Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gorgeous Autumn Trees

     Next to our house, we have a gorgeous forest with a nice trail. At this time of the year, all of the leaves on the trees are a beautiful orange or red color and it feels amazing to be surrounded by them. Here is a photo from a walk in the forest:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Photos from our Cabin in Valbella - Swiss Alps

     A few weeks ago, my host family and I took a weekend trip to our cabin in Valbella, situated in the Swiss Alps. It was a gorgeous cabin with an amazing view right out on our back porch. There was constantly a blanked of fog due to the high altitude, and so every once in a while we would get a really special view of the valley covered in clouds - it resembled a river flowing through the valley in slow motion.

     On one of the days while we were at the cabin, we went on a hike through the mountains and ended up in a rural mountain side with a great view of the alps. We were going to have a picnic, but because of the fog I mentioned earlier, it got too cold and humid to have a picnic. We were literally standing in the middle of a cloud so quite often we weren't able to see a few yards ahead of us! It was really interesting but also a bit creepy especially with all of the cows staring at us...

     The last night we were in the cabin, it was a completely clear night with no clouds or fog whatsoever. Since we were so far away from any kind of large city, there was no cloud pollution which made for great astrophotography weather. The sky was amazing. It made you feel like you could reach out and grab one of the stars - it was incredible. I rushed outside after dinner and I'm fairly satisfied with the photos I got!

Here are my favorite photos from the trip to the cabin:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Warren Wilson College Campus Collaborations Continued

In this round of collaborations between Gram and I, we focused on pieces that we have previously created and tried to put them together instead of making something specifically for this project. Gram had a really interesting drawing of the Silo which featured a very dark and moody atmosphere. We thought that the painting would go well with my eerie photo of the cows that I took a while back. We put them together and voila!

In the second image we used a photo of the inside of an old barn that I had previously taken and a drawing of the sheep that lived below. Her drawing matched my photo and so we decided to put that together and see what it would look like and it turned out to not be too bad!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Brilliant Colors and Flourishing Flowers

     Last Sunday, Gram and I were hiking around the Warren Wilson College campus looking for things to photograph when Gram had the idea of going and visiting some old barn buildings. On our way there, we passed through a gorgeous arcade of trees. There were strange idols of some sort - maybe a senior exit project? Either way, Gram spent time drawing that and I photographed the trees.
     On our way back, we saw some flowers and so I decided to photograph those. The three photos below are from that Sunday.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Warren Wilson College and the Beautiful Bull

      On Saturday evening, Gram and I went walking through the Riverside Trail on the Warren Wilson College campus to find some places to photograph and draw. We hiked until we got to a big waterhole with a cool rock with lots of graffiti on it. I ended up taking a panoramic shot of the water which turned out 'eh'. On our way back, however, we came across an enormous bull that was lying in a field right next to the fence. It was gorgeous and hulking its way towards the rest of the cows, but not before taunting us with some minuscule lunges and grunting noises. I took a cool picture of the bull and Gram drew a really cool drawing of the bull. We ended up taking a photo that I took, and a sketch that she made, and combining them into a sort of collaboration. She posted a lot of stuff on her blog from that day as well. Here are the photos that I got on Saturday - I will post ones from Sunday tomorrow!

     The bull had tons of flies on its nose and it was huge. His head was probably the size up my entire upper body.

     First time using the Pano feature of Lightroom - works pretty well! Lots of distortion though.

     Finally, here is the collaboration that I did with my grandmother. She sketched the bull and I took the photograph. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Warren Wilson College Sunrise

     Exams have finally shown their nasty faces and so I have been bogged down with lots of school work and other drama. This post features two photos that I took two weeks ago on the Warren Wilson College campus. We woke up at about 5:00 in the morning to catch the early sunrise and it was worth it but wow was I tired. I went to bed at about 2:00 in the morning so I was functioning on only three hours of sleep (luckily I had the luxury of falling back asleep when we returned).
     Anyways, the first photo was taken in front of the silo that marks the beginning of the campus. The second photo was taken at a small wheat field a ways down the road from the silo. There was plenty of fog and haze which gave the field an ominous and dreamlike feel to it.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thanks for Modeling, Steve

    Hey guys! This post, while it is a pretty nice photo, is just an excuse to ask you all a question! I am trying to get into more portrait photography and I was wondering if there is anybody out there who has any tips? Anyone that I could connect with and ask some questions? If you know of anyone, text me at 828-545-3000! Thanks so much!

Hard Work and Flattering Results

     Since I can remember, I have always wondered why anyone would work their butts off, to the point of utter exhaustion, simply to do something like clean up the yard. Well, this weekend I found out why. My parents have always been telling me, "It may be hard work, but you'll be happy you did it!", and I never believed them. I was watching my father work in the back yard and I saw the lawn go from long and nasty to sharp and clean. His face showed his fatigue, but his eyes showed his pride. Sweat dripping down his face and out of breath, but sparkling eyes that reflected the flattering results that he had just produced. He gets the pleasure to know that HE completed that. HE made a change. HE made the back yard a nice place to rest and contemplate thoughts. His mouth is clenched, but if you concentrate enough, you can see the smile hidden underneath his scowl. He exerted hard work and produced flattering results. 

Thank you for letting me use your face, dad!

ISO 400 ... 50mm focal length ... f/11 aperture ... 1/1250 sec shutter speed

Thank you for viewing!

~Jacob Diehn

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Photos from Florida - Honorable Mentions

Here are the rest of the photos that I took at Florida.

Starting with this post, I am going to start including the settings that I used with each photo and some other details. I will most likely go back and include that in my previous posts too. Hopefully it helps!

 ISO 200 / 62mm / f.9 / 1/1000 sec

ISO 200 / 185mm / f. 5.6 / 1/125 sec

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Returning to a Rejuvenated Culture

     Hello! I spent the last week at the beach in Florida for my spring break. It was an exorbitant amount of fun and I took a lot of interesting photographs. The drive is always fun, even though it was a twelve hour drive. We traveled for approximately six hours before resting at a nice hotel in Georgia. After waking to a nice breakfast, we hit the road again with only six more hours to go. Unfortunately, my sister Maya vomited her breakfast out - a mixture of donuts and applesauce! Yum! After arriving, we went to the beach and swam for a while before spending the rest of the night in the pool and hot tub. The following morning, I woke up before the sun peeked over the horizon (6:00 am) and shot the sunrise (7:15 am). The rest of our week was saturated in crazy fun activities such as going to Rapids Water Park and snorkeling at a coral reef. We also visited a nature center where I shot a couple of photos of the creatures that resided there.

     Aside from all of the fun we endured, the interesting part about this vacation was the return home. The culture in Florida is vastly different from the culture where I live, Asheville, NC. Living in a culture causes many people to be blind of their surroundings, as I was. However, when I spent the week engulfed in the Florida culture, it was a kind of reset button on my understanding of where I live and what I live around. Today I spent a good four hours downtown with my friend Haylie. During that time, I observed twice as much as I ever had before I left for Florida. There is now a contrasting culture to compare Asheville to. It stands out, much like what Depth of Field does to a photograph. It is extraordinary.

     Below, you will see my favorite of the photographs that I took during the trip. Tomorrow I will post the other "honorable mentions".

ISO 400 / 90 mm / f.11 / 1/500 sec

ISO 400 / 90 mm / f.10 / 1/200 sec

ISO 500 / 200 mm / f. 5.6 / 1/1600 sec

ISO 400 / 90 mm / f.10 / 1/3200 sec

ISO 100 / 55 mm / f. 5.6 / 1/6 sec

ISO 200 / 55 mm / f. 5.6 / 1/500 sec

ISO 200 / 15 mm / f.22 / HDR

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mountains to Sea Photography Workshop

This weekend, I participated in a winter photography workshop with a handful of other photographers. We were up early, out late, and working our butts off to get some unique shots that we could work with. It snowed for the majority of the time which made the whole experience that much more fun.

We visited a lot of different locations and hiked to almost all of them. The first place we went to was Price Lake in Blowing Rock, NC on Friday. Arriving at the parking area at around 5:30 pm, we hiked for about 15 minutes (very short hike) and shot the sunset across the frozen lake at roughly 6:15 pm. It was a gorgeous scene and one that I wasn't very prepared for - I had forgotten my tripod at the house. Unfortunately, I didn't get any good shots from that day but I had loads of fun.

Saturday, we woke up at 3:45 am to leave the hotel at 4:15 am in order to get to Roan Mountain by sunrise. The roads were so frozen that we couldn't go to Roan Mountain, however we did go to the Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway. That hike was intense. Since the Parkway was closed, the group had to hike down the road (which was covered in a foot of snow the whole way up) and got to where we needed to be in 45 minutes. Let me remind you, it was PITCH black and colder than I've felt in a while. We got some good, but mostly colorless photos up there and hiked back down to get some breakfast at around 11:00 am. After breakfast, we went to a place which didn't have a specific name but had huge rolling hills with an enormous oak tree in the middle - it was also covered in more than a foot of snow, 2.5 feet in some places!

Today (Sunday) I woke up at 4:30 am to go catch the sunrise atop Beacon Heights. It was an unimaginably breathtaking scene (covered in snow again) and was a short quarter-mile, straight uphill hike.

I learned a lot from that trip - lots of technical things - but most importantly for me, I realized that it's okay to take photographs that aren't portfolio-quality and to take my time. I have a new-found motivation to do photography as much as I can and I can thank Tommy White and Alistair Nicol for that.

I'll be posting more from Friday night (I'll share a couple, even if they aren't GREAT) and from Saturday morning tomorrow!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I Know Where I'm Going Abroad!

I am going to Switzerland! I will be staying in the German speaking part of the country and I'm so excited! Switzerland is in the middle of the alps and there is just so many great things about their culture. For one, they are a totally neutral country with only three wars in the history of their country. They are the richest country in the world with a median income of 94,000 USD. They also have the one of the lowest unemployment rates at a peak of 4.4% in 2009 (it has dropped since then). On top of all of that, they are the largest chocolate consumers in the world. This is going to be an amazing exchange. Thank you so much to all of the Rotary people and my friends and family for supporting me.

Anyways, here are two photos that I took tonight with Gram at Warren Wilson College. The first one is one at sunset at an old barn with a lonely donkey. The second one is one of the stars on a semi-cloudy night. I thought the second one looked very moody (credit to Gram) and dark and creepy (which I like and seems to be a pattern in some of my photos).

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sunrise at Beaver Lake

Last weekend, Gram and I went to Beaver Lake at 7:00am to photograph/draw the sunrise. I took a lot of photos, but this was the only one that turned out acceptably. I have recently been thinking about my photos, not the composition, but just the quality in general. I feel that I jumped into the world of DSLRs a little to quickly and forgot to get the basics completely down. I know how to use aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings, but I don't fully understand them or what the can really do for my photos if I get it down and use it to it's highest potential. I decided to do some research and I'm spending time learning the basics again. I've discovered subtle things that impact photos greatly. I knew that a lower aperture (higher f/stop) would create greater depth of field and a slower shutter speed requirement, but I never used it according to the scene. For example, when shooting stars, you don't need a great depth of field because to the human eye, it's all so far away that it seems two dimensional anyways. If I was shooting something like my last picture (the Cathedral), I would want a greater depth of field to really capture all of the details in the photo to make it feel like you're there. There are lots of other examples but I don't want to bog you down. Here is a photo that I took before fully understanding the basics. It's a pretty basic photo.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Basilica Cathedral

On Wednesday, Sam and I went downtown again to walk around. We were looking for something to do when we passed the Roman Catholic Basilica near the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville. I had never been inside before so I suggested we take a peek! As we opened the door, we were flooded by warm lights and silence. A little less than half of the seats were filled. We quietly sat down and just listened and observed. All of the structures inside of the cathedral were perfectly symmetrical and it looked like it would make for a wonderful photo. Roughly ten minutes into the service (mass), I pulled out my camera and walked toward the back of the room. As I placed the view finder against my eye, a man taps me on the shoulder and politely requests that I postpone my photography until after mass is over. Understanding his wishes, Sam and I exit the building and continue walking around. We loiter around the fountain area downtown and then head over to Dobra Tea and get a snack. This took about an hour and a half due to the abnormally long wait for our food and tea. Afterwards, we are heading home and so we stop by the church again to see if the service had ended yet. Fortunately, it was, and so Sam looked around while I shot some photos and then we left.
In the photo below, Sam is sitting on the left.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Downtown with the Step Bro

Today, Sam and I went downtown for around three hours, photographing and just walking around. I expected to get a lot of cityscapes, and other urban shots... however, Sam proved to be a worthy subject and I based many of my photos off of him! In the first two photos, Sam and I are at an abandoned building near Church Street. The next is just a cityscape of downtown Asheville during sunset, and the last two are photos of Sam that I took with a macro lens, external speed flash, and a portable softbox.

Recently, I have become interested in photographing extreme sports, and just any sort of outdoor adventures... specifically rock climbing and bouldering. If anyone knows of any opportunities, please send me an email at! Thanks so much!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas is in the Air!

Tonight we finally put ornaments on our Christmas tree! I always love Christmas, not because of the gifts (while yes that is awesome), but it just feels cool and relaxing. There always seems to be a warm atmosphere and the lights are the perfect shade of orange/white and it feels very comfortable. Even if you aren't Christian, I'm not, I think that you should still celebrate it! Call it something else! It is a nice time to spend time with family and think about and reflect upon the happy times and good feelings inside of you. I just hope it snows! It just doesn't seem right without at least a couple of days of snow... huddled inside the warm house drinking whatever hot beverage one might prefer.

Here, I have two photos. The first one is an ornament that kind of shows how even though some people aren't here with us right now (Sam will be soon!), that we still think about you guys all of the time. Lindsay is probably digesting some sort of strange animal's body part in the Czech Republic... but Merry Christmas to you and Merry Christmas to you, Sam.

The second photo is just a generic looking Christmas photo that I thought looked neat.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Night Sky on the Parkway

This isn't the sharpest photo but it certainly is beautiful. I took this at f4 with a 30 second exposure and 200 ISO. I like this one because if you look close enough, you can see small star trails due to the extensive exposure time. Technology has really been able to show us things that us humans can't see with our bare eyes, such as the nebula on the right hand side of the photo, and the faint appearance of a part of the milky way galaxy in the center. You can also see that I picked up a shooting star near the bottom of the photo just above the trees. I was trying to get as far away from light pollution as I could so that I could get a clear night sky, but in this photo, the light pollution in the lower right corner gives the picture better, more complex coloring. My dad drove me up to the parkway, and while we were up there (two weekends ago), it was 12 degrees! Being outside of the car for only a minute froze our ears off!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Light Painting Photography

Last week, I went up to the Blue Ridge Parkway with my dad to do some astrophotography. Unfortunately, we got TOO elevated which put us in the dead center of a cloud, blocking out all of the sky. However, it was high enough up that there was minimal light pollution, which makes for some good long-exposure shots! Instead of doing astrophotography, I decided to try out light painting photography for the first time. Light painting is basically where you set you camera to a long exposure (I used 30 secs) and you wave light around in front of the camera to make patterns and trails of light. Since it is so dark and you are constantly moving, the camera only catches the light and whatever the light illuminates. In the picture below, I used the highest f-stop my lens would allow (12-22mm ultrawide), an f4 aperture. I set my exposure for 30 seconds and got my dad to stand still for that time (which was quite difficult considering it was literally 12 degrees up there). I waved the light around and this came out.