How To Get Critical Focus in “Live View” Mode with a Magnified Image

Tripod mpounted camera in live view mode.

Tripod mounted camera in live view mode. The image is visible on the LCD along with the RGB histogram.

“Live View” mode is a huge boon to digital photographers and magnified focus is one of the reasons why. Focusing this way is more accurate than the camera’s autofocus modes, at least with non-moving subjects, and you will have sharper images. Landscape photography is the usual time to use this technique but sometimes it works for wildlife.

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How To Focus Your Lens at Infinity for Night Photography

Photography workshop out at night. Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Photography workshop at night. Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.

The most important and difficult step in night photography is to focus your lens at infinity. If you have tried to focus on the stars at night you have already learned that it is an impossible task for the autofocus system and just about impossible for you to do manually. You just can’t see clearly enough through the viewfinder in the dark of night to manually focus on the stars. Fortunately, there are some ways to get the job done.

Originally posted Jan. 8, 2017. Revised and re-posted Sep. 5, 2019.

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Two Photographers and Eleven Outdoor/Travel Writers Pick the Best National Parks for Fall

Long’s Peak and Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Fall is a fabulous time of year to visit the national parks. Crowds are usually smaller than in the summer, temperatures are cooler, and some of our national parks have glorious fall colors. With so many to choose from, where should you go? Which national parks will provide the best photographic opportunities in the fall?

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The Best National Parks for Fall Photography

Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

What are the best national parks to photograph in the fall? Here are my choices, grouped by state and province from west to east. This list includes the favorites I have been to, plus the ones I most want to see based on the recommendations of the photographers I trust, like Tim Fitzharris and QT Luong. More about them later.

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Colorado Fall Color Photography and Travel Guide

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 Colorado fall color photography and travel guide with 120 photos, 17 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 mostly unknown to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from a few days to two weeks (or more) exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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Perseid Meteor Report

Night Sky over Home Lake, Lamoni Iowa. 4:59 AM, August 13, 2019. The Big Dipper is just above the trees at the lower left.

Sometimes things work out just great. Sometimes not so much. I saw two Perseid meteors this morning, neither of which made it on to film. One happened at Location 1 while I was setting up. The other happened in between frames at Location 2.

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How to See and Photograph the Perseid 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.

The night of August 12-13 is the predicted peak night of the Peresid Meteor Shower. But you can look for the next few nights after the peak night. 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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Favorite Photo, July 31

Ava, Worthington Ohio. July 31, 2016.

This was another spontaneous Sunday afternoon photo shoot. The light was perfect and I picked a large tree trunk as the background. The braids help make the picture. And look at those eyes! If you have been following this series you have seen Ava before. I have been taking pictures of her and her two sisters since each of them were two or three years old. This is one of my all time favorite portraits and my most favorite image for July 31.

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Favorite Photo, July 30

"Second Sunset", Colorado
“Second Sunset”, Brainard Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado. July 30, 2007.

Bob (my brother-on-law and photo buddy) and I were at Brainard Lake in hopes of capturing some nice landscape images. But it was cloudy and drizzly, and occasionally raining. We retreated to the car to eat a late snack/supper. We ate and talked and watched the rain drops on the windshield.

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Favorite Photo, July 27

Marcia, SPEC, Lamoni Iowa. July 27, 2006.

If you have been following this series, you have probably guessed this is another photo from SPECTACULAR, the annual July event at Graceland University. This is my favorite image for July 27. I love the expression on her face. You might be wondering how she got splattered with grass.

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Favorite Photo, July 22

Our family (Janae, Jim III, Jared, Melissa, Jim Jr) on the trail up Flattop Mountain. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Saturday, July 22, 1989.

This is far and away one of my most favorite images and my most favorite photo for this date. Melissa and I and our three children were hiking up the trail from Bear Lake to Flattop Mountain. Not only is that a special memory, Melissa and I and my brother John were hiking the same trail August 13, 1969. Melissa and I were engaged at the time. I have a photo of Melissa and my brother at the same exact spot.

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Favorite Photo, July 21

Meteor, Sagittarius; Scorpius, and Saturn over St. Joseph and Kansas City, Missouri. July 21, 2016

You shouldn’t be able to photograph stars from a plane. At least that is the conventional wisdom and the conventional wisdom, and in this case it almost always right. I have tried to photograph stars from a plane in flight numerous times but without success. But this flight was different.

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Favorite Photo, July 20

Pika, Rocky Mountain National Park
Pika, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. July 20, 2005

I was up on Trail Ridge Road at Rock Cut. Pika were everywhere, gathering grass to stash away for the long winter. They have about about 3 or 4 months to gather enough food to last through an 8 or 9 month long winter. This was the only pika gathering flowers.

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Favorite Photo, July 17

Jim III, Janae, and Jared, O’Haver Lake, Colorado. July 17, 1989

If you have been following this series, this photo should look familiar. It is one in a series of photos of our children at this sign taken from 1979 to 1990. This series is a special favorite and this is my favorite photo for this date.

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Favorite Photo, July 16

Hummingbird, Fremont California. July 16, 2016.

Doris, my mother-in-law, has a beautiful Lantana in her back yard with numerous orange blossoms. On three consecutive trips to California I would occasionally notice a hummingbird feeding at the Lantana. I would grab a camera and lens but the hummingbird would be gone.

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Favorite Photo, July 15

Doris and Family, Fremont California. July 15, 2012.

The big day arrived, the celebration for Doris’ 90th birthday. Doris in the middle of the seated row, along with her four daughters. Gathered around are her sons-in-law, all of her grandchildren and some of her great-grand grandchildren. This is a favorite family portrait and one of my two most favorite images for this date.

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Favorite Photo, July 14

Janae and Doris, Fremont California. July 14, 2012.

It was a very busy week in Fremont California. Doris, my mother-in-law, turned 90 years old and birthday preparations were in full swing. At the end of a long day we were headed back to the house. Our daughter Janae walked her grandmother Doris up to the front door. I grabbed my camera and snapped this image. It is one of my all time favorite images, and one of my two most favorite photos for this date.

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