No Time Like the Present!

Sax-Zim Bog captured by Z 9 / Z24-120

So many times I’ve seen a scene, a subject and my heart gives way to logic and I just keep going. I don’t stop and not until later do I regret it. Ever been there? I learned long ago the hard way that there is no time like the present to make the image. Last week in Minnesota is a perfect example. The ground fog was thick and the temp and dew point created gorgeous hoar frost. It takes just a drop of sunlight to make it all disappear, I know that, so without hesitation I stopped to shoot. Like so many aspects of photography, it requires previous failure to learn this simple concept. It requires seeing the photograph in the review mirror, the turning around and not seeing the photograph at all, to know you should have stopped when your mind and heart screamed, stop! Not that every time that happens and you stop there is the photo of the lifetime, but there is nothing worse than the shadow of doubt, the “what if?” That’s why no matter what if my mind says there is a photograph, there is no time like the present!

B&W a Natural for Snow?

Powerline Trail captured by Z 9 / Z24-120

When to use B&W, that’s a great question that is asked so often. In the most technical sense, you need a clean black and a clean white as the starting point to a successful B&W print. The print only comes from time in the field with a camera. In this pursuit, the white is the harder of the two to find. But not in winter as much as snow in the right region abounds. We often though want to bring “warmth” to the winter scene. The juxtaposition easily works within the bounds of the viewfinder. This mean typically a color versus a B&W photo. On the other hand the drama and romance that B&W brings to a snowed covered landscape can tell a more powerful story. This brings us back to the question, when to shoot B&W? I’m so confused … not really but then I live in snow country and I think that’s the key. Not living in snow but rather your emotional response to snow, snow covered landscape, cold and telling its story visually. The one time I know I’ll go B&W is when the drama in the sky screams snow storm coming! The white of the snow against that landscape is power and that power comes out dramatically in B&W. But with all of this said, it still begs the question, B&W a natural for snow?

You Have 364 Days Left!

Yellowstone Grand Canyon grove captured by Z 9 / Z70-200f2.8

I know I know, the wrapping paper from this year has barely hit the floor and I’m talking about Christmas 2023! This is an old editorial photographer habitat, taking photographs this season in preparation for photographic needs for next. If your client asks for fall themed photos from you right now being winter, you can’t go out and take them. This means that if you didn’t take them this last fall, you don’t get the opportunity for a payday. That kinda thought process runs through my own photographic needs and one I have every year is, the photo for my Christmas greeting blog post. This years was taken last year so now I’m working on next years.

Yellowstone pine cone captured by Z 9 / Z24-120f4

These are two runner ups here for this year’s post. There are a couple of tricks I use in this process to pass along. Most important is to create the message this year you want to use next year. What does it look like, say and what type font? This is needed to determine in part the elements in the photograph. And it’s a lot easier to create this now while you’re still in the Holiday mood then next fall. With that, I take the photos and this trick is really important. Photos I take this year for next year I make a copy of the finished photo and change the file name to Xmas ’23#1, #2, etc. I do this so I can FIND the photos a year from now. All I have to do then next Christmas is to select the photo I like best, maybe make some tweaks and post. The panic is on in my mind, I only have 364 days left!

Add That Somethin to the Color

Snow Geese at sunrise captured by D5 / 800f5.6AFS

Photographer or not, we’ve all seen that killer sunrise or sunset. That puts the challenge on us to take our sunrise / sunset beyond the common to the uncommon. One real simple and effective way to do that is place an element(s) in that color to make the viewer stop and look. In this case, it’s a big flock of Snow Geese lifting off a pond at Bosque del Apache. You can then up this simple idea by having some pattern, symmetry to the elements you have in the frame. And in this case, shooting with the 800mm lens, I was able to isolate the most intense portion of the color with the geese. That’s just adding another layer to added somethin with the color.

Just Because …

Blood Moon 11.08.22 02:07 captured by Z 9 / 800f5.6AFS

The alarm went off at 01:45 and the clock announced the outside temp was 8 degrees. I had setup the rig, Z 9 / 800f5.6AFS, the night before so all I had to do was step out on the deck and photograph the Blood Moon, the total eclipse. I could see the moonlight outside so I was delighted. I stepped out and looked up to see the clouds ripping by. I looked at the time, I had ten minutes until the eclipse would start. As the time got closer the clouds got thicker and thicker. Then the eclipse started and what you see is what I saw. I few minutes later, I could no longer see the shadow of the earth as the moon became just a glow behind the clouds. I decided to stay up until 03:16 when totality was supposed to occur. I bundled up at 03:05 and went outside, it was really dark. I was hopeful until I looked up. There wasn’t even a glow from the moon, there were just a huge wall of clouds.

Photography has no guarantees, none! You can own the best gear, have the best technique, be on top of your craft and be in the right place at the right time but that doesn’t mean you’ll come back with the photo you want. It’s at times like this and I have had hundreds of them, I think about those words by James Taylor. “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.” Amen


Electric Peak captured by Z 9 / 180-400R

As fast as the truck could stop on the ice it did, we did … the sunrise as just … glorious!

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