Different Lenses for Different Landscapes

For the past couple years, I have thought of myself primarily as a “telephoto” landscape photographer. A majority of scenes that catch my attention look best with a telephoto lens, and I tend to keep a 105mm or 70-200mm on my camera most of the time. However, a recent trip to Zion and Death Valley National Parks changed my mind.

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Photographing Wildlife In Costa Rica

Better ice up a cold one. It’s hot out there. But the heat is the least remarkable characteristic of Costa Rica, paling into an afterthought behind its truly exquisite flora and fauna. A natural wonderland of incredible wildlife, its inhabitants thrive in mangroves, lakes and under a lush rainforest canopy shrouded in cloud and mist.

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Shooting Film for the First Time

Even though my first camera was the digital Nikon D5100, I always have felt a sort of secondhand nostalgia for the days of film photography. The vast majority of history’s great photographs were taken on film; masters like Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell defined the medium of landscape photography in my mind, and both were entirely film photographers. Personally, by using a digital camera so early, I felt that I was missing a more hands-on appreciation for photography’s complex history. Perhaps this thought was not first on my mind while in the field, but it certainly surfaced from time to time.

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Walking Among the Bristlecone Pines

At this time when many of us are excited by the new camera announcements, I thought it will be intriguing to do a write up describing my first time shooting 35 mm black and white film. Last summer, I found some time to swing by the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in White Mountains near Bishop, California. I knew that the timing of my trip will not coincide with the best lighting for photography, especially in color. So, I decided to photograph these ancient trees in B/W. Why B/W film? Well, I have always wanted to enjoy the aesthetics of it as well as I thought it will force me to think in terms of highlights, shadows and texture. All in all, a good learning experience.

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Photographing Close to Home

A winter storm hit the Boston area sometime in February and when various weather channels called for a clear evening/night, I got thinking. I live close to Merrimack River and have tried photographing it several times before but so far not have not been satisfied with the resulting images. Sometime it is either an out of place tree limb that destroys visual harmony or distant apartments, houses or other man-made structures that compete for attention. I realized that if the storm started to clear 30-40 minutes prior to sunset, I might be in luck. A quick 4 pm peek outside the window signaled just that and I immediately rushed out with my camera bag. Since I already knew what I was after, and possibly needed to react quickly to changing light, I opted for a shoulder bag that contained a Nikon D610, along with 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G and 24-120mm f/4 VR lenses.

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Looking Through Your Archives

As a photographer, it is easy to feel excited about the newest images that you take. After returning from an amazing shoot, there is nothing more fun than loading your photos and sorting through them for the first time. This initial thrill, though, doesn’t always last. If you took hundreds – or even thousands – of photos at a time, sorting through your work can become a tedious task. Sometimes, too, you just aren’t in the right frame of mind to be looking through photos; perhaps you are distracted or simply tired. Whatever the reason, it is deceptively easy to overlook a high-quality photograph if you aren’t paying enough attention – I speak from experience! The only way to fix the problem is to look through the old photos that you have taken. In this article, I will discuss some of the important reasons to revisit your archives from time to time. Along the way, you may find beautiful shots that you never noticed before.

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The Last Nomadic Hunters-Gatherers of the Himalayas

The nomadic Rautes are the last hunters-gatherers of the Himalayas. The Rautes, who call themselves Kings of Forests, subsist on langur and macaque monkeys, wild yams, rice and a few kinds of vegetables traded from local farmers. Their main occupation is to trade and exchange of wooden items in nearby villages and bazaars. They migrate from river valleys up to middle hills in the Western parts of Nepal living in temporary camps hidden away from the villages in remote parts of the forests.

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Zabriskie Point – My Old Enemy

I love Death Valley. Despite its name, it is one of the most stunning places on this planet to visit, enjoy and photograph. While I have been to many areas of the park, every time I visit, I find something new to explore. Since my first visit to Death Valley back in 2009, one place that really got me hooked was Zabriskie Point. Thanks to its vivid colors, delicate shapes and beautiful contours, it is truly a magical place to be. However, in spite of my continuous attempts to capture the place in its grande beauty, I have been constantly treated with bland blue skies, overcast days and whenever I got even a hint of color, it would always seem to be taking place elsewhere – not in the direction where my camera was pointed at. By now, I lost count of how many times I have attempted to photograph Zabriskie Point at sunrise (my guess is over 20), it really has been a place of zero luck for me, my archenemy.

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Making The Familiar Unfamiliar

So while new gear is released and debated and salivated over this month I humbly submit that it may be worth a reminder as to why it means anything to us at all. Something to do with taking photos, I think, I’m not really sure. But while a newer sensor or greater ISO range or more AF points gets your hearts racing again as when the world was new, at some point we’ll need to remember to take some photos. This is in no way to diminish the enthusiasm people have for new equipment but perhaps I can be a small counterpoint to the frenzied gear fetish and dwell on some images.

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