ALL IMAGES!

So off we go, higher and higher into the unknown. Next stop was around 4000 meters, we bust out a couple more shots, nothing spectacular since the weather is really not cooperating. What you will notice is that the vegetation starts to just disappear. Check this out, it looks like mars.

Finally we arrive at the top. The bus ride took about 2 hours through very bumpy terrain. But oh my it was worth it. I just can't imagine how those people that hike Mount Everest must feel when they get to the top. I mean we bussed in and it's amazing so imagine arriving at the top hiking after losing 2 friends, 37 pounds 1 ear and 6 fingers.

Check this out:

So Felipe says, "now we walk, we walk to find snow". Not the best thing I've heard him say, but apparently because of Global Warming we now have to walk up another 100 meters to find the snow. My first thought was Carina and her sandals, how the hell do you say FROSTBITE in spanish....still don't know.

Second thought, the bus is so nice and warm. I look over at Mikey and Carina and apparently the lack of air, has Carina a little nauseous. Ok maybe not a little, she passed out! Apparently that is very common for some people. The altitude is not easy on folks who are not in tip top shape like Mikey and I, or Catalina for that matter. The solution, lay them on the floor and raise their legs up. Like Yoga. So Mikey and Carina stay on the bus needless to say. Catalina and I, hiking bound we go.

So we step off the bus with all these other potential hikers and HOLY CRAP!! I felt like I was in Europe during the black plague...people would just fall over. I though we had been poisoned. I have not seen so many people faint since that Britney Spears concert I went to. Also, I do have to admit...it was funny. Especially this one woman who fainted while ordering a cup of coffee!! I know I shouldn't laugh but picture this. She orders, the guy turns around to serve the coffee, turns back around and just sees me. That is funny...ok maybe you had to be there!!

So here is Catalina and I at about 4900 meters right before I realize that if I go any further I could lose my right index finger....HELLO, no index finger...no picture taking. I have to go back!

So at 4900 meters I say...NO MAS!! It's high enough for my fat booty! Besides the snow is equally as white up here at frozenville as it is by the warm bus, hot coffee and blankets. Catalina looks at me with her frozen face and says "I will go on for lightenupandshoot.com!".

I say, "you come back with fingers missing and our relationship is over". She just smiled and I started my treck back to the bus, the wind was unreal, the cold was like non I had ever felt before. I had no food, no water and I was really starting to run out of air. Every step was like I had just walked a mile. The only thing that kept me going was posting this video (and others) on lightenupandshoot.com. My hands were trembling inside of my pockets...just a little further. I can't believe I made it.


The longest 28 foot walk of my life!

So Happy Holidays Everyone!! Thank you for making all of this possible! You inspire us more than we inspire you, so keep watching, keep learning, keep shooting....and most importantly POST PICTURES!

2010 is going to be amazing!

Enjoy some more pictures:


  1. Glad you're enjoying the warm weather in Columbia. Even Tampa has low in the 30's right now.

    Check your settings is great advice! Just the other day, a coworker was telling me that he was out shooting a frozen pond and hadn't noticed from the night before that he was shooting at ISO 1600 until he saw the pictures in Lightroom. I have done the same thing and got a noisy picture of the helicopter ambulance I had been on ten years ago as it flew right above me. I still got the shot, but wish I had lowered the ISO and perhaps blur the rotor blades much more.

    Thank you for your videos, blogs and humor. I was talking to someone today about all the trial and error of shooting off camera flash in manual mode. I said it's pretty much trial and error, but thanks to both of you to helping to wrap my head around the concepts.

  2. nice video... like always partying around!

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  4. Great job you guys! Not only do you do a great job of inspiring people(me) but your hilarious. You are very motivational and I just want to get out and shoot. Keep up the great work. Happy New Years!

  5. You guys look like trouble. I bet it's a blast when you shoot. Thanks for the update I have been suffering withdrawal. You show a human side to photography. Not every shot is perfect and not every idea works. You take it and run with it. Thanks again.

  6. Hey guys, just wondering if you considered publishing a magazine copy of the ebook (how odd, a print ebook???)

    Saw this add on your site, idk if you have but http://magcloud.com/help

    is really cool company, you might want to check them out. It might help with the pistachio fund.

  7. i'm amazed.

    i'd kill for locations like this.

    think the next equipment part i'm goin to buy will be a car to drive from down here in south germany to switzerland for shootings. (it's just a 2 hour trainride but the really good locations are mostly 1 hour or so away from the next trainstation)


  8. Good Video, the next time put some more good looking women in the video and a little more scenery!

  9. Have you guys thought about trying VIMEO to embed videos, since Youtube and Blogspot are not agreeing, and occasionally causing the RED-X (video not shown).

    On my end I did narrow it down.
    Windows XP & IE8 (works)
    Windows XP & Opera (works)
    Windows 7 "Starter" & IE8 (does NOT work)
    Windows 7 "Starter" & Opera (works!)

    I appreciate the very informative and entertaning videos and information! Thank you.

  10. Hey guys...what Tokina lense are you running. Just got the 11-16 2.8 and im very happy with it