Photographic reality: Accumulate light

  “Photography’s gift isn’t the ability to reproduce your reality, it’s the ability to expand it.” (The fourth installment of my series on photographic reality.) Before getting too frustrated with your camera’s limited dynamic range, remember that it can also do things with light that your eyes can’t. While we humans experience the world by serially processing an infinite number of discrete instants in real time, a…

The definition of breathtaking

Death Valley is notorious for blue skies–great for tourists, but a scourge for photographers. Clouds add interest to a scene, and filtering harsh sunlight through clouds reduces contrast to a range a camera can capture. To mitigate harsh sky problems, I schedule my annual Death Valley workshop for winter to maximize the chance for clouds. And hedging my bets further, I time each workshop…

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…

Have you ever seen a moonbow?

I’m fortunate to have a ringside seat for many of Mother Nature’s most exquisite phenomena, but few excite me more than the shimmering arc of Yosemite’s moonbow. A “moonbow”? I thought you’d never ask…. As you may have figured, a moonbow is a rainbow caused by moonlight. (Don’t be fooled by the fact that your spellcheck doesn’t recognize “moonbow”–it’s a very real thing indeed,…

Monument Valley by moonlight

After a successful and satisfying week co-leading Don Smith’s Arches/Canyonlands workshop, Don and I detoured to Monument Valley on our way home. The evening of our arrival we hired a guide to take us to Teardrop Arch at sunset, but with cloudless skies and a 14+ hour drive home to Central California, we decided to pass on a sunrise shoot that was unlikely to…

Moonlight on the water

Not a lot of time for blogging right now. I’m in Hawaii for 2 1/2 weeks, leading two photo workshops on the Big Island. Yesterday we departed for sunrise at 4:45 and went pretty much straight through sunset (and beyond), with only a short break for breakfast. We started just as early today, but since we’re staying out late to photograph the Kilauea Caldera…

Shoot the moon

Moonlight photography is both simple and rewarding. In my “Shoot the Moon” article that appeared in the April 2010 Outdoor Photographer magazine, I shared my exposure recipe and a few tips to ensure moonlight success. This post summarizes the moonlight material from that article. Equipment for moonlight photography At the very least you need a tripod sturdy enough to support your camera. And while…