If at first you don’t succeed…

In early November of 2007 I took a picture that didn’t quite work out. That’s not so unusual, but somehow this one stuck with me, and I’ve spent seven years trying to recreate the moment I missed that night. On that evening seven years ago, the sun was down and the scene I’d been working for nearly an hour, autumn leaves clinging to a log in the Merced River,…

The yin and yang of nature photography

Conducting photo workshops gives me unique insight into what inhibits aspiring nature photographers, and what propels them. The vast majority of photographers I instruct, from beginners to professionals, approach their craft with either a strong analytical or strong intuitive bias—one side or the other is strong, but rarely both. And rather than simply getting out of the way, the underdeveloped (notice I didn’t say…

Securing the border

If you’ve ever been in one of my workshops, or (endured) one of my image reviews, you know where I’m going with this (I can sense eyes rolling from here). But I hope the rest of you stick with me, because as much as we try be vigilant, sometimes the emotion of a scene overwhelms our compositional good sense—we see something that moves us,…

Oops

Last Friday evening, this professional photographer I know spent several hours photographing an assortment of beautiful Yosemite winter scenes at ISO 800. Apparently, he had increased his ISO earlier in the day while photographing a macro scene with three extension tubes—needing a faster shutter speed to freeze his subject in a light breeze, he’d bumped his ISO to 800. Wise decision. But, rushing to…

Dashing to the snow

If there’s anything on Earth more magical than Yosemite with fresh snow, I haven’t seen it. The problem is, Yosemite Valley doesn’t get tons of snow—its relatively low elevation (about 4,000 feet) means the valley often gets rain when most of the Sierra gets snow. And when snow does fall here, it doesn’t stay on the trees for more than a few hours (if you’re…

Chasing the moon in Yosemite

The highlight of my just completed Yosemite Autumn Moon photo workshop was a full moon rising above Half Dome at sunset. But rather than settle for just one Half Dome sunset moonrise, I’d “arranged for” three. Clouds shut us out on sunset-moonrise number two, but sunset-moonrise number one was a huge success. (And sunset-moonrise number three, from Tunnel View, was so special that I’ll dedicate…

Cliché for a reason

It’s actually even a cliché just to say it, but some things really are “cliché for a reason.” And as much as I try to avoid the cliché shots in Yosemite, sometimes they just can’t be helped. My Yosemite Fall Color workshop began yesterday, and even though I’d spent all day Saturday in the park, yesterday morning a storm filled Saturday’s blue skies with…

My camera can beat up your camera (and other photography myths)

The difference between a pro and an amateur photographer Want to know how to tell a pro landscape photographer from an amateur? Here are a few telltale indicators: The pro photographer has no emotional attachment to her camera and refuses to invest any energy in the “My camera can beat up your camera” debate The pro photographer is the one with duct tape on…