LA Horstman Photography: Blog en-us (C) LA Horstman Photography (LA Horstman Photography) Sat, 11 Aug 2018 17:43:00 GMT Sat, 11 Aug 2018 17:43:00 GMT LA Horstman Photography: Blog 120 120 Canada 2018


I've just returned from my 7th trip to my absolute favorite place, Canada. It's hard not to go to all of the usual spots, because they are famous for a reason.  However, I find myself digging deeper with every trip, backpacking more and seeking out lesser known spots with far fewer people. As this is Banff's very busy tourist season, it was nice to get away from the crowds a bit.  I started in Canmore, which is just before reaching the actual park of Banff. Canmore is fantastic, with it's breathtaking views and small town charm. From Canmore, I met up with a dear friend and we heli'd from the Mt Shark pad to Mt Assiniboine. I was here last September, but was caught in a snow storm that shrouded the mountain in fog the entire trip.  This time around, I was able to complete the hike to the Nub (a peak that faces the spectacular range). We hiked this twice, both at sunrise and sunset. I know I say this about everyplace I've been, but this was truly an awe-inspiring moment.  Although the "hot-spots" were very congested, most people never leave the car parks. One very fun hike I highly recommend is to leave from Lake Louise at sunrise and head up to the Lake Agnes Tea House. If you get there early, you can avoid the crowd and the views are spectacular. From there, head all the way up to the "Big Bee-Hive". Again, breath-taking views that overlook both Louise and Agnes from far above.  To really avoid the crowds, head down the backside towards Lake Loiuse which is approx 5.7 km, but will take you under the 7 glaciers (I did not see another person on this last leg of the hike.. and the views were extraordinary}.  If you are traveling to this area in July, prepare yourself for wide swings in weather patterns and plenty of mosquitoe repellent! If you have not been to the Banff/Jasper parks, do yourself a favor and add it to your list. I am always available to answer any questions or help you plan your visit.  Next up: Switzerland and the Dolomites in a short 7 weeks..  Stay tuned!


]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Canada heli-camping la horstman photography mountains Mt Assiniboine sunrise Sat, 04 Aug 2018 17:39:53 GMT
National Geographic's "Photo of the Day" "Quintessential Texas""Quintessential Texas"National Geographic “Photo of the Day” 3/9/18


I woke up Friday morning to an e-mail that nearly every photographer dreams of. National Geographic had sent an e-mail informing me that my image of a Texas Longhorn entitled, "Quintessential Texas" had been chosen as their "Photo of the Day". Like a scene in a comedy, I laid back down.. closed my eyes and drifted back to sleep. About 5 minutes later, the gravity of what I had read sunk in. I flung the covers off, ran to my computer and waited very impatiently as it hummed along.. booting up. Right there on the home page of NatGeo.. there he was! All I could think was, "Holy Cow" (seriously.. I can't make this stuff up!)  And to make things even cooler, this all happened on "National Women's Day".  As I looked at him on my screen.. him looking back at me.. I can almost hear him say to me, "you go girl". 

Tech stuff: Canon 5D Mark III, EF 200mm f/2.0, 1/100 sec, f/2.0, ISO 400.



]]> (LA Horstman Photography) bull canon cattle gainesville la horstman photography longhorn natgeo photo of the day national geographic quintessential texas sunset texas texas longhorn texas sky Sun, 11 Mar 2018 21:41:35 GMT
Canada 2017 "Proud Sisters""Proud Sisters"


Hello everyone ! It's been a tick since I've posted on my blog.  Things have been busy as usual, but no year is complete without another trip to the great north. I have now officially visited Canada in all but one season, the Spring. It would be virtually impossible for me to pick a favorite season as they all have their unique and special qualities.  This time around, I traveled with a group of fellow photographers from Australia. Let me tell you, this had to be one of my favourite (as they would say) trips of all time.  I always leave with the thoughts of what images I am hoping to capture along the way. This time around, the images felt secondary to the laughter and adventures that ensued. Our on-again/off-again heli trip to the top off Mt Assiniboine (due to the unpredictable wildfires) ended up on-again. What were weren't counting on was the blizzard that would meet us for the entire 3 days we were up there. All 6 of us huddled inside a hut at night, trust me.. you realize rather quickly who snores (among other At one point, we decided that a "reality show" that would follow 6 complete strangers along on a 3 month photographic adventure would be the most hysterical thing ever.  In the end, I came home completely beat-up, wore out and with the fondest of memories.  The next trip to round out my seasons in Canada is already booked and I can't wait to get back up there.  Oh ya.. there were some pretty great images too :)

This image:

First trip out for my new Canon 5D Mark IV (which I love btw)

Canon EF16-35mm f/4.0L

Sirui W2204 (most trusty tripod EVER)

Lee soft grad

f/22 , 0.8 sec , ISO 100

All post in PSCC and Sleeklens




]]> (LA Horstman Photography) canada canmore canon 5d mark vi la horstman photography sirui sleeklens sunset three sisters Sat, 21 Oct 2017 19:16:46 GMT
San Diego County Fair 2017


It was a banner year for LA Horstman Photography at the San Diego County Fair ! Top prize in the "Winter Landscape" category went to my image, "Reflecting in Iceland". My image "Longhorn" (which can be seen in the wildlife section of my website) won a 2nd place. Two images, "Lake Louise" and "Sea Turtle" took home the 3rd place prize in their respective categories. "Kicking Horse" took home the Kurt's Camera Vendor achievement award. And finally, "Fire Sunrise" took home an honorable mention award.  It was such a special night at the awards ceremony as I had my dad with me. After all, he did buy me my first camera when I was 16 (a Minolta SRT101, which I still have). It is because of my great dad that I get to do what I love so much. Thanks dad :)


]]> (LA Horstman Photography) San Diego County Fair awards Fri, 23 Jun 2017 04:04:14 GMT
Sleeklens Review


Recently, I was asked to try and review a new set of landscape actions offered by Sleeklens.  The "Landscape Adventure Collection" is a comprehensive set of actions specifically designed for the landscape photographer that are compatible with either LR or PS.  Classically trained in film, I found myself starting over as our industry transitioned to digital. I have always thought that if Ansel Adams were alive today, he would have loved working in digital. He was the original master of landscape, lighting and manipulation. The tools available to us now enable us to take our landscape images to a whole new level.  LR/PS do not replace quality photography by any stretch, but do allow us to enhance what nature has already provided us, even on a dark and dreary day. The image attached to this post (Vestrahorn, Iceland) was taken at sunrise.  All of these colors were there, but hidden in what was an over-exposed image with a lot of foreground shadow. I specifically chose this image to test the Sleeklens actions as I knew there was potential hidden in the RAW file.

 I brought this image into PS after only a couple of basic adjustments in ACR.  After installing the Sleeklens Adventure actions into my PS/CC, the first thing I noticed is how organized and easy to follow the panels are.  Everything is separated by what the out come of running the action will be (exposure, base, tone, all-in-one, enhance, specialty, temperature, web-saving). It clearly  informs you whether the outcome will impact the image, or if the affect is to be applied to the image via a brush. The opacity is completely controlled by the artist and can be increased or lowed to taste. I found the results to be extremely realistic, especially where the sky is concerned.  I am not a big fan of the over-saturated/ nuclear look. I found that by either apply a blending mode or opacity adjustment, I was able to easily enhance the natural beauty of my image. The colors and tones that I remember in person were easily recaptured in only a few adjustments.  I literally spent less than 5 minutes on this image from start to finish. To achieve this final result, I applied:

All None - Dawn Rising 15% (masked and painted off of the upper left cloud and peak to avoid over-saturation)

Dull Weather - 10% (on the bottom black ice)

Enhance Dramatic Sky - 50% to entire image

Detail Enhancer - painted on th edge of the ice to give it a "pop"

Warm Hilights - painted on sky and mountain


That is it.. it really was that simple. The actions will not replace all of your normal editing practices, but are a great tool to have in your arsenal.  My favorite thing about the the Sleeklens actions, how natural the outcome is and how easy they are to understand and use.  After only 4 images, my muscle memory had already taken over, knowing exactly which actions to use to achieve a desired result.

Bottom line.. 2 huge "thumbs-up" for a great product developed with all levels of Landscape artists in mind. I have already incorporated the Landscape Adventure collection as part of my regular, everyday workflow. 

Happy Editing!






]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Adventure Collection Review Sleekness actions Sat, 10 Jun 2017 22:44:06 GMT
NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway


Well, if there's anything one can say about life.. it's that it can be very unpredictable! A couple of weeks back, I was invited to shoot Kyle Busch during his race at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Ironically, I was born in Fontana, and quite frankly, never expected to return there. But here I was, in the pits photographing one of the top NASCAR drivers of our time. My comfortable realm of 30 second long exposures was not going to cut it here.  I learned very quickly that to capture a guy that is moving at 200+ mph.. I was going to have to increase my shutter speed to the tune of 1/5000. To compensate, I also raised my ISO into some uncharted territories.  In hindsight, I wish I had brought my second body as the downtime between pit-stops was just as fun to shoot. But.. it required some quick setting changes in between.  I can't thank KBM, @Pelican_Life and Buggy Whips Inc enough for making this unexpected dream come true! 

To see more images from NASCAR Sunday.. please visit my full gallery located in the commercial section of my website !


]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Auto Club Speedway KBM Kyle Busch NASCAR Pelican Life Sun, 16 Apr 2017 19:40:03 GMT
Lava flow on the Big Island "Full Moon Flow""Full Moon Flow"


Photographing the lava flow from the active volcano - Killauea was the experience of a lifetime.  It is not easy to get to. The trek involves miles of biking and hiking, but once there.. is worth the effort.  We left Kona at 11pm and made our way to the south side of the island. You are only allowed to go so far in a vehicle as the land becomes privately owned. We pulled the bikes out of the back of our pick-up and continued as far as we could. Once we reached the lava beds, travel by foot was the only way we were able to continue on. The hardened lava is tricky to hike on, footing is everything. Once a very "approachable" location, ropes have been put into place to keep visitors a safe distance back. Prior to my trip, a "shelf collapse" had occurred, sending acres of new land back into the sea. All of the effort was well worth it when this full moon scene unfolded before our eyes. What an incredible thing to see in person, I am already planning my return trip to the Big Island !


]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Big Island Hawaii Lava full moon ocean entry Thu, 16 Mar 2017 18:48:46 GMT
Iceland 2016


Northern lights, reindeer, ice caves, glaciers.. what an incredible experience this was! Myself and 10 of my photog buddies hopped on a plane and (in the immortal words of Led Zeppelin) headed to the land of the ice and snow.  The first day of shooting, I found out the hard way (literally), that rubber boots and ice are not the best match. I slipped and in an effort to save the camera, let my forehead take the blow to the ice. 6 stitches, black eye and one cool Icelandic doctor later.. we were back at it.  Of course, many creative nick-names ensued (black-eye'd pea, viking ninja, rocky.. just to name a few) but somehow this lifted my spirits and became a badge of honor.  

Each day we were here blew me away a little more.  I brought my waders (thank-goodness) and stood in the waves, photographing the icebergs on the beach at Jokulsarlon.  We hiked into an ice cave and shot the most beautiful  color of blue I've ever seen.  And 4 weeks before Christmas.. I know where the reindeer are :) Our final night was the cherry-on-top with the most incredible display of dancing and twirling northern lights imaginable.  I will have sweet dreams of this one for a long time to come. 

p.s., that Zeppelin song is now stuck in your head.. isn't it?!

]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Iceland Reindeer Vestrahorn Vik aurora northern-lights Sat, 14 Jan 2017 22:03:09 GMT
The Nature Conservancy Grand Prize Winner "Xmas on the Merced""Xmas on the Merced"The Nature Conservancy 2016 “Best of Nature” Grand Prize Winner


I am very excited to be able to announce that my image "Xmas on the Merced" has been chosen as The Nature Conservancy's Grand Prize winning photo for 2016. Over 17,800 images were submitted to this year's contest.  To have been recognized for such a top honor by an organization that I admire so very much is an absolute dream come true. To see all of the amazing images that placed in this year's contest and to read the full story behind my image, please visit Thank-you TNC !! 


]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Nature Conservancy Grand Prize Winner Mon, 19 Sep 2016 03:47:23 GMT
Back to Canada I gooooo... 6 - Sunwapta Falls, Jasper6 - Sunwapta Falls, Jasper


You didn't think I'd be out of the cold, wet tents for long... did you? I was home from Japan for a whole 12 weeks when the inner adventure bug began gnawing at my brain. I have a photography friend that lives in Edmonton, so I called him from work one day to let him know I was coming.  I have only been to the Canadian Rockies in the winter, which I love.. but have never seen all of those incredible teal and turquoise lakes (as they have always been frozen).  It was a quick trip as I have taxed out most of my vacation pay for the year.. so I was determined to make the most of it. We went straight from the airport to the Rockies. We pitched our tent and then headed out for sunset.  Up first was the incredible Sunwapta Falls. I was so excited to reach this bucket list location that we stayed there until dark. We got back to the tent just as it began to rain. Even thought it's summer, it still gets pretty chilly at night (remember, I'm from San Diego). My friend set the alarm and announced, "see you in a couple of hours". Wait.. what?? Yep, it was already 12:30am and the sun had just set. We would be back up by 3:30am for sunrise (now I know why I always come here in the winter).  The trip was an epic one with the usual laughs, adventures and stories that will last a lifetime.  We hiked to glaciers and went to lakes that brought tears to my eyes. I'm not much of a wildlife photographer (as I'm usually too excited when I see wildlife and forget to focus..haha). But..  we were lucky enough to have safe, distant encounters with moose, elk, bear, big horn sheep and my fav.. the loons.  If you've never traveled to this part of the world.. do yourself a big favor and go.


]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Alberta Banff Canada Jasper Lake Louise adventure summer travel Sat, 16 Jul 2016 21:36:06 GMT
Japan 2016 28 - Kyoto, Japan28 - Kyoto, Japan

In 2015, my youngest moved to Japan. Sad as I was.. my inner traveler was elated that I now had a new destination spot! To be honest, I'm not sure if Japan would have popped up on my radar as a place to go had she not moved there. I've always been so drawn to the mountains and cold weather that this was a bit out of my comfort zone (if out of my comfort zone means not freezing in a tent in the snow).  So.. off I went. It was quite the feet to even reach her as it took 2 planes, a bus and 25 hours to get to my final destination. We hit the ground running with our train cards and vending machine drinks (yes, thats a big thing in Japan).  The trains can be very confusing at first, we jumped on and off (and back on) more than once. Thankfully, the people of Japan are the kindest I've met in any country I've ever traveled to.  Missing trains themselves just to guide us as we had that pathetically lost look on our faces. Getting that down was the ticket to freedom however as the trains can take you just about anywhere. We traveled to Kyoto for the Sakura festival and Kawasaki for the Fertility Festival (sorry I can't post any photos from that on here.. Zenfolio would ban me for life).  We traveled to Hakone and went into the natural hot springs and too many temples to list. The food was top-notch, the people as amazing as one can imagine and the adventures were plentiful.  Sakura season was a very busy time to travel to Japan, but worth the trouble. It only lasts for about 7 days, but if you can hit it just right.. you will have sweet dreams of little pink blossoms for a long time to come :)

]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Japan Sakura Cherry-Blossoms Kyoto Sat, 16 Jul 2016 21:09:53 GMT
"Best of Nature 2016"

The San Diego Natural History Museum is hosting a gallery exhibition that will run from April 30, 2016 through the end of August. Over 250 photographers from around the world submitted a combined total of over 1600 images for consideration in the very prestigious Ordover Gallery. I am very proud to announce that 2 of my images were selected to be featured in the exhibition! In addition, 1 of my images was chosen to represent the event! I am so very proud of this accomplishment and hope to see everyone there on Saturday the 30th. These images are available for purchase by contacting me directly. 

]]> (LA Horstman Photography) San Diego Natural History Museum Best of Nature 2016 Thu, 21 Apr 2016 03:10:48 GMT
Xmas in Yosemite "Xmas on the Merced""Xmas on the Merced"The Nature Conservancy 2016 “Best of Nature” Grand Prize Winner


This past Xmas, I did things a little different. I loaded up the car and headed for the mountains. The lodges were all full as this was kind of a last minute thing, so I rented a tent in Curry Village. Xmas Eve it snowed.. hard. As I sat in my tent that night doing everything possible to stay warm, I seriously began to question what in the world I was doing in a tent, alone, on Christmas Eve.  The next morning I got up early and headed for a sunrise spot along the Merced. The skies had cleared and fresh snow blanketed the valley. On this Christmas morning, I captured what is now my favorite image.  A very special Xmas gift from Mother Nature to me :)


]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Winter Yosemite Fri, 11 Mar 2016 06:36:23 GMT
Banff 2015


I just returned from my trip to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. What an incredible experience! I was able to go with 3 fellow photographers this time. The weather was cold... seriously cold.  I packed my suitcase with 20 lbs of warm clothes and 29 lbs of "body heat warmers", narrowly escaping the heavy baggage fee. But in the end, it was well worth it.  Banff was filled with early morning sunrises and crazy beautiful sunsets over mountains and frozen lakes.  The other photographers all left me a day early, so I took this opportunity to both look for some wildlife (which we surprisingly had not seen much of) and of course.. shop :) At Two Jacks Lake, I came back from a hike to find my car surrounded by goats... licking the road salt from the sides of my car! I snapped a couple shots and then slowly headed on my way. Two hours later, I headed back to Lake Minnewanka to shoot the sunset when low-and-behold (in the rear-view mirror) there they were... chasing my car down the road! Well, I stopped long enough to capture this image and then proceeded on my way.  Notice how the adults kept the little ones safely tucked in the middle. What a charming way to end an incredible week :)

I will absolutely be heading back to Banff the first chance I get!


]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Banff National Park Canada Sun, 13 Dec 2015 04:50:27 GMT
Alaska 2015


What an amazing adventure ! The trip started off with a heli-camp trip atop Lemon Glacier. We put on our crampons and glacier trekked to some amazing ice caves. I don't think I have ever photographed anything as beautiful as blue glacier ice.  This is a photo with my guide, Brad. All I can say is, if you're gonna take a "selfie", do it with a Canon 5D Mark III in an ice cave... haha :) We then took a float plane to Admiralty Island where we were treated to two nights of Aurora Borealis, bio-luminescence and grizzly bears. Does it get better than that? Please check out my landscape and seascape galleries to view some of the amazing images from Alaska 2015 !


]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 04:59:01 GMT
Judges Honorable Mention - 2014


I'm getting so excited about this year's Del Mar Fair Tier 2 Finalist shots ! This is last year's winning shot in the "Wildlife - Bird" category. 


]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Award winning photographer Sat, 23 May 2015 19:41:09 GMT
Kylie Senior Glamour Shoot / May 2015 I absolutely LOVE senior glamour shoots! Here are a few from the beautiful Miss Kylie.  We shot last weekend in Ocean Beach, Downtown and under the Coronado Bay Bridge. Hair and make-up by Heidi Cook.  Congratulations Kylie, Class of 2015!

]]> (LA Horstman Photography) San Diego senior portrait photographer Sat, 23 May 2015 19:09:18 GMT
San Diego Fair International Photography Contest 2015 - Tier 2 Qualifiers June can mean only one thing.. it's time for the Del Mar Fair! This year, I have 3 photos that have moved on to the Tier 2 judging. Two are from my trip to Aspen and are finalists in the "Landscape - Fall" category. The other is from last summer's trip to China and is a finalist in the "Black & White" category.  

]]> (LA Horstman Photography) San Diego County Fair International Photo Contest Sat, 23 May 2015 19:02:46 GMT
Western Horseman - June 2015 Appearing in "Western Horseman"  June of 2015. I shot this one at the Green Ridge Ranch in Julian, CA.  This shoot had it all... cows, horses, mud, cowboys, cowgirls, ropes, mud (did I mention that already?) Yes.. lots of mud, which lends itself well to laying on the ground to photograph horse boots.  It's been a good shoot when you lay bags on the seat of you car when leaving to keep the cow manure from smelling things up :)

]]> (LA Horstman Photography) Professional's Choice Ads Sat, 23 May 2015 18:52:16 GMT
Shelby's Senior Glamour Shoot Senior portraits sure aren't what they used to be, and boy am I glad! We started out early in the morning at Balboa Park. This girl has an incredible sense of adventure which made this shoot so much fun.  Everything from climbing in fountains to laying on the ground, she was "all in". We finished the day with a warm beautiful sunset in the country. Here are just a few samples from her shoot.  Congratulations Shelby, Class of 2015! Shelby's Senior Glamour Shoot Shelby's Senior Glamour Shoot Shelby's Senior Glamour Shoot Shelby's Senior Glamour Shoot Shelby's Senior Glamour Shoot Shelby's Senior Glamour Shoot Shelby's Senior Glamour Shoot Shelby's Senior Glamour Shoot

]]> (LA Horstman Photography) senior portraits Sat, 23 May 2015 18:33:53 GMT