Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Mexico Travel Guide

Getting great images is usually less the result of the equipment you have and more about being in the right place at the right time. In the past, I've written about how you should never write your plans in stone. Keep your eyes open and chase better opportunities, if they present themselves.

However, especially if you're traveling, doing a little planning in advance will almost always result in better photos. I recently took a trip to New Mexico. Here are some of the things I discovered:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An adventure to fill the spirit

The Grand Canyon is the second most popular national park. More than 4 million people visit each year. So it's a little surprising there's any place where you can have part of the rim to yourself.

It's called Toroweap. Or Tuweep. The national park guide doesn't appear to take sides.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I only photograph interesting things

In a particularly brushy area in Seattle’s Discovery Park, I heard the unmistakable song of a winter wren. The birds were made to be heard, not seen, but I grabbed my camera and started looking for it anyway.

Moments later, a woman came up and asked what I found.

 “Oh, I thought you found something interesting,” she said and then walked away.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Been there, done that, did it again

When I show other photographers this image of the Icelandic geyser Strokkur erupting, their first question is usually, “Did you get that on your first try?”

Monday, June 28, 2010

Leave them wanting more

A great image, whether used in a magazine or a textbook or on an art collector’s wall, says something. It creates a feeling. It tells a story.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shoot now, edit now


If I had to sum up what’s involved in being a nature photographer, I’d say it’s 1 percent being in the right place at the right time, 9 percent waiting for the right time, and 90 percent sitting in front of a computer editing photos and finding clients.

That last part is my least favorite, of course. I took up nature photography as a break from my desk job. I have yet to find any shortcuts to finding clients, but over the years I have found a few ways to save time when editing images. Anything that cuts the amount of office work is a good thing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring into wildlife photography

I enjoy all types of nature photography, but wildlife photography may be the most rewarding.  It’s extremely challenging. Even if you’re lucky enough to find the animal you’re looking for, it may not be in the mood to pose for you. The challenging times are certainly frustrating, but they make you appreciate a stunning wildlife image all the more.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's waterfall season

It’s spring in the northern hemisphere. Snow is melting in the mountains, and nearly-April rains are adding to the river flows. A lot of waterfalls are pretty impressive now.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AF settings for birds in flight with the Canon 1D Mark IV

The Canon 1D Mark IV is the most customizable camera I’ve ever used. It has dozens of settings that allow you to tune it to your exact needs. Wading through all those settings, though, can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a lot of time for trial and error.

After using the camera for more than two months of intensive wildlife photography, I’ve finally settled on autofocus settings that I really like. I’m sharing them with you because I’m often asked for my settings.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Big images from little lenses

Quick! There’s a bald eagle across the river. What lens do you use?

To make art, we need to break ourselves from the habit of always answering “the longest lens I have.”

Friday, February 26, 2010

Canon 1D Mark IV Post II


I still have no plans to turn this into an equipment blog. That said, I promised an update to my original post on the Canon 1D Mark IV once I had a chance to test new firmware.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hands on with the Canon 1D Mark IV



Don’t worry. This is not turning into an equipment blog. It has always annoyed me when someone has looked at one of my best images and said, “What camera did you use? I should get one.”

Last I checked, my camera doesn’t venture out by itself. Or, if it does, it seems to forget to take the memory card with it.

I also think that a truly stunning image is more art than science. If we obsess only about the equipment, we act as if there’s no difference between photography and a chemistry equation: Camera X + Lens Y + Exposure Settings Z = Pulitzer!

That said, I got a new camera — a Canon 1D Mark IV — and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in the first couple weeks of using it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Looking back, looking forward

While tearing apart my office this week in a frantic effort to find a Windows recovery CD – long story – I found a 20-page book. Each page showed off one of my best images from 2001.

I made books like that every year the first few years after I became a serious photographer. They were a way to celebrate my accomplishments. I also used them to get my first few gallery shows.

I don’t know why I stopped, but I’m going to start doing it again. I saw that photographer Jim Goldstein is compiling a directory of the year’s best images from a number of photographers. It seemed like a fun project, but it’s also worthwhile.

One of the things I discovered in compiling my 12 — just 12; I’m also a better photo editor now — is that I do my most creative work either while traveling or in the first few weeks after I’m back. One of my goals this year is to bring that creative approach to the things I see every day.

Check back in a year to see how I do. In the meantime, here's my best work from 2009: