You may have seen my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2019/11/08/fossil-creek-nd/ regarding Fossil Creek. I was pleased with the photos I got during that visit, so we decided to make the trek to do it again.
After the long drive along the bumpy dirt road to get to the creek, there are several ‘entry’ points for one to ramble down the hill to walk along the creek. We have been a number of times over the years, and enjoy the serenity of the water gushing over the rocks.
It makes a wonderful place for a picnic to relax and let your troubles wash away. (I know, I know, if only it were that simple.) It does though provide a peaceful respite from our hectic lives.
We did notice that Fossil Creek has become very overgrown and ‘scrubby’. In taking photographs, I had a hard time cutting the clutter out of my pix. You may notice that all these photos are tight knit to the horizon with no sky. That’s because the horizon above the water was tangled and busy.
Sometimes you just have to cut the clutter from our vantage point.
When I started getting serious about photography I kept reading that one should pick a ‘genre’. I was like, ‘what the heck is that’? Why can’t I take any kind of photo I want?
As I read more and photographed more, it made sense. A wedding photographer needs certain skills and tools to take beautiful wedding portraits, just as a sport photographer, and they are each different.
So, I thought – I want to be a landscape photographer.
So, I was surprised when the first photograph I got published was wildlife.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. We just got back from a trip to the beach from AZ, and these are the pix I brought back – all wildlife.
Do what you’re good at… and what you enjoy, and you’ll be good at it.
This last storm met the predictions of the weathermen who projected 2′ of snow.
With it, brought animals looking for food.
It was great fun to see this little baby deer enjoying it’s first snow. It reminded me of Journey when we get snow, as she runs around and loves to ‘snorkel’ in it.
There is something so pristine and beautiful about the new fallen snow… apparently the animals think so too.
I suppose the cold white stuff is a novelty for them, something they don’t see often… so it’s new, fun, and refreshing as they walk through the cool stuff. Like a new toy, it’s invigorating and exciting. Whatever it is… it’s a pleasure to see happiness at any time or place. Bring it on.
As I continue to strive to get better pix I find that if I stop to think about the photos before just clicking away at the shutter, my photos come out better.
Case in point when I went out to get smoke pix, just because the smoke makes for more moody pix (see my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2019/10/19/mood-lighting/ ).
So continuing my current pursuit of Fall Colors, we planned a trip to Fossil Creek. When I think of water pix, I think smooth silky water cascading over rocks, which means to me, a long exposure.
So considering the outcome I wanted, I had to think about how to achieve my desired result. Do I go first thing in the morning, dawn… or dusk? With little light to be had, that could work… OR I could go in full daylight and sun and use a tool I carry in my bag – a Neutral Density (ND) Filter.
I actually use a variable ND filter so I can control how much light I cut anywhere between 3 stops to 10 stops. The ND filter allows me to stop down my exposure so I can take a 2 second exposure to get that super silky water. Tripod required!
Hmmm… it works! Thinking through our actions does make a difference. Who’da thunk it? Ha!
I love Fall. The colors are stunning. Though I do find it difficult to capture.
This season, I decided to challenge myself and shoot ‘out of the box’. It appears experts are always looking for something new and different. It doesn’t even matter what the field. Something edgy that hasn’t been done before often ‘wins’ over tried-and-true.
I’m happy to learn techniques, composition, and style that I can apply and repeat. But I suppose that one could argue that such a philosophy can yield predictability and common-place results.
I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. That’s for the eye of the beholder… and the end user to decide.
If you’ve been following my blog you’ve noticed I’ve been on a somewhat futile quest to build a collection of photos of obscure lakes around Arizona. It was Blue Ridge Reservoir that started the whole mission.
We did an overnight trip to Blue Ridge and got some cool shots which got me to thinking about those awesome sunset / sunrise reflections in the water.
So we visited a lot of dry water holes… and encountered a bit of smoke from prescribed burns along the way. So why not combine the smoke and the lake photos by a re-visit to Blue Ridge Reservoir.
I love it when a plan comes together!
Thanks to my friend Sue for sharing in this amazing experience. It was a lot of fun!
As I continue to improve my photography, I think about what that means. It’s all about the light – dawn & dusk, we are so often told.
It’s complicated though. Light is bright and shadows are dark, how does one even them out and still add emotion, mood, and interest?
Light is the master of depth. We need light to make our ‘hero’ shine, or our supporting cast fade into the background. In this way we can isolate our subject so we know what (or who) it is.
Fog and smoke provide a fantastic mood factor, allowing us to separate the foreground from the background. While our controlled burns up north can be dreary to look at… they can also make for some very moody exciting pix.
Light rays illuminate and become visible through the smoke or fog in the air, distinguishing different elements of the life in the forest.
The fog creates a diffusion through the harsh light, from which comes clarity.
A year wouldn’t be complete without my wildlife photos that I strive so hard to capture. This year has been especially unique with some terrific ‘up-close-and-personal’ shots of a wide variety of wildlife, including bison, antelope, and big horn sheep. Picking the top shots is the hard part… what an awesome problem to have. : )
1. Antelope Greens Peak Loop near Show Low
2. Blue Heron Carneros Lake
3. Big Horn Sheep Greer, AZ
4. Mule Deer Grand Canyon South Rim
5. Mule Deer Grand Canyon North Rim
6. Bison Raymond Wilderness Area
7. Great White Egrets Happy Jack, AZ
8. Baby White Tail Deer Fawn Happy Jack, AZ
9. Bull Elk Happy Jack, AZ
10. Pygmy Owl Happy Jack, AZ
I did a Best of…. back in 2016. Not sure what happened in 2017, but thought I’d provide a couple series of Best of’s for this years photos to share.
1. Tinder Fire Of course, the most memorable (and terrifying) event of the year was the fire that stormed up our hill on April 29, 2018. We were fortunate enough to be spared… many weren’t so lucky.
2. Post Fire The post fire made for some surreal photos and devastating landscape, which I’m happy to report is starting to come back.
3. Renewal Trips to the Mogollon Rim brought new light, old growth, and peaceful respites.
4. Sublime Point The North Rim Sublime Point offered an awesome vantage point for nature’s wonder.
5. Bright Angel Point The popular Bright Angel Point along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon makes for magical scenery.
6. Maple Blanket An early October snowfall chased the fall colors off the trees creating a blank of fall color on the new fallen snow.
7. Sedona Fall Oak Creek Canyon burst with yellows and reds along the serene creek.
8. SnowMelt Snow melt creates run off among the woods of Mogollon Rim.
9. Ruins Doors This magical place overlooks the valley below as it has for centuries, seemingly untouched.
10. Ram Release While this is more an animal highlight than a photographic one… it was a special moment for us this year, to be a part of re-locating big horn sheep to their natural habitat only a few miles from us.
For more Best of 2018 check out post ….kritterspaw.com/2018/12/27/more-best-of-2018/
There are so many things to remember when trying to make a good photograph. I recently talked about Keep It Clean, and reducing clutter in a photo. Another important consideration is Shade and Light.
In the photo above, it’s easy to see the large disparity between exposures – intense shade and shadows in the water, and blown highlights in the sky and trees. To make the photo successful, I could have done an HDR to take multiple photos with the proper exposure for each separate condition (Shadow & Highlights), and them merged them later.
Or, using the light that I had, I could cut out the blown highlights in camera, and turned my attention to where the light was more even and exposed for the shadows just by looking down. Cutting out the highlights yielded a more interesting and focused composition.
Remember… mind the Shade & Light, when composing that pic.