Today's Guest Blogger: Jason Whitman

I would like to thank Rick for asking me to write a post for his blog. I want to share some of my photographs that I consider the strongest, and some tips that might help you to become a more effective photographer.

Rick and I met on social media, Twitter to be exact. I found out he was slated to be the keynote speaker, and lead a workshop, at the Wild West Photo Fest in Casper, Wyoming, which is where I live. I participated in his Creative Visualization workshop, organized by Wyoming Camera Outfitters, here in Casper at the world famous Wonder Bar, and it was a fantastic learning experience to say the least. (Click here to see Rick's post on the event. He will be returning in June, 2015 for another awesome workshop.)

Opening Image: Speaking of creative visualization, the first image I want to highlight is called “Get Off My Land.”  This is an image I took at a workshop with David Stoecklein near his ranch in Mackay, ID. I prefer for all of my images to tell a story. I want the viewer to be involved in the photograph. I directed the models to move to this location and took these images. The composition was very compelling. I then edited the images in Lightroom to create this painterly effect. Gear: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon EF 28-135 f/3.5-5.6L at ISO 800

Above: When I am making photographs of wildlife, I always try to compose the image in such a way as to elicit an emotional response from the viewer. In this photograph of an old bison bull in profile, I was drawn to his facial expression and his eyes, as if he is remembering something from days gone by. I called this image “Remembering the Old Days.” Gear: Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L w/ 1.4x at ISO 800

Every year, Fort Caspar in Casper, Wyoming commemorates the Battle of Platte Bridge Station where young Lt. Caspar Collins lost his life.

Re-enactors were planning to do cavalry drills, so I found a location from which to shoot where the background was true to the period. Being prepared before the action started allowed me to capture an image in-camera that I was pleased with before I even started editing.

When editing, remember that we are artists. I wanted a picture that would transport the viewer back to the era being represented in this event. I applied a sepia tone and dramatized the lighting and shadows.

This process allowed me to make a photograph, not just take it and hope for the best. Gear: Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L at ISO 200

When I am shooting, I always position myself in a place where the lighting will help me achieve my goals. This requires visualizing the result you want. Of course, wildlife does not always cooperate, but when they do the results can be quite dramatic. This coyote was engaged in an evening hunt along Pelican Creek in Yellowstone National Park. The lighting created a very interesting mood in this photograph. I’m glad I was prepared. Gear: Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L w/1.4x at ISO 800

On this cold, August morning in Yellowstone, when we received our first late summer snow of the season, my daughters and I were skipping rocks on the west side of Yellowstone Lake. I realized that this location would make a dramatic black and white photograph, so I grabbed my gear, which I always take everywhere I go, set up my tripod, and took this photograph. I processed it as I envisioned it in black and white.

Another important point about this image is that cropping is your friend. This photograph, as originally shot, had a lot of negative space. I carefully cropped it and made it a significantly stronger image. Don’t be afraid of the crop tool. Gear: Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 24-105mm f/4L at ISO 100

The most important thing when you are making photographs is to have fun! Your enthusiasm will improve your work and your viewers will sense, and appreciate, your passion. I hope these tips will prove useful to you in your photography.

I hope to see you over on my web site.

And Rick and I hope to see you our his 2015 Casper, WY workshop!

Shoot the Sweet Light,
Jason B. Whitman