For decades now, whenever my travels have taken me on an ocean voyage, people have told me about the proverbial “green flash” that is supposed to happen when the last sliver of the3 sun’s disk is about to sink into the ocean horizon. “Yeah, right”, was my reaction. I figured this was nothing but fake news.
I was asked to speak to the delightful Harford County, Maryland, Photography Club (led by visionary Steve Sattler) at the end of last year. Specifically, they asked me to address the issue of the journey one should be on to be a better photographer. Believe me, I thought deeply about this talk, as it is a topic that is dear to my heart as a photography educator. Here is what I came up with, but it’s obviously the opinion of only one photographer. Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments/discussion section.
When we first installed our twin Canon ProGraf 1000 printers 18 months ago, I promised to keep readers posted on how they did. Since that time we have put them through a half-dozen fine art printing workshops, countless individual client prints and many tests that we constantly do with our wonderful sponsor, Moab Fine Art Papers (a division of Legion Paper).
What photographer doesn’t need a travel tripod? There are times when lugging an 11-pound monster tripod just doesn’t cut it, as in touring the crowded streets of Rome or photographing a spelunking trip or trekking for two weeks in Nepal. But the field of travel tripods today is so vast, how does one choose?
I was once asked by an interviewer what I thought the most difficult job in photography is. I have to admit that the question stumped me. Getting up for sunrise entered my mind. Hiking for three days with a 30-pound photo backpack to get a single shot? Telling one’s spouse that you are about to spend $30,000 on a new Hasselblad digital camera system?
Over the past fifty years I’ve worked with hundreds of photographers, from rank novices to exceptional pros. I have also led photo workshops and tours for many hundreds more. In each of these settings I get to observe photographers working landscapes, taking portraits, creating moods, you name it. So, I think I’ve earned the right to make some comments and suggestions on what I’ve observed. Here goes and please, if you recognize yourself in these tongue-in-cheek descriptions please do not take offense. Maybe just think of it as fake news or alternate facts.
Since I’m a travel photographer and writer, I was asked to nominate my favorite beaches for a compendium that is published online and that gets worldwide media attention. The results were just released to much fanfare. This website polls lots of travel professionals to determine the world’s 50 best beaches, so I guess I shouldn’t feel guilty about weighting the contest with my biases.
For my money, a beach isn’t really for sunbathing, swimming, relaxing or building sand castles. My ratings for a beach revolve around one simplistic notion; is it absolutely great for photography? I’m sure that I’m probably the only reviewer who makes his picks with so narrow a focus, but hey, they asked.
As it turns out, a couple of my picks made it to the final list of the Top Fifty. That’s probably because those very same places offer much more than just photo opps. I rarely notice that, though, since I’m usually at those beaches at sunrise or sunset.
In fact, I admit that it’s probably kinda sad that beaches, for me, serve such a utilitarian purpose. So, here’s my goal for 2018. Between sunrise and sunset I will make a determined effort to enjoy just relaxing on one of those “50 Best Beaches”. Yes, just relax. I can see myself doing that already.
Hmmm, those images I just took at sunrise, maybe I should upload them into my computer. I should really be cleaning my lenses right now. Whoa, maybe I should look at the beach from another camera angle…
Note: all images here were taken by me over the past several decades.
Fall is one of my favorite times of year, and not only because of the glorious foliage, nor the crisp, cool weather. Since I’ve been a child I have been fascinated by one insect above all; the amazing and complicated Praying Mantis. And every fall they put on a display that can only be described as awesome. The only problem is it involves love, deceit and cruelty. Reality show, anyone?
I generally do not consider myself a scaredy-cat, afraid to take prudent risks. The operative word is prudent.
On a recent trip to Peru, I happened to look up as we drove down a rural road. I noticed a group of climbers scaling an absolutely vertical cliff face. Wanting to see where they were climbing, I pulled over. And much to my shock, I saw this.