Mt. Rainier

What's Your Favorite National Park - and Why?

Bryce Canyon National Park. © Rick Sammon
I'm on a National Park kick today. I was just wondering: What is your favorite National Park - and why?

Post a comment in the Comments section here on my blog. I - and other blog followers/National Park lovers - would love to hear your thoughts. What's more, if you have pictures, include a specific link. Share and share alike.

Mt. Rainier National Park. © Rick Sammon 
Explore the light - and explore the wonders and beauty of our National Parks.

Zion National Park. © Rick Sammon
Arches National Park. © Rick Sammon
If you enjoy or parks, and want to help preserve them, check out the National Parks Conservation Association.

All the photographs in the post were taken with my Canon digital SLRs and Canon lenses. See my Gear page for info. Enjoy the weekend!

P.S. If all these pictures look sharp, it's because I sharpened them with Nik Software's Sharpener Pro. You can get a 15% discount on all Nik Software if upon check out you use this code: RSAMMON.

Crop My Pictures and You're a Dead Man

"Crop My Pictures and You're a Dead Man."

That's what I used to tell my book publishers (when I used to write books rather than producing apps – where I have total control over cropping).

Of course, I told the publishers  in a much kinder and gentler manner. :-)

Basically, I suggested that the art directors not crop my pictures in any form or fashion - because a careful crop is important to the overall composition of the image.

The point of this post is to encourage you to carefully crop your images - as a careful crop can turn even a snapshot into a much more effective and dramatic photograph.

I took the pictures in this post on my Mt. Rainier workshop that I co-lead with Juan Pons last week.

I dramatically cropped my full-frame images into strongly vertical images. More than half the original images were cropped out. These are Canon 5D Mark II images.

I dramatically cropped my full-frame images into strongly horizontal images. More than two-thirds of the original images were cropped out. These are Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 7D images.

For all these images, I shot with the end result (a strong crop) in mind. So the tip here is crop as carefully as you can in camera, but always keep in mind how you will crop your image in Lightroom or Photoshop.

So crop to your heart's content.

If you want some personal advice on cropping, maybe a Tough Love portfolio review session may just what you need.

Explore the light,

Sunrise Wonders and Wonderful Waterfalls in Mt. Rainier

Day one of the Mt.Rainier workshop that I am co-leading with DPE podcast co-host Juan Pons was spectacular. Here are a few of my shots - and a few tips.

Above: Expose for the highlights. Move the histogram to the right - but make sure you don't have spike on the right. Also, get up super early to capture the sunrise. You can rest when you are dead. :-)

Above: Use slow shutter speeds to blur moving water. Start with a 1 second exposure and then try 2, 3 and 4 second exposures.

Above: Compose with different lenses. Here I used a Canon 14mm lens on my Canon 5 D Mark II to capture an extremely wide-angle view of the this beautiful waterfall. The lens is actually "seeing" ahead and down at the same time.

Above: Look for texture. The moss surrounding this waterfall adds a nice texture to the flowing water.

Explore the light,

P.S. Want to have more fun with your photography? Come on one of my photo workshops.

My Latest Dumb Luck Shot

It's day 1 of the Mt. Rainier workshop that I am co-leading with my friend/DPE podcast co-host Juan Pons. 

After a fun pizza party with the group, we saw this amazing scene behind our hotel. 

We ran back to our rooms, grabbed our cameras and tripods and took a few quick shots. I used my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 24-105mm IS lens for this capture.

Talk about dumb luck shots.

The color image is below. Because the scene was monochromatic, I played around with filters in Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro - and really liked the High Structure filter.

FYI: You can save 15% on Silver Efex Pro (and all Nik Plug-ins) if you use this code - RSAMMON - upon check-out on the Nik web site.

I hope you can join me on a workshop some day. We have lots of fun.

Explore the light,

Mt. Rainier Photo Workshop Announced

One of the best times to photograph in Mt. Rainier National Park is during the fall when majestic skies frame the beauty of the mountain, temperatures are moderate and the summer crowds have departed. The park provides a wealth of photographic opportunities including landscapes, wildlife subjects and colorful fall foliage.

Juan Pons and I will be leading this fun-filled workshop, providing the participants with lots of practical advice, techniques and tips to capture beautiful photographic images. We believe that taking pictures should be fun, and we will strive to teach in an entertaining manner with an eye toward creative results.

 What’s included in the workshop: Photographic instruction, both on site and during digital darkroom sessions. The small group setting allows participants to shoot side-by-side with us and get some individual instruction when processing images.

What’s not included: Participants make all their own travel arrangements. A group lodge will be selected and the group will meet there to carpool into the park and participate in digital darkroom sessions. 

Group size: Limited to 10 participants per workshop.

Dates: September 21 to 24, 2011.

Cost for instructional workshop:  $600.00 per person

As always, trip cancellation insurance and fully refundable tickers are recommended. 

For an application and more information, email Susan Sammon: