Tag Archives: landscapes

POTD: Full Moon Over White Sands

White Sands Moon
The full moon rises over yuccas and the gypsum dunes of White Sands, New Mexico (click to enlarge).

I’ve just returned from my final instructional photo safari of 2017, and  things couldn’t have gone any better. My group of 8 photo enthusiasts spent several days shooting sunrises and sunsets at the gypsum dunes in White Sands National Monument. What a place! The simplicity of the landscape there is just perfect for working on improving compositional techniques. We also found out that having a full moon at dusk doesn’t hurt, either.

Tech Specs

POTD: Low Tide (Nikon D850)

Bandon Oregon Low Tide
Low tide at Bandon, Oregon USA captured with the Nikon D850

Hi friends, sorry about the post hiatus there… I’m back from two safaris in the span of three weeks and I’m finally going through a few thousand images from my new camera!

Here’s a photo from my recent Oregon Coast Photo Safari that I captured alongside my clients in Bandon, Oregon. The tilting LCD on the new Nikon D850 made getting the low angle far easier than when I used the D810. The Nikon D850 is quite possibly the best all-around camera I’ve ever had the pleasure to use. More than the 45 megapixel sensor, it’s what surrounds that sensor that makes the D850 a must-have upgrade over the Nikon D800/e or D810 DSLRs.

The wide dynamic range of the D850, like the D810 before it, means that in the rare times where you find yourself needing an HDR bracket, you can often do the capture with just two frames; one metered for the highlights and a second frame exposed for the shadows.

I merged two images using Lightroom’s HDR feature and then processed the final image in Photoshop using my Luminosity mask actions. This process allowed me to saturate the midtones without overcooking the highlights around Face Rock in the background.

POTD: Giant’s Causeway

Sunset at the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland.
Sunset at the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland.

The Giant’s Causeway is a unique coastal formation of basalt columns that jut out into the ocean on Ireland’s northern coast. I made sure to visit there at sunset, and I was rewarded with some really nice clouds. I used HDR from two exposures (Lightroom HDR tutorial) to capture the full range of tones in the scene.

Nikon D750 with 16-35mm f/4 AFS G VR Nikkor lens
f/13, ISO 100 (2-exposures).

View or purchase this image at my 500px gallery 

The When and the Where in Photography

As someone who does a lot of outdoor/landscape photography, great locations are important to me. Being in a photogenic location is a wonderful way to experience the outdoors. However, when you photograph a location can be just as important as where you are. The “when” of photography occurs on multiple scales. Within a day, within a year, and even across years. Consider one of my favorite locations to photograph, the South Dakota Badlands.

If you visit the Badlands like most tourists, you’ll arrive at a nice time during the summer after you’ve had your morning coffee. By this time of day, the sun is nearly overhead, and you’ll get photographs like this one:

Door Trail in the Badlands, as most tourists see it, well after sunrise.
Door Trail in the Badlands, as most tourists see it… well after sunrise.

Continue reading The When and the Where in Photography

Landscapes with Longer Focal Lengths

Daybreak in the Rockies, Cottonwood Pass, Colorado. Image captured with a Nikon D800e and 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS G VRII zoom Nikkor lens.
Daybreak in the Rockies, Cottonwood Pass, Colorado. Image captured with a Nikon D800e and 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS G VRII zoom Nikkor lens.

When you go out to photograph landscapes, what’s the first lens you reach for? For many of us, it’s a midrange (24-70mm) or wide (16-35mm) zoom lens. Those lenses are great, but there are lots of times when a longer focal length is ideal, even in wide-open spaces. By using something like a 70-200mm zoom, you can make some really compelling images.

Why should you use a telephoto zoom for landscape photography?

  • Telephoto lenses help you isolate the subject and cut out distracting elements from the scene, especially empty foreground space.
  • Telephoto lenses create subject isolation by softening backgrounds, especially when used with wide apertures.
  • Telephoto lenses compress the scene, enhancing the look of layers in a landscape and adding depth.

With all these creative benefits, it’s no wonder that my 70-200mm lens is something I find very enjoyable to use on my landscape photography trips.

Here are some more landscape images I captured with my 70-200mm lens: Continue reading Landscapes with Longer Focal Lengths