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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Colorado Fall Color Travel and Photography Guide

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

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

Welcome to my Colorado fall color travel and photography guide with over 100 pages of information (if you print it all out), 114 photos, and 17 maps. 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 three weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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One Photographer and Eleven Outdoor/Travel Writers Pick the Best National Parks for Summer

Royal Arches, North Dome, and Washington Column from Stoneman Meadow. Yosemite National Park. California.

Summer is the most popular time to visit the national parks. With so many to choose from, where should you go? Which national parks will provide the best photographic opportunities in the summer?

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The Best National Parks to Photograph in Spring

 Ocotillo. Big Bend National Park. Texas.

Ocotillo. Big Bend National Park, Texas.

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.

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You Can Create High Quality Digital Images of Analog Prints, Even if You are Traveling

Doris. The digitized copy of an original print.

You can create high quality, high resolution digital images of analog prints, and you can do it on the road without having a flatbed scanner and computer with you. You probably have everything you need with the possible exception of a couple of small, inexpensive accessories (less than $10 each). This article will show you what to do, step by step.

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Total Immersion Nature Photography Weekend in Beautiful Northern Michigan

Michigan Photography WorkshopAre 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 8-10, 2018.

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The Best Film and Flatbed Scanners

Plustek Film Scanner, Epson Flatbed Scanner

If you have precious slides, negatives, or prints that you want to scan, you have come to the right place. Choose wisely from the scanners that are available or you could get burned. A scanner that might be just fine for one person will be totally unsuitable for the next person. When it comes to scanners you need to know what you are getting and, just as importantly, what you aren’t getting. That is what this article is all about.

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Happy Birthday, Ansel Adams!

Ansel Adams, Monolith: The Face of Half Dome, 1927. Photographed in his home Dec. 2, 1980.

Ansel Adams in front of “Monolith: The Face of Half Dome, 1927”. Photographed in his home Dec. 2, 1980.

Ansel Adams was born February 20, 1902. He is “the” icon of American landscape photography. Trained as a concert pianist, his love of photography and time spent in Yosemite National Park led him to a career change.

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A Beautiful NASA Image of Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Earth that You Can Download and Print

Saturn and the inner rings backlit by the Sun. Click for a larger version.

When the Cassini spacecraft was on the back side of Saturn, with Saturn’s shadow  protecting the sensitive instruments from the harsh and potentially harmful rays of the Sun, the wide-angle and narrow-angle cameras captured a panoramic series of 323 images. 141 of those images were used to create this beautiful, natural color image of Saturn, the inner rings, seven of the Saturn’s moons and the planets Mars, Venus, and Earth. NASA named this image “The Day the Earth Smiled”.

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This is What Climate Change Looks Like

Starving polar bear photographed by Paul Nicklen

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen photographed this starving polar bear on Canada’s Somerset Island. Polar bears need ice pack to hunt and survive. The length of the ice pack hunting season has dropped dramatically over the last 25 years and polar bears are starving during the ever longer “fasting season” when there is no ice pack. Video of this bear follows.

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When is the Best Time of Year to Photograph Each of Our National Parks?

Denali, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Parks

Denali, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Parks

Planning a trip to photograph some of our national parks? You will get better images if you visit a national park at its prime season of the year. But when is each park at its very best? And how about great locations that aren’t in the national parks? This article has answers.

Originally posted January 18, 2017. Re-posted February 8, 2018. Most recent update: February 10, 2018.

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On A Really Tight Budget? How About a DSLR and Two Lenses for $389.99?

Some of the refurbished camera gear at the Canon web site.

It was early December when I received a Facebook message from a friend whose granddaughter in college wanted to take a digital photography class starting in January. My friend wanted to give her a camera and lens as a Christmas gift. His budget was around $400 and he had no idea what to get her. After pricing camera gear he was in sticker shock and asked for my advice. He found a point and shoot camera in his price range and wondered if that would work.

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The Chinese Lens Rip Off! Part Twelve. Lens Comparison Test Three: “Shoot the Moon”

 

Side by side comparison test: Chinese lens vs telephoto lens and teleconverter on a DSLR.

Almost every day I see ads for the same plastic, cheaply made Chinese lens, and the ad often uses the same faked photo of an impressive picture of the moon (see examples below). I decided to do a “shoot the moon” comparison test. As you will see in the results that follow, it is impossible for this Chinese lens to take the moon shot used in these ads.

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Total Immersion Nature Photography Weekend in Beautiful Northern Michigan

Michigan Photography WorkshopAre 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 8-10, 2018.

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The Chinese Lens Rip Off Series, Part Eleven. The Same Lousy Lens With Many Different Names

HD Zoom Pro Lens Ad

Don’t get ripped off. The quality of this lens is so bad and the reputation of the company is so awful that the people who market this lens have to keep coming up with new names for the lens and new web sites to sell it. So far I have found 16 different names for this lens and it is sold with the same fake information on dozens of web sites. Continue reading

The Chinese Lens Rip Off Series, Part Ten. Good Luck Trying to Get a Refund

HD Pixel Pro ad on Facebook

Don’t get ripped off on an overpriced, lousy quality lens from an unscrupulous company that has an “F” rating at the BBB. Good luck trying to get a refund as you will read in Annie’s story below. I see ads like this on Facebook almost every day. These ads are costly so they must be making a lot of money. These companies change names and addresses all the time to keep ahead of the bad reviews, so be careful out there.

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Books Banned in Texas Prisons

Some of the photography books banned by the Texas prison system.

When I heard about the list of over 10,000 books banned by the Texas prison system, I did a really quick scan of the list for photography books that I own. I found five books (photo above) and I am sure I missed some. And there are photography books on the banned list that I don’t have, including several National Geographic books and two more books by John Hedgecoe.

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Get the Shot!

Just in case you missed this viral screen capture from the national championship football game, this is the 42 yard touchdown pass that gave Alabama the victory over Georgia. In other words this is the biggest play of the biggest game of the year. Whoever grabbed this screen capture off their TV circled the sideline photographers. I call this “shock and awe”. Their editors are probably calling this “missed photo”. It is hard to get the shot if your camera isn’t at your face, or even pointed at the play.

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Winter Photography Safety Essentials

Some of the winter travel items I carry in the trunk of my car.

Some of the winter travel items I carry in the trunk of my car. This is the “kitchen” and “furnace”.

I grew up in Colorado where strange weather can strand you in any month of the year. Even though it is rare, I’ve seen blizzards in the Colorado high country in July. So I learned to carry some safety essentials when doing winter photography in remote locations. You never know when you might be stranded for several hours, a whole day, or longer, until the blizzard abates and someone can come find you. This is what I carry in my car pretty much year around and especially in the winter. I include a few winter travel tips, too.

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