Photography on the edge

Renowned outdoor photographer Galen Rowell distinguished himself by photographing places nobody else could get to. A world-class climber with an insatiable appetite for adventure and a perpetual motor, Rowell pushed personal limits every time he went outside. I won’t speak for anyone else, but my personal threshold is in fact somewhat lower than Rowell’s. When it comes to “getting the shot,” I have no…

And now for something completely different…

I can’t photograph much farther from my subject than I did on the Milky Way image in my last post. And I can’t photograph much closer to my subject than I did these raindrops on an orchid in Lava Tree State Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. Early in the week I took my workshop group to Lava Tree State Park after our sunrise…

Poppies!

I love photographing poppies. Just sayin’….. What is macro photography? The generally accepted definition of a macro image is one in which the subject is at least as large on the sensor as it is in reality. When we photograph an expansive landscape, we’re cramming the entire scene (with the help of a carefully crafted lens) onto a 24mm x 36mm sensor (that’s 35mm full…

My very own Everest

Highway 49 is a meandering, two-lane road connecting the historical dots in California’s Gold Country. Each spring the route is framed by countless scenes like this, scenes that seem to grab your steering wheel and force you to the side of the road for a closer look. Often it’s difficult to find a place to park safely, especially on weekends, when drivers’ attention is more…

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…

Bracketing in the digital age

Remember the uneasy days of film, when we never knew whether we had exposed a scene properly until the film was processed? As insurance we’d bracket our exposures, starting with the exposure we believed to be right, then hedge our bets by capturing the same composition at lighter and darker exposure values. Today digital capture gives us instant exposure confirmation, yet the practice of exposure…

Is it spring yet?

March 3, 2011 With all the recent snow posts, it’s kind of hard to believe that spring has arrived in California. We’re still getting rain here in the Central Valley (and snow in the Sierra), but Northern California skies are more blue than gray, and colorful blossoms are popping up everywhere. While the soon-to-be-ubiquitous foothill poppies haven’t quite kicked in, I know by the…

Simple

Yesterday NPR and Jazz24.org released their Jazz 100, “the 100 quintessential jazz songs of all time.” Topping the list was one of my jazz favorites, the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five.” Listening to “Take Five” this morning I was particularly struck by the simplicity of its sound, and it occurred to me that simplicity is an essential and often overlooked element in photography. Spend a…