Monet: Last Two Days

My daughter and my wife check out the brush work on one of Monet’s water lily paintings. Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth Texas

Today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday, September 14 & 15) are the last two days to see the fabulous Claude Monet exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth Texas. Over 50 of the best Monet paintings were collected from art museums all around the world. Museums in Paris, Tokyo, Switzerland, the United States, and other countries sent their best late period Monet works for this exhibit. This particular collection of paintings will not be shown again in the United States.

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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 day, eighteen years ago, we experienced a great national tragedy in the United States. Not only in the lives that were lost in the terrorist attacks, the families torn asunder, and the emergency responders who suffered and continue to suffer terrible health problems as a result of working at the scene – but also in the way we view ourselves and our world. The Uniformed Firefighters Association of New York now lists 204 FDNY deaths due to 9/11 illnesses over the past 18 years.

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

The 3-2-1 Photo Backup Plan

Seagate External Hard Drives

Seagate External Hard Drives

I read about a professional photographer who lost a bunch of photos because they were all on just one external hard drive with no backups. The cost of recovering the photos, if they can be recovered, will run between $500 and $5000 depending on the number of photos and the complications involved in the recovery process.

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How To Get Critical Focus in “Live View” Mode with a Magnified Image

Tripod mpounted camera in live view mode.

Tripod mounted camera in live view mode. The image is visible on the LCD along with the RGB histogram.

“Live View” mode is a huge boon to digital photographers and magnified focus is one of the reasons why. Focusing this way is more accurate than the camera’s autofocus modes, at least with non-moving subjects, and you will have sharper images. Landscape photography is the usual time to use this technique but sometimes it works for wildlife.

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How To Focus Your Lens at Infinity for Night Photography

Photography workshop out at night. Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Photography workshop at night. Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.

The most important and difficult step in night photography is to focus your lens at infinity. If you have tried to focus on the stars at night you have already learned that it is an impossible task for the autofocus system and just about impossible for you to do manually. You just can’t see clearly enough through the viewfinder in the dark of night to manually focus on the stars. Fortunately, there are some ways to get the job done.

Originally posted Jan. 8, 2017. Revised and re-posted Sep. 5, 2019.

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How to Photograph the Northern Lights

Northern Lights over Lake Michigan

Northern Lights over Lake Michigan. Click to see a larger image.

As we head into fall the Northern Lights activity will pick up. The best time to view Northern Lights is from September to late March (although things may start up in August and extend into April). This article will tell you how to capture the Northern Lights with your camera. The Northern Lights come and go in an erratic fashion so this article will also show you how to know which nights are likely to be the best to go out and look.

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Hot Weather “Save Your Camera Gear” Warning

Covered camera during a shooting break.

We still have hot weather in many parts of the country so it is time for a “save your camera gear” reminder. High end professional camera gear has a temperature and humidity rating. A top of the line Canon camera body has a limit of 115°F and 85% or less humidity. A black camera on a hot day can easily exceed that limit. Less expensive cameras of any brand have lower limits so it is important to protect your gear.

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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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How to See and Photograph the Perseid Meteor Shower

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

The night of August 12-13 is the predicted peak night of the Peresid Meteor Shower. But you can look for the next few nights after the peak night. 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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Favorite Photo, July 21

Meteor, Sagittarius; Scorpius, and Saturn over St. Joseph and Kansas City, Missouri. July 21, 2016

You shouldn’t be able to photograph stars from a plane. At least that is the conventional wisdom and the conventional wisdom, and in this case it almost always right. I have tried to photograph stars from a plane in flight numerous times but without success. But this flight was different.

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Favorite Photo, July 15

Doris and Family, Fremont California. July 15, 2012.

The big day arrived, the celebration for Doris’ 90th birthday. Doris in the middle of the seated row, along with her four daughters. Gathered around are her sons-in-law, all of her grandchildren and some of her great-grand grandchildren. This is a favorite family portrait and one of my two most favorite images for this date.

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Favorite Photo, July 7

Kirtland Temple at Dusk, Kirtland Ohio. July 7, 2003.

The Kirtland Temple is a fascinating 1830s era building on the National Register of Historic Places. The walls of the Temple are white, but you wouldn’t know from this photo. The late evening light, combined with a nearby street light created this unusual color mix. This is my favorite photo for July 7.

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Colorado Fall Color Travel and Photography Guide

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

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

Welcome to my Colorado fall color travel and photography guide with over 100 pages of information (if you print it all out), 120 photos, and 17 maps. 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 three weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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Favorite Photo, July 1

Showy Ladyslipper in sunlight
Sunlit Showy Ladyslipper, Northern Michigan. July 1, 2004.

I have quite a few favorite images for July 1 in my “favorite photos” folder. When I spotted this orchid at Thorne Swift Nature Preserve, the sunlight coming through the white petals was perfect. This is one of my two most favorite images for this date. Thorne Swift near Harbor Springs is a great place to do nature photography.

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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 George Washington’s personal copy) and the complete text follows the break.

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