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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Experiment: Canada Geese at 380 Yards with a Focal Length of 400mm

Canada Geese at Home Lake. 100mm focal length.

After photographing our rare Tundra Swan, I was getting ready to leave Home Lake when I had an opportunity to test the kind of results I could get photographing distant geese with a 100-400mm lens. I was on the dam at Home Lake so I positioned myself so I was in line with the water facility apparatus in the lake and some distant geese. I did a reference photo at 100mm.

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Trumpeter Swan and Tundra Swan

Trumpeter Swan landing at Home Lake.

A Trumpeter Swan and Tundra Swan have been spending time together at one of our local lakes. Tundra Swans don’t usually get this far south and I wanted some photos. This is our second rare bird visitor this winter. In December we had a very rare Tundra Bean-Goose that spent a couple of weeks with our Canada Geese before moving on (links below). The Tundra Bean-Goose was supposed to be in far Northern Europe or Russia.

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Andromeda Galaxy and its Satellite Galaxies

Andromeda and its satellite galaxies.

For me, December is not only the month for Christmas Season photos and portraits, on reasonably pleasant December nights with no wind it is the time of year to photograph the night sky. Winter has better night sky “seeing” than the other three seasons. Cold air holds less moisture to there is more visual clarity of the night sky. Unfortunately, where many of us live winter is also very cold so I do most of my winter night sky photography in December since it is usually more tolerable.

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Tundra Bean-Goose, Part 2

Tundra Bean-Goose, The Razz soccer field, Graceland University.

I went looking for the Tundra Bean-Goose again this afternoon (see the prior article), along with one of my young grandsons. The light was much better than yesterday which meant a lower ISO setting on the camera and a lot less digital noise than at ISO 6400 late yesterday afternoon. That would mean better photos.

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Rare Event: Tundra Bean-Goose in Iowa

Tundra Bean Goose and Canada Geese, Big G Lake, Lamoni Iowa. Cropped from the original photo.

This is not a great photo, but it is a photo! For the last week a single Tundra Bean-Goose has been hanging out with Canada Geese at the lakes, farm ponds, and corn fields around Lamoni Iowa. This week is the first time ever this goose has been spotted in the state of Iowa. It should be in Northern Europe or Northern Russia so it is thousands of miles away from home. I finally spotted it yesterday.

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Autumn Shoot with Beth

Beth, Slip Bluff Lake.

Fall is my favorite season for nature photography as you can tell by the number of photos I take per season. But I also love fall for outdoor portrait photography. The colors of fall make a nice backdrop for photographing people. These photo are from a favorite autumn photo shoot with Beth. I hope you take advantage of the colors of the season to do some portrait photography of your own. If you want to improve your portrait photography skills, check out the books at the last link below.

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Colorado Fall Color Photography and Travel Guide – 2022

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

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

Headed for Colorado this fall? Welcome to my complete Colorado fall color photography and travel guide with 131 photos, 18 maps, and over 100 pages of information (if you print it all out). I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is not widely known to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from two days to two weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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Images That Move Me

Mary McHugh mourns her dead fiance James Regan at Section 60 in the Arlington National Cemetery on 27 May 2007. Photograph © John Moore

John Moore was at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, 2007. He had visited with Mary McHugh earlier in the day. She had come to Arlington National Cemetery to visit the grave of her fiance, James Regan, who had stepped on a roadside bomb a few months earlier in Afghanistan. Later on he saw her laying in the grass and talking to the marble headstone. He captured this image. The whole story is here.

Colorado Fall Color Photography and Travel Guide – 2022

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

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

Headed for Colorado this fall? Welcome to my complete Colorado fall color photography and travel guide with 131 photos, 18 maps, and over 100 pages of information (if you print it all out). I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is not widely known to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from two days to two weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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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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Photos: The Super Flower Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse, May 15, 2022

Lunar Eclipse from southern Iowa, May 15, 2022. Click for a somewhat larger image.

It was a beautiful night for photographing the lunar eclipse. This was early in the totality phase at 10:37 pm CDT. I picked this image as my favorite because I like the star background and especially the three stars in a row right below the moon. Not long after I created this image the moon slid in front of the middle star in this trio and, at least to my eye, it was not as pleasing a composition.

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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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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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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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