Monday, September 29, 2014


My last post was grumbling about teaching a class on photographing fall color in the absence of color. I changed my mindset from photographer to teacher and my outlook improved dramatically. The students loved the colorful ash trees, asters, and sumac making my day a success. So much of photography is about seeing possibilities.

Technical: recorded with Canon Elph, contrast enhanced in Lightroom

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Prairie Color

I'm teaching a fall color class tomorrow in a park without woodland color. Instead the prairie will be the star of the show. This brings home the difference between a hobby and a job. The hobbyist, which is me most of the time, could change location to find maple color. Tomorrow I do not have this luxury. Permits were obtained months ago, students are signed up, and liability issues prevent us from jumping in a van to search for color. I almost forgot, I am supposed to photograph the students having fun photographing the color. What a difference between working and playing!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lines and Color

One of the biggest challenges in capturing the landscape is finding or creating order in apparent chaos without over simplifying and creating a boring image. My eye starts in the lower left and bounces around this image but eventually gets to the white sky. The fallen log blocks my eye from following out the bottom of the image. What do you think: chaos or complexity?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cottonwood River

Returning to my roots of landscape photography has been fun. My dusty ND filters are getting a workout and when used in conjunction with digital techniques really make images pop. This was created with a 3 stop graduated ND filter and basic Lightroom adjustments. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

St. Croix River

The river has been running high all year and it still is much higher than normal for September. The numerous boat landings have interconnecting hiking trails to that make exploring the valley easy. This was taken at Norway Point which has a cedar bog boardwalk.

Technical:  In this case the polarizing filter almost darkens the water too much.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September Storm

I was driving home yesterday afternoon and noticed these clouds about the same time a weather alert was announced. I took the first available country road to avoid power lines in the image and shot until the rain started. Incredibly powerful winds soon followed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Exploring Water & Rock

Same waterfall, same day. I could (and have) spend an hour at a waterfall. Moving back, moving in, changing lenses, changing point of view, the list of possibilities goes on and on. Conversion to B &W to eliminate the browns in the rock and water.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September Waterfall

The spring run off is long past and summer rains a memory leaving the slow moving water of fall. This is a roaring stream in the spring and now you can walk across it with ease. The smooth water adds to the tranquility of the afternoon when it was recorded during a 5 second exposure.

Technical: polarizing filter and 2 stop ND filter used.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Prairie by Moonlight

I was walking back when I noticed my shadow, time to pull the camera back out of the bag. It is not always over when the sun goes down as this 90 second exposure shows.

Technical: local highlight reduction of the moon, WB 5500k

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Color & Lines

As much as I like to avoid the presence of man in my images it is a reality and sometimes inevitable. The distant town also gives a sense of scale to the grandeur of the sky. 

Technical: 3 stop graduated ND filter, WB @7000k

Friday, September 12, 2014

Prairie Sunset

Life was suspended and only light existed while shooting these images, a photographer in heaven. There are not many evenings when it all comes together leaving only the limits of you and your camera to capture what you are seeing. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Golden Light

Light on the prairie was spectacular last Sunday evening. I pulled out a couple rusty graduated ND filters and put them to use after they had been idle for the last few years. For me the filters are the easiest, most efficient way to deal with HDR situations.  I rediscovered this technique when listening a class by Ian Shive on CreativeLive

Technical: 2 stop hard edge graduated ND filter. WB @ 7000k. Basic adjustments in LR

Monday, September 8, 2014

What happened?

Do you ever look at an image and wonder what happened?  I was shooting fireworks with a 28-135 mm lens. Somewhere during the 3 second exposure I changed my mind on the focal length zooming out slightly. Was it a mistake? I prefer to call it a creative misadventure.  Before the show I spot metered the monument to determine an exposure of about 5 seconds which would keep its details while shooting in bulb mode. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Next Generation

I rarely photograph people but events provide an excellent opportunity to overcome my inhibitions. In New Ulm we celebrate the defeat of the Romans by Hermann the Great 2000 years ago. Independence Day celebrated by most American cities doesn't quite warrant a celebration if you are a real German.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sky Glow

Night brings a whole new perspective to the sky.  During the day we marvel at the clouds with an occasional jet intruding into our vision but at night we cannot escape the influence of man.  The nearest town of about 10,000 people is over 30 miles away. 

Technical: no local adjustments were made to the milky way

Friday, September 5, 2014

End of the Season

The colors are changing and the seed pods have opened. Who would think this was once a vibrant lupine surrounded by butterflies and bees.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cute/Not Cute

Cute: tree frog on a leaf
Not Cute: tree frog calling at random in the attic

We had an unidentified creature making sounds in the attic on Labor Day weekend. The first thought was a chipmunk trapped, perhaps in the furnace. An emergency service call determined it was not in the furnace. When the calling recurred after the service call a Google check determined the sound to be a tree frog; an expensive lesson on frog sounds.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Prairie Clouds

The last post talked about the feeling of space on the prairie. Prairie clouds can also create mental space and re-energize at the end of the day. Photographing clouds is a great way to spend a summer evening!