Do NOT Look at the Eclipse Through a High Density Solar Eclipse Filter! You Could Go Blind!

Left: Safe eclipse glasses. Right: Solar filter

Don’t worry. My model’s eyes were closed for the illustration photo on the right.

With the eclipse just around the corner, I am re-posting and updating this article from February 23. Do not look at the sun on eclipse day (or any other day) through a high density solar eclipse filter. Even though you are looking through a solar eclipse filter (i.e. solar filter) you can still go blind. And this is especially true looking through a camera and lens, even with a solar filter on the lens. Why? I am glad you asked.

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How to Photograph the “Great American Eclipse” – April 8, 2024

Partial phase of the eclipse.

This is updated from the February 22, 2024 article. If you have your solar filter ready to go, this is what you need to do to photograph the eclipse.  If you don’t have a solar filter, you might still be able to get one. Check out the White Light solar filters (my first choice) from Thousand Oaks Optical or the Lee high density solar filters.

This is your guide to photographing the Second “Great American Eclipse”, April 8, 2024.  The path of totality will cross the entire country from Oregon to South Carolina. This handy guide will help you photograph the eclipse. Planning ahead is key.

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Things That Don’t Work: The Advice on Removing GPS Information from the Photos on Your iPhone

Big G Lake

As the prior article points out, you should not post photos online that were taken at your home, the homes of your relatives, or your place of work until you remove the GPS location information from those photos. There are some other places where you probably won’t want to share the GPS location of your photos. The prior article also tells you how to remove the GPS locations using your computer.  For this article I was going to show you how to remove GPS data from photos while they are still in your iPhone. I followed the advice online and discovered that advice did not work, at least on my iPhone 11.

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How to “Rate” Photos in Your Camera

Camera LCD zoomed in on a Grackle photo. iPhone photo.

It is simple to rate photos in your camera, provided you have a rate button. (Later on I will tell you what to do if you don’t have a rate button.)  If you take a photo you want to find quickly when you download the memory card, just push the rate button.  When you download the photos on your memory card you can use Adobe Bridge (more about Bridge later) to quickly find your rated photos.

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The Human Web

The Human Web.

I created this image for a photography class I was teaching at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) in Michigan. It was so popular that Jim Riegel, the head of the photography department, asked if he could exhibit it at the KIA faculty exhibit at the annual Kalamazoo Art Fair in Bronson Park in June. Jim was in charge of the faculty exhibit. When June 2 rolled around, he used it as the centerpiece work of art for the KIA exhibit. At the end of the day he told me it was the most talked about work of art in the faculty exhibit. All kinds of people stopped by to ask questions about it and how it was created.  This article explains how I did it.

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How to Photograph the “Great American Eclipse” – April 8, 2024

Partial phase of the eclipse.

This is your guide to photograph the Second “Great American Eclipse”, April 8, 20124.  The path of totality will cross the entire country from Oregon to South Carolina. This handy guide will help you photograph the eclipse. Planning ahead is key.

Originally posted Jun 26, 2017. Revised and updated February 22, 2024.

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Greater Prairie Chicken Excitement!

Greater Prairie Chicken near Elk Chapel Road, Decatur County Iowa.  February 15, 2024. 5:24 pm.

A male Greater Prairie Chicken has taken up residence on the edge of a cornfield about 30-40 feet from a county highway, much to the delight of bird watchers. I got a call from a friend, so I grabbed my camera gear and drove out to the location.  This image (above) was taken with the sun low in the west so this prairie chicken has wonderful, warm backlighting. Compare this light to the next photo.

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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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How to Protect Your Camera Gear in the Cold and Snow

Bruce Canyon After An Overnight Snow

Bryce Canyon After An Overnight Snowstorm

It is still really cold out there so be careful to protect your camera gear. Cold and snow can cause a lot of damage to your camera gear. Something as simple as shooting outside and taking 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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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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How To Work With A Model (or Anybody Else) When The Windchill is 4°

Selina

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. Selina and I 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. Despite the frigid temperatures, Selina did no want to reschedule for later. Here’s the story behind this image and how to work with a model (or anybody else) when it is so cold.

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Testing Your Camera’s Snow Exposure Latitude

Cascade, Barry, and Coxe Glaciers

Cascade, Barry, and Coxe Glaciers, Prince William Sound, Alaska

The “snow exposure latitude” for every camera is different. You won’t find it in your camera’s manual but it is easy to determine with a do-it-yourself test. Why does it matter? If you don’t know the snow exposure latitude for your camera and how to apply it to your images, the color and quality of your winter photos will suffer.

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Finding a Photo Location

Western Scrub-Jay

Western Scrub-Jay

10 years ago this morning I was at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont California. I spotted this pretty blue bird while driving around the parking lot at the visitors center. It was in the dry grass grass at first and then hopped into a bush with red berries. As you can see, the bush photo is much better. When I had a chance I looked up this bird. It is a Western Scrub-Jay.

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Metering Nighttime Winter Scenes

Twilight, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Twilight, Rocky Mountain National Park. Sirius, Canis Major, Orion, Taurus, the Hyades star cluster, and the Pleiades star cluster are all visible in the fading light. Click for a larger version.

You can photograph the night sky year around, but winter brings an added bonus: SNOW! When you don’t have the benefit of moonlight, most of the year land forms a dark to black silhouetted skyline against the night sky. In winter you have the possibility of including the highly reflective snow. You can see both in this photo. Any place not covered with snow is very dark to black. Having reflective snow is why winter is the favorite time of year for a lot of photographers to go out and photograph the night sky.

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Metering Wildlife in the Snow, Part Two

Cougar

Cougar

Most wildlife are medium to dark in tone, making them a challenge to meter properly in the bright, white tones of winter. If you trust one of your camera’s automatic exposure modes, the odds are good you won’t get the best exposure. If you switch over to manual exposure and make the right decisions, you can get great exposures and better quality photos (more about that later).

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Metering Wildlife in the Snow, Part One

Elk in the Snow, Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk in the Snow, Horseshoe Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Metering dark toned wildlife in the snow is a major exposure challenge. It is usually best to avoid large “burned out” areas (washed out, featureless white) in a nature or landscape photograph, but with properly exposed snow, the wildlife can be so dark as to lose all texture. On other hand, metering for the wildlife can burn out the snow. So what do you do? And what about the complications of metering white animals?

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“How To” Series: Winter Photography

Last Light on El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

Last Light on El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

In addition to all of the usual photographic challenges, winter provides some extra complications, especially in terms of metering. So I began this series of articles on winter photography. Check out the links below. The articles will help you meet the unique challenges of winter photography. So get out there, have fun, and create some great winter images!

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Camera Settings for Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treat, sponsored by the Graceland University Enactus program, Lamoni Iowa.

If I am photographing an event and the light is constant, I shoot in manual mode for the most accurate exposure and the best color. But if the light is variable, there isn’t time during an active event to be constantly changing the exposure because you will miss too many photo ops. That means shooting in an automatic mode.

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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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