JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog en-us (C) JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Fri, 03 Nov 2017 16:29:00 GMT Fri, 03 Nov 2017 16:29:00 GMT http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/img/s/v-5/u878142221-o782860959-50.jpg JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog 120 80 The Watchman at Zion NP http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2017/11/the-watchman-at-zion-np

One of Zion National Park's iconic images is the Watchman. It is one that every photographer needs to make their image of . This composition is only made from a small bridge about 12 inches from the road. You really need to be aware of the traffic and your safety. On this small bridge there is also only one or two prime spots and you need to arrive an hour before sunset to claim your spot. Thats fine, because in that hour the light keeps changing and giving you different images. All of them beautifully interesting !!

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) sunset the watchman utah zion national park http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2017/11/the-watchman-at-zion-np Fri, 03 Nov 2017 16:29:23 GMT
Sunrise in Monument Valley Arizona http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2017/11/sunrise-in-monument-valley-arizona

Sunrise in Arches NP,Utah. This was at the first overlook driving down into the valley.This is Navajo owned land and they run it. On this overlook a Navajo family had set up some tables and were selling jewelry they had made. As Phyllis was buying some I saw these flags and composed it to capture them and the North Mitten in the warm light of the sunrise

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) monument valley flags navajo sunrise utah http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2017/11/sunrise-in-monument-valley-arizona Thu, 02 Nov 2017 13:12:04 GMT
CISCO, A GHOST TOWN IN UTAH OR IS IT A GHOST TOWN? http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2017/11/cisco-a-ghost-town-in-utah-or-is-it-a-ghost-town On our recent trip to Utah to experience Zion and Arches National Parks, we heard about the town of Cisco. What made it interesting was that it was a ghost town and we thought we might be able to make some interesting images. It was about a 45 minute car ride from the Red Cliffs Lodge near Moab, where we were staying. On our third day, in the afternoon we decided to make the trip. When we arrived we saw abandon buildings that looked like time had thrown them to the wind. There were not many, maybe less then a dozen and what looked like a few abandon cars and pickup trucks.

The first building we saw as we drove down what looked like the main road.In the past a house? Pretty grim and I didn't see any color just old wood and metal against a desert floor This was the first house we saw as we drove down what I would call the main street. We stopped the car and I started photographing a white building and across the street, another building with a new coat of white paint and a sign that said Post Office. This building didn't fit with the others, it looked newer or at least the paint did. I was studying it and speaking to Phyllis when out of seemingly nowhere a voice said, "Hi". I kind of jumped inside myself, at least I hoped it wasn't noticeable to this young women now standing in front of me. Startled I asked," Do you live here?" "Yes I do" she answered. Too quickly I asked, " Anyone else live here?" and she said she lived alone in the house in the black and white Image.  Asked her if I could take her picture and she answered with one word, "No".  "Okay no problem," was my response. " She then added, "Unless you would like to donate ten dollars to my rebuilding fund." I laughed and then gave her ten dollars. It was the only time I have paid someone to take their picture.

Eileen by herself but not aloneEileen by herself but not aloneEileen was packing a pretty large gun on her side. We then proceeded to have a very nice conversation with Eileen as she gave us the tour. We found out she had purchased 2.5 acres of the town and wanted to remodel it and rent out the rooms. Using an online marketing and hospitality service called Airbnb, It enables people to lease or rent short-term lodgings including vacation rentals and apartments rentals. The company does not own any lodging; it is merely a broker and receives percentage service commissions from both guests and hosts in conjunction with every booking. There were a few things she proudly wanted to show us, one of which was the apartment she had rented the night before for $56. She had fixed up the post office and it was really very pretty and comfortable, if not small. Although for $56. not a bad deal.  Cisco was built in the 1880s and became abandoned when the freeway was built nearby. Your abode for the night is the original post office which closed its doors in the 90s. There are many other buildings in Cisco, none of which are currently inhabited and most of which are in a state of decay adding to the spooky ghost town feel. The Apartment available for rentShe had rented it the night before for $56. AlThe bathroom was umm lets say different or at least a throw back to another time in history.

A Two Seater OuthouseMy great Grandmother had one just like this in New Hampshire when I was young boy about 60 years ago

I laughed and told her how I had told my wife about a two seater that my Great Grandparents had in New Hampshire when I was very young. I said at the time I never thought much about it but years later when I was older, I wondered how long you would need to be married to share this? Eileen said in the early years when there were large families, it was just practical to have two seats. This way people could get back to their chores, I think I would still wait and I was one of six boys!!!

I then asked if I would take her picture in front of a wall she had just built, she was very excited about it and led me to another building close by. She posed with the rake, kind of my American Gothic moment!!

Eileen in front of  a wall she had just finished buildingEileen in front of a wall she had just finished building I asked if she had carpentry experience and she told me no but you can learn many things if you try. I asked her about living with no water, she does have WIFI and air conditioning and she said she would go into town every three weeks for supplies. She seemed non plussed about being alone in the desert in this abandoned town. When I mentioned that I noticed she was carrying a gun, she said she was not that great a shot.  When I mentioned that up close she would not need to be, she laughed and agreed. This is the outside of the room she has for rent and yes mail is still delivered there.

Post Office and now rented room.Mail is still delivered to it

During the day you may hear trains, as there are tracks running near the town. There is also moderate traffic during the day since there is a river rafting drop off site a couple miles away. Your host, Eileen lives across the street in her 1950s airstream trailer and will be happy to help with anything you need. 

More abandoned buildings Another abandon buildingThis one not for rent but I bet Eileen eventually fixes it up So that was our visit to Cisco the inhabited Ghost Town. We didn't see any ghosts but we did meet one of the most interesting people we have met on any trip.

 

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2017/11/cisco-a-ghost-town-in-utah-or-is-it-a-ghost-town Wed, 01 Nov 2017 16:03:12 GMT
I'M OFTEN TOLD THAT MY IMAGES OF ITALY ARE PEOPLE'S FAVORITES http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2017/4/im-often-told-that-my-images-of-italy-are-people-s-favorites  People often tell me that of all my images, the ones of Italy are their favorites. I started wondering why, I think i know the reason. Now I will admit that Italy has many beautiful cities. Rome is one of the world's truly great cities. Venice is a beautiful mystery waiting to be discovered even after thousands of years. The architecture of Italy is amazing. There are ancient structures still to be seen to this day, some being excavated as you watch. The Roma ForumThis was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history.Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million sightseers yearly. Then there are the landscapes of Italy. How do you describe them adequately? I really can't but then, I'm not a poet or writer but a photographer.

The Grand Canal of Venice ItalyThe banks of the Grand Canal are lined with more than 170 buildings, most of which date from the 13th to the 18th century, and demonstrate the welfare and art created by the Republic of Venice. The noble Venetian families faced huge expenses to show off their richness in suitable palazzos; this contest reveals the citizens’ pride and the deep bond with the lagoon. Amongst the many are the Palazzi Barbaro, Ca' Rezzonico, Ca' d'Oro, Palazzo Dario, Ca' Foscari, Palazzo Barbarigo and to Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, housing the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The churches along the canal include the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. Centuries-old traditions, such as the Historical Regatta (it), are perpetuated every year along the Canal.  Ahh, then there's the people. Now there's a reason to love Italy. They are warm, generous and overflowing with the love of life. That truly describes the people of Italy.

Bride & Groom Just married I was walking around Burano when I saw a wedding party was just leaving the wedding. Naturally I started taking pictures. The best man and others showed them with Rose petals Breakfast in RomaA Businessman stops for breakfast which included Espresso and a sweet roll. Taken in the Campo De Fiori Two Italian Gentleman enjoying a breakfast of Espresso and a cigarette Also in the Campo Di Fiori Young Love in Roma Did I mention Italians love romance?

A band playing during lunch in the Campo Di Fiori In Italy music can come from every corner anytime of the day or night We can't talk of reasons to love Italy without mentioning the food and wine. In my opinion Italy has the best food  anywhere in the world. It's amazing because it is simple, uses the highest quality product and they don't add too much to it. It sounds like I could be describing good photographic technique.

Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers. This was in a restaurant in Venice and they were delicious Fresh Anchovies simply grilled and dressed with Olive Oil and Fennel FrondsSame restaurant in Venice as the flowers, what a lunch lol The owner of Da Romano in Burano6Th generations of the same family For all reasons I've mentioned, my images of Italy might be my best work. I think you photograph best what you love the most. For me, I love the USA but I also love my heritage: the Italian culture I was raised in. I also love my family especially my wife and I love making images of all of them. 

Italy will always be strong in my heart and soul, the place that I feel closest to my bloodline. I love all things Italian including cooking the food while listening to Dino, Frank and Pavarotti. I adore the women, the art and, of course the Vino. All of it is the best in my opinion!

I'll close with some more images of Italy but let me give a little advice in how to improve your photography. Realize what you love in your world, photograph it and keep photographing it. I bet you'll make some of your best images and all your photographic skills will improve. 

My last words will be some Italian sayings that I think apply to photography.

Chi dorme non piglia pesci – Those who sleep don’t catch any fish, plus they miss the best light.

La semplicità è l’ultima sofisticazione – Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
-Leonardo Da Vinci. Just like Italian cooking plus if Da Vinci thinks it's true, it is!

Una cena senza vino e come un giorno senza sole – A meal without wine is a day without  sunshine. This doesn't really apply to photography but it is very true ;) 

Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto. – Eat well, laugh often, love much. Words to live by

Now some final images of the land I love: Italy.

Venice from across the Grand CanalEarly morning light striking Venice SunriseA beautiful Sunrise on the Grand Canal

Piazza are all over Italian Cities Squares are where life happens in Italy like this one in Roma A Rainy Day in VeniceWe took a walk in the rain and I made this image. Don't allow the rain to take away a great image, get out in it and keep your camera covered. Storm coming in VeniceDark storm clouds moving over Venice The Rooftops of Roma Sant'Agnese in AgoneSant'Agnese in Agone (also called Sant'Agnese in Piazza Navona) is a 17th-century Baroque church in Rome, Italy. It faces onto the Piazza Navona, one of the main urban spaces in the historic centre of the city and the site where the Early Christian Saint Agnes was martyred in the ancient Stadium of Domitian. Construction began in 1652 under the architects Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo Rainaldi. The Piazza Navona in Roma Simple window with patio The combination of Italian Stone used in buildings and the beautiful Roman light makes a simple scene like this special Sunset in Roma. The Castel Sant'Angelo in Romahe Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The View into Roma from Castel Sant'Angelo

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2017/4/im-often-told-that-my-images-of-italy-are-people-s-favorites Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:45:16 GMT
The Amazing Landscape of Yellowstone N.P. in Wyoming ( Part 1) http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2016/10/the-amazing-landscape-of-yellowstone-n-p-in-wyoming  

 

 

 

White Dome Geyser is stunning cone Geyser I was told it would erupt every12 to 24 minutes we waited over a half hour twice and missed it. Must be why it is not called Ild Faithful The Yellowstone and Grand Teton region is one of the most dynamic seismic areas in the world -- wracked by earthquakes, cracked by water boiling to the surface, and littered with the detritus of previous volcanic eruptions. Today, the bowels of the Yellowstone caldera are again filling with magma. Geologic studies show that, for the past 2 million years, the plateau has blown its top every 600,000 years or so -- and the last explosion was about 600,000 years ago. That means that a titanic blow -- bigger than anything seen in recorded history -- could happen, well, any century now, give or take thousands of years. The geological time frame is a long one, by human standards, but this didn't stop people from getting excited when an unprecedented "swarm" of minor earthquakes rattled the park in early 2009. The good news is that the big one is not imminent; geologists say things need to heat up considerably first.

Old Faithful Geyser It did erupt every 90 minutes while we were there. We stayed at the Old Faithful Inn, which is located right in front of this geyser

By the end of the 1872 Hayden expedition, explorers had identified several distinct areas in the park, each with its own physical characteristics. Less spectacular than the craggy mountain scenery of Grand Teton, and less imposing than the vast expanses of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Yellowstone's beauty is subtle, reflecting the changes it has undergone during its explosive past.

Although Yellowstone has its share of mountains, much of the park is a high mountain plateau. The environment changes dramatically as you ascend the mountain slopes from the foothill zones in the valleys -- the elevation at the entrance at West Yellowstone is 6,666 feet, for example, compared to 5,314 feet at the Gardiner entrance. Because the park lies about halfway between the equator and the North Pole, its summers consist of long, warm days that stimulate plant growth at the lower elevations.

Situated on 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone is significantly larger than its sister to the south. Encompassing 3,472 square miles, Yellowstone boasts 310 miles of paved roads and 1,000 miles of backcountry trails, and it is home to more geysers and hot springs than the combined total in the rest of the world. Fountain Flats Drive The Firehole River flows past meadows frequented by Bison. Lots of Bison!!! Fir Trees on the way to Yellowstone lake. We found this old abandoned house surrounded by Aspen. This was in September and the colors were terrific Then comes the mountain zone (6,000-7,600 ft.), thickening forests dominated by lodgepole pine, broken by meadows where deer, elk, and moose often graze. The transition area between the highest forest and the bare surface above timberline is known as the subalpine zone (7,600-11,300 ft.). Finally, we come to the bare rock at the very top of the continental shelf, where small, hardy plants, such as glacier lilies and sky pilot, bloom briefly after the annual thaw.

Rivers are fed by the melting glacier and snow peaks The Amazing Color's of Yellowstone in September This raven followed us to three consecutive pull offs , as if it was showing us his park! The Big Sky of Yellowstone.Montana is not the only place with big Skies When you arrive at the Southern Geyser Basin you might feel that you've been transported through a geologic time warp. Here you will find the largest collections of thermal areas in the world -- there are perhaps 600 geysers and 10,000 geothermal features in the park -- and the largest geysers in Yellowstone. The result: boiling water that is catapulted skyward and barren patches of sterile dirt; hot, bubbling pools that are unimaginably colorful; and, of course, the star of this show, the geyser Old Faithful. Plan on spending at least 80 minutes here, as that's the typical period between the eruptions that send thousands of gallons of boiling water through the sky at a speed exceeding 100 mph. Old Faithful Geyser AreaOld Faithful gets old the great press but the area around it can be just as beautiful Old Faithful after it had erupted, All of a sudden a rainbow appeared right over it. Phyllis and I stumbled upon this scene. The rivers running through the fields of Orange, Red and Yellow was amazing to see Rain Storms would bring great dark clouds with beautiful light The Northern section of the park, between Mammoth Hot Springs and the Tower-Roosevelt region, is a high-plains area that is primarily defined by mountains, forests, and broad expanses of river valleys that were created by ice movements. What ever direction you travel in Yellowstone you see beauty. This was in the south area on the way to the Grand TetonsWe found this scene on the side of the road The Grand Prismatic Spring Located in the Midway Geyser Basin  In part two of our Yellowstone  National Park landscape  we will concentrate on the thermal areas of Yellowstone. This includes the Midway Geyser Basin which is where the Prismatic Springs ( seen above) is located.

 

Midway Geyser Basin

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2016/10/the-amazing-landscape-of-yellowstone-n-p-in-wyoming Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:53:03 GMT
An Early Morning Hike up to Logan Pass in Glacier National Park http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2016/10/an-early-morning-hike-up-to-logan-pass-in-glacier-national-park What and where is Logan Pass you ask? Located at 6,646 feet above sea level, Logan Pass runs along the Continental Divide, which is at the summit of the Going -To -The -Sun Road. This is the highest point you can drive your vehicle but trails such as Hidden Lake can take you much higher. A visitors center is open only during the summer season. The pass is closed during the winter due to the impracticality of keeping the road clear of snow and avalanches.

The first time we drove to Logan Pass the temperature was 40 degrees with a twenty mile per hour wind. It was pretty cold for a 4 mile round trip, many of it in open area. It was just the start of our week and we decided to wait till a few days later.

First Try at hiking Up to Logan Pass40 degrees and twenty mile per hours wind really a raw cold day up at the beginning of the trail. We decided we would wait for another day

 Two days later Phyllis and I started out at 6:30 AM, stopped for coffee and a breakfast burrito at Montana Coffee Traders. This is a chain in Montana and the coffee and breakfasts are great. The burrito is so large we would split one. If you're in Montana, try them out. You will not be disappointed.  If would take us about thirty minutes to reach the parking lot at the visitor's center which is where you start the hike up Hidden Lake Trail. It was a beautiful morning and we both agreed we were happy we waited a few days to walk it.

The middle of the hike up Hidden Lake trail.You can see much of the trail in this image until it winds around that small mountain. The atmospheric conditions were amazing and this cloud hung around for a few hours.Like a beacon showing us where the Visitor Center was ​ As we walked the trail, I kept looking up at Reynolds Mountain trying to guess how far we had to go. It loomed ahead of us as both a destination and a challenge. As people were coming back down, they would smile and say, "Still a ways to go but worth it". I heard that so many times, mostly unsolicited. I would smile and think, please no more "A way to Go".

 The colors in the rocks and the plant life were amazing, so many colors, so many textures.

​ I won't lie, it was a challenge. The air is lighter and we are both in our sixties but I was really proud of Phyllis. She just kept walking and whenever I looked back at her, she would smile and wave, at least that is what I think she was doing! Although she usually uses all of her fingers.

​As we started getting closer to where the road would flatten out, we became excited knowing we were near the top. We found a pond near the top.

Then we reached the overlook and had our first view at Hidden Lake. What a beautiful vista, just a gorgeous setting up high in these magnificent mountains!

Hidden Lake such beautiful colors Hidden Lake such beautiful colors I met another photographer and he told me we had just missed seeing three Mountain Goats which was very disappointing, for up till then they were the only animals on our wish list we had not seen. He pointed to the mountain behind us and said one had climbed up there and the other two went down into the valley. As I gazed up at the mountain, I saw a white spot moving up the rocky face of the mountain. It was the Mountain Goat not very close even with my 400mm lens but I took a few images hoping they would be good. If this was going to be our only chance to make an image of one, I was going for it.

Mountain Goat Climbing up the face of the mountain Mountain Goat Climbing up the face of the mountain Soon it was out of our sight as it went into the mountain with one look seemingly back at us. We then turned our attention to the beautiful scenery that was all around us.

As we were walking around a slight bend in the trail I saw an amazing sight, two mountain goats were right in front of us no more the twenty feet from the path. The other two had come back up from the valley and stood in front of us. The excitement and adrenaline rush was fantastic and I just started shooting a few with my 80- 400 and a few with my 17- 55 Nikons. This sighting made our day, such beautiful and seemingly peaceful animals they were not bothered by any of us being so close and no one violated their space. It was a really great encounter with these beautiful furred animals.

​After this experience, we decided to head back down the two mile path to our car.

Mountain Goat on Logan Pass Mountain Goat on Logan Pass Mountain Goat on Logan Pass We started down and saw the view of where we were headed.  As we passed people making the trip up, they would ask us how much further and we would smile and say, " A way to go but worth it" and I would laugh to myself. Hey, you need to amuse yourself on a four mile hike up and back lol.

The path back down ..OH BOY !!! When we made it to the bottom of the trail we stopped for a moment to look back at where we had gone and we both smiled and congratulated each other. This image is of a very happy Phyllis when we reached the end of the trail!

Let me say, I don't care what your age, if you are physically able to walk the Hidden Lake Trail, do it. You will be happy you did and when people pass you on your way down smile and tell them, "A way to go but so worth it!"

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2016/10/an-early-morning-hike-up-to-logan-pass-in-glacier-national-park Tue, 18 Oct 2016 15:25:21 GMT
The Grand Tetons Everything You Have Heard and More ! http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2016/10/the-grand-tetons-everything-you-have-heard-and-more  

 

On our trip to Yellowstone we planned a day trip to the Grand Tetons. We took off in the early morning mainly because any trip through Yellowstone needs to have frequent stops built in for all the amazing animals and beautiful scenery. This was worth the time and effort even though the weather was not great mostly cloudy skies with the threat  of rain. We planned to come back and stay a night but the weather report for over night and the next day included words like mud slides, avalanches, washed out roads and falling rocks. Not words to make us want to travel back the next day, but on our next trip to Yellowstone we are planing on building in a few days for the Grand Tetons. We really loved the area including Jackson Hole where we had a nice lunch and there was a STARBUCKS ....YES !!!!!

​Near the end of our day I met a wonderful family visiting the USA from India.They had asked me to take their pictures with their phone and I offered to also take one with mine and mail it to them if they contacted me . Im hoping they do and that they did not loose my contact info.

 

Here is some technical information about the Tetons and in 2018 I'll have even more images. I should let you know that we were there this past September and the foliage colors were amazing, It's a great time to visit the area and much of the crowds have left.

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Wyoming

Established: February 26, 1929

Size: 309,994 acres

The peaks of the Teton Range, regal and imposing as they stand nearly 7,000 feet above the valley floor, make one of the boldest geologic statements in the Rockies. Unencumbered by foothills, they rise through steep coniferous forest into alpine meadows strewn with wildflowers, past blue and white glaciers to naked granite pinnacles. The Grand, Middle, and South Tetons form the heart of the range. But their neighbors, especially Mount Owen, Teewinot Mountain, and Mount Moran, are no less spectacular.

A string of jewel-like lakes, fed by mountain streams, are set tightly against the steep foot of the mountains. Beyond them extends the broad valley called Jackson Hole, covered with sagebrush and punctuated by occasional forested buttes and groves of aspen trees—excellent habitats for pronghorn, deer, elk, and other animals. The Snake River, having begun its journey in southern Yellowstone National Park near the Teton Wilderness, winds leisurely past the Tetons on its way to Idaho. The braided sections of the river create wetlands that support moose, elk, deer, beavers, trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, Canada geese, and all sorts of ducks.

The Tetons are normal faultblock mountains. About 13 million years ago, two blocks of Earth's crust began to shift along a fault line, one tilting down while the other lifted up. So far, movement has measured some 30,000 vertical feet, most of it from the subsidence of Jackson Hole.

Before Europeans arrived, the Teton area was an important plant-gathering and hunting ground for Indians of various tribes. In the early 1800s, mountain men spent time here; it was they who called this flat valley ringed by mountains Jackson's Hole after the trapper Davey Jackson. (In recent times the name has lost its apostrophe and s.) The first settlers were ranchers and farmers. Some of their buildings are historic sites today, although ranching is still practiced in the vicinity. When the park was established, it included only the mountains and the glacial lakes at their feet. Portions of the valley were added in 1950.

Today the park's 485 square miles encompass both the Teton Range and much of Jackson Hole. Park roads, all in the valley, offer an ever changing panorama of the Tetons. Most visitors never go far from the road. But the Tetons are popular with hikers; backcountry trails climb high into the mountains—and behind them. Easy trails in the valley lead around lakes and beside wetlands where visitors see moose, elk, deer, and all kinds of birds.

Did You Know?

Grand Teton National Park was actually established twice, first in 1929 to protect mountain peaks and the lakes surrounding the mountain bases, then in 1950, when the adjacent valley floors as well as the Jackson Hole National Monument, created in 1943, were incorporated into the park visitors love today. Since 1972, the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway has connected Grand Teton to Yellowstone National Park, enabling visitors to experience both the slopes of the Tetons and the volcanic landscape of Yellowstone.

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Grand Tetons Landscape Photography Scenic Photography Scenics Wyoming travel Photography http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2016/10/the-grand-tetons-everything-you-have-heard-and-more Thu, 13 Oct 2016 15:37:38 GMT
I SHARE AN EARLY MORNING HUNT WITH A COYOTE IN YELLOWSTONE N.P WYOMING http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2016/10/i-share Coyote in Yellowstone on the hunt

It was 5:30 AM and Phyllis and I were both up as we were each morning in Yellowstone. After a light breakfast downstairs at the Old Faithful Inn, we set out to photograph the wonders of Yellowstone. This morning we were accompanied by our cousins Carl Rossi and his beautiful wife, Cheri. As we drove through the grounds of the inn, I noticed something running across the road behind our SUV. We all turned and saw that it was a coyote. He was running onto a find of yellow grass. As we pulled the car off the road, we could see that he was taking his time looking around slowly. At first I thought he was looking at us but soon realized he was on a hunt, as I was. He was looking for breakfast and I was trying to capture one of the images on my photographic bucket list.  Ever since I lived in Arizona back in the 70s, I have  loved coyotes. I find them beautiful and elusive.

I had my 80-400 Nikon lens up to my eye ready to try and capture the image I wanted. In these moments, I feel excited and a little apprehensive about not screwing up. I know that Phyllis and our cousins were within feet of me but in these moments I am at one with my subject. I really don't hear or see anything that is not in my lens. 

​I kept watching the coyote waiting for 'the' moment, not sure what it would be but knowing there would be one. As I watched and took some pictures, I was thinking about how much it reminded me of our little girl (our cat). Its head cocked to one side looking first backwards and then down, just like when she is about to pounce on one of her toys.  Our hunt was on, he had seen something and I had seen him looking.

​When he looked down he froze for a moment and just at that moment, I knew what was coming, It was the same moment I had seen many times with the 'Little Girl'. The pounce was going to happen and I was not going to miss it or at least I hoped I wouldn't. Then he started to pounce.

​The head cocked, the back feet tensed and the front paws rose up, never taking his eyes off whatever he saw. Then all of a sudden he was up in the air, his eyes not moving from its prey, much like mine did not move from mine.

Coyote mid pounce

Up in the air and just as quickly down, his nose was in the grass with paws on either side. His back paws were now up in the air and much like an athlete, was never losing concentration. As the back feet landed, it looked like there would be no breakfast. It had missed its prey but I caught mine.

It did not stop but turned quickly and ran to the back of the field never looking back. I kept looking at it, took one last picture and put my Nikon down by my side. I realized I had a smile on my face. It was early morning but this was a great day already.

​If you have heard how great Yellowstone is for nature photographers you have heard right. We had an amazing week there and I'll be sharing our week with you all. I hope you come back to see more of our trip to Yellowstone N.P. Wyoming.

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2016/10/i-share Wed, 05 Oct 2016 12:19:19 GMT
PHOTOGRAPHERS, IT IS ALL ABOUT STYLE ! DO YOU HAVE IT ? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS ? http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2015/9/photographers-it-is-all-about-style-do-you-have-it-do-you-know-what-it-is IT IS ALL ABOUT STYLE!!! DO YOU HAVE IT? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS?
 
DEFINITION OF STYLE;  In Webster's, I found two definitions that seemed to apply:


1) A partic​ular manner or technique by which something is done, created or performed. An example; the classical style of dance.

2) A distinctive quality, form or type of something. An example; The Greek style of architecture.


Fashion fades, only style remains the same.

Coco Chanel

Style is that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward.
Robert Frost


One man's style must not be the rule of another's.
Jane Austen
 
 

As I was thinking about the different styles, I wondered if we realize our own style. Are we aware what our style is? Do you try and develop "your own style"or do you just wander through different styles? Is style the opposite of pornography: you know what it is but you don't know it when you see it?  I think that style is something we develop as we grow into our particular field of art. It is much like a muscle. As we work on it, our style becomes more defined, more easily recognized. In today's era of branding and marketing ourselves, we need to stick out from the rest of our fellow artists.  If I ask you, "WHAT IS YOUR STYLE" could you answer? If you cannot, then you're not taking full advantage of your skills. You're not developing your art to it fullest. Now I'm not asking what type photographer you are. You could be a street photographer, or someone who photographs nature, people, night images, travel or landscapes. You still will develop a style. Well, at least in my opinion you should if you want to stand out. 

When I first started out as a photographer, I read all the great photographers' books I could find. I was mostly into nature back then, so the photographers who were some of the gods (at least my gods) were : Adams, Rowell, Porter, Muench and Shaw. All great photographers that I did and still do look up to today. Some of my early film work tried to capture their style. Not a bad thing but I just mentioned five distinctive photographers and I was knowingly and unknowingly copying their work. I do not mean I went to the same places and tried to find the exact spot where they stood and set the same readings on my camera. What I mean is that I would try to use their influences to shape my work. This is not a bad learning tool. I am not saying it is the wrong thing to do. What I am saying is that you eventually need to take ingredients from the greats and from all other areas of life to make your particular style, sing.

For years I really could not answer the same question I asked you. I really didn't know my style. How do you define your style? How do you create your own style? Heck, at times I was just trying to learn the science of photography; how to get a proper exposure, how to insure a sharp image, is the lens cap off?  Believe me, I was just trying to get an image that was in focus, properly exposed and interesting.
Photography, (painting with light), is a mixture of two distinctive fields: science and art. These two fields do not usually seem to go side by side. But in photography, you must master both sides. If you master just the science part, you will get sharp, well exposure images. But they will not have any soul. They will not hold the interest of the viewer.

Have you ever eaten in a restaurant and after say to the person that ate with you, "The food was okay. It was cooked just the way I asked and seasoned all right but I'm not really in a hurry to go back." The person who prepared your meal was a cook but not a chef. He fed your stomach but not your soul. You would eat their food if you were starving and none other was available but you would not even think about going back to the same restaurant again and spending your money. It is the same with your photography and other art. If you do not learn the art, if you do not have "it" in you, then your images will never quite have what people will want to see over and over again.

On the other side, if you "see" the world through the eyes of an artist but do not learn the science of photography, you will have the same problem, maybe worse. You might compose an image that no one else saw that particular day, even though they were standing next to you, but if your exposure is way off or your image is blurred then people will not ever "see" what you saw.

 

You might ask me, what's your style? Do you know what it is and what influenced it in you?

 I think I do. My style is based in three parts:

Composition, Color and Contrast. Let's take them one at a time.

 

COMPOSITION; I realized over the last few years that I tend to compose my images, both in camera and in post production, in what I guess would be now called 'letter box'.  Did I just develop this when the new letterbox TVs were introduced? No, it started way before that. When I was a young boy I loved the movies. Like many young boys, I particularly liked westerns, especially John Wayne westerns: movies like the "The Searchers" and " In Her Hair She Wore A Yellow Ribbon". These movies were shot in the western United States and the imagery included the beautiful full expanse of many of the western canyons and prairies. In the "Searchers", directed by Jon Ford, parts were filmed in Monument Valley Arizona and Utah. I did not realize till years later what an influence these films had on me. The "Searchers" in particular, I believe influenced my early years in many ways. It is a wonderful complex film. Ford depicts racism in the way the Indian are portrayed. The lead character, Ethan Edwards (Wayne) searches for his niece who has been abducted by Indians. So many emotions are going on in this film below and above the surface. I honestly think it helped shape my feelings on racism. In later years, I would move to Arizona and visit some of those same valleys. It is an area that is still very dear to me.

A few years ago, I noticed that I was composing many of my images in a cinematography style heavily influenced by this and other films of the era: the wide letterbox view. Why do I like this so much? I like the full story it tells.

 I want to convey what I saw, a person or animal in the forefront of an expanse of scenery but showing the viewer what the person or animal is seeing. Not just nature images but even in street photography it is possible. I think this young women is the most interesting part of this image. Cropping it this way allows her to be the focal but you get to see where she is, what she is seeing. It tells a story.


This is the in camera crop of this egret. I liked it but I "saw" it a little different.
        

 

                          This is a very subtle difference but I think it brings more focus on the egret, eliminating some of the water.

This was cropped in camera. I could have used a different lens, come closer and made the bride and groom the main focus. But they really were not the story I was trying to tell. What the story was is having all their family and friends there to celebrate with them. The wider angle accomplished that.

You might have noticed that in all but this last image I used the "Rule of Thirds" which is one of the most often used rules of composition. I almost always use the rule of thirds but not always. These rules are made to be broken in the appropriate image. Which is the appropriate image? I believe that's up to the photographer's eye, part of their style. I also believe we should make images that we like (unless we are being paid for a particular project to be photographed a particular way).

The rule of thirds is part of my style. To understand the rule of thirds imagine the lines of a tic tac toe board on top of my images here, other then the last one. Although I could make the point that in the last one the main point of interest is not the bride and groom but the young very demonstrative young man to camera right point at them. The most important part of the image should fall in one of the four intersections of the Tic Tac Toe board.

As you can see composition is a large part of my style and I photograph with that in mind for every shot. Then when I import into Lightroom the first thing I decide on is if I want to refine my compositional choice.

​In my next post, I will deal with the second part of my style; Color

 

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Composition Photography Rules Of Thirds http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2015/9/photographers-it-is-all-about-style-do-you-have-it-do-you-know-what-it-is Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:30:30 GMT
BIRDS IN FLIGHT and HOW I CAPTURE THEM ..In My Camera http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2015/6/birds-in-flight-and-how-i-capture-them-in-my-camera

  I really enjoy the challenge of photographing birds in flight and people seem to love seeing images like the one above. I am always asked how I capture these images and truth be told there is a certain level of skill involved. It is not all skill, the time of day, the equipment used and your camera settings are all equal components. I will explain how I make my images. Now I said, 'my images'. Others might have other ways of photographing these magnificent birds in flight. This is what works for me and what I teach people in my workshops. I think, if nothing else, using these tips will give you a strong foundation to enhance your skill level.

EQUIPMENT :

Unfortunately you will need certain equipment and that equipment will be expensive. It is just the price of doing business.  I use all Nikon products. I am not saying Nikon is the only cameras or lens you should use. There are many great cameras and lens companies. Canon is one that comes to mind but there are others.  My camera is a D300s and I have had it for about twelve years. The lens I used for all these images was a 80-400 VR (vibration reduction) with a variable aperture 4.5 - 5.6. This combination works great for the way I photograph.

                                                            

Settings :

This is the one area that I receive the most questions about, so for all of those who have asked, here are the answers.

MY ISO is always 200-400 when shooting in my favorite time which is early to mid morning. What is ISO? Okay, a fair question but if you have been shooting for a while and don't know, I would be shocked.

In very basic terms, ISO is the level of sensitivity of your camera to available light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to the light, while a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera. The component within your camera that can change sensitivity is called “image sensor” or simply “sensor”. It is the most important (and most expensive) part of a camera and it is responsible for gathering light and transforming it into an image. With increased sensitivity, your camera sensor can capture images in low-light environments without having to use a flash. But higher sensitivity comes at an expense – it adds grain or “noise” to the pictures.

I try and always shoot the birds at 1/1200 up to whatever the light allows me at the lowest ISO.

You should increase the ISO when there is not enough light for the camera to be able to quickly capture an image. Anytime I shoot in really early morning (right after sunrise) or in cloudy weather, when the light is low, I push my ISO up to usually 800. You do need to worry about "noise" but there are many great Noise Reduction Programs out there including the Lightroom 5 and up. Many times the noise will come in the high contrast areas (under the bird's wing in the shadow area). As you gain experience you will learn what combination of ISO and F stop  (aperture) works best for you. Your starting point should be to set the widest possible aperture (5.6) My reason for this setting is depth of field and allowing the most light to hit the camera sensor which will enable you to shoot at higher speeds (1/2000 sec). Most times when photographing a flying bird, I want a small depth of field. This will make the birds look sharper and pop off the page.

Exposure Mode;

 I could write many words on Exposure Mode but I won't.  I am writing about birds in flight and my method. I use Aperture Priority 99.9% of the time, maybe more !!

Why Aperture Priority? Because in bird photography, we are often shooting in lower light with a longer lens. A longer lens will usually be slower (at least the ones most of us can afford). That means you need to keep your aperture set at its widest usable setting to gain speed. 

​Aperture-Priority mode is therefore the best setting for almost all bird photography because it lets you fix a wide aperture and have the camera set the shutter speed.

I know some will say that a pro should shoot in only 'Manual' That way I have total control. True, but it is much slower for most of us and that is one reason you bought your expensive camera for the computer and sensor to work for you.

Shutter Speed:

Remember we said that shutter speed will be set by your expensive camera in Aperture-Priority? With that comes a warning. It is important to be aware of your shutter speed. There are limitations on the shutter speeds that you can use hand held with a long lens. A good rule of thumb is that you can only hand hold a lens at a shutter speed that's at least the inverse of the focal length; a 400 mm lens  needs a shutter speed of at least 1/500 of a second, UNLESS ! 

What are you saying Jim? There is an unless? Pray tell what is it? What I consider is one of the most important advances in bird photography and even more important as I get older, Vibration Reduction. Remember I said my lens had a Vibration Reduction setting? It is unfortunate that image stabilized lenses often come at a premium because some photographers opt for the cheaper lens without image stabilization. Especially for telephoto lenses, your image stabilization will be absolutely vital to the success of your photography of birds in flight.

Metering Mode;

My workshops go into metering in more depth. Here I'll touch on it because it is important. Metering is how your camera determines what the correct Shutter speeds and Aperture should be, depending on the amount of light that goes into the camera and the sensitivity of the sensor. Back in the old days of photography, cameras were not equipped with a light 'meter' which is a sensor that measures the amount and intensity of light. Photographers had to use hand-held light meters to determine the optimal exposure. Obviously, because the work was shot on film, they could not preview or see the results immediately which is why they religiously relied on those light meters.

Today, every DSLR has an integrated light meter that automatically measures the reflected light and determines optimal exposure.

Matrix Metering or Evaluative Metering mode is the default metering mode on most DSLRs. It works similarly to the above example by dividing the entire frame into multiple 'zones' which are then all analyzed on individual basis for light and dark tones. One of the key factors (in addition to color, distance, subjects, highlights, etc) that affects matrix metering is where the camera point is focused. After reading information from all individual zones, the metering system looks at where you focused within the frame and marks it more important than all other zones. There are many other variables used in the equation which differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Nikon, for example, also compares image data to a database of thousands of pictures for exposure calculation. I sometimes use Spot or Centered metering but will save that for another day.

Autofocus Mode: DSLRs normally let you choose between One Shot AF mode and a continuous or AI Servo mode. This mode locks on to the subject you focus on and continues to track the subject as long as the shutter is half pressed.

Since birds are normally moving continuously, you should use the second option most of the time. Exceptionally, you may want the additional control of the first mode, e.g. to enable you to fix your focus while recomposing your shot. Personally, I never use this option: for control over composition, I normally use alternative AF points.

In addition to using the central AF point, DSLRs typically let you select one of four or eight additional AF points distributed around your viewfinder. In bird photography, 99% of the time you should be focusing on the bird's eye. By using alternative AF points, you can do this whilst positioning the bird in the frame in such a way as to give a good composition. Frustratingly, camera manufacturers place the alternative AF points in the central portion of the field, and so this technique gives limited composition options. If you wanted, for example, to place the bird's eye at the extreme top-right of the image, you would need to revert to an alternative technique such as using the AF lock button (my preferred option), using One-shot AF or using manual focusing.

An additional focusing option built into DSLRs is the ability to make all AF points active so that, for example, a flying bird could be tracked by any AF point that you could manage to get on to it. This can be useful for birds flying in a featureless sky, but can be more trouble than it's worth if a bird is flying against a background of trees or sea, because the camera tends to focus on these rather than the bird. For this reason, I don't normally use this setting. 

In Continuous or AI Servo mode, the camera will probably automatically select 'predictive AF', if this feature is available. This feature predicts where a moving subject will be at the exact point of exposure and focuses accordingly. If it's not set automatically, make sure you select this option.

 

 Drive Mode; (very important)

​In addition to taking a single exposure when you fully depress the shutter release, you will certainly have a continuous shooting mod. USE IT!!!

This is one of the reasons that I capture some of these amazing images with the wings frozen at angles you would not normally see. I see a bird approaching or about to leave its perch and I start shooting till it is out of range, sometimes bending my head backwards shooting straight up. I understand you will have more images to go through on your computer but your chances of stopping at one and being amazed is greater in my opinion. In the film days (if you don't know what film is ask your grandparents), it was expensive to buy film and process it. Now shoot away. All you're spending is time and if you do not enjoy it, you might want to stick with point and shoot cameras.

These next three images were all shot between 8:38- 47 sec. and 8:38-49 sec.

I would consider all of these keepers. If I tried shooting one at a time, I might have made one of these images.

 All right. These are some of my tips for photographing birds in flight. I have used a 70-200 VR also which is a little cheaper but you will need to get closer to the bird. In post production, you can always crop. I will touch on that in another post. Let me know if you use these tips and how they worked for you.

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Egret Florida Heron How to photograph flying birds Nature Nature Photography Wood Storks osprey http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2015/6/birds-in-flight-and-how-i-capture-them-in-my-camera Tue, 09 Jun 2015 15:26:54 GMT
THE BIRDS OF FLORIDA PT 2. - THE ROSEATE SPOONBILL http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2015/1/the-birds-of-florida-pt-2---the-roseate-spoonbill  

The Roseate Spoonbill was a bird I did not know about before I moved to Florida and another great reason to move here. The Roseate is a bird that people mistake for a flamingo because of their bright pink color. You would think that its pink coloring would be its most distinctive characteristic but it is not.The most distinctive characteristic of the roseate spoonbill is its long spoon-shaped bill, as you can see in the image above that is one strange looking bill but highly efficient. Spoonbills consume a varied diet of small fish, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, and some plant material. They feed in the early morning and evening hours by wading through shallow water with their bills partially submerged. As a Roseate Spoonbill walks it swings its head back and forth in a sideways motion. When the bird feels a prey item it snaps its bill closed, pulls the prey out of the water, and swallows it.

Other characteristics is its  white head and chest and light pink wings with a darker pink fringe and very long pink legs. The roseate spoonbill is about two and a half feet in length with a wingspan of about four and a half feet. Both males and females have the same plumage and coloring. The male is slightly larger than the female and its bill is a little longer.

The roseate spoonbill nests in colonies. Males and females pair off for the breeding season and build a nest together. They build large nests of sticks lined with grass and leaves. The nests are built in trees. The female spoonbill lays two to four eggs. Both the female and the male incubate the eggs. The chicks hatch in about three weeks and fledge in around 35 to 42 days. Both the male and female feed the chicks until they are about eight weeks old. Young roseate spoonbills have white feathers with a slight pink tinge on the wings. They don't reach maturity until they are three years old. A great place to see them up close is at the St.Augustine's Alligator Farm. They have a rookery and during the months from March through August many of the great birds we see in Florida, including the Spoonbill can be seen there as they fly in and out building their nest, hatching their eggs and feeding the chicks till they are ready to fly off. There is an admission fee but if you are a Nature photographer or just want to see these birds up close it is well worth the cost. But you can also see them in many areas of Florida and in many communities or wetlands

This image was taken at a pond in my community in Port Saint Lucie about a mile walk from my house. 

The roseate spoonbill can be found on the coasts of Texas, Louisiana and southern Florida. It is also found in the tropics and in Central and South America. If you live anywhere in these areas, they live in mangrove swamps, tidal ponds, saltwater lagoons and other areas with brackish water, go and look for them. They will not disappoint, as you can see in these images.

 
Most spoonbills do not breed until they enter their third year. Courtship displays include ritualized exchanges of nest material, dancing and bill clapping. Copulation occurs at the nest site. The female builds a strong cup nest of sticks and twigs utilizing materials brought to her by the male. The Florida population prefers to nest in red and black mangroves, sometimes in conjunction with Wood Storks and herons. The Texas and Louisiana populations often nest on the ground in off-shore island mixed colonies with gulls, terns, and herons.
The female lays three cream colored eggs marked with darker brown spots. Incubation takes 22 to 24 days, with both parents sharing the incubation duties. The newly hatched chick appears to be mostly pink skin with a sparse covering of white down and an orange bill, legs and feet. The parents feed the chick by dribbling regurgitated material into their upturned bills. At one month of age the partially feathered chick begins to exercise by clambering about in the branches or foliage surrounding the nest. They fledge at six weeks of age.
 
The lovely pink feathers of the Roseate Spoonbill were highly prized for use in the construction of ladies' fans at the turn of the century. This made Spoonbills one of the favorite targets of the professional plume hunters that decimated so many species of wading birds. By the 1930's the once thriving Florida population had dropped to an historic low of 30 to 40 breeding pairs, nesting only in a few small colonies on the keys of Florida Bay. Once they gained full legal protection from hunting the species began to rebound.
Now over a thousand pairs nest in Florida. The ground nesting colonies in Texas and Louisiana are extremely vulnerable to any predator that can make its way to their off shore islands. Entire colonies have been known to shift locations. As suitable sites become increasingly scarce due to coastal development birds may be forced to continue to nest in vulnerable sites. Some populations show high levels of pesticide levels in their eggs but they do not appear to be significantly impaired by egg shell thinning at this time.
 We as a people need to keep protecting these beautiful birds, as well as all the other amazing birds that we write about. There is something so beautiful as seeing a Roseate Spoonbill flying in our deep blues skies here in Florida. Come to Florida and see why many of us that live here call it Paradise, especially for the Nature Lovers !!!

 

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Bird Photography Birds Florida Nature Photography Roseate Spoonbill. http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2015/1/the-birds-of-florida-pt-2---the-roseate-spoonbill Fri, 16 Jan 2015 21:25:16 GMT
THE BIRDS OF FLORIDA PART 1: THE GREAT EGRET http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2015/1/the-birds-of-florida-pt-1-the-great-egret One of the many great things about living in Florida is the amazing variety of birds. If you're a nature photographer, it's even more so. I had seen some of these wonderful creatures but not all of them. Today, I am starting a series of photo essays that I hope will inform my readers with pertinent information plus our images of these beautiful birds.

Today we will start with, in my opinion the most elegant, of the birds of Florida. The elegant Great Egret is a dazzling sight in many a North American wetland. Slightly smaller and more svelte than a Great Blue Heron, these are still large birds with impressive wingspans. They hunt in classic heron fashion, standing immobile or wading through wetlands to capture fish with a deadly jab of their yellow bill. Great Egrets were hunted nearly to extinction for their plumes in the late nineteenth century, sparking conservation movements and some of the first laws to protect birds.

Great Egrets are tall, long-legged wading birds with long, S-curved necks and long, dagger-like bills.

In flight, the long neck is tucked in and the legs extend far beyond the tip of the short tail. All feathers on Great Egrets are white. Their bills are yellowish-orange and the legs black.

 

Great Egrets wade in shallow water (both fresh and salt) to hunt fish, frogs, and other small aquatic animals. They typically stand still and watch for unsuspecting prey to pass by. Then, with startling speed, the egrets strike with a jab of their long neck and bill.

 

You’ll find Great Egrets in both freshwater and saltwater habitats. They are colonial nesters, typically placing stick nests high in trees, often on islands that are isolated from mammalian predators such as raccoons.

 

A FEW FUN FACTS;

The Great Egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society, one of the oldest environmental organizations in North America. Audubon was founded to protect birds from being killed for their feathers.

The oldest known Great Egret was 22 years, 10 months old and was banded in Ohio.

The pristinely white Great Egret gets even more dressed up for the breeding season. A patch of skin on its face turns neon green, and long plumes grow from its back. Called aigrettes, those plumes were the bane of egrets in the late nineteenth century, when such adornments were prized for ladies’ hats.

Elegant Egret in FlightElegant Egret in FlightA beautiful Egret in Merritt Island

 

Great Egrets fly slowly but powerfully. With just two wingbeats per second, their cruising speed is around 25 miles an hour.

 

Not all young that hatch survive the nestling period. Aggression among nestlings is common and large chicks frequently kill their smaller siblings. This behavior, known as siblicide, is not uncommon among birds such as hawks, owls and herons and is often a result of poor breeding conditions in a given year.

Measurements

Both Sexes

Length

37–40.9 in

94–104 cm

Wingspan

51.6–57.1 in

131–145 cm

Weight

35.3 oz 

1000 g

Relative Size

 

These birds are smaller than a Great Blue Heron but larger than a Snowy Egret.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these wonderfully elegant birds and seeing our images of them. They can be seen all around Florida and especially in our area of the Treasure Coast. In fact I think they are part of the treasure!!

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Bird Photography Florida Nature Nature Photography Photography http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2015/1/the-birds-of-florida-pt-1-the-great-egret Sat, 03 Jan 2015 17:41:02 GMT
MY POST PROCESSING TECHNIQUE --PURISTS BEWARE !!! http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/12/my-post-processing-steps--purest-beware  

“Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.”

 

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.

If I said these words to many people, including (the 'PURIST Photographers'), they would say I was cheating, that my images were not 'honest'. They might have that opinion of me BUT I didn't say these words. The great Ansel Adams, the man most photographers consider the best landscape photographer of all time, did say them. Ansel is considered by most photography scholars to be a great photographer and a Master Printer. He would spend the whole day in the darkroom working on a single image. He would dodge and burn all his prints and would use an enlarger to crop around the edges of his prints. Am I saying that I feel any image manipulation is alright? Nope, at least not for me. I will extract something out of my images but would not, as an example, add a elephant to a beautiful river scene. Do I object anyone else doing that? Yes, unless they tell the viewer upfront. Is this me doing one thing but saying another? I do not think so. You may but that's okay.

RAW shooters: The RAW format is actually what your camera sees. It creates a big file with all the required raw information, untouched, and delivers it to you for your processing pleasure. I would guess that almost all professional photographers shoot in RAW.

A RAW image is seriously an ugly image. The colors are bland and lack contrast and saturation.

A RAW image is equivalent to a negative. It needs to be processed to make the true picture appear. The difference is that the darkroom has been replaced by a software on a computer. It takes less space and does the same thing without the chemical fumes.

I will now try and walk you through my Post Processing Steps for one image. It could and most likely would change for another image.

The picture above is a RAW file that I have imported into Lightroom 5. You can see it is not a very attractive image.

This next picture, made from a Raw file, has been processed it in Lightroom's Develop module. You can see some of the adjustments I have made in the right panel and also on the left in the history section. I am not going over each adjustment individually because quite frankly, it wouldn't be much help to you unless you were working on this same image. You can see that I adjusted almost every slider in the basic section on the right including cropping to a 8X10 size image. By doing so, I eliminated the twig in the bottom of the picture (not the only way I could have taken it out). In the history section, you can see that I adjusted the Camera Profile Section. I always adjust that section for every image.

To get a more JPEG-like starting place for your raw image, here's what to do; Go to the develop module and scroll down to the Camera Calibration panel. There's a Profile pop-up menu near the top of this panel where you'll find a number of profiles based on your camera's make and model (It reads the image file's embedded EXIF data to find this). Not all camera brands or models are supported but most recent Nikon and Canon DSLRs are along with some Pentax, Sony, Olympus, Leica and Kodak models. (Lightroom is adding more each year) These profiles mimic camera profiles you could have applied in-camera (but are ignored when you shoot in RAW). The default profile is Adobe Standard which looks pretty average, if you ask me. (THIS LAST PARAGRAPH IS TAKEN FROM SCOTT KELBY's LIGHTROOM 4 BOOK) Scott's books are a must read for new Lightroom users, in my opinion)

I use one of the profiles in this image called the Camera Landscape profile. When I am photographing nature or landscapes, I always use this profile. Try it once and I think you will make it a 'must do' adjustment. You can see a major improvement in the image already but I am not through.

By the way, a little suggestion from me when your using LR 4 or 5. The Noise Reduction Section is fantastic. I no longer use a third party program to reduce noise because that's how good it is. The Sharpening Section though really improved over previous editions of LR is not my first choice for most images. I feel that Photoshop's Smart Sharpening is far superior.

If you look in the basic section, you can see a Highlight slider and a Shadow slider which is basically a way to dodge or burn your images. Ansel would have loved these sliders, to a point. The sliders Dodge and Burn globally, which means they address the whole image not just a part. With some other tools in LR , PS and third party products, you can do spot adjustments. I'll mention one of these coming up. But now onto Photoshop, which I travel to by right clicking my mouse and picking export to Photoshop.

We are now in the Photoshop editor. I will extract some small things that bother me using a combination of the spot healing brush and content aware tool. In this image, it was some of the dark spots of dirt. From here, I will then export the image into a third party filter named Color Efex Pro 4 by Nik Filters (this is my go to digital filter).

The filter I use the most is the Tonal Contrast Filter which has four settings. The Fine Setting or Standard Setting are my usual choices depending on the image. The other filter that I use in almost every image is the Darken/Lighten Center filter. With this, I have more control over which small sections I want to burn or dodge. It's a great tool. I think Ansel would be using it today.

After I am finished in Nik, I travel back to PS where usually all I have left is sharpening in the Smart Sharpen Tool. In this Screen Shot, you can see my settings for this and most landscape or nature images. I am not saying this is the only setting or the best one. It's just mine.

At this point, I would move back to LR to do a final check on the image. If satisfied, I would export it to one of my external drives.

I would like to make a few final points. The title of this post includes the words 'MY Post Processing Steps'. In NO way am I stating that this is the best or the singular method and you need to follow from point to point. I am just saying it's my way and it's an answer to questions people have asked about how I post process and what tools I use.

If you follow my post, you may have noticed that I do not call my images, pictures. The reason for this is that I feel what comes out of the camera is indeed a picture. But it's not until I work on it, making it the best I can, that produces the final product. In my mind, then, it's an image!!

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Lightroom Nik Filters Photoshop post processing http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/12/my-post-processing-steps--purest-beware Tue, 02 Dec 2014 17:42:59 GMT
VIC'S ON THE RIVER RESTAURANT AND BAR, SAVANNAH GEORGIA http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/7/vics-on-the-river-restaurant-and-bar-savannah-georgia

With our move down to Florida from New Hampshire, we have driven back and forth eight or nine times. On almost every trip, we have stayed in Savannah for at least one night and one of the reasons for our visits is Vic's On The River. Vic's a really great restaurant located on East Bay Street near City Hall with the entrance located on Factors Walk. There is also an entrance at 15 East River Street where you take the elevator up to the fourth floor where the main dining room is located.

What do we like about Vic's? Pretty much everything including the decor, the location on the banks of the Savannah River, delicious food with a southern attitude and great service. The bar is a wonderful place to either enjoy your meal or have a cocktail made by Angie. As an aside, you have to love a place that calls itself a bar not a lounge. 

The building was built in 1859 and houses more than just Vic's. There is a store and a hotel among other businesses.

The building's history is pretty interesting as described in this section on their web site.

 In 1858, John Stoddard had this building commissioned to be designed and built by the famous New York architect, John Norris. He was one of three major architects in Savannah at the time, along with William Jay and Charles B. Clusky. Some of John Norris’ Savannah works include the Andrew Low House, the Cotton Exchange, the Mercer House, and the Meldrim-Green House. Completed in 1859, this building was originally used as a warehouse and later housed Steven Shipping Company. The lower floors were known as John Stoddard’s Lower Range and the top floors as John Stoddard’s Upper Range.
    
During the War Between The States, General Sherman’s lesser officers used this building’s empty offices for housing and planning space. Our main dining room showcases a map that was hand-drawn by Union soldiers detailing Sherman’s march from Tennessee through Georgia. The map was originally found in 1901 during a renovation of the building. Workers were removing the old finish and noticed lines drawn on the wall. A small portion of the map was preserved, while the rest was covered due to damage and wear.

The upscale elegance of Vic's with the warm colored walls, the high ceilings and beautiful dark wood floors adds to a  truly lovely night. Plus the views of the river right outside their windows, with ships moving right by or below, is really fantastic.

To all this add a baby grand piano being played all night and you have a very romantic venue.

There is also an outdoor patio if you would like to eat there. To be honest most nights when we have been there, the heat and humidity made our decision to eat inside very easy.

 

Let's be honest. We do not eat at a restaurant because of the ambiance unless the food is its equal. At Vic's the food actually surpasses the ambiance. From the appetizers to the after dinner cocktails everything is a treat.

​My favorite appetizer is the BEST Fried Green Tomatoes I have ever eaten and I have eaten my share. They are served with a tomato chutney and goat cheese. (Does goat cheese ever NOT go with anything?) The beautiful presentation shows a lightly golden coating that is fried to perfection, not greasy or hard but just perfect. 

Phyllis had the baked oysters made with melted leeks, fennel and country ham plus a parmesan cheese granite's which she shared. It was simply delicious! The taste of the sea blends so well with the sweetness of the leeks and ham on your tongue. It was a really wonderful beginning to our meal.

A dinner salad was included and was really refreshing. Those corn bread croutons were a nice touch.

I had a glass of pinot grigio and Phyllis a glass of merlot. They have a great wine list with a good selection of wines by the glass.

Phyllis and I do not usually eat biscuits served in restaurants because of the high fat content. This night we forgot to tell the waiter not to bring them to our table, a big mistake. There they sat these three beautiful light clouds of heaven with a marmalade spread. We decided without speaking to just try a little taste of one. If you have been married as many years as we have you might know what that means. You do not speak about it but continue your conversation while breaking off a small piece and dipping it in the sweet marmalade. If you do not speak about it, somehow it is not so bad, plus you're only going to try a small piece.  Oh sure, just a small piece of one!!

Let's move on to the main course, quickly.

I ordered the seafood pilau; grilled sea scallops, shrimp, Verlasso salmon, Sapelo Island steamed clams with seasonal vegetable basmati rice.

What is a 'purloo'? I would call it a kind of a paella. The seafood was all fresh and delicious and the rice was a favorable compliment to the seafood. All the different seafoods were cooked to perfection and seasoned perfectly. It was definitely a meal I would order on our next trip.

Phyllis ordered a pork belly, scallops and risotto dinner with an apple slaw. The pork belly was cooked to perfection and went well with the scallops. The risotto was delicious and to be honest if the dinner includes risotto, there is a better than even chance it will be Phyllis's dinner!!

We were too full to have dessert, blame that on those biscuits! Phyllis went out to the bar while I paid the bill, a good idea if you are looking to sit at the bar which is usually full. When I went out to join Phyllis, she had the one empty chair. I had room to stand next to her and within minutes the couple next to Phyllis left and we both had seats. 

The bartender, who we had met on previous trips, is Angie. She is a really great. She always has a smile on her face, she remembers you even after months of not seeing you and knows your drink: a real old fashion bartender. Well, at least she mixes a great old fashioned, my drink and Phyllis likes cosmos.

After a few cocktails we were on our way to the Hampton Inn which is located right across the street. Another great thing about Vic's is the amount of good hotels within walking distance.

If you are ever in Savannah Georgia and you're looking for a restaurant with great food, service and live piano music, head on over to Vic's. Oh, don't forget the bar and Angie. Tell her we said hello and try her old fashioned with extra cherry water.

http://www.vicsontheriver.com

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Savannah Georgia Vic's on the River food photography restaurant review http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/7/vics-on-the-river-restaurant-and-bar-savannah-georgia Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:13:36 GMT
DECONSTRUCTING THE EIFFEL TOWER IN PARIS WITH IMAGES http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/7/deconstructing-the-eiffel-tower-with-images This was our first real view the Eiffel Tower. We were walking through Paris and reached the point Alexandre 111 Bridge that travels over the Seine River when we saw this view. The tower is such an Iconic structure that I've seen thousands of images in print and movies. When I first saw this view, it was hard not to just gawk at it, to forget I'm a photographer and just look. Which is just what I did. I sat absorbing the fact that I was truly in Paris looking at the Eiffel Tower as it towered over the city! Then I started photographing this historic sight, loving very moment.

When we arrived at the tower this is the first image I made. As I walked under it, I thought how many photographers have photographed this view. After all, when you're close to it like this, the natural point of view is UP.

At that point I decided to try and take images that were not atypical although I doubt that you can make any image of the Eiffel Tower that has not been made millions of times before.

Before moving on let me give you some facts about the tower.

The Eiffel Tower (French: La Tour Eiffel, is an  iron lattice tower located on the  Champs de Mars in Paris. It was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair, it was initially criticized by some of France's leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in France and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011.The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010.

The tower is 324 meters (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-story building. The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second. The third level observatory's upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground,[2] the highest accessible to the public in the European Union. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or elevator to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. Although there are stairs to the third and highest level, these are usually closed to the public and it is generally only accessible by elevator.

There was work being performed on the tower the day we were there which is why you see scaffolding.

The arches are beautiful and I started isolating them as best I could. Look at the craftsmanship put into each one and remember it was built in 1889! That's just amazing to me...

 

​Here are some of the 72 names of French scientists, mathematicians and engineers that are engraved in recognition of their contributions. Eiffel chose this 'invocation of science' because of his concern over the protest against the tower. The engravings are found on the sides of the tower under the first balcony. The engraving was painted over at the beginning of the twentieth century and restored in 1986–1987 by Société Nouvelle d'exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, a company contracted to operate business related to the Tower. The Tower is owned by the city of Paris. The letters were originally painted in gold and are about 60 cm high. The repainting of 2010/2011 restored the letters to their original gold color.

You might ask why would anyone protest against this Iconic structure. The protest started before it was built.

The projected tower had been a subject of some controversy, attracting criticism from both those who did not believe that it was feasible and those who objected on artistic grounds, whose objections were an expression of a longstanding debate about the relationship between architecture and engineering. This came to a head as work began at the Champ de Mars: A "Committee of Three Hundred" (one member for each meter of the tower's height) was formed, led by the prominent architect Charles Garnier and including some of the most important figures of the French arts establishment, including Adolphe BouguereauGuy de MaupassantCharles Gounod and Jules Massenet: a petition was sent toCharles Alphand, the Minister of Works and Commissioner for the Exposition, and was published by Le Temps.[6]

"We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection … of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower … To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years … we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal."

 

Gustave Eiffel responded to these criticisms by comparing his tower to the Egyptian Pyramids: "My tower will be the tallest edifice ever erected by man. Will it not also be grandiose in its way? And why would something admirable in Egypt become hideous and ridiculous in Paris?" A great argument, don't you agree?

 

The Tower hovering over a carousel across the way from the tower, I saw this and placed myself in position to make this image.

 

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Eiffel Europe France Landscape Paris Tower Travel photography travel photography http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/7/deconstructing-the-eiffel-tower-with-images Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:05:18 GMT
SEDONA, ARIZONA THE BEAUTY OF THE DESERT PERSONIFIED http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/6/sedona-arizona-the-beauty-of-the-desert-personified  

 

In April of 1976, I moved to Arizona and fell in love with it immediately. We moved to Phoenix but when I really fell in love with Arizona was when I traveled to Sedona. Sedona is north of Phoenix in the Verde Valley. The  main attraction is the beauty of the desert especially the array of red sandstone formations. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and reds when illuminated by the setting or rising sun. Sedona was named after Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly, the wife of Theodore Carlton Schnebly, the city's first postmaster.

The Schnebly name is affixed to a road you will want to travel when you visit Sedona.

The road starts right out of the town of Sedona and provides jaw-dropping vistas as you ascend nearly 2,000 ft on seemingly countless switchbacks.

 

Shortly after you leave town, the road becomes gravel and can be quite bumpy in spots.  You should be fine driving the road to the summit in a passenger vehicle but you will want to drive carefully and keep your eyes peeled for giant 'potholes'.  From along the road you will have some amazing views of the desert in all its beauty with Sedona in the background, as you can see in these two images.

            As you drive around Sedona you can view the Red Rock formations around each turn in the road.

Courthouse Butte (seen above) is very close to Bell Rock and you are allowed to walk right up close. On Bell Rock you can even walk on it.

If you venture out into the desert, never very far from a road or your car if your careful, you will see amazing views of this truly beautiful landscape. Many people jog in the shadows of Bell Rock and Courthouse.

All of the images were taken right around sunrise or sunset, the golden hour of light, which I will write about in a post very shortly.

At this point, I will let Sedona speak for itself through my images. Just look at the colors! Are you surprised by all the green? Many years ago, I was. Look at the dramatic skies and overall light that makes up this palette of natures colors!

 

                 

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Arizona Desert Sedona Travel Travel Photography' art" fine landscape photography http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/6/sedona-arizona-the-beauty-of-the-desert-personified Mon, 30 Jun 2014 18:03:51 GMT
THE BEAUTY OF LAKE LOUISE IN BANFF, ALBERTA CANADA PLUS STUPID PEOPLE TRICKS http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/6/the-beauty-of-lake-louise-in-banff-alberta-canada

 

Lake Louise is called, Canada's 'Diamond in the Wilderness' and the 'Hiking Capital of Canada'. This area offers a vast diversity of recreational and sightseeing opportunities. Many would say that Lake Louise is the home of one of North America's finest downhill ski areas and has many, many hiking and walking trails. This region has an amazing amount of spectacular scenery from glaciers to waterfalls. A Quick Trip Tip for anyone thinking of visiting the area; this is one of the last outposts of man or woman in the area. The next nearest city/town three hours away is Jasper, the town just before you head to Alaska. DO NOT expect to find a booming nightlife like you might find in Vail, Colorado.

The Village of Lake Louise (originally called Laggan) is thirty five miles from Banff on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is named for the nearby Lake Louise, which was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. It is separated into two communities. The main community, referred to as The Village is at a lower elevation adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway. It consists of a small shopping area, Samson Mall, which includes a park center, grocery store, bakery, deli, grill, bar and sporting goods store. Another Quick Trip Tip is that The Trailways Cafe makes great breakfast wraps (besides other meals) and hot coffee. It's very inexpensive about $6-$9 and very delicious.

The second community is at a higher elevation and is centered-around the Chateau Lake Louise (which I wrote about in an earlier article), adjacent to Lake Louise. Another important fact is that Lake Louise experiences a subarctic climate. IT'S COLD especially in the winter and this year in May, the average temps were about 30F-40F in the morning and 50s later in the day.

The image at the top of this post was taken about 20 years ago on our visit in August. It was taken on film and converted to digital file and not as good as our photography usually looks.

As you can see the water and sky is blue with green trees lining the mountains on either side and the glacier in the top middle.

This year when we arrived about 8AM, we had a much different view in front of us.

This time, there were no blue skies or water but instead, a frozen lake covered in snow. The green trees were looking more grey and the glacier was hidden from view behind the clouds.  The funny thing was that it was still a beautiful sight. I stood there just gazing at this white wonderful winter landscape in front of me. It was really an awesome sight!

As I started getting my equipment ready to photograph this great landscape, I was trying to get as close to what I perceived was the edge of the lake. In the first image you can see the rocks leading into the lake, but not this time. There was a slight incline of snow and then a flat surface where the lake started somewhere. Then I noticed the boat house to my right and decided to use that as a guide. The lake house in the summer had colorful canoes lined up on and along side the dock that was in front of it. At this time of year, there was just the cabin with the snow covered trees jutting up behind it.

I knew this was going to be one of the views I would focus on this morning. Many times I will 'work' an image, shooting it from different perspectives. I will walk around shooting from the left, right and in front. But as you can see in the image, that would not be the case today. Not walking on a frozen lake that I was not familiar with was much too dangerous. There was no image to be made from the back and I was not hiking over and through 3 or 4 feet deep snow to get to its right. No, I would need to shoot from here using different focal lengths and cropping in camera and in post production.

​As will happen when you're out in nature, we struck up a conversation with a man walking around the lake. He asked if we had seen the avalanche warning signs as we began to walk into the area. We said yes we had but that we had no planes of hiking into any area closer to the mountains then where we were standing. He said we were smart because in the previous two weeks, four people had died up on the mountain to our right. He said that temperatures were going up and the ice under the snow was melting which would cause the avalanche. He had told the hotel to put up more than one sign and he was walking around to see that they did. I asked about the lake and if it was safe to walk on. He stated emphatically that it was not safe but to look at the footprints on the lake. Shaking his head he said another accident was ready to happen. We bid our goodbyes and he left to check on the signs. He was a very nice man.

A few days later, we decided to visit later in the day hoping to get blue skies. What we saw was that part of the lake closest to the area where we had stood before, now had a pretty good size area melted. This time, there was an avalanche sign right where we had stood plus a sign warning of melting ice on the lake.

   What we also saw (as you can see in this image) were people walking on the ice! Stupidity knows no bounds!!

Our cousins, who were on the trip with us, were there another afternoon without us and saw a women pushing a baby stroller on to the ice. This all helps me believe my theory that if you want stupid tricks, people are the ones for you!!

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Banff Canada Lake Louise Landscape photography Travel Photography' art" fine http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/6/the-beauty-of-lake-louise-in-banff-alberta-canada Wed, 25 Jun 2014 16:55:54 GMT
HAS FACEBOOK BECOME A GROUP MASTURBATORY MEETING PLACE ? http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/6/has-facebook-become-a-group-masturbatory-meeting-place  

 

What I mean by masturbatory is in the stroking of egos on a quid pro quo basis. Let me explain!!

When we attend any group event there are certain protocols to which most attend. As you walk by people at the event whom you know but not really, I mean you've seen their face, recognize that you have seen each other but that's about it, there are certain social conventions that need to be met. If the event is a large event, maybe a high school's 25 year reunion or family event, you might know that you know this people but not enough to have a long conversation. Truth is you could not care less about any conversation with them but social convention states we need to acknowledge them. You shake hands, give the head nod and ask " How are you?". They give the same head nod but add a shoulder shrug and answer, "Great just wonderful and you?" You keep walking but answer, "Great just great. Have a great day". Both move on happily that both understood the rules; be polite but keep moving. We are satisfied that we gave the other the least acknowledgement possible but did acknowledge them really. You might do that 10 to 20 times a day.

​That handshake and question is the equivalent to the 'LIKE' on Facebook: quick, easy, no big commitment and only the expectation of a return handshake. If they do not acknowledge this simplest of social convention, next time you look the other way. Sometimes happy to not extend this faux friendship any longer but resentful that they dictated this mini breakup. It's the same thing on Facebook. They don't LIKE your post (the handshake) then you don't like their post. 

Let me change the location of this meeting. You are at a meeting of like minded people, maybe a business meeting, a place to exchange business cards. You meet a person, you stop hold the handshake a little longer, look them in the eye and truly have a conversation. Maybe the conversation starts out about your business or theirs, you both listen attentively and one may ask for a few more of their business cards to hand out to some people you know that might be interested in their services. That is the equivalent to the Facebook 'SHARE'. You both part with an implied agreement to look into each other's business a little more,  visit their website and explore their business. Some will and some will toss the cards when they get home. This is the equivalent of people on Facebook that always 'like' but don't take the time to leave comments and never visit blogs.

On Facebook often the only time people will truly get engaged with your business (web site or blog) is if you visit theirs, quid pro quo. If one party does not have a blog with which to interact, they revert to the like button with a few "great, just wonderful" over and over again. You like me and I'll like you and we all feel wonderful to have given the least acknowledgement possible but it's a small ego stroke. 

If you belong to a group of artists, the whole relationship is usually more supportive, more honest and at least the equivalent of the 'Share' on Facebook. Most times, they are much less worried about stroking each others EGOS and more about being supportive giving and taking constructive criticism  (comment section on blogs) or sharing ideas, a meaningful exchange of ideas!

I am wondering if involvement in Facebook, in an artistic or business sense is worth the time. I see a decision coming real soon on my part.

By the way, if you're still reading, I freely admit that the quality of content helps drive participation.

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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) Facebook Social artistic interactions media meetings minds of social http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/6/has-facebook-become-a-group-masturbatory-meeting-place Tue, 24 Jun 2014 14:49:01 GMT
WHY DO PEOPLE ENJOY LANDSCAPE IMAGES? I SAY IT IS IN OUR VISUAL DNA! http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/6/why-do-people-enjoy-landscape-images-i-say-it-is-in-our-visual-dna  
                          Above is the Town of Amalfi in Italy. What first drew my eye to it was the clouds.
 
As I was looking over my travel images from the Canadian Rockies, I realized one reason I enjoyed the trip so much was the landscapes I viewed and photographed. I started thinking back to when I first seriously started on my quest of photography as a lifelong obsession and how I shot mostly landscapes. I honestly thought I liked landscapes because unlike people and animals, I could take my time. After all, the mountain range was not going to move. Plus it was safer. I never have a seascape complain about the picture I took of it. I now realize those were the thoughts of a young person/photographer who really did not 'see'. The mountain might not move but the light does. The seascape might not dislike the image but deep inside yourself you know it is lacking. 
 
As you grow as a photographer, you learn about the single most important element of photography, in my opinion, is the LIGHT. I am not going to give you the old adage that photography means 'painting with light'. The actual interpretation is writing/drawing with light not painting. That fact does not dismiss the fact that light is what we look for and the more natural, the better our images will be. I am not saying there is not a place for flash, there is, in the studio or as fill in nature. I feel that flash should only be used as a fill light and that once it becomes the main light, the quality of the image in nature photography diminishes. Remember I wrote it is needed in studio. I am saying that in nature, other than using as 'fill" when photographing an animal in dark surrounding, you loose the quality inherent in natural light. So what photography is the most natural, the purest form of photography? I would argue it is landscape and that is why we enjoy landscapes so much. We instinctively 'see' the natural light. It calls out to our human beginnings, it is built into what I would call our visual DNA: what we humans first saw thousands of years ago, the natural light on which we gazed when seeing a new area to explore or a sunrise or sunset where we lived.
 
                     The first two images below are from Venice, Italy: one's a sunrise and then a sunset. The third in Rome is also a sunset.
 
As photographers, we love making these images because we are recreating beauty as well as we can. We become almost as powerful as nature, in those moment when others view our images. Just as nature opens up our eyes to the beauty of the world as we travel, we do the same for others that might never travel to these places. We become givers of beauty and wonderment. We make our images and see the beauty as we saw it and share it with others. When another person views our images and likes them, we feel the power of giving light and beauty, pretty strong emotions for anyone. Is there any wonder why we enjoy making these images? I do not mean to say that we hold the power of nature in making these images, not even close. All we are doing is reproducing what we saw in our eyes and imagination. We are mailmen delivering the mail, just couriers of natures wonderment and beauty.
 
                                  The three images below were made at Boneyard Beach on Big Talbot Island in Amelia, Florida.
I now understand why I like to photograph landscapes. It's not because their easier, actually it is just as difficult but for the pure light I can reproduce and share. To make sure that I, and hopefully others, never forget the beauty of this amazing planet.
 
                  The four images below were taken in Venice, Italy.  Including people in landscapes can help give a sense of scale to the surroundings.      
 
 
                                             These next four images were taken in the Canadian Rockies. Black and white can really look great in landscapes.
 
                                                                                             
 
                                  These next four images were taken on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
Landscapes usually taken in a horizontal format can also be made as verticals, as you can see in the next two.
 
I photograph all subjects and love making all types of images but I do admit that landscapes are still my favorite. I'll enjoy being a courier as long as people keep accepting my images.          
 
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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) America. Canada Europe Landscape Images Landscape photography Travel Photography' art" fine http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/6/why-do-people-enjoy-landscape-images-i-say-it-is-in-our-visual-dna Sun, 22 Jun 2014 10:41:11 GMT
TRAVELING THROUGH KOOTENAY NATIONAL PARK IN BRITISH COLUMBIA http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/6/traveling-through-kootenay-national-park-in-british-columbia We left Banff at 7AM, on a snowy day, for a trip to Kootenay National Park.  The 94 km Banff-Windermere Highway (93 south) takes you through the park along the Vermilion and Kootenay Rivers and through the narrow gorge of Sinclair Canyon to the famous Radium Hot Springs. Many use the highway simply as a scenic route to reach the Windermere Valley, beyond the park's southern boundary. But those who take the time to stop along the way discover some of Kootenay's quiet, colorful secrets!! It's a wonderful place for a travel photographer to explore.

As we started out the weather was clear on 93 south but looking up at the mountains, that line 93, we could see snow was falling in the mountains. The snow falling, the lack of cars on 93 and the avalanche area warning signs made for an exciting but cautious trip. We drove on with our cameras ready to shoot.

Kootenay National Park (1,406 km ) is one of 44 national parks in Canada. Together, they celebrate and protect the diversity of the nation's great landscapes. Kootenay National Park represents the south-western region of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. We had traveled it before in the summer but not in May which we found out is still winter! I actually found it more beautiful this trip. There was something about solitude and the raw look of nature that made it an amazing photographic experience.

For thousands of years, the area which is now Kootenay National Park was part of the traditional lands identified by the Ktunaxa (Kootenay) and Kinbasket (Shuswap) First Nation's people. Archaeological evidence suggests the mountains were used primarily as seasonal hunting grounds. Groups also travelled across the mountains periodically to hunt bison on the plains east of the Rockies. Some sites are considered sacred.

Kootenay National Park was established in 1920 as part of an agreement between the provincial and federal governments to build the Banff-Windermere Highway – the first motor road across the Canadian Rockies. A strip of land five miles (eight kilometres) wide on each side of the highway was set aside as a national park. The completion of the highway in 1922 expanded the new age of motor tourism in the Canadian Rockies and established a commercial link between the Windermere Valley and Calgary.
 
 
The next three images were photographed and processed as color even though they look black and white.
 
We were seeing very little traffic and had no problem pulling over to the side to photograph in this beautiful park.
 
If you are a lover of nature this park is really a great place to drive through, no matter what your age or  physical condition. The ability to drive through and just pull into one of the many areas made for viewing makes it not only a beautiful drive but easily accessible and enjoyable. If you're a nature photographer this park should be on your list of can't miss places especially if you love landscapes. The rawness of this park, especially in winter, provides a photographic experience that you will not want to miss.
 
Be warned that there are no places to pick up snacks or water until you reach the city of Radium at the end of the park about 58 miles. There are rest areas with "out houses" that are in great condition and kept very clean.
 As we got closer to Radium Springs the weather started getting clearer not much warmer. 
As you can see the snow, mountain ranges, forest and rivers make this a truly beautiful area just begging to be photographed. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS KOOTENAY NATIONAL PARK! 
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jpbrandanophoto@gmail.com (JP BRANDANO TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY) British Columbia Canada Landscape Photography Nature Photography landscape nature travel travel photography http://www.jpbrandanophoto.com/blog/2014/6/traveling-through-kootenay-national-park-in-british-columbia Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:38:07 GMT