Monday, May 30, 2011

Photographing Smoke


Smoke Gets in your Lens


For quite a while I have been wanting to try and photograph smoke.  After doing some Googling, I discovered that the best way to photograph smoke was with a stick of incense against a dark backdrop.  Also of most importance was a fast shutter speed and side lighting to highlight the smoke. 




I set up a black velvet backdrop against the dining room wall where the morning sun comes in through the patio door.  I tried one stick of incense and found that two gave better results with more smoke.  With my D90 secured to the tripod, I used a Nikon 35-70mm 2.8 lens.  The incense stick was placed on the table, close to the backdrop. 



After adjusting my ISO from 400 to 3200, I found that 3200 gave the fastest shutter speed with the dim smoke against the black backdrop.  The D90 was set on manual focus and on Aperture Mode at f/2.8, giving me a shutter speed of 1/80 seconds.   The recommended shutter speed was 1/250 seconds, however without the use of studio lights it was impossible to get  the shutter speed that fast.




In the future, I will set up studio lights and experiment with more of the effects.  This was fun and I even tried catching a fireplace match as it lit.  I think next time, I will try with different matches.  I would like to get the spark as the match first ignites.






No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




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Monday, May 23, 2011

Adventures in Wildlife Photography




 Knowing When to Exit Before It's Too Late

I began my photographic ventures shooting landscapes and because they always took me off the beaten path, I came across many different types of wildlife. Around this same time, I was doing volunteer work in the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area and at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park with my photography. I made friends with some of the park rangers who taught me how to approach wildlife and enter their habitat without causing any problems. 



One of the first things I learned in photographing wildlife was that I would need a faster telephoto lens. So when I could afford it, I added the Nikon 500mm 4.0 to my collection of lenses and it soon became my favorite, even though it was cumbersome and required a tripod. The 500mm lens allowed me to reach areas where the wildlife hung out and most times go unnoticed. However, on several occasions after walking quietly and blending in, I was the one who was in for a surprise and not too sure about my next move.


A female coyote stops on her way back to the den to check out what is hiding in the mesquite trees. I've been fortunate to come across these creatures many times in the early mornings or evenings when I wander through the desert. They are very shy and most of the time will scurry off. I love to hear their music on a calm summer night.



Now mind you, I haven't had the thrill of encountering a cougar in the wild yet, although I have seen their tracks in the moist sand near First Creek. This cougar photo was during the open house at the Animal Ark in Reno, Nevada.



Speaking of First Creek, which is in the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area and runs along the trail as its name implies, is a great place to see a lot of wildlife. One spring day when I was hiking  down the densely covered path I heard heavy breathing coming from just around the bend. My curiosity got the best of me and I continued on to find a group of wild burros foraging on a nearby hill. When I came into view, all heads looked up with ears forward. Wild burros can be mean spirited and will defend their territory; however this group posed for the camera as I quietly walked on down the trail.




There is something very peaceful about deer as they quietly graze on foliage, however this buck did not want me coming any closer and I have heard stories about hunters being attacked by them. With a quick clique of the shutter, I backed up and made a fast departure.



When I lived in Las Vegas, I often made trips out to Wilson Canyon where I could always find a large group of wild horses gathered around the natural springs. Early one summer morning, I was hiding in a grove of creosote bushes focusing on several horses that were drinking nearby. I heard some noise, turned and was completely surrounded by a bunch of wild horses that had snuck up while I was in deep concentration! When the horses realized that I was there, they stopped and allowed me to take a whole group of great photos.




Elk are like deer and just want to graze and be left alone. However when I was walking down a narrow back road near Cedar Breaks, Utah and came upon this group of Elk, I wasn't too sure how they felt about me entering their territory. Since my truck was a distance away, I snapped a few quick photos and did an about face!



In the areas that I frequent looking for wildlife, I've never seen a wolf out in the wild and this beauty is from the Animal Ark in Reno.




On one occasion, I did look up to see these big eyes watching me from the overhead tree! And no, I am not afraid of owls; to me they are beautiful birds that keep nature in balance. 



What I am afraid of and always cautious about are the rattlesnakes that live around the rocks in the desert. During the warm season, you have to be very careful about where you step and place your hands! Getting bit by one of these creatures when you are out on a hiking trail could mean the kiss of death and ruin your day!



I love being out in nature, exploring and finding photos. When I am in nature, I try to be a good neighbor and to go unnoticed without intruding or disrupting any habitats. As the saying goes, take only photographs and in the desert we don't believe in leaving footprints, only memories.






No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Visit our website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/





Monday, May 16, 2011

Reno River Festival

 Kayaking, Music and Festivities in Wingfield Park



On the second weekend in May for the past eight years the Reno River Festival is held at the beautiful Wingfield Park on the Truckee River.


Wingfield Park lies in the heart of downtown Reno where people can come to relax and stroll by the water along the Riverwalk.



In the hot summer months, the Truckee River Whitewater Park provides a water playground for people of all ages to cool off by taking a dip or floating along on tubes.




For the more adventuresome there is kayaking on the class II or III rapids.

   


The River Festival has become America's premier whitewater event, attracting around 40,000 people who come out to enjoy the festivities.  Included with the paddle sports industry's top whitewater events are vendors with goods and services of food, drinks and the latest outdoor products, to bands performing at the Wingfield Park Amphitheater.  And best of all, admission is free!




The action packed events over the three days include the Open Competition, the Slalom Competition, Run Amuck Relay Race, Whitewater Clinics, Stand-Up Paddleboard and Boatercross.




All during the River Festival in downtown Reno, bars, casinos and nightclubs will be open to welcome in the revelers.






No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Visit our website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/





Monday, May 9, 2011

Elements of Abstract Photography

 Part Two, Exploring Abstract Photography



On Part 2 of Abstract Photography, I will continue to explore Ron Bigelow's concepts on how to create a strong abstract image when there are no rules for composition to follow and the art of subtraction applies to anything that does not strengthen the viewer's emotional reaction. 




Bigelow provides us with three essential elements that are paramount in creating the abstract image: Form, Color and Curves. 

 Form is the shape of an object in an image and as stated by Bigelow, "serves as the framework upon which an abstract image is created." 




Bigelow further stresses that abstract images must begin with good form, however to define what makes good form is instinctual, and is reacted to emotionally, not logically. In producing the abstract image, we are given the task "to find objects that create an emotional reaction." Furthermore, "When one looks at an  object and immediately reacts, "Wow, look at that", a strong form has probably been found."




Color as stated by Bigelow is what "grabs" the viewer and "stimulates the viewer's perceptual system."  Color not only catches the viewer's attention, it also prevents the eyes from wandering and keeps the attention in the scene. The use of color in abstract images can be intense, saturated colors, or also contrasting colors.  




Curves add interest to the abstract image by controlling the viewer's eyes within the image.  Curves can either direct the viewer's attention to the center of interest or control the eye's movement through the image in a graceful or dynamic way.  




So as I begin the transition to abstract photography, I will be even more open to the emotional stimulating scene that presents itself to me. For all during my journey into nature and landscape photography, I have held the belief that I do not find the image, but it finds me.


For more information please visit




No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Visit our website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/





Sunday, May 1, 2011

Exploring Abstract Photography

How to Photograph Outside the Lines




Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking in terms of abstract photography and that might be caused from the flowers staring to bloom and all the macros I've been out taking while enjoying the spring. 




I have always been intrigued by abstract art since my early college classes in art appreciation. And unlike so many who consider the medium simple, I shied away from abstract photography because to me it is a much more difficult expression with no set rules on composition. It's like coloring outside the lines and coming up with a meaningful picture. 





With this week's post, I would like to explore some discoveries that I have made about abstract photography from master photographer, Ron Bigelow. I was led to Ron Bigelow's website and article, entitled "Abstract Photography" after posting a question on Facebook to artists and gallery directors, inquiring what makes a photograph abstract. What I learned from Ron Bigelow as I paraphrase his words, "is that Abstract Photography relies more on our primal sense of form, color, and curves than it does on detail." Bigelow further believes that "there is no standard, universally accepted definition of abstract photography" . . . that "image detail takes a back seat to form, color and curves. . ."





As I begin to ponder Bigelow's words, I begin to wonder what I am getting myself into since I have always been an advocate of image detail being one of the principles that define a strong photograph image. However, I also discover through Bigelow's article that "the brain's logical processes are more subdued when viewing abstract images" . . ."instead the reaction is much more instinctual."

As Bigelow's words start to incubate in my mind, I look over a number of my photographs and discover that I have been drawn to the abstract in so many of the images that I have previously photographed. As stated by Bigelow, "abstract photography communicates to the viewer primarily through the viewer's emotions." At this point, I become very excited because I have been told on numerous occasions that my images touch the viewer on an emotional level. And to further paraphrase Bigelow, "the abstract form plays to the photographer's benefit because our human emotions are much more powerful than our logical systems." 





In the past week, I have been on a sojourn so to speak, to evaluate how my photographs fit in with Bigelow's beliefs. During my teaching and coaching days, much emphasis was placed on the psychological aspects of human performance and I completely agree with Bigelow that color, form and curves evoke strong reactions that are pre-programmed in to our neurological systems. 






In next week's post, I will delve deepen in to Bigelow's article and look at the essentials of color, form and curves that make up the abstract photograph. 







For more information please visit





No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Visit our website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/