Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints

Chocolate Lily / Photo by Steve Berardi

Chocolate Lily / Photo by Steve Berardi

Now that we’re well into spring here in the northern hemisphere (and getting ready for summer), there’s lots of wildflowers in bloom. This is one of the best times of year for photography because the wildflowers also bring a lot of other cool stuff to photograph (such as butterflies and other insects).

With so many exciting subjects, sometimes it’s easy to forget that this is also one of the most fragile times of year for the natural world. So, it’s important to “leave no trace” when you’re out on the trail.

Leaving no trace means you leave the wilderness just as you found it (or maybe a little better by picking up any trash you find). It means the only thing you take away is photographs, and the only thing you leave behind is footprints. But, you should also be careful just where you leave those footprints.

To ensure you leave no trace, here are a few guidelines to follow when you’re out on a trail: [Read more...]

How To Photograph Manatees


Photo by Jeff Stamer

Note from Steve: A few weeks ago, I announced that PhotoNaturalist was looking for more writers. Well, today I’m excited to introduce one of our new contributors: Jeff Stamer. Jeff is a great wildlife/landscape photographer from Florida, and his first post is all about photographing manatees in the wild! Enjoy!

It seems that nearly everyone visits Florida at one time or another—at least it sure looks that way when I’m on the interstate near Disney:)

Many of those tourists are photographers, and as a long-time Florida resident I’m often asked about good photo locations. Although Florida is blessed with a wealth of photogenic subjects, the one “bucket list” item I share with all photographers is: “Go Snorkel with the Manatees!” [Read more...]

How To Add Contrast To Landscape Photos

Sunrise in the Mojave / Photo by Steve Berardi

Sunrise in the Mojave / Photo by Steve Berardi

Adding contrast to a landscape photo is one way to make it a more compelling image. When we think of the word “contrast” we usually think about contrasting colors or brightness. But, there’s also another type of contrast that you can capture in your images: subjective contrast.

Here’s a quick look at the different types of contrast and how you can capture them in your images:

Color Contrast

The most common way of adding more contrast to your images is photographing a scene with strong contrasting colors. With landscape photography, this is usually pretty easy to do around the “golden hours” — where you’ll likely have some of your scene in the shade while the rest of the scene is extra saturated with that warm light of sunrise or sunset. [Read more...]

How To Photograph the Upcoming Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse (2011) / Photo by Steve Berardi

Lunar Eclipse (2011) / Photo by Steve Berardi

On April 14/15, there will be a total lunar eclipse. It’ll be visible from most of the US, Canada, and Central America, and parts of South America (see map).

In a total eclipse, the moon turns red (due to the way the light from the Sun is scattered as it passes through our atmosphere), and it’s truly a beautiful sight!

Here are some tips for photographing the eclipse: [Read more...]

Write For PhotoNaturalist and Earn $40!

When I first started PhotoNaturalist over five years ago, my original vision was to have lots of different photographers writing about their experiences and sharing their knowledge with other nature photographers.

My father and I have done most of the writing here on PN up until now, but now that PhotoNaturalist is generating a stable income every month, I’d like to start featuring more guest writers on the blog. We can offer $40 per post. [Read more...]

What Is Tripod Load Capacity?

When you’re shopping for a tripod, one of the more confusing numbers you’ll run into is the tripod’s “load capacity.” It sounds pretty simple: shouldn’t that just be the maximum weight the tripod can handle?

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that, and unfortunately there’s no universal standard for determining the load capacity. So, one manufacturer might say their tripod can handle 20 lbs, while another manufacturer’s standards would rate that exact same tripod at 30 lbs. [Read more...]