Having Fun in the Crazies

There is always something amazing about skies that are so powerful that they make the earth seem small. The Crazy Mountains are not as famous as the Bridgers or Gallatin Mountains but are still plenty impressive. I always loved days like this where you can capture the mountains that are so far away but still seem so clear. This was taken with the D5 and 24-70 AF-S and then finished in Adobe Camera Raw. What really makes the drama pop in something like this is focusing on the mountains and with a more shallow depth of field making everything feel smaller and further away. Then with the help of Dehaze the contrast just pops out.

Fall Fishing Fun

Fall color is great but finding those days where the color pops without a grey sky sure are hard to find here in the Rockies. So what do you do? I struggle with this question a lot of times because the color of the trees is always so seductive but I know that having any sky will just suck. Even so I have to try and get something out of it. When I came upon this scene I actually wanted to pass it over but Alex stepped in and made it a little more interesting. The big thing that I found really helps in these scenarios is your exposure compensation. It was a dark day so pumping up the exposure comp made a huge difference. Beyond that trying to minimize the amount of sky in the composition also helps.

Image Captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Glorious Steam and the Challenges it Produces

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year for many reasons. The fishing is great, the days are colder, I’m still a ski bum at heart and of course the landscape is beautiful. Everyday it’s just a little bit different with more snow and a little more frost. With the colder temps at night, the heat of the day as the sun comes up and the free flowing water not freezing, one great element that is created is the steam coming off of the water. I’ve spent many Falls and Winters chasing those great steam images and each year I think I’ve found the best one until the next year rolls around. As for photographing steam, a lot depends on the volume that is being produced. When there is a smaller amount it’s harder to go wide so a longer lens would work better. If there’s dramatic lighting or a dark background behind the steam then those elements are definitely worth incorporating into your composition. It’s kinda hard to make a bad steam image but it’s easy to make one that is boring. You just have to play around with the amount of steam there is available.

Image Captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

A Year Later

Photography is all about capturing those moments in time so we can go back and look at them. That’s why it’s important to take as many photos as possible so you can see the changes that are happening around you. From an environmental standpoint, every year you photograph landscapes or wildlife and then you go back and see those same areas or critters, you can see the changes that have occurred. Last year one important lesson I learned with the crazy weather system we had, was to go out more on the days that had terrible grey skies. I thought nothing would come from them but I learned that often times they would yield just a sliver of light and that sliver would be enough for a single image. Now I still go out to these same spots and still see the changes but every time I try to learn and improve on them.

Images Captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

How to Work with a Net

This is one obstacle that I’ve had mixed feelings over for some time when it comes to fishing photography. What do you do with the dang net? For the longest time I hated having a net in my photos. I always felt it was a prison for the subject. A way to take the focus off of a wild species and make it more human impacted. Over time I’ve slowly begun to find ways to incorporate it that look okay to me. The two big pluses for leaving it in the image are one it gives you more time to work with the subject, especially in case you drop the fish and two it’s safer for the subject. Working with aquatic species can be tough because you have to be careful of how long you keep them out of the water. The one little trick I have found in post production when it comes to net usage is really darken the edges so it’s not to distracting.

Image Captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S, SB-5000 Flash, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

A Splash of Color Goes a Long Way

When it comes to a photograph we tend to put a lot of emphasis on the size of subjects and the amount of negative space around that subject. It’s really important to remember that subjects don’t always have to be big. They can take up a very small amount of space in the overall composition if all the elements around it support it. This P-51 Mustang is a great example as it’s belly is painted a bright orange and with a dark background it pops even if it’s small.

Let the Races Begin!

It’s that of the year again for the National Championship Air Races to return to Stead Field outside Reno, NV. Every year dozens of competitors take to the sky to compete to see who’s the fastest. It’s basically like NASCAR in the air. For those that go every year then you already know the amount of fun to be had at the races. For those that haven’t gone then you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Photographically it’s a hoot! This is just one example from many years back but the challenges and rewards from this event are vast.

What a Cutie

Cutthroat Trout were once found all across the west before other species were introduced to compete for habitat and food supply. Now, while the Cutthroat species and various subspecies still persist, their numbers and sizes are dramatically different then what was once prevalent. What you see above, in most places throughout Montana, is a standard size Cutthroat, in this case a Yellowstone Cutthroat. Why did I take this shot? I was asked this by the guy holding the fish because he thought it was a little boring until he saw the photo, but simply put it was a new species and a great looking subject. Now most of the time I use flash in my fish images but seeing the light, looking at the dark background and bright subject, a simple click with the D5 and 24-70 AF-S did the trick.

Angle Says a Lot

There are many tricks in photography to force the viewers eyes to believe what we want them to believe. It takes time, experience and knowledge to know when and how to use these tricks. In this case, I was having a discussion about how to get a photograph right at water level without getting wet. It’s a popular image at the moment. In this instance getting super low by laying on a rock and then shooting downstream so the subject, Dan, was lower then I was, it became rather simple to create the look of being in the water. Now I was also using the D750 and 70-200 VRII, one for a longer focal range and then two because I was able to control more of my background and thus blur out more details.

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