A little less then a year ago I posted an article at PL detailing the itinerary of a day in Yellowstone National Park. Since that article I had the pleasure of revisiting the park during my yearly foray to the land of “fire and brimstone.” The reason I visit the first National Park of the United States history every year is for a project I have undertaken to document the change of seasons that occurs there every autumn. Yellowstone National Park has many faces to go along with its four distinct seasons. The frozen wasteland of winter gives way to new life and the rains of spring, and as May turns into June, the simmering heat of summer overtakes the park. And yet, it is Yellowstone’s shortest season (Fall) which offers the most intrigue with its unpredictable weather patterns and the unique behavior of its wildlife.
People frequently ask me what exactly is fine art photography? Before I answer, I usually take a big breath and brace myself to answer the question in the time it takes to ride a few floors in an elevator as they usually expect a quick answer. And, despite my apprehension to answering their question, I have come to realize that most good answers are the ones that are simple and direct. Hence, I begin by clarifying that fine art photography does indeed have objective criteria despite falling in the subjective and vast realm of art.
One of the things I find fascinating about photography is that it can be approached from a million directions and can mean a million different things to different people. I enjoy talking to other photographers a lot – I find it very interesting to learn what they personally see in this art and what they shoot for (pun intended) with their images. I have a friend who takes photos of kids and families; she has perfected her portrait techniques over many years. I know another photographer whose work you will never see – odd as that may sound, I get it: it is private, it is the imprint of his heart and soul, he prefers to share his art with his immediate circle only.
I am a novice photographer. I obtained my first DSLR, the Nikon D3200 in May of 2015. I decided to take at least one picture every day of 2016. Obviously, getting out and practicing every day is bound to make a fledgling amateur improve, but I was surprised at the specific principles I learned along the way, and thought I’d pass them on to any fellow novices thinking about a photo challenge of their own.
As I write, I’m looking back on my 36 years as a professional photographer with fondness and gratitude. I chose this profession because I wanted to travel and earn a living while doing so. It’s been an amazing three and a half decades and I’m still excited every time I walk out the door camera in hand. I’m looking forward to the next three decades! I travel in anticipation of serendipitous gifts; the unknown encounter. My camera is my passport to the world – a world I would not have known without that camera.
A few weeks ago, I visited Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera in Barcelona Spain, which in 1984 was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It was the last civil work designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudi, who was the best-known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. When visiting La Pedrera, I walked onto the stepped roof called “the garden of warriors”; called so because of the chimneys which appear to protect the sky lights, and discovered to my disappointment that due to the size of the crowd and the presence of a fence, I wouldn’t be able to photograph the entire architecture of the roof in a single shot.
Over the last three years, I have been photographing cities with an IR-converted Nikon D80 DSLR while traveling on business trips. I am very fortunate that my job duties involve the administration of international projects, so I travel once or twice per month, mostly in Central Europe, but also in Western and Eastern Europe. Whenever I travel, I try to plan at least a very short window for photographing, even if it is sometimes only 1-2 hours long. In this article, I share some insights after photographing with an IR camera for almost 3 years in roughly 20 European cities.
The Atacama Desert on the Chilean high plateau of Altiplano and the Mauna Kea Summit on the Big Island of Hawaii are generally recognized as the two best places for astronomical observations. However, in this article, I argue that the best place for amateur night sky photography is elsewhere. It is in Hawaii too, but on the Island of Maui. It is the extinct Haleakala volcano. Although smaller than the Mauna Kea volcano, Haleakala might actually be better suited for amateur photographers.
Working on your photos in Photoshop, you might have come across the situation where you begin to see weird lines appear in places where they shouldn’t be and weren’t before. This issue is especially common for very smooth gradients, such as skies, and can undoubtedly destroy even the most beautiful photo. And unlike other problems, this issue doesn’t seem to be triggered by anything particular; one moment it’s not there and the next time you look at the image – there it is. So, let’s figure out what this is, why it happens and how to fix it.
During the past week, I have been very busy with some university work and with preparations for a month-long road trip through ex-Yugoslavia. However, I still wanted to capture the passage of the Perseids meteors, possibly from a great location. Then, I remembered that two of my friends and I wanted to climb the Monviso, which is the third highest peak in my region at 3841 meters (12602 feet). I combined the two and there we were, driving a two-days journey in the Italian eastern Alps. Astronomers tell us that the peak of the falling star has moved from the former 10th of August to the 12th, but the weather forecast for the 12th was depressing to say the least. Unfortunately, since my camera can’t see behind clouds (yet!) and I don’t like to walk under a torrential rain, the weather was in charge and the departure was moved to the morning of the 13th. Our gear included a tent, sleeping bags and mats, not enough food and water, and some photographic gear: my tripod, a Canon 1200D/T5 and two lenses: a Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 and a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, along with a remote and three spare batteries. My photographic goal was to make a timelapse of the shower of meteors and possibly capture some images along the way, whereas my climbing goal was to go up as high as possible and maybe coming back alive.