Addition by Subraction

Sometimes making a good photo is as much about what you leave out as it is about what you put in. The downfall of many images, both mine and others’, is the inclusion of too much visual activity—sometimes that activity is simply unappealing visual busyness, but often it’s elements that are visually appealing in their own right, but nevertheless distract from the main point…

Something’s Burning

Sun and Smoke, Bright Angel Point, Grand Canyon Sony a7RIII Sony 100-400 GM Sony 2x teleconverter ISO 200 f/11 1/50 second Tom Petty has a line that goes, “Most of the things I worry about, never happen anyway.” And one of the things I worry about most is, what if I schedule a workshop and the conditions are so lousy that no one gets any…

Under the Influence

Happy Birthday, Ansel Adams Ansel Adams’ influence on photography is impossible to measure. Not only Adams’ influence on photographers, but his influence on the viewers of photography as well. Ask 100 people to name a photographer and 99 will name Ansel Adams; ask them to name a second photographer and you’ll get 99 different names. Through his use of relationships, perspective, and tones, Adams’…

Dynamic Juxtaposition

Much of my photography is about juxtaposition of elements with the landscape. Sometimes that’s simply combining static terrestrial features, but when possible I try to add something more dynamic, such as meteorological subjects like lightning or a rainbow, or celestial objects like the Milky Way or the Moon. The challenge with dynamic juxtapositions is timing—while the meteorological juxtapositions are usually a matter of playing…

Are you tired of eclipse photos yet?

Since everyone else seems to be doing it, I thought I’d join the party…. I always schedule my Death Valley workshop to coincide with the January (or early February) full Moon, so it was just a coincidence that North America’s first super (a full Moon that’s within 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth), blue (the second full moon of a given month),…

Yosemite’s Rainbows

Despite being one Yosemite Valley’s most dramatic sights, Yosemite Falls can frustrate photographers. Its best light comes on winter mornings, when frigid temperatures in the high Sierra hold most of Yosemite Creek hostage until spring. But by the time the spring thaw has arrived, the sun rises behind Half Dome Yosemite Falls is in shade until midmorning. Adding insult to injury, not only do…

Three Moons

This month’s Yosemite Winter Moon photo workshop group got the rare opportunity to photograph a full (or nearly full) moon rising above Half Dome at sunset on three consecutive nights. One reason it’s rare is that, as viewed from Yosemite Valley, the full moon and Half Dome only align in winter. But the real tricky part is making it happen three times when sunset…

Moon Over Yosemite

Large or small, crescent or full, I love photographing the moon rising above Half Dome. The alignment doesn’t work most months, so those months when the alignment is right, I do my best to be there. For last week’s Yosemite Winter Moon photo workshop I’d planned three moonrises: Thursday and Friday we got lucky with the never reliable December skies, but Saturday night concerned…

Photography’s Creativity Triad: Light

Photography’s Creativity Triad Rather than attempting to reproduce a scene exactly as we see it, enduring photographs reveal unseen aspects of our world. Capturing this hidden world requires understanding and mastery of photography’s “creativity triad,” the three aspects of a scene that distinguish the camera’s vision from human vision: motion, light, and depth. Light is arguably the single most important element in an image….

Eclipse 2017: There goes the sun

After years of anticipation, months of planning, weeks of preparation, and days of stressing, the 2017 North American total solar eclipse came and went in 2 minutes and 6 seconds. When it was over, I wasn’t even sure I had any usable images, but I’m now qualified to state that experiencing a total solar eclipse transcends any images that result. The plan For the eclipse, my wife…