Outdoor Photography How To

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Jim Zuckerman  |  Jun 20, 2014  |  0 comments

One of the first techniques I learned in photography was to use long exposures at night to blur traffic lights. I liked it decades ago, and I still enjoy seeing artful streaks of light superimposed over an urban environment. You never know exactly what the resulting images will look like, and that’s part of the fun. When the background happens to striking, like the Walt Disney Theater in Los Angeles, California (#1), the combination of abstract lights and architecture makes a winning photograph.

Josh Miller  |  Apr 15, 2014  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2014  |  1 comments

As primarily a landscape photographer Iam often in a situation where I am struggling to give a feeling of scale to big dramatic views. I will look for something to place close to the camera, such as a dramatic flower or rock, to capture the viewer’s attention and draw them deeper into the photo. In some cases, though, I find including a person rather than a natural element within the scene does a better job of it. Not only does the figure add scale, but it also makes viewers feel like they are standing within the scene rather than looking at a print on the wall, a kind of visual empathy.

David W. Shaw  |  Mar 11, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2014  |  0 comments

The arctic sun was just about to make its brief dip below the mountainsto the north when I arrived at a cluster of strange monolithic rocks on the ridge. I cursed myself for not carrying my tripod on the evening hike, but I hadn’t expected to stumble on something quite so strange and photogenic. I braced myself on a tussock of soft tundra and began snapping images of the glowing rocks. I clicked the shutter, recomposed, then clicked again. As I made images, it occurred to me that I was quite possibly the first person to photograph these rocks. They weren’t marked on any map, and the nondescript ridge was just one of many in this part of the range. That, I thought to myself, is one of the great things about photography in the Brooks Range, it was unlikely that anyone had made the same composition before.

Josh Miller  |  Feb 11, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2014  |  0 comments

Sunstars are a great way to fill an otherwise boring, cloudless blue sky with a feeling of drama and excitement. They are often a way to add a compositional element that helps draw a viewer into a scene. Technically, any light source can create a “sunstar” as long as it is a tiny point of light and the camera is set correctly. We often see the star effect in shots of buildings with their lights twinkling at dusk, or the moon in the night sky. Most commonly we see star patterns when the sun is setting on the horizon, but in this case we only see half of the sunstar because the other half is being blocked by the horizon.

Lorin R. Robinson  |  Feb 04, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2013  |  1 comments

Photographers who also love to travel are probably most prone to this collecting imperative. High on my list was Peru. For those who have traveled there, Machu Picchu was probably a primary destination. And why not? Machu Picchu is one of the few Incan sites to remain essentially intact following the 16th century Spanish conquest of the Kingdom of the Incas—for the simple reason that the invaders never found it.

George Schaub  |  Jan 28, 2014  |  0 comments

This photo was made in Raw file format, then enhanced using a Raw processor. Doing so allowed me to get exactly the color, contrast, and richness I wanted. Shooting in Raw is what allowed me to get the most quality out of the image file later.

Stan Trzoniec  |  Jan 28, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2013  |  1 comments

When photographing animals on an African safari, sharp photos are a gift to bring home and it all centers on proper technique. Use the “sweet spot” on the lens; with both of my shorter lenses it was around f/5.6 or f/8. On the longer zoom, I found f/5 or f/5.6 gave me needle-sharp and distortion-free images. With the animal at rest, always put that focusing spot on the eye. On longer distances or perhaps with the animal moving, place that spot on the shoulder or flank to keep a decent depth of field throughout their length.

Jeff Wignall  |  Jan 24, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2013  |  0 comments

One of the primary differences between a photograph and the real world is that reality has three dimensions: height, width, and depth. Your photos, of course, only have two—height and width. Any depth that exists in a photograph is purely an optical illusion. Even if you were able to create a print that was the exact same size as the scene (and wouldn’t that be fun) it would still pale beside the real thing because of the lack of that third dimension.

Rich Sheremeta  |  Jan 17, 2014  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2014  |  0 comments

Wildlife photographers with any interest in photographing big Alaskan brown bears should certainly consider the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, professed to have the highest concentration of large adult brown bears in the world with over 70 bears having been seen at any one time. The sanctuary is located on the Alaskan Peninsula about 100 air miles west of Homer and is only reachable by floatplane.

Jack Neubart  |  Jan 14, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2013  |  0 comments

“The first questions I ask myself, after receiving the layouts from the art director, are: how can I make this my own, what can I add to it?” Active lifestyle photographer Rod McLean continues: “When we select the final locations and talent, the ideas become clearer. During a tech scout, we’ll shoot various views of the location, create rough comps, and talk about the possible scenarios: the best time to shoot, the props and wardrobe, etc. We all have to have a clear idea what we’ll be shooting and how the final images are going to look because we’ll be setting up the first shot in the dark, waiting for the morning light.”

Rick Sheremeta  |  Jan 03, 2014  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Winter is an extraordinary time in Yellowstone. Temperatures often plummet well below zero. Moisture ejected into the icy air from myriad thermal features creates a microclimate that turns into a wintry fairyland. The colder it becomes, the more pronounced these effects, and the more beautiful the surroundings become. Whether it’s wildlife, geothermal features, extraordinary scenery, or any combination thereof, Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is, hands down, one of the best places in the world to view and photograph these treasures.

Barry Tanenbaum  |  Dec 06, 2013  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Chances are you won’t be photographing in the negative numbers of extreme cold that Layne Kennedy often encounters—we’re talking -15 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit—but his experience with and guidelines for cold-weather shooting can provide you with a considerable degree of comfort no matter what the temperature.

Lorin R. Robinson  |  Oct 25, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  0 comments

He stands in about 3 feet of roiling surf, wetsuit jersey glistening from repeated dunkings. The sky above Oahu’s North Shore is deep blue. Undertow currents grasp his legs—eroding sand beneath his swim fins—as water rushes seaward to build the next huge wave. He holds his bulky waterproof camera housing tightly, faces west toward the setting sun and checks the long tether attached to his wrist. He turns his head to watch the wave rise ever higher—a towering blue-green monster that’s starting to curl, white spume blowing off its top. He braces himself as best he can against the forces raging around him, points the camera toward the golden Hawaiian sunset, and waits as tons of water begins to curl over him, forming a tube. At what he hopes is the right instant, he fires off several shots and prepares to be pounded and rag-dolled by the massive wave.

Blaine Harrington  |  Oct 15, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  1 comments

I learned photography in the film days, and when the huge change to digital came along, I changed not only my gear but the way I see. I used to have to see in terms of very specific criteria of what would work within the ISO range of my film and what the film could record in terms of light and shadow. Low ISOs meant I couldn’t get enough depth of field, or a tripod was needed, or I had to light something because there wasn’t enough information in pictures that had incredible shadow detail. High ISOs often meant an unacceptable level of grain and bad color rendition. As a result I passed up a lot of situations that got my attention but were beyond the capability of my film to capture.

Josh Miller  |  Aug 23, 2013  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2013  |  0 comments

In these days of HDR, Lightroom, and Photoshop, is there still any point in carrying around Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filters? Often at photographic overlooks I hear photographers banging away with their cameras, shooting multiple exposures for future HDR images, while I nail the same scene in a single shot. More than once I have had one of these photographers scoff at me for using my “old school” GND filter, asking, “Ever heard of HDR?” While I am a firm believer in using all the tools available to me, including HDR, I feel that HDR is either unnecessary or won’t work in situations where multiple images are not possible, such as an action shot.

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