“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.

Warm Steps

Warm Stepsword

This is a closeup of the formations at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.  I visited Yellowstone in 2012 and stayed at the hotel at Mammoth Hot Springs.  My typical morning walks were up to the springs and around the wood walking trails.  This is just one of the many geothermal formations that Yellowstone has and is constantly changing.  When you visit look out for the elk.  There is a herd that lives around the area.

Waves of Canadian Geese

Here is a video I shot last weekend of a huge wave of Canadian Geese taking off from one of the marshes at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri.  I had my camcorder set up while I was snapping pictures when all of the sudden all of the geese took off in a wave.  This is one of the most fascinating experiences I have ever had doing wildlife photography.

The Hidden Draw (Creating Depth of Field)

The Hidden Drawword

Early March on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park was cold and brought the unexpected surprise of snow.  Most of us think of the Grand Canyon as a high desert and are surprised to see pictures of the canyon in snow.  Although the cold and snow was not something I was thrilled about I took full advantage of the opportunity.  Here the canyon stretches for miles disappearing into the fog.

In order to capture the vastness of the Grand Canyon I took a seat on a rock in order to get lower to the ground and stabilize myself.  By placing myself lower and getting the trees and bushes in the picture it gives the viewer a new perspective.  I don’t usually use people so I use pieces of nature to give a perception of size.  The snow also allows the viewer to feel the coolness of the moment.  Shooting from different angles in the same places can create uniquely different photos.  So give it a try.

Grasping Nature

Grasping Natureword

Late winter at Grand Canyon National Park was a perfect time for photographing.  It was cold, but worth every moment spent on the trail photographing.  I traveled to the south rim with some of my family and spent two days hiking along the trails of the canyon.  I enjoy the time alone as a photographer, but one of the best parts of spending time outdoors is getting to share the experiences with someone.  Traveling and photographing is all about making memories and sharing them.

Late in the evening as the sun was setting the clouds moved into the canyon.  As the clouds settled in and the sun went down the colors of the canyon walls began to change.  The color and clouds added another dimension to the canyon.  Although the canyon is photographed regularly there are always new views to capture.  I am looking forward to visiting again this summer, but this time I am headed to the north rim.  Keep Exploring!

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.

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.

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