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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Water Portraits

Soleece, Slip Bluff Lake.

I love water portraits and Soleece does too, so we went out to two of our local lakes. Solace was in the shade for the first two photos so I adjusted the camera’s white balance for the shade.  I used Adobe Camera Raw to tone down the highlights a bit.

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Sunspots

Sun with large sunspots.

The large sunspot conglomeration at the bottom of the sun is the cause of the auroral explosion here on earth. An immense storm 17 times the size of our planet is going on in that sunspot area and a blast of plasma ejected by the storm headed toward earth. When the plasma hit the earth’s magnetosphere is set off the Northern and Southern Lights around the globe. If you have a solar filter for your camera lens you can go out and take pictures of the sunspots. I took this photo this afternoon using a white light solar filter made by Thousand Oaks Optical.

Northern Lights – May 10, 2024

Northern Lights, Home Lake, Lamoni Iowa.

The Northern Lights were spectacular last night in south central Iowa. The above image was my first click of the shutter. I was at Home Lake near Lamoni Iowa. When I arrived shortly after 10 pm, there were already a half dozen cars at the lake with people looking at the Northern Lights and many of them were taking pictures with every from smart phones and tablets to tripod mounted cameras. Tonight is predicted to be another great night. If you want to take pictures and need some advice, see the first link below. The other links are helpful too. Click any image in this article to see a larger version.

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A Day in Southern Utah

Bryce Canyon at Sunrise

Bryce Canyon at Sunrise

I was on my way from Colorado to California and decided to drive across southern Utah. I had never been to the National Parks in Utah and wanted to see them. They are spectacular.  If you love landscape photography and haven’t been to southern Utah, put a trip there high on your priority list.  These photos were taken April 25, 2011.

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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 First Click of the Shutter

Soleece

The first thing I do when I do a natural light portrait shoot is to do a custom white balance using an 18% gray card. Setting a custom white balance gives you more accurate and beautiful skin tones (details at the links below). After that, I do some simple portraits to get rid of the “first shoot jitters”.  The person I am working with might be a little nervous. As for me, I am a perfectionist and I am nervous before every photo shoot and I am especially nervous the first time I work with someone. So I start off with something simple. This was my first portrait shoot with Soleece and I was super nervous.

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Using PeakFinder To Find the Names of the Mountains in Your Photos

Colorado Rockies (Front Range) from Keenesburg Colorado.

I have always loved the view of the Colorado Front Range as I approach the mountains from the eastern plains. I was going to stop in Keenesburg Colorado to get gas, so on that stop I found this county highway northwest of town to take a picture of the mountains.  Back home at my computer I decided to figure out the names of some of these mountains.

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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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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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“Black and White”

“Black and White”, Giulietta Luna, Columbus Ohio. Click image to see a larger version.

These images were created 14 hours apart, the first at night against a black backdrop and the second in the afternoon against a bright, window shade. In the second she is entirely backlit. It did not occur to me until this week that these two images could be combined. It is a happy accident that they are facing each other.

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Beth in the Snow

Beth playing her violin in the snow.

February 12 is a red letter day!  It started when Beth and I did a photo shoot in a snow storm in January 2020.  We had so much fun we wanted to do it again. I was working in my office four years ago today and I looked out the window. Big, beautiful snowflakes were falling. I said to myself, “This would be a great day for another photo shoot in the snow.”

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Selina

Selina, Downtown Columbus Ohio. January 29, 2010.

Selina, Downtown Columbus Ohio. January 29, 2010.

Selina and I created this image 14 years ago this evening. Some models are a dream to work with and Selina is one of them, which is why we did more than one photo shoot. The windchill when I took this photo was 4°F. We scheduled this photo shoot weeks ahead of time and we knew it would be cold in January, but not THIS bone chillingly cold. I contacted her before she left home and asked if she wanted to re-schedule. She wanted to go ahead with the shoot despite the forecast and she drove up from Kentucky.

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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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