This year I sense a chorus of thankful feelings that our lives have mostly returned to normal after a long period of staying at home and masking our faces to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the virus still circulates, most of us are traveling and working and getting our families together. Hooray!
I’d also like to take a moment to thank a photography teacher, who has inspired me and enhanced both my knowledge and enjoyment of photography: Gary Hart. Gary hosted a fascinating workshop at the Grand Canyon during summer monsoon season, teaching students about capturing lightning with a lightning trigger, and he will be co-hosting a January workshop in Iceland, where we hope to see and photograph the Northern Lights.
This morning I read Gary’s blog where he described what he is thankful for, especially post-pandemic. His blogs are very well written and always contain a few photography tips, including occasional confessions of his own mistakes, and always a touch of humor.
Hey, it’s raining over there! One cool thing about photography in the Grand Canyon is that you can see so far, that you can see one type of weather in one direction, and different weather in another. Even better, you never have to worry if there might be a building or a parking lot in the shot. The vistas are amazing and varied as you look in many directions. (The only problem that you just can’t fix is the haze created by car exhaust in nearby cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles.)
This Infrared Photograph, shot in the morning sun into the Grand Canyon from the North Rim shows a towering cloud and an isolated shower. The shape and texture of the cloud competes for visual attention with the amazing land formations beneath it.
I enjoy digital Infrared photography for the high contrast images that can be made in processing. The best condition to get great results with an Infrared-converted camera is a sunny day. I’m glad I packed my Infrared camera with a wide angle lens for this Grand Canyon adventure.
I enjoy shooting Infrared landscape photographs, and processing them to create some high contrast black and white images. Here is one infrared photograph taken from the North Rim of the Bright Angel fault.
Shooting Infrared, you will get the best results in bright sunlight, so conditions were perfect on this sunny morning. Puffy clouds always add interest to the sky.
I use a separate Sony mirrorless digital camera for Infrared photography: one that has been converted for the “SuperColor” light range by Lifepixel.com.
We traveled to the Grand Canyon during summer monsoon season with the hope of seeing some dramatic lightning. If Mother Nature gave us her best, we aimed to capture it on camera. Mother Nature gave us a great show, and we got what we came for. The moment reminds me of Julius Caesar’s famous line, “veni, vidi, vici.”
This stark and jagged tree on the rim of the Grand Canyon makes an interesting natural sculpture by itself. But give it the leading role in the landscape, and the tree unites the earth and sky into one composition that is filled with color and contrast.
As I review my photographs from the Grand Canyon, I continue to find some startling frames of lightning. With a Lightning Trigger attached to my Sony A7r4 camera (an advanced mirrorless digital camera), the shutter activates faster than a human being can see the lightning and push the shutter. This long lightning strike has quite an interesting shape with many forks.
Why do I specify “afternoon lightning”? Because evening lightning is coming soon in a future blog post! You can see in this photograph that the canyon is well lit by afternoon light. I was standing on the porch of the North Rim Lodge, watching the darkening clouds for a stroke of lightning over the South Rim when this image was captured. A custom-made lightning trigger helped.
Enlarge this image on your screen to see the lightning best.
My first attempts to capture lightning in a photograph have met with success, thanks to some spectacular storms firing across the Canyon from my vantage point, and a sophisticated device that triggers my camera shutter in time to capture it.
It was after sunset last night, and the canyon below us was getting quite dark. Check out these lightning forks.