Field Techniques

FIELD TECHNIQUES: The Complexilty of Simplicity by F.M. Kearney

Story and photograph by F.M. Kearney

F-14_edited-1I’m often amazed at just how much subconscious thought and planning goes into the creation of a “simple” photograph.

A couple of years ago I was in the Thain Family Forest of the New York Botanical Garden. Located in the center of the 250-acre garden, this forest is the last remaining tract of original forest that once covered most of New York City.

I was initially attracted to a rustic log fence at the entrance to one of the forest trails. Seeing it as the perfect foreground element to lead a viewer’s eye into the photo, I positioned my tripod in the center of the trail and leveled it to the height of the fence. This was the best perspective to show the lines converging as they disappeared around the bend in the distance. Read the rest of this entry »

FIELD TECHNIQUES: Cherry Blossom Time by F.M. Kearney

Cherry Blossom Time

Cherry Blossom Time © F.M. Kearney

Story and photograph by F.M. Kearney

I had almost forgotten what it was like to see vibrant colors in my viewfinder. Despite that and a nasty fall on the ice that took me out of commission for several weeks, I still prefer winter over the insufferable dog days of summer. Yet, as this winter–one of the harshest on record–comes to a close, I’m rejoicing along with many others the long-awaited arrival of spring.

One of the first jewels of spring are colorful cherry blossoms. In New York City, the place to go is Cherry Esplanade in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Every April, two rows of Prunus “Kanzan” trees–a gift from the Japanese government after World War I–adorn this area of the garden in a sea of pink. The month-long cherry blossom season known as Hanami ends in a weekend celebration called Sakura Matsuri. Read the rest of this entry »

FIELD TECHNIQUES: Show the Snow by F.M. Kearney

W-300 Story and photograph by F.M. Kearney

This winter has certainly been one for the record books. While most people probably long for the warm days of summer, I personally can never get enough of the cold and everything that comes with it.

There’s nothing better than photographing a freshly snow-covered landscape glistening in bright sunlight. For an added dynamic effect, I sometimes include the sun and position it partially behind a tree branch, to create an eye-catching starburst. Although stunning images like these “after the snow” photos are well-worth capturing, I recently began experimenting with taking pictures during the actual snowfall. Read the rest of this entry »

IN THE FIELD: Christmas Presence

Story and Photographs by F.M. Kearney

kearney-PN_21a

A light to moderate snow had fallen the night before, coating the ground with a few inches of powdery goodness. The snow muffled my footsteps as I forged a new trail in the New York Botanical Garden. As an Early Morning Pass holder, I was able to enter the garden several hours before its official opening to the general public—allowing me one of the first unspoiled looks at what nature had delivered overnight. Read the rest of this entry »

NATURE’S VIEW: Getting to Ground Level

by Jim Clark

Oystercatcher_20120429_001(c) Jim ClarkOf all the genres of nature photography, my most challenging one is wildlife photography.

Challenge one: the primary subject is mobile and doesn’t tend to stay in place very long unless sleeping, resting or nesting.  Challenge two: the primary subject is more wary than a landscape, flower or inanimate abstract subject. Challenge three: The primary subject has eyes. It may very well be watching your every move.

The first inclination of many aspiring nature photographers is to remain standing to photograph a critter that is much smaller than they are. While I, too, will stand to photograph a smaller animal the first time I encounter it, I then make an effort to change my perspective and get lower. Read the rest of this entry »

FIELD TECHNIQUES: When Autumn Falls

by F.M. Kearney

FF-434I often look at autumn as nature’s version of information overload. With fall colors exploding all over the place, it’s sometimes hard to know exactly where to point the camera. Trying to capture everything in one frame often results in not capturing anything at its best advantage.

I’ve learned to use a variety of simple techniques to help make sense out of this visual potpourri. One way is to extract a subject out of its environment in order to help it stand out. A zoom lens is usually the best lens of choice to perform a “visual extraction.” Read the rest of this entry »

FIELD TECHNIQUES: A Tulip in the Sun


TU-235_edited-1by F.M. Kearney

The weather forecast called for clouds in the morning, followed by sunny skies in the afternoon. I had spent the morning shooting a series of tulip photos in the New York Botanical Garden. I was using a double exposure, soft-focus technique giving them a certain romantic quality that was further enhanced by the subdued light. But I had to work fast. The cloud cover was getting thinner by the minute—soon to let forth the full, harsh light of the sun.

Of all the days for the weather report to be completely accurate! Read the rest of this entry »

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