When I was an interpretive park ranger at Dinosaur National Monument last summer, I created a photography program to give amateur photographers ideas on how to improve their vacation photos. The “Simple Tips to Better Photography” was a non-technical tutorial on the art of seeing. With today’s do-it-all-for-you digital cameras, most of the technical stuff is already done by the camera, and often done quite well.
But what snapshooters need to learn most is what I call visual poetry. They need to learn how to make a compelling photograph. Too many people don’t use their telephoto lenses to their best advantage, and that is one of the most important tools they have to capture the compelling part of the photograph.
Although this presentation is focused on landscape and nature photography, the same can be said about photographing people.
I began my presentation with a discussion about visual poetry, adapted for general audiences: Read the rest of this entry »
Actually, these photographs are from my last two trips to Echo Park. I bought a “new” used AWD Toyota Sienna and broke her in on the Echo Park Road. Then a week later, I took my friend Marilyn there since her little (and heavily loaded) Honda Fit wouldn’t make the trip. Marilyn is a volunteer for several wildlife refuges, and I met her last year at Okefenokee NWR. So, like me, she moves from place to place with all her possessions stuffed in her long-suffering car.
After three months of looking at the replica of this famous Fremont culture petroglyph panel in the visitor center, I finally got to see it in person. We can only make educated guesses as to what these figures represent. Someone told me that this largest figure is of a woman. If the figures are solid in color, they are male. This one is “hollow” and the three stripes on the bottom of the torso supposedly represent the number of children she had. I am not sure if this is true, but it’s the only story I have. These figures are done in the Classic Vernal Style representing a culture that ranged widely in the Southwest 800 to 1000 years ago. They are likely ancestors of today’s Utes and other modern Native tribes. Read the rest of this entry »
I had my weekend (Mon-Tues) all planned out: get my aging minivan serviced at the Ford place in Vernal, Utah, visit the nearby McConkie Ranch’s petroglyphs, then swing south through Nine Mile Canyon (really 70 miles long) to see more rock art. Car muffler repaired, check. Car engine problems – still ongoing. (Sigh!) Drive up Dry Fork Canyon Road north of Vernal, Utah to McConkie Ranch. Scramble up to see a handful of unimpressive petroglyphs. Climb a ladder over a fence to follow a trail that mysteriously ends at a gate to see the more impressive Three Kings petroglyphs. Give up on that idea since there’s nobody to ask. See a magnificent peregrine falcon. Then head west and south through several miles of oil/gas fields with muscular turbo-charged diesel trucks impatient to pass on these tight turns. Feliciana (my 2000 Ford Windstar) has already whined and complained about going down this road, and my gut instinct tells me I don’t really want to do this. When the road turns to gravel I realize I don’t have the heart to deal with the oil field traffic for who-knows-how-many-dirt-miles. I turn around and pick another destination from my long list of places I want to see before my job at Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado ends in six weeks. Read the rest of this entry »
Monsoon season in the Southwest brings an ever-changing skyscape as pop-up storms build, wring themselves dry, and scoot off into the sunset. The light after a desert storm is brilliant and clean, and it enticed me to an east-facing overlook on the side of Plug Hat Butte in Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado. Read the rest of this entry »
When I heard what sounded like a hummingbird singing, I went to the back porch with my camera and found two rufous hummingbirds locked in an aerial battle. Although some of these photographs aren’t sharp, it shows the Ninja-like dance before they dropped to the ground, still locked together. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m one of those people that generally wakes once in the night and can’t fall immediately back asleep. I also like to check the night sky while I’m up, and when I saw that there were several lightning storms in the distance, I drove 8 miles north to a good viewpoint.
A fellow ranger and I were discussing the constant quarreling at the hummingbird feeders by the newly arrived rufous hummingbirds. Emily said they reminded her of the fighters in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” They can fly so fast you can’t keep track of where they’ve gone. Or they can hover in a slow motion attack. She said she calls them “bully Ninjas” – although I think she used another adjective that was more creative. Wish I had written it down. Read the rest of this entry »
I was taken aback when I saw this golden-mantled ground squirrel in Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado drag off a discarded snakeskin and then start eating it! Read the rest of this entry »
This large and gorgeous moth is also known as the hummingbird moth. There are several types of “hummingbird” or “hawk” moths – in Maine I photographed the Hummingbird Clearwing which is also a sphinx moth. Read the rest of this entry »