Archive for 2017

How to Plan a Photography Road Trip

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

How to Plan a Photography Road Trip - Allen Rokach

[Originally posted at Adorama Learning Center]

We’ve taken more than our share of road trips, almost always with the idea of gathering images.

Sometimes it’s been for specific projects, like filling photographic gaps in a book, as we did when we were working on Focus on Travel. Other times, we’re on a personal mission, like getting to see all the U. S. national parks. And then there are road trips we take just to explore an area and see what we find.

Whatever prompts you to take a road trip, you’ll want to come back with interesting photographs, not just to document what you saw but to capture the spirit of what you experienced.

Here’s some advice to make the most of your upcoming road trip: (more…)

Wild About Wildflowers

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Wild About Wildflowers by Allen Rokach

[Originally posted at Adorama Learning Center]

Anyone who enjoys being in nature knows the special thrill of coming upon a field blanketed with wildflowers. These swaths of brightly colored flora usually emerge starting early in the spring and generally last only a week or two before yielding to the greens of summer.

Among the many places I’ve photographed wildflowers are the deserts of Israel and the dry foothills of Death Valley, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the coastal meadows of Maine — even the outskirts of Cape Town. But the region I’ve returned to most often is the hill country around Brenham, Texas. The flowers in this area of Texas are so easy to get to and so reliably beautiful that I’ve led at least ten photography workshops there — with one coming up this spring (April 6-9, 2017). But the lessons we learn apply to any wildflower location so check out what you can find near your own home and start your photographic outings soon. Here are some suggestions to help you come back with stunning images of wildflowers: (more…)

How To Achieve Sharper Images

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

We have gotten so used to looking at images on television, in newspapers and on smart phones that it’s often a shock to see a truly sharp print at an exhibition. A sharp image can dazzle the eye so unexpectedly that we may feel we’ve never really looked at things that way.

That’s why professional photographers and serious hobbyists devote considerable thought and energy to achieving the sharpest image possible. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to achieve a sharper image.

Continue reading at Adorama Learning Center.

Sand dune - White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Sand dune – White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Receding lines, using a very small aperture of f/22 plus converting the image into black & white give this image a sense of sharpness and great depth. Shot with a Fujifilm XT-1 with 10-20mm Fujinon lens.

 

Stan Hywet Garden in Akron, Ohio

Stan Hywet Garden in Akron, Ohio
Sharpness is created with a very small aperture of f/22 and the lines of the pathway. Shot with a Hasselblad with a normal 80mm lens at f/22.

 

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
I spotted this meadowlark as we were driving so we stopped the car to assess the situation. (Stopping the car always helps.)To get maximum sharpness in this image, I locked my long Nikkor 28-300mm telephoto lens between my driver’s side window and the car frame to minimize camera shake and I focused very carefully. Luckily, the bird was a very cooperative subject and didn’t move. I didn’t want the background sharp so I used f/5.6 with my lens at 300mm.

 

Trinidad, Cuba

Trinidad, Cuba
Receding lines. V shapes on path and on wall (left). Fast shutter speed (1/500sec.) to freeze workman’s motion gives this image sharpness and appearance of great depth. Fujifilm XT-1 with 18-55mm Fufinon lens set at f/11.

 

Death Valley National Park, CA

Death Valley National Park, CA
I stopped the car, framed the shot through the car window and used the curve in the road to lead into the frame. The multiple colors and the receding rounded hills have the appearance great sharpness and depth. Nikon D800 with 24-70mm lens at f/16.

 

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
Creating a high contrast of light and dark gives the image clarity and depth. The slight diagonal line running from right to left help create a better sense of depth. I focused on the point 1/3 into frame from right and used a tiny aperture of f.22 to give this image clarity and drama. Nikon D800E with 28-300mm Nikkor lens.

 

South India

South India
Insisting that the subject not move was critical. The subject wasn’t sure where to look so I asked him to look directly into my eye. I waited patiently for the “right” expression on his face, using the time to focus accurately on the subject’s eye. A small aperture of f/11 and the warm background helped keep the subject’s white stubble and mustache sharp.Nikon D800E with 24-70mm lens.

 

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife refuge, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife refuge, New Mexico
Again, I stopped the car — feeling lucky to be at the right place at the right time. However, having my camera ready and close by and set on burst mode with a super fast shutter speed (1000/sec.) was not luck but good planning. Nikon D800E with a 28-300mm Nikkor lens set at f/5.

 

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument
Mindfulness and photographic seeing were necessary to craft this composition. Optical deception, large and small wiggly receding lines plus the decision to convert into a moderately contrasty b&W was helpful. Including photographer on right was brilliant. Hand held. Shot with a Fujifilm Xt-1 with 10-20mm Fujinon lens at f/22.

 

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
Making sure I did not get too close to the wall of this slot canyon was important. If I got too close to the wall and focused on the front part of the wall I would not have enough depth of field to get the background sharp. The receding curved lines on right and left of frame and the lightening of the image on both the right and left side helped me create a decent composition. Camera on tripod. Shot with Fujifilm XT-1 with 10-20mm Fufinon lens at f/22.

Aerial Photography: Alaska

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Aerial Photography: Alaska - Allen Rokach

A few years ago, we traveled to Alaska to visit the state’s numerous national parks — eight in all. As we planned our trip, we realized that only three of the parks — Denali (which we had been to before), Kenai Fjords and Wrangell-St. Elias — were reachable by road. And even those are so huge that we wouldn’t get to see much of their interiors unless we ventured further by boat or air. (Denali NP, which gets the most visitors, offers organized bus tours and allows private cars into the campgrounds but no further except by foot.)

Since we were determined to experience even Alaska’s most remote national parks, we booked boats and flights so we could see more of these magnificent wild areas and photograph them. In all, we took nine flights to explore five of Alaska’s most remote national parks: Kobuk Valley, Gates of the Arctic, Wrangell-St. Elias, Lake Clark and Katmai NP. We got to them on small planes of various sizes, including bush planes that can land on water.

Continue reading at Adorama Learning Center.