Watch that White Balance

By David Halgrimson

When shooting, we need to watch the White Balance settings on our camera. White balance controls the color cast in an image. A color cast will come from the color temperature emitted by the light source. The color temperature can create a warm, reds and yellows or cool, blues, feel in an image. This can be controlled in most cameras by selecting from multiple White Balance settings such as Sunny, cloudy, shade, tungsten, fluorescent, flash, and custom where the actual color temperature number can be selected.

Why is this important? Well, the camera does not see light quite as well as the human eye and may add color to an image that was not seen by the photographer when taking the image. For instance, when shooting indoors under florescent lighting the camera will add a blue tint to the overall image and tungsten light will add a yellow tint which in most cases will not look good for portraits or people in general. Another example is shooting images with bright whites such as a winter scene with snow. Even with the White Balance set to the best possible setting our cameras like to think of bright white as light gray.

What to do? First, be sure to check the White Balance setting on the camera before shooting and set it to the current lighting. Next, if you do post processing of your images it would be best to shoot in RAW. When shooting in RAW you can adjust the White Balance as needed or wanted. You can change from a cool blue to a warm red tint with one quick adjustment.

Here are two images taken in bright snow, the first one has a blue cast the second has been adjusted for the white snow but still has a warm cast due to the reflections from the rocks.

There is far more to knowing White Balance than covered in this short blog so hit the internet and search for White Balance and you will find enough info to boggle your mind. Don’t’ let it overwhelm you though, keep it to the basics and your images will be great.

David Halgrimson is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

What is my photographic specialty?

By Jon Vemo

To quote a photographer I’ve followed for some years, Rick Sammon, “I specialize in not specializing.” Why limit yourself, why focus only on one or two particular photographic genres, when there is so much that life offers? Sure there may be things that you are more interested in or passionate about – and that’s OK. But when it comes to creating images, I, like Rick, prefer to be open to whatever I find of interest.

Like so many people that carry a DLSR or one of the new mirrorless, when out with my camera, I am often asked about what I do and what my specialty is. I’ve tried to answer this in many different ways, but I have recently landed on, “I photograph life around me” – meaning what I see or whatever is happening around me that I find interesting. I enjoy a beautiful landscape, I am intrigued by unique people I see on the street, an object with unique lines or appearance, or any other activity that I find interesting.

The colors, the smells, the people of a vibrant public market…    

Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA

Several years ago while visiting the tulip fields in Washington’s Skagit Valley, I came across a tulip growing from a highly unlikely spot…

Skagit Valley, WA

I do not really consider myself a bird follower, however when presented opportunities to make an image of natures more majestic winged creatures, I am quick to reach for my camera…


Sonoran Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ

I am also often intrigued by lines, leading and otherwise, and applying different techniques to create that unique image;

Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, AZ

Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, AZ

And especially the beauty of the Pacific Northwest coast;

Oregon Coast, Oregon

So my advise to those starting out in their photographic journey (as well established photographers seeking inspiration), is not to limit yourself to a particular form of photography. Go after the images that interest you, what excites you. After all, it’s about following a passion and what interests us, and we shouldn’t limit ourselves on the images that we create.

Jon Vemo is a Volunteer with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

Less is Better with Age

By Rick Jacobi

I was fortunate to be a trip leader this last May on a workshop in Tuscany for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops. I have been on a lot of workshops and have done some extensive traveling. Mirrorless cameras have become more popular over the last couple of years because they are so much lighter. I am still seeing though; a lot of people traveling long distances and more than one airport change carrying a heavy bag of photo equipment. I used to be one of those people with the big 40lb black bag.

I now carry one camera body {Sony] and two lens. Lens 24-70and 70-200. In addition, a small back up camera body just in case. It can fit all in a small camera bag weighting less then 15lbs which is a lot easier to carry than the 40lb or so bag. Do I miss some shots by not having a wider-angle lens a macro or a 100-400? The answer is yes. But the question is how many, and I figure less than five photos that I would keep on a week-long workshop or trip. To me I’d rather feel comfortable walking through airports or the streets of a city enjoying myself rather than carrying all that weight and having a sore back the next day. Those shots I might miss don’t make up for the discomfort of a large camera bag. I am not saying to sell your equipment and buy a mirrorless camera. Just take what you think you need and then take less.

If you are driving that is a different story. I am talking about traveling by air and connecting flights. If it is one flight or a car then take the kitchen sink but again take only what you think you will need. As we get older less is better and you will still get great shots. Just give it a try.

Rick Jacobi is a Volunteer with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By Megan Galope

Like it or not, it’s approaching that time of the year again. The time when you try to figure out what to get the person who has everything, or the person who can’t come up with a single item for their wish list. How about a personalized photo gift? There are so many more options for photo gifts now than just books and calendars. How about something useful, such as a mug or a pillow? You can get anything from keychains to blankets, ornaments and luggage tags to playing cards and phone cases. I’ve even seen personalized wrapping paper with photos on it! This can also be a good time to practice your photography. If you don’t already have some useful photos, schedule a photo shoot with the intended recipient. Or perhaps you’d rather take photos of their kids or pets for the gifts.

There are many places out there that offer photo gifts. A few of the more popular online sites are Shutterfly, SnapfishMpix, Smugmug, and Vistaprint. You can also purchase photo gifts from stores such as Costco, Walgreens, and CVS by either ordering online or going into the store.

And best of all, if you get your ordering done early then maybe you can actually sit back, relax, and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!

Twitter = @megangalope

Megan Galope is a trip leader with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes.

Finding and Photographing the Wild Horses on the Lower Salt River

By Sara Goodnick

Wild horses are beautiful and challenging to photograph, and there are several locations in Arizona where they may be found. By far, the easiest access to them is on the Lower Salt River NE of Phoenix.

To get there, from Hwy 87 going north towards Saguaro Lake, take the Bush Hwy exit and follow the signs. From Apache Junction, take Usery Pass to Bush Highway, and from Mesa it can be reached via Power Road.

The horses tend to be found near water unless it has rained a lot and there is plenty of green grass. The best places to find them are at the Coon Bluff Recreation area, the Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area, the Blue Point Recreation area, which is around the bridge over the river, and the Butcher Jones Recreation area. However, they can sometimes bee seen from the road in other places.

They are not fearful of humans, but do not approach them closely or offer them food! If they get too used to begging it will end badly for them as eventually someone will be kicked or bitten, resulting in their removal or destruction.

Being prey animals, not predators, they will usually run away if frightened. If cornered, those teeth and hooves can be deadly, so please keep a safe distance, and keep your dogs and small children under control. Horses will kill dogs because they are similar to coyotes and wolves, which threaten their young.

They spend a lot of time eating, so take your time to observe them while waiting for some action, or interaction among them. Don’t frighten them or try to get reactions from them-its not ethical. They need their energy and attention for survival.

Best lens to use is a 70-200mm, fast shutter speed of at least 1/800th sec. or faster, and the best ISO and aperture to go with that. Tripods are not needed, but a monopod can be useful.

What to wear: hiking boots, long sleeved shirts, long pants. This is rough country if you leave the roadside. The saying, “Everything out there stings, sticks, or bites”, has truth to it!

Plan ahead. The developed parking areas require a permit that you must purchase outside of the Tonto National Forest Recreation Area. Some of the local stores carry them, so check online. If you are over 62 years of age, you are eligible for a permanent Senior Pass ($80 – new fee as of August 2017) that will get you into all of our National Parks and Monuments, as well as other places.  You just display it on your dashboard when visiting. Theses passes may be purchased online or at certain fish and wildlife offices.

Sara Goodnick is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.