Book Review: Ansel Adams at 100, John Szarkowski

While ::amazon(“082121750X”, “Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs”):: provides us an unparalleled look at Ansel Adams from the inside, there is also a need to examine Adams’ work and life from the outside, and while no book has entirely taken on that task, one book that approaches it is ::amazon(“0821225154”, “Ansel Adams at 100”)::, the catalog of the centennial exhibition of Adams’ work. (more…)

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Book Review: “Mountain Light” by Galen Rowell

Galen Rowell’s ::amazon(“0871563673”, “Mountain Light: In Search of the Dynamic Landscape”):: might seem an odd first choice for a book for teaching photography, not because of Rowell’s talent (which is undeniable) but because of the age of the book, first published in 1986, long before the digital revolution. And yet when students in my photo workshops ask for a first recommendation for a book that will teach them something beyond basic photographic mechanics, Mountain Light is always my first suggestion: It provides, more than any other book on color nature photography, a clear and holistic view into the inner workings of Rowell’s photographic process. (more…)

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Scouting the Oregon Workshop

(This is the first of a series of posts I’ll be making from the road during a workshop I’m giving along the Southern Oregon coast. It’s my hope that this series will be of interest both to photographers looking to take workshops in the future, as well as photographers giving workshops.)

For me, one of the most important parts of giving a photo workshop is the scouting, spending (depending on the workshop) one or more days scouting. (more…)

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The Thursday Composition: On Learning Composition

This is the first in a series of regular weekly posts I’ll make each Thursday on the subject of photographic composition. Before I start digging into the “rules” of composition, though, I’d like to start with a general discussion about composition and, more importantly, how one learns the skill of seeing, composing, and capturing effective compositions. (more…)

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I Have a Little List….

It’s time to pack!

In two days I leave to begin scouting for my upcoming photo workshop in Oregon, today I’ll start some of the necessary packing for the trip. It sure seems like there’s a lot of stuff to remember to bring, as much as I’ve appreciated a digital workflow, there’s just a lot more stuff to bring along. This used to drive me crazy, because I could never shake the idea that I’d forget to bring something, even when I hadn’t forgotten anything. Eventually, I just made a list, and then refined it over time. My standard list contains some things that won’t be necessary for every trip, that’s fine, it’s very easy to cross out things that you decide not to pack. (more…)

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Working with Rainbows

Rainbow WhirlwindRainbows are one of the most magical of sky effects, elusive, mysterious and colorful. They’re a natural subject for the nature photographer, so much so that they do run the risk of cliche, but they can also can put the final “shazam” on what would already be an interesting image. With a few simple hints and techniques, you’ll gain a better understanding of how to capture and convey their magic.

The first challenge in finding a rainbow is finding one to photograph in the first place. Any rainbow requires two elements, light and water droplets. The light needs to be from small source and very bright, so it’ll usually need to be direct sunlight (although it is possible to find and photograph “moonbows”) they’re very hard to see and even harder to capture well. The need for both sunlight and rain or mist means you’ll usually need to look for rainbows in mixed weather (rainy conditions without complete overcast) or in other places where mists form in broad sunlight (waterfalls, such as my Iceland image above, geysers, and the like.) (more…)

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Working with Tides

Living near the California Coast affords me ample opportunities for photographing the seashore, and an important part of learning to photograph in and around coastal areas is learning a little bit about tides. Low tides often allow fascinating tidepool opportunities, and (at least in the coastal areas near here) often bring a lot of interesting geology out of the water. (more…)

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Using Your Tripod: Why and How

In my last two articles, I talked about how to select tripod legs and a tripod head, with that gear assembled it’s time to get out into the field and learn how to use your new tripod to best advantage.

One of the primary reasons we use tripods is stability. It is simply impossible to hold a camera steady enough for a critically sharp image as shutter speeds get longer and longer, and longer shutter speeds are often an inevitable requirement of smaller apertures and wider depth-of-field. (more…)

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