Of all the tall tales passed on by the early 19th-century fur trappers who ventured into the unknown reaches of Wyoming, the story of the mythical land of “Fire and Brimstone” must have seemed the most outlandish. Their tales told of a place where fire spews out of the ground and water violently boils, a place more at home in a passage from Dante’s Inferno than any earthly environment. The region’s inaccessibility meant that it was only in the late 1860’s when the first organized expeditions set out to shed light on the area and separate facts from fiction. What they found was nothing short of astounding, a land of glass mountains, boiling rivers, and geysers that spew water into the sky. These lands were so wild, so unspoiled, that many felt it was necessary to protect them from human exploitation. Sure enough, in 1871 the land that got the name “Yellowstone” became the world’s first National Park.
What do you do if you spend weeks planning a photography adventure, and then when the time to experience that adventure arrives, something comes up that spoils all your preparation? Maybe its the weather, maybe its a park closure, or maybe the fall colour was two weeks late. Experiences like these can happen to anyone. And unfortunately, I have seen too many photographers throw up their hands, stow their camera, and abandon all that they had planned just because things didn’t turn out how they imagined. This type of experience should never stop you from seeing! You just need to learn how to see differently. Keep reading and I’ll give you some tips for tackling just such a situation. [Read more…]
I must confess that I very seldom go back through my older photographs unless I’m focused on a project that specifically requires me to do so. That’s been the case lately as I’ve been working on a number of eBook projects. What I’ve discovered is that there certainly are benefits when making the time to revisit old photos, and it is something that I will be doing on a much more regular basis.
If you’ll excuse the pun it seemed like a good way to kick-start the New Year. When a friend invited me to her kickboxing class to indulge in some photography while she trained I accepted. Alpha Whiskey needs constant stimulation to get his juices flowing and photography is no exception. Frankly, I’m surprised it took me so long to photograph this subject; having reached 1st Dan in Taekwondo in my youth, I was always enamoured with the flexibility and physical expression these types of sports had to offer, enjoying less the pugilism and more the forms, aerial movement and speed. The various moves were always visually interesting and demonstrative of how capable human anatomy could be.
One of the windiest nights I’ve ever taken pictures turned into perhaps the single most rewarding — and frightening — landscape photography experience of my life. I was on the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley, a place I had visited twice in the past, though under much tamer conditions. This night, the gusts of wind were far greater than I had seen before, and they kicked up a layer of sand that made for amazing sunset photos. But as the day came to a close, it was clear I had entered uncharted waters.
It doesn’t seem that long ago when I wrote my 100th article for Photography Life, and here we are today with article number 150. I must confess that I mulled over what topic that this ‘mini-milestone’ article should cover. My ‘little voice’ told me that it needed to have a philosophical orientation. So, this article shares some of my philosophic approach to photography, and answers the question why I prefer being a lazy post-processor than a lazy photographer. And, make no mistake, I am a lazy post-processor. [Read more…]
India is a land of great extremes, in a multiplicity of ways. The extreme polarity of beauty and ugliness, rich and poor, are constantly reoccurring themes. The Taj Mahal vs. the slums of Calcutta. The stunning silk brocades of Varanasi vs. the rags worn by those who weave them. You get the picture.
And now for something a little different. I’m so terribly sorry it’s not yet another article about the latest camera body but it might offer a visual break and much needed respite from the torrential salivation that most of the photography community seem to be afflicted by lately (their absolute prerogative, of course). I was recently invited by friends in mid-Wales to join them at a local demolition derby race and I must say it was a thrilling affair.
I am currently traveling in Wyoming with a couple of friends and we are on our way home, after an unsuccessful attempt to stay in Yellowstone National Park – it turned out to be a complete zoo, even a couple of days after the total eclipse. I don’t know what we were thinking! Considering how many people have come from all over the world to see the eclipse, it was only natural that many of them would want to go and see the Teton / Yellowstone area. My backup plan was to go north to Montana, but pretty much the whole state is burning at the moment and the smoke is all over Wyoming as well. In the meantime, I wanted to share a few images of the total solar eclipse that my friends and I captured on August 21st. I am planning to write a more detailed article with more information, but meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these images!
Something I noticed recently made me stop and think for a moment, since, if true, it means that the modern era of photography is an especially noteworthy time: With very few exceptions, there are no scenes or subjects that are impossible to capture with today’s technology. Nearly everything you come across, from nighttime landscapes to microscopic insects, can be photographed with high levels of precision and image quality, so long as you know what you’re doing (and you pack along the right equipment). That’s a powerful fact — so, how can you make the most of it?