Big Foreground – How to make one of the “classic” landscape photographs


Temple of the Moon, Cathedral Valley, Capitol Reef National Park, UT

When I first decided I wanted to be a better nature photographer, I started looking at all of the images of the world’s best and famous photographers.  One kind of photo that always appealed to me (and many other people) is the near-far wide angle view popularized by David Muench.  Here is how I try to get that look. Continue reading


Fix Your Photo by Making it a Panorama

Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, CA

Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, CA

I have written here before that you can improve your photos quickly in just five steps – 1. Correct the exposure.  2. Increase contrast. 3.Increase saturation.  4. Increase structure.  Finally, 5. Crop it. (see our blog).  I think the most powerful crop is a panorama.  See why? Continue reading

Look. See. Imagine. Create: The Power of Black and White

Jailhouse Rock, Cathedral Valley, Capitol Reef National Park, UT

Jailhouse Rock, Cathedral Valley, Capitol Reef National Park, UT

The very best time to make nature and landscape photos, even portraits, is the golden hours, i.e., one hour before and after sunrise and sunset.  I have written about the Golden hours here before.  The  issue is that sometimes you just can’t shoot sunrise and sunset for various reasons, especially when on vacation.  If you have to make photos in the middle of the day, black and white will almost always be a better option than color AND with digital cameras, shooting black and white is easier than ever  Here’s how: Continue reading

Making Panoramas

Mount Sneffles Mountain Range in Colorado from the Outlook on Highway 62

Do you remember the first time you saw a panoramic photo?  They are so appealing because we “see” in 180 degrees and most photos, even with a wide-angle lens can only capture about half that.  In the old film days you needed a special camera and specially made film.  Have you seen one of these cameras?  Anyway, thanks to digital cameras and software, any of us can make an appealing “pano”.  Here’s how. Continue reading

Peter’s Top Photos from 2011

Korean Friendship Bell, San Pedro, CA (#2)

The last week of every year, Mary and I do a last edit and we back-up of all of our photos from that year.  We also finish our yearbook and reminisce about all of the great trips and memories.  I tried to compile a list of top ten favorite photos I made in 2011, but it was nearly impossible with all of our trips and shoots.  Between the two of us, we archived nearly 2,000 images, about half from Mary and half from me.  I tried to pick one from every trip we took.  I could have picked many more from Oregon and from Capitol Reef.   I started with nineteen and reluctantly whittled it down to ten.  Next weekend, Mary will post her Top Ten.  So here are my “favorite” images from 2011: Continue reading

Off the beaten path: Cathedral Valley in Capitol Reef National Park

Lower South Desert Overlook with Jailhouse Rock

The highlight of our trip through Southern Utah last month was our day driving through Cathedral Valley in Capitol Reef National Park.  Cathedral Valley is in the very northeast section of the Park and is accessible using a 58 mile dirt road loop that starts at the River Ford on Highway 24 about 11 miles east of the Visitor Center and ends up back on Highway 24 just west of Caineville.  You should go to the Visitor Center and buy the “Self-Guiding Auto Tour Guide to Cathedral Valley” which is a very well done newspaper description of the trip with mile marker data and other useful information. Continue reading

A Weekend in Capitol Reef National Park

Sunset from Panorama Point

The first stop on our Southern Utah trip in October was Capitol Reef National Park.  Capitol Reef is a bit off the beaten path, is one of the many national and state parks within the Grand Circle, and has several key features of the Colorado Plateau.  There were three things we wanted to accomplish.  Drive through Cathedral Valley; photograph from Panorama Point and the Goosenecks Overlook; and see the Fruita Village and several of the large washes.  The one area we did not get to was the gigantic Water Pocket Fold in the Southern part of the park.  We will cover the majestic Cathedral Valley in our next blog. Continue reading