Are you planning a spring photography trip to one or more U.S. national parks? Where should you go? Which parks will provide the best photographic opportunities? Which parks are at their best in the spring?
Category Archives: General
The Best National Parks to Photograph in Spring
Which national parks are at their very best in the spring? If I could go on a fabulous spring photography trip to the national parks of my choice, 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.
Portraits: Wrap Around Backlight
A large, south facing window is perfect for creating wrap around backlight. All you need is a sunny day and some translucent white cloth that will light the light in. Pose your subject close to the white cloth and you will get beautiful, wrap around light.
Painting People with Light
Painting with light is an interesting technique that gives you a different kind of look from using a flash unit or ambient light. As with other kinds of light you can make your subject as light or dark as you want. For these images I went with a darker, low key look. Inanimate objects are the usual subjects for painting with light because they do not move during the long exposures, but I wanted to try it with a live human being so I asked a friend to be my subject.
How to Photograph Jupiter, Saturn, and Their Moons
With a tripod mounted camera and a 300-400mm telephoto lens, it is possible to photograph Jupiter and its four Galilean moons (they are named for Galileo), and Saturn and its biggest moon, Titan. I captured them during their Great Conjunction a little over two years ago. Jupiter is on the left with three of its Galilean moons. Saturn is on the right and Titan is just to the right of Saturn.
The Metadata in Your Digital Photos
When you create a digital image with your camera, your camera adds some digital information to the image file. This digital information is called “metadata” and it can be quite useful.
Sometimes You Get Lucky
I was at one of my favorite local lakes and hundred of geese had shown up. Some of them were in the process of leaving the lake. By the end of the afternoon all but a few geese had left the lake. Some left a few at a time and others left in larger groups.
Elk in a Snowstorm
Today is an anniversary of sorts. February 24, 15 years ago, was a great day in Rocky Mountain National Park. The snow was falling when I found this small cluster of elk in Horseshoe Park. It is one of my favorite photos for the day.
Happy Birthday, Ansel Adams!
Ansel Adams was born 121 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.
Today’s “Screen Saver Surprise” is a Special Image
After a morning office break, I walked back in to our office and this image greeted me on the computer monitor. This happens to be a really special image for me. As an anniversary gift back in September 1993, my wife signed me up for a black and white printing class at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. The gift was initially – let me say – “puzzling” to me. I was pretty much a 100% color slide film photographer. The only time I ever put color negative film in my cameras was to photograph weddings. But it was a gift, so I went.
Violinist in the Snow
It was three years ago today, but it started two months earlier in December with a plan to do portraits of Beth with her violin. Back then she was the principal violinist and concertmaster of the Graceland University Orchestra. (Today she is doing graduate studies in violin performance.) When I asked her to send me examples of the kind of portraits she liked, some of the photos she sent me had a violinist outside in the snow. I asked her if she wanted to shoot in the snow and she said yes. So we waited for snow and on a cold, snowy day in January we did portraits in the snow.
The Photographer’s Bookshelf
Michael Freeman’s Capturing Light is new to this bookshelf. It is a Christmas gift from one of my children. If you aren’t acquainted with Freeman, and you love photography, it is time you meet. So I took a picture and decided to write about the books in this photograph. You are looking at one half of one shelf of two bookcases filled with photography books. I learned long ago that great photographers read a lot. Photo books, composition books, lighting books, art books, location guides, and a whole lot more. So I read books too.
Shirley Cards: Why they are important and how they are used.
In the early 1950s almost all color negative film sold in the U.S. was made by Kodak and Kodak had the monopoly on processing. When you bought the film the cost of processing was bundled in with the price of the film. When you finished the roll you sent it off to Kodak to be processed and Kodak sent you your prints. As long as you knew what you were doing (and didn’t do something dumb like shoot daylight film under tungsten lights) you got great looking prints back from Kodak. The exception was the rare person who processed their negatives at home and made their own prints. They did not like being forced to pay for processing they didn’t use.
“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”
“Raindrop Keep Fallin’ On My Head”
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Sung by B.J. Thomas. RIP Burt. Thanks for so many memorable songs.
How To Photograph Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3)
The key to photographing Comet ZTF is to know where to look. In the evening around 9 pm it is above the North Star and a little to the left. It moves higher in the sky every night and is almost straight overhead by February 5. For details and the best evening sky map I could find, read this article. Once you have found the comet with your naked eyes or with binoculars, you can photograph it.
How To Find and See Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3)
This map will show you where Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3) will be every night at 9 pm local time from tonight through February 11. 9 pm is approximate (the map might look like this before or after 9 pm), and the difference depends on how far east or west you are located in your time zone.
Winter Photography Safety Essentials
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.
Metering Nighttime Winter Scenes
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.
Metering People in the Snow
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.
Get a Quality DSLR and Two Lenses for $500
Yes, you can get a quality, name brand DLSR with two lenses for under $500 at Canon USA. I found this particular special this evening.
Pushing the Limits: $239 lens vs $2159 lens
Is a $239 lens as good as a $2159 lens? Much of the time, yes (see the first link at the end of this article). Sometimes no. It depends on the photo situation. I get lots of equipment questions and some of them have to do with photography on a tight budget. I’ve been comparing a refurbished Canon SL3 camera and a refurbished Canon EF-S 55-250mm lens to a Canon 7D Mark II camera with a Canon L series 100-400mm lens.
Can a $239 Lens Do the Job of a $2159 Lens?
The good news is most of the time a $239 telephoto lens can do the job of a $2159 lens, but not all of the time (see “Pushing the Limits” in the links below). This article will share a few examples.
Martin Luther King Jr: “The Other America” Speech
Martin Luther King’s “Other America” speech should be as well known and well listened to as his other more famous speeches. People need to learn what life is like in the “other America” King describes in powerful and compelling words.
Martin Luther King – “I’ve been to the mountaintop” – full speech (audio) with still photos
This is the audio (with still photos) of the entire, powerful, prophetic speech MLK made to a packed church in Memphis, Tennessee, on 3 April 1968, just a day before he was assassinated.
Martin Luther King’s final speech – “I’ve been to the mountaintop” – final highlight
This is the final and famous highlight from the powerful, prophetic speech MLK made to a packed church in Memphis, Tennessee, on 3 April 1968, just a day before he was assassinated.
MARTIN LUTHER KING – “I have a dream” – text
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.
Martin Luther King – “I have a dream” – full speech
Martin Luther King, I have a dream, the full speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial August 28, 1963.
Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream” – 5 minute highlight
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. This is a 5 minute highlight from the end of the speech which was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial August 28, 1963. A video of the whole 17 minute speech is here.
Experiment: Canada Geese at 380 Yards with a Focal Length of 400mm
After photographing our rare Tundra Swan, I was getting ready to leave Home Lake when I had an opportunity to test the kind of results I could get photographing distant geese with a 100-400mm lens. I was on the dam at Home Lake so I positioned myself so I was in line with the water facility apparatus in the lake and some distant geese. I did a reference photo at 100mm.
Trumpeter Swan and Tundra Swan
A Trumpeter Swan and Tundra Swan have been spending time together at one of our local lakes. Tundra Swans don’t usually get this far south and I wanted some photos. This is our second rare bird visitor this winter. In December we had a very rare Tundra Bean-Goose that spent a couple of weeks with our Canada Geese before moving on (links below). The Tundra Bean-Goose was supposed to be in far Northern Europe or Russia.