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on Aug 7, 2017 in Landscape Photography

Move the Eye Thru the Frame

There are many ways to give our one-dimensional landscape photos visual depth. One quick and easy of doing it is by including the sun. Just knowing this though isn’t your salvation because including the sun has its own ying and yang. The first thing to think about is the sun will be the brightest element in the frame. The eye will go to it with missile speed and lock onto it. Now that can be good, that could be bad. The difference between the two is the visual path you create to and from the sun in your frame. This is the hard part because the power of the sun is great but not so great it can’t be used in your favor. That’s the challenge and at the same time how you bring visual depth to your photo. There are two examples here of that happening but in two totally different ways and there are much more, probably infinite the possibilities. Here’s what you gotta watch out for...

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on Aug 1, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

They Call Him … Jim Bob!

Well, we call them Jim Bob, the rest of the world calls them Willow Ptarmigan (the Alaska State Bird). When it’s mating season this largish bird simply turns stupid. While not the brightest bird in the flock to start with (some hunt them by simply throwing rocks at them), when there is sex in the air, all thought goes to one thing, attracting a mate. Many years ago we had one basically fly into the window of the van while in pursuit of another male it felt was trespassing on its territory. Every since that moment, we’ve affectionately called them Jim Bob. What you see here is their plumage as it changes from their all white winter garb to the brown summer garb. As they molt out their winter white you get the variants you see here. It is amazing how well this chicken size bird can hide behind just one piece of grass even with their plumage not completely swapped out. And when there are females flying about...

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on Jul 12, 2017 in Landscape Photography

My Luminar “Procontrast” Preset

It’s SO cool to see so much excitement and curiosity about MacPhun’s Luminar! The Windows Beta should be available shortly to all and right now only the Mac version is available for purchase. Knowing Nik was going, I’ve been using Luminar since last October. In that time, I have been working to recreate in Luminar my favorites in Nik which is not really fair to Luminar because, in many ways, it does a better job (for example with the following Procontrast Preset, I can tweek a whole of small details you can’t in Nik and that’s huge!). For example, I’m posting here for the first time my Preset for what I call Procontrast. Procontrast is a Nik Color Efex filter I’ve used since I was part of the team that developed it. It is essential to my workflow! There is no easy or clean way at this time to share my Luminar Presets like I have in the past for Nik recipes. So for right now, watch Scott Kelby’s...

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on Jul 11, 2017 in Landscape Photography

“Are Those Clouds Real?”

This question came in not once, but twice over the weekend in response to an Instagram photo I posted. I take that as a great compliment! There is a reason my bud McNally calls me “Dances with Clouds” and that’s because I can’t pass up a good cloud. And that’s where it all starts the challenge for many, determining if it’s a good cloud or not. There are a couple of key elements in my approach to a romantic cloud photograph and that does it have character and will finishing bring out that character? What’s cloud character? In my mind that comes from the shape(s) in and about the cloud that shades of blacks, whites, and grays create (foreground earth is key here as well). The way the light plays on the shape and texture in the cloud is key! To see this I think you need to have a vivid imagination which I have. I’m not talking about seeing a face or critter in the clouds but rather,...

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on Jul 6, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Looks Gr8 on Paper

We were so fortunate last week to spend it in the company of some great shooter and amazing birds. That combination should have produced some killer images. It was on paper the perfect mix of biology and technology, hummers and flash. Madera Cyn, Santa Rita Lodge, in particular, is simply a spectacular location for birds, specifically hummers. With that biology, today’s iTTL technology is the perfect tool for produce the images we were after. We should start there, the image we were after. There are definitely two camps when it comes to Hummer photos, frozen wings, and blurred wings. After seeing my aviation work and the blurred props, it’s no coincidence I’m in the blurred wing camp. It’s simple, I experience hummers as this blurred jewel and that’s how I want to tell their story in my photos. And that’s where this all begins, the subject and the story I want to tell. What makes hummers so darn cool? Their hovering abilities and the amazing colors they bring to...

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on Jun 28, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Slow Progress … Still Progress?

After sitting, stewing, and sleeping on it, I came up with minor changes in our technical tools and ideas and they started to payoff for us. Still shooting with the captured by D500 / 300PF / 2x SB-5000 set up but have made better use of Auto Area AF. The idea, of course, is not only capture the photo but have a ton of fun and enjoy the magic that is hummingbirds. We got much closer to that today. Now it’s still not “the” photo I want, but it’s now moving in the right direction so while slow progress, it’s still...

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