Among our backyard birds, a pair of cardinals seems to rule the small avian kingdom that congregates around our bird feeder. The pair flies and lands on any perch they like as other birds give them plenty of room. When they are feeding, no other bird dares come close. I’ve managed to photograph them from time to time, but the following photo is most representative of His Eminence’s regal bearing.
The Grand Teton mountain range near Jackson, WY: in the fall of 2011, I took the aerial tram up to Rendezvous mountain. Once there at over 12,000 ft I walked around taking in the views. The following photo shows what it looks like when you can see the clouds juxtaposed to the mountains:
The walk down was 7 miles in length. There were not many people that day, and I didn’t have enough time, so I hopped on the tram for the return trip.
As I am writing this, a snow storm is raging outside, and most companies and schools have sent everyone home since noon. Six inches of the white powdery stuff have fallen so far, with more coming well into the night. By tomorrow it could add up to a foot of snow.
Looking through my files, I found an image of a sparrow from two years ago, right after a similar snowfall. It was perched on a branch of a magnolia tree near our bird feeder.
You have probably observed that many of my photos are of about rocks and the harsh, and sometimes twisted, landscape where they tend to be found. Tonight I am going to post a much softer photo, one of the moon rising above frail evening clouds. There are two versions, color and monochrome. Let me know which one you like.
Too busy at work during the day, I could only go through my files this evening to find something to post. The following is a photo taken at Toroweap on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This is a place very hard to get to, unless one has a big all-wheel drive truck or van. Even then, the last 3 miles over slickrock and sand is sheer torture on tires and suspension.
Once there, the view is exhilarating and there are places for overnight or weekend camping. It is definitely worth a trip if you like being out in the wilderness with nobody within sight for miles.
I took the following photo from the beginning of a new and small canyon still being carved out of the rocks by nature. Beyond that promontory jutting out from the right is the Colorado River canyon.
This past weekend, the polar vortex storm dumped a few inches of snow in our area. When it was over, I noticed many birds flying around in our backyard. There were several dozens juncos hopping on the snow, hunting for food. They had emptied our bird feeder and we had no more sunflower seeds left to restock it.
DarkLantern asked me about what kind of camera I use for landscape photos and my preferred settings. His questions deserve a full and honest response, hence this post.
I use a Canon 6D for most of my landscape shots. I’ve had it since the spring of last year and it has served me very well. There are more expensive cameras which are probably better, but I don’t see the point of spending more money for them. A friend of mine once told me that it does not matter what camera one uses. He said it is better to spend your money on acquiring those lenses that you need to do the kind of photography that you like.
Last year I purchased a refurbished Canon 17-40 mm lens from the Canon USA site. That lens has opened a new world to me and has produced many of the photos that you have liked on these pages, such as those of Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope Canyon.
Horseshoe Bend is so wide that if you have a normal lens, you will not be able to take in as much of the scenery as possible in one shot. So you either take several shots and combine them, or you use a wide angle lens and the 17-40 mm does the job very nicely.
On the other hand, Lower Antelope Canyon is so narrow and tortuous that you also need something like the 17-40 mm. With a normal lens, you’ll find yourself trying to move back to frame your shot, and most of the time there is no room to go back!
Another absolute requirement is to have a tripod and use it. Quite often I find myself shooting at sunrise or sunset, when there is not enough light and the tripod is needed because practically all the shots are taken at speeds that are too slow for a handheld camera.
That brings in the subject of settings. For landscape I mostly shoot at f/11 or f/8, sometimes at f/16 if I really want great depth of field. At such aperture, and a wide angle (17 mm, the widest my lens can give me), practically all of what appears on the photo is in sharp focus, from close plants or objects to distant mountains.
When there is plenty of light, I may also use a circular polarizer filter. It intensifies the colors of the landscape and gives a deep blue sky.
Finally, I shoot exclusively in RAW and use Digital Photo Professional, the software that came with the camera, to convert RAW files into the JPEG images posted on this blog. I don’t have or use Photoshop, so I can’t do the special effects that many photographers indulge in to enhance their photos. I do use Photomatix for HDR images, but not often and I try not to depend on it.
Now you know what I do and how I do it. I hope that helped.
For this challenge, I am posting three photos taken in front of Zion National Park Lodge at the beginning of a late summer day. The sun was rising and it started painting the highest peaks with bright light, contrasting with the valley floor which was still in the dark.
Beautiful flower photos from a talented blogger.