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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Bobcat: Fast and Simple Tonality Adjustments with Adobe Camera Raw

Bobcat, Before and After a Tonality Adjustment

Bobcat, Before and After a Tonality Adjustment

With the right software, you can make quick improvements in your images. There are some lighting situations where it is almost impossible, and certainly not practical, to get the correct white balance setting in the camera. This bobcat photo is an example. The best, fastest, and simplest solution is to get the right while balance setting after the fact using software like Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). A few minutes work with ACR can make a big difference in the look of your photos.

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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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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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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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Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treat

It is that time of year and Halloween activities abound. Go out and create colorful images. This collage was created from images taken at Trunk or Treat last year in Lamoni Iowa.

Soybean Harvest at Sunset

Soybean harvest at sunset near Hatfield Missouri.

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked if I would get some images when the time to harvest soybeans came around. I told her the perfect image would be at sunrise or sunset with a nice sky and the combine kicking up some dust. When it was time for the harvest we had two cloudy days which would make for boring images. Finally, on the third day the clouds were breaking up in the afternoon and it looked more promising. I hopped in my car and drove to the harvest location.

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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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A Favorite Photo Shoot

Beth Presler, Slip Bluff Lake.

Beth is a concert violinist, who, in her own words “lives for art”. Our first outdoor photo shoot was in a cold and windy snowstorm with her playing her violin. Our second shoot was also in the snow (links below). For this autumn shoot we went with water.

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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 – 2021

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 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 mostly unknown to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from a few days to two weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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From a Throwaway to a Keeper

Anoush Anou after ACR correction.

The original of this photo was a mistake. A throw away. Anoush and I were doing soft light portraits, thanks to the canopy of leaves overhead. I had carefully metered for the existing shady light conditions. But when I clicked the shutter, thanks to a breeze or something, the sun broke through the leaves and a beam of sunlight hit Anoush’s face and washed over some of the rest of the scene. The result was most of the image ended up somewhere between properly to overexposed, and her face was the most overexposed. It looked bad. The kind of photo most people would discard. But I didn’t throw it away. I learned from one of my photo guru’s years ago never to throw away a photograph, even a bad one.

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