The Green Towel

Soleece with the green towel at Slip Bluff Lake.

This green towel lives in the back of my car.  Sometimes I need it if I get caught in the rain or when I wade out into a lake or stream to get a better camera angle.  Sometimes I drape it over my camera to protect it when I shoot in a light drizzle.

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Total Immersion Nature Photography Weekend in Beautiful Northern Michigan

Michigan Photography Workshop

Are you ready to take your nature and wildlife photography to the next level? Are you ready to learn the professional secrets that make the difference between good images and great images? Are you ready for a high intensity, action packed, total immersion photography weekend? Come to Park of the Pines on beautiful Lake Charlevoix October 13-15, 2023.

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How to Find and Photograph Snowy Owls

Snowy Owl sightings, January 2023. Click image for a larger version.

Winter is your opportunity to photograph Snowy Owls. When it is cold enough and there is enough snow cover, snowy owls move down into the northern U.S. The colder it is the farther south they move. If conditions are right, don’t delay. If the winter turns warmer the snowy owls will head back north.

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How do you figure out the names of the mountains in your photos?

Mountains photographed from County Road 140 north of Poncha Springs Colorado.

How do you figure out the names of mountains you don’t know? It is relatively simple. I will show you how.

Ten years ago last night (October 26-27, 2012), my brother John and I were about a mile north of Poncha Springs Colorado. It was around midnight and we had a bright moon high in the sky. John was taking in the view and I was pointing my tripod mounted camera several different directions and taking pictures by moonlight.

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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

Why and When To Set A Custom White Balance

piano reflection portrait
Piano Reflection Portrait

Why set a custom white balance? The answer is simple. To get the best, most accurate colors your camera is capable of producing. It is especially important when photographing people if you want beautiful, accurate skin tones. In this article I give you some shooting tips, answer common questions, and I cover the situations when it is preferable not do a custom white balance.

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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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Your Camera Does NOT Capture Reality! – And What To Do About It.

O'Haver Lake, Mt. Ouray, Colorado

O’Haver Lake, Mt. Ouray, Colorado.

You have heard it said a lot, and maybe said it yourself: “This picture doesn’t do the scene justice.” That is often true and for several reasons. One is that digital cameras do not capture reality. No matter how fancy or expensive, digital cameras simply do not capture what your eyes see. That is also true with film cameras. All color photographic films have different color characteristics. Some have better reds, others have better greens or blues. Some are more saturated and others less saturated. But none of them are totally color realistic. So why don’t digital cameras give you realistic images and what can you do about it?

Originally posted December 16, 2015. Revised and re-posted January 18, 2022.

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A Snowy Owl Photo Expedition

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

What is a Snowy Owl expedition really like? This article is your chance to find out. Join me for a two day photo safari! I give you tips and photo suggestions along the way, and you get to see how I prepare, plan, and adapt on a photo trip. I tell you what went right and what went wrong so this is also about what to do when things don’t go according to plan.

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Step By Step: How to Get Blurred Backgrounds with an iPhone

Using portrait mode to blur a background.

How do you make your subjects “pop” by blurring the background when you are using an iPhone? To get the maximum amount of blurriness there are several step involved, most of them after you click the shutter. I will take you through the process, step-by-step- complete with illustrations. I used an iPhone 11 for this step by step guide. If you have a different model the options and screen layouts might look different.

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How to See and Photograph the Geminid 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.

Tonight (Dec 13-14) is the night of the Geminid Meteor Shower. This article will tell you what you need to know to photograph what could be the best meteor shower of 2021. The meteors have their radiant (origin point) near the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini. From there they can go in any direction across the night sky.

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October 14: How to Photograph Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and the Moon

Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and the Moon from Lake LaShane, Iowa. Click the image to see a larger version.

Thursday evening, October 14, 2021, you can photograph Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon all in one frame, and Venus too provided you have a really wide angle lens. This photo was taken October 13 at 8:11 pm local time and Venus is getting pretty low in the sky. On October 14, the moon will be in between and below Jupiter and Saturn, forming a triangle.

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How to See and Photograph the Perseid Meteor Shower Tonight

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

Tonight, August 11-12, is the predicted peak night of the Perseid Meteor Shower this year. But you can also look for the next few nights. 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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Outdoor Photo Shoot with Tabitha

Tabitha in tall flowers

I had a great time on a recent photo shoot with Tabitha. I will take you through the shoot and make some suggestions that you can use in your own portrait photography. As is my custom before doing a photo shoot with someone for the first time, I asked Tabitha to go through my online portraits and any other online portraits she could find and let me know what she liked. She picked outdoor portraits, some of them among flowers, some of them in soft light, and some of them backlit by the sun. In some of the photos the subject was standing or kneeling, and in some the subject was laying in a bed of flowers. So that is what we planned on doing. The day before the photo shoot I scouted several locations to see which ones had flowers currently in bloom.

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Soft Light is Portrait Light

Ava in soft light

Soft light is the most flattering all purpose light for most portraits. It enhances good features and minimizes flaws in the skin. Some of the best soft light is outside on “cloudy bright” days. Those are the days that there is enough cloud cover that you don’t cast a shadow but not so many clouds that it is dark and gloomy. Another test of a good cloudy bright day is to see if you can look at the sky without squinting. If you squint there aren’t enough clouds.

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