Today is the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. This is one of my favorite photos taken on Earth Day, the entrance to Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend National Park.
John Muir 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. This is National Parks week. Go explore somewhere this week, or make plans to visit sometime this year.
Here are photos from some of my favorite National Parks along with quotes from John Muir.
Soft light is portrait light. If I step outside on a soft light kind of day, three kinds of photography come to mind: small intimate landscapes, flower portraits, and people portraits.
Your camera is in love with middle gray. The quicker you learn how to deal with this infatuation, the better your photos will look, including all of your color photos.
The exposure compensation scale on your camera is one of the keys to mastering exposures, getting better images, and ending up with professional quality colors. This means taking your camera off of full auto mode and taking control of your own exposures.
My goal was to see prairie chickens. But it was cool and foggy and there were no prairie chickens to be seen at the Kellerton Iowa Bird Conservation Area. So I turned my attention elsewhere.
Are you planning a spring photography trip to some U.S. national parks? Where should you go? Which parks will provide the best photographic opportunities? Which parks are at their best in the spring?
If I could go on a fabulous spring photography trip to the national parks of my choice, with no time limit and all expenses paid, which ones would I pick? Here are my choices, grouped by state from west to east. This list includes the favorites I have been to and want to go back to again, plus the ones I haven’t seen and most want to photograph.
When I go out to shoot, I don’t ask, “What will I take today?” But rather, “What will I be given today?” – Minor White
Hans (left) and Sophie Scholl with Cristoph Probst (right), leaders of “The White Rose” resistance movement. Munich Germany, July 1942.
77 years ago, February 22, 1943, Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie, and their friend Cristoph Probst were executed by the Nazis.
A couple of weeks ago, Beth and I went out into the cold and snow to create images. She played her violin while I took pictures. For that shoot she wore her long black concert dress. Since then, much of the snow has melted in southern Iowa. If another day came along with the right conditions we wanted to shoot again.
It was my happy privilege to do winter portraits of Beth Presler who is a superb violinist. This article has suggestions for photographing any musician on a cold, snowy winter day.
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.
If there are cold enough temperatures and plenty of snow cover on the ground, the northern United States has a winter invasion of Snowy Owls. These are magnificent creatures and well worth your photographic time and attention. This series is filled with tips on how to find and photograph snowy owls.
It is difficult enough to create a beautiful nude image under normal circumstances, much less in the cold and snow. You need to bring some significant skills and experience to the task. So does your model.
You would think a windchill of 4° Fahrenheit (-16°C) would be too cold for a photo shoot, but not with some models. We 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. Here’s the story behind this image and how to work with a model when it is so cold.
The Sunny f16 rule is really useful on bright sunny days in the spring, summer, and fall, but you can’t rely on it for accurate exposures on bright, snowy winter days. It will often lead you astray and you will have seriously blown out highlights. There are much more accurate ways to meter in the winter.
With a nice coating of ice on trees and bushes, my plan was to go out in the country and photograph late afternoon sunlight glinting off the ice. Instead, I ended up with this image of a Short-eared Owl.
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).
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 June 12-15, 2020.
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!
Winter provides some wonderful photo opportunities in our national parks. But some national parks look much better in the winter than others. So if you haven’t gone into hibernation for the winter, here are the best national parks to go photograph this winter, grouped by state from the west to the east. There are a few bonus locations thrown in too. At the end I give you my “best of the best” list.
Posted January 17, 2017. Updated and re-posted December 18, 2019.
Marshall Pass is a beautiful fall color drive in southern Colorado, and still pretty much a secret. It does not turn up on most lists of the most beautiful fall color drives in Colorado. It is a beautiful drive with a lot of fall color photo opportunities.
There is still plenty of fall color to be found across the country if you know where to go and when. Here are a few great options with links at the end to a lot more options.
You are on a road you have never been on before. You to stop to take a picture which includes a prominent mountain. How do you find out its name?
It was the end of a glorious day in Colorado. The sun was going in and out behind some clouds in the western sky. Before the sun dropped behind a mountain range, it came out of the clouds and lit up this row of aspen. Perfect!
“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.
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.
Fall color will soon be sweeping the country (and already is up in Alaska). To make the most of it, you want to be at the right place at the right time. With some help from the internet, I will help you find the best fall color locations at the peak of the season.