Winter provides some wonderful photo opportunities in our national parks. So if you haven’t gone into hibernation for the winter, here are the best national parks to go photograph this winter, grouped by state from the west to the east. There are a few bonus locations thrown in too. At the end I give you my “best of the best” list.
The most important and difficult step in night photography is to focus your lens at infinity. If you have tried to focus on the stars at night you have already learned that it is an impossible task for the autofocus system and just about impossible for you to do manually. You just can’t see clearly enough through the viewfinder in the dark of night to manually focus on the stars. Fortunately, there are some ways to get the job done.
Originally posted Jan. 8, 2017. Revised and expanded Feb. 10, 2017.
The Sunny f16 rule is really useful on bright sunny days in the spring, summer, and fall, but you can’t rely on it on bright, snowy winter days. It will often lead you astray. There are much more accurate ways to meter in the winter.
The “snow exposure latitude” for every camera is different. You won’t find it in your camera’s manual but it is easy to determine with a do-it-yourself test. Why does it matter? If you don’t know the snow exposure latitude for your camera and how to apply apply it to your images, the color and quality of your winter photos will suffer.
Cold and snow can cause a lot of damage to your camera gear. Something as simple as shooting outside and taking your camera inside can cause hidden damage that won’t show up until days or weeks later. The simple steps in this article could save you hundreds of dollars in repair bills.
You can photograph the night sky year around, but winter brings an added bonus: SNOW! When you don’t have the benefit of moonlight, most of the year land forms a dark to black silhouetted skyline against the night sky. In winter you have the possibility of including the highly reflective snow. You can see both in this photo. Any place not covered with snow is very dark to black. Having reflective snow is why winter is the favorite time of year for a lot of photographers to go out and photograph the night sky.
Just like metering daytime winter scenes, the key to metering evening winter scenes is knowing what to meter and deciding how much exposure compensation to use.
Most wildlife are medium to dark in tone, making them a challenge to meter properly in the bright, white tones of winter. If you trust one of your camera’s automatic exposure modes, the odds are good you won’t get the best exposure. If you switch over to manual exposure and make the right decisions, you can get great exposures and better quality photos (more about that later).
Metering dark toned wildlife in the snow is a major exposure challenge. It is usually best to avoid large “burned out” areas (washed out, featureless white) in a nature or landscape photograph, but with properly exposed snow, the wildlife can be so dark as to lose all texture. On other hand, metering for the wildlife can burn out the snow. So what do you do?
Metering for scenes with a lot of snow can be tricky since the bright snow fools the camera meter. I see a lot of winter photos with gray snow, which means the camera meter did exactly what it was designed to do and the camera owner didn’t know how to use exposure compensation. The solution is quite simple provided you know what to do.
In addition to all of the usual photographic challenges, winter provides some extra complications, especially in terms of metering. So I began my series of articles on winter photography. I am in the process of revising and updating this series. I am also revising some related articles and adding new ones. Check out the links below. The articles will help you meet the unique challenges of winter photography. So get out there, have fun, and create some great winter images!
Looking for an extra special gift for a photographer? Sign them for a total immersion nature photography workshop in Ohio, Michigan, or Colorado in 2017. Workshops are one day to four days in length and cost $90 to $400. Send no money now. This is a no risk gift.
One of the great things about winter is the return of the Snowy Owls. They are now back in the far northern U.S.
November 13-14, 2016 is a Super Moon. For many people this is the biggest super moon in their lifetime. Go out and look Sunday night, early Monday morning (before moonset), or Monday night.
There are times when you shoot in the direction of the sun that direct rays from the sun enter your lens even though the sun isn’t in the photo. Whenever this happens you have the possibility of sun flare. The sunlight bouncing around inside your lens can create ghost shapes, add a light haze to the image, and rob the photo of color.
The clouds were rolling in and the sun dropped behind the mountains when my photography workshop stopped in a parking lot just above “Fern Curve” in Rocky Mountain National Park. Mother nature didn’t provide a sunset so we were on Plan B and then Plan C. It was starting to get dark when we began taking photos. As it gets darker there are some interesting color shifts I wanted the workshop participants to see and photograph.
Fall color is sweeping the country. To make the most of it, you want to be at the right place at the right time. With some help from the internet, I will help you find the best fall color locations at the peak of the season.
Note: I just posted the 2017 edition (July 16, 2017).
Welcome to my Colorado fall color travel guide with 104 photos and 17 maps. I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is mostly unknown to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from a weekend to three weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.
Come spend a fun and exciting weekend learning how to take your nature photography to the next level. It is September 23-25 in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park. There are only a few openings left. Now is the time to sign up.
If you are out hiking and a beautiful woman asks you to take her picture, you should probably says yes!
I walked out the door after church Sunday and was greeted by perfect portrait light thanks to a big cloud over the sun. I love spontaneous shoots and I have been shooting this young woman since she was three years old (along with the rest of her family).
I spent a happy day yesterday working with Kristina, an actress/model from L.A. It was very much a last minute thing for both of us. We have been working together since 2012 when she was in college.
Some days are “so so”, some days are average, and some days are amazing. This is not the best time of year to photograph birds at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, but July 14 was amazing. This photo of a feeding Snowy Egret was just one of many fine images from the morning. He stabbed at his prey and it came out of the water but not in his beak.
Located on the east side of San Francisco Bay near Fremont, California, the Don Edwards San Fransisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is one of my favorite places to go when I am in the Bay Area.
The National Park Service turns 100 this year. Go out and celebrate by going to one of our national parks. Take your camera and create images at some of the most spectacular locations in North America.
Come spend a fun and exciting weekend on Gibraltar Island learning how to take your nature photography to the next level. August 19-21, 2016. Intensive exploration sessions are combined with “use your camera” photo exercises and “go out and do it” field trips to give you the ideal photographic experience.