The American Landscape

We received more than 1,700 submissions to our 2019 The American Landscape Photography Contest. The following slideshow displays our 25 finalist images, as well as the three winning shots!

The Stars Above
by Ryan Lips
Nikon D-810, Nikkor 16-35mm at 23mm, Acratech ballhead, Feisol tripod. Exposure: 22 sec., ƒ/4, ISO 1600
— – —

Lake Moultrie Sunset
by Robert Golub
Nikon D850, Nikon 24-120mm F/ 4.0 lens at 105mm, Gitzo traveler tripod. Exposure: 0.6 sec., ƒ/22, ISO 64
— – —

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park
by Jeffrey Lapid
Nikon D850, 24-70mm lens at 70mm. Exposure: ƒ/2.8. ISO 1000
— – —

Death Valley At Dawn
by Charles Sleicher
Canon SLR, Canon 50mm f2 lens, Fuji Velvia ISO 50 film, tripod
— – —

Cook Meadow Moonlight
by Abe Blair
Nikon D850, Zeiss Milvus 18mm 2.8 lens, Benro Adventure tripod and matching head, Lee 2-stop soft edge grad. Exposure: 30 sec., ƒ/13, ISO 800
— – —

The American Landscape
more at outdoor photographer

— – —

Does Camera Sensor Size Matter?

How to evaluate the advantages of full-frame versus smaller sensors when choosing a camera
Text & Photography by Josh Miller

Does camera sensor size really matter anymore? As photographers, we have never had so many great camera options that will produce amazing images. There are very capable cameras sporting everything from Micro Four Thirds sensors to APS-C, full-frame and all the way up to massive medium-format sensors. …

… Having shot with everything from Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras to Fujifilm and Sony APS-C to Nikon full-frame DSLRs, and most recently with Nikon Z mirrorless, I can honestly say all three sensor formats will meet the needs of nearly all photographers. Having been a Nikon shooter for more than 20 years, I’m most familiar with that system, but over the last few years, I have owned or used all the other systems extensively in an effort to reduce my weight and also see where the future lies. In my experience with current cameras in these various formats, any camera with at least 20-megapixel resolution will make great prints up to 20×30-inches or larger, assuming you are shooting at reasonable ISOs with quality lenses and good technique. …

… So how do you decide? With all the sensor formats being so good, I wouldn’t actually make sensor size my No. 1 determining factor when choosing to invest in a system. I would decide how good is good enough in terms of image quality and then look more broadly at the lenses and accessories being offered with the system. …
— – —

Does Camera Sensor Size Matter?
by Josh Miller

more at Outdoor Photographer

— – —

The 2019 Wildlife Photo Contest

Wildlife Photo Contest Winners

Grand Prize Dennis Stogsdill
Surrounded By Chaos
We were watching yet another great crossing at the peninsula crossing when I noticed the thousands of wildebeests start to “back up” as they struggled to climb out of the Mara River. And then out of the corner I could see a lone zebra joining the fray so I locked my lens on him and watched as he attempted to progress through the mass of wildebeest and was able to snap off just this one shot.
Canon 1Dx Mark II, 1/640 sec at f8, ISO 1250
— – —

Second Prize Jenny Loren
Becoming a Cheetah
In the Maasai Mara we were able to spend time with a female cheetah and her three cubs. We watched the mom as she attempted to hunt and we even saw her fight off a hyena that was trying to get her cubs one day. It’s a tough life for the mom. Meanwhile her cubs like to have a lot of fun. On this day while she was looking for prey they took off into a field chasing each other around playing. What we noticed is that they were gaining a lot of the skills they would need as adults to survive. They had a good time jumping on each other dragging the other one down. But the one that stood out was seeing them run. They were getting ready for speed.
400mm 2.8, ISO 800, 1/3200, Canon 1DX
— – —

Third Prize Eric Williamson
Sea Bears
Sea Bears photo was taken on July 11, 2015 on the beach of Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. A very fogging morning and our plane was on standby. The tide was out and these two COY’s (cub or the year) were out with mom learning how to dig up clams to eat. This photo was taken as the two were following mom to a new clamming spot. I was able to get the lens low at their level in order to keep the perspective correct.
Equipment Used: Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Lens: Canon 500mm, f4, IS Support: Really Right Stuff 34L tripod Head: Really Right Stuff BH55 ball head with a Wimberly Side Kick gimbal.
Photo Specs: Focal Length: 500mm F number: f/5 Exposure time: 1/500 ISO: 1250 Metering mode: Spot
— – —

Finalist Don Martin
— – —

Finalist Butch Mazzuca
— – —

The 2019 Wildlife Photo Contest
more at Outdoor Photographer

— – —

Moody Landscapes | Moody Wildlife

Learn how to capture mood in your landscape and wildlife photos
by Russ Burden

Depending on where you live, clouds may dominate your skies for 250-plus days of the year. This is more the norm around coastal areas and is governed by the seasons. I’m lucky to live in Colorado where I have just the opposite: 250 to 300-plus days of sunshine. But from a photographer’s standpoint, the word “lucky” can be deceiving. If my pursuit is wildlife, I’m ecstatic if I’m bestowed crisp bright mornings or afternoons of sun bathing my subject in warm golden light. But from a landscape photographer’s viewpoint, things are different. Where’s the drama in the light? Where’s the mood? Where’s the color? Since cloudy or severe, clear blue sky days are more the norm, I welcome days of fog, mood, haunting skies and drama with open arms. The rarity of these conditions is what allows landscape photographs to stand apart from those that are made under “ordinary” conditions. It’s with this in mind I devote this week’s and next week’s Tips of the Week to photos that resonate with mood.

— – —

Moody Landscapes | Moody Wildlife
more at outdoor photographer

— – —

The American Landscape Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of The American Landscape 2019 photo contest

Grand Prize Matt Meisenheimer
Jurassic
The cliffs of the Nā Pali Coast rise over 4,000 feet from the shoreline below. It’s a magnificent thing to see. The mountains of Kauai are some of the most unique out there. They give you the feeling that you’re living in a prehistoric environment that existed millions of years ago. I ran into some phenomenal conditions while hiking around the Kalalau Valley during a recent trip. I scrambled to find a suitable composition and came across this scene. I liked how the lone tree was catching light and I felt the rainbows were spaced perfectly with the tree. It was very windy and wet so the challenge was freezing motion in the vegetation and keeping my lens dry. I shot at a higher ISO to get a faster shutter speed and used a towel to dry my lens. I’d shoot a few frames, dry and cover my lens, take a few frames and repeat. Thankfully, my effort paid off and my resulting images were clean and sharp. This image portrays one of the most incredible events that I have had the opportunity to photograph.
— – —

Second Prize Jemma Lee
Pink Lady Nipple
As each labored step forward resulted in two slippery steps back on the rocky mountainside ascend on this humid August day, I had naively assumed that we had reached our destination on the difficult hour long trek from the Cinder Cone parking lot. I begrudgingly continued the climb for two more hours and was grateful to be rewarded with an extraordinary view on the other side. At the base of the mountain a small cluster of pink mountains appeared in the distance, only to be revealed through my telephoto lens. This breathtaking view reminded me of being upon my mother’s breast when I was a young child. The vivid pinks, reds, purples and blues portrayed in the photograph are from the minerals on the ground below that were created from volcanoes erupted in the past.
— – —

Finalist Craig Bill
Moonquest
Night photography in the scared slot canyons of the Navajo, Upper Antelope Canyon
— – —

Finalist Jason Frye
Eventuality
The trees that line certain sections of the South Carolina coast are haunting yet beautiful, witnessing countless sunrises, sunsets, storms and rainbows…but their time is limited. Enjoy the moment, get out, you never know when an opportunity to photography something is your last chance.
— – —

Finalist MWPhotography2
Glacial Stream -Two Medicine Lake – Glacier National Park
Two medicine lake lies about an hour south of St. Mary, Montana, on the east side of Glacier National Park. This lake one of the prettiest in the park and is not as well traveled as most parts of the park. At certain times of year, when the glacial run off is high, swift streams flow down into the lake. I bushwhacked for a few miles through the pristine evergreen forest to find this magical spot. There was an ample presence of bear scat along the way, prompting me to engage in my usual discussion with the trees and nature around me in order alert wildlife of my presence. I returned a few years later only to find this once vibrant stream had been reduced to a trickle by climate change.
— – —

The American Landscape Photo Contest Winners
more at Outdoor Photographer

— – —

Open-Minded Illumination

If the conditions prevent you from taking great images, dig a bit deeper into your creativity to come away with winners
Text & Photography by Russ Burden

Words of wisdom come from places you least expect to hear them. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be enlightened by a total stranger seated next to me at the airport. His words were something to the effect of, “My initial flight was canceled, my aisle seat was changed to a middle one, the weather delay is messing with my mind and the kid behind me on my first flight kept kicking my seat, but a bad two days of air travel is still better than two days at work when your destination is where you’ve dreamed about going all your life.”

— – —

Open-Minded Illumination
read more at Outdoor Photographer

— – —

The Art Of Seeing

In this three-part article series, we take a deep dive into the fundamentals of composing landscape photographs
Text & Photography By Marc Muench

There’s a magical moment in landscape photography when you find the right position, the subject is at the correct angle, bathed in perfect light, and, with your camera in hand, you capture “The Shot”—the perfect composition for the scene. These are the moments we all want to repeat, but for whatever reason, they are difficult to find. The more you learn about how much goes into creating such moments, the more you realize just how complex and involved they are to repeat.

This is the “Art of Seeing.”

I break the process of seeing down into three elements that I call the “creative trinity.” Subject, light and composition make up the trinity, and the fuel that fires it is timing.

— – —

The Art Of Seeing
more at Outdoor Photographer

part 1part 2part 3

— – —