Telephoto Lens Cap for Canon & Nikon Camera Lenses

GEAR – Custom flash drives!

flash drive

I was contacted the other day by the extremely nice people at USB Memory Direct about making some custom USB drives with my logo. I’d seen such drives before and had actually been thinking about making some as a way for people to remember my name and website. T-shirts and hats are great, but I like something different yet functional for PR purposes. When USB Memory Direct offered to send me a shipment of 25 customized drives for free, how could I say no?

When I went to the USB Memory Direct website, it took me quite a while to settle on a style. They had so many cool shapes and finishes from modern to quirky to rustic. I ended up choosing one of the wooden styles, which I thought looked super cool and expressed a great contrast between high-tech gadgetry and materials from the earth. To make things better, they had some that were made with bamboo, a pretty sustainable way to provide for our wood-like needs as bamboo grows rapidly and regrows in the same spot. Trying to select sustainable options when possible always sits well with nature photographers.

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Besides looking cool, they work great. Though USB Memory Direct offers only USB 2.0 drives, I think an 8 GB (or even smaller) USB 2.0 drive is just fine as a promo piece. I have a couple of larger drives I’ll use for photos and software programs, but a smaller drive that’s not quite blazing fast is just fine to have in your laptop or tablet sleeve for everyday files and sharing. Oh, the magnetic snap between cap and main unit is wonderful as it keeps you from losing the cap.

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I liked the sample batch so much that I’ll be ordering a larger supply that I can hand out to clients and when I present at photo conferences.

Thanks to my son Josh Basco for taking the product pics. We set the USB drive up on my home office desk and did the lighting solely with one small flashlight – a pretty fun and easy way to do some quick product photography.

CHECK OUT THE FULL SELECTION OF DRIVES AT USB MEMORY DIRECT.


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About the author Gregory Basco
Like many nature photographers, I started my career doing something else. A political scientist by training, my research focused on the politics of the environment in Latin America. I researched environmental politics and ecotourism in Costa Rica and worked here for a number of years as a conservation professional, having first come to the country in 1992 as a Peace Corps volunteer. I now dedicate myself full-time to my own photography and my Costa Rica photo tour company. I work out of my home office in Costa Rica’s central highlands, where I live with my wife, twin boys, our dogs and cats, and various hummingbirds and songbirds that visit our backyard feeders.  Visit Greg’s galleries, store, and workshops at Deep Green Photography.

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Keomuku Boulders Sunrise 2

KeomukBoulders Sunrise

USA, Hawaii, Lanai, A dramatic sunrise on the north shore of Lanai from an interesting lava rock formation along Keomuku Road

This image was created along the drive down to the north shore of Lanai on the first day of my February visit. Though the main purpose for my trip was to photograph humpback whales breaching, I also photographed landscapes whenever I had the opportunity. I had arrived the night before and not yet assembled my inflatable boat to go out whale watching, but I still wanted to shoot the sunrise. I knew from my previous explorations of the island that there were large numbers of lava formations along the side of the road which would make an interesting foreground. As the sunrise approached, I parked, jumped out of the truck, and then bolted towards
this prominent feature, barely setting up my camera in time to photograph this magical light briefly illuminating my subject as the clouds moved across the sky. I created this image using my 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon lens adapter, and my new Canon 16-35mm f4 IS lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CC 2014, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.


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MEET THE AUTHOR

Jon Cornforth photographing surf on the North Shore of OahuJon Cornforth photographing surf on the North Shore of OahuJon Cornforth is an award-winning wilderness photographer whose images have been recognized internationally for their masterful composition and incredible detail. He’s compelled to express the beauty of the natural world through his photography, traveling all year, challenging himself in new locations and documenting the unique creatures who live there. All of his images are captured in the wild. He believes in supporting environmental groups and raising awareness through photography. He lives in Seattle, WA with his wife, Daisy, daughters, Maddy and Chloe, and Boston terrier, Buni.

Click here to visit Jon’s website.

Cornforth Images are copyright protected. Cornforth Images are available to be licensed for a fee and can not be used without permission.

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Photo Friday: A Final Moment

photo friday

A Final Moment

 

During the last couple of weeks of October my family and I always make a journey to Nebraska City to take in the seasonal changing of the leaves and some apple fritters/pie/donuts. While strolling the Arbor Day Lodge State Park grounds I found this lovely leaf and had to get down and dirty to capture this image with the day’s last bit of sunlight streaming through the trees. I never mind getting dirty, especially to capture scenes like this!

Technical Details:
Canon 5DsR, 16-35 f/4L, f/6.3, 1/80 sec.
Arbor Day Lodge State Park, Nebraska


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MEET THE AUTHOR

While growing up, Derrald’s parents took him on several trips across the United States to numerous national parks. It was on these trips that Derrald grew a love for the outdoors which we wished to explore and share with others. Photography was a natural result, an endeavor that Derrald began at a young age and continued to explore in years to come.

While pursuing a Bachelors degree at Creighton University, he enrolled in all of the photography courses. With these courses he learned the fundamentals of chemical darkrooms, light, balance, and exposure. After college he continued to explore the art and develop his own technique and style and choose to focus on nature and scenic photography as his primary subjects, although he is not hesitant to point the lens at anything.

Amongst the images of majestic mountains and the crashing waves of the ocean, one can find photographs of the prairies, lakes, and wetlands of the American Great Plains and Midwest. Some of these images are the artist’s favorites as they show the expansive heartland of the United States and the subtle beauty of the area surrounding his home. Through the right balance of subject, composition, and light, Derrald strives to transport the viewer into the composition.

Derrald has won numerous awards and exhibited in several solo and group shows regionally. His work has also appeared in several regional and national magazines, calendars, websites, and postcards. He continues to live and work in Omaha with his family.

Visit Derrald’s website Journey Of Light Photography to read his other articles. His images may be ordered from his store.

 

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The Canadian Rockies Revisited

Last fall, I spent a couple of weeks photographing in the Canadian Rockies. It was a tremendous experience and I came home with a bushelful of great memories and some images that I was happy with as well. As great as the trip was, it ended with a focus on a couple of disappointments–most particularly a day of miserable weather at the elusive Lake O’Hara. As a result, I came home with a burning desire to return to the region as soon as possible. Without going through the specifics, I managed to figure out a way to go back to the Canadian Rockies this fall. I flew from Chicago to Calgary on September 15 and returned to the American Midwest on September 30.

Aspen Meadow, Kootenay Plains, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Aspen Meadow, Kootenay Plains, David Thompson Country, Alberta

I covered a lot of ground during this trip, revisiting some locations from last year but I expended copious time visiting new places as well. I spent the bulk of my time centered near Lake Louise, Alberta which provided me ready access to locations as far to the south as the town of Banff (about 35 miles away), as far west as the outer reaches of Yoho National Park, across the provincial border in British Columbia, and as far north and east as spots on the southern third of the Icefields Parkway and David Thompson Country. Basically, if a location was within 90 minutes of my base, I deemed it in bounds. I spent the final few days in and around the town of Jasper and along the northern 2/3 of the Icefields Parkway. (Jasper is roughly 140 miles north of Lake Louise.)

Two Jack Lake
Two Jack Lake Morning Black & White, Banff National Park, Alberta

The Canadian Rockies in the fall is a cornucopia of landscape photographic opportunities with subject matter ranging from towering, snow-covered peaks to pristine, glacially fed lakes and rivers, gushing creeks, forests of pine, spruce, golden-leafed aspen and needled larch, rolling meadows and plains and big, piercing skies. I experienced it all, and then some. The always variable and nearly impossible to predict mountain weather threw everything it had at me, from sun-splashed days to long periods of rain and, yes, a couple of snowstorms, just for good measure. I experienced daybreak lows in the lower 20s (F) and a day or two where the afternoon highs reached the low 70s. I was ready for all of it, at least in principle.

Moraine Lake

Sunrise Snow, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta

With what amounted to a minimally passing familiarity of the region based on last year’s experience, I was able to make better decisions about where to photograph, considering the varying weather conditions. But, given my desire to visit numerous locations I hadn’t had the opportunity to see last year, I still had plenty of scouting work to do this time around. Regardless of the specifics, I always tried to spend daylight time–which averaged roughly 12 hours while I was in the region–wisely.

yoho valley road                                 Yoho Valley Road Aspens, Yoho National Park, British Columbia

I had some photographic company during the first few days I was on the ground in the Canadian Rockies (more on that in future installments), but for the final 10 days or so I was on my own and really had no one to answer to–other than myself. To the extent that I didn’t accomplish all that I’d set out to do when planning the trip, I had no one to blame. But, for the most part, I felt as though I fulfilled my goals.

Mistaya River                                           Mistaya River, Banff National Park, Alberta

I returned home with oodles of images–several thousand frames representing hundreds of gigabytes worth of data. I don’t establish image or data quotas when I head forth on a photo trip–that would be pointless and ultimately self-defeating–but I have no doubt that I set a personal record for most images made on a single trip last month. It will take me a long time–months, I suspect–to sift through all of it. I’ve been at it for four or five days now and I’ve scarcely scratched the surface.

Rampart Ponds                                      Rampart Ponds, Banff National Park, Alberta

Over the coming weeks I’ll be relating my memories of the experience of this trip, with plenty of visuals thrown in. (The few photographs accompanying this post represent a virtually random sample of images that I’ve managed to post-process over the past few days.) I expect that I’ll ostensibly follow the now familiar chronological approach that I’ve used to cover the events of past trips, but I anticipate tossing in a wider sample of thematic and other thoughts beyond the mere recitation of day-by-day events. Hopefully this will provide the forthcoming series of posts with a bid more general interest than has been the case in the past.

Opabin Platueau                                   Opabin Plateau, Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Regardless of the particulars that make up any future posts, I hope you find the presentation pleasing. I do enjoy relating the nature of the experience and I hope that comes through in my accounts. ‘Til next time…

Maligne Lanke                                         Maligne Lake Earthshadow, Jasper National Park, Alberta


 

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Hi, my name is Kerry Leibowitz. I’m a Midwest-based (I split my time between the Chicago and Indianapolis areas) photographer with a particular propensity for the landscape.

You can read my other blog posts at my website Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog and see my photo galleries at Lightscapes Nature Photography.

The entire contents of my web site, images and text, are the copyrighted property of Kerry Leibowitz and may not be duplicated or reproduced in any form without express consent. Image rights may be purchased; please contact me to make arrangements. Images may not be hot linked.

copyright Kerry

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GEAR – Is it hard to take sharp pictures with the Canon 5Ds R?

canon rebelNOTE: THE CANON 5DS AND 5DS R ARE FUNCTIONALLY THE SAME. I HAVE THE 5DS R AND REFER TO IT THROUGHOUT THIS POST, BUT ALL OF THE INFORMATION HERE WOULD HOLD FOR THE 5DS AS WELL.

I recently bought the new Canon 5Ds R camera primarily to take advantage of its 50 megapixel sensor for landscape photography. Nonetheless, I’ve found myself using it more and more even with my telephoto lens. Why? Because I really like the ability to change between full-frame, 1.3x, and 1.6x modes on the fly (I set the little multi-function button next to the shutter button to change between crop modes). When shooting wildlife or birds, I’m normally scrambling to take teleconverters on and off as I frame more loosely or more tightly. With the new body I have the benefit of switching between the different crop modes on the fly and without even lifting my eye from the viewfinder while at the same time composing in-camera, a challenge I enjoy and an important part of photography in my opinion.

Nonetheless, when using the Canon 5Ds R for this type of photography, one reads a number of online complaints about the camera. I’ll agree with one but will take issue with the other two, sharing here a photo of a black guan I took in a Costa Rican cloud forest the other day to back up my issue with those two complaints.

The first complaint is that the frame rate is slow, and the large files can quickly fill up the camera’s buffer. I agree with this and, when I’m shooting action such as a bird in flight, I’ll usually grab my 7DII. I don’t think anyone would ever claim that the 5Ds R was made for action shooting. But, for portraits of animals and birds, these two drawbacks are not a big issue at all for the 5Ds R.

The second complaint (actually it’s more of a consideration than a complaint) about the camera is that it is harder to obtain sharp images because of the increased pixel density. The excellent resolution of the sensor means that poor technique will be exposed and magnified, rendering images less sharp. Some reviewers recommend that users may need 2 to 3 extra stops of shutter speed over what they normally would be used to for getting sharp pictures. While I understand the logic behind this, I simply haven’t found this to be the case with the new camera.

The third complaint relates to high ISO. “The new camera only goes to ISO 6400 (expandable to 12,800) while the (insert camera model here) goes up to 52,800!” The important thing about ISO is, of course, how a camera performs at the ISO values that we actually use. No one expects to get a publishable shot out of ISO 52,800 so whether the 5Ds R goes there or not is a moot point. I’ve found that, in keeping with a number of other reviews, I’ll shoot the new 5Ds R just as I shot the 5DIII — going to ISO 3200 without too much thought if I need to and even going to ISO 6400 if I have to. When viewing a 5Ds R image at 100%, there can at first glance appear to be more noise than say the Canon 5D III. But upon downsizing the 5Ds R file for print or web, the difference disappears. And of course, upsizing a 5D III or 7D II to make a big print would also cancel any initial noise advantage that the sensors with less resolution might have originally enjoyed. A Canon 5Ds R file will print at very nearly 20 x 30 inches at 300 ppi without any upsizing!

By way of example, I took a photo of the turkey-like Black Guan at the very end of a rainy day last week in a Costa Rican cloud forest. To test whether I really needed more shutter speed to get a sharp picture, I shot handheld and at a very slow shutter speed for handholding a 300 mm f/2.8 lens — 1/100th of a second. I also shot wide open at f/2.8 so I really had to nail my focus. Finally, I cranked the ISO up to 2000, which is a pretty high value when you’re working in very low light. (Taking ISOs way up in good light is not a valid test in my mind because you’re still dealing with lots of photons!)

To sum up, this situation had all the ingredients to make the attempt to get a sharp picture a total failure on the new Canon 5Ds R. I used the Canon 5Ds R and the Canon 300 mm f/2.8 L IS Version I lens and shot handheld. My settings were f/2.8, ISO 2000, 1/100th of a second, single point autofocus over the bird’s eye, and manual mode with spot metering. I exposed a little on the dark side in order to keep the bright patch of skin near the bird’s beak from blowing out. Let’s see how I did!
deep green photography

This is my RAW file straight out of the camera. I shot and composed in the 1.3 crop mode on the 5Ds R, meaning my compositional choice would give me a 30.5 megapixel (6768×4512) image. Sweet! On my exposure, I’m just barely losing detail in some of the dark feathers at the bottom right edge of the screen, and I’m fine with that as it gives a vignetting effect that keeps the viewer’s eye going to the bird’s face.

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As an aside, here is the full-frame image from the same file. Even though I shot in the 5Ds R’s 1.3 mode, the camera keeps the complete 50 MP RAW file. Lightroom picks up the crop mode information so when I import the file in Lightroom, it shows up with my in-camera framing as above. But, if I ever wanted to choose an alternate crop, I have the file from the entire full-frame sensor at the ready.

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Here’s an extreme closeup extracted from my file. Is it the sharpest picture I’ve ever taken? Of course not. But, is it acceptably sharp, especially given the conditions and my settings? I think so, and more importantly for the purposes of this post, I feel that it is about what I would have expected to get under the same conditions with the Canon 1D Mark IV, the Canon 7DII, or the Canon 5DIII.

Continue reading 


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About the author Gregory Basco:
Like many nature photographers, I started my career doing something else. A political scientist by training, my research focused on the politics of the environment in Latin America. I researched environmental politics and ecotourism in Costa Rica and worked here for a number of years as a conservation professional, having first come to the country in 1992 as a Peace Corps volunteer. I now dedicate myself full-time to my own photography and my Costa Rica photo tour company. I work out of my home office in Costa Rica’s central highlands, where I live with my wife, twin boys, our dogs and cats, and various hummingbirds and songbirds that visit our backyard feeders.

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One Life; Dream it, Chase it, Live it.

Land Rover
If I were practical, I would not be a photographer living in Kenya. I have always been a dreamer and a dream chaser. For weeks, I went through the grief between practical and heart racing as I traveled through Kenya and came in and out of Nairobi. Those of you that have traveled with me over the last five years know about my crazy infatuation for Land Rovers. I sat behind the wheel of a Land Cruiser, driving the rough roads of Northern Kenya, but at the end of the day, I was sitting behind a Toyota truck. It was just not the same; no matter what my head told me, my heart never fully agreed. It only took a decade of hard work, adversity, wanting to quit, and a huge investment for me to make my dream of living in Africa happen, so why would I suddenly stop taking risks and start being practical?

Really, I kept an open mind until the end. I said, “Whichever one comes my way is the right one.” Well, on my way back through Nairobi from my first trip to Turkana, I rolled past this Landy. It only took about 30 hours and I had the keys. I guess it was love at first sight, as I had test drove several Landy’s on this lot since mid-December. It only took another four days to get stuck in the black cotton soil, or rather high centered and temporarily delayed, proper. The next day I broke it. These things have now been checked off the list, stuck and broken, and I continue to look for a place to make me a bumper sticker that says, “I would rather be pushing my Landy.”

Nairobi jeep
I am now in the process of preparing for my photographer in residence in the Maasai Mara, from July 1-21! She has been thoroughly checked by two top mechanics, with great results. I needed new brake pads, a few belts replaced, a small short fixed, and a few bolts tightened. She is now at the famous Schuhmacher’s, Land Rover conversion specialist, to have a hatch put in the roof over the front seats.

I know those of you who are practical, will be thinking, “You should have gotten a Land Cruiser”, but my philosophy of “One Life, Live It”, has allowed me to live my dream completely. At the end of the day, if it all goes south, I could just simplify my life by breathing deeply, throwing my stuff in the back, opening my eyes, and hitting the road for another long adventure down a bumpy dirt road.

Africa
The vision of my African Dream was always in a Land Rover. Dreams don’t chase themselves. I could not justify letting fear and practicality stand between me and the dream; I had to go all the way.


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Piper Mackay is a world, wildlife and cultural photographer, based in Long Beach, California. She believes compelling visual images help to protect what is right in the world. Her work takes her to very remote locations, living cross culturally in the villages and environments that she is documenting.

Her work is heavily concentrated on the African continent, a land she fell in love with when she first touched foot on it’s rich red soil. Her passion for the natural world has grown into a lifelong commitment to inspire others to explore, respect and preserve the beauty of our fragile planet.

She believes compelling work comes when you invest time, living the stories you are trying to tell. It is important to interact and gain the trust of those whose stories you are telling, especially when sensitive and complicated. The world has enough images of poverty, pain and disaster, much more needful is imagery that reveals the beauty and dignity of the communities that are, except by their geography and circumstances, very similar to our own. Powerful images help shape the view of the world and play an important role in disseminating how cultures and wildlife are coping with the rapid changes happening in the developing world.

Piper’s images have been displayed at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, The Museum of History and industry, and The Art Wolfe gallery, as well as local galleries. Her work has been featured in Nature and travel publication through representation of several photo agencies, including Rangefinder, Nature’s Best, Birders, and the World Wildlife Fund. She is an independent photographer and available for assignment work.

Her prior career in the fashion industry, where she was deeply involved with combing color and texture, has greatly enhanced her approach to the unique look and feel of each culture and photographic subject. This also gave her a strong background in business and marketing. Please visit Piper’s website at www.pipermackayphotography.com.

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Travel Report: The Pacific Northwest

Joseph Rossbach Photography

Out to Pasture, Dalles Mountain Ranch, Oregon

A whirlwind tour would best describe my recent trip to lead a photo tour in the Pacific Northwest with friend and fellow landscape photographer, Alex Mody. Before we hit Oregon, we need to rewind a week to the opposite side of the country, St. Augustine, Florida. The two locations couldn’t be any more different than one another. I started off in St. Augustine leading a small group workshop at the Alligator Farm photographing the many species of birds that nest in the swamp from late winter through early summer. After four days of photographing wildlife, I gave a Keynote Presentation for the third annual Florida Birding & Photo Fest to a group of incredibly nice and welcoming photographers. That night I rushed back to Jacksonville by midnight just in time to catch a few hours of sleep before having to be at the airport for a 6am flight to Portland. The flight went as planned and I landed in Portland with only two hours to spare before meeting my workshop group in Hood River. I was exhausted, but ready for 8 days of exploration and teaching in the Gorge and Olympic National Park. We kicked off a great tour with some very sweet light over Dalles Mountain Ranch. The wildflowers were less than amazing this year, but we did find some nestled amongst this old abandoned and rotting car at sunset.

Continue Reading…

 


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Joseph Rossback has been photographing the landscape for over fifteen years.  Joe’s photographs and articles have appeared in books, calendars and magazines including Outdoor Photographer, The Nature Conservancy, Digital Photo, Photo Techniques, Popular Photography, Blue Ridge Country, Mountain Connections and many more.  Please click here to view Joseph’s website.

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Setting The Stage

As noted in an earlier post, I flew from Chicago to Portland, Oregon on May 3 and drove from the Portland area to Gold Beach, on Oregon’s far south coast, the following day. Thus began my most recent photo excursion: a week on the southern Oregon Coast, followed by parts of four days based in Crescent City, California, to photograph the redwoods, and finally parts of two days at Silver Falls State Park, about an hour’s drive southeast of Portland. I returned to the Chicago area on the evening of Saturday, May 16, and have spent the time since then recuperating. I was bushed when I got back.

China Creek Beach from Spruce Creek Viewpoint, Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Oregon

China Creek Beach from Spruce Creek Viewpoint, Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Oregon

I’ve scarcely had time to do any image editing since returning to the home base. I’ve processed perhaps 20 images and have more or less randomly selected a half-dozen, just to give readers a taste of the subject matter, to accompany this post. As was the case when I returned from my time in the Canadian Rockies last fall, it’s going to take quite some time for me to work through all of this material. I spent something on the order of 10 weeks processing images from the Rockies last year and I suspect it will require a comparable amount of time to complete work on the Oregon/California photographs.

Myers Beach Sunset, Pistol River State Park, Oregon

Myers Beach Sunset, Pistol River State Park, Oregon

I spent a few days on the Oregon Coast as part of my extended trip to the Pacific Northwest in July, 2009, just a couple of months before I started this blog. On that occasion, I was frustrated by the incessant presence of the Pacific marine layer, which blotted out potentially epic sunsets on beaches in Washington and Oregon. For a variety of reasons I was led to believe that mid-spring would produce more favorable conditions for coastal shooting and that turned out to be the case. While the marine layer wasn’t a complete non-factor, as I will detail in coming installments chronicling the photo experience, it wasn’t the omnipresent force that it was during my time on the coast in 2009.

Rhododendron Trail, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

Rhododendron Trail, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

My time in far northern California marked my first visit to the coastal redwood forests of the region. (I’ve seen redwood groves before during several visits to Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.) This part of the trip was my biggest disappointment, for two reasons. First, I had hoped–though not expected–to be in the area during the rhododendron bloom. Since the bloom usually peaks some time during a roughly four-week period from mid-May to mid-June, I figured to be a bit early, and so I was. Despite much searching on my part, through three state parks and one national park, I found only a handful of rhododendron bushes flowering. More surprising was the near complete absence of fog, which I had been told was a daily occurrence, morning and evening, in the groves. I saw almost literally no fog during my time in the area, which was unfortunate, because its such a huge aesthetic and technical asset to forest photography.

Coastal Trail, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California

Coastal Trail, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California

Still, despite these discouraging conditional developments, as those of you have been fortunate enough to experience redwood forests know, the coastal redwood environments are awe-inspiring places and I’m not at all sorry I made the short journey from southern Oregon to northern California to see them. In addition, the rather unusual weather developments gave me the opportunity to photograph some subjects in and around Crescent City that I hadn’t anticipated being able to do, and I think that time was spent productively.

South Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

South Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

I had only one afternoon and one full day at Silver Falls State Park, about 12 miles east of Silverton and 25-30 miles east of Salem, but the weather conditions when I was there were absolutely perfect for waterfall photography–mostly cloudy and very light winds. Despite only a few available hours on May 14 and the full day of May 15, I spent roughly 14 hours photographing in the park, along the famous Trail of Ten Falls (so named because each of the park’s 10 waterfalls can be seen from the trail, which runs nearly nine miles). Because the conditions were ideal, I was able to photograph all of the subject matter that I’d hoped to experience. Additionally, wildflowers were ubiquitous in the park and I spent some time working these subjects as well.

Upper North Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Upper North Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

As I did with the Rockies imagery last year, I’ll provide a chronological reporting of the trip and will periodically interrupt the narrative with some thematic thoughts, based on my experiences during this trip and topics that those experiences engendered. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.


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Hi, my name is Kerry Leibowitz. I’m a Midwest-based (I split my time between the Chicago and Indianapolis areas) photographer with a particular propensity for the landscape.

You can read my other blog posts at my website Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog  and see my photo galleries at Lightscapes Nature Photography.

The entire contents of my web site, images and text, are the copyrighted property of Kerry Leibowitz and may not be duplicated or reproduced in any form without express consent. Image rights may be purchased; please contact me to make arrangements. Images may not be hot linked.

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7 things I miss the most about the US

piper
I only had about seven weeks to settle into life in Nairobi before I hit the road again, but it was enough to get a taste of real life. Although I have spent 1-3 months a year in Kenya for the past decade, even staying in Karen—an area in Nairobi—with friends for several weeks, living there is still an adjustment. I am currently back in the states leading my Spirit-N-Light workshop, speaking at three events, and taking care of some things that did not get done prior to my departure.

Several people have commented they are surprised I am back so soon, and I laugh because some of those same individuals keep asking me when my 2016 safari schedule will be listed. Most of my schedule is planned out a year in advance. Therefore, when I moved to Kenya, I already had events scheduled in the US, bringing me back a few months after my arrival. Currently, I am planning to visit the states twice a year: once in spring and once in autumn. The idea was to flip where I spend my time, spending the majority of it in Africa and only a few months in the US.

When I return to Kenya in April, I will post what I love about living in Kenya. If you would like to receive this post by email, subscribe here.

1.Family, friends, and my cat.

I have traveled excessively for the past two decades, more for my fashion career than my photography career. I am used to being away from my family, friends, and pets for half of the year, but living halfway around the world from them is a quite a different experience. After several long days in front of the computer, I can’t just hop on my bike, or into my car, and meet up with friends and family. Skype is great, but it is not the same.

As for my cat, she is living a very spoiled life with my parents, but I miss having her with me. I have a greater appreciation for my wonderful family and friends than ever before.

2. Familiarity

I miss the ease of familiarity in everyday life: banking, the market, the freedom of hopping in my jeep and knowing where I am going. All the things I did in everyday life without having to give them any thought. For the first few weeks, just going to market was like being a deer in the headlights. I recognized very few of the brands; from seasonings to soap, it was all unknown and I had no idea what to choose. I laughed at myself for being so naive about to how big of an adjustment these types of everyday tasks would be in the beginning.

3. Trader Joe’s and ground turkey

I am a single woman who prefers to spend her time doing many things in life other than preparing a meal. Trader Joe’s made this task simple, tasty, and healthy. T.J.; please come to Nairobi. Subway is already here. The one item I have not found is ground turkey. It is one of the only meats I usually eat, so I miss it.

4. Coffee and my American size cup!

Yes, many of you are thinking that Kenya is known for its great coffee. I, however, have gone through about 6 brands and I still have not found one that suits me. I even have a friend whose family owns a plantation. I will be stocking up while I am here. I also miss my big American size coffee cup, as I can’t seem to find one in Kenya. That goes back to the to idea of familiarity, of just not knowing where to go yet. So, I will be bringing my cup with me for now. Few things give me more pleasure in life on a day-to-day basis,than a big cup of fresh coffee and a hot shower.

5. American TV

There are evenings when I just want to plop down on a comfortable couch, put my feet up, and zone out while watching a favorite program. I can’t stream through Hulu or Netflix, but I have discovered I can buy TV on iTunes. Since I don’t watch much TV, this is working for me at the moment, but I miss the ease of just flipping through several cannels of quality programing. I have the NatGeo channel and CNN, but that is about it. Oh, BTW, I also don’t have a couch yet, but it is on the list. LOL.

6. The beach

In southern California, I lived a few blocks from the beach. Everyday, after sitting in front of the computer for many hours, I would either bike or walk along the ocean. This pulled me away from the stress of life and allowed me to be a part of the calmness of the moment where my creativity easily flows. I now live in a beautiful, garden-type setting, where I take daily walks, but it’s not the same. I still miss the beach.

7. Photography events

I was fortunate to live in a city that had many incredible photography events. I love socializing in person and the inspiration it can bring. I miss being able to hop into my car and visit the Annenberg Space of Photography lecture series, the G2 gallery, and local photography club events. Make sure to take advantage of these types of events in your own back yard.


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Piper Mackay is a world, wildlife and cultural photographer, based in Long Beach, California. She believes compelling visual images help to protect what is right in the world. Her work takes her to very remote locations, living cross culturally in the villages and environments that she is documenting.

Her work is heavily concentrated on the African continent, a land she fell in love with when she first touched foot on it’s rich red soil. Her passion for the natural world has grown into a lifelong commitment to inspire others to explore, respect and preserve the beauty of our fragile planet.

She believes compelling work comes when you invest time, living the stories you are trying to tell. It is important to interact and gain the trust of those whose stories you are telling, especially when sensitive and complicated. The world has enough images of poverty, pain and disaster, much more needful is imagery that reveals the beauty and dignity of the communities that are, except by their geography and circumstances, very similar to our own. Powerful images help shape the view of the world and play an important role in disseminating how cultures and wildlife are coping with the rapid changes happening in the developing world.

Piper’s images have been displayed at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, The Museum of History and industry, and The Art Wolfe gallery, as well as local galleries. Her work has been featured in Nature and travel publication through representation of several photo agencies, including Rangefinder, Nature’s Best, Birders, and the World Wildlife Fund. She is an independent photographer and available for assignment work.

Her prior career in the fashion industry, where she was deeply involved with combing color and texture, has greatly enhanced her approach to the unique look and feel of each culture and photographic subject. This also gave her a strong background in business and marketing. Please visit Piper’s website at www.pipermackayphotography.com.

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Trip Report: Crystal Cove State Park, California

I had another quick trip which took me to the west coast again, this time to the California coast. Determined to get some ocean shots, I spent two evenings down at Crystal Cove State Park near Laguna Beach. Being the first time since 2006 that I photographed the ocean I was not disappointed by the conditions. I managed to stay fairly dry the first night, but on the second I was drenched from the waist down by a wave I miscalculated. I saved the camera gear, however!

Crystal Cove

Glorious Finale

 

Photography

By The Sea

 

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Rhythmic Twilight

 

Pacific Coast

Final Daylight on the Pacific Coast

 

Technical Details: Canon 70D, 10-22 ef-s Lens, Singh-Ray Polarizer, Singh-Ray 3 Stop ND Filter
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MEET THE AUTHOR

Derrald_Farnsworth-LivingstonWhile growing up, Derrald’s parents took him on several trips across the United States to numerous national parks. It was on these trips that Derrald grew a love for the outdoors which we wished to explore and share with others. Photography was a natural result, an endeavor that Derrald began at a young age and continued to explore in years to come.While pursuing a Bachelors degree at Creighton University, he enrolled in all of the photography courses. With these courses he learned the fundamentals of chemical darkrooms, light, balance, and exposure. After college he continued to explore the art and develop his own technique and style and choose to focus on nature and scenic photography as his primary subjects, although he is not hesitant to point the lens at anything.Amongst the images of majestic mountains and the crashing waves of the ocean, one can find photographs of the prairies, lakes, and wetlands of the American Great Plains and Midwest. Some of these images are the artist’s favorites as they show the expansive heartland of the United States and the subtle beauty of the area surrounding his home. Through the right balance of subject, composition, and light, Derrald strives to transport the viewer into the composition.Derrald has won numerous awards and exhibited in several solo and group shows regionally. His work has also appeared in several regional and national magazines, calendars, websites, and postcards. He continues to live and work in Omaha with his family.  Visit Derrald’s website Journey Of Light Photography http://www.journeyoflight.com/blog/ to read his other articles. His images may be ordered from his store at http://store.journeyoflight.com.

Posted in: General, Landscape Photography

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