Well, it looks like the weather is going to be pretty spectacular across the state this weekend, so go out and take some pictures! Our photo tip of the day is ripped from our September 2012 issue. Here, Arizona Highways Photo Editor Jeff Kida talks about perspective — let’s face it, there are a lot of popular places to shoot, but how can you make an image of the Grand Canyon (or this old relic in Jerome) your own? Jeff gives you the 411 in this photo tip of the day. For more photo tips, click here.
Category Archives: Photography
Who couldn’t use a few simple tips when it comes to photographing Mother Nature’s splendor? If you’re getting ready to go on a shoot of our spectacular backcountry (wildflowers are starting to bloom — hint, hint, wink, wink) check out George Stocking’s 7 Simple Tips For Shooting Wildflowers from our March issue. For more photo tips, consider us your go-to source. Our Photo Tips page is filled with information that’ll make your images stand out from the rest.
We can’t wait to see what you come back with, and remember, your photograph could end up as our Photo of the Day.
Come out and support the arts. Starting this Thursday, March 7, the Phoenix Burton Barr Library will showcase a unique 38-print photo exhibit by 19 Children’s First Academy students who were mentored by professional photographers, including Karen Shell, Dennis Scully, Art Holeman, David Moore, Michael Norton, Jim Marshall, Jason Grubb and Ken Ross.
For five weeks, participating students from the elementary school for homeless and at-risk youth each received 27-exposure disposable film cameras through the Kids in Focus project. The film was processed, at no cost, by Tempe Camera Photo Imaging Center, and McKenna Pro Lab donated the 38 exhibit prints. Students met with the photographers and looked through the images to continue learning and experimenting with digital point-and-shoot cameras. Before the weekend, each student was given another camera to continue shooting.
The Kids in Focus project was developed and organized by professional freelance commercial photographer Karen Shell. The photographers involved in the project are from a nonprofit organization called Through Each Others Eyes.
An opening reception is planned from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 7. The exhibit is free.
Our photo contest is over (but you knew this, right?) and our grand prize winner has been declared! Adam Schallau took home the top prize in our annual online photography contest. Schallau’s image of rain falling from a summer thunderstorm at the Grand Canyon wowed our judges, including Editor Robert Stieve, Photo Editor Jeff Kida, Creative Director Barbara Glynn Denney and Art Director Keith Whitney. Schallau is a full time professional photographer, living in Flagstaff; and though he’s spent time in other parts of the Southwest, Arizona is where his heart resides.
“I love this state for its stunning landscapes, the weather, which is beautiful one minute and dramatic the next; and the people are just amazing,” he says. “The earliest memories of Arizona that I have come from flipping through the pages of Arizona Highways and dreaming of living here one day. I love the magazine not just for the fantastic photography inside it, but for the stories they tell. Together, they provide a window with a view into the soul of Arizona.”
Below, Schallau talks about his big win, how he captured this spectacular photograph and why his win is a game-changer:
Congratulations. How does it feel to be the winner of our annual online photography contest?
Thank you! It’s an absolutely amazing feeling to be honored as the winner. I’ve admired the photos in the magazine and the photographers who created them for many years now. It is truly a privilege to be included among them!
You have a lot of images of the Grand Canyon on your website. Why did you submit this image? Did you know it would, or could, be a winning image?
I do have quite the collection of images of the Grand Canyon, it’s a place that means a lot to me and I think I’ll never tire of photographing it. I consider the Canyon to be my artistic home. I submitted this image because I felt I had captured a truly unique moment, one that represents the intensity of the monsoon season at the Grand Canyon. I think it’s the eerie mixture of moon light and lightning illuminating the Canyon, with the dramatic star-filled sky, that puts this photo over the top.
How did you go about capturing the shot? What challenges did you face and, ultimately, overcome to get this image?
The storm in the photograph was quickly moving toward me and continuing to strengthen, which meant I was probably only going to have one shot at creating the image before I would need to take cover from the rain and lightning. With the only light sources being the moon, which was behind me, and lightning in the storm, I was going to need a long shutter speed combined with a high ISO setting and a fast aperture to give the camera’s imaging sensor an opportunity to absorb enough light. As I was shooting with a 14 mm lens, I knew that I could leave the shutter open up to 30 seconds with no apparent movement in the stars. Near the last 10 seconds of the 30-second exposure the gust front, which was pushing out in front of the storm, struck with high winds. If the winds get any stronger I’m going to give up a lot of sharpness in the image as the wind knocks the camera and tripod around. Just before the exposure came to an end, lightning erupted within the storm and illuminated the rain falling into the depths of the Canyon. Had it not been for that single lightning strike behind the rain, the photo would not have had the same impact.
What about the Southwest captivates or inspires you?
It’s the variety of landscapes, cultures, weather, and light here in the Southwest that continues to inspire me. I love laying down in a ponderosa forest, surrounded by their sweet aroma, listening to the wind through the treetops as they gently sway back and forth. It’s watching a distant storm move across the desert, listening to the rumble of thunder as the smell of rain permeates the air. It’s sitting on the edge of a remote canyon far from the sounds of modern man, staring down onto an ancient cliff dwelling wondering about the people that came before us as the silence is broken by the sound of air rushing over a raven’s wings as he soars past me.
Where do you love to shoot in Arizona?
I love to photograph the Grand Canyon. Once you get away from the handrails and start exploring you begin to discover the lesser known locations, places that aren’t often seen in photos. With its ever changing palette of color, light, shadow, and texture, it offers unique challenges and generous rewards for the photographer who keeps his eyes and heart open to the moment.
Do you think this win is a game-changer for you career-wise?
I believe that any opportunity to have your work seen by a larger audience, one which shares the same love that you do for such a special place, has the potential to have a tremendous impact on one’s career. So yes, I’m hopeful that winning the Arizona Highways photo contest is a game-changer for my photography career!
What advice or tips would you give to aspiring photographers?
- One piece of advice I received early on was that it’s OK to create bad photos, but it’s important to evaluate why they didn’t work. Continue to learn from your mistakes and apply what you’ve learned toward the next image.
- Get close to your subject. Attempt to know it on an intimate level. This will aid you in the process of learning to anticipate how light will play across the landscape and how it changes from season to season. This way you can be better prepared to take advantage of interesting light and weather as it happens.
- Keep your camera with you all the time. You never know when a photographic opportunity might present itself. If you see something that catches your eye, shoot it now because it may not be there tomorrow.
- Above all else…shoot what you’re passionate about!
What kind of camera did you use?
To create this image I used a Nikon D800e body along with the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G lens.
For more information about Adam and his work, visit http://www.adamschallau.com
In The Raw
Adobe’s latest Camera RAW tools (version 5 and higher) include a graduated filter, which is useful for lightening or darkening — and for adding color, as with traditional grad filters. But, instead of carrying a load of various colored filters, the digital version can be changed at will, simply by clicking and dragging.
If you’ve thumbed through the October issue of Arizona Highways, then you’ve seen this month’s portfolio by Mark Lipczynski, Where the Bodies Are Buried… if you missed it, well, that’s very sad news because this issue — and that portfolio — absolutely rock (fortunately, you can still find the magazine on newsstands). “We developed this thing with Mark in mind,” says Arizona Highways Editor Robert Stieve. “In addition to shooting our ‘Hometown of the Month,’ he’s taken on some tricky assignments over the years, and he always nails it. Mark has a unique ability to take the ordinary and create something extraordinary. This portfolio is a great illustration of that.”
Below, Mark talks about this assignment, the spooky technical difficulties he encountered along the way and what he plans to do with the outtakes.
So, Photo Editor Jeff Kida calls you with this kooky assignment… what did you make of it?
Whenever Arizona Highways calls with an assignment I never say no. At least I haven’t had to in the last three years that I’ve been taking assignments for them. The message here is that I love the jobs I get hired to do for Highways. I think Jeff has me listed as his official “kooky” assignment photographer. I’ve done a few jobs for Highways that can be categorized as such, so the cemeteries job didn’t surprise me. I was all over it.
How did you prepare for this assignment?
I hit Google for any information I could find on the cemeteries I was assigned to shoot. I read websites like http://www.findagrave.com and poured over Google satellite views overlooking the locations where the cemeteries were supposed to be located based on the GPS coordinates provided. There were three cemeteries that I never found even with specific driving directions, GPS coordinates and information that I gathered from the Web. It was like the cemeteries were ghosts themselves.
Did you have a vision of what you wanted to accomplish?
I had shot cemeteries and haunted hotels on assignment before for other publications, so I had a foundation to build on. I knew that I would be shooting at different times of day and under different lighting conditions. My goal was to use in-camera “tricks” to create an ethereal and mysterious feeling that would tie all the cemeteries together, thus minimizing the issue with inconsistent lighting. The reason I mention the lighting, and how it relates to the time of day, is because a graveyard in the middle of the afternoon just isn’t very interesting, mysterious or spooky. It was my job to give each one a feeling or mood.
What were you most looking forward to?
The outcome. I had no idea if my photographic ideas were going to work. I didn’t know if I was going to like the pictures. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to find all 15 cemeteries within the time frame that I was given.
You logged a lot of miles… was there any part of the state that really wowed you?
The town of Solomon in Graham county is really neat. I hope to get back there again sometime. It’s like a dusty old farming community in eastern Arizona. The cemetery there is situated on top of a small mesa overlooking miles of farm land. I loved it there. It was quiet and peaceful. The perfect place to rest in peace.
I heard you ran into some “technical difficulties” along the way. How did you overcome those ghostly challenges?
One of my digital camera bodies went on the fritz in Williams. I was able to power through it, but eventually had to send it off for service. I still don’t know what caused the glitch. There’s no obvious explanation as to why the camera stopped working. I always, always, always have vintage film cameras on hand that don’t have a lick of electronics in them in case of a solar flare or some unexplainable occurrence knocks out power to all electronic cameras in the world.
Favorite image that ran?
How about my top three? I like the shots of Bisbee, Oracle and Solomon best. I handed in close to 200 ready images for the magazine. Many of the ones that didn’t run are also some of my favorites.
Favorite image that didn’t run?
A shot I did in Yuma. It may have been to dark to run in the magazine. Yuma was the only cemetery I stayed until after dark to photograph.
You have a lot of cemetery shots… any plans to do something with them?
I hope to put together a gallery exhibition sometime next fall that features a selection of my personal favorites printed beautifully and BIG!
What kind of camera did you use?
I use Canon 5D MKII’s. I also have 10 or 11 vintage Argus C3′s and a Diana F.