Saturday, July 26, 2014

City Escapes Nature Photography Newsletter - July / August 2014

 

CITY ESCAPES

Nature Photography, LLC

 

Newsletter

July / August, 2014

 

 

 

It's Show Time!

 

Colorado beckons as we get back to our beloved Rocky Mountains.  Come join us for a weekend (or two!) of fabulous Rocky Mountain highs as we join dozens of other talented artists in this year's Aspen and Beaver Creek Art Festivals.  Stroll the festivals, enjoy a gelato, and of course, take a hike!  If you are like me, you don't really need an excuse to head to the mountains, but we're giving you one anyway.  Come say hi!

 

12th Annual Downtown Aspen Art Festival

Saturday and Sunday, July 26th & 27th, 2014

10:00 am to 5:00 pm both days

Wagner Park (Monarch St & Durant Ave)

Aspen, CO

 

27th Annual Beaver Creek Art Festival

Saturday and Sunday, August 2nd & 3rd, 2014

10:00 am to 5:00 pm both days

Beaver Creek Resort

76 Avondale Lane

Avon, CO

                                                                                                                                                    

 

Forest Regeneration Post-Fire

 

The effects of a major forest fire, even one that touches no man-made structures, can be awe-inducing, touching off feelings of utter devastation and destruction.  One need only remember the immediate aftermath of the massive Yellowstone fires of 1988 to feel the ache in the pit of one's stomach.  Or, as it is once again wildfire season, you may only need to go for a short drive to see the blackened skeletons of previously lush forests and grassy fields, depending upon where you are.  (Please stay a safe distance from any actively burning fires.  There is no need to add to the danger to yourself or anyone who may come to rescue you by getting too close.  And remember that wildfires can jump large spans quickly, especially in dry, windy conditions such as we have in Washington State right now.  Roads and rivers are not guaranteed fire breaks!)  But the devastation wrought by fires is never permanent.  Nature always comes back.  Indeed, fire has been a part of the natural regeneration cycle of forest and grasslands far longer than mankind has been around trying to control the blaze.

 

Fire serves several key functions in the forest ecosystem.  It can reduce or remove entirely the duff, which is the accumulated layer of dead leaves, tree fall, etc. that covers the forest floor.  This enriches the soil by returning nutrients to it, while simultaneously clearing space for new seeds to sprout.  Fire also destroys some or all of the crown, the foliage at the top of the trees that makes the forest "roof."  This allows sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor, which can help some of those new seeds to sprout.  Wait, you say, doesn't the fire destroy those seeds?  How can they germinate?  Those answers, like fire itself, are complex.

 

Many seeds are buried deep in the duff layer and in the soil below the duff.  The duff insulates the seeds and the soil from both cold weather and heat – including fire.  If a fire is not too hot or is fast moving, much of the duff layer can remain intact, replete with lots of eager-to-sprout seeds that now have access to a great deal more water and sunlight.  If a fire is slow moving and very hot, however, it can burn the entire duff layer, destroying any seeds within it, and exposing the underlying soil to temperatures that may be so hot that many seeds within that soil are also destroyed.  Rarely, though, are all of the seeds destroyed.  Some plant species (raspberry, plum, and chokecherry, among others) have evolved seeds that count on fire to germinate them: their seed coats are extremely hard and need the intense heat of a fire to break them open.  Other species, like the jack pine, have cones that are sealed by a resin that protects the seeds.  Fire melts the resin, allowing the cone to open and the seeds to disperse, often with the assistance of a hungry critter or a blowing wind.  (Hypothetically, even if every seed in the forest were destroyed, it would not take long for new life to begin sprouting.  The rich soil created by the fire would soon find itself hosting myriad seeds deposited by winds, birds flying overhead, and rodents.  They are nothing if not natural seed dispersants.)

 

Seeds that are still on trees when a fire occurs may nonetheless survive the blaze.  The ponderosa pine has long needles that insulate the cone buds to a certain degree from fire.  (On conifers, the longer the needles, the greater the chance the buds will survive.)  The tough "scales" on a live cone serve as additional protection from heat, as anyone who has ever tried to burn a green pine cone can attest.  They only become easily flammable once open and dry, long after the seeds have dispersed.

 

Depending upon the type of forest, trees can regrow even without the involvement of seeds.  Some trees, such as aspen, have an extensive root system that connects all of the members of a stand of trees together.  These trees are actually all part of a single living organism, not separate trees, though they appear to us on the surface to be individual trees.  When this type of tree burns, the root system is often left unharmed, and new "suckers" shoot up quite rapidly, replenishing the stand in short order.  This is also why it can be very difficult to remove such species from an area where they are not wanted.  Even if you cut down every "tree," unless you kill the root system, suckers will continue to sprout. 

 

Other trees may survive the fire, though much of their foliage is gone.  Along with extensive root systems, thick bark can help protect trees.  Between the inner bark layer and the sapwood is what is known as the cambium, a layer constituting the vascular system of the tree's trunk.  A healthy cambium is critical for the tree's survival.  The thicker the layers of inner and outer bark, the more protected the cambium is.  While some tree species have a naturally thicker bark than other species, the age of the tree is important, too.  Older trees, with their thicker bark, tend to fare better than younger trees.  (Any connection to people "growing thicker skin" is, I'm sure, purely coincidental.)

 

Okay, so the plant life takes care of itself, I hear you saying.  What about the critters?  Let's start at the bottom: bugs love burned forests!  They have a ton of food, especially those species that are wood-boring or that find the taste of rotting plants particularly appetizing.  Life is grand for a wood-boring beetle after a fire!  Except for all of the beetle-larvae-eating wildlife that moves in shortly after the beetles do.  Many species of birds flourish in burned-out forests precisely due to the fact that they have an abundant food supply and many new nesting holes created by the fire.  These nesting holes also create new homes for small animals such as mice, squirrels, and chipmunks.  Larger holes, fashioned by hollowed out, fallen logs, create good homes for medium-sized critters such as raccoons and foxes.  All of these eventually draw predators such as wolves, wildcats, and birds of prey back into the regenerating forest.

 

Elk will eat the bark of burned lodgepole pine trees, but not the bark of healthy pines.  Live pines produce chemicals that make their bark unpalatable to elk, while fire destroys these chemicals.  Fire also makes the bark more digestible, increases its protein levels and concentrates some minerals.  Perhaps more importantly, burned bark is a very easy source of food.  Wild animals, particularly in winter, cannot afford to work hard to find food.  Their calories must be well-spent, not wasted.  Burned forests provide a winter buffet for elk trying to survive the lean season.  In the spring and summer, elk and other ungulates such as moose and deer benefit from the improved shrub growth after a fire, and their populations often amplify markedly in the years after a major burn. 

 

Bears, also, can benefit from burned areas.  Though they are often thought of as vicious carnivores, bears are actually omnivores whose diet consists primarily of berries, grubs, and flowers.  Fires regenerate berry bushes and flowers through the mechanisms described above, and the dead trees are grub heaven for bears.  Not only are fire-killed trees full of larvae and grubs of all kinds, they are also easier to pull apart than live trees, allowing access to the feast just below the surface with minimal effort.  Like elk, bears are in this for survival, and the easiest food sources tend to be the preferred ones.

 

This is only a short overview of how a forest regenerates itself after a fire.  Depending upon the type and location of the forest, the details will change, sometimes dramatically.  Nonetheless, fire is often an important component of the life cycle of a healthy forest.  It constitutes both an end and a beginning, a transitional phase that allows the forest to restore its nutrients and reset its balance.  In the end, the forest will be healthier for it.  Even in Yellowstone.

 

 

 

July / August Specials

 

Get 10% off of unframed, 10x15 prints of "Lounging Around – Lion Cub" and / or 8x12 prints of "Renewal by Fire – Fireweed" when you order from our specials page. As with all of our unframed prints, these prints are eligible for our No Hassle Returns. 

 

 

 

Fun Facts

 

It's hot out there!  July and August are typically the most brutal months, heat wise, in the northern hemisphere.  But humans aren't the only critters that have to deal with the heat.  Here are some fun bits about how temperature affects a few of our fellow creatures.

 

·         Toucans regulate their body temperature by controlling the blood flow to their rather oversized beak.  The large surface area allows heat to escape quickly.  When they sleep, toucans tuck their beaks beneath a wing, effectively becoming their own blanket.

·         Similarly, elephants regulate their body temperature through blood flow to their large ears.

·         Wonder how hot it is, but don't have a thermometer?  Do you have a watch – and a cricket?  Count the number of chirps the cricket makes in 15 seconds, then add 37.  You now have the approximate temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.

·         Water temperature affects how long sea turtles can hold their breath.  Colder water allows them to hold their breath longer – sometimes for hours.

·         Temperature determines whether an alligator hatchling will be male or female.  Above 93° F means all the hatchlings will be male; below 86° F, they will all be female.  Temperatures in between will result in a mixed brood.  So there is some truth to "cold-blooded women," at least in the alligator world.

·         Think various types of hibernation only occur in winter?  Think again.  In very hot, arid environments, many creatures go into a state of torpor characterized by inactivity and low metabolic rates similar to winter's more well-known long sleep.  In summer, this hibernation is known as estivation.

 

 

 

If you have any questions, or suggestions for future newsletters, please email us at: relationships@cityescapesphotography.com

 

Become a fan on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/NaturePhotographs

 

CITY ESCAPES Nature Photography, LLC

www.cityescapesphotography.com

774-277-9682

Sunday, June 1, 2014

City Escapes Nature Photography Newsletter - May / June 2014

 

CITY ESCAPES

Nature Photography, LLC 

 

Newsletter

May / June, 2014

 

 

Tying It All Together: Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO

 

Now that we have covered the three basic elements of exposure individually (ISO - November, 2012 newsletter; shutter speed – March, 2014 newsletter; and aperture – April, 2014 newsletter), let's look at how they work in combination to give a properly exposed image.

 

All three control how much light hits your camera's sensor (or film), and each has its own function.  But how do they affect each other?  To explain it, let's once again go back to our window analogy, but this time, we need to add an additional element.  Instead of simply trying to get a certain amount of air into a room, let's put a tabletop windmill in front of the window.  Our goal: to make the windmill complete a set number of revolutions (let's say 10) -- a proper exposure.  We know that aperture is the equivalent of how far we open the window, while shutter speed is how long we leave it open.  We can throw the window wide open, let in a lot of air all at once and reach those 10 revolutions quickly.  This also requires that we close the window quickly, before we reach 11 revolutions (or the windmill gets overexposed).  This scenario is the equivalent of a large aperture and a fast shutter speed.  Conversely, we can open the window only a little, which requires that we leave it open longer to reach the same 10 revolutions.  If we close the window too soon, we will not have reached the magic number of 10 (the windmill will be underexposed).  This is the small aperture, long shutter speed scenario.  But wait, you say, doesn't the speed of the air moving through the window also help determine how fast the windmill reaches 10 revolutions?  Excellent catch!  Indeed it does, and this is where aperture comes in.

 

In this analogy, the strength or speed of the air moving through the window is the equivalent of the strength, or brightness, of the light hitting the camera sensor.  The ISO would be the equivalent of the resistance, or sensitivity, setting of the windmill.  If there is a very strong wind (a very bright light), you would likely want the windmill's sensitivity to the air current to be low so that the windmill does not spin way too fast (again, an overexposure).  But if the air current is weaker (the light is dimmer), you would want the windmill to be more sensitive to what little air movement there is, so that you can actually complete the 10 revolutions (otherwise, you end up with another underexposure).  Thus, for a brighter light, you want a lower ISO number, meaning a lower sensitivity to light.  For a dimmer light, a higher ISO with its greater sensitivity to light is generally required. 

 

How do all of these pieces fit together?  To maintain an equivalent exposure, if you manipulate one setting, you must manipulate another, though which one is up to you.  Say your window is open halfway for ten seconds, with a given windmill sensitivity.  You want to open the window all the way, doubling the amount of air coming in at once.  To maintain a 10 revolution "proper exposure," you can cut the time the window is open in half, to five seconds, while maintaining the same windmill sensitivity.  Or you can leave the time the window is open the same and reduce the windmill sensitivity by half.  (You can also reduce the strength of the air current coming through the window, i.e. dim the light source, but that is a topic for another day.)  As long as the overall total amount of light hitting the sensor is the same, the exposure will be equivalent.  The images may be very different, with vastly different depths of field, etc., but the exposures will be the same.  Just remember that to get a proper exposure, you need to hit ten revolutions of the windmill.  How you do that is entirely up to you.

 

Does this mean that you will always want a perfectly exposed image, that exact series of ten revolutions, no more, no less?  Not by a long shot.  But once you understand how the elements of a proper exposure work, you can then work creatively to craft stunning images that do not fit the strict definition of being "properly exposed."  Should you decide that any particular image would have a greater impact by being underexposed, you will understand how to manipulate the elements of our window to stop the windmill after only eight or nine revolutions.  Similarly, if an overexposure would give your image that pop you are looking for, you will know how to make that windmill keep spinning right on past ten, not stopping until it reaches eleven or twelve (or seventeen…) revolutions.  Mastering these three elements, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, is truly the key to mastering exposure.  And once you master exposure, those creative doors fly wide open.  Suddenly you are able to construct amazing images intentionally, and not just chance upon them by accident with no hope of recreating them.

 

Test yourself.  Play with the elements of our window and windmill and try to get equivalent exposures with different settings.  Then see if you can create intentional under- and overexposures with multiple settings.  Finally, and most importantly, have fun!

 

 

 

May / June Specials

 

Get 10% off of unframed, 8x12 prints of "Grace in Retreat – Mute Swans" and / or 10x20 prints of "Subtlety of a Sunset – St. Mary Lake" when you order from our specials page. As with all of our unframed prints, these prints are eligible for our No Hassle Returns. 

 

 

 

Fun Facts

 

First, the serious side: we are approaching that time of year when nature, when angry, shifts her focus from blizzards and mudslides to violent winds, drenching rains, and unbelievable flooding: hurricane season.  Without fail, some of the most arresting photographs to be produced each summer and fall come from areas affected by hurricanes.  While we cannot prevent hurricanes, we can prepare for them.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has designated May 25th through May 31st as National Hurricane Preparedness Week.  Go to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare for some great information on hurricanes and cyclones and how to prepare for them.  (Perhaps their most poignant advice, especially for photographers, is simple: "The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense."  Sometimes we photographers let our common sense go out the window in our quest for great images.  Remember, be safe.  You can only create great images if you are alive and well.)

 

 

Now the fun side: ever wondered how tropical storms get their names?

 

* The practice of giving tropical storms women's names began in the late 19th century, became commonplace during World War II, and was made official in 1953.

* It was not until 1978 that men's names were included in the rotation.

* There are three major storm-naming regions in the U.S.: the Atlantic, the Eastern North Pacific, and the Central North Pacific.  On the U.S. mainland, we are most familiar with the Atlantic region.

* You may know that a list is prepared prior to each storm season with names in alphabetical order, and as storms appear, they are given names in that order.  Did you know, however, that the list is different for each region, that there are only six lists per region (or four, in the case of the Central North Pacific region), and that they are rotated through?  In the Atlantic region, for example, the first named storm of 2016 will be "Alex."  "Alex" was also the first storm of 2010, and assuming the 2016 version isn't damaging enough to have the name retired, "Alex" will also be the first storm of 2022.

* If a storm causes significant damage to life or property, its name can be retired, to be replaced by another beginning with the same letter.  The most names retired in a single year: five, in 2005.  Those names?  Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma.  The following year, no names were retired.

 

Our schedule is changing

As you may have noticed, we are switching our newsletter schedule to 6 times per year instead of 12.

 

 

 

If you have any questions, or suggestions for future newsletters, please email us at: relationships@cityescapesphotography.com

 

Become a fan on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/NaturePhotographs

 

CITY ESCAPES Nature Photography, LLC

www.cityescapesphotography.com

774-277-9682

Sunday, April 6, 2014

City Escapes Nature Photography Newsletter - April 2014

CITY ESCAPES

Nature Photography, LLC

 

 

Newsletter

April, 2014

 

 

 

Aperture Basics

 

Ever wondered how a photographer managed to get her subject in sharp focus, while everything behind and in front of the subject is blurred?  Or why everything from the very front of the image to the furthest back is clear and sharp?  It is all because of my personal favorite control on a camera: the aperture, also known as the f-stop.  This delightful feature controls how much of an image (properly focused) is in sharp focus.  This is known as the image’s depth of field.  The landscape in which you can see all the way to the furthest feature has a large depth of field, while the sharp-subject, blurry-background image has a shallow depth of field.  As an example, this month’s featured image, “Buzzed! – Black Bear” has a shallow depth of field: the bear is in focus, but the grasses directly behind it are blurry.

 

A camera’s aperture works by controlling how far the shutter opens.  Think of the shutter as a window: last month’s discussion of shutter speed dealt with how long the window stayed open; aperture describes how far open the window is.  If the window is open just a tiny bit, denoted rather counter-intuitively by higher numbers, the depth of field will be great.  If the window is thrown wide open, denoted by small numbers, only the subject will be in focus while all else blurs.  The “plane of focus” can be quite small; it is not difficult with the right lens to get someone’s eyes in sharp focus while their nose is blurred.

 

Just as shutter speed is a means of controlling the amount of light that hits the camera’s sensor (or film), so too is aperture.  When you change one, you necessarily change the other to get an equivalent exposure.  Using our window analogy again, if the window is wide open, it takes less time to get a certain amount of air in than it would to get the same amount of air in with the window less open.  Thus, for a given exposure, if you widen the aperture, you should use a shorter shutter speed, while if you close down (or “stop down”) the aperture, you need to use a longer exposure.  Clear as mud?  Just remember: a wide-open window should be left open for a short time, while a less-open window should be left open longer.

 

As with everything on cameras, to really get a feel for how aperture works, you should play with it.  Most cameras these days, even point-and-shoots, have an aperture-priority mode.  This allows you to choose the aperture while the camera chooses the appropriate shutter speed for a proper exposure.  Being a wildlife and landscape photographer, this is my default camera setting: it is important for me to be able to isolate my subjects at will, or to show them in their deepest glory.

 

Once you get a basic understanding of how to manipulate depth of field with the aperture settings, put your camera on manual mode and start experimenting with different combinations of shutter speed and aperture.  Getting away from what the camera deems a proper exposure, you can create some very interesting and artistic images, manipulate mood, and capture light in ways that your eyes cannot see – all in-camera, no computer needed.  This means more time with your camera and less at a desk.  What photographer doesn’t like that?

 

 

April Specials

 

Get 10% off of unframed, 8x10 prints of “Buzzed! -- Black Bear” and / or 8x12 prints of “Renewal by Fire --  Fireweedwhen you order from our specials page. As with all of our unframed prints, these prints are eligible for our No Hassle Returns. 

 

 

Fun Facts

 

Oh, April, how we enjoy your second half so much more than your first – because, of course, the deadline for filing our Federal Tax Returns falls on April 15th.  As you and thousands of others rush toward the post office (or your computer’s “send” button) as midnight draws near, here are a few interesting facts to keep you amused.

 

·         Moses instituted a tax of sorts on, among other things, domesticated animal herds and flocks.  Every tenth animal was to be tithed to the Tabernacle. (Leviticus 27:30-33) 

 

·         Your service animal (guide dog, mobility assistance monkey, etc.) is completely tax-deductible, while the expenses related to your company’s (alas, not your home’s) guard dog are also deductible – just not the cost of the dog itself.

 

·         Not only is it good for you, it’s tax deductible! Most of the costs of “wilderness therapy,” used by some medical practitioners in the mental-health field to treat their patients, are tax-deductible as medical expenses.

·         Many states offer tax breaks for land owners who maintain their land as “open space.”  Good for wildlife AND for your bank account?  It doesn’t get much better than that.

·         And of course, donations to environmental organizations such as The Nature Conservancy are tax deductible!  For more information, see “IRS Topic 506 - Charitable Contributions” at http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc506.html

 

Disclaimer: we are nature photographers, not tax attorneys or accountants. The above is not tax advice, but rather items of general interest which may or may not be applicable to your situation. You should obtain your tax advice only from trained professionals with appropriate certifications who understand your specific circumstances.

 

 

If you have any questions, or suggestions for future newsletters, please email us at: relationships@cityescapesphotography.com

 

Become a fan on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/NaturePhotographs

 

CITY ESCAPES Nature Photography, LLC

www.cityescapesphotography.com

774-277-9682

Saturday, March 8, 2014

City Escapes Photography Newsletter - Mar 2014

CITY ESCAPES

Nature Photography, LLC

 

 

Newsletter

March, 2014

 

 

 

What a Compliment!

Let’s say that you really, really like a particular photograph.  For some reason, it just speaks to you in a way that others don’t.  You could buy a copy of the image and hang it on your wall -- always a good option.  This allows you to see and enjoy it everyday, plus it supports the photographer who made the image.  But what if that just isn’t enough?  What if it is THE photograph that really captures the essence of something you’ve been looking for?  Then, perhaps, a form of appreciation that is a bit more permanent might be what you are looking for.  Something like a tattoo.  This is precisely what Amanda Abbott had done when she came across our image “Casual Approach – Lioness.”  Ms. Abbott honored us immensely when she chose to have our image permanently inked in a prominent position on her right arm.  What a way to share your love of our work!  Thank you for sharing this with us, Ms. Abbott.  We love it!

 

 

Shutter Speed Basics

 

We have all seen those amazing photographs of the football receivers frozen in mid-leap, high in the air, one arm outstretched to grab the slightly-off-target throw.  We have also seen the beautiful images of waterfalls pouring down a rock face in a lovely cascade, the motion of the water caught in a still frame.  When we try to capture those same images using our cameras’ automatic settings, our results are often less than satisfactory.  How do we fix this?  Be brave – take your camera off of automatic, and learn how to use shutter speed to create the images you want.

 

“Shutter speed” is the term used to describe how long the film or digital sensor is exposed to light.  There is a diaphragm, or shutter, inside the camera that opens when you depress the “take this picture” button (called the shutter release button), stays open the designated amount of time, then closes again to stop the influx of light onto the film or sensor.  Normally this all happens very quickly, literally within a fraction of a second.  That is why shutter speeds are often fractions: 1/60 means that the diaphragm is open for one 60th of a second.  A shutter speed of 1 means that the diaphragm is open for a full second, etc.  The smaller the number, then, the faster the shutter opens and closes, resulting in a shorter time frame for light to hit the sensor or film.

 

Why on earth does this matter, you ask?  It is this variance that allows you to freeze – or capture the sense of – motion.  To get a crisp, sharp image of that football receiver mid-leap, you need to use a very short shutter speed, perhaps as low as 1/3200.  (Using a flash can allow for much higher shutter speeds, but that is outside the purview of this article.)  At the other end of the spectrum, to capture the sense of motion in that waterfall, you may need a shutter speed of several seconds (and a tripod).

 

Other factors besides freezing / capturing motion also come into play when deciding upon shutter speeds, most notably how brightly illuminated the subject is.  The brighter the subject, the lower the shutter speed can be, because it does not take as much time for the appropriate amount of light to hit the sensor.  Think of it as pouring water into a bucket.  If you are using a ¼” hose, it will take longer to fill the bucket than if you are using a 3” hose.  Dim light (the ¼” hose) will take longer to get the necessary amount of light onto the sensor, while very bright light (the 3” hose), does not take as long.  This means that the shutter speeds necessary to freeze the football player in mid-leap may vary from 1/500 in a stadium at night to 1/3200 in bright daylight.  Similarly, the waterfall may require a shutter speed of 1/30 in bright daylight to 3 seconds in tree-cover.  Night photography can range from 3 seconds to several hours for star trails.  One of our featured images this month, “Blue Dusk – Acacias,” had an exposure of about 20 seconds.  It was dark enough that my eyes could not pick out the trees, but by allowing the shutter to remain open for an extended amount of time, my camera was able to gather enough light to create a beautiful image.

 

One note regarding slow shutter speeds: it is generally agreed that we shaky humans can only hand-hold a camera down to 1/60 second and still get a sharp image.  If you want to use a slower shutter speed than 1/60, use a tripod.  Or brace your camera on a bean bag.  Or put it down entirely and use the self-timer.  There are many options, but the basic idea is to get your camera out of your hands and onto something much more stable.  (And resting it on your buddy’s shoulder is not more stable.)

 

As you begin to play with shutter speed, take an initial photograph on the automatic setting and pay attention to the shutter speed setting the camera chooses.  (It will be the one given as a fraction, not the decimal.  We’ll deal with the decimal next month.)  Most cameras these days have an option that lets you choose the shutter speed while the camera chooses the appropriate aperture to give a proper exposure.  Usually called shutter-priority mode, this is a great place to start, because it allows you to manipulate only this one factor and see how it affects your photographs.  As you then manipulate the shutter speed settings, as long as your camera does not say HIGH or LOW where that decimal usually is, you should be able to get a properly exposed image -- which removes your subject’s brightness from the equation, making it even easier to understand shutter speed. 

 

Your particular camera may not have the range of shutter speeds mentioned here, and that’s okay.  You will still have enough of a range to give you significantly different images of the same subject, with various gradations in-between.  So find that shutter-priority mode and a moving target, and go play.  Find out what your camera can do, and more importantly, how to bring the images you want to life.

 

 

March Specials

 

Get 10% off of unframed, 8x12 prints of “Casual Approach -- Lioness” (of course!) and / or “Blue Dusk -- Acacias” when you order from our specials page. As with all of our unframed prints, these prints are eligible for our No Hassle Returns. 

 

 

Fun Facts

 

Spring is coming!  March 20th marks the Vernal Equinox, or the first day of spring.  Unless, of course, you are in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case March 20th is the Autumnal Equinox, or the first day of autumn.  Here are a few other odd-ball facts about the equinoxes.

 

·         Even though we think of the equinox as the 24-hour period when day and night are equal, that day actually comes several days closer to the winter side of each equinox.  Why? The equinox is marked by the day when the center of the sun’s disk is above the horizon for the same amount of time as it is below the horizon.  But because we count the first visible top edge of the sun’s disk as “sunrise” and the last visible bottom edge of its disk as “sunset,” the actual length of “day” is longer than “night” by a few minutes on the equinox.

·         The earth’s atmosphere makes a difference, too.  Our atmosphere bends light, resulting not only in very cool phenomena such as phantom ships and mirages (see our August, 2010, newsletter), but also in the appearance of the sun being higher in the sky than it really is at sunrise.  Thus, the sun appears to be above the horizon, when it isn’t actually there yet.

·         The equinoxes are the only times that the sun rises due east and sets due west. 

·         Both the north and south poles will see the sun barely skim over the horizon on March 20th.  This begins the period of six months of light at the north pole and six months of darkness at the south pole.

·         Ever wondered how the date for Easter is determined each year?  It is always on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the (Northern Hemisphere’s) vernal equinox.

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any questions, or suggestions for future newsletters, please email us at: relationships@cityescapesphotography.com

 

Become a fan on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/NaturePhotographs

 

CITY ESCAPES Nature Photography, LLC

www.cityescapesphotography.com

774-277-9682