October 2012 Newsletter – Simplify for Wide Angle

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September in the northland came and went way too quickly. Fall started early, then stopped and held off until the last week of September, and then blew away in the first few days of October. I’ve always thought that the last week of September is a safer bet than the first week of October for fall colors. You will always have some areas at peak the last weekend of September, but that first week of October can be great, and it’s great when it’s great, but the wind can just blow everything away and leave nothing but bare trees. That’s one reason why I always plan my fall photography workshops for the last week of September.

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The sunrise over Lake Superior in Cook County.

In the winter, the combination of all day golden-hour light, sea fog, ice and open water make Lake Superior’s shoreline and tributaries the premier winter photo destination in the Midwest. The best month to photograph the area is February, because the sun sets and rises over Lake Superior and the rivers are solid ice which allows for exploration. During the workshop, we hike up the frozen river valley’s during the day and spend time on the shore at sunrise and sunset. You also learn how to keep your camera running in the cold. This one always fills up quickly, so I often add a second session.

Dates: February, 8 to 10, 2013

Cost: $250

More Info: Winter Photography Workshop details.

To register call me: (218) 370-8351

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Simplify for High-Impact Wide Angle Shots

When you put a wide angle lens on your camera or a zoom lens that has wide angle focal lengths (for cropped cameras anything 24 or less, for full frame anything 35 or less, for M3/4rds anything less than 17), you capture a massive view. When you look through the viewfinder, you get everything into the picture. While that can work for some photos, it’s often overwhelming for the viewer, and the viewer often can’t tell exactly what you where trying to photograph. It’s just too much.

And, the art of photography is about simplifying the elements that you see in reality to just a few items in your final photo. The more you can eliminate items from the photo, the stronger your photo becomes. Because wide angle lenses capture so much, you have to decide what to eliminate from the photo before clicking the shutter release button. The way I like to do this is by using the wide angle lens to capture an interesting foreground and eliminating anything that doesn’t add to that interesting bit of landscape.

Swamper Lake at sunset, Cook County, Minnesota.

For example, in this photo the lake I photographed is probably half a mile wide. I could have used my my 12-24DX lens at 12mm, which is really wide and could have taken in the entire lake shore and the sky above, but the entire lake shore and sky above wasn’t all that interesting. The interesting part of the half mile shoreline was this rock, and the small grassy point sticking out near it. In order to capture that, I needed to slog out through a wet floating bog to set up my tripod on top of the grass to emphasize the rock and the grass. By doing this I eliminated 2,600+ feet from my photo and made it stronger, because now the viewer knows exactly what I thought the interesting part of the scene was.

By simplifying the photograph, it becomes high impact.

Upcoming Photography Workshops

I have a few upcoming photography workshops that have some space.

  • Hunter’s Moon, October 27, North House Folk School, 1 space (register by calling the North House at (888)387-9762)
  • Gales of November, November 9-11, 2 spaces (register by calling Lutsen Resort at 218-663-7212)

This is what my winter-spring 2013 schedule looks like:

  • Lake Superior Winter Photography Workshop, February 8-10 – This is by far my favorite workshop, because the shoreline is winter is stunning, the sun rises and sets over Lake Superior, and everyone that comes on this one just loves it and goes home with sweet pictures.
  • Spring Waterfall Photography Workshop, April 19 to 21 – Seeing the streams and rivers in spring is really amazing. They thunder, they boom, they overflow with water. Did I mention that we’ll probably go to the secret, hard-to-find and amazing Thompson Falls on this one? If the roads are snow free, we’ll go.

All my 2013 workshops are being hosted by Aspen Lodge, which is offering up to 25% discounts on room rates for participants. They’re off-season room rates are already low, so this equals a significant drop in total workshop cost for participants. I just finished hosting my Fall Photography Workshop there and I do have to say that I was impressed with the entire operation.

To register, call me at 218-370-8351.

You can also purchase workshops as a gift.

Workshop Testimony From My Fall Photography Workshop

No words can express how far this workshop exceeded by expectation!! Incredible tools, tips, and tricks were taught and practiced. – Brett

It was an excellent outing; Bryan, the people and the locations were all enjoyable. I can now shoot manual with confidence and my post-processing process has been improved. – Cindy

I liked the small class size. Your personality — calm, easy going — fits well in this type of teaching. You gave us time to figure things out and then approach you when needed. Plus, you did do some nice check ins — just to make sure we were getting it.

I had a great time and I learned the (several!) things I wanted to learn. – Larry

Great. You are the best! – Kathy (has taken several workshops with me)

Select Images from September

Here are just a few select images from September.

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Sunset in Grand MaraisMinnesota's night sky