The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

From the Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776. Written by Thomas Jefferson (1762-1826). 3rd US President (1801-09).

More images (including Thomas Jefferson’s original draft and George Washington’s personal copy) and the complete text follows the break.

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How to Shoot and Protect Your Camera Gear in Hot Weather

Covered camera during a shooting break.

Summer is here and that means hot weather. So it is time for a “save your camera gear” reminder. Camera gear has a temperature and humidity rating. A top of the line Canon camera body has a limit of 115°F and 85% or less humidity. A black camera on a hot day can easily exceed that limit. Less expensive cameras of any brand have lower limits so it is important to protect your gear.

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One Photographer and Eleven Outdoor/Travel Writers Pick the Best National Parks for Summer

Royal Arches, North Dome, and Washington Column from Stoneman Meadow. Yosemite National Park. California.

Summer is the most popular time to visit the national parks. With so many to choose from, where should you go? Which national parks will provide the best photographic opportunities in the summer?

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The Clueless Chef: Signature Skillet Spaghetti

My “signature skillet spaghetti”.

Welcome to the first (and maybe only) episode of “The Clueless Chef”. Clueless Chef is tongue-in-cheek. I am no where near being a chef. The kitchen is not my forte. But I have been able to take recipes I have found, switch out and add ingredients, and come up with something tasty that my family and friends like that does not involve using all kinds of ingredients from scratch. And if you are a bit clueless in the kitchen, this easy to prepare recipe is pretty simple to do.

Allow about 45 minutes for prep time and cooking.

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I Did It! I Bought It!

Leonard Nimoy’s Shekhina

In addition to being an actor who is best know for playing Spock on Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy is also known for being a fine photographer. One of his best known photography exhibits was “Shekhina”, which also became a best selling book. You can learn more about the exhibit and book here and at the links below.

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No Lyrid Meteors for Me Early This Morning.

Night Sky over Home Lake, Lamoni Iowa

I had fun early, early this morning. I saw two fireballs and four meteors. Not one of them was thoughtful enough to occur in front of my camera lens. Meteors are fast and streak by in a fraction of a second. Fireballs (very bright meteors) burn up more slowly in the atmosphere and can last for a few seconds.

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Happy Birthday, John Muir!

John Muir

John Muir

John Muir was born April 21, 1838. He had a profound influence on how Americans viewed our wild lands and his influence led to the establishment of many of our National Parks and other protected lands. He was nicknamed The Father of our National Parks. This is National Parks week. Go explore somewhere this week, or make plans to visit sometime this year.

Here are photos from some of my favorite National Parks along with quotes from John Muir.

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How to See and Photograph The Lyrid Meteor Shower This Week

Perseid Meteor photographed from Rose Hill Cemetery west of Lamoni, Iowa. 4:55 am CDT, August 13, 2018.

This is the best week to see the Lyrid Meteor Shower. The peak is Tuesday night through early Wednesday, April 21-22, but you can see meteors through the 25th. This article will tell you what you need to know to see and photograph this popular spring meteor shower. Best of all, this will be a mostly dark sky week without much interference from the moon.

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Using the Histogram to Check Studio Flash Exposures

Sarah, Professional Fitness Trainer

Sarah, Professional Fitness Trainer

When using studio flash units, usually the best way to check your exposures is to use an incident light meter which is capable of metering flash exposures. But what if you don’t have an incident flash meter? Or what if you have a subject that absorbs a lot of light? Or a subject that reflects a lot more light than your typical photographic subject? You can double check your exposure settings by using the histogram on your camera. FYI: Do not trust the LCD image on the back of your camera to judge your exposures.

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Prairie Chickens at 400 Yards

Prairie chickens, Kellerton Grasslands Bird Conservation Area

I figured it was pretty much an exercise in futility to try and photograph prairie chickens that were over 400 yards away, but I did it anyway. Why not? You have nothing to lose. If the photos don’t come out, no one needs to see them. Or they might end up being an illustration for a blog article (wink).

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You Can Create High Quality Digital Images of Analog Prints, At Home or On The Road

Doris. The digitized copy of an original print.

You can create high quality, high resolution digital images of analog prints, and you can do it at home on the road without having a flatbed scanner and computer with you. You probably have everything you need with the possible exception of a couple of small, inexpensive accessories (less than $10 each). This article will show you what to do, step by step.

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The Best National Parks to Photograph in Spring

 Ocotillo. Big Bend National Park. Texas.

Ocotillo. Big Bend National Park, Texas.

If I could go on a fabulous spring photography trip to the national parks of my choice, with no time limit and all expenses paid, which ones would I pick? Here are my choices, grouped by state from west to east. This list includes the favorites I have been to and want to go back to again, plus the ones I haven’t seen and most want to photograph.

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