When it comes to capturing nature’s beauty at its best, you can’t beat the photography tips from Outdoor Photographer. From reviews on photography equipment to the latest photography techniques, explore it all here.
It was the bolt atop the ridge directly in front of me that finally got my attention. For over an hour, I had been photographing the eastward progress of a dazzling thunderstorm just north of what had been a safe vantage point. Mesmerized by the frequency and intensity of its activity, I had failed to register the storm’s approach until that warning shot landed less than a mile away. Reluctantly, I began packing my gear, still dry, but knowing I was in danger, vaguely resentful of the oft-repeated lightning warning: “If you see it, flee it; if you hear it, clear it.” Stooping for my camera bag, I rationalized that I pass that warning’s threshold every time I photograph a thunderstorm, so surely… Flash-Bang! The simultaneous bolt and boom sent me retreating so fast that it wasn’t until I was safely in the car that I realized I had left my camera in the line of fire.
Lightning photography is as dangerous as it is thrilling. Though photographer and camera survived this adventure, no person outside in an electrical storm is completely safe. And while nature photographers aren’t averse to taking risks to get their shots, neither should they be as foolish as I was.
How To Photograph Lightning
Lightning Safety Before setting out to photograph lightning, understand that anyone outside when lightning is visible, or thunder is audible, is at risk. You can roughly compute the lightning’s distance by counting the seconds between the flash and thunder: five seconds for each mile. While 10 miles is often stated as a safe distance, lightning bolts over 100 miles long have been recorded, and lightning can strike when no rain is falling and the sky overhead is blue.
Lightning Facts While lightning strikes earth over eight million times each day, it isn’t completely understood. We do know that the rapid upward and downward motion of raindrops in a thunderstorm creates extreme electrical polarity—a negative-positive imbalance within a cloud, between clouds or between a cloud and the ground. Nature abhors any imbalance and will remedy the problem as efficiently as possible: Lightning.
Unfortunately, while the most photogenic lightning is cloud-to-ground (CG), it’s also the most dangerous. In a few hundredths of a millisecond or less, a CG lightning strike can expend 200 million volts and heat the surrounding air to 50,000º F—more than enough to detonate a tree or fry a photographer.
After much research, a few close calls and many thorough drenchings, I’ve concluded that lightning is best photographed from a distance. Not only is lightning ridiculously dangerous, it’s also nearly impossible to photograph anything in the kind of downpour that accompanies most thunderstorms. In other words, you want to be outside the thunderstorm looking in.
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Thursday, August 6, 2015
What a busy week it’s been. We just published our full review of the Fujifilm X-T10 and we’ve been shooting with several new cameras and lenses, to bring you samples galleries and first impressions.
Less is more? Fujifilm X-T10 review
The Fujifilm X-T10 puts many of the X-T1’s capabilities into a smaller, less expensive body. It uses the same 16MP X-Trans CMOS sensor and EXR Processor II and, despite a more compact body, offers an additional custom function button and even squeezes in a pop-up flash. Is the X-T10 capable of holding its own against APS-C competitors? Read our full analysis.
Click here to read our review of the Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm XF 90mm F2 LM WR real-world samples
Fujifilm announced the XF 90mm F2 in May, adding a 137mm equiv. focal length to its X-system’s arsenal. We’ve been spending some quality time outdoors with the 90mm, take a look at how it performs against real-world subjects.
Take a look at our gallery of samples from the new Fujifilm XF 90mm F2
yet, some crave for silence, failing to escape the chaos of a moonlight night..staying up late to safeguard the clock., where two strikes of the pendulum comprised of more secrets than her lips ever uttered..
the thoughts were ink..the moon was the half written book..
When working with Layers in Photoshop, one of the most powerful tools for lossless editing is the use of adjustment layers. Rather than actually changing the pixels in the content layer (i.e. altering the original image), you can use an adjustment layer to virtually put a filter over the layer and make the layer hold the adjustment for you. Turn off the adjustment layer and you’ll see your original image remains untouched below.
Adjustment layers, by default, modify every layer below them. Unless you know this one trick. No, it won’t give you great abs or help you lose ten pounds in ten days, but it will absolutely make you think Adjustment Layers are even better and more useful than you ever knew they could be. Along the bottom edge of the Adjustment Layer panel, there’s a series of icons that do various things. The icon on the far left, which looks like a box with an arrow emerging from it, making a 90-degree turn and pointing at the layer below, does something called “Clip To Layer Below.”
This button does exactly what its icon and name both imply: it applies the adjustment layer’s modifications exclusively to the layer directly below, and doesn’t affect any other layers at all. This simple checkbox can make adjustment layers infinitely more powerful and customizable, because instead of making wholesale changes to the entire image, subtle adjustments to individual layered elements are much easier to make without losing the lossless versatility of adjustment layers. If you’ve never bothered to investigate all those little icons you might not have any idea this great tool exists. But now that you know, and you’re sure to love your layered workflow even more.
Sierra Club’s ED Michael Brune and his family are hitting the road to experience the wonders of the Southwest. Everyday is an adventure as Mike, Mary, Olivia, Sebastian, and Genevieve explore southern Utah and northern Arizona.
Take a guess… in which town is this mural?
Bet u can’t guess (without cheating) what town this mural is in.
What’s a family adventure without a challenge and fantastic solution? After discovering all the campsites at Great Basin National Park were in use, the owners of Baker, NV’s LetroLux Cafe offered to let the Brunes camp out back. This combined with food, drink, ice cream, and music made for an all-around win.
Here’s how the LetroLux cafe in Baker Nevada saved my hide last night. Our plan was to drive on Rt 50, the so-called “loneliest road in America” all the way across Nevada and to camp at Great Basin National Park. Good plan, right? The only challenge is that campgrounds at the park are first come, first served. Lest you think the executive director of the Sierra Club gets any special privileges, the answer is no. So when we arrived at the park, in very, very remote eastern Nevada and all the spots at all five campgrounds were full, we were out of luck. And since I had assured Mary Brune that we’d get a site (don’t worry, Mary!), it was me that was out of luck. And since, our three sweet little angels in the back seat were hungry and a just a tad, ahem, impatient, I wasn’t the most popular person in the car. It was also dusk, past dinner time. Oh, and we were about to run out of gas. And then, a light in the darkness! The little town of Baker, Nevada. My new favorite little town in the west. About half the town of Baker (pop approx 100), were gathered at the LetroLux cafe for a pizza/beer/dance party that spilled into the street. We sat down, had a few drinks, and the owners invited us and some other late-night stragglers to camp out back. We hung out for a few hours, made some new friends, had some ice cream, and all was right again.
Moon House ruins in Cedar Mesa, UT. The Brunes were inspired by the Dine Bikeyah leaders who are working to permanently protect 1.9 million acres of these sacred lands.
Moon House ruins in Cedar Mesa. We were inspired to meet with Dine Bikeyah leaders the past two days to learn about their proposal to permanently protect 1.9 million acres as part of Bears Ears National Monument. On to Moab today to learn more about how fracking and dirty fuels are scarring the beautiful red rock country here, and what we all need to do to stop it.
The Brunes visited Cedar Mesa with Willie Gray Eyes, chairman of the Utah Diné Bikéyah, and visited the ruins of an ancient hogan, as well as the medicinal uses of the juniper and pinion leaves, bark, sap and pollen. These ants, called “Stinky ants”, used to be crushed and spread on baby’s guns when teething!
“Stinky ants”. Yesterday we visited Cedar Mesa with a Dine leader, Willie Gray Eyes. He showed us the ruins of an ancient hogan, as well as the medicinal uses of the juniper and pinion leaves, bark, sap and pollen. These ants used to be crushed and spread on baby’s guns when teething! All of what we visited is part of the proposed Bears Ears National Monument. See link to a Native-led coalition working to protect this area in my bio.
Here’s what oil and gas development looks like on our public lands. Red Rock country looks better without it.
Thanks BLM! People come from all around the world to Red Rock country to see dirty oil pipelines and fracking drill sites, right? Tragic to see so much oil and gas outside Moab when clean energy is clearly our future.
Fidelity Exploration owns this oil pipeline, which runs through Big Flat adjacent to Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab. The pipeline is uncoated and unpainted, so that it will eventually rust and blend in with the red rock landscape. Sounds safe, eh?
Oil pipeline through Big Flat adjacent to Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab. Owned by Fidelity Exploration. Approved by BLM and the Dept of Interior. The pipeline is uncoated and unpainted, so that it will eventually rust and blend in with the red rock landscape. Thanks! Sounds safe!