Autumn Shoot with Beth

Beth, Slip Bluff Lake.

Fall is my favorite season for nature photography as you can tell by the number of photos I take per season. But I also love fall for outdoor portrait photography. The colors of fall make a nice backdrop for photographing people. These photo are from a favorite autumn photo shoot with Beth. I hope you take advantage of the colors of the season to do some portrait photography of your own. If you want to improve your portrait photography skills, check out the books at the last link below.

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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 – 2022

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 complete 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 not widely known to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from two days to two weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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21 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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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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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.

LET US PRAY.

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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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, twenty-one 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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Matting and Framing 101

Matting Tools.

Today is a matting and framing kind of day so I brought everything up from the basement that I will need. I figured out long ago it was way too expensive to have someone else do matting and framing for me, so I bought a mat cutter and I do everything myself. If you are thinking about doing your own matting and framing, I cover some of the basics.

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Photos: Lamoni High School “Senior Night” Softball Win

Chloe Belback (#11) stretches to catch ball at first base for an out.

The last home game of the regular season is usually “senior night”, and the Lamoni High School softball team did themselves proud.  Taylor Henson started things off with a bunt down the third base line and she beat the throw to first base. A few plays later she stole home for the first run of the night. Chloe Belback hit a single, other players hit well too, and Karli Brown brought three of them home when she clobbered the ball for a double. At the end of the first inning Lamoni was ahead, 5-0.  Lamoni added two more runs in the second inning and continued to score. Excellent defense behind the pitching of Taylor Henson held Seymour to zero runs for the evening. Lamoni finished the game with a 10-0 victory.

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The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

From the Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776. Written by Thomas Jefferson (1762-1826). 3rd US President (1801-09).

More images (including Thomas Jefferson’s original draft) and the complete text of the declaration are after the break.

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GPS Accuracy Near Tall Buildings

Cather and Pound Halls, September 2016.

I had heard rumors that the twin campus towers, Willa Cather and Ezra Pound Halls, were going to be demolished. Cather Hall was my home for three years at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and I wanted a current picture. On my way to a photo workshop in Colorado I stopped in Lincoln to create some images. The view above is looking north on 17 Street with Pound Hall in the foreground, and Cather Hall in the background.

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Lamoni Food Pantry Open House

Getting ready for the Lamoni Food Pantry open house.

A dream came true this month. To celebrate, the Lamoni Food Pantry held an open house at its new location. The move is a remarkable story. The food pantry has been operating out of the basement of the Methodist Church for a number of years (a huge thanks to the Methodist church). An increasing client base meant the food pantry needed a bigger location. After checking out 25 potential locations over several months time, a new home for the food pantry was finally found that could be purchased and renovated. In just a few weeks time the people of Lamoni donated $230,000 to purchase and renovate the property. The open house is a celebration of the new location and a huge thank you to the generosity of the people of Lamoni (population 2,240).

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My Favorite Gray Card

Collapsible Fabric 18% Gray Card

An 18% gray card is an excellent tool for metering and just about essential for setting a custom white balance (although a piece of pure white paper will do in a pinch). A gray card needs to be large enough to meter and photograph without blocking the ambient light hitting the gray card, yet small enough to always have with you.

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The 30 Second Secret to Great Colors

Paul Davis, Before (top image) and After (bottom image).

30 seconds of your time can make the difference between disappointing colors and great colors. That is the difference between these two photos. The top image is skewed toward yellow and green tones. It is most obvious in the white part of the EXIT sign, the white stripes of the U.S. flag and the white candle next to the speaker’s podium. The speaker has yellow-ish skin and and the blue walls are greenish in the top photo. In the bottom image all of that has been fixed. The flag looks much better, the candle is pure white, and the blue walls are actually blue. Most important, the skin tones (my primary goal) are so much better. The yellow skin is gone.

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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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How To Photograph the Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse, May 15-16, 2022

Lunar Eclipse, Super Blood Moon, Horseshoe Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Total Lunar Eclipse, Super Blood Moon, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, September 27, 2015

Don’t miss it. This is the first of only two total lunar eclipses this year. This total eclipse happens this Sunday-Monday, May 15-16 (depending on our time zone). This article will show you how to photograph it. To see it, just walk outside and look. Continue reading