Tag Archive: Photography Issues


The weather in the mountain state has been fairly odd this year. The seasons have changed much like they would in a Monty Python sketch. Our winter was much more like spring and even now, these first few days of spring have felt more like summer. Despite these weird weather patterns, mother nature know’s it’s spring-time. Which brings us to….

 The Top 3 Wildflowers in West Virginia

3. Ironweed

Ironweed is a fairly tall, and very hardy flower. It’s purple flowers are very pretty and ironweed is known to attract butterflies.

2. Rhododendron 

The rhododendron is the state flower for West Virginia, and it’s easy to see why.

1. Spotted Jewelweed

The spotted jewelweed is a pretty neat little flower. Also known as a ‘touch-me-not’ because of its delicate seed pods, this plant can be used to ease the itching of stinging nettle.

All images obtained from the public domain.


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West Virginia really is a unique place to live. It’s elevation and geographical location allows it to be the home for many different plants and animals. Birding in particular is a lot of in West Virginia. Getting up in the early morning, feeling that fresh mountain air on your face and listening to the birds sing is a really great way to start any day. If you are going to go birding in West Virginia, there are some birds that you definitely must see. After doing a little birding myself, these are my five favorite birds in West Virginia.

5. Great Blue Heron:

This bird is really pretty cool looking. It can have a wingspan of up to seven feet, which makes this a really big bird. Seeing something so big fly is really amazing to see, and so I’ve ranked the Great Blue Heron at number five. (Image by Gentry George, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

4. Indigo Bunting:

This bird is really very pretty. In summer, finding an Indigo Bunting in West Virginia is very easy to do. (Image by Barnes Dr Thomas G, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

3. Belted Kingfisher:

These birds can easily be seen and heard anywhere near a river or stream. These birds can be good indicators of how healthy a stream is because they feed on mostly small fish and other aquatic creatures. (Image by C. Schlawe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

2. Scarlet Tanager:

This is a bird that can’t be missed. It’s very distinctive crimson color is easily seen when it flies. (Image From Steve Maslowski, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

1. Red-Tailed Hawk:

The red-tailed hawk is a really cool bird to see. It is an amazing predator and its call has been used in many movies. Often times this bird’s call (or its cousin’s call, the call of the red-shouldered hawk) is used instead of a bald eagle’s call, since the bald eagle’s call doesn’t sound very good. (Image from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

All images came from public-domain-image.com or Wikipedia.com and were found in the public domain.

Shooting In Manual

While it does take some practice, shooting in the manual settings of your camera will be really beneficial for you. Finding the right settings in manual can be tricky at first, but don’t be disheartened if your photos turn out poorly at first. This is one of those cases where hard work, effort, and plenty of experimentation will really pay off and allow you to take very high quality pictures.

So what is it about manual settings that makes it so premium for photo taking? I think first it’s best to explain what the auto setting does. In auto, the camera will take care of adjusting the settings of your camera. It will determine a shutter speed as well as determine what the aperture is. For the most part, you can take some really great photos in this setting; the problem is, it can limit you to where you can take your pictures and how well they turn out.

Manual setting lets you adjust both of these to meet your lighting needs. If there is very little low light, you can manually slow down your shutter speed or widen your aperture. Adjusting these two settings to your needs can allow you take photos better than on the auto setting. Sometimes you may need a certain shutter speed and with manual you can adjust only the aperture, and vice-versa. In the auto function, you don’t have this freedom.

Like I said before, getting the right settings is a matter of playing with your camera’s settings and seeing what works. There will be plenty of failures and mistakes at first, but before you know it you will be able to put your camera right into those settings without a second thought.

Tilt Shift Photography

In honor of the light-heartedness of Mardi Gras, I thought I’d discuss and share something that is a lot of fun and looks really neat. There is a type of editing that can be done that will make your pictures look like photos of miniature toy models. It’s called tilt shift photography, and it really is a lot of fun.

The most important part of tilt shift photography is to make sure you get the right picture. I have found that the best angle is to be high up, shooting down. You don’t really want an aerial view, but somewhere close to that could work. I have also found that photos of buildings (or anything with really bright colors) works really well too. The bright colors in a photo will look even brighter (and more toy-like) when you increase the saturation, which makes the subject of your photo look more like a miniature model.

Here are a few photos that I tried out using tilt shift photography. Some of it seemed to work pretty well, and others didn’t come out quite right. It’s best to just play around and see what looks good to you.

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It’s also important to have fun with editing and to play around to see what works for you. Here’s a “How-to Guide” for editing your own photos for tilt-shift photography.

Some Winter Fun

I really do enjoy the winter months. I love to snowboard, and the snow is fun to play with. You have an epic snowball battle, or even make some really neat snowmen or ice sculptures. I also love the way the snow makes the world look. To me, snow in its stark whiteness, just makes the world look clean and pure. Visually, I love the way snow looks on a pine tree. All that white with a hint of green reminds me of spring. The green of the pine needles are just waiting to break free of winter’s icy grip, much the way the first blades of grass sometimes pop up through the melting snow.

 

Playing with focus

Trying out focuses while taking photographs can be a lot of fun. There are lots of different styles of photography that deal with altering the focus. One such style is Bokeh photography.

Sorry this post is so short today! It’s snowing a lot outside and focusing on anything else is tough for me today! Expect some new snow photos soon! Until then, enjoy these berries I shot yesterday.

Camera Angles

It’s amazing how a change of the camera angle can radically transform a photograph. A bird’s eye view of a forest will be quite different from eye level. I think the key to finding the right angle for a shot is to take lots of pictures from different angles. The old adage ‘practice makes perfect’ is definitely true when it comes to photography. Through practice, a photographer can find what angles work and what ones don’t.

The angle of a photo can be really telling for what type of story is being told. Unique angles tend to be more artsy and less formal. Unique angles may show the subject off to the side of the photo or perhaps looking straight down/up at the subject. This types of angles can also portray a first person view remarkably well, since people don’t always see things at the ‘perfect’ angle anyway.

The more traditional photo tends to be more formal. These types of angles tend to be more straight on and don’t really use camera tilt. While these typs of angles can be used in a more artistic manner, they are generally used to tell stories that can be found in a newspaper or other formal settings; but even now stories found in the news are starting to take more artistc photos. I find this development to be pretty amazing, since the traditional view of printed news seems to be somewhat stuffy and boring. I think it’s great that it’s trying to move in a more upbeat direction.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; “This is (more or less) a nature photography blog! Get back to the nature stuff!” So how can unique angles be used to photograph nature? For one thing, a unique angle can give an animal’s eye view at scenery. Here’s a pretty neat video of a college campus through an animal’s perspective. Also, because nature in itself is unique, I think the best way to portray nature is in a unique way. Looking straight down at a flower or looking straight up at a sycamore can be unique and look really cool too.

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Photography and Technology

There is no real ‘best way’ when it comes to photography. Sure, there are things that work and things that don’t work, but a lot of that depends on the situation as well as the perspective. What does seem to be true, regardless of the situation is that a good mixture of technology and photography can make a good picture great. With the right technology, memorable photographs can be made.

Technology isn’t limited to the camera equipment you have either. Now, not only is a nice camera valuable to taking great photos; you also need some nice editing software and techniques.  A shadow can be made more bold, or it can be faded into the background. Photos once thought ruined can, for the most part, be salvaged to some level of usable degree.

One thing I worry about with all this technology when it comes to photography is whether it is too much or not. Complex pictures are nice, but a simple photo can be great. I worry that with all this new technology, simple pictures may get pushed to the wayside. Photographers trying to push themselves may over do it. Simple pictures may be overlooked to try a more complex picture, say of a sunset. While the sunset is very nice, there are hundreds of sunset pictures. A picture someone takes while hiking on the other hand can be both simple, and just as visually stunning as a sunset.