Favorite Places: Nevada’s Valley of Fire SP

I have enjoyed wandering around the United States and bouncing between coasts for more than 25 years photographing many of our natural treasures.

One place that never seemed to be on my chosen route each trip was Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park. I finally stopped for a visit in 2010 and much to my surprise this place was beyond what I even remotely expected.

As I wandered and explored that first day of my visit I wondered briefly if I had read the map wrong and was actually in Utah’s Canyon Country. Nevada is beautiful! From the Ruby and Santa Rosa Mountains to the North and the Great Basin National Park on the East side, Valley of Fire North of Las Vegas does not seem to belong here.

But I am glad it is as I had two days to figure out the lay of the land. I quickly realized two days was not enough and I would have to plan another visit here.

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5 Tips for Shooting Marketable Silhouettes

There is a market for silhouettes in nature and people outdoors. We have all seen a silhouette, that image with a bright background creating an outline with an interior lacking in detail.

They often represent a shape in human or natural form and are backlit creating a high contrast image that is dark against a lighter background where the emphasis is the outline itself over the detail within.

Silhouettes are used widely and we can often recognize the subject its self by the shape of the silhouette where no other detailed information is available. Many of us are familiar with the shape of Abraham Lincolns head profile for example.

They often convey mystery and mood and can tell the full story without identifying any details about the subject.

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Are You Sure You Want To Be A Professional Nature Photographer?

Many amateur photographers dream of being a professional and making their passion for photography pay enough to live that dream.

It’s the allure of traveling, exploring, and photographing the landscape, wilderness areas, and far off travel destinations that drives many to take what they love to do part time and turn it into a full time business.

Pros and amateurs have the same passion: to be out there exploring, experiencing, discovering, and documenting with a camera.

It is the idea that being paid doing what you love to do will allow even more photographic opportunities, including travel to exotic places and that in turn will earn enough money to fuel the same cycle.

In reality, that idea, that dream, may be more of an illusion. Going pro brings a whole new set of challenges and hurdles.

Dreams are free, reality has costs.

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Extending Depth of Field in Photoshop When Photomerge Wont Work

If you have one of the latest versions of Photoshop you may be aware of Photomerge, the feature that has been used for years to create panoramas.

In CS4, Adobe enhanced Photomerge to allow it to blend several of the same images that were focused at various points within the scene.

I have used this feature numerous with great effect but it does not always work. In this image I encountered several issues that apparently ‘challenged’ Photoshop and Photomerge would not work.

I was hiking along Oregon’s Deschutes River photographing the summer display of wildflowers and as I often do, I shoot with my 17mm lens to make the foreground of flowers large.

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6 New National Park Natural Landmarks Worth Photographing

It is always a nice surprise when the National Park Service adds more lands to its inventory of protected areas. Recently, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the addition of 6 Natural Areas for protection and this is always good news to nature photographers.

Every National Park has been photographed to death and the inventory of amazing images is vast. So when there are new additions to the system this generates news and stories and increases the needs for photography from these locations.

The additions are part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative designed to develop a conservation ethic in the 21st century.

The six new natural areas are: Barfoot Park in the Chiricahua Mountains of southern Arizona, Golden Fossil Areas west and north of Golden, Colo., Hanging Lake National Natural Landmark is east of Glenwood Springs, Colo.; Kahlotus Ridgetop National Natural Landmark is in Palouse country four miles north of Kahlotus, Wash.; Round Top Butte National Natural Landmark is near Medford, Ore.; and Island National Natural Landmark is located  in east-central Oregon.

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