October 14: How to Photograph Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and the Moon

Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and the Moon from Lake LaShane, Iowa. Click the image to see a larger version.

Thursday evening, October 14, 2021, you can photograph Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon all in one frame, and Venus too provided you have a really wide angle lens. This photo was taken October 13 at 8:11 pm local time and Venus is getting pretty low in the sky. On October 14, the moon will be in between and below Jupiter and Saturn, forming a triangle.

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The Starscope Monocular, It Is The Same Old Scam

Starscope Monocular Telescope ad.

We’ve been down this road before (see the first link at the end). The scam works like this. Pick an inexpensively made product from China, jack up the price, make up ridiculous and false claims about the quality of the product and what it can do, and sell it on dozens of web sites that are ads thinly disguised as articles. Go to the internet and grab professional photographs created with high dollar professional camera gear and put the photos in the ads to give the impression the photos were made with the Chinese product. And for good measure, say in the ads that the product was designed by American or German engineers and manufactured in the U.S. or Germany. Create fake customer reviews to go in the ads, and for good measure, create fake reviews sites to endorse the quality of the product.

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A Favorite Photo Shoot

Beth Presler, Slip Bluff Lake.

Beth is a concert violinist, who, in her own words “lives for art”. Our first outdoor photo shoot was in a cold and windy snowstorm with her playing her violin. Our second shoot was also in the snow (links below). For this autumn shoot we went with water.

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Don’t Fall for This Scam!

Seriously, do you really believe you can see something “miles away like you’re standing next to it”? We’ve been down this road before (see the first link at the end of this article). A $47 monocular is not better than a $3,000 telescope, but thousands of people who know nothing about optics fall for scams like this. This screen capture is from the top of a long ad on the internet.

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What Are Your Favorite Portrait Photography Months?

Portrait Collage

What are your favorite portrait photography months? Whether you are a professional or amateur, when do you create most of your portrait images? Do they cluster around a particular time of year? For many wedding photographers the busiest times of the year are June and before Christmas. People who do senior pictures do most of their work in the late summer or fall, depending on when the photos need to go to the yearbook editor. My portrait photography is much less specialized, so I decided to check out my busiest months.

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Two Photographers and Eleven Outdoor/Travel Writers Pick the Best National Parks for Fall

Long’s Peak and Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Fall is a fabulous time of year to visit the national parks. Crowds are usually smaller than in the summer, temperatures are cooler, and some of our national parks have glorious fall colors. With so many to choose from, where should you go? Which national parks will provide the best photographic opportunities in the fall?

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The Best National Parks for Fall Photography

Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

What are the best national parks to photograph in the fall? Here are my choices, grouped by state and province from west to east. This list includes the favorites I have been to, plus the ones I most want to see based on the recommendations of the photographers I trust, like Tim Fitzharris and QT Luong. More about them later.

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Colorado Fall Color Photography and Travel Guide

Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake. Mid-morning. September 24, 2015.

Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake. Mid-morning. September 24, 2015.

Headed for Colorado this fall? Welcome to my Colorado fall color photography and travel guide with 131 photos, 18 maps, and over 100 pages of information (if you print it all out). 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 few days to two weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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20 Years Ago

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was working in my office. The family/TV room was right around the corner. The phone rang and I picked it up.

“Stop whatever you are doing and turn on the TV.” I walked around the corner and turned it on.

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9/11 – Let Us Pray

“Towers of Light”

LET US PRAY

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked and ultimately crashed.  Two crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City and one crashed into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed in Pennsylvania.

Dozens of people in each of four airplanes living in terror as their hijacked planes are flown to destinations unknown to them. Each ends in a terrible fiery crash.

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Chip East Reflects on the Last Photos of His Friend, Bill Biggart, Taken on 9/11

Photographer Chip East was staring intensely at his laptop screen.

It was two weeks after two jetliners had plowed into the towers of the World Trade Center. His good friend, photojournalist Bill Biggart’s body had been recovered from the rubble. His personal effects, including his cameras had been released by authorities to his widow, Wendy.

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Remembering 9/11


Photo by James Nachtwey for TIME magazine.

I will never forget staring at the screen. I was stunned. It was just a few moments after I got the phone call to turn on the TV. Then the second plane hit.

On this date, nineteen years ago, we experienced a great national tragedy in the United States. 2,977 lives that were lost in the terrorist attacks. So many  families were torn asunder. The way we view ourselves and our world changed. Emergency responders continue to suffer terrible health problems as a result of working at the scene. The way we view ourselves and our world changed too. Over 2,000 first responders have died of health issues related to 9/11.

In remembrance of that day, and to honor the lives that were lost, I am posting some tributes.

From a Throwaway to a Keeper

Anoush Anou after ACR correction.

The original of this photo was a mistake. A throw away. Anoush and I were doing soft light portraits, thanks to the canopy of leaves overhead. I had carefully metered for the existing shady light conditions. But when I clicked the shutter, thanks to a breeze or something, the sun broke through the leaves and a beam of sunlight hit Anoush’s face and washed over some of the rest of the scene. The result was most of the image ended up somewhere between properly to overexposed, and her face was the most overexposed. It looked bad. The kind of photo most people would discard. But I didn’t throw it away. I learned from one of my photo guru’s years ago never to throw away a photograph, even a bad one.

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Travel Outtakes

Travel Outtakes

Like a lot of other photographers, I do “outtakes” in between shooting sessions. I was looking through some travel outtakes recently and realized a lot of them were taken in between shooting locations while sitting at traffic lights, stuck in traffic jams, waiting for the rain to stop, waiting for the cold winter winds to die down, or just waiting for the quality of the light to get better. Each of these outtakes is connected in my memory with some of my favorite images. Take for example the right center image of Vassanta asleep in the car.

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Bad Date Metadata and Last Night’s Photo Puzzle

Andrew, our front yard, Columbus Ohio, October 12, 2003.

Last night I was looking at the folder with some of my “favorite photos” for August 23 (screen capture 1, below) and something did not look right. I knew I created the sunflower photo late in the afternoon on the way home from a retreat in Northern Michigan. I also knew I created the image of our grandson Drew in our front yard in central Ohio. So how could I have gotten home from the retreat in time to take a picture of Drew on the same date?

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How to See and Photograph the Perseid Meteor Shower Tonight

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

Tonight, August 11-12, is the predicted peak night of the Perseid Meteor Shower this year. But you can also look for the next few nights. This article will tell you what you need to know to see and photograph the most popular meteor shower of the year.

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Outdoor Photo Shoot with Tabitha

Tabitha in tall flowers

I had a great time on a recent photo shoot with Tabitha. I will take you through the shoot and make some suggestions that you can use in your own portrait photography. As is my custom before doing a photo shoot with someone for the first time, I asked Tabitha to go through my online portraits and any other online portraits she could find and let me know what she liked. She picked outdoor portraits, some of them among flowers, some of them in soft light, and some of them backlit by the sun. In some of the photos the subject was standing or kneeling, and in some the subject was laying in a bed of flowers. So that is what we planned on doing. The day before the photo shoot I scouted several locations to see which ones had flowers currently in bloom.

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Soft Light is Portrait Light

Ava in soft light

Soft light is the most flattering all purpose light for most portraits. It enhances good features and minimizes flaws in the skin. Some of the best soft light is outside on “cloudy bright” days. Those are the days that there is enough cloud cover that you don’t cast a shadow but not so many clouds that it is dark and gloomy. Another test of a good cloudy bright day is to see if you can look at the sky without squinting. If you squint there aren’t enough clouds.

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Colorado Fall Color Photography and Travel Guide

Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake. Mid-morning. September 24, 2015.

Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake. Mid-morning. September 24, 2015.

Headed for Colorado this fall? Welcome to my Colorado fall color photography and travel guide with 131 photos, 18 maps, and over 100 pages of information (if you print it all out). 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 few days to two weeks (or more) exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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In Remembrance: A Brief History of Memorial Day

Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Washington D.C.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Washington D.C.

Richard Duane Klug (the name just above the rose) was born January 26, 1946. He died in Darlac Province, Vietnam, November 14, 1967 at the age of 21. He is one of over 58,000 American soldiers that died in Vietnam, and one of over 1.1 million American soldiers that have died in all American wars (almost half of them in the Civil War).

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