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on Aug 6, 2018 in Landscape Photography

You a Moth?

Sunsets can stop us dead in our tracks! I remember not too long ago how a whole beach of folks stopped to watch the setting sun, its splendor simply couldn’t be ignored. So it is no wonder photographers want to preserve that moment photographically. With that being said, ever noticed how many sunset, or sunrise for that matter, photographs simply don’t measure up? This could be your own impression of your photograph or the lackluster response from others. Ever wonder why that is, why when sunsets can stop folks in their tracks, your photo is, blah? Could it be you’re a moth? You’ve heard the old saying, “Attracted to a flame like a moth.” We are really no different than a moth with our attraction to a bright light source and that often blinds us to the rest of the elements that need to be in the frame. The first and biggest one is emotion! Everyone on the planet, photographer or not has a sunset that brings back special,...

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on Jun 26, 2018 in Landscape Photography

Lion Point Fire

On 1 June, a lightning strike hit Lion Point in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. It was discovered on the 11th and by 18th was a slow, smoldering wildfire trying to burn its way through the thick pine needle carpet. There is just enough fire to create the thick smoke blanketing our area. With the strike helicopters flying over the house constantly, we decided to head up to the crest to look at it for ourselves since it’s only 9 miles from the house (town and home safe at this time). Being me, I, of course, went up with the D5 / 180-400VR with my thought being I’d photograph the helos going overhead. As it turned out, the smoke as the sun went down intrigued me more. Here’s what we saw. As of now, the fire has grown to over 2400 acres, it was just 10 acres when I took these...

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on Jun 20, 2018 in Landscape Photography

Blue Mountain’s Spring

It’s simply the most beautiful forest I’ve ever walked! We averaged about five miles a day in our hunt for Great Gray Owls walking the forest. Our walks the entire time were through the most gorgeous, sweeping landscape of Ponderosa Pines with spring grasses and wildflowers at their feet. While we never found the Great Grays, we were enveloped by over thirty species of wildflowers. Their color and smell amongst the pines and grasses were intoxicating and with all the birds singing made for a near heaven experience. Seriously, we all said we’d move there in a heartbeat, it was just that magnificent! Those who know me know that no matter how gorgeous the wildflowers, I simply don’t put my butt in the air to photograph them. So you might be very surprised to see a blog post with wildflowers. Well, that’s because I didn’t have to bend over to take them! Shooting with the D850 / 8-15Fish, I simply folded out the monitor and shot! The 8-15Fish is...

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on Jun 13, 2018 in Landscape Photography

Is It a Photograph?

The Spouting Horn on Kauai is just one of those locations that in the late afternoon, you can’t but take a deep breath and relax! The view is spectacular so much so that even the evening rain shower makes you smile just that much more. Then there is the natural beauty of the coastline enhanced by the “breathing rock” that is the Spouting Horn. Even at low tides, you can hear it take a breath and let it out even if there is no spray. The warm, ocean air, the floating clouds, the gorgeous light, it’s just about as romantic a spot as you’re going to find. Then we interrupt this all by putting a camera to our eye. I say this because there is no emotion setting in the camera, romance slider in post. Argh! What do I mean by that? When we put the cold-hearted bastard to our eye, we take all those emotional responses to Spouting Horn and make them mechanical. We have all the best...

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on Jun 7, 2018 in Landscape Photography

Such a Gorgeous Canyon!

After an afternoon looking for the rare forest endemic bird species of Kauai, we came back down from the mountains to spend some time in the gorgeous Waimea Canyon. There are a number of turnouts and overlooks in which to take in this incredible view and the one I select normally is dependant on the rainbow. That’s because, in the afternoon, there is usually at least one rainbow, if not more. The gear part was a snap. The D850 with the 70-200f4 and 8-15Fish was all that was required. This permitted both the tight horizontal and vertical shot of the canyon and the rainbow. And with the huge vista, the 8-15Fish took that in oh so elequently. That took care of the arranging of elements, then there were just a few settings to finish it all off. I shot in Vivid, underexposed by -1/3 stop and set the camera to Cloudy WB. That was it, easy peezy and the memory is saved to share with all. Cause this kind...

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on May 18, 2018 in Landscape Photography

Portrait Light

White Balance, the relationship of the light falling on the subject and how it is captured, sets the stage for so much that we communicate photographically. In its simplest use, creating a “gray day” or “warm moment” is only the difference of 3000k. But that can make all the difference in the story you want to tell! I went with a real simple portrait setting to make my point. The Boys as always were just hanging out and more than willing to be models. The photograph above was taken when we first arrived at Mt Rushmore. The bottom photo was taken 45min later just as the sun was disappearing. The mood set with the “cold” or “blue” light is dramatic compared to the “warm” or “orange” light. And this difference directly affects how the viewer of your photograph “feels” about the subject. And while this is easy and obvious, like anything in photography, White Balance tends to perplex photographers. I can pass along to you what I tell most...

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