Archive for the ‘Sierra Nevada Mountains’ Category

My Favorite Photographs of 2019

Saturday, January 4th, 2020

Greetings from the Sierra Nevada,

Happy New Year! I hope your year ahead is happy, healthy, and artistically productive!

I’ve always thought that tight editing was a prime skill for any photographer and that I was good at it. Well, this year, I’m proving that incorrect. I decided that since over the past year, I’ve made such a diverse range of imagery, I would show that range. My 2019 collection includes 60 photographs listed in chronological order. I am hoping that while seeing a fuller view of my visual explorations that somewhere while scrolling through my images you find an inspirational direction for your own art.

The primary motivation for me to photograph is to experience beauty, which is everywhere if we look for it. For example, the first image here was taken with my iPhone in Costco. Much of what I find is local, around my home like ice formed in a bucket on my patio, snow on the pines in my neighbor, trees in bloom in Fresno, and of course a few from Yosemite.

Many years ago, when I was involved with Ansel Adam’s workshops, I was fortunate to hear lectures by many master photographers.  One of them was Jerry Uelsmann (http://www.uelsmann.com/), who became a friend and mentor.  During his lectures, he would show his work from the past year.  Since his work involves compositing many images together, these images including variations he had tried, often with the same objects in different locations or scenes.  This overview revealed the progression of Jerry’s creative process during the year.  I always felt inspired when seeing many of his slide shows.  I often thought I should do this myself each year, in order to assess my year’s efforts, but never got around to it. So now I’ve been doing the annual review annually!

The process of self-assessment is a vital part of artistic growth.  In the day-to-day rush of life, we don’t often stop to see trends in our image-making.  By turning back the clock, we can see if we are stuck in a rut or made great progress.

I hope you will add your comments or favorites at the bottom of the page. You can add a link to your collection if you wish.

Kind regards, Bill

PS Click here to read my Outdoor Photographer essay on this subject written in 2010 entitled Best of the Year.

Best of 2014
Best of 2015

Best of 2016
Best of 2017
Best of 2018

 


Flowers, Fresno, California 2019
PureShot for iOS, iPhone XS Max back camera 4.25mm f/1.8,
1/60 second at f/1.8, ISO 50

 


Sierra Foothills, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
2 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Bracken Fern, 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/4 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Winter Oaks, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/200 second at f/14, ISO 800

 


Pines in snowstorm, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Ice, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
3.20 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Gnarled Oak, snowstorm, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/90 second at f/13, ISO 800

 


Vernal Pool, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/10 second at f/6.3, ISO 100

 


Spring foothills, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/8, ISO 100

 


Oak woodlands, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/40 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Moonrise and oak woodlands, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Creosote patterns, Ahwanhee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/15 second at f/6.3, ISO 100

 


Ice and stones, Ahwanhee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1.50 second at f/19, ISO 100

 


Pear blossoms, Fresno, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/640 second at f/11, ISO 1600

 


Spring Blossoms, 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/250 second at f/16, ISO 800

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/18, ISO 400

 


Dawn Surf, Point Pinos, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
30 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Cypress trees in fog, Pacific Grove, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Pfeiffer Arch, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
8 second at f/14, ISO 100

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1000 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/800 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Moon over Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/25 second at f/5.6, ISO 400

 


Dogwood, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Dogwood Blossoms, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/14, ISO 100

 


Dogwood along the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Spring sunrise over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/40 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Upper Yosemite Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/5.6, ISO 200

 


Waterfall and Mist, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/7.1, ISO 200

 


Lupine, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/4 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Farewell to Spring Blossoms, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/8 second at f/13, ISO 100

 


California Poppies, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/13 second at f/9, ISO 100

 


Hydrangea, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
4 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Ridges, Mt Tamalpais State Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/125 second at f/16, ISO 200

 


Sequoias, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1 second at f/14, ISO 100

 


Sequoia trees, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/10, ISO 100

 


Ripples, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/400 second at f/2.5, ISO 100

 


Abalone Shell and Bubbles, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2000 second at f/5.6, ISO 800

 


Abalone Shell and Bubbles #2, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2000 second at f/5.6, ISO 800

 


Ripples, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/3200 second at f/5, ISO 1600

 


Patterns #1, Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/640 second at f/8, ISO 200

 


Patterns #4, Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/320 second at f/11, ISO 200

 


Ripples, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/800 second at f/9, ISO 1250


Cottonwoods and Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/25 second at f/18, ISO 400

 


Clearing Storm, Santa Rosa Wilderness, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/400 second at f/8, ISO 100

 


Clearing Storm, Santa Rosa Wilderness, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/400 second at f/8, ISO 100

 


Cottonwoods and mist, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/8 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Cottonwoods impressions, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Cottonwoods, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Pine Forest, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
4 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Steaming Mist and Pine, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/80 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Cattails, San Juaquin Valley, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/5000 second at f/5.6, ISO 6400

 


Grasses reflected, San Juaquin Valley, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/4000 second at f/6.3, ISO 6400

 

SonyILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/8000 second at f/7.1, ISO 6400

 


Sword Ferns, Sehome Hill, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
2 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Sword Ferns, Sehome Hill, Bellingham, Washington 2019
SonyILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/13 second at f/16, ISO 800

 


Alder Forest, Arroyo Canyon, Bellingham, Washington 2019
SonyILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Alder Forest, Arroyo Canyon, Bellingham, Washington 2019
SonyILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1.60 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Whatcom Falls, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/13, ISO 200

 


Whatcom Falls, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/20, ISO 200

 


Whatcom Creek, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/18, ISO 100

 

LIGHT ON THE LANDSCAPE

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Spring storm, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 1986

I am happy to announce my next book!

LIGHT ON THE LANDSCAPE: Photographs and Lessons from a Life in Photography.

To be published by Rocky Nook in the spring of 2020. A collection of photographs and essays based on my On Landscape column for Outdoor Photographer Magazine.

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

“For more than two decades, William Neill has been offering his thoughts and insights about photography and the beauty of nature in essays that cover the techniques, business, and spirit of his photographic life. Curated and collected here for the first time, these essays are both pragmatic and profound, offering readers an intimate look behind the scenes at Neill’s creative process behind individual photographs as well as a discussion of the larger and more foundational topics that are key to his philosophy and approach to work.

Drawing from the tradition of behind-the-scenes books like Ansel Adams’ Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs and Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light: In Search of the Dynamic Landscape, Light on the Landscape covers in detail the core photographic fundamentals such as light, composition, camera angle, and exposure choices, but it also deftly considers those subjects that are less frequently examined: portfolio development, marketing, printmaking, nature stewardship, inspiration, preparation, self-improvement, and more. The result is a profound and wide-ranging exploration of that magical convergence of light, land, and camera.

Filled with beautiful and inspiring photographs, Light on the Landscape is also full of the kind of wisdom that only comes from a deeply thoughtful photographer who has spent a lifetime communicating with a camera. Incorporating the lessons within the book, you too can learn to achieve not only technically excellent and beautiful images, but photographs that truly rise above your best and reveal your deeply personal and creative perspective—your vision, your voice.”

Springtime in Paradise

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

During the last few weeks, I’ve visited Yosemite Valley several times and I’d like to share my new images with you. Having lived in or nearby the Valley for forty years, it would be all too easy to become jaded or bored photographing the small area for so long. Over the course of a year, I really don’t visit that often. However, whenever I go I find something amazing and wonderous to see, and sometimes photograph. When sharing this beauty with my students, I reengage with and refresh my long love affair with this sanctuary, this paradise.

I hope you enjoy this collection, and that you’ve had a chance to engage with springtime in your areas. Please let me know your favs and add your comments below!

Kind regards, Bill

PS To learn more about my Yosemite Private Workshops, click HERE.


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/18, ISO 400

 


Dogwood and Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Waterfall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1000 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/800 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Moon over Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/25 second at f/5.6, ISO 400

 


Dogwood along the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Spring sunrise over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/40 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Spring Elm, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/20 second at f/14, ISO 100

 


Upper Yosemite Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/5.6, ISO 200

 


Waterfall and Mist, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/7.1, ISO 200

 


Dogwood over the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/22, ISO 100

 


Rock and Waterfall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Spring dogwood, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Spring dogwood and Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100

 

My Favorite Photographs of 2018

Monday, December 31st, 2018

NOTE: Five new images have been added at the bottom of this post after the initial upload. The Impressions of Light images were taken during the last light of 2018.

Greetings from the Sierra Nevada. It is that time of year again when we all look back at the events of last year and look forward to the year ahead. Many photographers have developed the good habit of editing a collection of their favorite images for the year. The process of self-assessment is a vital part of artistic growth. In the day-to-day rush of life, we don’t often stop to see trends in our own image-making. By turning back the clock, we can see if we’re stuck in a rut or are hopefully making great progress.

I have included capture details and presented the images in chronological order. I hope you will visit my blog and add your comments or favorites at the bottom of the page.

May 2019 brings you joy, peace, and exciting photographic opportunities.

Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year!   Bill

Best of 2014
Best of 2015

Best of 2016

Best of 2017

 


Stones, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1/3 second at f/13, ISO 80

 


Mule’s Ears Leaves, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1/2 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Ice Patterns, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1/6 second at f/13, ISO 100

 


Oak Branches, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 16-35mm F2.8 G SSM II,
1/4 second at f/16, ISO 400

 


Pine Branches, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM,
1.60 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Pine Branches and Cones, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM,
1.60 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Pear tree in bloom, Fresno, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 16-35mm F2.8 G SSM II,
1/100 second at f/13, ISO 640

 


Purple Plum Blossoms #2, 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1/1 second at f/22, ISO 100

 


Oaks and Fog, Ahwahnee, California
SonyILCE-7RM2, 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM,
1/2 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Pine and Sunbeams, Ahwahnee, Calfornia 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM,
1/1600 second at f/22, ISO 100

 


Plum Blossoms #5
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM,
1/40 second at f/20, ISO 400

 


Orchid
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1.60 second at f/22, ISO 100

 


Day Lily
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1.30 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Spring Oak, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
1/200 second at f/16, ISO 800

 


Sunrise over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, EF70-200/2.8L USM,
1/125 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Ponderosa Pine and Incense Cedar trees, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, EF70-200/2.8L USM,
1 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Sunrise over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
1/160 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Upper Yosemite Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1000 second at f/5.6, ISO 800

 


Cascade Falls, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/8 second at f/40, ISO 100

 


Salsify, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/750 second at f/2.4, ISO 1000

 


Peacock Feather, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2 second at f/29, ISO 100

 


Mushrooms, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Mushroom, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/1 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Stone, 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/8 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Ammonite Fossil, 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/5 second at f/22, ISO 100

 


Salt Crystals 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/3 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Succulent, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
13 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Merced River Reflections, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
3.20 second at f/29, ISO 100

 


Ripples, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/80 second at f/16, ISO 800

 


Backlit Elm Branches, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, EF24-105/4L IS USM,
1/10 second at f/22, ISO 400

 


Blackberry Leaves, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2 second at f/13, ISO 100

 


Grasses and Ice, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Dogwood and Forest, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
SonyILCE-7RM2, EF24-105/4L IS USM,
1/6 second at f/16, ISO 400

 


California Quail feathers, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/1 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Bougainvillea petals, La Quinta, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/125 second at f/16, ISO 800

 

Thank you for viewing my photographs. I hope you will leave your comments below.

Happy New Year!

 

Here are a few images I’d like to add to the list. The first BW was simply missed during the upload. The impressionistic images were taken after I uploaded, taken during the last light of 2018!


Cathedral Spire and Mists, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6000 second at f/5.6, ISO 500

 


Grasslands at sunset, Madera County, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Grasslands and sunset, Madera County, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
3.20 second at f/5.6, ISO 100


Grasslands at twilight, Madera County, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
2.50 second at f/16, ISO 100


Grasslands and hills at twilight, Madera County, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
2 second at f/5.6, ISO 100

Focus Your Fall Portfolio

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018
Working with a theme can help you create a unique collection of images

 

 

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

With autumn photography season here, 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.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.

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!

Autumn Portfolio

 

 

Autumn Snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, California 2015