“Rhea Spring”: Shooting in the Morning

Rhea Spring

One of my favorite times of day to photograph is early in the morning, especially when I visit a National Park.  Many people prefer sunset because of the convenience, but at sunrise there are often fewer people.  As the sun comes up the land begins to come alive.

This was a morning a couple of weeks ago at Shiloh National Military Park near Rhea Spring.  The sun was coming up and the water was running well from all of the recent rain.  I don’t always shoot toward the sun, but use the light that is cast over the landscape to photograph scenes.  The fog was rising from the water due to the warming of the landscape and the light highlighted it showing a mist.  The ISO was lowered and shutter speed slowed in order to create the effect with the water and capture to light right for the breaking sun.

Don’t be afraid to try shooting from different positions to get different perspectives.  As the sun rose I spent about an hour capturing the scene before the fog was gone.  I moved around along the creek bed standing, sitting, getting closer and further from the bridge.  The idea was to not only frame the scene the way I wanted, but to work with the natural light of the rising sun.

Take a Hike

Grand Canyon

Take a Hike: Grand Canyon National Park VIDEO

Here is something new that I have started.  After having several people ask me to start documenting some of my stories and sharing my adventures I started a YouTube series called Take a Hike.  This is the newest episode based around my trip to the Grand Canyon.  Take a look at my other episodes.

Discovering Yourself and the Outdoors

Encountering Yellowstone’s Wildlife

Yellowstone’s Changing Weather

Photographing Sunrise

Bird at Sunset

Bird at Sunset word

Sunset and sunrise are a great time to get out and photograph.  In Kansas the wide open spaces allow a photographer to see for miles.  Even when I am not planning on spending much time in the field I do try to get out to find the a good spot in the mornings and evenings when I am home.  The flat land and vast spaces can create some amazing colors.

In this shot I was set up trying to capture the vibrant colors of the sunset with the land and fences silhouetted in the scene.  As I was shooting this bird landed on a fencepost within my eyesight.  I got it focused in my camera and started shooting as the sun went down.  The bird silhouetted in the orange clear sky made for a striking image in what I thought would be an uneventful night.

A Glimpse Back: “At Ease”

At Ease

One of my favorite past times is to visit Civil War battlefields.  Each year my family would plan our summer vacation and it usually involved traveling to a battlefield.  There is something unexplainable about walking a place that once was filled with conflict and now sits quiet.  For me it is also about remembering what happened.

When photographing at battlefields I have a few ideas that I keep in mind.  First, capture a picture that highlights the beauty of the area.  Second, capture a picture that reminds us or serves as a glimpse into the past and what happened.  Third, try to capture the viewers imagination.

“At Ease” is such a simple picture, but it is a popular discussion piece.  It serves as a small glimpse into the past, but it also captures the viewers imagination.  This was taken at the 150th anniversary reenactment at Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield in Tennessee.  It was just something that I didn’t think much about when I captured the picture walking the trails and looking at the encampments.  To me it serves as a reminder of the calm before the storm.  What does it mean to you?

Looking Beyond the Usual: “Step Lightly”

Step Lightly

When traveling it is easy to get caught up by the large things that are easy to see, but try to look for the less noticeable parts to life.  The large elements are easy to spot and thus easy to photograph.  There is always something beyond what we can easily spot.  Whenever I need a wake up call to remind me of that this picture is what I go to.

While I was in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya it was easy to spot the elephants roaming the landscape, but the birds that roamed with them were not always easy to spot.  Thus, they never seemed that interesting to photograph.  However,  I always try to practice what I preach and look beyond the usual.  That is when this small cattle egret stood out to me walking around with it’s much larger partner.

We had stopped to watch a herd of elephants tear apart a small tree I noticed an elephant walking by itself on the other side of the jeep.  I pointed my camera toward the elephant as it came closer.  As it came out of the tall grass I noticed the egret walking in and out from under the elephant’s feet picking up bugs, the egrets live with the elephants and will pick bugs up to eat in the elephant’s wake.  Neither seemed concerned with all of the commotion around them.  They just went about their business.  I got down on the floor of the jeep for a better view and took several shots of the two, but didn’t think anything would come out of my work.  However, when I got back to the US and started looking through and sharing my work people were amazed by this picture.

It took me a while to see it, but it is easy to get caught up in how two animals of such different sizes can be so important to one another.  The others with me asked where I saw this and when I told them they said they noticed the elephant, but didn’t pay any attention to it.  I did and as luck would have it one of my most memorable photographs from Kenya came from watching two animals that were doing what they do naturally.  Watch for the small, less noticed things and sometimes they can make the best pictures.

For more information about Pamela visit http://www.wildradiancephotography.com

Follow on Facebook: Wild Radiance Photography llc or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ppeters21

Email: wildradiancephoto@gmail.com

 

“Eyes Into the Soul”: Getting the Shot

Eyes Into the Soulword

I have been lucky to photograph some amazing wildlife over the past several years.  This picture comes from what would have to be my most memorable encounter.  I actually thought when I was taking this shot that I might be on the lioness’ menu for dinner that evening.  When I look at this photograph I cannot get past the thought that she was staring me down from only a few feet away.

This lioness had been spotted near the road and there was a small group of jeeps near her when we pulled up.  Our guide maneuvered his vehicle to a good spot in front of her to allow us to get the best possible position for photographs.  The lioness laid in the shade for quite a while.  I waited for her to move with my camera poised for the shot.  What happened next was not completely expected, me being naive.

The lioness got up and walked toward our jeep.  I remember Jelly, our guide, tapping me on the knee and telling me to slowly back down and sit if she looked like she was going to get on the jeep.  She kept her attention solely on us then hissed at us the way cats do.  My heart began to beat faster and my mouth got dry.  I had to control the fear that was starting to take over.  Keeping my composure I began to back up, keeping in mind to do it slowly so I wouldn’t excite her.  Luckily, and uneventfully, some impala got her attention and she headed off to hunt.

This was an amazing experience, but it was also a great lesson. Enjoy.

Pamela Peters

Email Pamela: wildradiancephoto@gmail.com

For more information about Pamela go to http://www.wildradiancephotography.com.

Find her on Facebook at Wild Radiance Photography, llc or on twitter.com/ppeters

Photograph Special Moments, But Don’t Forget to Enjoy Them

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One of the most best moments I have had in my short time as a professional photographer was when I was given the opportunity to take a ten day photography safari in Kenya.  Early on I felt as though I had to photograph everything that I came across that I was not taking time to savor the experience.  I knew I was there to work, but I came to the realization that I had to enjoy my time there because I might not get the opportunity to go back.

Part of learning to take the time to enjoy the moment is that as you continue to shoot in the same place or the same event you become more selective.  That is not to say that you shouldn’t always have your camera at the ready.  You should.  You should also be willing to take in the moment.  As a speaker and photographer having the ability to explain the feeling in the moment can sell a photograph or make your audience passionate about what you are as well.

When I am asked what the most memorable moment thus far in my career has been I will without a doubt tell someone it was standing a few feet away from two white rhinos.  I knew going to Kenya I would see lions, elephants, and gazelle.  I knew there were animals I would be lucky to see, but I was not at all sure that I would see a rhino.  On the last day in the field I was told I would get to see a rhino.  However, after several hours travelling, sitting on a roadside, and two jeeps I was adamant the experience was not meant to be, but with only an hour before sunset I visited the one animal I had every hope of seeing, but little expectation to find.

As I move further into my second life as a wildlife photographer and speaker I cannot help but get emotionally involved with the animals I come into contact with.  I always do research before I travel and recommend it to anyone.  I have become increasingly involved in supporting and watching what is happening with rhino conservation.  As the numbers in Kenya dwindle I knew I was going to be lucky.  I also knew to see one would be extremely special.

That evening when we came across the male and female that were under special protection outside of the Masai Mara Reserve I knew I was lucky.  As the ranger brought us to the animals and the rhinos came into the clearing I started shooting.  I got the shots and always had the camera at the ready.  At some point I remember kneeling down to take some ground level shots and lowering my camera to savor the moment.  I could not help but think about how lucky I was.  I was close to an animal that future generations may never have the opportunity to see in the wild.

I can still visualize the moment in my head.  That is something that I can still recall whenever I talk to someone about my favorite experience.  I remember that whenever I get so caught up in getting the shot and forget to take in the moment.  As a photographer always make sure you get the shot.  Don’t forget to feel and savor the moment.  Often the story behind the picture is more special than the picture itself.

Keep s\Shooting and Keep Exploring!