Is There To Much Flare?

I always wonder about flare because I often include starbursts in my landscape shots when it is appealing to do so. It’s a simple and old technique to use a starburst. Simply close down and you should be able to get a result. Depending on if there is something between the sun and the camera, such as a cloud, a tree, a mountain, will change the starburst outcome. This was real popular for a while and then died off, it came back and is slowly going away again. That could be said about many things in photography.

So, Flare, is it good or bad? Everything comes back to the story. What you saw and felt when you took the photograph of course comes into play so I won’t bother to much with that point. I like to think about it more as does it help the image or does it hurt the image? A starburst by itself grabs the eye. It’s bright and dramatic. So is that extra flare needed under those circumstances? It’s one of those things that is hard to come up with a definite answer for and for myself I’m still trying to come up with one. If the flare acts like a guiding source then I think it can work but it really does depend on the other elements.

Images Captured with Nikon D750, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Crazy Can Be Good

Not everyone fishes during or after a snow storm let alone when it’s below freezing but sometimes it yields rewards. For a photographer the reward is that freshly fallen snow, add in a great mountain range and top it off with a little spot lighting and boom you got something to work with. I talked about this situation last week but I decided to combine two things from last week into this one image.

I talked about the benefits of going out after a storm or evening one out and I also talked about composing the image without the subject being in direct light. You can see both here. What’s the subject? Does that subject have to be lit? Is there a way to show him or here without light? Yes, these things are all possible if you’re watching whats happening around you. Sometimes they are planned but the best images are spontaneous and capture the moment that exists. Those images tell a story.

Images Captured with Nikon 1 V3

Silhouettes in Fall Color

Fall color is so much fun to work with! You can use the power of those changing leaves to create some truly breathtaking images or you can just have fun and experiment. The one thing I’ve noticed when it comes to fall color is it easy to be seduced by the color and instinctively you take a picture regardless if it’s worth it or not. This is something you really have to work at to avoid this time of year because wherever there is fall color the first instinct is photo opp but that’s not true. You still have to think through your compositions and really watch the light.

Now I’ve spent the last few years working with fisherman as an outlet to experiment with and right now it’s great because it’s something to try with the fall color. For instance Mikey here tells the story of fishing in the fall even with the absence of direct light. Trees are often dark and everything else behind those forests are bright so having that reversal is kind of interesting. If you are out this Fall working the color really focus on pushing yourself to create more then just the look at the pretty leaves shot.

Images captured with Nikon D750, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Fall Color isn’t Just in the Trees

If there isn’t enough reasons to be out everyday you can in the Fall then here’s another one. For those that enjoy the art of fly fishing and the photo opps that come with it, Fall is the epitome of seasons due to the transformation to spawning colors. Browns, Rainbows, Brookies and Cutthroats, while the exact time varies, change color. It’s spectacular show of color that can be matched only by the leaves.

Naturally I go out with both rod and camera or a chance to catch one of these species and for my friend Alex he got that chance. This is a spawning Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout which is listed as S2 in Montana as a species of concern. Between water temps, genetic hybridization and loss of habitat to other species as well as irrigation, both native Cutthroat species continue to face many challenges. It is a constant battle in the Yellowstone River because of the large and vast ecosystem under the water to manage the numerous species. When it comes to an important species for the files to showcase Montana, the Cutthroat definitely fits the bill. The important thing is always time. Be fast and be efficient so no harm comes to the subject. I prefer using something simple, like the D750, 24-70 AF-S and SB-5000. I can go wide and tight and get both a portrait and a detail shot down in mere seconds. A safe release after all is the best part.

Plastic and Water Don’t Mix

This is something I’ve only seen in photos but finally saw firsthand this past weekend. I don’t often talk about pollution or conservation on my blog beyond the importance of telling the stories with our cameras but I kind of had too on this one. This 12″ Brown Trout was caught by my buddy and we were both shocked to see this plastic water/sports drink bottle ring stuck behind the gill plate of the fish. It had slowly taken chunks out of the fish as you can see in the photos. What this comes down to is being responsible. It doesn’t have to be something big, as this photo shows, these little things are important. No matter what the subject or where the area you have to take care of both because there may come a day when these places and these creatures will be gone. Believe it or not but seeing this sort of thing really isn’t enjoyable. It’s just sad. So if you see trash while out with your cameras, pick it up, you never know how much good it could do.

Size and Color

Size is a hard element to communicate in a photograph but it’s very important to the subject to have some idea of the scale of that subject to the rest of the world. Size helps our brains connect with the subject. We are programmed to want to know that size is just like we are programmed to want to know about everything else in the world.

Fish are actually a great example because they come in many different sizes and you can easily make them look bigger or smaller just by changing the angle of the fish to the camera. This little Brook Trout was rather special because it’s not an every day catch. What really makes it special though is that color. Brook Trout are starting to change color as they go into spawning season and they become extremely vibrant. To capture the color while showing the size, I used the D750 and 24-70 AF-S with the SB-5000 for color. Then using my friend Al’s hand and the net as a prop you get that idea of scale. Scale and color are important elements that you need to think about when it comes to any area of photography and any subject because they do impact the overall story.

First Snow Has Come!

This past week we saw our first snow fall of this upcoming winter. Every year we usually get some snow on the ground in the beginning of September and right on cue after a few days of rain that snow showed up. It was a welcome sight to help deal with the many fires in the state currently. The crisp days are going to hang around for a few days this week which means some great photo opps.

Fall is one of the best times to be in the Rockies. Between the snow, changing colors, clouds, constantly changing light and the generally feeling of the land just makes for some great opportunities. The one big tip I can give for this time of the year is to be outside as much as possible. I fortunate to be in Yellowstone fishing on the Madison after the snowfall and it was just beautiful.

Images Captured with D750, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Working Flare

It’s interesting how photography keeps changing. For a long time flare was very popular and then it slowly started to die out and with nano coating on the lenses it’s even harder to get flare. But now it’s making a slow emergence and while I can’t say I embrace it, at times it can be a very powerful tool.

First off I love images that come naturally. Forced images never feel complete to me, there’s always something that could be done to make it a better image. This wasn’t forced, it was life. Walking back after a long day on the river, we passed by a campground and the sun popped out from the clouds long enough for a few clicks. Now when it comes to flare, your subject will always be darker. The flare will mess with the exposure often making your image look like there’s a layer of fuzz to your image. When this happens you’ll notice your subject disappear a little bit so it’s important to either light the subject or have something brighter behind that subject to make it pop. That little bit of smoke hanging in the background from the camp fires is giving me that extra pop needed. So if you’re going to play around with flare remember the light and remember the background because your subject might suffer otherwise.

Images Captured with Nikon D750, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

If You’re Going to Stop and Smell the Roses

Well frankly if you’re going to stop I would recommend a different Rose. These Thistle flowers are really nasty. After a handful of thorns from a fall, smelling them would be a whole lot worse. On the plus side they do make for a good foreground.

When it comes to working with flowers I have limited experience. Macro photography isn’t my strong suite but like most landscape images you want to remember lines and distracting elements. The whole point of stopping at a giant field of flowers is to show off the natural beauty of the world. It’s hard to do that is there is a trail in the middle of the field. Just three feet to my left is that trail. By simply moving my feet, not stepping on any flowers, I was able to hide that element. Staying planted is one of the worst things you can do with your photography and like this example, a few feet can often times make a dramatic difference.

Image Captured with Nikon 1 V3

Camera for the Candid Moments

Every photographer should carry around a portable camera that has the quality of their DSLR’s and the compact-ability of a smartphone. Smartphones have proven be a useful tool for us photographers because it gives us a quick way to take a picture of something we like. They also fit into our pockets which makes them convenient. Now all that is great until you take the image into post and while the file sizes have gotten bigger and quality is getting better, if you wanted to make a big print out of those files, you can’t. So is there a middle ground?

The middle ground is something like the Nikon 1 V3. Yes I know this is not a new release but it makes my point. Now I’ve been a fan of these little cameras since the Coolpix came out many years ago because of the simplicity. There are times when you just need that quick shot and you only have seconds before it’s gone. Or there are times when you want to be discreet and having a DSLR on your shoulder doesn’t work. That’s where these little guys are handy. There are many brands and many options now, I still prefer Nikon but that’s me.

Here’s a perfect example. I was out during the Salmon Fly hatch this past weekend and if you’ve ever experienced that hatch then you know how awesome these giant alien bugs are. Well they have no problem landing on you and my friend Dan wanted to make sure he went away with a shot of one on his face. Sure enough it happened, I grabbed the V3, took the shot and then the bug was gone. That quick, that simple.

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