Eclipse: A Preview

Alright.. So I know everyone’s anxious for my Alaska posts, and I even had something else originally planned for this week, but with all the excitement of this life-changing event, I had to interject an extra story.

This is just a preview, as I’m still working on the photos, but I’ll have the rest next week.  Follow my blog for all the latest!

Anticipation for the solar eclipse has been brewing for months, and “totality” invokes a very clear image in everyone’s minds.  For any living in the States, it’s meant booking hotels and campsites for exorbitant amounts, scrambling to secure legitimate solar glasses when half those sold were recalled a week prior, and selecting the best viewing spots.

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Weekly Challenge: The Magic in the End

The end of the world isn’t some instantaneous, catastrophic event, abolishing all life in a blink.  No, it’s slow.  It’s a gradual, inexorable deterioration of everything you know and love all around you.  You can’t plan for it, you can’t avoid it, and you can’t stop it.  You think it would never happen to you, that life would always be the same, and like all other hardships in your life, you’d survive this one as well.

I did, too.

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Motion in the Trees

I’ve seen pictures from the Boardman tree farm before, and I immediately resolved to see it for myself.  When I heard it is to be chopped down and replaced with cow farms, I knew I needed to make this beautiful place a priority.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

I absolutely love autumn.  I love the colors and the smells, the feel of the cooler weather setting in for winter to cleanse us of the past year and blossom anew into spring.  This is the perfect time of year to visit a tree farm – when rows upon rows of erect bark stand in stark contrast against the fires of fall. Continue reading

Weekly Challenge: Mixed Shine

If I thought last week’s challenge was.. well.. challenging, this week’s really made me think hard about how to fit the topics.  The discover challenge is mixing media; the photo challenge is shine.  “Shine” is easy.  But I already write blog posts with lots of pictures – words and photos – so what could I do to mix it up?

I decided to do something I’ve never really done before: mixing photos. Continue reading

Photographing Fireworks: Lessons Learned

With most getting a three-day weekend for the 4th, it’s no wonder it has become one of the most travelled weekends in America.  It is also the time for sparklers, peonies, roman candles, chrysanthemums, fountains, weeping willows, and snakes.  Fortunately, you don’t generally need to go far for a decent fireworks show, but if you do, you can usually find them wherever you go.  And these provide a great opportunity for photography – if you know how to shoot these exploding spectacles. Continue reading

Hawaii: Adventures in HDR

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of HDR (high dynamic range) photography (much like I don’t go goo-goo over waterfalls).  They tend to look overly fake, oversaturated, and cartoonish.  I generally prefer to represent scenes as close to how I actually saw them as possible (with the occasional artistic flair).

Why, then, am I presenting an HDR image? Continue reading

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

New to Star Trails: Lessons Learned

In my last post, I talked about my introduction into astrophotography.  During the same trip, I attempted star trails – those beautiful concentric circles/arcs you see when turning your camera skyward and sucking up all possible light for minutes or even hours.

I’ve always been curious about star trails.  The fact is: given the chance, your camera can see more than human eyes.  This is why photos of the night sky look so surreal.  There’s no way that many stars are visible from our tiny little planet. Continue reading

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

My Journey into Astrophotography

One of the best parts about joining a local photography group is the opportunity to try new photography techniques never before explored.  I had one such opportunity recently: stars.

While I have seen some spectacular shots and have been mildly interested in trying it out, I could never bring myself to abandon wonderful, beautiful sunlight… and delve into the underworld of nighttime photography.  Low light has long been my bane, but I am working to improve my skills in this underdeveloped area.  Therefore, I welcomed the chance to work directly with other photographers who had done these types of shots before. Continue reading