The Milky Way Saves the Day

I’m a one-click photographer (no composites or blending), so all of my Milky Way images were captured in a single frame. I stress a lot before and during a photo workshop. A lot more than people know, and a lot more than I probably should. Some of that stress probably helps me ensure things go smoothly, but some things are just plain irrational because…

What lens should I use?

Inexperienced photographers tend to approach every scene with the idea that there’s one “best” shot, and that other photographers already know what that shot is. This might explain why there’s no better way to meet other photographers than to set up a tripod (I’ve learned that this even works on the shoulder of a busy highway with no obvious view). It might also explain why the most frequent question asked in…

Is a tripod really necessary?

If you’re content with derivative snaps of pretty scenes, a tripod may not be for you. But for those who agree that, rather than regurgitating a rough representation of the world as we know it, landscape photography should reveal deeper, less obvious natural truths—things like relationships between diverse elements, an intimate exploration of larger scenes, detail and pattern lost in the blur of motion—there is no substitute for a…

Nature’s surprises

October, 2010 One of the things I enjoy most about landscape photography is the element of surprise, the anticipation that comes with never quite knowing what’s going to happen when I go out with my camera. I usually start with a plan, and while there are times I get exactly what I hoped for, many times I don’t. But it’s the times I witness…

Trust your instincts

This week I’ve spent some time going through past images that I just haven’t had time to get to. Unlike many of the images I uncover by returning to old shoots, this one from the final night of my October 2010 Eastern Sierra workshop wasn’t a surprise–the sky over Half Dome that night was magic, something I’ll never forget. Shortly after returning home I…

Chasing the moon (the cure for boring skies)

Whether I’m shooting on my own or (especially) leading a photo workshop, there are no weather conditions I stress about more than blue skies. As nice as it is to be outside on a sunny day, cloudless skies are not a photographer’s friend. Not only do blue skies limit productive photography time to a ninety minute (or so) window sandwiching sunrise and sunset, even…

Visual balance

Olmsted Point is one of my favorite easily accessible locations in Yosemite. I enjoy it for the different (from the more common Yosemite Valley angles) view of Half Dome, the range of wide to tight composition possibilities, and for its many foreground options. I visit Olmsted Point a lot, both on my own and with workshop groups. It’s where we shoot the final sunset…