tips

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

No Snow. No Problem. California has Beaches too.

We’ve had a dry, dry winter so far in California.  And while the dry and unseasonably warm weather is playing heck with our ski season, our winter snow photography, and more importantly, the State-wide drought situation, it has allowed us to quickly dewinterize our Class B Roadtrek and hit the road. 

Fortunately for us, we’re only a few hours away from some amazing scenes. Some we’re very familiar with, and some we’ve only just begun to explore.  I thought I’d use this post to let you know where we’ve been and give you some of the inside dope if you decide to travel there yourself. 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

The Off-Season Guide to Yosemite National Park, Part 2

Yosemite Valley has fewer visitors in the off-season for two simple reasons.  It can be difficult to get there, and difficult to get around once you’re there.  _DSC4153enfused-EditOur favorite friend, and often our most hated foe, snow, stops most people in their tracks.  It makes driving a challenge, camping a chore, and even changes the definition of “walking” from a “pleasant stroll” to a “contact sport”.

We’ve only had Charley for six months now, so we haven’t had a chance to try out our new Roadtrek Agile in the snow.  I haven’t even picked up a set of chains, though I know I’ll have to soon.   I’m not really in a hurry because our other vehicle, an all-wheel drive Subaru Outback, P1020421is amazing in the snow, and it’s even better when I switch out its summer shoes for a set of snow tires. Continue reading

Protect your camera, and yourself, from the rain

It’s raining here in Sonora today.  Not much of a rain, it’s really more of a sprinkle.  Most of the time you’d pay little attention to a few drops falling on your head.  But when you’re out shooting, that little bit of rain can be a big SONY DSCpain in the, well you know where it hurts, don’t you?  It’s especially annoying if you’re waiting for the perfect shot.  You know the one, when the clouds part and the sunshine blasts through in those gorgeous rays, and maybe you even see a rainbow.  But all of that gorgeousness isn’t going to mean a thing if your camera and lens are sopping wet.  A year or two ago I had a great idea (Hey, a great idea every year or two isn’t bad if you add them all up) and I came up with a cool way to protect myself when I was shooting in the rain.  It’s called a Tribrella, and it’s such a simple idea, you’ll wonder why you never thought of it yourself.

A Tribrella is simply one of those clamp-on umbrellas that attach to your folding camp chair.  Fit it onto your tripod and your camera and you are instantly covered.   How easy is that?  But, you do need to find the right umbrella.    Here are the requirements: Continue reading