Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Favorite Photographs of 2014

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

NOTE: I am reposting my Favorite Photographs of 2014 due to a past crash of my blog site…

 

Happy New Year!  I finally put together my favorite photographs from 2014.  It is always helpful to take the occasional assessment of our own creative progress. You might be interested in reading an essay I wrote on the subject five years ago in my On Landscape column for Outdoor Photographer on this subject.  Since I started teaching private workshop sessions in Yosemite, I’ve been visiting Yosemite Valley much more often so you will see a batch of new Yosemite images taken this past year.

If you have been following my work this past year, you know that my big trip of the year was to Antarctica last January. Click here to read my Outdoor Photographer magazine On Landscape column, and recent Antarctic Dreams portfolio in OP and see below!

I have numbered each image, which will make it easier for you to let me know which ones are your favorites.  It will be fun and helpful for me to have your feedback.  I will value a list of favs, or general thoughts on what work you respond to the most.  After I assess your feedback, I will then make a final edit of 10-15 that are my top selects of the year.  My criteria for that final selection will be based on which images I feel best represents my personal vision and style rather than the most popular ones.  If you have your own post of top images for 2014, please add your link in your comments below.

I look forward to your comments and favorites for my 2014 portfolio.  Enjoy and please share with your friends!

I wish you a year full of the gifts of nature, peace and love,  Bill

PS  The photographs below are in chronological order.

Yosemite Private Workshops

 


Clouds and Shadows, Bransfield Strait, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/8000 second at f/9.5, ISO 800


Morning light, Gerlache Strait, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/1000 second at f/11, ISO 1600


Early morning light, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica
January 29, 2014 06:18:31
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/750 second at f/11, ISO 1600


Ancient crystal Iceberg, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/750 second at f/16, ISO 1600


Blue Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/750 second at f/22, ISO 1600


Glowing Glacier, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/8000 second at f/11, ISO 1600


Two Humpback Whales and Iceberg, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/1500 second at f/11, ISO 800


Two Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/3000 second at f/11, ISO 800


Icebergs and Sunset, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/3000 second at f/5.6, ISO 800

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/180 second at f/13, ISO 800


Iceberg at Dawn, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/2000 second at f/2.8, ISO 400


Iceberg Towers at Dawn, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/4000 second at f/2.8, ISO 400


Iceberg Arch, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/500 second at f/9.5, ISO 400


Crabeater seal resting on an iceberg, Pléneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/350 second at f/9.5, ISO 400


Iceberg Sculpture, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/125 second at f/19, ISO 800


Sunset, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/1500 second at f/6.7, ISO 800


Rolling iceberg, Scontorp Cove in Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/250 second at f/19, ISO 400


Glaciers, Scontorp Cove in Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +1.4x III,
1/1500 second at f/19, ISO 800


Mountains and Glaciers at Scontorp Cove, Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +1.4x III,
1/1500 second at f/16, ISO 800


Chinstrap Penguins entering surf, Baily Head on Deception Island, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/3000 second at f/8, ISO 800


Chinstrap Penguins, Baily Head on Deception Island, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/1500 second at f/13, ISO 1250


Young Antarctic fur seal, Baily Head on Deception Island, Anarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/250 second at f/9.5, ISO 1250


Roses II
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro,
6 second at f/22, ISO 100


Waterfall on Lee Vining Creek, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/3 second at f/19, ISO 100


Seastacks at Sunset, Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park. Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
3 second at f/22, ISO 100


Ferns, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
15 second at f/19, ISO 100


Avalanche Lily, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
iPhone 5, iPhone 5 back camera 4.12mm f/2.4,
1/200 second at f/2.4, ISO 50


Backlit Aspen, June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
1/250 second at f/16, ISO 640


Autumn Reflections, Lundy Canyon, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/15 second at f/32, ISO 400


Last Light, Conway Summit, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/15 second at f/19, ISO 200


Aspen Forest Impressions #3 , Lee Vining Canyon, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
3 second at f/9.5, ISO 100


Aspen Leaves, Lee Vining Canyon, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
3 second at f/32, ISO 200


Autumn Elm and Sunbeams, Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/180 second at f/22, ISO 200


Yellow Maples, Cedar and Pine, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1.50 second at f/16, ISO 640


Cottonwoods reflected, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/6 second at f/22, ISO 100


Maples Leaves and Merced River Reflections, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM +2x,
1/1 second at f/45, ISO 400


Grasses and El Capitan reflected in the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/6 second at f/32, ISO 200


Grasses reflected, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/1000 second at f/2.8, ISO 800


Grasses and reflections in the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/350 second at f/2.8, ISO 200


Maple leaf and autumn reflections, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/60 second at f/4.5, ISO 320


Thimbleberry Leaves, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
2 second at f/32, ISO 400


River otters, American River, Sacramento, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM,
1/350 second at f/5.6, ISO 1250

Unique Offer from The Ansel Adams Gallery – Photographs by William Neill

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

 

It is my pleasure to announce that The Ansel Adams Gallery is once again sponsoring a special print sale of two of my photographs, offering a 25% discount off the normal price. The two images we selected for this offer are Autumn Elm and Sunbeams, Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California, and Autumn Sunset on El Capitan and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California. These two photographs have never been exhibited at a gallery or sold before. My signed, open edition 13×20 prints usually sell for $325, but during this sale, you can get one for only $243.75. Or you can purchase a 16×24 print, normally $450, for only $337.50. Most of my prints have been issued as limited-edition and are more expensive than the open-edition photographs. This is a rare chance to purchase one of my photographs at a reduced price, but the sale lasts for just six days until Sunday, September 18th at 6:00 PM Pacific time. Please visit The Ansel Adams Gallery website to purchase a print or get more details.

Making photographs is not only about the technical “capturing” of the image but also about the sensory experience with the landscape itself. Strong images can reconnect us with the experience and the people with whom we shared that time. Here are the stories behind the making of these two images.

Autumn Elm and Sunbeams, Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California, 2014 (image above)

One October morning in 2014, I was teaching a private student in Cook’s Meadow at sunrise. As a longtime Yosemite resident, I anticipated great photographic potential there. We started out photographing with a classic view of Half Dome, but as the sun first struck the damp meadow, we raced to where the sun was rising directly behind this extraordinary elm tree. An amazing confluence of peak autumn color and morning mist unfolded before us, with sunbeams bursting through the graceful branches. Knowing that the mist would burn off soon, we worked rapidly to find a strong composition, shading our lenses from the sun using the tree’s limbs. As the sun rose higher, the beams shifted with the rising mist until they disappeared after only ten minutes. To me, this image captures a sense of hope, of “a new day shining out of the darkness.” This elm, which I’ve been photographing for 40 years, was once again a magical and wondrous sight.

 

Autumn Sunset on El Capitan and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

I have been photographing Yosemite and living in the area for nearly forty years. The wonders of this cathedral in stone never ceases to amaze me, especially during the changing seasons. The day I made this photograph began with pouring rain at dawn. Then by mid-morning, it began to snow leaving a white dusting on red dogwood and golden oak leaves. By noon, the storm began to clear with clouds and mist ascending off of granite cliffs. After a thrilling day of chasing this extraordinary light and weather around the valley, I started for home. The clouds looked like they were closing in, how could any more epic conditions appear after so many blessings of the day? While driving past El Capitan, I noticed a small patch of light breaking through the clouds on its cliffs. I raced down to set up my camera along the Merced River, finding these wonderful reflections and sunset colors. The incredible light lasted only a few minutes. After a day full of catching my breath in awe of such beauty, I finally, slowly exhaled with a peaceful sense of bliss.

If you have any questions, contact me by email or post below in my blog. Please click here to purchase or for more information.

 

Focus Your Fall Portfolio

Sunday, September 4th, 2016
Autumn Elm and Sunbeams, Cook's Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California, 2014

Autumn Elm and Sunbeams, Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California, 2014

Focus Your Fall Portfolio

Below is an essay  I wrote last year for my On Landscape column published in Outdoor Photographer Magazine. I would love to hear feedback on your favorite images, and share links to any “epic day” images you wish to share!

With autumn photography approaching soon, I want to share some ideas that may help you develop an excellent portfolio for this fall season. I have found it useful, for myself and for teaching my students, to think about creating a story line, or clear thematic focus, for your work. Consider what specific locations or aspects of autumn inspire you the most. The location could be your backyard, a nearby park or reserve, or a travel location where you can spend at least a few days to explore the area fully. A favorite aspect might include colorful reflections, or the patterns of fallen leaves, or a series focused on branch-filled tapestries of color. This approach of specialization will help distinguish your autumn images from other photographers’ work.

Two key elements needed for your selection of an autumn theme are passion for the subject and easy access during the season. Passion is a must-have ingredient for creative, insightful imagery. Repeated access to your location will build your knowledge of the light, weather and seasonal changes, helping you find the best conditions for making great photographs. One idea would be to photograph the transition of autumn in your area, from the first hints of color in green trees to the last clinging leaves. This transition offers us great opportunities to communicate that visceral sense that we all feel of time moving forward.

Instead of trophy hunting for singular, spectacular scenic images, I like to explore around for quiet images, ones that don’t shout too loud. In Yosemite, for example, I often find exciting details on the forest floor, in river reflections or cliff details. I have included some examples here from last fall in Yosemite Valley. Over a two-week period in late October and early November, I worked with private students in Yosemite Valley. I enjoy the one-to-one process of helping photographers find their own vision, and share mine with them. Even though I usually focus on intimate details, that doesn’t mean I will avoid those epic, rare events where weather and/or light explode with drama and energy.

On one such dramatic morning, an amazing confluence of peak autumn color and morning mist, rising off a frosted meadow, unfolded before me and my student. We started out photographing from one excellent vantage point, then raced to where the sun was directly behind this extraordinary tree where we witnessed sunbeams bursting through the graceful branches. Knowing that the mist would burn off soon, we worked rapidly to find the best camera position for him to block the rising sun with the tree’s limbs. Even though the lens was shaded from direct sun, the high contrast and rapidly changing situation called for bracketing exposures to ensure a full range of data was captured. The end result, for both of us, were top portfolio “keepers!” The images portray the symbolism of “a new day” and “light shining through the darkness.”

Just as exciting to me were several quiet Yosemite images I photographed last fall. Quiet intensity in an image can endure and engage the viewer for longer in my opinion. With subtle imagery comes a depth that can be enjoyed more over time.


Yellow Maples, Cedar and Pine, Yosemite Valley.

When I pull together a group of photographs such as from last autumn, I edit by looking for the highest and most consistent quality, as well as looking for a balance of scale, light, weather and subject matter. I might use a wide-angle view or two to set the context of the portfolio in Yosemite Valley. However, my intimate landscapes would be my main focus, such as the river and trees reflections, or leaves floating through autumn-colored river reflections. When you see the selected images as a group such as in an exhibit or online gallery, they should create a visual story, a personal exploration, a creative viewpoint.

This fall, think about what thematic project you could develop. Selecting a title, even if you change it later, can give you additional focus for both your shooting sessions and editing. Think about what you want to say with your images. Your unique viewpoint will be better revealed, and the concept behind the photographs will heighten the portfolio’s impact.

Best wishes for great light, wondrous color and creative autumn photographs!

 

New eBook! Antarctic Dreams

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

 

I am happy to announce the publication of my new ebook, Antarctic Dreams, in digital form. I traveled to Antarctica in January 2014, and it is rewarding to have finally produced a portfolio of my favorite images. The book was designed in Adobe Lightroom, with file sizes that have been optimized to preserve the high resolution images files. The quality of the images really comes to life on screen. I know that this isn’t the same tactile experience of holding a book in hand, but it’s hard to dismiss the vivid quality one can enjoy on screen.

Antarctic Dreams – Digital Edition is delivered as two PDF files. One PDF contains single pages for viewing on an iPad, tablet, or other digital device and so is optimized for viewing the individual images, as well as for reading text. The second PDF shows the two-page spreads, allowing you to enjoy the book as it was originally designed.

I hope you enjoy my new book, which features 79 photographs and essays about my amazing photographic journey.  Please share this with your friends and fellow photographers!

 

 

Price: $15.00!    Click Here To View Sample Pages and Purchase

 

Antarctic Dreams: September 19 – November 15, 2015 at the Weston Gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Monday, August 31st, 2015

antarcticaWILLIAM NEILL: Antarctic Dreams

September 19 – November 15, 2015

Opening Reception on Saturday, September 19th from 4:00 – 6:00pm

at the Weston Gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

 

 

 

I am pleased to announce that an exhibit of my photographs, entitled Antarctic Dreams, will be shown at the prestigious Weston Gallery in Carmel, California. The show begins on September 19 and will run through November 15. I will be attending the opening reception on the 19th from 4:00PM to 6:00PM. If you are in the area, I hope you will come see my prints and say hello!

In January of 2014, I traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula with a photographic workshop tour as an instructor. I have collected my favorite images for the exhibit and spent the last several weeks making the fine art prints. This will be the first time I’ve shown this body of work and I am excited in sharing them. Through these images, I hope to inspire others to learn more about the conservation issues in Antarctica regarding the impact of climate change.

Weston Gallery, 6th Avenue & Dolores, Carmel, CA 93921

The Weston Gallery Website

Antarctic Dreams Portfolio

 

Iceberg Towers at Dawn, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014 January 30, 2014 05:58:54

Iceberg Towers at Dawn, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
January 30, 2014 05:58:54

Iceberg Towers at Dawn, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica, 2014

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS II and 1.4x III

It was a cold dawn when we jumped into our Zodiac boats to explore this magic place where icebergs from near and far float into a shallow dead-end bay. More steadily through the bay, I had to watch carefully and fire quickly when these icebergs separated beautifully, and then the composition was gone. The next two hours here made me constantly catch my breath with wonder. It was so amazing, we returned for more icebergs and seals for another two hours in epic sunset light.