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

Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Screen capture: geography quiz question.

Last night I got sucked in to doing a U.S. Geography quiz (link below). I got every answer right until I came to this question: “This western state shares a border with west Kansas, and has its highest mountain peak at 6,800 feet, and the lowest valley at 3,317 feet below sea level?” As you can see, I was given four answers to choose from, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, and Arkansas. The question and the answers are all wrong. Note that the quiz used a photo of Colorado mountains as a hint.

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Graceland University Graduation, May 1, 2022

Graceland University Graduation, Lamoni Iowa.

It was my happy privilege to photograph the 125th Commencement at Graceland University in Lamoni Iowa. Graceland is a special place. Both of my parents, my brother, and one of our children went to Graceland. I put together a selection of photos to post here, including all the picture taking after the ceremony. Click on any image to see a somewhat larger version.

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You Can Create High Quality Digital Images of Analog Prints, Even if You are Traveling

Doris. The digitized copy of an original print.

You can create high quality, high resolution digital images of analog prints, and you can do it on the road without having a flatbed scanner and computer with you. You probably have everything you need with the possible exception of a couple of small, inexpensive accessories (less than $10 each). This article will show you what to do, step by step.

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Series: Channeling My Inner . . .

This series of articles is devoted to several photographers and one painter that inspire me. Some of them I have known for decades. Others I have discovered in the last few years. Books by and about them line my bookshelves. Each article has examples of my work and their work. That does not mean I am as good as they are. But I keep trying. Their work has somehow become a part of me. We can all learn from people who do such outstanding work.

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Happy Birthday, John Muir!

John Muir

John Muir

Today is John Muir’s birthday! He was born April 21, 1838. He had a profound influence on how Americans viewed our wild lands and his influence led to the establishment of many of our National Parks and other protected lands. He was nicknamed “The Father of our National Parks”. Tomorrow, April 22, is also Earth Day, so I am combining the two in this article.

Here are photos from some of my favorite national and state parks along with quotes from John Muir.

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The Best National Parks to Photograph in Spring

 Ocotillo. Big Bend National Park. Texas.

Ocotillo. Big Bend National Park, Texas.

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.

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Saturday Night Dance Performance at Graceland University

Dance Performance, Living Art Studios and the Graceland Gadets. March 19, 2022.

The dance classes at Living Art Studios in Lamoni Iowa teamed up with the Graceland Gadets for a dance performance Saturday night at Graceland University’s Shaw Auditorium. A large and appreciative crowd thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The Gadets alternated numbers with the dance classes. As the last indoor performance of the year for the Gadets, individuals were given awards for the year, and all of the senior Gadets were recognized.

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Searching for a Photo Location

Western Scrub-Jay
Western Scrub-Jay, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife, Fremont California. January 9, 2014.

In late February I set out to find the location of my best Western Scrub-Jay photos, taken January 9, 2014. Why? Partly out of curiosity and partly because photo editors are asking for GPS coordinates of the nature and wildlife photos they might publish. 8 years ago my serious cameras did not have built in GPS units.

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How To Set A Custom White Balance on Your Digital Camera

Jennifer 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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