When thinking about nature photography, many people instantly think of postcard-style scenes: grand landscapes under colorful skies. From my perspective, however, nature photography can be a much more expansive pursuit when considering the opportunities available with smaller scenes, including abstract renditions of natural subjects. In this article, I share some tips on learning to create abstract photographs along a continuum, from photos with abstract concepts that amplify an obvious subject to fully abstract photographs in which the scale and subject are difficult to discern.Read More
This is my third black and white nature photo portfolio that I will be sharing here on our blog. You can find the other three posts in this series here: 1) grand landscapes and 2) smaller scenes in nature (smaller slices of grand landscapes, intimate landscapes, and abstract views of natural subjects), and tips for creating better black and white photographs.
This post features black and white photos of plants, from both botanical gardens and wild settings. Wandering around while studying and photographing plants makes for a perfect day since plants are one of my favorite subjects. Plants tell an important part of the story of every landscape. And, they offer an endless array of shapes, patterns, and textures - qualities that can help create interesting black and white photographs. You can view all of these photos plus others, at a much larger size, in my Black + White: Plants portfolio.Read More
In looking back on my life 6 or 7 years ago, it is still a little hard to believe that 2015 took the form that it did. Back then, after finding myself in a variety of unpleasant personal and professional situations, I started talking about the desire to travel more, with the vague idea of travel representing an opportunity to live a more fulfilling life. While this process took years to fully realize, 2015 feels like the culmination of a lot big decisions and changes that together, feel like a much better path.Read More
If you would like to learn more about this topic, you might find our Beyond the Grand Landscape: A Guide to Photographing Nature’s Smaller Scenes to be a worthwhile investment. You can save 20% on your purchase of this ebook through July 15 with the code NPG20.
A fellow photographer recently contacted me for some tips on how to be more successful in identifying and photographing small scenes in the field. This photographer is very talented at taking photographs of grand landscapes but shared that they could use some help with identifying and photographing smaller scenes. This experience is common since taking photographs of smaller scenes does require the development of some different skills and a shift in mindset when compared to pursuing grand landscapes. And, since we receive similar comments and inquiries fairly often, this seems like a good topic for a blog post.
For the purposes of this post, smaller scenes include intimate landscapes, abstract subjects, patterns, textures, and artistic portraits of plants. Such photographs often, but not always, encompass a narrow field of view, usually lacking the sweeping nature of a grand scenic and focusing instead on the arrangement of the smaller details of a landscape. Such photographs also often rely less on the literal qualities of the subject (like tree bark or a plant) and instead focus on more abstract qualities like lines, curves, patterns, and textures. Photos that fall in these categories are generally crafted to convey a particular mood, emotion, or observation with a degree of intimacy, understanding, or closeness.Read More
What do pigs, children, and nature photographers have in common?
We like playing in mud! (Note I didn't say if I was a pig or a photographer, it really depends on my appetite...).
In the United States, dry lake beds can be found in every desert region, though the Great Basin in particular is full of them. Death Valley National Park specifically has many, from the Racetrack Playa, the Panamint Playa, and some areas around the Eureka Dunes and Saline Valley. My favorite playa, due to its size and the ability to camp directly on it, is the Alvord Playa in southeast Oregon.Read More
We are very fortunate to have an excellent botanical garden here in Denver. With four distinct seasons, it offers great variety for photography year-round. Although you wouldn’t know it from the lack of macro photographs on my website, I really enjoy photographing nature’s small details and have been working developing a few portfolios of photographs from the garden across seasons and of the diverse displays of cultivated plants.
We headed to the garden on a very rainy day last fall and were treated to a long, enjoyable, and quite damp afternoon of photography. The rain helped saturate the colors and delicate droplets formed on many of the plants. I spent the most time that day at the lily pad pond. Even though the lily blossoms were still in bloom and looked lovely, I focused instead on the lily pad leaves. The little Pac-Man shapes provided a fun subject for photography, with the water droplets adding another element of interest to these plants. Here are a few favorites from that afternoon.Read More