Favorite Photo, January 3

Night Sky Over the Mojave Desert.

Night Sky and Milky Way over the Mojave Desert, Fort Irwin California. December 3, 2013. 10:05 pm.

My favorite photo for this date was taken in the Mojave Desert, about two miles southwest of Fort Irwin California. The photo was taken looking northwest. The Andromeda Galaxy is directly over the power poles about half way up the photo. The Pleiades are at the upper left corner of the photograph.

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Favorite Photo, December 31

Family Christmas, West Point, New York. December 31, 2005.

If you have been following this series recently, you have figured out we celebrate Christmas on most any date, and sometimes several dates. With family spread out across the country in six different states, we travel to them and they travel to us in different combinations every year. One year we had 4 Christmases spread out between December 25 and late January.

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Favorite Photo, December 28

Bird Reflections, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Fremont California. Dec 28, 1990.

We were in Fremont California visiting family over the holidays. As I sometimes do when we are there, I head out early in the morning to go to the local wildlife refuge. This image is my favorite that morning, my favorite for this date, and one of my all time favorite wildlife images.

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How To Work With A Model When The Windchill is 4°


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. We 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. Here’s the story behind this image and how to work with a model when it is so cold.

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Mixing Flash and Ambient Light for a Christmas Portrait

Kristina at Christmas

Kristina at Christmas

On Christmas eve I found myself doing Christmas portraits for Kristina’s portfolio. She is a friend of mine who is a model and actress in L.A.. There isn’t a lot of space in my studio when the Christmas tree is up so I had to improvise a bit with the lighting and I needed to get the right mix of flash and ambient light for the look I wanted.

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How to Photograph Christmas Lights with Your DSLR, ILC, or Smartphone

Christmas Lights, Easton, Columbus, OH

Christmas Lights, Easton Shopping Center, Columbus, OH

‘Tis the season and there are a lot of Christmas lights out there to photograph. It is fun and easy, and with a few tricks up your sleeve there are creative things you can do. Many of these techniques can be used on other lights throughout the year, so this is a good time to practice your skills for photographing lights.

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Favorite Photo, December 18

Sunny, Columbus Ohio. December 18, 2017.

There are only two photos in my favorite photos folder for December 18, and both come from walks with our dog Sunny. The first photo is at the end of our walk a year ago today and he is looking up at me with an “I want something look”. Probably he wants a treat. This is my favorite photo for this date.

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Handheld Panos: Sometimes You Get Lucky

Kroger Panorama. Graceland Shopping Center, Columbus Ohio. November 12, 2013. Click for a larger version.

I’ve done a lot of commercial panoramas for clients as diverse as KOA Campgrounds and Crown Plaza Hotels. When I am on a commercial assignment I follow all the right steps and use all the right equipment. For the Kroger pano above I did everything right.

But there are times when you are doing your own thing and decide at the last minute you want to try a pano. You might get lucky trying to do a handheld panorama. I will tell you how to increase your odds of getting a good handheld pano.

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Christmas At The Shaw: A Musical Feast

Graceland choir members fill the stage at the Shaw Family Auditorium.

Combine an excellent selection of musical numbers with beautiful performances and you have the recipe for a musical Christmas feast. The Graceland University choirs and orchestra, under the skilled direction of Sara Blessing and Jack Ergo, did themselves proud Friday night at the Shaw Family Auditorium in Lamoni, Iowa. The evening was filled with beautiful musical renditions.

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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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One Photographer and Nine Outdoor/Travel Writers Pick the Best Winter National Parks

Last Light on Long’s Peak and the Keyboard of the Winds, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Thinking about a photography trip to one or more U.S. national parks this winter? You can benefit from the work I have done. Some national parks look better in the winter than others. You will want to make them a priority.  After you read this article I recommend you also read the companion article: The Best National Parks to Photograph in Winter.

Originally posted January 17, 2017. Updated and re-posted November 28, 2018.

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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

Cold and snow can cause a lot of damage to your camera gear. Something as simple as taking pictures outside and then bringing 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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