Backlight for Color & B&W

Mammoth Hot Springs captured by Z 9 / Fisheye

I love Mammoth Hot Springs! It never ceases to amaze me what Mother Nature has created and shared with us when I walk its boardwalks. The majority of the time I do it in the afternoon, the hours the critters are typically taking a siesta. When in Yellowstone my priority is the critters so landscapes are taken only when there is nothing else the majority of the time. This early morning though as we passed the terraces, the light and sky just screamed for our cameras so we hit the boardwalk. The backlighting is what made them jump out at us. As they are all white, the light is bouncing everywhere so then it’s just a matter of arranging the elements to move the eye through the frame. In the black & white, I closed the aperture down to create the starbursts to move the eye around. In the color version, it was the algae I used as an anchor for the eye. And in both the backlit steam set the stage and brought the romance of the landscape to the image. We so enjoyed our time on the boardwalk even after we learned we missed a bear. It was a gorgeous morning for backlight color & B&W!

Mammoth Hot Springs captured by Z 9 / Fisheye

My Annual Challenge Begins

Sunflower captured by D850 / 8-15Fish

Wildflowers, ever since the first time I picked up a camera, have challenged me! It’s truly a mental thing that’s whipping my butt. Wildflowers are one of the most visual symbols that celebrate spring. Their bright color, pattern and design are brilliant elements celebrating the sun’s change and the warmth it brings. I so want them images in my files for celebrating this time of year and yet, I have so few. Why? One of the main reasons is they challenge my patience. The darn things never hold still! Next, I’m always looking for that “perfect” blossom which I know is not required but my mind won’t let it go. Lastly, putting time into poesy photos means I’m not working with critters and that play on my mind as well. The pressure is killing me! Yes, I’m out looking, kinda, so wish me luck as my annual challenge begins!

Find ’em in the Darnedest Places

Lonely Beach Cross captured by Z 30 / Z16-50

I was at the surf line with the Z 9 / 800AFS photographing the American Avocets in the surf and the Black Skimmers feeding right in front of us. To the east we saw the nasty storm that had formed up and was coming our way. The light had gotten real sour, the birds moving away so I started to search with my eyes for the light if there was any. As I spun I had done a complete 180 when I saw behind us, behind the truck, off in the dunes this lone cross. Behind it, a light under menacing clouds. At first I shook off the thought of going for a photo. I was here for critters and I knew that giving them a few moments, they would be back. But the light was in a different direction. I didn’t want to make the walk, get another camera dirty but the light, it ate away at me. After a few minutes I headed for the light. I grabbed the Z 30 / Z16-50 out of the truck and headed over the dune. I no sooner than crossed the small rise when I saw a cloud of bugs come up to greet me. The light was pulling at me so I made the click. That’s when I noticed I was covered, covered with mosquitoes. I ran back to the safety of the beach wiping them off. Then I looked at the photo, one of the finest landscapes I’ve made in a long time. As I madly scratch the tens of bites on my legs and hands this morning, I know I need to make some mental changes towards some photos. The cause your find ’em in the darnedest places!

Chasing the Wave

Northern Lights captured by Z 9 / Z24-70f2.8

First appearing like faint green stream, Northern Lights are a wave of particles that light up the night in a magical show. Reds, yellows and the most common green pulse back and forth, come and go and the earth spins below them. Just back from Alaska photographing them and filming a new class for KelbyOne. It’s a case of “planned” luck going on a northern lights adventure as you are counting on two segments of Mother Nature. You have the Aurora Borealis that is always in flux in intensity and the weather. Nothing more frustrating to know the lights are dancing overhead only to see the bottom of clouds. But when they do appear they are like nothing else you’ve ever witnessed! It’s a challenge to tell their story as it’s like chasing a wave!

It Takes Just the Slightest Wisp

Moose Creek captured by Z 9 / Z14-24f2.8

I’m up in beautiful Alaska chasing Northern Lights and part of that process is scouting during the day for where you want to park at night. I went to Moose Creek yesterday (no relation) to find the tiniest of wisp of clouds and I knew I had to make a click. How do you talk about big skies when the viewer is not standing next to you to experience them themselves? I instantly went to black and white because the “gray” background makes the white pops. You’ve gotta know you have the killer tool in ACR, B&W Mixer where you can take the blue slider and move it just a bit to the right and makes those clouds pop. You have Sky Masking where AI selects all the sky so you can move the Clarity slider a tad to the right and with that, those wisps now are working so show expanse. With these tools in your pocket, it takes just the slightest wisp.

Not So Fast There

DC-6 “The Lucky Duck” captured by Z 6II / Z24-70f2.8

As much as I am looking forward to spring, I was going through my files and this photo reminded me that there are still some killer photos to take with snow. With the recent storms in some locales and melting in other, snow right now with the coming spring light can make some very cool opportunities! With the sun a bit higher on the horizon brings with is a mood that can set off snow that you won’t find in mid winter. The trick to it is to find a subject where the snow is just an element of the photograph and not the subject. Like this DC-6 up in Fairbanks, AK on a pizza parlor I believe. We actually have a short period of time with this kinds of images with snow on its way out and the light with a slight edge to it. Have fun, tell your story, share it and make someone smile knowing the snow is on its way out and spring is around the corner!
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