Monday, May 21, 2007

Keeping Up

As  a self-employed photographer, I find it very important to stay up to date on a broad range of information related not only to photography, but also to health, the arts, parenting, productivity, business management, and current events. Digital photography is constantly changing and evolving, and if I do not keep up with the latest info and techniques in the field I can guarantee that my current or future competitors are. One of the best tools I have found for combing through the vast amount of online information is Google Reader. This is a web aggregator that allows you to subscribe to news feeds from web sites and blogs, and scan or read them from one main index page. It also allows sharing of web sites and articles via RSS feed. A screenshot of my Google Reader page is below. I have also posted a very eclectic assortment of shared items in this blog on the bottom right, which are updated daily. You can also add this blog to Google Reader (or any other reader of your choice) by clicking on the subscribe button on the upper right.

I will be offline for about 10 days, but check back on June 3 when I hope to do a post about our journey in Alaska. Thanks for the bon voyage wishes some of you have posted and emailed. I will be taking 2 - 16 GB CF cards and my Macbook Pro with an extra firewire hard drive for backup. My image files from the H3D are too big to burn to a DVD so I have to rely on firewire hard drives for backup. It will not be too difficult to manage data since the boat we are on has electricity.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gear for Alaska

We are heading out next week for a 10 day trip around the inside passage of Alaska. We are going with a great company called Amercan Safari Cruises . I am working on a book of Alaskan Landscapes, and thought that a yacht cruise would provide the best access to landscapes along the Alaskan coast. We decided to go with a small boat cruise to provide better access to remote areas and to have the flexibility of more shore excursions. We are not really into the big cruise ship experience, so that was out of the question. We could have just rented a boat and done it ourselves, but neither Olof or I know much about motor boats so we decided that would be unsafe.  We are looking forward to doing some sea kayaking and zodiac trips from the yacht.

In preparation for the trip I got a new rain cover for my Hasselblad  H3D. Michael Reichman of Luminous Landscape recommends the Kata 702 Rain Cover . I ordered one and am pleased with how well it fits my H3D and lenses. The see through plastic will make it easier to use. I have lost cameras to light drizzle before and do not want to take any chances with a the H3D. We will also take 2 Dryzone backpacks by LowePro. I may also take the new Vertex pack by LowePro - I think this is a great pack and is not too bulky - it fits well in the overhead bins of even the small planes. We will be flying small planes into Ketchikan and Sitka, and doing some aerial photography around Misty Fjords. I will be offline and unable to blog from May 22 to June 4.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Favorite Books for Photographers

I have a number of books that I have found helpful in my development as a photographer. Here is a quick list. Please add your own lists in the comments section if you have some favorites.

Beauty in Photography - Robert Adams - This book is an interview format with some wonderful insights about the art of photography.

The Artist' Way - Julia Cameron  - This is an inspiring book for anyone working to develop their unique artistic style. I have enjoyed all her books on this topic.

Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography - Galen Rowell was a true leader in the art of color landscape  photography. This book summarizes his theories and philosophy in a very readable way.

Ansel Adams Autobiography - This fascinating book gives wonderful insights into the father of fine art landscape photography.

The Photobook - A History  - This is the first of 2 volumes that cover a history of photography books, which are collectable as an art form in their own right. Reading this book is a good way to get a broad overview of many different photographic styles.

Adobe Photoshop Master Class - John Paul Caponigro - While the techniques need to be updated to reflect more recent versions of Photoshop, JPs philosophy of digital photography in this narrative is groundbreaking and relevant to fine art photographers.

Real World Camera Raw for Photoshop CS3 - Paired with the Real World CS 3 Book, this combo is simply the best of all the millions of Photoshop books out there. It is only available for pre-order but I have all the ones back to PS version 6.0.

Anything by Annie Dillard - She is the best nature writer of our time. She puts into words what I try to photograph.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sierra Spring

The wildflowers in the lower elevations of the Sierra are peaking now, but the higher elevations are a long way from blooming. I was in Yosemite last week to get some shots of the Dogwood blossoms - they were everywhere in the Valley. I also went to a place in the Sierra Foothills outside of Sacramento, CA, and found a wonderful field of Lupine (thanks to the suggestion of a friend). I stayed into the evening to get the best light on the Lupine, and thankfully the winds were light and I was able to get some long exposures. You really have to shoot wildflowers in the evenings or on a cloudy day. I have found that even when it is cloudy the best light is still in the evenings or early morning. The shots I have been working on are in the SIerra Spring portfolio to the right. The image of the "Oak Cathedral" looks like it was taken in Autumn, but it was just taken last week in an area where the  evening backlighting gave the oak leaves a golden glow.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Sierra Magazine Article

This month's Sierra Magazine features a cover story on my photography. I sent them a copy of my book when it came out and they followed up with me to do a story on it, so I am very pleased with how it came out. My husband Olof and I are long time supporters of the Sierra Club. As people who make our living from photographing beautiful natural places, it is incumbent on us to support organizations like the Sierra Club. I'm sure many readers of my photoblog share the same philosophy. We are also supporters of our local Truckee Donner Land Trust and a number of other environmental organizations. We are lucky in the Western USA to have large wilderness areas  and National Parks - this is a major accomplishment of the USA and a wonderful gift to our generation. There are many places in Western Europe that have no concept of Wilderness, which is both a physical and psychological place. Anyone who has traveled in the backcountry of Alaska knows the amazing power of true wilderness - there is nothing like being part of the food chain to clear your mind! Here is a link to the Sierra Club Magazine: There is also a link to the article on that web page.