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.
Fall colors had me ga-ga like a little kid with a new toy, wandering around snapping shots of all the beauty everywhere I looked. But when I got home and looked at my photos, I got a lot of ‘scraggle’, like that below.
While I tried to be aware of all my photography rules: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify, I pulled out contrasting yellow leaf color against dark trunks and green backgrounds. But what I got was ‘scraggle’… busy, busy, busy. Somehow when running around snapping the photos I didn’t see the little twigs that added clutter and distraction.
Instead, I should have been keeping it CLEAN, by pulling out singular subjects and isolating them for a more interesting and uncluttered shot.
The shots I took that CUT THE CLUTTER, took the prize and won my favor and the viewer’s eye.
We had already scheduled a trip to check out how fall colors were coming along when we got 6″ of fresh heavy snow. The cold snap helped the colors along, bringing out brilliant reds in the maples, and golden yellows among the oaks.
The ground was covered with a blanket of fallen color on the fresh white snow. It was a thing of beauty to walk among nature and all her glory.
We even found these fresh bear tracks leading through the forest, who surely must have been enjoying the cool weather and the awesome environment we were witnessing.
For more Fall Color photos check out my blog here… https://kritterspaw.com/2018/10/20/snowfall/
If you remember a post I did a little while back about Pat’s Fawn (https://kritterspix.com/2018/09/17/pats-fawn/), we’ve been fortunate enough to see it a few times and kinda watch it grow up, which has been a real joy. It’s starting to loose it’s spots.
But it’s still playful and skittish… and wonderfully fun to watch. Mom still dotes on her… except, apparently it’s a him.
I caught a glimpse of a little bump on his head where his antlers will be soon.
We can still call him Spots though, right?!