Think Fast

In virtually all aspects of my life, “think fast” is rarely my default response. Rather, given a choice, I prefer evaluation and analysis to instant reaction. This think-first mindset might also explain why my favorite sport is baseball (which many consider “too slow”), and why I prefer chess and Scrabble to video games (the last video game I played was Pong). So I guess…

More thoughts on the Sony a7R

Read my original thoughts on the Sony a7R in my November 25 post, “New trick, old dog.“ It’s been about two months since I switched my primary camera from a Canon 5D Mark III to a Sony a7R. After a lifetime of seeing the “actual” world through my viewfinder, (for me at least) there has been some adjustment to trusting a digital facsimile of the world….

The twilight edge

I sometimes hear comments and questions that make me think people believe pro photographers have “secrets” that enable us to photograph things the amateur public can’t. Let me assure you that this is not true. What is true is that successful landscape photographers have an understanding of the natural world that helps us know where and when to look for our images, and we know that often…

World in motion

As a full-time landscape photographer, I often joke that I don’t photograph anything that moves—no wildlife, no pets, no portraits, no sports. And don’t even think about asking me to do your wedding. I’ve always been a deliberate shooter who likes to anticipate and prepare my frame with the confidence my shot will still be there when I’m ready—landscape photography suits me just fine…

New trick, old dog

Way back in 2008 when I got my first live-view camera, a Canon 1DS Mark III, I couldn’t understand what all the hubbub was about. I’d been looking through a viewfinder for thirty years and saw no reason to do things any differently. But when a 5D Mark III entered my life in early 2012, its improved live-view interface caused me to waver a bit—in particular the live-view focus capability, an on-screen level,…

The “Oooh” and “Ahhh” of photography

It’s a getaway weekend and you’re browsing a quiet photo gallery near the wharf. The photography is nice, but soon Vivaldi’s gentle strings mingling with the aroma of warm banana bread command most of your attention. Your brain starts bouncing between Thai or Italian for dinner, and you wonder whether you remembered to close the garage door—maybe your brother-in-law can swing by the house…

Digital photography the old fashioned way

Photoshop processing sometimes gets a bad rap. There’s nothing inherently pure about a jpeg file, and because a jpeg is processed by the camera, it’s actually less pure than a raw file. As a general rule, the less processing an image needs, the better, but sometimes raw capture followed by Lightroom/Photoshop processing is the only way to a successful image. I’ve always considered myself a film shooter…

There’s no whining in photography

January 2012 I just wrapped up a long week that underscores the best and worst of my life as a landscape photographer. In the plus column I’ll put visits to Big Sur and Yosemite and the opportunity to spend quality time with a great bunch of photographers; in the negative column goes long days, dull weather, and lots of solo miles. Sunday morning I…

The coast is clear

California is in the midst of the strangest winter I’ve ever experienced: a rainy season without a drop for nearly two months, daytime highs consistently in the sixties, and a virtually non-existent snowpack in the Sierra. January days in the Central Valley are usually wall-to-wall gray; nights are an opaque muck. But this year it’s been an endless cycle of blue skies and twinkling stars….

Finding your camera’s “truth”

Something I teach, write, and lecture on frequently (ad naseum?) is the photographer’s obligation to understand, not fight, the camera’s vision. Some people seem to get this; others, not so much. So I’ve decided to try a slightly different tack. Visual “Truth” is relative Without getting too philosophical, it’s important to understand that, like your camera, your view of the universe is limited and…