It is April 21, a special occasion for all the lovers of nature and wilderness. Today is John Muir’s 178th birthday! His legacy is well and truly alive not only through National Parks, Sierra Club and National Audubon Society but also through all those who love being outdoors and relish Nature at its finest. His ideas regarding conserving ‘Cathedrals of Nature’ and importance of wilderness in modern life are not only inspiring but increasingly relevant and important today. For me, as a landscape and nature photographer, John Muir’s contribution is even more impacting as the National Parks, the State Parks, the Wildernesses, the Wildlife Refuges and many more conserved lands are the areas I find myself, often with a camera, trying to showcase the beauty that motivates me; the same splendor had inspired Muir, and numerous others before and after him.
Last week, I had posted a landscape photograph for installment #8 of our How Was This Picture Taken? series. Judging from the comments, many of our readers took this exercise very seriously and posted deliberate and insightful remarks on how this photograph was visualized and constructed. I enjoyed both the aesthetic and technical analyses offered by our readers, some of whom were correct on many aspects of why and how I chose to make this photograph. Well done!
Iliah Borg and his team at LibRAW have been working hard on a major update to my favorite image culling software FastRawViewer (FRV). Today, the team released the final 1.3 version of the software and this time the updates are truly exciting! Now FRV sports an awesome grid mode, so that you can quickly go over your images just like you can in Lightroom. In grid mode, you can perform all kinds of file management functions such as copy/move (including move to “Rejected” folder) and image functions such as changing file orientation, setting labels and ratings (you can even set ratings and labels on multiple images at once!). Once you pick an image for viewing, you can double click on it to switch to image view and perform all the functions like zoom in to 1:1 view. There are many new features such as focus peaking, highlights inspection mode and sharpening for display, along with performance improvements and other changes to the core software. Overall, this is a huge update for everyone who has purchased FRV and if you have not tried it already, it is about time for you to take a closer look at FRV!
One of the biggest privileges I have of running Photography Life, is meeting wonderful people all over the world. Some of them I get to meet through photo walks, some through workshops and others I meet online, with the hope of meeting them face-to-face one day. Except for my friend John Bosley (who I met locally at a photo event), I met the rest of our team online – through this very website. Most of them started out as readers, but as we got to know each other via comments, emails and other phone conversations, they eventually joined the team of talented writers because they had the urge to do something amazing, which is to share their knowledge with the rest of the world. As of today, we have over 1600 articles, close to 300 reviews and we will soon reach 100,000 reader comments (yes, we are planning to celebrate the 100K commenter!). I have recently posted my 1000th article and Tom Stirr will soon be publishing his 100th article. And today, we have another gifted individual who will be joining our team – Vaibhav Tripathi. Or should we call him Dr Tripathi? After-all, he did get his PhD from Stanford University!
Recently, my wife and I headed to the Texas hill country near San Antonio for a brief getaway at the Block Creek Bed and Breakfast. This trip offered me a chance to spend some time using the new Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E VR zoom and it has changed my opinion of it. I’m now pleasantly surprised at how good this lens is for the money. On the trip we used both the 200-500mm f/5.6E VR and the 500mm f/4G VR lenses interchangeably with Nikon D750 and D4 bodies. In this brief post, I will share a few photos to show why I am impressed with this new lens.
I might be visiting Portugal at the end of May this year, so I wanted to reach out to our readers in Europe to see if anyone would be interested in joining me for a photo walk. It will be a free event and it is not only a great opportunity to meet and get to know each other, but also an opportunity to take and share some pictures. I love Photo Walks, because I get to meet so many amazing people all over the world. Being able to connect with people who share the same passion is truly a wonderful experience. And if I can help someone out along the way, that’s even better! Please join us for another photo walk in the beautiful country of Portugal! As with any other photo walks we have hosted in the past, please bring all the photo questions you have, along with your portfolio of images. It will be my honor and pleasure to go through your images and help you become a better photographer. And if you don’t feel like doing it, or you are amazing already, please do come still – perhaps we can all learn from you! Having hosted a number of photo walks in the past, I have learned so much myself, that sometimes I wish I organized such events more often.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to planning and other unforeseen issues, the trip to Portugal has been cancelled.
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.
Our 2016 Colorado Fall Colors Workshop just got a few extra spots available due to cancellations, so if anyone is interested in joining, please register as soon as possible. While there is still plenty of time before the workshops kick off, I am trying to help out with all the reservations ahead of time, so that we don’t have to worry about them later. This year I am doing something different – instead of conducting two identical workshops like last year, I will introduce two different levels. The first workshop (September 23-26) will be tailored towards beginner to intermediate-level photographers, so it will be ideal for those who are just starting out, or have been shooting for a few years and need help with gear, post-processing and composition. The second workshop on the other hand (September 28-October 1), will be targeted towards more advanced photographers, who are very comfortable with their gear, know their way around in post-processing and want to enhance their knowledge further.
UPDATE: Only 1 spot left for the September 23-26th workshop!
We have been out of the Sticky Paper and the Sony / Fuji version of the Sensor Gel Stick for a while now and back-orders have been piling up as a result. Wanted to let our readers know that we have just received a fresh stock of both. Existing orders were going to be sent out today, but due to the snow blizzard in Colorado (we got dumped with over a foot of snow and it is still snowing!), all mail will go out on Monday.
I recently spent a very enjoyable morning photographing birds at Hendrie Valley Sanctuary at the Royal Botanical Gardens in the Hamilton Ontario area.