Capture Your Moment: Macro-Photography

Bruce Taubert will be presenting two learning sessions at Arizona Highways Photo Workshops’ 30th Anniversary Symposium.  Here’s more about his “Macro- Photography” Session.

Macro Photography - Glass Frog

Bruce takes photographs of small things because they are beautiful, and he can only really appreciate how beautiful and unique they are by having an image to look at. It is almost impossible for him to see the scales that make up butterfly wings or the pollen on a bee’s legs without viewing a photograph.  He never really appreciated the intricacy of a dragonfly’s eyes or the interweaves of a bird’s feather, again until he saw a close-up photograph of them.  There is an incredible WOW factor when he looks at images that show the pieces of the natural world that he has never seen before. Even though many of his images of small things may never be published, it is through these images that he better appreciates the beauty of the small pieces of our world.

Macro Photography - Moth

Macro-photography is normally defined as “taking photographs of small items and making them larger than life size”.  This definition, for most photographers, is too limiting.  It can be defined more simply as “close-up” photography, allowing photos of less than life-size subjects to be included.

Macro-photography is unique from other forms of photography in that it requires the use of different types of equipment than landscape, portrait, and most wildlife photography.  It also requires some different skills than other forms of photography. The cameras are the same, but only through the use of specialized lenses and other equipment can the photographer take photographs at 0.5X and it is even more complicated as we attempt to photograph at magnifications greater than 1X.

Macro Photography - Gecko

In the “Macro-photography” learning session, you will learn all about the specialized equipment, techniques, and art of macro-photography.  Bruce’s hope is that after you digest all of that information, you will better understand how to use the cameras, lenses, and associated equipment to open up the special world of macro-photography.

To read the post on Bruce’s other learning session, “Hummingbird Photography,” visit our Capture Your Moment page.

Bruce Taubert is a photographer for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

For more information and to register for sessions like this, please visit the AHPW’s 30th Symposium website.

Listen and Learn

Author: Amy Horn

Since I was young, I remember hearing some version of the saying “listen and learn” from my parents. They would be happy to know that I have finally taken their advice. Probably not what they were thinking, but I have found listening to podcasts to be a great learning opportunity for photography.  Since I live in Flagstaff, a mid-sized mountain town, and travel frequently for teaching workshops, presentations and photography, downloading podcasts keeps me entertained on the road. Using the common Bluetooth features in newer cars, my days of searching for clear radio stations is over… the podcasts come in crystal clear. Of all the podcasts I have listened to my favorites are Photofocus, Improve Photography and This Week in Photo.

The Photofocus photofocuspodcast covers a variety of topics from new technologies to photographic techniques through professional interviews with working photographers. Videographer and photographer, Richard Harrington publishes this podcast three times a month and utilizes other professional photographers to conduct interviews as well. Whether you want to learn from Joe McNally, Lindsay Adler or any of the Photoshop Dream Team, Photofocus has the interview. This podcast is full of inspiration and information for beginners to advanced photographers wanting to stay current in the field. The Photofocus podcasts’ generally air for an hour and their website offers additional videos and resources free to the


The Improve Photography podcast, hosted by Jim Harmer, has grown drastically in the past months by adding additional pro photographers to their podcast for a
round table discussion and branched out with additional podcasts each week covering portraits, thoughts about photography and my favorite the “photo taco” podcast.
Although the music in the photo taco podcast is more energetic than what I like, each podcast is approximately 10 minutes long covering simple concepts in a short time frame. These audio discussions are targeted to a large audience and beginning photographers would really benefit from many of their topics. Improve Photography podcasts generally last no more than 40 minutes and the website offers additional courses ($) and articles to advance photographic learning.

The third podcast I listen to frequently is This Week in Photo (TWIP). TWIP has recently branched out with additional podcasts hosted by other professional photographers covering street photography, weddings, Photoshop/Lightroom, travel, gear, family, and twipthe weekly roundtable discussion. This network airs a wealth of knowledge in a variety of different subjects. Frederick Van Johnson, founder/host, invites different photographers weekly for the roundtable discussion and includes “picks of the week.” These picks highlight anything related to photography from books to apps to gear.  TWIP podcasts average an hour or more in length and the topics range from beginner to advanced. The website offers a member only option with additional learning available but all podcasts and show notes are free.  The show notes include links to resources discussed in the podcast.

All of the above podcasts are downloadable from their respective websites or iTunes. If you like listening to podcasts while driving, walking or cleaning the house then download one of these podcasts (or check out different ones) to “Listen and Learn” about photography.

Amy Horn is a professor of photography at Northern Arizona University as well as an instructor for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

A Big Night for the Moon Part II

Author: Beth Ruggiero-York

In my last blog post, I gave you the details and timing of the upcoming lunar eclipse. In this post, I’ll help you get started with the process of photographing a lunar eclipse.

Photographing a lunar eclipse is easy and fun. No special filters or glasses for your eyes are needed as with solar eclipses. It is safe to watch the moon eclipsing with the naked eye. The choice of lens for the lunar eclipse will depend on your composition. If you want an image of just the moon without any landscape/foreground features, then the same technique as shooting the full moon rising applies— use your longest lens, preferably mounted on a crop-sensor camera, with a teleconverter. If you don’t have a crop-sensor camera or a teleconverter, that’s okay. Just use your longest lens.

Lunar eclipse

If you want to shoot the lunar eclipse with a foreground, then a wider lens is needed. The objective of this type of image is to include context with the eclipsing moon, such as an interesting building, cityscape, natural landscape. Start with an ISO of about 400 at your widest aperture and take test shots ranging from 5 to 30 seconds. Of course, the moon will appear as a much smaller element in the image, but it will still stand out depending on placement of the other elements of the composition.

For answers to all your questions about night photography, check out my new book, Fun in the Dark: A Guide to Successful Night Photography.

Beth Ruggiero-York  is an instructor for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

A Big Night for the Moon

Author: Beth Ruggiero-York

We have an important night coming, or rather, the moon has an important night coming. On September 27-28, the full moon will be at its perigee when it rises – perigee is when the moon is at its closest point to earth in its orbit – making it appear larger. It’s a “supermoon.” And if you are in North or South America, Europe, Africa, or the Middle East, you get a bonus, a BIG bonus. The full moon, earth, and sun will be aligned. In other words, a full lunar eclipse! As the three align into total eclipse, the moon moves into the shadow of the earth and takes on a dramatic copper-colored glow.

A Big Night for the Moon

Depending on where you are on earth, the times of the eclipse stages will be different. I will give the times in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and let you do the conversion (e.g., Arizona is GMT minus 7 hours, so for Arizonans, the eclipse will occur on September 27th).


Lunar Eclipse Stage Time (GMT)

September 28, 2015

Penumbral eclipse begins 12:11 AM
Partial eclipse begins 1:07 AM
Total eclipse begins 2:11 AM
Peak total eclipse 2:47 AM
Total eclipse ends 3:23 AM
Partial eclipse ends 4:27 AM
Penumbral eclipse ends 5:22 AM

If the skies are clear or even partly clear where you live, don’t miss this rare show. The next full lunar eclipse won’t happen again until January of 2018.

Keep an eye out for a future post with Beth’s recommendations for photographing the eclipse. Stay tuned!

For answers to all your questions about night photography, check out her new book, Fun in the Dark: A Guide to Successful Night Photography.

Beth Ruggiero-York  is an instructor for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

Capture Your Moment: Travel Photography: Domestic and Abroad

Joel Wolfson will be presenting two learning sessions at Arizona Highways Photo Workshops’ 30th Anniversary Symposium.  Here’s more about his “Travel Photography: Domestic and Abroad” session.

CYM Travel Photography

Most of Joel’s best selling work is travel photography.  He faces special challenges when traveling, and those who also travel to capture images are familiar with these challenges. One of the biggest ones is that we are limited on time in any one place so we don’t have the luxury of ideal lighting or weather. Add to that the differences in language and culture when traveling abroad, and you have your work cut out for you to capture top notch images.

One of the best ways to deal with this is research ahead of time.  Make use of bookstores, libraries, the internet, appropriate exhibits in your area, or any other means of familiarizing yourself with your destination. This way you not only have an idea what there will be to photograph and how you might tell your stories, but it will also give you inspiration which is a key element for a creative endeavor like photography. For overseas travelers, having researched the culture and knowing a few words of the language will greatly decrease frustration and equally increase your success rate of great images.

Look for a future post about Joel’s second learning session, “Essential Plugins for Post Processing” and for more information on the individual sessions visit our “Capture Your Moment” page.

For more information on Joel and to subscribe to his email list, click here.

Joel Wolfson is a photographer and instructor for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

For more information and to register for sessions like these visit the AHPW’s 30th Symposium website.

HDR = High Dynamic Range with One Image?

Author: David Huffman

Yes!  You can create a High Dynamic Range image with only a single exposure.

First, what is High Dynamic Range?  HDR, as it is commonly named, is a method to expand the dynamic range of the image so that more detail is captured in the deepest shadows and in the brightest highlights.  Digital cameras, no matter how good, cannot duplicate the full dynamic range of human vision.  So, using multiple images (in most cases) images are created at a range of exposure from normal to plus  and minus several stops of exposure and then these images are combined into one file image.  This type of image creation requires a steady tripod and many other techniques to assure that the camera is not moved or other adjustments made between exposures.

But what do you do if the subject is moving, yet you want to expand the dynamic range?  I use PhotoMatix HDR software by the company HDR Soft.  I find it easy and quick to use, and I can even expand the dynamic range of a single image.  The two accompanying photographs illustrate this clearly, where the splash of the sea on the rocks was obviously moving quickly, and cannot be captured in three separate exposures with identical precision. So I just use one exposure and the software to create the HDR image.

If you would like to try this, take any single image you like and download the trial version of the software.  You can try it for free, and if you wish to buy it, you can save 15% using the links on my website,  Visit the SAVE HERE page to get the special discount code.

David Huffman is a Volunteer Trip Leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops, Author and Educator.


Everything You Need for Your Next Trip

Author: Sara Goodnick

In the past 12 months I have traveled to Europe five times, and also to Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and South Carolina. I’ve become pretty good at getting comfortable on planes, especially the long flights to Germany. I thought I’d share some tips for fellow travelers/photographers.

After lugging around my full sized DSLR with all the lenses, and getting a very sore neck, I made the switch to a micro four-thirds mirrorless camera system for overseas trips. While no camera is perfect, the mirrorless is the only camera I take to Europe anymore. There is even a great little tripod for these cameras, from MeFoto, and it comes in colors, too!

En route, there is much to be said for arriving rested when you get off the plane. To that end, I create a nice little nest with the items shown here.


For entertainment, I love Bose headphones for movies and music, but will switch to ear buds and iPhone when trying to sleep. I put a green clip on the headphone case so they can be hung easily on the outside of the seat pocket, or on my carry-on bag. Writing in my travel journal has been one of my favorite activities over many years. It has also served to settle arguments between my husband and me when our memories differ.

Many planes now have electric outlets between the seats, so to keep the electronics charged, I bring my phone and laptop chargers. Once at my European destination, a foreign electronic adapter is necessary, but not necessarily a converter. Check with your own devices, which may have converters built in. In the US, there are never enough outlets, or they are in odd places, so I bring an outlet extender. A little device with elastic, made by Cocoon Bags, helps keep everything in its place. Available online through Travelsmith and Magellan’s, and at The Container Store.

For comfort, the best neck pillow ever, is the Evolution Pillow by Cabeau. It’s filled with memory foam, can be secured under your chin, and has a pocket for an iPod. Not as small as some others, but really comfy! My own travel blanket has kept the chills away when others were shivering, and the lumbar pillow is great support for my back against those horrible airplane seats. For me, at 5’2″, because my feet don’t always reach the ground, an inflatable foot pillow has been a godsend. It’s also good insulation from the floor, since I always take off my shoes and slip some over-socks on for the trip. Your feet will swell, so get those shoes off!

That little pink thing is not what you are thinking it is, so stop snickering. It is the most comfortable eye mask ever made, and for you ladies, it won’t smear your mascara. It also comes in black. In order to sleep, your pituitary gland, just above and between your eyes, must be in the dark, so an eye mask does the trick. Earplugs can help with the screaming child or non-stop talkers behind you problem. Did you know there are disposable toothbrushes that have tooth cleaner already in them and that you don’t need water to use them? I found them at my dentist’s office and ordered some for myself. End of yuck-mouth when you finally deplane. If those little electric device lights in your room keep you awake, get some “Dimmys”. They temporarily stick on to block those lights, which are believed to disrupt sleep.


Last of all, ScottEVests makes great travel clothing with tons of pockets! Your vest or light jacket can become another carry-on with all your small items in it. Just throw it on the security conveyor belt with all your stuff in it, and you won’t have to empty your pockets. Once on board, you won’t have to rummage through that carry-on bag for those things either.

Happy travels!

Sara Goodnick is a volunteer trip leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.