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on Jan 21, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Let It Snow!

Simply put, I love the white stuff! I realize at the same time that not everyone shares the same passion for snow, that being cold thing. With that in mind, I’m always looking for photographic opportunities where I can give the viewer the feeling of snow without them having to get cold. Whenever it’s actually snowing, the flakes are falling, my mind turns to this challenge. On our adventure in Yellowstone last week, had a number of opportunities to explore this challenge and one time in Hayden Valley was the best! What were the conditions that made it great? The first was the light which is always essential. The light was sidelight and spotty which means it was playing dodgeball with the clouds. Next, the clouds themselves were dark and ominous in the west. This combo, the light on the white snow and the dark cloud in the background provided the contrast to see the snow in the photo. Lastly, the snowflakes themselves were large and blowin pretty hard....

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on Jan 20, 2016 in Landscape Photography

The Explosion!

The vast underground plumbing at Yellowstone provides a lifetime of fascination watching it in action. The geysers, something like 1400 strong, have a life of their own, each being very unique based on hydrology, geology and ologies over my pay grade. But that doesn’t stop my watching them in amazement as they put on their shows. One of the reasons why I love being in Yellowstone in the winter and want it cold is because the geyser steam takes on a life of its own once caught in the wind. You take that and add great light and skies, and the photographic possibilities are really limitless! How to tell this story of site and sound in a still image? The first thing I think is key is the light. I prefer sidelight and a little diffused. Too diffused and the ripples in the steam cloud are lost. Too strong and the same thing, the shades of gray are lost. It’s the shades of gray the help give texture and...

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on Jan 19, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

They Dot The Landscape

Click to see larger image The Bison of Yellowstone have always held a special fascination with me. Any critter that can stand in water that can boil an egg with an air temp of minus -32 (the coldest I’ve seen them), and go on chewin their cud as if it were just another day (which it is for them) I find fascinating. In the past, shooting one click and having it filled with Bison wasn’t a challenge. This latest trip with the warm temps and not historically high snow levels, tons of Bison just weren’t to be seen. At the same time, they are a range animal with the main herd kinda always on the move as they graze … and they call one of the most gorgeous and special places on the planet, Yellowstone, home. How do you say that in a photograph? I first went long, shooting with the 800mm trying to compact those that were available. That didn’t work so I then added the TC-14eIII giving...

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on Jan 18, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Silence of Snow

I’m back at home watching the snowfall after an amazing week in what is truly a winter wonderland, Yellowstone NP. Most go there for the critters which is understandable. Personally, I love being in Hayden Valley which, while it can have critters, it’s its vast expanse of white that grabs my imagination. The snow blows in from the west and blankets the landscape in white, molding and sculpting the hills and valleys, the creeks and draws into seductive forms and shapes the wind howls through in an unique call of the wild. That chill of the wind bites at your cheeks and numbs the finger making the whole experience personal and very real. It tells you that you’re alive and witnessing Mother Nature at her finiest. We had the opportunity to shoot in Hayden twice when the sky added the needed backdrop of speak of the drama. For me, just any old sky doesn’t work for this white sculptures. Nor does any old finishing, here one is in color...

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on Jan 13, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Go Wide – Tell Story

This might seem like an odd title when you realize this photo of a Bobcat was taken with a 800mm / TC-1.25E. Filling the frame seems like a common quest of wildlife photographers often leading them to crop in post just so you see just the critter. While there is nothing wrong with this if you still tell the critter’s story. Often though, the story goes with the crop. And that robs that critter of telling its story, that’s sad. It was the end of the day, temps hovering around 10 degrees. There perched in a down tree reaching out into the Madison River, a Bobcat does what a cat does so well, waiting for its prey to come within reach. This Bobcat has become very efficient at catching waterfowl. If you look in the foreground in the right corner you’ll see the ripples of the Goldeneye that just saved its own life by diving for food. If I had moved in closer, used a different teleconverter, I could...

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on Jan 11, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Working Winter

Shooting in winter has some abnormal challenges, one is really boring but turns out to be important. Condensation can really cause us issues if not nipped in the bud from the start. Condensation normally occurs when warm, moist air hits a cold surface. It can start as simply as our breathing on our gear and ice forming while shooting. The gear with that ice goes in your camera bag and once in your warm room, the condensation issue is born. To avoid this, I do these simple but I think important steps. When I put my gear away for the last time after shooting, the memory cards are removed and put into my pockets. Once I get into my room, I grab a clean bath towel and on the bed, I will lay out all my gear and quickly cover all of it with the towel. I then open all the section of my photopack, unzip them but have the flaps closed. I then put the cards in the...

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