Books and Calendars from the Master: Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams - Half done, Merced River, Winter

Ansel Adams: Half Dome, Merced River, Winter. © Ansel Adams Publishing rights Trust

I have no idea when I was first entranced by the photos of Ansel Adams. There is a wonderful, luminous quality to his work. Small wonder he is America’s best known landscape photographer. Collections of his work would make a worthy addition to any photographer’s library. This is also the time of year that Ansel Adams calendars pop up like snowstorms.

Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Ansel Adams!

Ansel Adams, Monolith:  The Face of Half Dome, 1927. Photographed in his home Dec. 2, 1980.

Ansel Adams in front of “Monolith: The Face of Half Dome, 1927”. Photographed in his home Dec. 2, 1980.

Ansel Adams was born February 20, 2002. He is “the” icon of American landscape photography. Trained as a concert pianist, his love of photography and time spent in Yosemite National Park led him to a career change.

Continue reading

Having Fun with Jeffrey Friedl’s Image Metadata Viewer

Wat Buddharatanaram, Buddhist Temple, Keller Texas

Wat Buddharatanaram, Buddhist Temple, Keller Texas

If you want to look at the metadata embedded in online photos, including GPS coordinates, this is an excellent online viewer. And it is simple. Just grab the URL for an online photo, drop it into the URL box on Jeffrey’s site, verify you aren’t a robot, and then check out the tons of metadata (check out the examples below). This is the most comprehensive metadata viewer I have found.

Continue reading

How to Process Aerial Photos with Your Favorite Image Editing Software

Aerial Photo Before and After Processing

Aerial Photo Before and After Processing

Thanks to atmospheric haze, aerial photos usually don’t look very good right out of the camera. The fastest, simplest, and best way to fix your aerial photos is with Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). If you don’t have ACR there are other good options in your favorite image editing software. They won’t be as fast but they will get the job done. This article shows you how.

Continue reading

How to Process Aerial Photos with ACR

Aerial Photo of the Southern Utah Desert: Before and After ACR

Aerial Photo of the Southern Utah Desert: Before and After ACR

Photos from a commercial jet don’t look very good right out of the camera because you are seven miles off the ground. You are usually shooting through seven miles of atmospheric haze, even on a relatively clear day. If you are flying on a hazy day it is going to be even worse. Fortunately, you can save many of your aerial photos with a quick fix in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR).

Originally posted Feb. 12, 2017. Updated Feb. 17, 2017.

Continue reading

“How To” Series: Using GPS in Photography

Temple Image with GPS coordinates. Click for a larger version.

Temple Image with GPS coordinates. Click for a larger version.

The GPS system is increasingly important to photography. It will help you figure out where you took some of your more obscure photos and help you caption your photos. More and more photo editors want GPS information for the photos they publish. A GPS communicator could save your life. This series will help you learn the ins and outs of GPS, plus keep you and your family safe.

Originally posted Jan. 29, 2016. Updated and re-posted Feb. 11, 2017.

Continue reading

Geotagged Photos: Posting Photos Online Can Put Your Family at Risk

Exif Viewer, GPS Location Data

Exif Viewer, GPS Photo Location Data

Your smartphone is designed to geotag the locations of your photos and store it in the photo’s “metadata”. Many other cameras do the same thing. This means if you take pictures of your family and post them online, anyone (including some very unsavory characters) can pull up a map of where the photo was taken. Is there really a danger? Yes. Are you at high risk for this happening to you? That is hard to say. Is it better to be safe than sorry? Of course.  What can you do to protect your family? Keep reading.

Originally posted August 13, 2013. Revised and updated and re-posted Feb. 11, 2017.

Continue reading

Satellite Communicators: The GPS Messaging Devices That Can Save Your Life

DeLorme inReach Two Way Satellite Communicator

The original DeLorme inReach Two Way Satellite Communicator

You need help. You can barely move. You are far enough from the trail that no one can hear your voice. You have no cell phone signal. What do you do?

Every now and then you hear tragic stories about people who lose their lives simply because they didn’t have a cell phone signal and couldn’t call for help in an unexpected emergency. A $260 – $340 satellite communicator would have saved their lives.

Originally posted Nov. 10, 2014. Updated and re-posted Feb. 11, 2017.

Continue reading

How to Photograph Comet 45P

Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy. January 19, 2015. Cropped from a photo taken with a 24mm lens. Click for a larger version.

If you aren’t used to photographing faint objects in the night sky, this will be a challenge, but I suggest you try anyway. You have nothing to lose and a photo to gain.

Originally posted Feb. 9, 2017. Revised and expanded Feb. 10, 2017.

Continue reading

Using Google Earth in 3D Mode to Label Aerial Photos

Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Great Sand Dunes

Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Great Sand Dunes

Your friendly magazine photo editor wants to know if you have an aerial photo of Crestone Peak. Or maybe you are just curious about the stuff you photograph out an airplane window. Looking at a map, a topographic map, or a satellite image is the usual way to identify objects in an aerial photo, but sometimes that doesn’t work very well. That’s where Google Earth in 3D “flyover” mode comes in.

Originally posted Feb. 8, 2017. Updated Feb. 11, 2017.

Continue reading

How To Get GPS Coordinates Into Google Earth

El Capitan in the moonlight. Camera and tripod. El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite National Park.

El Capitan in the moonlight along with a camera and tripod. El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California.

GPS Data is increasingly important to photographers. It is the link between photos and photographic locations. It can be very helpful to drop GPS coordinates into a program like Google Earth to be able to tell exactly where a photo was taken. How do you do that?

Originally Feb. 9, 2016. Updated and re-posted Feb. 5, 2017.

Continue reading

Using Google Earth to Find the Name of a Mountain (and How to Get GPS Info into Google Earth)

"Mountain in Colorado"

“Mountain in Colorado”

What is the name of this mountain? Photo editors want to know. They like caption information. If you have a distinctive mountain in your photo, “Mountain in Colorado” won’t cut it with your friendly neighborhood photo editor. Here’s how to identify that mountain in Google Earth (and how to get GPS coordinates into Google Earth).

Originally posted Jan. 26, 2016. Updated and re-posted Feb. 5, 2017.

Continue reading

Checking the GPS Location Accuracy of Your Camera, Part One

Yellow Pin: GPS location provided by the camera. Red X: Actual photo location.

Yellow Pin: GPS coordinates provided by my iPhone. Red X: Actual photo location.

In a prior article (on figuring out the name for Antora Peak) I noted the discrepancy between the GPS coordinates provided by my iPhone and the actual location where I took the photo (graphic above). They were off by about 20-30 feet. You can test the accuracy of the GPS information provided by your camera/smartphone. This article will show you how.

Originally posted Jan. 28, 2016. Updated and re-posted Feb. 3, 2017.

Continue reading

Comparing the GPS Accuracy of Three Cameras

19 MI Road looking west, Michigan's U.P.

Looking west from the intersection of S. Hantz Road and 19 Mile Road. Canon 7D2 and 100-400mm lens.

I was on S. Hantz Road east of Rudyard, Michigan looking for Snowy Owls. According to eBird there had been several recent Snowy Owl sightings in the area, but no owl was to be found the day I was there. Another photographer I met didn’t have any luck either. I had three GPS enabled cameras with me, counting my phone, so with no owls in sight I decided to compare the accuracy of the GPS units.

Originally posted Jan. 31, 2017. Revised and expanded Feb. 19, 2017.

Continue reading

“Where Were You When You Took Those Photos?”

Mount Rundle, Two Jack Lake

Mount Rundle, Two Jack Lake

Today (Mar 18, 2014) I was asked by a client where I was when I took some photos in Banff National Park. I was able to provide him with the exact locations, complete with marked satellite images. It is a good idea to known where you were when you created your most important images, and the more specific the information the better. It is good info to have for your own use and sometimes it can make the difference between whether or not one of your images is published.

Originally posted Mar. 18, 2014. Updated and re-posted Jan. 30, 2017.

Continue reading

The National Park Series: Where to Go and When

Milky Way from Horseshoe Park, Rocky Mountain National Park,

Milky Way from Horseshoe Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. September 27, 2015. 8:06:12 PM MDT. Canon 5D Mark III. Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 lens. 30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200.

The National Parks in the United States are natural, environmental, and photographic treasures. To help you show up at the right time and place for the best photography, I am pulling together a list of some of my articles on the National Parks.

Continue reading

When is the Best Time of Year to Photograph the National Parks?

Denali, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Parks

Denali, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Parks

Planning a trip to photograph some of our national parks? You will get better images if you visit a national park at its prime season of the year. But when is each park at its very best? And how do you figure out the best time of year for other locations that aren’t in the national parks?

Continue reading

Don’t get ripped off! Part Four

We’ve been down this road before. The formula is simple. Take a cheap smart phone telephoto lens you can buy at Amazon for $15, sell it for $54.95, say it is a limited half price offer, and imply the lens will do amazing things that every well informed photographer knows the cheap lens absolutely can’t do.

Continue reading