Secrets

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

There and Back Again, a Photographer’s Tale

Yes, I did steal the title from the Hobbit, but I almost named this “Beauty and the Beasts” which would have been an even more blatant rip off.  I hope I don’t get sued by Tolkien or Disney because both titles are perfect for this story.  You see, I have just recently gotten hooked on nature wildlife photography and I have already found out two very important truths; you do often have to go “There and Back Again” to get the right shot, and there is plenty of beauty, and more than a few beasts to photograph when you do.

backyard deerI have to preface this story with the news that Rochelle and I just picked up two new lenses.  For Rochelle, who is a bit of a speed freak when it comes to glass, the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 fit the bill perfectly.  I, on the other hand, wanted a bit more range, so I went for the 70-400.  So my lens is a bit slower than Rochelle’s, but covers more distance.  They are both Sony G lenses, which mean they’re ultra-quiet and super sharp.  So we both got what we really wanted, and of course, being married, we share both lenses equally.  Right.  Sure we do.

Before we went on our first wildlife photography hunt, I decided to do a little practice shooting at home.  Luckily for me, there is plenty of wildlife right outside the door.  This young buck was my first conquest.  I was happy with the shot, but I realized right then that I wouldn’t have a front porch railing to brace the camera on out in the field.  And I would need some kind of a brace because my new lens is very, very big and heavy. So, I made sure to pack both the tripods and the monopods for our first trip. 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

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

The Off-Season Guide to Yosemite National Park, Part 1

My wife and I are lucky enough to live so close to Yosemite that we’ve been there hundreds of times.  SONY DSCAfter all these trips, we’ve discovered the best places to stay, the best places to eat and most importantly, the best places to take pictures.  Read on, and we’ll share some of our secrets with you.

Yosemite used to have a well-defined off season.  If you headed to the park in October or April, you would have the place to yourself.  That’s no longer the case.  Now, just about any month can be called “crowded” in comparison to other national parks.  I blame the crowds on cameras.  Everyone wants to take pictures with their new digital camera, and quite frankly, there’s no better place to take pictures then in Yosemite.

However, there are far less people in the park from early October to the end of April.  And that’s especially true on weekdays, or in periods of “bad” weather. Continue reading