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.
In Part 1 of Best of 2016, I showed images from my trips to Death Valley NP, Joshua Tree NP and Saguaro NP, then finished up the post with two of my favorite images from Istanbul, Turkey. In this second part, we will be touring through the Rocky Mountain region of the USA, then explore some of the images from my recent trip to New Zealand. As before, I will be spending a considerable amount of time talking about each image, its compostional aspects and what it took to make it work. Please enjoy!
Another year is over and it is that time of the new year when many of us go back and assess our personal successes and failures of the past year. While 2016 was surely an eventful year, we should be grateful to be alive and well, as many were not as fortunate. We have seen a number of both positive and negative changes that affected the world we live in today and how we will be living it in the future. But let’s not focus on the bad – after-all, keeping positive attitude and encouraging healthy, proactive thinking always leads to more fruitful results, especially in the long run. 2016 was a very busy year in the world of photography as well – a lot of new cameras, lenses and gadgets were announced. Nikon finally revealed the long-awaited Nikon D500 and D5 DSLRs, while Canon updated two of its high-end DSLRs with the Canon 5D Mark IV and the 1 DX Mark II. Pentax finally brought us the amazing full-frame K-1. Fuji, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Sigma have all been keeping busy as well, but the two that definitely stole the show last year were Fuji and Hasselblad, releasing “budget” interchangeable lens medium format mirrorless cameras – the Hasselblad X1D-50c and the Fujifilm GFX 50S, both under the $10K price tag. And when it comes to lenses, we have seen a slew of different lenses for all kinds of needs from all manufacturers, with so many great third party options. I have been barely able to keep up with all these announcements and although I have done my best to produce as many reviews as I possibly can, all the travel and projects I have been involved with ate up the bulk of my time, shifting my priorities significantly. I am grateful for all these opportunities, but above all, I am incredibly thankful for the amazing and patient community of readers and followers of this very site, which has been steadily growing year after year. But enough of this mumbo jumbo, let’s take a look at some of my most favorite photos from 2016!
The name Henri Cartier-Bresson does not immediately remind most people of landscape photography. It shouldn’t; he wasn’t a landscape photographer! Instead, of course, Henri Cartier-Bresson was a street photographer — arguably the founding father of the genre. However, although he rarely took photos of nature, his intimate approach to street photography still has value to people who prefer the company of grand landscapes. One technique is especially worth learning, no matter what genre of photography you do: the decisive moment.
One of the largest debates in the world of photography is split into two main camps. On one side are people who strive to take photos with the highest technical level of image quality — in everything from their equipment to their camera settings — for most of their photos. The other side of the debate says that photographs are more about the subject and emotion of the scene, and the image quality is only a minor factor. Neither side is always right or always wrong, of course, but this is a question worth discussing. When does image quality truly matter, and when is “good enough” more than enough?
After a week in Ireland, I have seen some incredible sights. This is a beautiful country, and the people are incredibly warm and welcoming. Although most days here have been rainy, I’ve tried to make the most of foggy landscapes and simply enjoy my time in such a unique place. However, the weather has made it difficult to take colorful sunrise and sunset photos, which is a bit unfortunate — it is no secret that golden hour is a wonderful time to take pictures. Still, there has been one incredible morning for photography so far. In just a few minutes, the sky turned from a dull sheet of gray into a magnificent show of color, and a rainbow appeared during the best light. In this article, I’ll cover the entire story and thought process behind my favorite photo from this beautiful sunrise.
The more you edit a particular photo, the more likely your eye is to grow weary of the changes that you make. Personally, after spending a few hours editing a single image, I begin to lose my ability to tell a good edit from a bad one – presenting a clear problem for making more edits. To some degree, this is even true after a two- or three-hour break; the photo is still too familiar to see with a fresh eye. In this quick article, I will cover a couple ways to look at your photos from a different perspective, including my personal favorite tip in photography.
More than any other fundamental aspect of photography, light is at the heart of every image you take. Without light, photography cannot exist; it is the foundation of every image, giving shape and meaning to each scene in your viewfinder. Personally, as a landscape photographer, my photographic decisions are shaped more than anything else by the lighting conditions that I encounter. From a soft mist to a dramatic sunset, whether at a mountain or a desert valley, my preferred approach to photography is simple: chase the light.
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.
Recently, as part of a photography class at my university, I had an assignment to shoot two rolls of film with the theme “Point of View.” This topic was open to interpretation, but I was encouraged to try something out of my comfort zone. I puzzled over the assignment for a few days – and I almost decided to shoot a roll of typical abstract photographs – but one other possibility began to interest me: With enough effort, could I take realistic landscape photographs from my kitchen table?