One of the great joys that comes from time spent photographing nature is a kind of record of our discoveries: a visual diary of the moments that took our breath away or an account of those precious glimpses into the lives of species who share this great planet with us.
For me, joy doesn’t come just from making images. It also comes through the process of reflecting on how fortunate I’ve been to be present in the face of so much awe-inspiring beauty. There are times when I am filled with so much wonder that I feel I might explode. Through my work as a natural history and conservation photographer, I’ve made it my mission to share this passion with others so that it might result in more people coming together to cherish and protect the natural world. Continue reading →
When spring/summer rolls around, I always start to think about the songbird migration – especially my experiences with warblers on Monhegan Island, Maine. The first time I set foot on Monhegan Island, I needed a pinch to make sure I hadn’t died and gone to heaven. Walking up the hill from the ferry into the village was like going back fifty years in time: dirt roads, handmade signs, and wooden buildings. It was like a Winslow Homer painting had suddenly sprung to life before my eyes. If this wasn’t enough—flocks of colorful songbirds flitted about all over the place, perching on trees, rooftops, fences, anything that was standing upright. The only things for visitors to do on the island are paint (Monhegan supports a summer art colony, including many famous artists like Jamie Wyeth), photograph (every well-known bird photographer visits Monhegan from time to time), and watch birds—lots and lots of birds! Continue reading →
UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/drones) capable of recording unique and memorable images and high-quality videos are becoming ever more ubiquitous and affordable. Their capabilities in terms of stability, camera control and image quality have multiplied at a dizzying pace over the last few years. There are a great many choices in terms of equipment, and it is outside the scope of this article to attempt to cover them all. What I will do, however, is provide some helpful tips that will ensure that your photography and videography will produce successful results.
I currently use the DJI Inspire and Phantom 4 UAVs to obtain both video and still images. They are far and away the most widely used UAVs, and while there are many other capable drones on the market, I will limit my discussion to how these two have distinct roles in my UAV toolbag. Continue reading →
Waterpocket Fold is Capitol Reef’s hallmark geological feature.
Wonderfully scenic and filled with dramatic and seemingly endless red rock, Utah boasts five national parks within its borders. Least well-known among these is long-and-narrow Capitol Reef National Park found just about smack in the middle of the state.
As is the case with many places in Utah, nineteenth-century Mormon pioneers settled here for a while and then moved on. In their wake, they left behind many remnants. As you drive the short piece of Route 24 that traverses this desert park you will see evidence of the Mormons in the wonderfully preserved one-room schoolhouse and apple and peach orchards that once marked the small Fruita settlement.
The view from my airplane window on the way to Orlando.
Summer is finally here, and vacation plans are probably on the minds of many of us. For nature photographers, a vacation offers the perfect chance to explore and photograph new environments around the world.
Planning is an essential part of successful photography. When it comes to nature photography, the weather is probably the most important factor. Rarely do I go out on a shoot without checking the weather on a variety of websites. Certain subjects require cloudy days. Others may favor sunny conditions, and some might look best in heavy fog. Continue reading →
Nature photographers heading to Yellowstone National Park would have to be a little crazy not to think about the potential for photographing the park’s herds of bison and elk, the striking mountain vistas and waterfalls, and the extraordinary thermal features of geysers, fumaroles and mudpots.
I’m no different. I especially love to photograph Yellowstone’s charismatic megafauna. In fact, my favorite is bison as they roam Lamar and Hayden Valleys. But I also seek out the little critters as well.
Of the 67 mammal species documented in the park, the majority are the smaller ones, including such personal favorites as golden-mantled and Uinta ground squirrels, least chipmunk and yellow-bellied marmot. But the one mammal I absolutely love to watch and photograph is the pika—undoubtedly the most charming and photogenic mammal in Yellowstone.
Experience has taught me to exploit compositional techniques that help my nature images take on a more compelling story-telling quality. One such technique that I employ frequently is juxtaposition. This fancy word is formed by joining the Latin root “juxta”, which translates to “next to”, to the word “position”. Compositionally speaking, this means placing the subject next to some object in order to set the stage for a compare-and-contrast scenario. In some cases it is the similarity of the subject to the secondary object, whereas in other cases it may be the difference between the two that is stressed. More often than not, what results is a more inviting look and feel to the final image. In this article, I will delve into more detail about juxtaposition and highlight some examples from my own images. Continue reading →