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


Peter’s Favorite Photos from 2016

Sunset in Saguaro National Park

Sunset in Saguaro National Park, AZ

Mary and I had a great travel year in 2016.  We took 11 named trips including many weekend jaunts.  We had major trips to Tucson, Maine, Page (AZ), Death Valley, and New Mexico.  We had a variety of locations that were in major cities and in pretty remote locations.  Here are my favorite photos from 2016. Continue reading

Photographing Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ

The money shot.

The money shot.  We had a pretty bald sky this night and it never got much better.

Five years ago, Mary and I saw Horseshoe Bend for the first time.  We photographed it twice, I believe.  There might have been one or two other people around us.  Boy, have times changed.  We did a sunset and sunrise shoot there on our recent trip to Arizona and were joined by well over a hundred people for sunset (and about ten people at sunrise).  Here is why people come. Continue reading

Why and How to go on a Photography Workshop?

Horseshoe Bend outside Page, AZ

Mary and I have been on seven photography workshops in various guises over the last three years.  There are many many photographers and companies that do these workshops.  They vary widely in agenda, process, experience, cost, and ultimately quality.  Our experiences are not exhaustive, but we have learned quite a bit along the way.  Here are some things for you to think about as you choose to go on a photography workshop and then how to pick one.

Continue reading

Why I Use Live View

Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ

I think one of the best innovations in high end DSLRs is the incorporation of “Live View”.  Live View gives you the ability to use the Preview/Review screen on the back of your camera to make photographs.  I will be using Canon “terms” in this blog as that is the equipment we use. Continue reading

Photography as a Practice (Praxis)

Mary Andrade and Greg Duncan at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, CA

Praxis is a way of learning that involves a recurring passage through a cyclical process of experiential learning.  Another way to look at praxis is a cycle of experience, reflection, generalization, and application – Then do it all again – experience, reflect, generalize, and apply.  This is the best way to learn to be a good photographer. Continue reading

The Golden Ratio (Phi) and Photography

North Lake, Eastern Sierra Nevada, CA

The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.618.  If you want to know more about all of its meaning and usage, use this link to Wikipedia.  For the sake of art and architecture and all around asesthetics, Phi (\Phi\,), stands for beauty and balance.  Here are two pictorial representations of Phi.

A graphical representation of Phi using the Fibonnacci spiral
The standard view of Phi

OK, enough with the math, what does this have to do with photography?  If you want to make the best, most pleasing, and emotionally appealing photograph, most of the time you must use a Phi composition to get the best possible effect.  You can go on-line and look at 1000s of photographs and the best ones, in most situations, use this compositional technique, commonly referred to as the “Rule of Thirds”.  This is simply a short-hand heuristic for Phi.  As with most rules, it can and should be broken; however, when I am in the field, I always shoot a Rule of Thirds photo before I play with other possible compositions.  It is, in my opinion, the best place to start. Continue reading