Category Archives: Nature Photography

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Yes, it has been a while since the last post. This year, particularly the second half of it, has been incredibly demanding work wise, which has left very little time for everything else, including blogging. Oh well, hopefully with the new year we will resume our… regular programming, so to speak ūüėČ

Apologies to all my cyber friends whose wonderful blogs I have been neglecting in this crazy period. Hopefully, I will also soon resume regular reading and commenting.

Having said that, Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate or simply Happy Holidays to those who do not! And of course, may the New Year bring you all that you openly or secretly desire the most! ūüėČ

PS: The image above is a nocturnal view of Double Arch, in Arches National Park (Utah, USA).

PPS: If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

PPPS: As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

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Half Dome and Yosemite Valley at Twilight

Half Dome and Yosemite Valley at twilight

Just a quick post to say hello to everyone!

This photograph was taken at twilight of majestic Half Dome in California’s Yosemite National Park.¬†Located at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley and rising 8,842 feet (2,650 meters) above sea level, Half Dome is a true park icon and a great challenge for many hikers. George Anderson was the first one to make it to the top of Half Dome in 1875. Nowadays, Half Dome may be conquered via a 14- to 16-mile long trail (round-trip) which takes hikers in good shape about 10 to 12 hours to complete – a permit is required: you can find more information on the National Park Service’s website.

Hope you enjoy the image – have a great weekend, you all! ūüôā

For more information about this image, please click on it. If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to brow. se my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

CANADA, Princess Royal Island (BC) Sunset with S-shaped cloud formation

Happy Thanksgiving to all our North American readers!

Enjoy the holiday and, quoting our 7-year-old daughter, “be thankful for all good things in life!” – for us here, a serene sunset with great pastel colors and an otherworldly cloud formation such as that displayed above would certainly qualify! ūüôā This image was taken on a beautiful, uninhabited small island off the coasts of British Columbia, Canada.

In the spirit of giving thanks, I am offering a 15% discount on any of the prints in the galleries of my Website, including Limited Edition ones, until Monday December 2! If you like any of my photographs, head over there, pick your favorite and at checkout enter code TKSGV13.

Also, if you are interested in finding out how we are celebrating, head over to Flora’s Table and check it out for yourselves! ūüôā

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

Exclamation Mark: Double Arch at Night

Double Arch at night

I took this image of beautiful Double Arch at night in Arches National Park (UT).

By using a wide angle on my camera and of course setting it up for night photography (in which regard, you may want to check out the night photography primer that I published on an earlier post), I managed to capture both openings of Double Arch in such a way that, silhouetted against the starry night sky, they took the shape of a giant exclamation mark. ūüôā

¬†Hope you enjoy it! ūüôā

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

Yoga Meditation (or Balanced Rock at Twilight)

Balanced Rock at twilight

Shooting famous, over-photographed landmarks such as balanced rock in Utah’s Arches National Park challenges the photographer to come up with images that are not cliche, that portray such landmarks in a different light, from a different perspective or in a fresher way.

Silhouetting your subject may be a way to reinterpret such well-known scenes. Silhouetting essentially transposes your 3D subject into a 2D world, so shape becomes key for a successful silhouette. Thus, moving around your subject, changing your angle of view may radically  alter your final image, the 2D rendition of your subject.

When I saw a sunset with potential (because of some lingering clouds) behind me, I quickly hiked to the other side of balanced rock and moved around until that impressive rock formation took on the shape (at least in my eyes) of a person sitting before a beautiful sunset¬†in a yoga meditation position. Click, click, and there we go: a symbolic rendition of balanced rock! ūüėČ

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

Landscape Arch at Night and a Few Night Photography Tips

Landscape Arch at night

I took this image of Landscape Arch at Arches National Park at night (which you actually can see much better on my Web site), with the lights of the town of Moab in the background. With certain over photographed subjects, sometimes you need to be creative to come up with images that are not cliché and that still represent those towering creations of nature in their beauty and wildness. Night photography can be an option to resort to, if you are prepared to adjust your meal schedule around it and if you master the technique to get the shot.

A few tips on night photography:

1. Scout your spot earlier in the day to previsualize your shot and identify where precisely you will want to set up later in the day

2. Get to your spot before sunset so, if suitable, you can squeeze in some bonus sunset shots but most importantly you can set up your gear, frame your shot and focus when you can still see something!

3. If you shoot digital, (i) make sure the long exposure noise reduction function of your camera and, if it has one, its mirror lock up feature are activated; (ii) secure your camera to a sturdy tripod; (iii) with your camera in M exposure mode, set your aperture to a low f/stop (say anywhere between f/2.8 and f/4.0 or thereabouts) and set your shutter speed and ISO to a base exposure (of course, you will have to slow down your shutter speed as the night progresses); (iv) if you have a cable release (which you definitely should), connect it to your camera

4. Shoot a series of images, starting from twilight (when the sky will still be tinged with delicate orange, pink, magenta and violet hues) going forward to when the sky will turn pitch black, adjusting your exposure accordingly

5. Decide whether you want the stars to record as dots or streaks of light (star trails) and set your shutter speed/ISO accordingly (for best results, try to keep your ISO as low as possible, but you may have to compromise a bit): as a rule of thumb, bear in mind that anything slower than say 15/20 sec will cause at least some of the stars to streak noticeably – for pleasing star trails you will need exposures north of 30 seconds up to several minutes or even hours (the longer the exposure, the longer the trails – remember, every time you double the time the shutter stays open, with the others parameters staying the same, you add one extra stop of light to your exposure): this means that on your camera your shutter speed dial shall be set to Bulb and you will have to use a cable release and to experiment timing your exposure yourself (an illuminated digital watch may come in handy)

6. Be aware that the longer your exposure, the greater the chances that orbiting satellites and commercial airplanes will ruin your shot leaving all sorts of dotted luminous trails across it…

And by the way, today in the US is Nature Photography Day, a day that in the last 8 years has been designated by NANPA (the North American Nature Photography Association) “to promote the enjoyment of nature photography, and to explain how images have been used to advance the cause of conservation and protect plants, wildlife, and landscapes locally and worldwide”. So, if you are game, you might as well be inspired by the night photography tips on this post and go out with your camera and tripod tonight to give it a shot! ¬†ūüôā

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

Great Basin Bristlecone Pine at Sunset

Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) at sunset

This image is of a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) and it was made at sunset in the Inyo National Forest (CA): these trees can only be found in certain mountainous areas of California, Nevada and Utah and are really remarkable in that, with some of them being almost 5000 years old, they are the oldest living tree on earth.

Bristlecone pines have adapted to survive in extremely harsh and challenging environments. Typically, they live in high elevation habitats in areas with rocky soil, low rainfall and long winters.

They grow extremely slowly (a 40 year old bristlecone pine may not reach 6 inches!) and, at high elevations, they grow to 60 feet tall. Also, their needles can remain green for over 45 years. At low elevations, bristlecone pines grow straight, while at high elevations their trunks become twisted. Their root system is very shallow so as to allow maximum water uptake in arid environments.

For more information about these incredible trees, you may check out the relevant pages on the Websites of the National Wildlife Federation, the BBC, and the National Park Service.

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

Windows Arch and Turret Arch Before Dawn

Windows Arch and Turret Arch at twilight

Utah’s Arches National Park is a special place that rewards visitors with stunning red rock desert views and over 2000 natural sandstone arches and giant balanced rocks.

I captured the above image of Windows Arch, with Turret Arch in the background, at twilight, just before dawn, from a slightly elevated vantage point. Given the bright desert sunlight and the crowds that generally assemble around the most iconic features of the Park, photographing at the fringes of the day or at night are among the best options available to those who do not simply seek to bring home a snapshot from Arches.

Immediately before dawn, contrast is low and manageable but the sky is already lit and takes on delicate pastel tones that subtly complement the warm hues of the ubiquitous rocks and sand. Add a pleasing composition (especially if you are at one of those over photographed spots) et les jeux sont faits ūüôā

Oh, and by the way, Happy Memorial Day! ūüôā

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

The River

Stubborn dogwood (Cornus nuttallii Audubon)

Readers who have been following this blog since the inception may recall that I very much like dogwood, of which I have already published a close-up of a blossom in a previous post.

This photograph of a small dogwood tree, stubbornly clinging to a rock in the middle of an impetuous river is another image that I hold dear because I think it clearly conveys a message of resilience and will to survive against all odds. Two very positive messages, if you ask me.

The black & white rendition simplifies the image to its graphic elements and amplifies the yin-yang contrast between the dark and the light portions of the image, that balance each other out nicely, as if divided by an imaginary diagonal line.

Oh yeah, the title for this post pays homage to my favorite Springsteen song ūüôā

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

Painting with Light: Incense Cedar Tree at Night

Incense cedar tree at night in Yosemite Valley, CA

This image was taken at night in Yosemite Valley, CA, where I set up my tripod before dark, focused my wide angle lens on this gnarled incense tree in the background, set a base exposure, composed my shot paying attention that no branches of the tree intersected the top of the surrounding mountains and waited for darkness to descend. Then it was just a question of taking several shots at different times at night, with the sky taking on different hues, and sometimes experimenting with “light painting”, as in this image.

Painting with light is a hit and miss technique that may be performed in night photography situations, and that is achieved by shining a flashlight on the foreground subject, or anyway a foreground element, to accentuate it and give it some texture in the final image. There are no hard and fast rules for how long to light your subject, and the photographer is best advised to take several shots with different intensities of lighting, as there is no way of telling which one will turn out to be the most pleasant one. On those circumstances I always take a few shots in full darkness too, with the tree that is completely silhouetted against the lighter sky, because sometimes those may turn out to be the best option.

In this case, however, I think the moderate amount of “light painting” on the incense tree works to the benefit of the image as it gives kind of an eerie feel to the gnarled tree, accentuating its tortured limbs that stretch out in all directions and one of which points to Yosemite Falls.

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

The Sky on Fire

The Sky on Fire

After one day of shooting in Yellowstone National Park, I was heading back to the car when I noticed that some nice sunset color was starting peeking out from a rip in the thick cloak of dark clouds that had been lingering for the entire afternoon.

I quickly looked for a nice way to frame that sunset just in case things were about to get even better when the sun would be lower in the sky. I knew I had to act quickly because there would likely be only a very limited time window to photograph it and I needed to set up my camera and tripod and then expose, focus and compose my image. Fortunately, there was no shortage of trees where I was, so I decided to go tight to  really accentuate the color in the sky while silhouetting the trees: hopefully this would create  a nice framing for the main subject of my image (the warm sunset hues) and a pleasing color contrast between that and the blackness of the trees and the ominous clouds above.

A few minutes later magic did happen and the sliver of sky that was unobstructed by the darkest clouds suddenly became painted in incredibly intense reds and yellows, as if the sky had caught on fire. It only lasted maybe a minute or two, but fortunately enough to take a few frames of that raw beauty.

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

Tundra Lichens and the Sacred Geometry of Chance

Tundra lichens: the sacred geometry of chance

On an expedition to the beautiful and extreme barren lands of Nunavut (Canada), at some point I have become fascinated by the endless patterns, colors and texture of tundra lichens. So, an afternoon with overcast weather, perfect for macro photography, I set out on a journey to capture an image of the lichens that would hopefully do them justice and that would convey my aesthetics.

To me, macro photography can be spectacular and challenging at the same time. Spectacular because, if you succeed both technically and artistically in capturing the “right shot”, the results are extremely rewarding and lead the viewer to a trip¬†to a mysterious and often overlooked miniature world. Challenging because macro photography confronts the photographer with several difficulties, from technical ones (e.g., attaining pleasing lighting as well as¬†sufficient magnification while retaining enough sharpness and depth of field) to artistic ones (e.g., framing the subject so as to obtain a balanced and pleasing composition¬†as well as convey a message that is immediately evident to viewers).

The answer to these challenges is patience, observation, method and experimentation. With my camera and macro lens on my tripod, I tried several different compositions and moved around to find just the right patch of lichens that would realize my vision. After several attempts, I found what I was looking for: a patch of lichens that were pristine in appearance, covered the entire field of view of my lens, leaving no empty spots, and conveyed a Zen-like “Yin & Yang” kind of¬†message. In the above image, a slightly curved, strong diagonal line of neutral-toned white lichens visually separates the super-textured green plants and berries in the top left portion of the frame from a smaller reprise of colored and textured lichens in the bottom right corner of the frame.

In my view, quoting Mr Sting, this image reminds me of¬†“the sacred geometry of chance“.¬† ūüėČ

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

(Im)perfection

Dogwood Blossom

I just love dogwood blossoms: when they are in perfect conditions they are so beautiful and minimalist-elegant…¬†I stumbled upon this particular blossom in Yosemite National Park and it immediately struck me, so much so that I felt I needed to stop to photograph it.

As soon as I saw it, I realized the image I would make of it would be a pretty strong metaphor. It would carry a message that beauty is fragile and transitory: the blossom appears perfect in its delicate beauty, but the twig that supports its very life is broken, like a stark premonition of the fate that is looming over the now perfect blossom. In my view, the somber mood of black & white complements well the message that this image intends to convey.

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you ūüôā

Misty Tetons

Misty Tetons

I took this photograph of the Tetons at sunrise on an Autumn day that, when I got on location, did not look very promising.

I had woken up well before daybreak and I had driven to Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton National Park so I would be there when it was still dark, I could secure a spot and I had time to set up and compose before dawn. But, when I got there the entire range of the Tetons was concealed behind a thick veil of fog which made any attempt to photograph the mountains all but useless. I considered turning the car around and driving back to the lodge to hit the sack for some more sleep, but fought the temptation, hiked to a place I had spotted the day before and set up, hoping for the best.

And as it sometimes happens, nature did cooperate and right when the first sun rays started hitting the summit of the Tetons, the top part of the fog veil dissolved, revealing the mountain peaks bathed in sweet alpenglow with a base layer of fog lingering at the bottom, which added a touch of eerie mystery.

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do¬†not¬†download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you ūüôā