Photo Tip: Ligthroom 3 Black and White ____ 2011/11

If Ansel Adams had had the darkroom power of Lightroom 3 to manipulate black and white imaging, he’d do a leaping victory dance like Jack Black in The Big Year. Ansel artfully dodged and burned his negatives, and controlled light in the field with filters, one filter per shot. Today, digital age tools boost control […]

Photo Tip: Look Thrice; Shoot Once ____ 2011/10

Photographing Wildflowers I reviewed some wildflower scenics from my August, 2011, Olympic National Park shoots and was once again reminded of the old carpenter maxim “measure twice, cut once”.  The low cost of shooting digital removes the cost barrier to shooting, shooting, shooting. Why not make dozens of shots? Surely some will succeed. I get […]

Photo Tip: Composition for Panoramas ____ 2011/09

I had some fun shooting panoramas in August. Some worked out well and some didn’t; there were a few pleasing surprises. A successful pano requires not so much mastery of the technical aspects, easily done, but thought and imagination with composition that is especially demanding with rapidly changing light or with people on the move. […]

Lightroom 2 Spot Removal (on steroids) ___ 02/2010

Finished image after clone and cropping is much stronger than original.

The Spot Removal tool introduced in Lightroom 2 was a nice feature, part of set of tools that allowed manipulation of individual pixels on RAW files. Almost coincidently, though, manufacturers introduced dSLR cameras with self-cleaning sensors that worked so well Spot Removal was rarely needed for dust touch-up. I nonetheless use the tool frequently—for wildlife […]

Photo Tip: Frame It! ___ 01/2010

Camera and tripod instinctively pop out when we view a mountain sunset or ocean seascape. The tripod legs spread; we mount the camera, plug in the cable release and fire away. Later we inspect the photo and discover that it doesn’t match our memory. An elementary problem in photography is translating a dynamic 3D world […]

Photo Tip: Image Maturity ___ 08/2009

The late, great Galen Rowell crafted the term “image maturity” to describe a quality of an image. In his 1993 book, The Art of Adventure Photography, Rowell explained that “immature” subjects require straight-forward depiction; with “mature” subjects, subtlety or originality prevail. He used a Snow Leopard and a deer as an example. A Snow Leopard […]

Photo Tip: A Matter of Numbers ___ 02/2009

If you work at composition—and what photographer doesn’t—you’re probably aware that number is a compositional element, and a powerful one. Consider that composition is a way of organizing a photograph. The best compositions paring down, simplifying, gett to the essence. It puts a stamp on who you are as a photographer.Number is one of many […]

Photo Tip: People in Nature ___ 11/2007

A missing element to make many a great scenic saleable can be pretty obvious. It’s an element that’s also ignored, overlooked, forgotten and even belittled by us nature photographers. Yet it’s an element we find endlessly fascinating, an element that grabs the attention in every scene. That element, of course, is  people, and  there’s no […]

Photo Tip: Beat the Gray Sky Blues ___ 04/2007

The Northwest (US) where I live features some of the planet’s grayest skies, a nightmare of gray on gray for sometimes unending weeks at a time. In summer, on the coast, it mostly ruins photography while kayaking, but those same gray sky conditions present opportunities as well. Just ask Ansel Adams. A gray sky provides […]

Photo Tip: Dynamic Diagonals __ 01/2007

Photographers should regularly remind themselves that pictures aren’t reality, but are static, two-dimensional representations. Whether it’s on paper or your monitor, a picture is a frozen world. To thaw the freeze, show action, or re-create movement, look to the diagonal line, among the strongest of compositional elements. Diagonals imply action. Take a tree as an example. […]