Photography Tips and Tricks

Ten Great Tips for Photographing Your Roadtrek

If you’re like me, you love your Roadtrek.  It’s your baby.  And, much like a new baby, you want to show it off.  And what better way to show it off than in pictures!  My wife Rochelle and I came up with some photography tips to help you showcase your Roadtrek Class B Van Conversion like it’s never been seen before.  So pick up your camera, or your smartphone, and let’s go shooting.

Trick #1

Play with scale.

Your Roadtrek is a pretty big beast, but we all love them because they’re so much smaller than the alternatives.

Charley looks huge next to regular cars.
Charley looks huge next to regular cars.

You can play with that size difference by photographing your van against a variety of backgrounds.  Want to show how big it is?  Then show it off against the typical passenger car, or shoot from a low perspective.  Want to make it appear smaller?  Nature is your answer.  A 10-foot tall motorhome is nothing compared to a 3,000 foot tall granite rock. Continue reading

Photography Fun Doesn’t Stop After Dark.

Everybody shoots sunsets.  I doubt if you could find a photographer, or any traveler with a camera, who hasn’t tried their hand at capturing that last light of the day.  And I don’t blame them.  I’ve shot more than a few sunsets myself.    But unless you’re presented with a wonderful sky full of dramatic clouds, or some exceptional reflected color, your sunset shot isn’t going to turn any heads.

That’s why Rochelle and I try to study other astronomical events to see if we can incorporate them into our photography.  And it turns out our favorite celestial body is often not the sun, but the moon.  But before I get into the ins and “mostly” outs of shooting the moon, let me tell you a bit about our most recent weekend in Yosemite. Continue reading

It’s that Time of Year. Time to Make Next Year’s Photo Christmas Cards.

If you’re a forward thinker, now is the best time of the year to make next year’s personalized photo Christmas Cards.  That’s because all of the color, the decorations and the excitement of Christmas is happening right now. 

A few years ago, Rochelle took on a Christmas Photography challenge on the photo-sharing site Flickr.  The task was to post a Christmas-oriented photo every day from December 1 all the way to Christmas.  That sounds pretty easy, but there was more to the challenge.  Not only did she have to post a shot every day, the photograph she posted had to be shot that very same day.  And that wasn’t easy at all.  For one thing, it gets dark pretty darn early in December, so that precious after-work light became even more valuable.  And after a couple of weeks, she had to “stretch” her creativity to come up with unique, fun and nicely-produced photographs.

I’m going to tell you a few of the things she learned, and show you how everyday scenes can become wonderful, personalized Christmas cards. Continue reading

Part of the Fun is Never Knowing Where Your Camera will Take You.

Rochelle and I were asked to photograph the dress rehearsal for a dance performance last week, and I’ve got to tell you, it was certainly something I never thought I would do.  Dance?  Really?  Spend all day shooting a bunch of kids in a dim dance studio?  Not me.  I’d much rather spend the day shooting landscapes in Yosemite.  But you know what?  It was a blast, and we learned a lot too.Dancers in a line

The first thing I learned is that artificial light, as bright as it may seem to your eyes, isn’t really very bright at all.  And if there’s a mix of sunlight and a variety of man-made lights in the room, your white balance is going to end up being a thousand degrees off from reality.  Light is the very essence of photography, and bad light can quickly equal bad photographs.  I was worried. Continue reading

Getting Ready for the Holidays — Photographing Special Events at Night.

Rochelle and I had a wonderful photographic opportunity last week — photographing festively decorated trains at Railtown State Park.    It was a lot of fun, but it was also quite a challenge.  Simply put – it’s almost impossibly difficult to shoot things that are moving in the dark. Railtown Sierra No 3

Railtown 1897 is located in Jamestown California.  Jamestown is one of California’s many Gold Rush towns, and is located just north of Yosemite on Hwy 49.  It is home to vintage steam engines, historical buildings and movie memorabilia, as many movies and TV series have been shot there over the years.  Each year Railtown puts on “Santa’s Starlight Express” by offering railroad rides at night in holiday-themed railroad cars and engines. Continue reading

Winter Photography, Tips and Tricks

Winter is a photographer’s biggest test.  And it can also be their greatest reward. If you’re up to braving the elements, you can capture some fantastic images.

Here’s a little secret about photography in the Winter.  The air is clearest when it’s cold.  That’s right.  No murky brownish skies.  No marine layer.  No campfire smoke.  It feels like you can see forever.  El Capitan covered in snow (1 of 1)And if you’re a fan of those super sharp, in focus from your feet to infinity, landscape photographs, all of that clear air will just make your day.

So, it sounds easy, doesn’t it?  Just put on your waterproof boots and a parka and you’re ready to bring home the goods.  Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.  That’s because as advanced as cameras have become, they’re nowhere near as good as the eyes in your head.  The exposure meter in your camera sees snow as one great big overexposure.  So when it tries to adjust for all that whiteness, the meter does what it’s supposed to do – it compensates.  Unfortunately, your camera will compensate for white snow so much; you’ll end up with a dark gray photograph that will make you wish you stayed in your motorhome’s nice warm bed. Continue reading