Scenic Aperture http://scenicaperture.com Frank Comisar Photography Thu, 22 Feb 2018 17:12:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 Wildflower Photography – Keys to Success http://scenicaperture.com/2017/06/19/wildflower-photography-keys-to-success/ http://scenicaperture.com/2017/06/19/wildflower-photography-keys-to-success/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 22:28:50 +0000 http://scenicaperture.com/?p=12805 Here in Southwest Colorado, wildflowers are beginning to emerge. Wildflower photography is a favorite pastime for many who visit this area in the Summer. Summer comes late to high elevation alpine meadows in the San Juan Mountains. The alpine wildflower season in the San Juan Mountains begins in late June and extends until early September. My favorite time is mid to late July. This is when wildflowers are at their peak and most abundant at the higher elevations (10-12,000' above sea level).

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wildflower photographyHere in Southwest Colorado, wildflowers are beginning to emerge. Wildflower photography is a favorite pastime for many who visit this area in the Summer. Summer comes late to high elevation alpine meadows in the San Juan Mountains. The alpine wildflower season in the San Juan Mountains begins in late June and extends until early September. My favorite time is mid to late July. This is when wildflowers are at their peak and most abundant at the higher elevations (10-12,000′ above sea level).

Looking to make better photographs of wildflowers? Here are a few tips and techniques . . .

Composition

Get close; really close. At the risk of oversimplification, consider three basic types of compositions for wildflower photography, 1) single flower isolated against a distant out of focus background; 2) a flower as a foreground element to provide a sense of depth and to anchor a landscape composition and, 3) overhead point of view to isolate the bloom from the flower’s foliage.

If you want to photograph the flower from the side, get low to the ground and look for a flower that has a distant background that contrasts well with the flower. The greater the distance between the flower and the background, the more out of focus the background will be. A nicely out of focus background will help isolate the flower from its surroundings while maintaining the context of its environment.

If shooting from above, pay attention to the ground below. Avoid distracting elements.

Position your camera so that the camera’s sensor is parallel with the most important plane of the flower. Focus on this plane to avoid out of focus elements due to shallow depth of field. Getting down on your knees or belly will put you at the level of the wildflowers and offer a more intimate composition. You might appreciate knee pads or a kneeling pad that you can purchase at any garden center or some camera stores.

Watch your backgrounds. It is easy to become overly consumed with the flower itself. A great background, whether out of focus or tack sharp, can greatly enhance your wildflower image.

Lens Choice

A macro or medium telephoto lens can be the best choice for an intimate composition of a single flower or small grouping. By using a telephoto or macro lens you can easily isolate the flower against an out of focus background. Use extension tubes to shorten your minimum focus distance if necessary. A wide-angle lens is usually best when using a flower as a foreground subject in a large-scale landscape composition.

wildflower photography workshop

Shutter Speed

Set your shutter speed to a minimum of 1/200s. Even on a calm day, slight movement of the flower can introduce motion blur at shutter speeds less than 1/200s. Increase your shutter speed as the wind increases.

Use a low ISO (e.g. 100 or 200) if you can maintain a minimum shutter speed of 1/200s. However, do not be afraid to increase your ISO to 400 or above if necessary. Motion blur is the fastest way to ruin your wildflower shots.

Aperture

A small aperture (e.g. f/16) will give you a wide depth of field (DOF). A large aperture (e.g. f/4) will give you a shallow DOF. Experiment with depth of field. Try to get all elements of the flower head in sharp focus with a nicely out of focus background.

Camera Support

wildflower photography workshopAlways use a tripod. Not only will using a tripod provide camera stability, it will also allow for more creative control (e.g. depth of field control with small apertures and slow shutter speeds). In addition, a little appreciated benefit of using a tripod is that it will slow you down and give you a chance to make more thoughtful photographs.

Light

Shooting during the golden hours (within a couple hours of sunrise and sunset) is just as important for shooting wildflowers as it is for landscapes or wildlife. Mid-day sunlight can be harsh and with high contrast. Overcast light is often best as it offers subtle, yet saturated colors with soft shadows. In bright sunlight use of a diffuser can be helpful;

A diffuser is a hand-held piece of white translucent material attached to a collapsible frame. The diffuser is placed between the sun and the subject. It softens and evens out the light. My favorite diffuser for wildflower photography is the Lastolite 30″ TriGrip Difflector. It can be used as a diffuser AND a reflector, depending on which side is adjacent to the subject.

The Perfect Flower

One of the more challenging aspects to great alpine wildflower photography might be finding the perfect flower. Make sure your wildflower subjects are fresh. Avoid wilted or damaged petals. Also, you may want to gently remove distracting bugs.

Save the Flora

Finally, leave no trace; tread lightly and respectfully. Be considerate of the next person. Alpine wildflower photography requires hiking on fragile high elevation meadows. In order to protect the meadows, keep your group small and spread out to avoid making a trail. If possible, walk on exposed rocks and avoid going directly up steep slopes. The flora of at these elevations is fragile. If excessively disturbed, the it may take many years to recover.

Want More Wildflower Photography?

Join Scenic Aperture for a high-altitude Alpine Wildflower Photography Workshop in the San Juan mountains of southwest Colorado. 

wildflower photography workshop

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Workshop News – New for 2018 http://scenicaperture.com/2017/03/01/workshop-news-new-2018/ http://scenicaperture.com/2017/03/01/workshop-news-new-2018/#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 21:38:35 +0000 http://scenicaperture.com/?p=12770 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Scenic Aperture is pleased to announce a new photography workshop for 2018; South Texas Birds - Rio Grande Valley.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Texas Bird Photography WorkshopScenic Aperture is pleased to announce a new photography workshop for 2018; South Texas Birds – Rio Grande Valley.

The Rio Grande Valley hosts more species of birds than most other states. Because of this area’s extreme southern location and unique habitat, it is home to many bird species that are found nowhere else in North America.

Our host ranch is in one of the best locations to photograph this unique area’s many species. These include Green Jay, Audubon’s Oriole, Olive Sparrow, Long-billed Thrasher, Northern Cardinal, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Harris’s Hawk, Crested Caracara, and many others.

This Texas bird photography workshop provides multiple  shoots from blinds strategically located on a privately owned South Texas ranch. The blinds were designed with photographers in mind. They feature below grade point of view, water holes, cushioned seating, wood floors, and camouflage material. Morning and afternoon blinds offer perfect orientation for the best light and beautiful backgrounds.

Sign Up Now!

This Texas Bird Photography workshop will be based in Edinburg, TX and is limited to just five participants. For more information or to sign up contact Scenic Aperture.

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Workshop News – Summer 2017 http://scenicaperture.com/2016/11/14/workshop-news-summer-2017/ http://scenicaperture.com/2016/11/14/workshop-news-summer-2017/#respond Mon, 14 Nov 2016 23:35:21 +0000 http://scenicaperture.com/?p=12637 Alpine Wildflowers & Gold Mines Photography Workshop July 20-23, 2017 Silverton, Colorado Scenic Aperture is proud to announce Alpine Wildflowers & Gold Mines, a high-altitude Alpine Wildflower Photography Workshop in the San Juan mountains of southwest Colorado. Participants will travel to alpine meadows in high-clearance 4×4 vehicles to learn advanced techniques of wildflower and landscape photography from Frank Comisar, an internationally collected nature photographer. Space is limited. Click here for more information or to book your reservation

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Alpine Wildflowers & Gold Mines

Photography Workshop
July 20-23, 2017
Silverton, Colorado

Scenic Aperture is proud to announce Alpine Wildflowers & Gold Mines, a high-altitude Alpine Wildflower Photography Workshop in the San Juan mountains of southwest Colorado. Participants will travel to alpine meadows in high-clearance 4×4 vehicles to learn advanced techniques of wildflower and landscape photography from Frank Comisar, an internationally collected nature photographer.

Space is limited. Click here for more information or to book your reservation

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Ten Tips for Slot Canyon Photography http://scenicaperture.com/2016/08/20/tips-for-slot-canyon-photography/ http://scenicaperture.com/2016/08/20/tips-for-slot-canyon-photography/#comments Sat, 20 Aug 2016 21:23:51 +0000 http://scenicaperture.com/?p=12457 Slot canyons of the American Southwest are famous for their otherworldly beauty. As such, they are high on many nature photographers’ bucket list. The best known and most visited are Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons near Page, Arizona.

With countless discussions in the gallery and my Navajo Nation Journey Workshop about 60 days from now, I thought it would be useful to compile a list of tips for slot canyon photography to share with others.

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tips for slot canyon photography

Canon 5DS R w/ EF16-35mm f/4.0 @24mm f/16 3.2s ISO 100

Slot canyons of the American Southwest are famous for their otherworldly beauty. As such, they are high on many nature photographers’ bucket list. The best known and most visited are Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons near Page, Arizona.

With countless discussions in the gallery and my Navajo Nation Journey Workshop about 60 days from now, I thought it would be useful to compile a list of tips for slot canyon photography to share with others.

Ten tips for slot canyon photography

Challenges for slot canyon photographers seem endless. They include extreme dynamic range, low light focusing, long exposures, small spaces, and lots of dust. Although slot canyons present many challenges to photographers, the well-prepared and properly equipped photographer will not be disappointed. Here are ten tips for slot canyon photography success:

tips for slot canyon photography

Two-shot pano: Canon 5DS R w/ TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II f/16 10.0s ISO 100

1. To the uninitiated, the insane circus that is Upper and Lower Antelope canyon can be very frustrating. Hundreds, if not thousands of tourists walk through these canyons each day during the summer season. If you go, prepare yourself mentally for fast pace, tight quarters, pushing, shoving, people in your frame, and guides barking out orders. However, there are many slot canyons that are not visited by the tour bus operators. These are the canyons where solitude, along with fantastic photo opportunities, can still be found.

2. Travel light. Even a small backpack will make it difficult to move around in narrow slot canyons.

3. Use a tripod. Although very colorful, these are low light environments. Shutter speeds of 20 to 30 seconds are not uncommon at ISO 100. Shutter speeds up to 120 seconds are sometimes necessary. Most cameras have a maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds. For anything longer you will need to use blub mode with a timing device, such as an intervalometer, to trip the shutter.

4. Stop down for maximum depth of field. Slot canyons twist and turn with layer upon layer of textures and colors. Don’t lose detail to shallow depth of field. Hyper focal distance can be an effective technique to maximize depth of field.

5. If you use auto focus, use single point mode with back-button focus. Multi-point modes will frequently lock onto surfaces other than which you intend. With back-button focus, you can choose your focus area and recompose for best results. Live-view manual focus also works well in this regard.

6. Learn to adjust your camera settings in the dark. Although you can bring a flashlight, it is one more thing to keep track of and carry. Preset as many settings as possible before you enter the canyon. My preferences include single point focus mode, evaluative metering, ISO 100, f/16, mirror lock-up, and Auto White Balance. Many photographers recommend white balance of 6500 to 7500K to achieve warmer tones. However, I prefer to make such adjustments in post.

7. Use your RGB histogram (rather than luminosity)  and highlight warning (blinkies) to verify exposure. Colors in these canyons can over expose the red channel. Much detail will be lost if the red channel is blown out.

8. Dust is everywhere. Avoid changing lenses while in a slot canyon. Zoom lenses, rather than primes, are best due to their inherent flexibility. Although a medium telephoto lens can be useful for detail shots, I prefer to use a 16-35 or 24-70mm. If you have to change lenses, turn your camera off, keep the body pointed downwards and make it fast. Bring along a rocket blower for cleanup during and after your shoot. You might even want to bring a plastic bag to cover your camera while not in use or while changing lenses.

9. Wear sturdy boots, a wide brimmed hat, and dress in layers. The temperature at the bottom of a slot canyon can be 10 degrees F lower than topside. Also a surprising amount of sand and debris can blow in from above.

10. Don’t forget to look up. Sometimes the best compositions and light are overhead.

tips for slot canyon photography

Canon 5DS R w/ EF16-35mm f/4.0L @ 21mm f/14 1.3s ISO 100

Slot canyons are some of the most challenging environments for the landscape photographer. But also they are some of the most rewarding. These tips for slot canyon photography will help you manage the technical aspects of photography while exploring the artistic opportunities around every curve. Whether you are looking for floor-to-ceiling compositions or abstract details, the options are endless.

tips for slot canyon photography

HDR: Canon 5DS R w/ EF16-35mm @ 16mm f/16 ISO 100

 

 

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FOR SALE: Canon 1D MKIV and 5D MKII http://scenicaperture.com/2016/08/12/sale-canon-1d-mkiv-5d-mkii/ http://scenicaperture.com/2016/08/12/sale-canon-1d-mkiv-5d-mkii/#respond Fri, 12 Aug 2016 22:26:14 +0000 http://scenicaperture.com/?p=12397 I’ve got a couple camera bodies just sitting around collecting dust. They deserve better. It’s time they go to someone who can make better use of them. Therefore I’m selling my Canon 1D Mark IV and Canon 5D Mark II camera bodies. Both are in excellent condition which I define as 80-89% of new condition;  moderate wear for its age with a couple small dings or blemishes. Both have been well cared for and maintained via Canon Professional Services. Both work perfectly. Click the links for manufacturer’s specs. Contact me for more information or if interested. Details: Hi-res pics available upon request. Will accept cash, PayPal or major credit cards; I’ll pay the fees. Contact me for more information or if interested.

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I’ve got a couple camera bodies just sitting around collecting dust. They deserve better. It’s time they go to someone who can make better use of them.

Therefore I’m selling my Canon 1D Mark IV and Canon 5D Mark II camera bodies. Both are in excellent condition which I define as 80-89% of new condition;  moderate wear for its age with a couple small dings or blemishes. Both have been well cared for and maintained via Canon Professional Services. Both work perfectly. Click the links for manufacturer’s specs. Contact me for more information or if interested.

Details:

Canon 1D Mark IV

  • Price  $1,550 (cash, PayPal, major credit cards)
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Shutter Count = 80,492
  • Battery charger with two batteries
  • Body cap
  • Includes original box, camera strap (unused), cables, manual.
  • Shipping to US addresses only; $30
  • Hi-res pics available upon request

 

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Canon 5D Mark II

  • Price  $1,050 (cash, PayPal, major credit cards)
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Shutter Count = 28,987
  • L Bracket mounting plate (mfg Really Right Stuff)
  • Battery grip
  • Battery charger with one battery
  • Body cap
  • Includes original box, cables, manual.
  • Shipping to US Addresses only: $30
  • Hi-res pics available upon request

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Hi-res pics available upon request.

Will accept cash, PayPal or major credit cards; I’ll pay the fees.

Contact me for more information or if interested.

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First Anniversary Celebration! http://scenicaperture.com/2016/05/05/first-anniversary-celebration/ http://scenicaperture.com/2016/05/05/first-anniversary-celebration/#respond Thu, 05 May 2016 11:00:59 +0000 http://scenicaperture.com/?p=12304 We would like to thank our loyal customers, friends, and neighbors who made the first year of our Durango Gallery a resounding success. Without you, it would not have been possible. Please join us for a reception and unveiling of “Guarding Shiprock” from 6:00 to 9:00 PM on May 28, 2016 at 708 Main Ave. in Durango. To commemorate our anniversary, we are proud to announce the release of “Guarding Shiprock” by nationally and internationally collected photographer, Frank Comisar. This 24×36 fine-art dye sublimation print on aluminum will be limited to an edition of only 50 prints. Guarding Shiprock is available for pre-order now at the gallery, online, or by calling 970-385-5853. Pre-orders may be picked up at the gallery on May 28, 2016 or shipped upon request.  

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durango galleryWe would like to thank our loyal customers, friends, and neighbors who made the first year of our Durango Gallery a resounding success. Without you, it would not have been possible. Please join us for a reception and unveiling of “Guarding Shiprock” from 6:00 to 9:00 PM on May 28, 2016 at 708 Main Ave. in Durango.

To commemorate our anniversary, we are proud to announce the release of “Guarding Shiprock” by nationally and internationally collected photographer, Frank Comisar. This 24×36 fine-art dye sublimation print on aluminum will be limited to an edition of only 50 prints. Guarding Shiprock is available for pre-order now at the gallery, online, or by calling 970-385-5853. Pre-orders may be picked up at the gallery on May 28, 2016 or shipped upon request.

Scenic Aperture

Guarding Shiprock – $989

 

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Late Cancellation . . . http://scenicaperture.com/2016/02/09/late-cancellation/ http://scenicaperture.com/2016/02/09/late-cancellation/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:56:58 +0000 http://scenicaperture.com/?p=12184 Two spots have opened up . . . Unfortunately, a workshop client has just been diagnosed with a serious illness and has had to cancel their workshop reservations. This has opened up two spots in each of our 2016 Ancient Migration and 2016 Exotic Birds of the Prairie workshops. Ancient Migration runs March 29-31 and Exotic Birds of the Prairie runs March 31 to April 3. Package deals are available. Shoot me an email ASAP if you’re interested – or go online to register.  

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Two spots have opened up . . .

Unfortunately, a workshop client has just been diagnosed with a serious illness and has had to cancel their workshop reservations. This has opened up two spots in each of our 2016 Ancient Migration and 2016 Exotic Birds of the Prairie workshops. Ancient Migration runs March 29-31 and Exotic Birds of the Prairie runs March 31 to April 3. Package deals are available.

Shoot me an email ASAP if you’re interested – or go online to register.

 

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Fall Color Photography – 8 Things to Consider http://scenicaperture.com/2015/08/31/fall-color-photography-8-things-to-consider/ http://scenicaperture.com/2015/08/31/fall-color-photography-8-things-to-consider/#respond Mon, 31 Aug 2015 20:38:10 +0000 http://scenicaperture.com/?p=11924 Summer is about over. Autumn is just around the corner. Autumn is a wonderful time to be a landscape photographer. Colors here in SW Colorado usually peak near the end of September or the beginning of October. Everyone seems to have their own theory about when and why the colors will peak. All I know is its magical when it happens. I spend as much time as possible in the field working on fall color photography. Here are eight things I think about this time of year . . .

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fall color photographySummer is about over. Autumn is just around the corner. Autumn is a wonderful time to be a landscape photographer. Colors here in SW Colorado usually peak near the end of September or the beginning of October. Everyone seems to have their own theory about when and why the colors will peak. All I know is its magical when it happens. I spend as much time as possible in the field working on fall color photography. Here are eight things I think about this time of year . . .

LIGHT FOR FALL COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

For fall color photography, sunlight is desirable early and late. Otherwise, an overcast day is best because the light is soft and even. Autumn colors are highly saturated, and contrast nicely with an overcast sky. While a bit of gray sky is okay, minimize uninteresting skies. Don’t pack up and go home just because it’s cloudy.

EXPOSURE

Use Matrix or Evaluative metering for everything, regardless of sunshine or clouds, then check the histogram to make sure highlights are clipped. By default, most digital cameras display a luminosity histogram. The luminosity histogram is useful in evaluating overall exposure. However, it doesn’t always tell the whole story. When photographing autumn color, one or more of the individual color channels (red, green or blue) may be clipped and therefore lack detail. Yellow foliage may clip the blue channel, red foliage may clip the red channel, and so on. Individual RGB histograms, tell you if specific channels are clipped so you can adjust exposure as necessary.

LENSES

Fall color photography is not all about “wide-angle”. Although wide-angle lenses are frequently the best choice and are great for capturing the depth of a scene, longer lenses are useful too. A 70-200mm lens is a great option to isolate details and color.

FILTERS

Polarizer filters darken blue skies, provide more color saturation, and reduce glare in sunny conditions. A polarizer reduces glare on leaves and intensifies color of wet foliage. Be careful with polarizers on wide-angle lenses, as the sky color can become uneven. Another essential filter for landscape photography is the graduated neutral-density (GND) filter. GNDs even out high dynamic range of light. Often, clouds are brighter than the ground, so if you expose for the ground, the sky is overexposed. Or, if you expose for the sky, the ground becomes too dark. GNDs allow you to reduce the brightness of the sky so that the sky requires the same amount of exposure as the ground, allowing you to maintain proper exposure and detail in all parts of the photograph.

SCALE

A large-scale vista helps tell the story about just how much color is out there in the autumn. Shooting from a high elevation or an overlook will, in mountainous areas, emphasize the grand scale of the scene. However, don’t forget to look down at your feet. Sometimes the forest floor offers incredible color and interesting compositions.

WATER

Streams, cascades, and ponds can be wonderful subject matter in autumn. Objects seem to look more dramatic when they are reflected in a body of water. Bodies of water are frequently most calm, producing the best reflections, just before sunrise. A slow shutter speed will appear to smooth out rippled water.

COLOR COMBINATIONS

Everyone loves autumn color juxtaposed against a bright blue sky. Frame vibrant reds and yellows against a blue sky to create a very strong color composition. Colors opposite on the color wheel, when included together in a composition, take on even more power. Yellows and reds are opposite of blues on the color wheel and therefore are very compelling when combined in a single photograph.

DON’T GET LAZY

Do not rely on color alone to create a compelling fall color photography. Do not forget about composition, light, shadows, contrast, leading lines, mood, emotion and all of the other factors that go into creating great fall color photography.

fall color photography

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2016 Photography Workshops http://scenicaperture.com/2015/05/13/2016-photography-workshops/ http://scenicaperture.com/2015/05/13/2016-photography-workshops/#respond Wed, 13 May 2015 22:14:31 +0000 http://scenicaperture.com/?p=11876 Although I've got a couple of additions yet to make, we are now accepting 2016 bookings. In addition to some traditional favorites like Exotic Birds of the Prairie and Colorado Fall Color, our 2016 calendar includes a new workshop I'm calling Navajo Nation Journey which will take place in October 2016.

To see the entire 2016 schedule and to register, please visit 2016 Photography Workshops.

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Durango Gallery photography workshops

The essence of Durango!

Whew! I can’t believe it’s the middle of May already. This spring has been a blur. Leading four photography workshops while building out our Durango gallery at 708 Main Ave has been exciting to say the least (crazy might be a better description). But despite the craziness, everything is coming together quite nicely. The gallery has been open for about a month now and a nice routine is beginning to emerge. Our grand opening celebration will take place on May 29. If you’re in town that day, stop by for a glass of wine and help us cut the ribbon.

2016 Photography Workshops

In between spring workshops and setting up the gallery, I’ve been putting together my 2016 photography workshop calendar. Although I’ve got a couple of additions yet to make, we are now accepting 2016 bookings. In addition to some traditional favorites like Exotic Birds of the Prairie and Colorado Fall Color, our 2016 calendar includes a new workshop I’m calling Navajo Nation Journey which will take place in October 2016.

Navajo Nation Journey

I’m very excited about Navajo Nation Journey. Unlike my traditional Monument Valley workshop (May 2016) which is a five-day deep dive into the backcountry of Monument Valley, Navajo Nation Journey is sampler of the the most photogenic areas of the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona. We’ll cover a lot of ground during this workshop. In addition to three days at Monument Valley, the Navajo Nation Journey itinerary includes Canyon de Chelly at the peak of fall color and a full day of slot canyon photography near Page, AZ.

To see the entire 2016 schedule and to register, please visit 2016 Photography Workshops.

TTYL . . .

Frank

 

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Durango Gallery Grand Opening! http://scenicaperture.com/2015/04/30/durango-gallery-grand-opening/ http://scenicaperture.com/2015/04/30/durango-gallery-grand-opening/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 21:43:38 +0000 http://scenicaperture.com/?p=11733 Please join us to celebrate the grand opening of Scenic Aperture's Durango Gallery!

Scenic Aperture features fine-art nature photography of the four-corners area of the American Southwest. The gallery showcases landscape, wildlife, and nature photography of Durango photographer Frank Comisar.

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durango galleryMay 29, 2015 | 5-9 | Ribbon Cutting at 5:15

708 Main Ave. Durango, CO 81301

Please join us to celebrate the grand opening of Scenic Aperture’s Durango Gallery!

Scenic Aperture features fine-art nature photography of the four-corners area of the American Southwest. The gallery showcases landscape, wildlife, and nature photography of Durango photographer Frank Comisar.

durango gallery

durango gallery

durango gallery

 

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