I haven’t been to New York and now I have one less reason to go. Shoshone Falls in Idaho is often called the Niagara of the West and I am plenty impressed. It is 212 feet tall by 1000 feet wide. Here she is at 6500 cubic feet per second. Agriculture has diverted much of the water from the Snake River. I have read about historical flows in the 30,000 cfs range. One story tells about how settlers heard the falls from the Oregon Trail several miles away and came to see what the source of the noise was. Shoshone Falls effectively divides the Snake into upper and lower sections. Impeded by this massive obstacle, the salmon used to gather at the base of the falls in massive numbers. I’d love to have been around to see that.
Although this winter wasn’t the best, winter is usually a great time to see and photograph eagles. This article gives some good information about winter eagle watching. There’s probably a good spot near you.
After taking a new job in Idaho, I’ve been looking forward to my first photography outing. The weather hasn’t been exactly cooperative over the last two weeks but I finally managed to get out to an area known as Squaw Butte today.
A landmark of the Boise area, Squaw Butte appears in the distance as an isolated mountain. It’s actually a ridge several miles long. The highest point is 5,894 feet. The ridge is strewn with volcanic boulders, which I understand is fairly unique to this area.
This trip was a good introduction to the Idaho landscape. Areas like this have a unique beauty. There are few trees. You have to go to higher elevations to reach the coniferous forests. It is wide, open country. After turning off the main road, I didn’t see another person except for my family who came along with me. The sense of seclusion and freedom was rejuvenating.
We proceeded as far as possible but had to turn back short of the top when the 2WD family vehicle couldn’t maintain traction up a steep, wet section of the road. That’s OK. It gives me reason to return, which I definitely plan to do soon. I am excited to see how the area changes through the seasons.
Given the winter we’ve been experiencing this year, this scene might be hard to find. I made this photo last year over in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. I’m not about to complain about the mild temperatures we’ve enjoyed but every season offers its own unique photographic opportunities.
I’m going to have to slow down on my blog for a few weeks but please stay tuned. I’ll be back with some new photos from a new area.
I made this photo in my friend Ozark Bill‘s backyard. I’m not much of a gardener but I sure enjoyed photographing all the great subjects he had. We were experimenting with an inexpensive method to light macro photos. I really like the way this photo turned out. Today, I’m going to explain how it’s done. I said this was an inexpensive technique, but that comes after your camera, macro lens, external flash unit, tripod, ballhead, etc… I was using a Canon DSLR with a 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, and a 430EX flash for this shot. Mount the flash in the hot shoe and point the flash head up as if you were going to bounce the light off the ceiling. Here comes the inexpensive part… Take an empty Pringles can and cut a rectangular hole near the bottom so that it snugly fits over the flash head. Note: if you send an unopened Pringles can to me, I can return it to you empty. Adjust the flash so that the open end of the Pringles can points a few inches in front of your lens. Set up as you normally would on your subject and fire the flash when you take the shot. You may need to play with the flash exposure compensation in order to get the exposure dialed in. Just check your histogram and experiment until you find the right setting. The reflective interior of the Pringles can will direct and focus the light onto your subject. I think it’s a great technique. The only problem is finding room in my camera bag for my modified Pringles can.
A sunrise or sunset at a lake is one of my favorite subjects. I have many images like this in my library. The key to making a great image is perseverance. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets are very difficult to predict. Sometimes you’ll be rewarded with amazing colors and great light. Other times you get nothing. Paying attention to the weather can help increase your chances but it’s not a guarantee. Generally speaking, you’ll want partly cloudy conditions. High altitude cirrus clouds can offer some of the more dramatic scenes in my opinion. There are also times when the various cumulus-type clouds can add interest to the scene. Clear conditions generally won’t offer much in the way of color unless it is hazy. Usually low, thick stratus clouds mean nothing interesting is going to happen.
Fortunately for the last twelve years, I have lived near a state-owned conservation area that boasts numerous fishing lakes and many options for composition. Being close by, I’ve been able to go often at both sunrise and sunset. If the possibility of a good sunrise/sunset exists, I don’t try to over think the situation – I just go. The worst that can happen is sitting in a beautiful spot and watching the day come to life or the night take over. I can’t remember an occasion when I regretted being out there whether I made the image I wanted or not.