Monday, December 03, 2012

Selected Recent Work

I hope that you enjoy this slide show of selected work from 2012. Hey, if you have the time try it full screen and turn on the music ;-)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thanks, Nikon World

Thank you to Nikon World Magazine for featuring this image as the "Parting Shoot" in the Summer 2012 issue which can be viewed here

Things are Looking Up

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Winter Yellowstone Workshop

We will be holding a winter Yellowstone Photography Workshop February 6th-9th. For more information or to register contact:

Perfect Light Camera & Supply 2169 E. 17th St. Idaho Falls, ID 83404

Telephone: 208-523-6789 FAX: 208-534-3484

Click here to view a full screen slide show.

Dates: February 6th-9th, 2013.
Location: Threebear Lodge, West Yellowstone, Montana.
Cost: $899 per person including Workshop, instruction, lodging, and 2 full days in the snowcoach.
Photographers/Guides: James Neeley and Christopher Balmer

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Art Happens

Quantum Fluctuations

What do you get when you combine a landscape photographer and a wildlife shoot? Art ;-)

As we were shooting the wonderful landscape along the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park some ducks made an unexpected arrival and not having time to reset my camera I turned and snapped a few blurry frames. Over time I've come to recognize that mistakes can often lead to good results and if embraced take us in new and unanticipated paths.

Run like the Wind
A similar thing happened to me in Monument Valley a number of years ago!

Motion can also be intentional and effective. Thanks to Eddie Soloway for encouraging me to try this type of shot and embracing motion blur as an artistic technique...
Essence 4
Essence 6

Monday, August 20, 2012

Worlds Without End

Sky Streak
"...And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine."

"And worlds without number have I created...and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. ...and there is no end to my works, neither to my words."

"For behold, this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

- Moses 1:33-39, Pearl of Great Price

Star Power

Starry Night

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yellowstone - Landscape/Wildlife Photography Workshop

Last Stand
There are still spots available for our fall Yellowstone Landscape and Wildlife workshop.

Dates: September 24th through 29th.
Location: Threebear Lodge, West Yellowstone, Montana.
Cost: $1649 per person including Workshop, instruction, lodging, and ground transportation.
Photographers/Guides: James Neeley and Christopher Balmer

You may register by calling (208) 523-6789 or go to Perfect Light Camera and Supply.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

And the Rockets Red Glare...

A few more shots from the spectacular 4th of July Fireworks over the Snake River in Idaho Falls. I have missed the fireworks the last couple of years for various reasons so it was fun to see this excellent show and put the D800 through it's paces...

And the Rockets Red Glare...

Celebrate Freedom


Celebrate Freedom

Thursday, July 05, 2012


It was an enjoyable day of smiles, noise, marching, flags, family, and cheers as we celebrated the Fourth of July in Idaho Falls. The fireworks, reflected in the Snake River, were great as always!

A note about technique - A common mistake people make in photographing fireworks is to over expose the image thus robbing the fireworks of their color. The individual points of light from the fireworks are very bright so for this image I used ISO 200 and f22 to bring out the color and keep them from "blowing out." To capture enough ambient light the exposure was stretched to 15 seconds.

This logic is very similar to flash photography where you would use your ISO and aperture to correctly expose the flash. Shutter speed, which does not affect the light from the flash, is used to control the ambient light.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Announcing a Fall Yellowstone Workshop

We are now taking reservations for our Fall Yellowstone landscape/wildlife workshop done in conjunction with Perfect Light camera store in Idaho Falls. We are excited for this 6 day workshop during one of the most beautiful times of the year in Yellowstone Park. We may even make a jaunt down to Grand Teton National Park during this time of peak fall color.

Click here to view a full screen slide show.

Dates: September 24th through 29th.
Location: Threebear Lodge, West Yellowstone, Montana.
Cost: $1649 per person including Workshop, instruction, lodging, and ground transportation.
Photographers/Guides: James Neeley and Christopher Balmer

You may register by calling (208) 523-6789 or go to Perfect Light Camera and Supply.

You're Gonna want to shoot that again, Sorry!

Fall Creek Sunrise

I've shot this scene many times before but today I had new equipment and as the D800 ad says,"SORRY BUT YOU'RE GOING TO WANT TO RESHOOT EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER SHOT." I'm sure this applies to any new camera, lens, or technique.

One of the fun and challenging aspects of photography is progression, doing something new or better, learning a new skill or method. Jay Masiel said that while art is thousands of years old, photography is a little over a hundred years old. We have barely scratched the surface of what can be done! So...shoot it again, make it better, make it unique, make it new again and relish every step of this journey that has no end.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Mistaken Identity

Several people have commented that they thought this image taken with the Nikon D800 was an HDR image when in fact it is taken from a single shot without HDR processing.

Arrival Time

Much has been spoken about the size of the 36.3 megapixel sensor in the D800. But in addition to the high resolution, the sensor has amazing color depth and dynamic range (the highest rated sensor ever tested by Dxomark) and I think this is what gives the images a film-like or HDR look. A pretty amazing landmark camera IMHO.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Getting to Know the D800

I'm just getting to know the D800 a little better and I wanted to see what she could do. I had several questions to answer with this image. First of all can I shoot the D800 handheld ? I know I can with the D3s but the D800 is no speed demon and I was worried about noise with HDR at ISO 400. Second, can I do handheld HDR as I have been doing with the D3s more frequently now that the alignment routine in Photomatix has been greatly improved? And thirdly, how does the sharpness hold up at f16?

This is my unscientific test, a handheld, 5 exposure HDR of Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park, ISO 400, aligned and processed in Photomatix.

Getting to Know You Getting to Know You (D800) - 1 Getting to Know You (D800) - 2 Getting to Know You (D800) - 3

My conclusions from this little test?

1. Not much noise at ISO400 even with a 5xp hdr which can by the nature of the processing accentuate any noise present in the image. I will not be afraid to boost the ISO when needed.

2. Photomatix does a great job aligning the 36.3 megapixel images. I can use the D800 for handheld HDR.

3. Near to far sharpness is well maintained at f16 even with the 36.3 megapixel sensor. While there probably is some refraction and I didn't test more wide open aperture, I was pleased with the result and DOF achieved.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Natural Affinities

Celebrating two extraordinary American artists, Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams who met in Taos, New Mexico in 1929 forming a lifelong friendship. Both loved the Southwest and produced work that highlights the exceptional and unique beauty of the area. Adams was strongly influenced by the art of O'Keeffe and also the photography of Alfred Stieglitz, O'Keeffe's husband and the country's first advocate of modern art.

Their work; O'Keeffe's Paintings, and Adam's, Photography forever alter our perception of this area and the natural world.

Click here to view a full screen slide show.
Click here to view the Project on Flickr.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Homeward Bound

NatEye8f This is a shot from Red Rocks near Santa Fe, New Mexico taken on the last day of my recent "Natural Eye" workshop with Eddie Soloway. It took some effort on my part to break out of my comfort zone but doesn't any learning or change! Here are a few of the things I learned (click on the image for more commentary and images);

1. Simplify - Less is often More

Lead On

2. Embracing Abstraction

Embracing Abstraction

3. Experiment

Experiment - Remembering Orton

4. Work on Projects

Ticket Booth

5. Photo Play - Varing Techniques

Photo Play - Different Techniques

6. Use DOF to focus attention

Simplify - The Use of DOF

7. Seek the Essence of a Place

Snow Day - The Essence of a Place

8. Work the Frame

Point of View - Working the Frame

Sunday, April 01, 2012

The Moment of Clarity

It is conference weekend and my thoughts are of the light and understanding I receive listening to inspired leaders. I am reminded of an image posted a few years ago entitled "Seeking Light" Seeking Light Yesterday while taking some early morning shots prior to listening to conference I had a similar experience. I was standing in the middle of the road photographing the brown fields and a small canal when all of a sudden there was a change. I looked up a bit surprised and realized that the sun was shinning through a small clearing in the east. In a short time the magical light was gone.

The Moment of Clarity Breathing Deeply

Isn't that true in life? Flashes of inspiration, understanding, and light burst upon us, expectantly like a rainbow and then almost as quickly, fade. If we are not aware or if we are distracted by the jumble that is normal living we may miss the moment all together. Hence, the importance of slowing down, looking, feeling, and quietly waiting for that moment of clarity.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Going Deep

A couple of Milky Way shots from my early morning jaunt in Arches National Park. Nothing like a star shot to put one in his place. I am in awe and truly humbled when I consider the hundred billion or so stars in just our galaxy and that there are billions and billions of additional galaxies out there! But then I have similar feelings of humility, wonder, and awe when I view a beautiful sunset, amazing geography, or even a flower. We truly live in a wonderful world, a wonderful universe! Going Deep Star Power The first image was shot at 6400 ISO, f2.8, for 30 sec. The second uses similar technique except that it was shot at 12800 ISO. Processing consisted only of increasing the contrast of the sky (which also darkens the sky and intensifies the color) and increasing the brightness of the foreground just a bit.

Coming Home

Coming Home On the last shoot of the Natural Eye workshop we went to Red Rocks, a chance to consolidate and use many of the things we learned, a chance for me to "come home" to the landscape shooting I am used to but with new found awareness, gentleness, and sensitivity so well expressed by Eddie Soloway's teaching.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Simplify - The Use of DOF

During the Natural Eye Workshop I found myself looking for more abstract compositions, letting go just a bit from my usual way of shooting. Eddie frequently spoke of narrowing ones depth of field as a tool to simplify the image focusing the viewers attention of the in focus portion of the image and taking the business out of the background. Simplify - The Use of DOF DOF 2 DOF 3 DOF 1 DOF 4

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Snow Day - The Essence of a Place

On the second day of Eddie Soloway's Natural Eye workshop we went on a shoot in an aspen grove outside of Santa Fe and at about 10,000 ft. elevation. As we drove up the the snow and fog increased as did our excitement to be able to try out some of the things we were talking about in the workshop. Specifically, how do you capture photographically the essence of a place? How do you record feelings, impressions, and other esthetics so that they can be understood by the viewer? Snow Day - The Essence of a Place Essence 1 Essence 5 Essence 4 Essence 2 Essence 3 Essence 7 Essence 6

See, Do, Think

Wandering around Santa Fe on the first afternoon of the Natural Eye workshop I decided to focus on Eddies suggestion to play with color, light and shadows. He taught and I would agree that there are images to be made anywhere and anytime if we only have the eyes to see and the mind to perceive. This idea of awareness, I think was a principle teaching point of the workshop and is intimated in the title of Eddie Soloway's website, "See, Do, Think".

One activity that Eddie did during the workshop to help us be more perceptive of especially color was to have us reach in a bag and choose of different color card (he called them rainbow chips) and walk around a field and trying to find the color. It was quite amazing to me that any color, including bright and unexpected ones like purple for instance, could be found in the field of sage brush if one just looks! See, Do, Think Shadow Play 2 Shadow Play 1 Gateway

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