Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wide-Angle Perspective

In my post from May 22nd ("Tioga Pass is Open") I talked about how telephoto lenses can flatten perspective and create abstract patterns. Wide-angle lenses are perfect for creating the opposite effect—a sense of depth in a flat, two-dimensional photograph.

Wide-angle lenses make everything look smaller and further away. They also expand space—they make objects look further apart than normal. You can take advantage of this by exaggerating the size difference between foreground and background to create an illusion of depth. You must get close to something in the foreground, as I did with the rock strata in this photo from Zion—otherwise everything will look small and distant. It also helps to include converging lines, like those in the foreground rocks, to create a sense of perspective. Often a vertical orientation works better than horizontal as you can include a bigger sweep of the foreground.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Full Moon Night Photography Workshop

There's still space available in my Full Moon Night Photography Workshop on July 6th.

I've been interested in night photography for a long time, and have created a rather surreal body of nighttime images using flash and flashlights to illuminate objects in the dark. If you haven't seen this work you can view the nighttime portfolio on my web site. The techniques required to make such complex photos take years to master, but this one-day workshop is a good introduction to this fun and creative arena of photography. I haven't taught many classes on this subject, so this is a rare opportunity to learn some of the essential skills needed to make nighttime photographs. To register or get more information visit The Ansel Adams Gallery's web site.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Wildflowers

Yosemite weather has been unusually cool and wet for the past two or three weeks. It's not uncommon to see afternoon thunderstorms in the summer, but it is highly unusual for it to rain almost every afternoon for close to three weeks this time of year. It makes me wonder how this moisture will affect the wildflowers. I have to believe it will help them, but since I've never seen this much rain before in early June it's hard to say.

Summer is usually the peak wildflower season in the Yosemite high country. Although early bloomers like shooting stars appear in June, flowers are typically most abundant in July at elevations between 7000 and 9000 feet. Heavy snow the previous winter can push this peak back into August. This past winter brought average snowfall, so I'd usually expect an average amount of flowers with the peak in July, but the cool and wet weather might delay the bloom and maybe, just maybe, make the flowers more abundant than usual.

The photograph above was made near White Wolf in July of 2004 after slightly below average winter snowfall.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hidden Yosemite Valley Workshop

My Hidden Yosemite Valley workshop with The Ansel Adams Gallery ended yesterday. This is the fifth year I've done this class, but the first time we based it in Yosemite Valley. In previous years we stayed in Lee Vining in July and photographed the Yosemite high country, but decided to try something different and concentrate on Yosemite Valley this time.

The weather was rather unusual for June. A low pressure system brought rain and high-elevation snow, closing Tioga Pass briefly on Friday. But in between the showers we had some great photo opportunities—sunbeams on Bridalveil Fall Wednesday, chiaroscuro light and clouds from Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome on Thursday, the sun breaking through late Friday to light Bridalveil and Half Dome, and misty meadows Sunday morning. I told the group yesterday that they had the best light and weather of any workshop I've led. We even got to photograph two bears on Friday!

We had a nice group of people, and had a great time. The photo above shows John on Sentinel Dome Thursday afternoon.