Watch Your Weight

Dynamic vs. static Photographic composition is all about managing the tension between dynamic and static: the dynamic component is the way the eye moves through the frame, while the static component is the overall balance of the scene’s elements. To synergize these two potentially conflicting factors, I think in terms the “visual weight” of my frame’s contained elements. Like gravity for the eye, visual…

Making a Scene

Think about what goes into making a landscape image. If the scenes and conditions are our raw materials, then it would be logical to say that our camera gear is our tools. But in addition to cameras, lenses, and other physical photography hardware, I’d say that our photography toolkit also includes the techniques we employ to deal with nature’s fickle whims. And speaking of…

Big Moon Rising

It doesn’t take much time with my images to figure out that I love photographing the moon. Large or small, full or crescent, it doesn’t really matter. Almost every one of my moon images is the product of plotting the time of its arrival (or departure), then making sure I’m there to photograph it. Using astronomical tables and topo map software, I’ve been doing…

I Can Relate (You Can Too)

Our lives revolve around relationships: romance, family, friends, work, pets…. Even that clown who cut you off on the freeway, for a few brief (I hope) seconds, might just be the most powerful influence in your life. Like most words in the English language, “relationship” can mean more than one thing. On the macro scale are the specific personal connections that matter to us—not…

Still Motion

Put me firmly in the camp of those who prefer reading the book to watching the movie. Watching a movie, my gaze is fixed as the scene unfurls before my eyes at a predetermined pace—if something requires scrutiny or triggers my imagination, I have to pause or rewind (often not an option—or at the very least, a source of irritation to others in the room)….

Replacing the Missing Dimension

I’ve said it before: Capturing our three-dimensional world in photography’s two-dimensional medium is impossible. But take heart, all is not lost—it is possible to give your images the illusion of depth. It’s pretty easy to put a camera to your eye and frame up the flat, left/right and up/down aspect of a scene. But translating your own three-dimensional experience into your camera’s two-dimensional reality…

What Would Michael Scott Do?

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. — Wayne Gretzky” — Michael Scott  Rules are important. The glue of civilization. Bedtime, homework, and curfews constrained our childhood and taught us to self-police to the point where as adults we’re so conditioned that we honor rules simply because we’ve been told to. (Who among us doesn’t always wait for the signal to change, even…

Worth the Sacrifice

Photography should, first and foremost, make you happy. But every once in a while, for some reason (I have to be really bored) I’ll surf over to an online photography forum or Facebook photography group, only to be instantly reminded why it’s been so long since I visited. The litany of online insults, one-upmanship, and destructive criticism makes me wonder whether there are any happy…

Yosemite Moonrise

Though last week’s harrowing story of a sneaker wave that drenched members of the Iceland photo workshop group had a (relatively) happy ending (R.I.P., 3 cameras and lenses), it generated more responses than any blog post in recent memory. Exactly one week later, that sobering reminder of Nature’s power and ability to surprise was still on my mind when I was gifted a reminder of…

The Sea Was Angry That Day, My Friends

I returned from Iceland with a lot of memories, but none will stay with me longer than the events of this stormy morning on Diamond Beach. I guess given how much of my life is spent chasing Nature’s most dramatic moments, every once in a while it’s good to be reminded of the suddenness with which Nature can surprise you to impose its uncompromising will….