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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Why and When To Set A Custom White Balance

piano reflection portrait
Piano Reflection Portrait

Why set a custom white balance? The answer is simple. To get the best, most accurate colors your camera is capable of producing. It is especially important when photographing people if you want beautiful, accurate skin tones. In this article I give you some shooting tips, answer common questions, and I cover the situations when it is preferable not do a custom white balance.

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How To Set A Custom White Balance on Your Digital Camera

 

Before and after setting a custom white balance.

Before and after setting a custom white balance.

To get the most accurate colors your camera is capable of creating you need to set a custom white balance. Every camera does this a little differently, but it involves taking a picture of an 18% gray card (or something pure white) and using that photo as a standard to create a custom white balance setting. I will show you the process with a Canon camera, but other brands should be somewhat similar. Check your camera’s manual for specific instructions.

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Favorite Photo, March 1

Communion, Worthington Ohio. March 1, 2015

Photographing religious ceremonies is important to me. This image was captured at a communion service in Worthington Ohio. I wanted the cross on the wine tray in focus and I wanted one or two people in the background. I had to change the camera location just enough so there were some people directly in line with the cross.

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Total Immersion Nature Photography Weekend in Beautiful Northern Michigan

Michigan Photography Workshop

Are you ready to take your nature and wildlife photography to the next level? Are you ready to learn the professional secrets that make the difference between good images and great images? Are you ready for a high intensity, action packed, total immersion photography weekend? Come to Park of the Pines on beautiful Lake Charlevoix June 7-10, 2019.

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Favorite Photo, February 26

Moraine Park in Late Evening Light. Colorado. February 26, 2008.

It was a beautiful evening in Rocky Mountain National Park. Sirius, Orion, Taurus, and the Pleiades star cluster were shining brightly in the night sky. The sun set at 5:50 pm and I clicked the shutter at 6:43 pm. The beautiful blue sky was due to the long, 30 second exposure.

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Favorite Photo, February 23

Sami Lynn with rose petals, Columbus Ohio. February 23, 2007.
Sami Lynn with Rose Petals, Columbus Ohio. February 23, 2007.

Sami Lynn and I were creating portraits for her model portfolio. With her on the floor, I arranged her hair to get as many curls as possible at the ends of the strands of hair. The rose petals were my idea. I knew the Valentine’s Day roses in a vase were about done so I plucked all the petals and dropped them on the floor and on Sami Lynn.

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The Last Week in Lamoni: “Picking Up the Pieces”, An Art Exhibit by Julia Franklin

“Picking up the Pieces” by Julia Franklin

I’ve been to more art fairs, shows, galleries, and museums, than I would care to admit, and this exhibit is one of the most unique and remarkable I have experienced. Some people choose to make art their life, and then they pour their life into their art, sometimes quite literally. And that is exactly what Julia Franklin did with this exhibit.

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Snowy Owl Update: February 22

Snowy Owl Map

Snowy Owl Update: February 22. Thanks to all the cold and snow this winter, this is a great year for Snowy Owls. They have been farther south than usual and they are staying longer than usual. It is not too late to go photograph snowy owls. Don’t wait too long. As the weather gets warmer they will start moving farther north.

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Snowy Owl Photography: Solving A Photo Problem (And the Right Way to Exit Your Vehicle)

Snowy Owl, Photo Location 1

Snowy Owl, Photo Location P1

When I am traveling with my highly trained and high paid photographic assistant it is his job to remove trash barrels when they are in the way, cut down trees that spoil my view, run out into the meadow and scare off the cow elk that are in front of the bull elk I want to photograph, rip boards off of old barns that don’t look quite distressed enough, pull on the whiskers of a sleeping cougar to wake it up, and cut down utility lines that are obstructing a clear view of my subject. But he wasn’t with me on this trip due to sitting in jail over a minor incident in Yosemite. So I had a challenge on my hands that I had to solve myself.

I am kidding, of course. The prior paragraph was inspired by really crazy things a few photographers do but shouldn’t be doing.

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Snowy Owl Photography: Control the Background for Better Images

Snowy Owl, Photo Location 1

Snowy Owl, Photo Location P1

A simple change of background can turn a disappointing wildlife photo into a great one. Professional wildlife photographers think about backgrounds all the time and do everything they can to improve the background. Less experienced wildlife photographers are so excited to find an interesting creature that they give the background precious little thought.

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A Snowy Owl Photo Expedition

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

What is a Snowy Owl expedition really like? This article is your chance to find out. Join me for a two day photo safari! I give you tips and photo suggestions along the way, and you get to see how I prepare, plan, and adapt on a photo trip. I tell you what went right and what went wrong so this is also about what to do when things don’t go according to plan.

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How to Find and Photograph Snowy Owls

Snowy Owl Sightings, January 2016

Snowy Owl Sightings, January 2016

Winter is your opportunity to photograph Snowy Owls. When it is cold enough and there is enough snow cover, snowy owls move down into the northern U.S. The colder it is the farther south they move. If conditions are right, don’t delay. If the winter turns warmer the snowy owls will head back north.

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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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George Mendonsa, the Sailor in the “Kiss Seen Round the World”, Died This Week

Life Magazine, Cover Photo from  V-J Day, 1945.
LIFE Magazine, Photo from V-J Day, August 14, 1945, by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

This iconic photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt is one of the most famous images ever published by LIFE magazine. Eisenstaedt was at Times Square on the day Japan’s surrender was announced. Joyful, exuberant people filled the streets, as did photographers. Eisenstaedt took four photos of this couple (as well as photos of other people celebrating). There is quite a story behind this image.

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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, 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.

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