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 122 years ago today, February 20, 1902. 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

Greater Prairie Chicken Excitement!

Greater Prairie Chicken near Elk Chapel Road, Decatur County Iowa.

A male Greater Prairie Chicken has taken up residence on the edge of a cornfield about 30-40 feet from a county highway, much to the delight of bird watchers. I got a call from a friend, so I grabbed my camera gear and drove out to the location.  This image (above) was taken right before sunset and the prairie chicken is backlit by the sun.

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Winter Photography Safety Essentials

Some of the winter travel items I carry in the trunk of my car.

Some of the winter travel items I carry in the trunk of my car. This is the “kitchen” and “furnace”.

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.

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How to Protect Your Camera Gear in the Cold and Snow

Bruce Canyon After An Overnight Snow

Bryce Canyon After An Overnight Snowstorm

It is still really cold out there so be careful to protect your camera gear. 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.

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“Black and White”

“Black and White”, Giulietta Luna, Columbus Ohio. Click image to see a larger version.

These images were created 14 hours apart, the first at night against a black backdrop and the second in the afternoon against a bright, window shade. In the second she is entirely backlit. It did not occur to me until this week that these two images could be combined. It is a happy accident that they are facing each other.

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Beth in the Snow

Beth playing her violin in the snow.

February 12 is a red letter day!  It started when Beth and I did a photo shoot in a snow storm in January 2020.  We had so much fun we wanted to do it again. I was working in my office four years ago today and I looked out the window. Big, beautiful snowflakes were falling. I said to myself, “This would be a great day for another photo shoot in the snow.”

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60 Years Ago Today!

The Beatles, February 9, 1964.

60 years ago today I was watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was huge. I was in junior high school. I thought they were fun. My girlfriend thought they were fabulous. I quickly figured out that I should go along with her assessment.

 

Sunset Collage by Ciro Russo

12 Sunsets by Ciro Russo

I love this collage. It has gone viral. 12 photos of sunset from the same location, January through December. I found the site that says the photographer is Ciro Russo (he signed the collage twice), but gives no additional information about him. As nearly as I can tell, he is Italian, but I have been unable to find a web site with more details about this set of images.

The Best National Parks to Photograph in Winter

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

There is still some winter left and some national parks look much better than others in winter. I am sharing this post again for those of you who might be planning a trip.

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.

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Who is this woman? Why does it matter?

“NT” on Facebook, October 25, 2020.

This all started when I learned that an older acquaintance on Facebook was being taken in by a fake account. He really believed he had a special friendship with a beautiful young woman half way across the country. I was not able to convince him he was being scammed until I showed him the photo and the account of the real person whose photo had been stolen to create the fake account. “But she is so nice,” he said. In his head he got it, but in his heart he still wanted to believe it was a real woman that really liked him.

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Selina

Selina, Downtown Columbus Ohio. January 29, 2010.

Selina, Downtown Columbus Ohio. January 29, 2010.

Selina and I created this image 14 years ago this evening. Some models are a dream to work with and Selina is one of them, which is why we did more than one photo shoot. The windchill when I took this photo was 4°F. We scheduled this photo shoot weeks ahead of time and we knew it would be cold in January, but not THIS bone chillingly cold. I contacted her before she left home and asked if she wanted to re-schedule. She wanted to go ahead with the shoot despite the forecast and she drove up from Kentucky.

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How To Series: Snowy Owl Photography

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl looking for prey.

If there are cold enough temperatures and plenty of snow cover on the ground, the northern United States has a winter invasion of Snowy Owls. These are magnificent creatures and well worth your photographic time and attention. This series is filled with tips on how to find and photograph snowy owls.

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MARTIN LUTHER KING – “I have a dream” – text

Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15, 1929. He was a Baptist minister and a prominent civil rights advocate. King was the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize when it awarded to him in 1964. He was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

One of his most famous speeches was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial August 28, 1963. Often referred to as the “I have a dream” speech, it is one of the most significant and powerful speeches of the 20th century. A portion of the speech follows. Links to the full speech and an audio file are at the end of this post.

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Winter Photography Safety Essentials

Some of the winter travel items I carry in the trunk of my car.

Some of the winter travel items I carry in the trunk of my car. This is the “kitchen” and “furnace”.

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.

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How To Work With A Model (or Anybody Else) When The Windchill is 4°

Selina

Selina, Downtown Columbus Ohio. Windchill 4°.

You would think a windchill of 4° Fahrenheit (-16°C) would be too cold for a photo shoot, but not with some models. Selina and I 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. Despite the frigid temperatures, Selina did no want to reschedule for later. Here’s the story behind this image and how to work with a model (or anybody else) when it is so cold.

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Testing Your Camera’s Snow Exposure Latitude

Cascade, Barry, and Coxe Glaciers

Cascade, Barry, and Coxe Glaciers, Prince William Sound, Alaska

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 it to your images, the color and quality of your winter photos will suffer.

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Finding a Photo Location

Western Scrub-Jay

Western Scrub-Jay

10 years ago this morning I was at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont California. I spotted this pretty blue bird while driving around the parking lot at the visitors center. It was in the dry grass grass at first and then hopped into a bush with red berries. As you can see, the bush photo is much better. When I had a chance I looked up this bird. It is a Western Scrub-Jay.

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Metering Nighttime Winter Scenes

Twilight, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Twilight, Rocky Mountain National Park. Sirius, Canis Major, Orion, Taurus, the Hyades star cluster, and the Pleiades star cluster are all visible in the fading light. Click for a larger version.

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.

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