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on Dec 1, 2020 in Landscape Photography

Caddo Lake NWR … Oh My!

In 1942, a young congressman, Lyndon B Johnson arranged for the US Army to build one of their new ammunition plants in Texas on the Louisiana border. Shortly, 8493 acre were purchased on Caddo Lake and the plant was built. During WWII, Monsanto Corp produced 393,000,000 pounds of TNT at this location! For fifty-five years, the plant built everything from incendiary devices to rocket motors. Thiokol Corp modernized the plant from making liquid rocket fuel to producing solid rocket fuel after the Korean War, the Cold War era. Then in 1987, the plant was used as part of a treaty as the site where the Pershing I & II missiles were destroyed. And now, it’s a National Wildlife Refuge … dang! What you see above is what’s left of Production Area #1 for the production of TNT. We were there birding, looking for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (which we did find) when we literally stumbled upon Production Area #1. As you can see, the forest has reclaimed the area bringing...

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on Nov 10, 2020 in Landscape Photography

Red Loves Black

Caddo Lake captured by Z 6 / Z24-200 Yep, in our landscape photos and in general, red just loves black! We love our reds, we love them saturated, deep, vibrant and if at all possible fire engine red. Its just part of the human condition and as such, let’s just give ourselves what we love. There are many ways to do this. Saturation is by far the most common method of delivering that gorgeous red. I prefer more subtle methods such as using White Balance and exposure. In this example at Caddo Lake, I set the White Balance manually to 8000k and underexposed by 1 2/3 stops. The underexposure not only saturated the color but made sure the black went truly black. Our mind’s eye sees that black and uses it to determine other colors and by association, we see other colors more vibrant. Or in real simple terms, red loves...

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on Nov 4, 2020 in Landscape Photography

Delicate Sublime Beauty

Caddo Lake captured by Z6 / Z24-200 Long, long ago Caddo Lake, TX was put on my list of locales I had to get too. Sadly, it’s taken nearly four decades to make that happen. It is such a gorgeous place, I’m sadden it’s taken so long to get here but so happy I finally made it. Not widely known to folks, I came here for birds amongst the bayou but it’s the bayou itself that has grabbed my imagination and fills be with awe each sunrise. The dew point is perfect to bring out a fog across the water. The batches of color here and there bring the eye to the vertical texture of the intriguing Cypress. Man, it’s simply gorgeous. Caddo Lake captured by D6 / 180-400VR The question comes up with every click though, color or B&W? It’s a very texture rich target that looks romantic with every click in B&W. The subtle shades of gray punctuated with orange and red here and there makes color...

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on Oct 22, 2020 in Landscape Photography

Rock the Fall Color

Sheep Creek, UTcaptured by Z6 / Z24-200 The color has really popped in the last 24hrs with the cold snap. The combination of crisp air and the warm autumn light made shooting the fall color a snap, and incredibly relaxing. And this morning, the background was just as cool as the foreground. Sheep Creek, UTcaptured by Z6 / Z14-30 The photo at the I was pointed to the south. I turned to the west still standing in the same spot and shot the photo above. The only skill I brought to the situation was able to get up early and drive, Mother Nature did all the...

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on Oct 7, 2020 in Landscape Photography

Fall Color – Front or back Light?

Sebago Lakecaptured by Z7 / Z24-200 @24mm With fall color working its way through the season, questions on what is the right way to photograph them pop up. There is no right or wrong but perhaps better or worse based on what you want to say about them. One very simple way is to change up the light. Above is a backlit scene just seconds before the sun raced around the globe. Sebago Lakecaptured by Z7 / Z24-200 @20mm Then turning around there was this tree frontlit. The drama in the color in both photos comes from the darkness or black around them. Backlit, it’s easy to get this darkness. Frontlit, you might need to underexpose which at the same time, saturates the color. In both, the actual fall color doesn’t not fill the frame, in fact, the opposite. This permits the imagination to fill in some of the holes. Our imagination is a powerful tool to tap into your photos, another great attribute of black. Just something to...

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