PHOTOGRAPHING PUPPIES!

By Vickie Uthe

Photographing puppies is like photographing kids, don’t waste time and plan on doing it later because they grow up TOO FAST and there IS no later.

In 2016 my granddaughter got a Dorky. A mix of a Yorkshire Terrier and a Dachshund. A Dorky, cute, right? The puppy lives at Akacia’s dad’s house which means we rarely see her so I KNEW, on this visit, I’d spend a lot of the time shooting and capturing that adorable puppiness before it was all gone.

Plan on this shoot being handheld as I doubt a puppy will stay in shot of a tripod mount. Set you ISO at 400 in good light with the shutter speed at 500 or above. Get as close down to the animal’s level as possible, in other words, don’t stand and shoot from above. Make a sound in hopes they will cock their head, lift their ears and look at you and not run straight at you. It’s a delicate situation.

In this series, she was preoccupied with her leash. You want to try to focus on the eyes, which isn’t always easy as they keep moving. Be sure your camera is set on burst mode and fire away.

What you’re trying to capture is expression and personality.

Another concept I think is important in photography is to add a human to show scale. These images show how really little this puppy is.

They also tucker out pretty quickly so take advantage of their stillness to grab some more cuteness.

And there she is, surveying the situation on her first big hike in Kachina Village.

Take your camera to a friends house who has a new puppy and practice. The other nice thing is these images make great gifts over the years as the puppy moves through life and ages.

Happy shooting!

Vicki Uthe is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

 

Copper Queen Mine Tour, Bisbee, AZ

By Jeff Insel

My wife and I recently spent a couple of nights in Bisbee,AZ. One of the things we wanted to see was the Copper Queen Mine Tour and we weren’t disappointed. Tours are seven days a week with several different tour times. Each tour lasts about an hour and takes you 1500 feet deep into the mine by small train (see photo).
The tours are led by retired Phelps Dodge employees, very knowledgeable about the mining history and progression of more efficient tools ie: from manpower to mules to trains.
The photo with the train is an iPhone photo as we had a light rain going on outside as we waited to enter the mine.
The Copper Queen Mine began operations in the 1880’s and was bought by Phelps Dodge in 1885. It closed in 1975 after 90 yrs of operations. It had one of the world’s largest production valuations: An estimated production of 8,032, 352 lbs of Copper, 2,871,786 ounces of Gold, 77,162,986 ounces of Silver, 304,627,600 lbs of Lead and 371,945,900 lbs of Zinc!
Tours began in 1976 through the efforts of then Bisbee Mayor, Chuck Eads, Phelps Dodge, many local volunteers and a grant from the Economic Development Administration.
The Dynamite wall photo was shot hand held, 1600 ISO, 28mm, f4.5 and 1/20th of a sec.
We learned how the miners originally dug out the tunnels, shored up the work areas, hammered spikes for the drill bits; the evolution of the different types of drills and their capabilities; how they used dynamite to bring down walls safely (see photo) and even the use of their portable toilets (see photo).
The Toilet photo was hand held, 1600 ISO, 1/3 sec, f4.5.
Even though it was about 95 outside at the start of our tour, it was nice and cool inside.
If you go, cameras are allowed but tripods aren’t practical as there’s not enough space to use one. The challenge is photographing in near darkness, some overhead lights and the hand held small flashlights we all had so some of the light is always in motion, but it’s a fun challenge.
Jeff Insel is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

Plane Bored (Or Just Plain Bored)

By Sara Goodnick

There is an answer to keeping yourself amused when flying, even on long flights, if you keep a camera close by. It’s easier with a mirrorless camera, but a newer cell phone can also work well.

1. Get a window seat in front of the wing, as close as possible to the front, if flying regular class. If you are behind the wing, the exhaust will have a negative effect on the air quality and your images will not be sharp.

2. Bring something to clean the window with, such as a soft cloth. Don’t use your good lens cloth-it might get contaminated with something awful. We were flying out of San Francisco to Hawaii during a gorgeous sunset. I was so happy to have been seated next to a relatively clean window.

3. Watch for interesting land patterns, cloud formations, shadows, storms, story-telling objects. Remember you are moving fast, and they will disappear very quickly! Be ready and don’t hesitate to shoot. Flying low into Phoenix from the NE during monsoon season has great potential for seeing afternoon storms.

Flying into places with a body of water nearby has many possibilities for interesting captures.

4. The images will improve when you take them into an image-processing program. I brought out some contrast and detail in these clouds in Lightroom CC.

5. When you can’t shoot from the window, look around where you are sitting. Ask yourself, “What would this look like through my lens?” This was looking into my glass of ice before I dropped it onto my lap.

Have fun! Then stretch out your back and neck muscles by turning the other way for awhile!

Sara Goodnick is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes.

TAHOE AND THE WEATHER

By Vicki Uthe

This blog is being written to showcase the extreme difference a day can make in the weather. It is also being shared to encourage you to go out in it, the weather I mean, and take advantage of nature’s drama unfolding before you.

Over President’s Day weekend this last February I had the good fortune of being  a part of a family retreat in South Lake Tahoe. I had never been there and was really looking forward to it. I was half expecting snow covered ground but realized they were probably getting similar weather patterns to Flagstaff, where I live, and on Saturday, our first full day there, the sun was shining, the water was calm and in the sun it was a lovely temperature.

Here’s a wide shot of the swimming hole created by the docks right below our cabin. The water was SO clear and the water had slight ripples on it from a light breeze.

The shoreline felt like a small pond, not a 23 mile long lake. My wife and I decided this would be a GREAT place to bring our stand up paddle boards back to and do some exploring.

Literally the calm before the storm. We kayak and SUP a lot on Lake Powell and usually  can only experience  calm waters like this early in the morning. We call it glass. The water is like glass and it is SO beautiful and serene to paddle board on.

Here is a nice image of my cousin and her family sitting on the corner of the pier enjoying the warm afternoon temperatures.

Vessels like this paddle wheel can only float on calm waters. These kinds of boats were not made for the waves that would come the next day.

We spent a lot of time on those docks that first day. It was so pretty and warm. I’ve never seen a seaplane land on Lake Powell! I’ve only seen them near ocean towns so this was a real treat. But again, it could only do it on calm waters.

By Saturday afternoon the winds were beginning to pick up. Here you can see the difference in the chop of the water.

By Sunday the winds were gusting at over 50 miles per hour. This brave, or foolish, soul was braving the waves on the once serene dock. Due to the spray I stayed back with my camera gear so as not to get soaked.

The once calm shoreline turned into angry ocean size waves. It was spectacular to be out it. I had to really set my stance so as to not get knocked over by the wind.

The waves did this thing where they would start at one end of the dock and move to the other end. It was really cool to watch.

This is that calm corner of the pier that my cousin and her family were sitting and calmly visiting just 12 hours before. This wave would have sent them swimming!

I highly encourage you to go out in weather and shoot. But be smart! Don’t go out when lightning is close and be sure to protect your camera gear from the elements.

Happy Shooting!

Vicki Uthe is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

Love your camera

By Rick Jacobi

I think this is an important part of one’s photography. A camera that you love and inspires you to shoot. There are many cameras that a person can own today, and they are all good. That being said then you should own a camera that speaks to your heart.

I am a street photographer and usually carry two cameras with me. I have bought and sold cameras in the last few years trying to find the combination that I really love. I have had expensive and inexpensive cameras that for me were not fun to use. I would not shoot as often because it was not enjoyable using these cameras. I would make up excuses in my head and would lose interest in shooting.

You will gain more creativity, more passion and motivation if you “Love Your Camera”. Don’t worry about what some other photographer uses for a camera. Remember they are all good. Just use a camera that is fun for you.  You might be thinking that I have this brand of camera with all the lens that I don’t really enjoy shooting with. What should I do? “Sell” it and get the camera system you would love to use. If you are not sure which one, rent them to find the one you love. It will be worth the money for all the fun you will have, and your photos will be better.

Unless you are a professional photographer, your photography is a hobby. Enjoy it to the fullest.

Enjoy your camera.

Rick Jacobi is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

Know your Equipment and Location

By David Halgrimson

Since moving back to Minnesota I have been researching places to go for photo opportunities and found a couple near where I live. One is Swan Park in Monticello Minnesota 15 miles west and Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge 25 miles north of my home. Both easily accessed.

We moved back to MN in November just when the Trumpeter Swans were starting to return to a section of the Mississippi River in Monticello. They stay from November thru February when they mate and leave for their nesting locations. The Swans along with geese and ducks like this area as the river is open due to a power plant on the river to the north and because for the past 30 plus years they get free breakfast and lunch. The Swans are the main draw at Swan Park, a very small park, maybe 40 feet wide, overlooking the river where the birds spend their days, eating, mating and fighting.

For more information on the park and the swans visit this site, http://www.monticellocci.com/pages/Swans.

About knowing the location, not just the Swan Park location, but any location. When visiting in August I went to check out Swan park only to find out there are no swans there in august, but now I knew right where to go when they returned… scouting day one. Once settled after our move, I went back and was pleasantly surprised by not only the swans, ducks and geese but the sheer numbers of them. As the story goes, over 30 years ago there were only a handful of swans and now there can be as many as 2,700 on any given day. I needed to know how to get the best view, what equipment and clothing would be best, it’s dang cold here November thru February. Because people are not allowed down at the river’s edge the area is somewhat secluded, so a good winter coat and stocking hat, warm boots and most of all special gloves. I went through three different sets of gloves to find those that would somewhat keep my hands from freezing. I found mittens with internal gloves that fold open to reveal gloved fingers and thumb to operate the camera. The glove portion of the index and middle finger have a special coating that allows for touch screen operation. Still, my fingers get very cold and I need to warm them occasionally. Next, what kind of lighting might be best for the subject. This day was bright sunlight and I found that the white swans had a good chance of blowing out the histogram, maybe a cloudy or partly cloudy day would work better or perhaps lens filters might help… scouting day 2. Oh, yes I did take pictures.

So now about knowing your equipment. On scouting day 2 I took my Lumix GX8 with a 40-150mm f/2.8 and a 300mm f/4 prime lenses and no tripod. The birds are very active, swimming, diving, taking off, landing, fighting and feeding. A slow shutter would not work but how fast should it be? I tried 400-500 with some good results for the swimming and feeding but needed much faster for the flying, landings and takeoffs.

The Lumix and lenses being new to me and not having used it for birds before, I was not quite sure what settings to use so experimented with a number with mixed results and not to my personal standards. I also found the 300mm a bit too close for many of the shots but great for the birds coming in or taking off…scouting day two.

40-150mm, f/4, ISO 100 1/640th hand held

40-150mm, f/4, ISO 400, 1/2000th hand held

40-150mm, f/4, ISO 400, 1/2000th hand held

Not quite as sharp as I wanted as can be seen here. Part of that is the aperture of f/4 giving less DOF.

I went home to review my images and decided to do some research on best settings for the camera and lens combinations. After some testing and experimenting and finding the settings I thought would work best for me, I decided to setup a custom setting for wildlife on both camera bodies. This included the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, high speed burst and more, this way when I am shooting birds and fast moving subjects I don’t have to remember settings I can just set the camera(s) to custom 1 and start shooting and making small adjustments as needed from there.

Now with all the scouting complete and camera settings configured it was time to return for a real shoot. I took both camera bodies, one with the 40-150mm and one with the 300mm and, yes, a tripod. I used the 300mm on the tripod for the birds in the air and the 40-150mm hand held for the action on the water.

All the scouting, researching, testing and camera setup paid off big time. I went on a bright but cloudy day, cameras all ready, my warmest gloves, set up the tripod with the 300mm, hung the other around my neck and started shooting. The results were to me more than I expected.

300mm, 1/2000th, ISO 400, f/8 tripod mounted

300mm, 1/2000th, ISO 400, f/8 tripod mounted

40-150mm, 1/2000th, ISO 400, f/8 hand held

40-150mm, 1/2000th, ISO 400, f/8 handheld

40-150mm, 1/2000th, ISO 400, f/8 handheld

As can be seen in these the DOF and sharpness are much better. This is due to the faster shutter and and smaller aperture settings.

Know you equipment and do your scouting, it pays off in the long run.

Check out Arizona Highways PhotoScapes at https://photography-workshops.directory/photographer/arizona-highways-photo-workshops/

David Halgrimson is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

Boots

By Vicki Uthe

As a kid I was a collector. You name it, I collected it. In hindsight I’m not positive how much the collections were because of things I was interested in or because I inherited them from family members. I also think I collected a couple of things that my mom got me into like dolls from foreign lands and glass blown figurines. These things cost money and required dusting. I look at my minimalist lifestyle now and think YUCK! I also collected postcards, matchbook covers, coins, stamps, and of course rocks. All required management of STUFF.
As I was going through images the other day hoping to be inspired for my next blog post it occurred to me that I still collect. But now I collect images. My taste is eclectic, I’ll shoot anything in front of me. I love people and details but am not lost on grand landscapes.
In my archive diving I discovered I apparently have an affinity for cowboy/girl boots. They are a work of art and as it turns out I’ve acquired quite a collection. The other thing I love about boots is the stories they could tell. They have such character. And the beauty of it all? I don’t have to store them or manage the care of the leather! Ha!

This is a great image of boots with chaps and spurs. I was a trip leader on an Arizona Highways Photo Workshop a couple of years ago in Sedona and we went on a jeep tour into the backcountry. The guides were fully dressed in old western wear.

This pair of boots was line dancing on the floor of a school gymnasium. Boots come in all sizes and these little ones were adorable. I love the scuff marks on the toes.

I captured these boots on a high school senior photo shoot. I love that even the bottoms of the boot are red, white and blue.

On a trip to Santa Fe we found a boot shop where there were walls of boots on shelves much like you’d find books on shelves in a book store. Even brand new they have amazing character.

This example, for me, highlights the fact that the artistry goes beyond the color of the material. That even in black and white the details of the boots shine through.

Maybe some day I’ll narrow my scope down to what I’m truly passionate about shooting but right now…it’s EVERYTHING!

Last summer, just north of Flagstaff, I went to the Babbitt Ranches colt sale. This was a GREAT place to capture real” cowboy/girl boots that have seen some real action.

Another pair of flag boots and the ones on the right, I love the teal color.

Black and white or color, the boots on the corral fence are a classic.

I never realized how popular the flag pattern is for boots. Who knew?

Checkout the bottom of that right boot, there’s a HOLE in it! I’d love to hear the stories…

On another trip to White Sands National Monument with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops I spent an afternoon in El Paso. These boots were for sale on the street.
So there you go, still collecting. I encourage you to go through your photo archives and see if any themes” emerge of things you are collecting but maybe never even realized. It’s kinda fun!
Happy Shooting!
Vicki Uthe is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes