Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Sells?

Recently two of our images were selected for National Geographic’s engagement calendar. Their request was that the calendar images have to be photographs from "Pretty" part of the park. Here are the images they selected:

Volcanic Remains, Captial Reef National Park

Meander, Horseshoe Bend, Arziona

I can certainly see that 'Meander' photo as being from a pretty place, but is 'Volcanic Remains' from a pretty place in the park? It is debatable. Bottom line is that you never know what will sell and what will not. So our advice is to shoot everything that interests you!!

In other news Suprada Urval has recently published an interview with me on her Photoblog. Suprada is a highly motivated photographer who is involved in several camera club in Northern California. She has interviewed some very talented photographers on her Photoblog such as Guy Tal, Darwin Wigget. I was truly honored to be selected as one of the photographers to be interviewed. You can read the interview at: http://www.supradaurval.com/photoblog/archives/542

You can also check out other interviews in her phototalk section of her blog: http://www.supradaurval.com/photoblog/archives/category/photo-talk


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Monday, April 27, 2009


I spent more time shooting with my new 180mm macro than with my wide angle lens on this trip. The Smoky Mountains are beautiful, and we did get some nice evening and morning shots - but we spent some time during the day searching out wildflowers for macro photography. We were there at exactly the right time. Trillium grows everywhere at the lower altitudes - white, pink, and yellow varieties. We also found Columbine, Buttercups, Irises, and a thousand flowers I can't name. That's Wild Columbine (aquilegia canadensis) on the right and Yellow Trillium (trillium luyeum) below.
I could have been perfectly happy to spend another week wandering through the woods. :)

The trick with shooting flowers is to find an angle that allows you to capture the flower with green leaves in the background. Most of the time, the flowers are pretty close to the ground, so unless you are shooting from above, you need to get very close to the ground. Use a tripod that can go as low as possible, and lie down if you need to. Don't mind the bugs - as my mother always said... "They're more afraid of you than you are of them." (Of course, all bets are off if the bug has eight legs.)

A shallow depth of field blurs the background, and lets the flower stand out. The center of the flower should be in perfect focus - that's not as easy as you think. :) Shoot on a windless day if possible - or wait for a calm moment. You'll likely need to increase your ISO to reduce your shutter speed as much as possible... but remember that with a high ISO, you'll get more noise, so try not to go too high. Use a translucent filter (or a sheet) to soften direct light - or shoot in the shade for soft, even lighting. Overcast days are perfect for flower photography.

Try to keep distracting elements out of the frame - the eye goes to the brightest spot in an image, so make sure the brightest spot is your flower.

Jay and I will be presenting at the Akron Camera Club on Wednesday this week. We are putting the finishing touches on the presentation today. It should be fun!

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Time for Bed...

We were up at 4:30 this morning, and we did a bit of hiking today - about 6 or 7 miles in all, I think. Nothing too strenuous - but I'm tired. It's nearly 11pm - and we'll be up at 4:15 tomorrow morning to catch the sunrise in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

I'll add more detail another time - tonight, I want to sleep. :)

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Canon 180mm macro - and on the road again...

I had a great time testing my new lens the other day - it's a fantastic piece of glass, and I'm absolutely thrilled to have an excellent macro lens at last. Now, all I have to do is learn how to take a good macro shot.

I took this shot in my garden - it's a 1-inch tall Grape Hyacinth flower (Muscari Armeniacum). I chose the black and white treatment because, for me at least, the image is more about texture and repetition of form than it is about color.

You can see the detail in the 100% crop below - unsharpened. (Click on the image to see it at full size.) Beautiful. I like my new lens. :)

Today, we drove South to Virginia - we're headed for the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. I'm looking forward to a few days in the mountains.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Snappers, and peepers, and ticks... oh my!

We've had a great time in Kentucky. We spent the morning letting the kids play in the park, then took a cave tour this afternoon after lunch. Afterwards, we spent a long time circling the lake - looking for (and finding) tadpoles (giant ones), frogs, bats, salamanders, and turtles. The kids caught peepers (tiny frogs that make a very BIG noise), and we saw a big snapping turtle in the water.

We were exhausted after a long day with the kids - but the discovery of ticks (thanks, Jenny!) meant everyone had to be pulled out of bed for tick-checks. We removed two from our girls... glad we found them... I hope I haven't missed any! Ah well - it wouldn't be the first time we've run into ticks.

The caves were beautiful, the stars were bright, and the company has been absolutely fantastic! So - ticks or not - we're having a great time!


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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

National Geographic Calendar

Jay and I got word this morning that two of our images (one mine, and one Jay's) will be used in next year's National Geographic Engagement Calendar. We're very pleased to have had our images chosen. We're preparing high-res images to send out this evening.

I've been busy packing up and preparing to leave - a day or two in Southern Ohio, and then on to Kentucky. I'm not sure if we'll get any landscape photographs... not likely... but we'll be taking lots of pics of the kids. ;)


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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Light Harmony - Photo of the Month

My Desert Evening shot from our recent trip to Death Valley has been selected as Photo of the Month on Light Harmony. It rained for two days, and these fantastic storm clouds rolled in and out the whole time we were there. I'm sure there were many who cursed the weather that weekend... but I wasn't one of them. I couldn't have been happier! :)

I know I always say this - but if you have some time, please take a look at some of the gorgeous photos on Light Harmony. We are a group of 19 photographers from around the world. The collection of images is stunning. I'm really proud to be a member of the group, and it's an honor to have one of my photos chosen for POTM. LH members nominate their favorites from all the photos that are posted that month, and then we vote... giving our favorite image three points, our second choice gets two points, and our third pick gets one point.


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iHDR Seminar - California

We have finally managed to get everything ready so that we can offer the iHDR seminar in CA. We have quite few request to run this seminar on West coast after we offered it in OH. You can register for the seminar at:

Registration: http://www.regonline.com/iHDR_ca

There is discount available for signing up before April 27th. We have posted a video showing the overview of iHDR workflow. You can view the video below:

We hope to see some of you there.


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Monday, April 6, 2009


We've just booked our tickets for our August trip to Canada. I am looking forward to spending some time in the Canadian Rockies with Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou! Both are excellent photographers - and there's nothing I like more than traveling to beautiful places with other photographers. Can't wait! We have a few trips planned before then, too - thank goodness. Otherwise, I'd start to get a little antsy! (A LOT antsy actually.) :)

We are also preparing for another Nature Photography and iHDR seminar in California. We're just about ready to go live with this one. We've had quite a lot of interest in this class, so make sure you sign up right away if you are interested. We can't promise a seat to anyone who waits too long.

After a few lovely weeks of Spring here in northern Ohio, we spent the day watching heavy snow cover our green grass. No suprise there, folks. That's how things are around here.


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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Expose Your World Book

I received my Expose Your World 2008 Competition award today in the mail. I was, unfortunately, unable to travel to Australia for the awards ceremonies... that would have been a fantastic trip. Still, it was a real honor to be chosen as a finalist in both the Single Shot - Place category, and the Photo Essay - Environmental Story Category. My Meander image was also chosen as one of the cover photographs (bottom right corner).

The image at the top of this post shows the cover of the book. The second image shows the full-page photo essay spread - these are images of Glacier National Park in Montana. And the image below shows the single shot finalists page with my image of Horseshoe Bend in Arizona - Meander - at the bottom.

I also won an 8GB compact flash card, which will come in very handy. It's been a good year for me. I feel really lucky to be able to put so much time and effort into something I love so much. Photography has been a fantastically rewarding career choice for me!

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