I had high hopes for the January 20-21 lunar eclipse. Unfortunately, January 20 was a cloudy day. A cloudy, overcast sky is not good for seeing, much less photographing a lunar eclipse.
“I have a dream that one day . . . little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. This is a 5 minute highlight from the end of the speech. A video of the whole 17 minute speech is here.
I was teaching a winter term photography class at Graceland University. We met every day and part of each day’s class session was devoted to doing one or more in class assignments.
We were in Michigan visiting our daughter, Janae. We stopped at Bronson Park just like enough for me to do a portrait. This is my favorite image for January 19.
Here in North America, Sunday night and early Monday, January 20-21, you have your last chance to photograph the last total lunar eclipse until 2021. This article will show you how. Continue reading
Our grandson Andrew loves to play soccer. He is number 15 in white in this group of players near the goal. The key to most good sports photos is action and there is a lot going on in this photo. The ball is going behind the goalkeeper in yellow. This is my favorite photo for January 14.
I captured this moment this past Sunday at church. It is my favorite photo for January 13.
Not long after I posted my review of And A Guitar I was asked how long it took to write. I gave a quick answer at the time. As I thought about the question since, the intriguing thing to me was the process of writing an article, as well as the time. So I checked the metadata for the folders and files I created to come up with an answer.
We were in California visiting “mom” (my mother-in-law) and we were headed out for dinner together. We stopped just long enough to take a group picture.
“A guitar is mostly empty space. It isn’t complete until it’s filled with music.”
Who knew? Paul Simon. Joni Mitchell. Johnny Cash. James Taylor. Live on stage here in Lamoni. And let’s not forget Crosby Stills, Nash and Young. How could we be so lucky?
Thinking about a photography trip to one or more U.S. national parks this winter? You can benefit from the work I have done. Some national parks look better in the winter than others. You will want to make them a priority. After you read this article I recommend you also read the companion article: The Best National Parks to Photograph in Winter.
Originally posted January 17, 2017. Updated and re-posted January 10, 2019.
Winter provides some wonderful photo opportunities in our national parks. But some national parks look much better in the winter than others. 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.
Posted January 17, 2017. Updated and re-posted January 10, 2019.
I grew up in Colorado where strange weather can strand you in any month of the year. Even though it is rare, I’ve seen blizzards in the Colorado high country in July. So I learned to carry some safety essentials when doing winter photography in remote locations. You never know when you might be stranded for several hours, a whole day, or longer, until the blizzard abates and someone can come find you. This is what I carry in my car when I hit the road in the winter and pretty much any time I am going to be in the High Rockies. I include a few winter travel tips, too.
You would think a windchill of 4° Fahrenheit (-16°C) would be too cold for a photo shoot, but not with some models. We booked this January shoot weeks in advance so we knew it would be cold, but we had no idea how cold until the day arrived. Here’s the story behind this image and how to work with a model when it is so cold.
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 your house or car 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?
The white snow in a winter scene can and often does fool a camera meter into underexposing a portrait, so here are the steps to take to get the right exposure. I throw in a few portrait suggestions too.
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. 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 this series of articles on winter photography. 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!
I was teaching a photography class at Graceland University in Lamoni Iowa. We were doing an exposure exercise and I needed a white subject like a polar bear or a mountain goat.
I was at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont California. It is one of my favorite photo locations in the Bay Area. Continue reading
Ansel Adams is right. There is something wonderful about New Mexico. There is an abundance of great subjects to shoot and the light can be magical.