Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sunset Afterglow in the Desert

Be Still My Heart!

Late yesterday afternoon I spent a few peaceful hours enjoying the beauty of the desert in springtime along Gold Butte Road near Mesquite, NV. Just me and my camera....and nature. I watched the shadows deepen, as the sun made its way toward the horizon, and finally rewarded me with a glorious finale to the day when the golden light of sunset turned common ordinary blooms and clouds into a beautiful scene to behold and enjoy. For a few moments all was right with the world and I left for home a little happier, a little more contented, and a little less burdened by my problems. (On the radio yesterday I heard a psychologist tell a caller who was suffering from mild depression to spend at least an hour a day outdoors observing nature. Great Advice!) The last photo of the day was my favorite.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

One More Magnolia Bloom

Delicate and graceful and SO photogenic!  Love magnolia blooms.
(Teaching a class on Flower Photography this Saturday and I think I'll use this image.)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Magnolia 2

This beautiful northern Utah magnolia is blooming in my friend's back yard.
(Flower Photo Tip:  Sometimes the most interesting compositions emphasize the imperfections or unusual details of a bloom that makes it look different from the norm or less than perfectly symmetrical in appearance.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Look what was blooming in my front yard when I returned to our home in northern Utah! This magnolia bush only blooms for a short while in early spring. I love the gentle curves of the petals and look forward to finding a unique composition to photograph each year.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Poverty Canyon

Another iphone shot taken in the same location as my last post.  We decided this ATV ride ranked in our Top 5 rides in southern Utah for spectacular scenery.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Poverty Canyon - Outside Zion National Park

A perfect day, spectacular scenery, and a great ride with fabulous friends.  Doesn't get much better than this!!  We were riding just outside Zion National Park.  
(iphone photo with some editing in LR.)

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Bees Are Back!

The Bees are Back on my Gopher Plants!

This plant sits next to a block wall, perfect for another high contrast image when the sun is just in the right spot.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Daffodils at Sunset

Daffodils at Sunset

Coming home yesterday just before sunset, I spotted a small patch of daffodils in the park strip on the main street of my little town.  The setting sun highlighted the flowers while the surrounding area was already in shadows. The lighting was perfect for another high contrast flower photo. Part of being a good nature/macro photographer, is about developing the ability to observe and notice scenes or objects we see everyday, then being able to mentally 'see' an interesting composition, even before we pick up a camera!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tulip Aglow

Tulip Aglow
(Who says you can't photograph pretty pictures on a sunny day!)

For those of you who like to photograph flowers outdoors, and are shooting on a sunny day, here's an idea:  Look for a flower that is lit fairly evenly by the overhead sun and is in front of a larger, solid object, such as a building.  The direction and perspective you shoot from is critical.  First, find a position where you can shoot 'through' a petal creating a translucent look, (usually your camera has to be pointing in a semi upward direction).  Second, make sure your background object is solid, in deep shadow, and frames the entire flower.  This will create a dramatic, high contrast, image that will really show off your 'glowing' flower.  

You can artificially create this same effect by placing a large, flat, solid object, (scrim), behind your subject flower, being careful to not block the sun from hitting the flower.  You will have to experiment with your camera settings so as not to 'blow out' the flower if the sunlight is very bright or harsh.  It may also help to have a polarizing filter on your camera lens.  You should do your best to avoid a point of view where harsh, distracting shadows on the flower, created by less important petals and leaves, detract from the main part of the flower.  

And finally, you may want to emphasize this high contrast style of flower photography in post processing.  In Lightroom this is usually pretty simple, especially if you are shooting in RAW.   Decreasing the 'shadows' slider, and maybe the 'black' slider, will darken and decrease any distracting details in the background, you might have if you are shooting in front of a building.   You can also adjust the intensity of the glow by adjusting the 'highlights' slider. 

Hope you all enjoy photographing spring flowers as much as I do!!      

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Pat's Day!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mary Ellen Larsen

We just said goodbye, for now, to Jeff's wonderful mother who passed away at the age of 94. She set an unwavering example for her 4 children, 23 grandchildren and 63 great grandchildren, of integrity, humility, hard work, compassion, and all that is good and praiseworthy. But above all, she was a women completely devoted to her faith and her family. It is appropriate that she left this world at the beginning of Spring when we think of growth and new life, as she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that her death from this life was just a rebirth into the next stage of life where she would live a glorious eternity surrounded by her loved ones who have already taken that journey. Because she knew this, she was prepared and ready, and perfectly at peace when she knew her time was close at hand. As a family we rejoice in her life and legacy, in new beginnings, and in the eternal nature of all things God has created!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Why I Shoot Raw!

Do you think this photo is a keeper?  I think it is, but it wouldn't be if I hadn't been shooting in RAW format.   When I was going through my batch of photos on the day this was taken, I automatically put this in the 'trash'.  The reason was that it was extremely over exposed and appeared to be a totally ruined exposure.  I have my camera set to make two images of each shot, one in RAW format and one in JPG. I was messing around with aperture and shutter settings and both the raw and jpg images were totally 'blown out' white, showing very little detail or color.  But for whatever reason, something attracted me to the image and I tried to repair it in Lightroom by  decreasing the exposure, highlights and whites and increasing the sharpness.  Almost nothing could be recovered in the JPG image!  But the above photo shows the result from the RAW version.  I did some minor editing and cropping, but I did not alter the color at all.  Somehow the over exposure created these beautiful pastels, that I was able to recover by using editing software.  Moral of the story, shooting in RAW often allows more leeway in altering photos in post production, and that includes having a better chance at correcting mistakes.  Below shows the JPG image.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Liquid Gold

More beautiful golden water as the sun reflects the red cliffs down stream fro my last post.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Red Cliffs Recreation Area, Leeds, Utah

Red Cliffs Recreation Area
Leeds, Utah

I'm told this beautiful little waterfall only flows in the spring.  We arrived at the perfect time for the early morning sun to cast a golden light on the red cliffs and in the water.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Spring Comes Softly

On my travels today I saw a beautiful flowering tree with branches hanging over a fence into a parking lot.  I had to stop and take some photos.  I think I'm finally convinced that Spring is really on the way!