Bear Creek Photography NC: Blog en-us (C) Bear Creek Photography NC, LLC (Bear Creek Photography NC) Wed, 27 Jun 2018 17:30:00 GMT Wed, 27 Jun 2018 17:30:00 GMT Dealing with Weather Challenges: Heat DEALING WITH WEATHER CHALLENGES


No matter who we are or what we do, we all have to deal with the weather. It is an inescapable force, even when you work in a cozy studio. Weather affects our daily lives, which is why the morning news has weather reports every 10 minutes! As photographers, how we deal with the weather, and use it to our advantage, can define our work and our attitude.






I thought this topic seemed appropriate given this HOT time of year! I know that I don't do nearly as much shooting in the summer months because of the heat and humidity. At my house, you break a sweat just sitting in the shade! Here are some things to consider when you do shoot in the heat. Most of it is common sense, but hey, I know I need to be reminded of the simple details sometimes.


First of all, take care of yourself. If you are sensitive to the heat, limit your exposure. Be sure to take plenty of water, snacks, sports drinks, etc. with you so that you can stay hydrated. Rest when you need to. Listen to your body. Everyone is different and has different limitations. You know yours and should abide by them. Don't push yourself too hard. If you start to feel lousy, rest, go inside, find some shade, get out of the heat and sun. You can also soak a cloth in cold water and drape it around your neck. That can really help. If you are in the sun, please use sunscreen. Protect your skin. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes. I am very sensitive to bright light myself and have to be very careful when out in the bright sun. Along with the heat, usually comes bugs. Try some sort of bug repellant and check for ticks once you are back inside. Those little buggers are relentless.


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Now that we have mentioned you, let's move onto your camera equipment. Usually, camera equipment fares pretty well in heat. However, cameras can overheat. If you're hot, your camera is probably hot, too. To protect your gear, particularly in full sun, keep it in your camera bag when not using it. The bag will be cooler than out in full sun. Try to keep your camera gear in the shade if at all possible.


Another consideration when the weather is hot is the transition between cooler areas, like air-conditioned spaces, and the heat outside. Your camera and lenses can fog up, just like glasses do. If you keep your house or car significantly cooler than the outside temperature, this can occur. Allow your camera and lenses time to acclimate to the heat. You can try to wipe the fog off your lens, but it will usually reform until your camera and lens have completely acclimated. Simply wait it out!


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You can also simply stay inside. Buy flowers and create a tiny studio in your kitchen. There are many photography projects that you can do inside your own home. You may have to be a bit more creative with your lighting options. Try lamps and flashlights, window light and reflectors, work lights and your external flash. There are a lot of options. Summer is a great time to experiment with the home studio.


Even though the heat adds a challenge to photography, there is a silver lining - the best times to photograph outside are early in the morning, late in the afternoon, in the shade, or on overcast days, all circumstances that help avoid the worst of the heat! Additionally, the heat will end before we know it, and then we can explore the challenge of the cold!


Happy Shooting!


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]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography heat nature photography nc north carolina photography photography instruction seasons summer Wed, 27 Jun 2018 17:00:00 GMT

Kyle Cook





Let me start with saying I love nature. I love photography. There is nothing better than going out and enjoying them both together. The sounds, the smells, the excitement of capturing a great image - what could be better than that?


Well, from my experience this past weekend, I thought that what makes a wonderful experience even better is sharing it with someone.


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My husband, Roger, is at the beach this weekend, celebrating Father's Day with his kids and grandkids. We are usually drawn like a magnet to stop at Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge on our way to the beach. Yes, it CAN add an hour (or sometimes even more) to our trip, but it's what we DO. So, since he was at the beach, I decided I would go to Pee Dee alone (I had to work this weekend). Roger had seen Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers there recently on his way to the beach. He said they were close up enough and not obscured by the foliage that tends to surround the marshy/swampy area. I decided to pack Cailin, my German Shepherd, up in the car and go for a ride to Pee Dee to search for these gorgeous birds.  Now, usually, Roger and I will have walkie-talkies and go off in different directions to search for photographic opportunities. This time, he wasn't there. I couldn't let Cailin out as usual, because she usually hangs out with Roger so as not to scare up the wildlife that I might be shooting. I got out of the car and walked around - I saw 4 deer - beautiful as they bounded away through the swamp, but way out of range to shoot. We saw rabbits, swallows flying about, Prothonetary Warblers flitting around a stump (which decided to fly away as soon as I got set up to shoot them). Great Blue Herons, Green Herons - were all elusive that day.  I could HEAR birds all around, but I couldn't see them. I'm okay with that, but Roger and I have such geeky fun searching for wildlife - that's so much a part of the fun of wildlife photography for me. The wildlife in a refuge isn't captive - it is in its own environment, doing the things they do to survive. While that makes it harder to capture images, it's so much more rewarding when you do. It's just the kind of thing that we really love doing together.


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I guess what I'm getting at is, it's really nice to share photography with someone. In my case, my favorite shooting buddies are:

  • My husband, who, even though he doesn't shoot anymore himself, can track wildlife like nobody's business. 
  • Friends, especially one like my best friend and partner, Melissa, at Bear Creek Photography, NC, who shares a love of nature, a love of photography and is a friend you have fun with, no matter where you go or what you do. OR,
  • A group of friends - like our recent workshop group, who joked, laughed, photographed and who made new friendships and older friendships stronger during the event.


Yes, I remember the pictures taken with all these people, but the relationships we have forged through photography and the fun times we shared together far out-value the photographs taken while we are together.




Get out there with friends and enjoy your shared passion for photography and nature. Bring home great photographs, but remember, while the photographs won't disappear, relationships can, and the value of investing your time in those relationships can't be denied. You'll remember these times for the rest of your life! 

]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography friendships nc north carolina pee dee national wildlife refuge photography relationships wildlife photography Tue, 19 Jun 2018 15:30:00 GMT
Just Stop and Shoot! JUST STOP AND SHOOT!

Melissa Southern




I know we have all been off somewhere driving to get to work or pick up kids or get to some appointment and have seen a beautiful or interesting scene and not been able to stop and shoot it. It has happened to me countless times over the years. I spend most of my driving life rushing from one place to the next, perpetually running late. That being said, sometimes I have the chance to actually stop and shoot, and now I am trying to make an effort to do that whenever I can.




On the way back home from Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend, I was cruising over Jordan Lake and talking to Kyle on the phone. (The only time I can really talk on the phone without children interrupting is when I am in the car alone.) I suddenly saw something that caught my eye. I told Kyle that I would call her back. I had to stop and shoot. I immediately switched lanes and made a u-turn at the next opportunity. I made another u-turn and parked on the side of the road. I grabbed my camera bag and tripod and trekked along the outside of the guardrail to get to the vantage point I had seen from the car. 




The reflection of the skeletal trees in the water is what caught my eye. I shot a variety of pieces of the scene, concentrating on the reflections. Then I started to do some vertical motion blurs, using a slow shutter speed and moving vertically during the exposure. I am quite happy with what I got and am glad that I stopped to shoot this scene. 


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Now some more notes about doing this: we are certainly not advocating being late for work or doctor's appointments or for picking up the kids. If you have the time, stop. Also, be sure that you are in a safe environment. I took these on the side of a busy highway. I parked a couple of hundred yards away at the end of a guardrail where there was plenty of room to get my car well off the road. I also placed myself on the outside of the guardrail and did not spend very long there. I got my shots quickly and left before someone stopped to run me off and before I caused any issues with traffic. Safety should be your first thought. If it is not safe for you, other people, and the environment (meaning animals and plants) to stop, enjoy the view but keep moving.


I hope you all can do the same thing and stop when you see something that fascinates you. Get out there and shoot!

]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography nature photography north carolina photography Tue, 12 Jun 2018 15:30:00 GMT
Look Around You! LOOK AROUND YOU!

Kyle Cook




Everyone loves a great sunrise or sunset - myself included. We all want to capture those vivid colors that inspire wonder and make us appreciate the natural world that we have been blessed with. However, when you go out for that sunrise or sunset event, I want to remind you to look around. The star of the show is not always in the direction the sun is rising or setting. It can be in the opposite direction.  


Oftentimes, the sun illuminates the clouds that are behind you while shooting. They are many times more spectacular than the event you set out to photograph.  


This photograph was taken on Grandfather Mountain after the last program, and after we had dished out yummy free ice cream to all the participants. A group of us stepped outside the Nature Center, debating whether we should drive up the mountain to the top to photograph the sunset with the multitude of others who set out to do that very thing. We looked up, and saw this. This doesn't equal a brilliant sunset, but it IS pretty, and we all grabbed our cell phones and snapped a pic of this reflection of the color from the sunset to be. The cloud itsef is an interesting shape, and, well, the colors are pretty nice, too! Yes, I processed it a touch in Snapseed to make it a bit more contrasty and slightly more saturated (that's not an abnormal thing to do, you know), but still, nice images can be taken by a cell phone.  Or, you can just stand there and wonder at the scene, which is okay, too!  We did both.


My main point is this. You can go out to shoot with a purpose or a goal, but don't forget to look around you and see what Mother Nature has in store for you if you only look in a different direction once in awhile. 

]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography grandfather mountain nature photography nc north carolina photography photography instruction sunrise sunset Tue, 05 Jun 2018 15:15:11 GMT

Melissa Southern

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There are some places in this world that feel like home to me, even though I have never lived anywhere near them. It is a feeling in the air. As soon as I get there, I relax and feel like I have come home. The landscape speaks to my soul.


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That is how I feel whenever I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway on my way to Grandfather Mountain. I have found a home there with so many photographers over the years.


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This weekend is the Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend. It will be my 16th year in attendance and another year as a TEAM member. This year Kyle and I also have the honor of presenting at a Saturday morning breakout session and a Saturday night seminar. 


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Grandfather Mountain has become such a special place to me over those years. I have so many friends that I met on the mountain. It all started with a small ad thumb-tacked to a bulletin board at Randolph Community College where I had just started as a photography student. I badgered 3 friends to go with me in June 2002 and have never looked back since. 


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Kyle and I met at Grandfather Mountain and forged our sisterhood under its trees and on top of its rocks. We have had tons of hilarious misadventures there from rock climbing to retrieve a bag of animal crackers to mouse encounters. 




For me, Grandfather Mountain has become one of my favorite places on earth. Its rugged beauty, friendly faces, and fresh air call to me all year round.


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I hope that you all have the experience of finding your own special place, a place that speaks to your heart and soul. Home is more than just the place that we live, it is the people that we surround ourselves with and the feeling that we get when we are there.





]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography grandfather mountain grandfather mountain nature photography weekend nature photography nc north carolina photography Wed, 30 May 2018 15:25:00 GMT
Focus on the Small Things! FOCUS ON THE SMALL THINGS!

Kyle Cook




I love to shoot scenics.  I love to LOOK at scenics.  When I do, I find little pieces that seem to attract my attention.  Such was the case on our Waterfalls Workshop early in May. 


While we went to several waterfalls, I became particularly interested in Eastatoe Falls.  It's on private land, but the owners are gracious enough to allow photographers and other respectful people to view this beautiful wonder of nature.  Now, I like the entire waterfall, but on this day, when the light was a bit contrasty early on, I was obsessed with that beautiful green moss.  I mean - it was beautiful!  So, I caught a very small part of that waterfall in an image, and it was one of my favorite images of the trip.  I could just stare at that and be happy.  

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Our last morning, we woke up early to catch a sunrise on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  As usual, we were praying for great color and, even more importantly, FOG!  I LOVE fog!  I used to think you couldn't shoot anything if it didn't look like a postcard, but, since I really started getting serious about photography after being on Grandfather Mountain, I learned that if you didn't shoot in unusual weather, you might be standing around not shooting anything for quite a while.  Melissa and I, followed by our workshop participants, drove up the mountain to the Parkway.  We kept seeing glimpses of bits of foggy areas and we couldn't wait to get to the top to see what nature was going to give us that morning.




Mother Nature sure didn't give us a fantastic sunrise, or at least a ton of color.  However, several of our group got some great sunrise shots (Shari, for one).  I guess it might have happened, but I was so excited about the fog, and how the sun was rising and casting shadows from the trees onto the foggy valleys.  It's my "thing" - foggy landscapes!  A little fog, a lot of fog - doesn't matter!  Anyway, I took tons of little "vignettes" of the different patterns the fog was making - it was everchanging, and, to my mind, absolutely beautiful.  This was one of my favorites - just a piece of the broader landscape that really appealed to me.  I like the larger view, but the small piece of it was another of my favorite shots from the workshop.  




My point is, take in the view.  Capture the big picture.  However, good things tend to come in small packages, so they say, and sometimes you can find those little gems hidden in the big view that you are looking at.  First, enjoy being out there in this big, beautiful world.  Look at the broad picture, and then disect it into smaller pieces.  You just might see something that touches your soul more than the obvious side-to-side and top-to-bottom scenic.  




]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) 5d bear blue canon carolina creek eastatoe falls fog iv mark mill mountains nature nc north overlook parkway photography pounding ridge waterfalls Wed, 23 May 2018 15:25:00 GMT

Melissa Southern


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Sometimes we all have problems getting inspired to go out and shoot. I know that I do. Our lives are often so hectic and full that photography takes a back seat. We need to make sure that we pay attention to those people and activities that fill our lives with joy. It is usually a delicate balancing act, especially when family is involved.


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I love photography. I love to shoot, but i don't get to go out and shoot nearly as much as I would like to. Have a serious case of wanderlust most of the time. I want to see everything and go everywhere and experience so much. With that in mind, I have had to learn to shoot what is near at hand, in my own backyard.


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As my kids have gotten older, this has become a bit easier to do. I try to watch for and take advantage of any opportunity to shoot a bit around the house, whether it's photos of the cats or the "Killer Rose Bush" in the front yard. Lucky for me, my husband has really stepped up and helped out with getting dinner and lunches ready so that I can have a few minutes to shoot. All of the images in this blog were taken in my yard in a few minutes here and there.


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Often, I want to travel to exotic places to get those amazing shots, but reality is that many of those amazing shots were taken by people who live there, who can shoot sunrise five times a week or hike that trail over and over again. One lesson that I have tried to learn for myself is that what I view as ordinary and normal is exotic to someone else, where I am is exotic to someone else. I have to see where I live as beautiful, try to capture that beauty, and, most of all, appreciate where I am.


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]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography flowers nature photography nc north carolina photography Tue, 15 May 2018 15:15:15 GMT
Waiting for the Right Light WAITING FOR THE RIGHT LIGHT

Melissa Southern





We all know that photography is about light. Even an ordinary subject can look magical in the right light. However, as nature photographers, we have to find the right light, or simply wait for it. Kyle and I were in the waterfall country of North and South Carolina over the past few days for our Waterfalls of the Carolinas Field Trip. We have spent a lot of time at the North Carolina waterfalls over the years, so we headed to South Carolina to do a little scouting before meeting our group. 


Most of the waterfalls that we scouted that day were not in the best light at all. They were south facing falls, meaning that if the sun is out, there is a lot of glare on the waterfall most of the day. We did not get any great photos of those waterfalls, but as it was a scouting day, the point was to find them, check out the amount of water, confirm directions and parking information, and rate the hike to each waterfall.


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Towards the end of our scouting day, we visiting Twin Falls in South Carolina. The light was terrible as it was very bright on the top of the falls and in shade at the bottom. We took some photos anyway, including some high dynamic range (HDR) sets. HDR is simply taking a bracketed series of photos (i.e. with different exposures) of the same subject that can later be combined in software to maintain detail throughout the entire image from the brightest highlights to the darkest shadows. We decided that this would be a good waterfall to bring our group to as the hike was short and easy and allowed access to the stream below the falls. We arrived very early the next morning, before the sun climbed over the ridge, which left the entire waterfall in shade. We had a great time shooting the waterfall from different angles and in different sections. Once we were done there, we spent more time along the stream shooting various scenes there. In this case, success was about having a compass with us and knowing approximately where the sun would rise, what time it would rise, and how it would traverse across the sky. By arriving early at this waterfall, we were able to maximize our shooting time in the right light, and there was the added bonus of being the only people there for most of the time that we were shooting.


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After our morning shoot at Twin Falls, we journeyed back to North Carolina and visited one of our favorites, Eastatoe Falls. As we suspected, the light was pretty harsh since it was almost noon before we arrived. We shot some anyway, again using HDR. We also used our telephoto lenses to isolate sections of the waterfall that interested each of us. It is amazing to see the variety that everyone found on this one waterfall. Because of its beauty and accessibility, we decided that we had to come back later in the day when the light would be better. We went to lunch and took a "recharging" break at the hotel. As the day slipped into the later afternoon, we set out again for Eastatoe Falls and found it in full shade. We spent more time shooting the entire falls, isolated sections of the falls, and even some macro of insects and flowers near the falls. Waiting for the light to even out was key to having success here, just like at Twin Falls. 




Nature photography is often more about patience than anything else, whether we are shooting waterfalls, flowers, or wildlife. Sometimes we have to find the right light, and sometimes we have to simply wait for it. Having a basic knowledge of the movement of the sun and moon can make all the difference in knowing how long you will have to wait. And, yes, there's an app for that! Nature photography is not only capturing moments; it is learning about the world around us and gaining a greater understanding and appreciation for it.


Happy Shooting!

]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear carolina creek nature nc north photography planning Tue, 08 May 2018 15:45:03 GMT
Trout Lilies - Revisited! TROUT LILY (REVISITED)

Melissa Southern

3-18-20133-18-2013trout lily along a trail in the Great Smoky Mountains Naitional Park, Tennesse

Sometimes we come across subjects that become goals for us. For whatever reason, we just want a second shot at the subject to do it justice, to show its beauty, to capture its uniqueness. For me, trout lilies became one of these subjects



This is the first trout lily I ever shot, and for years, it was the only one I had ever seen. I photographed this little beauty in Great Smoky Mountains National Park over a decade ago. I remember practically standing on my head to get this shot. The flower is only a few inches tall and points towards the ground, making it difficult to photograph.




I mounted my camera to my tripod but positioned the center column of the tripod upside down so that the camera was hanging below the tripod. I also remember dropping the camera on its top while trying to adjust the tripod. Luckily it only fell about an inch!


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Last year, Kyle and I were photographing spring wildflowers at Grandfather Mountain, and low and behold, we found a bunch of trout lilies. I was obsessed. I spent a long time climbing up and down a hillside and contorting myself and my tripod into strange positions to photograph the ones that drew my attention. There were so many to choose from! The first ones I saw seemed to show up out of no where, but the more I looked, the more I saw. It was incredible!


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To think, all those years, these beautiful little flowers were right under my nose. I go to Grandfather Mountain at least twice a year most years, but I had never had the opportunity to visit the mountain in April until last year when Kyle and I had to cancel our Smokies trip. I guess the moral of this story is that sometimes that cancelled trip or change of plans can lead you to exactly what you were looking for all along. 


]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography creative photography great smoky mountains national park nature photography nc north carolina photography seasons smokies spring trout lily wildflowers Tue, 01 May 2018 15:30:00 GMT
Working with the Conditions You're Given WORKING WITH THE CONDITIONS


Melissa Southern




We all have certain subjects that we like to photograph. With each of those subjects, there are certain conditions that are ideal for photographing them. If you like to shoot macro photographs of flowers, a light overcast sky and no wind are the best conditions. For photographing geysers erupting in Yellowstone National Park, clear skies are better as the eruptions stands out against a blue sky. These are very different conditions for very different subjects. Of course, for some subjects, you can simply move them into a more controlled environment like a studio or workshop.


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In outdoor photography, whether you are shooting portraits of people or scenic landscapes, one of the toughest lessons to learn is how to accept and work with the conditions you are given rather than complain about them and use them as excuses. 


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Kyle and I just returned from a long-overdue trip to the Cades Cove area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We both love shooting wildflowers and flowing streams. We have been excitedly waiting for this trip for months. Of course, the weather is never exactly what we want. We like to have some atmosphere, some moisture, in the air which lends itself to fog and mist, hence the name "Smokies." No such luck this time. We had bright blue skies and dry air the whole time, though a front did come in as we were packing up camp and heading home.




In light of the weather conditions, we had to modify our photography. We stayed out later when the light got low. We spent time exploring and reacquainting ourselves with area and how it has changed over the years. We even spent a relaxing afternoon in camp with a fire, hot chocolate, a nap, and the haunting music of a fiddle playing in a nearby campsite. We still shot wildflowers; we just had to use our diffusers to soften the light - and sometimes to block the wind! We shot water in Tremont, but we waited until late in the day when the sun was dipping behind the trees and ridges above us. We shot some song birds, turkeys, and bears. We talked and laughed and planned for future trips. In short, we truly enjoyed ourselves. We enjoyed being together in a beautiful place. We enjoyed meeting new people and running into old friends. We had a great time.


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The moral of the story, don't let the weather ruin your day. It may not be the conditions you need for what you intended to shoot, but the conditions you are given may be perfect for something else, even if that is just the chance to be with a true friend.


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]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography birds creative photography great smoky mountains national park nature photography nc north carolina photography seasons smokies spring weather weather conditions wildflowers wildlife Tue, 24 Apr 2018 15:30:00 GMT
Trip Prep: Cleaning Your Gear TRIP PREP: CLEANING YOUR GEAR

Melissa Southern




Kyle and I are prepping for a couple of photography trips in the next few weeks, including our Waterfalls of the Carolinas Field Trip, which has only a couple of open spots for those interested! One of the things we like to do before heading out on a photography trip is to clean our camera equipment. 


Now, this means much more than just cleaning off the lenses. We clean out our camera bags, yes, bags. We look through everything we have to decide what we need and can bring on that specific trip. When we are traveling by car, particularly in two cars, we bring a lot more gear than when we travel by plane. We tend to have our gear in multiple bags: what we plan to carry on trail in one bag and other gear in another bag, which includes chargers, extra filters, extra batteries, maybe some random equipment like solar filters, intervalometers, quick release plates, and cleaning cloths.


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I like to take everything out of my bags and sort it all into piles, making sure I have everything I will or might need. I like to lay down a clean towel to do this, mostly to avoid laying my cameras and lenses and cleaning cloths on cat hair. I then check the quick release plates on all of my cameras and lenses to make sure that they are tight. I then clean the elements on my lenses, front and back, using clean microfiber lens cleaning cloth. I keep a bunch in my bags. They can be washed in the washing machine, but I usually let them air dry as you cannot use a dryer sheet or fabric softener with them. Never spray anything on the glass of the lenses. There is more information about cleaning lenses available in their manuals and online through their manufacturer. Please check that information before you clean them. Along with my lenses, I clean all of my filters, font and back. I remove the filters from the lenses and clean both. It never ceases to amaze me how dirty my filters and lenses get.


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I also have a specialized kit and training to clean camera sensors. I only ever do this with my own cameras and am extremely careful when doing so. I do NOT suggest trying to clean your own sensors. You can cause permanent damage to the sensor. You can check your sensor by following the directions found in your camera manual. I DO recommend having your camera sensor cleaned periodically by a professional like Berrie Smith, Digital Camera Repair Specialist. We see him at the Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend and Camera Clinic each year. He is certified on both Canon and Nikon cameras. 


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I always go through all of my batteries and charge everything. Kyle and I tend to camp out when it's just us, so having fully charged batteries is a must. I start this process about three days before my trip, commandeering every outlet in my bedroom and bathroom to get them all done. This includes flash batteries and flashlight batteries. I also check my headlamp and other light sources to be sure that they are at their best. Most importantly, I gather all of the chargers and charged batteries and put them back in my camera, flash, and bag. I wouldn't want to leave them behind when I head out! Tip: do not leave batteries on your charger unless the charger is plugged in to a power source. I have heard that with some batteries the charger can pull power from the batteries when it is not plugged into an outlet. Another tip: Do not leave your batteries out on the cold. The cold pulls power from them and can leave you with dead batteries. Keep them warm!




I like to check my camera cards, as well. I have multiple different cards types for my cameras. I like to check through my card collection to be sure that I have them all. I go through the cards and confirm that I have downloaded and backed up any photos on those cards. Then, I go ahead and format those cards so that they are ready to go. Along with this, I check my laptop and backup anything that needs to be backed up and clear off anything that I can to maximize the available space on the computer for more photos. My general rule is that my photographs have to be in at least two places before they are removed from another: the memory card and the laptop; the laptop and a portable hard drive; two external hard drives in two different places; and so on. This is to prevent any data loss due to dropping the drive, accidental deletion, hard drive failure, etc.




Once all of these steps are taken. I repack my bags and am ready to go. Even when camping, I always take all of my chargers with me, unless I am flying somewhere and have to limit the amount of equipment that I pack. I hope you can use some of these ideas when you get ready for your next trip!


Happy Shooting!

]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography nc cleaning camera equipment nature photography nc north carolina photography planning trip prep Tue, 17 Apr 2018 15:30:00 GMT
Dealing with Weather Challenges: Pollen DEALING WITH WEATHER CHALLENGES


No matter who we are or what we do, we all have to deal with the weather. It is an inescapable force, even when you work in a cozy studio. Weather affects our daily lives, which is why the morning news has weather reports every 10 minutes! As photographers, how we deal with the weather, and use it to our advantage, can define our work and our attitude.





Though not a weather phenomenon, pollen is an environmental consideration, especially in regions with lots of pine trees. Their yellow-green pollen covers everything. I have even seen it raining out of the trees and swirling through the air. It gets into cars and houses, covers shoes and lawn furniture. It is pervasive and can be a real consideration when photographing anything outside. Luckily, "pollen season" does not last too long!


For those of you who do not truly understand the power of pollen, here are a couple of examples of pollen everywhere, and yes, all that yellow stuff is pine pollen:

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_MAS9033_MAS9033 _MAS9046_MAS9046




In the spring, we are entranced by the new flowers, by life coming back to the world. But, like everything else, the flowers get covered in pollen. The question becomes, how do you cope with this annoyance? One method is to simply avoid it. Try working on some indoor projects. Buy flowers and set up a studio on your kitchen table. Though there will still be pollen around, it will be greatly reduced in a more controlled environment. 


Another method, wait for the rain. Try shooting during or right after a rain. The rain will knock the pollen out of the air and wash it off of flowers, sidewalks, etc. A rainy April is usually quite desirable as it keeps the pollen at bay, somewhat. If rain is not in the forecast, break out the water hose and make your own rain shower. Wash the pollen off the flowers and get to shooting.


My favorite method is this: work with the pollen. Make it your subject and play around. Find pattern in the pollen. Pollen floating on water can often look like satellite images. It can make for some really interesting abstracts.


_MAS9028_MAS9028 _MAS9169_MAS9169 _MAS9101_MAS9101 _MAS9108_MAS9108

There is one more consideration when dealing with lots of pollen. It gets all over you camera equipment. Try to avoid changing lenses outside during the worst of pollen season. You don't want that yellow junk on your camera sensor. After shooting, check your lenses and filters and clean them with a microfiber cloth. You will also want to wipe down the outside of your camera and your tripod, just to keep everything clean. Make sure to keep your camera bag closed so that pollen is not raining down inside of it. 


With all that being said, get out there and enjoy the spring!



]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography nature photography nc north carolina photography pollen seasons spring weather Tue, 10 Apr 2018 15:30:00 GMT
What Can't You Do With Photography? WHAT CAN'T YOU DO WITH PHOTOGRAPHY?

Kyle Cook

GSMNP Cezanne ImpressionistGSMNP Cezanne Impressionist


Melissa and I are planning our annual trip to the Smokies. We leave in a few weeks.  I’ve been going to the Smokies on a regular basis since I went to college at Maryville College in nearby Maryville, TN. It is my favorite of all places. It’s not obviously grand like the scenic views in the West, but it’s more intimate than any place I’ve ever been.  It has it all. Weather, clouds, fog, beautiful light, wildlife, flowers, waterfalls, idyllic streams, hiking, camping, photography. What more could you ask? 


Years ago, a friend and I discovered a secret place in the Smokies. It’s not really secret, but I’m not telling everyone about it. They have to go with me to see it, unless they find out about it themselves. Selfish? Well, somewhat. You see, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited parks in the nation. That means that, especially during the peak wildflower season, there are a lot of people there. In college, one of my favorite times for the Smokies was in the late fall and winter, when nobody else went. Now, they close the roads for our “safety” and it’s much less accessible than it was back then. I absolutely LOVE photographing wildflowers. I bring my identification books and I try to shoot every flower I see. I also quiz Melissa on the IDs! Unfortunately, there are others without ethics, that pull the flowers up so they can try to plant them in their yard at home, or trample them, so no one else can see their beauty. I don’t want any part of that. So, I keep this place a relative secret - only for special people to know about.


My friend no longer goes on photographic trips with me. We had one planned, and she had to back out for personal reasons, which I certainly understand. She went into another profession, and I planned to go to the mountains alone. That’s when Melissa asked me to join her at one of her workshops with her former business partner. I was basically their guide for the area. I know it well, having spent probably more hours in the Smokies than I did studying while in college! Since that first trip together, Melissa and I, and sometimes other groups and other individuals, have gone to the Smokies every year. Last year, the weather was supposed to be so horrendous, we altered our plans and stayed at Grandfather Mountain, which also had horrendous weather, but we stayed in one of the cabins. Of course, the Smokies ended up with great weather after all……



Back to the story. This special place is magical. That is the only word for it. Not too bad or long a hike to get in, but it’s a really steep downhill at the end (which, of course, means a steep uphill on the way back) which culminates in this place of unsurpassed beauty. Each time, we have brought our cameras, and each time, we have left with less-than-satisfactory images of this beautiful place. Somehow, though, it’s not a total disappointment. You see, there is more than visual beauty here. There are the sounds of the trees swaying and birds chirping. There is the smell of this place that is like no other. It’s the wildflowers. One of them, phlox, is so heady it takes your breath away. Add early morning mist and a bit of the usual Smokies moisture, and you have a place where gnomes and fairies could live. There are only 2 places I’ve ever seen like this, and both of them are in the Smokies. However, the fragrance here is unsurpassed. 


What I’m getting at, is that you can’t always leave a place with pictures that represent what you saw because seeing is only PART of the experience. The people you are with, the smells, the sounds (or lack of them), the weather – it’s all a part of the experience, and some of that can’t possibly be captured in a photograph. It must be documented with a picture, but you can’t take the rest of it back with you.


Melissa and I have been on many, many trips together. We have had several indescribable moments that we have decided aren’t photographic, but almost spiritual. Take the time to breathe it all in and experience wherever you have chosen to venture. You will never forget it. I know, still, that the folks we took down there one year have always remembered that experience, and it’s been talked about ever since we were there. It’s inside you – not in a photograph. We will go there again and attempt to bring it home with us. We know we never will, but it’s taunting us to give it a try. We will. I don’t give up easily, but I just don’t see how we will EVER capture ALL that beauty in a photograph that does it justice. But we will keep going there and keep trying. We’ll continue to seek out places that challenge our photographic skills, but if we can’t do anything but enjoy the moment, it will still be priceless and unforgettable.

]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) nc bear creek photography great smoky mountains national park north carolina photography scenics tennessee wildflowers Tue, 03 Apr 2018 15:30:00 GMT
Making the Most of a Location - Behind the Scenes MAKING THE MOST OF A LOCATION


Melissa Southern


When I look at photographs, I often wonder about the location. What was around them? Are they really on a secluded beach? Are they way out on a farm or right next to a busy road? Well, the truth can be a mixture of things. Sometimes we get lucky and have a great location all to ourselves. Other times, we are sharing that location with other photographers and their clients and with families out for the day and tourists and countless other people who want to enjoy that same location. 


Kyle and I thought it would be fun to show you some of the behind the scenes of the locations we are shooting, to show you what we are not including in the frame. Today, I am going to show you one of those places and describe what was actually going on during the shoot.


IMG_20171205_120543157IMG_20171205_120543157 IMG_20171205_120516121IMG_20171205_120516121


So, I manage to produce a few cute models over the years, namely my children! A few days ago, I was with my twins in Chapel Hill. They have been involved in a twin study on Early Brain Development since shortly after their birth. Between the MRI session and Developmental Assessments, we had time for lunch. Rather than trying to find a fast food establishment, I packed a picnic lunch. Lucky for us, the weather was perfect. It was overcast, which I like, and the temperature was very nice. When we arrived at the location for the Developmental Assessments, I parked near a small grassy area at the edge of the parking lot. The kids liked the picnic lunch, and it was nice to be outside.


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After eating, the girls started to run around in the grass. Hannah (rainbow stripes) began to play with a leaf around a nearby tree. I grabbed my cell phone to get a few quick shots of her being her. I then convinced Christina (red dress) to join Hannah and got some shots of both of them and then some of Christina by herself. By the way, these photos have not been cropped or worked in Photoshop other than adding a warming photo filter.


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I had to pay very close attention to the background. There was a small stretch of trees on the right and around to the back of the area with a busy road on the other side. I had to watch to make sure the cars were hidden from view behind the girls. There was also a couple of dumpsters off to the left and more parking lot that I definitely did not want in the background.




And, that brings me to a very simple point. When you are out shooting, pay very close attention to the background. Sometimes you can drop a distracting background out of focus by opening up your aperture, but sometimes you are just shooting with your cell phone and don't have that level of control. By positioning yourself and your subject(s), you can do a lot to minimize or eliminate distractions in your background. Of course, you can utilize Photoshop and other programs to remove distractions in the computer later, but who wants to spend all their time in front of the computer correcting something that could have been corrected when the photo was taken?! The bottom line, it is best to do everything you can to get it right in the camera and then take care of the rest in the computer. 


Keep watch for more "Behind the Scenes" photos!


Happy Shooting!

]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) Fri, 08 Dec 2017 16:30:00 GMT
Straighten Up! STRAIGHTEN UP!

Kyle Cook


Today we’re going to talk about horizon lines. This is a very common mistake in beginner (and intermediate and advanced) photographers.  In my last blog on one of the elements of composition – the Rule of Thirds – we talked a bit on where to PLACE your horizon, and today, we’ll continue that discussion, but will focus on being aware of how level your horizon line (or your subject, if there is no horizon in the picture) is in your picture.




A telltale sign of beginner photographers (or more advanced photographers that are either not paying attention or are really excited about their subject, or both, as shown in picture of kite surfer) is when the horizon line in their images slant up (or down). “Great” pictures of beach vacations or mountain vistas often showcase a “wonky” horizon line. Now, if you are on a boat, that can sometimes happen. And, depending on the wave height, there may not be much you can do about it. However, most of us (myself not included) are seldom taking pictures while on a boat. Therefore, take heed of the direction of your horizon line. Often, cameras have available grids in the viewfinder (yes, a viewfinder) that not only help you with the Rule of Thirds, but can help you level up that horizon. A level in your tripod or in your camera (also commonly found on cameras these days), can also help you make sure your image is straight, horizontally. Other things that can point to wonky images are trees. Now, all trees are not straight, but most of them DO grow up fairly straight, vertically, and if your trees are all pointing to the right or left, you can be pretty sure your camera is not level. Trees can help you determine if your camera is level when your horizon is not a straight line, such as in the mountains. 


IMG_4358IMG_4358 Can you get a straight image without a level? Most times – using the trees and horizon line clues. However, I have had a photo session where, even though trees were involved, it was rather difficult to feel confident my picture was straight. I DID rely on the trees (didn’t have a level at the time), but still, as I was looking at the picture, it just didn’t look straight. What was the subject? A waterfall (see image). Not all waterfall “shelves” are perfectly horizontal. Some have a tilt to them, and for some reason, it can be tricky to get your horizon straight while shooting. Trees say one thing, and things you think SHOULD be straight across are not. You want to straighten those horizontal lines, but if you do, your trees are leaning! 


Regardless, when you are shooting pictures – whether they are portraits or landscapes, look all around your frame. Are there telltale things in your photo that will give away that your camera was not level?  Sometimes, you can break that rule, (like all other rules – you need to know them before you can successfully break them), but you still need to evaluate your image in the frame to make sure you have the ups and downs going up and down and the sideways things going straight sideways! 


So many things to consider! This is why photographers make images, and amateurs take snapshots. Which do you make?


Until next time,


]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography nc north carolina photography photography instruction straight horizons Fri, 01 Dec 2017 16:30:00 GMT
Compositional Elements: Rule of Thirds COMPOSITIONAL ELEMENTS: RULE OF THIRDS

Kyle Cook




Melissa started the conversation about compositional elements with the idea of including circles in your photographs.  Please remember that you can't include ALL compositional elements into one image, but, you should look for examples of compositional elements when you are evaluating your scene to make your image.  


One such element is the Rule of Thirds.  The definition of the Rule of Thirds, generally, is:  The Rule of Thirds means placing your subject at the intersections of the guide lines of the grid in your viewfinder, and/or placing the horizon on the top or bottom line of the grid.  The grid divides your viewfinder into 9 equal sections, with 2 vertical lines, and 2 horizontal lines.


The photos below illustrate this concept.  Keep in mind, that, while it is called the Rule of Thirds, rules are often made to be broken.  It is also wise to KNOW the rules in order to be able to decide when or when NOT to break them! In these photos, I placed the subject or ground level in different intersections of the grid - or near those intersections.  Keep in mind, it's not always possible to place your subject perfectly at the intersection of the lines, but in general, split your screen into thirds, and do your best to place your subject of interest in one of those areas. Notice how in the pictures of the birds, below, the subject is placed, not in the center, but vertically on the third line.


This White-Breasted Nuthatch is facing to the left. Its tail feathers are aiming up and to the right. I wouldn't want to place this bird in the lower right hand or left hand corner.  It just wouldn't look right.  5J0A35615J0A3561



The Barn Swallow is looking to the left. I wouldn't want to place HIM on the left side so that he's looking out of the picture. I placed him on the lower right so he has room to look into the picture, not out of it.  (Another compositional element - sight lines, which we will explore in further detail later.)  5J0A39275J0A3927


5J0A53715J0A5371 The Phoebe was placed in the lower left hand corner because he was looking to the right.  Placing him there let him look INTO the picture, instead out out of it.


The same can be done with flowers.  They "look" into or out of pictures, oftentimes, and you can then make an image more dynamic by placing them in one corner or the other - either upper or lower, depending on which way the flower is "looking".  Sometimes, breaking the rule of thirds works with some subjects.



IMG_2849IMG_2849  I think it works with this little unidentified yellow flower found in the Everglades - it's round, fairly symmetrical, and it just seems to work, planted smack dab in the middle.



The Rule of Thirds also applies, as stated, to your horizon line.  Take the pictures below. The lighthouse image places the horizon on the bottom third of the picture. That works here because there is a lot of color and cloud interest in the sky, while there isn't much interest in the dark rocky coastline on the bottom. The pier image has the horizon level at the upper third of the picture. While there is color there, there is more interest in the layers of the waves than in the solid color of the sky. Then, the Orlando Wetlands image has the horizon smack in the center of the image. It works here because of the reflection. Normally, you want to place your horizon where it shows to best advantage the interesting parts of your image. 


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Now, these photographs are an effort to illustrate the concept of placing your subject in the best possible position in your image. Sometimes, it will be on the thirds. Sometimes, you need to BREAK that rule and place it where you want it.  Just be aware of your compositional options and don't always place your subject smack dab in the middle of your picture!


We will be exploring more compositional elements in future blog posts, so stay tuned!


]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography compositional elements nc photographic education photography rule of thirds Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:30:00 GMT
Compositional Elements: Circles COMPOSITIONAL ELEMENTS: CIRCLES

Melissa Southern


_MAS5401_MAS5401PHOTO COPYRIGHT MELISSA SOUTHERN Compositional elements are those little pieces in your photograph that make all of the difference in the world. Composition is how your frame your photograph, what you include and exclude, how you arrange the pieces of your photograph, the shapes in your photograph, how you crop your photograph, etc. Some examples of compositional elements are leading lines, triangles, circles, balance and, frames within frames. Over the next few months, we are going to define and explore some of these compositional elements one by one.


CIRCLES: Our eyes are drawn to circles. Our faces are roughly circular; our eyes are roughly circular; the sun and moon are circles. If there is a circle in a photograph, often our eyes will travel to that circle first, especially if it is a bright circle, like the sun or the face of a clock. This is a very powerful concept to understand because it can help you move your viewer's eye through your photograph or it can distract them from your intended subject. This is also why it is so important to keep the eye of your subject in focus, if your subject has an eye! This is true for people, dogs, cats, insects, spiders, birds, etc.


Let's do a little exercise. Pay attention to where your eye goes first in the following photographs. 




Digital IceDigital Ice


IMG_0783IMG_0783     _MAS7262_MAS7262Apache Trail, Arizona 88

Where did your eyes travel? What did you see first? Where did your eyes go next? These are important questions to ask yourself when you are creating your photographs. If you practice it enough, you end up doing it subconsciously. It is like muscle memory.


Kyle and I both can play the piano, though Kyle still does where I have not played in years. Back in high school, I played all the time. When I memorized pieces of music, I did it by muscle memory. I knew exactly how far the distance was between each chord for the song. As long as I started out right, my hands remembered where to go. The same is true for athletes. That is why basketball players practice the same shots over and over again, so that their muscles will remember how to make that shot.


Swirl of FlowersSwirl of Flowers


This holds true in photography as well. The more we practice, the easier it gets. As always, some people will get one technique very easily but will struggle with something else. We all learn at our own pace and have our own strengths. That is another reason to practice everything, so that you can improve your weak areas and perfect your strong areas.


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Try looking for circles and making them the subject of your photographs. Try using them to create movement in your photographs. Try some before and afters, like the one below, where you leave the clock in and then take it out. How does that chance the photograph?


AR0004with clockAR0004with clock Clock on the Organ
AR0004AR0004 No More Clock


If you have any questions or would like more information, don't hesitate to contact us either through our Facebook page or through email.

]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photo bear creek photography bear creek photography nc circles in composition circles in photography composition kyle cook melissa southern nature photography photography photography tutorials Fri, 27 Oct 2017 15:30:00 GMT
Batteries and the Cold BATTERIES & THE COLD

Melissa Southern


_MAS7652_HDR_MAS7652_HDRGreat Smoky Mountains National Park


You may or may not have noticed that the weather in the northern hemisphere is starting to change. We are officially experiencing fall, though on some days summer has made a comeback! I went from running the AC on Monday to the heat on Tuesday!


Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the crisp air and the smell of the fallen leaves. I love campfires and s'mores. However, cold weather does bring some concerns for camera gear and other electronics. 



For the most part, your camera can handle the cold pretty well. There are always extreme conditions that could make a difference, but for the most part, your camera will do fine if you're shooting out in the cold. Your batteries, however, are another story. The cold "steals" the power from your batteries. To prevent this from happening to my spare batteries, I like to keep them in pockets close to my body heat. The interior pockets of winter jackets work pretty well. As far as the batteries in the camera, I try to keep my camera close to my body as well, even zipping it inside my jacket when I am not shooting. If it is cold out and your battery dies, try warming it up by rubbing it in your hands. Sometimes you can get a little more out of it once you warm it up. Take your camera gear and batteries inside with you if possible, especially if you will not be using them for several hours. Don't leave your gear in your car overnight, unless you're camping and the car is "inside." This helps save the batteries from the cold and your gear from theft. 




Also remember to wait for your camera and lenses to acclimate to the environment before you start shooting. Depending on the weather conditions (temperature and humidity), your gear can "fog up" which does not usually work well for photos. This happens when there is a big difference in temperature and humidity between the outside and the inside. I tend to see this more often moving from a cold place to a hot place, like from inside to outside in the summer, but it can happen going the other way. If you wear glasses, this happens when you open the oven to check your food. Yep, your glasses fog up instantly. The best way to deal with this is with patience. Just wait. Once your gear acclimates, the fog will go away.


Foothills Parkway PanFoothills Parkway PanGreat Smoky Mountains National Park autumn from the Foothills Parkway near Townsend, Tennesse looking towards the Great Smoky Mountains National Park


A similar problem can happen while out shooting at night. Dew can form on you and your gear while you are shooting. If you plan to do any night shooting, especially long exposures, check your lens frequently for dew. Kevin Adams has created a lens warming device to prevent this: Lens Muff. Though I have never tried one, Kevin is very experienced with night photography, and I have every confidence that it works.


To make this simple: if you are comfortable, your camera gear is comfortable. Keep your batteries warm and give everything time to adjust to the changing temperatures.


Happy Shooting!


Clingman's Dome PanClingman's Dome PanGreat Smoky Mountains National Park sunset from Clingman's Dome on the North Carolina - Tennesse border in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) and batteries bear carolina cold cook creek education elizabeth kyle melissa nc north photography scenic seasons southern the Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:30:00 GMT
What Makes Your Image Better Than Someone Else's? WHAT MAKES YOUR IMAGE


Kyle Cook




What makes your image better than someone else's who was at that same spot? There are several things! First, composition - is your composition more dynamic? Is there something to draw your viewer into your image, or is it just a picture - flat, with no "movement"? Is your lighting dramatic? Or, is it also flat, with no modeling, no dimension? Did you photograph at the right time of the day? Does your photograph have the harsh light of midday? Yes, sometimes that works, but LOTS of people go out on sunny days and shoot.


Be the one who shoots in fog, early morning or late afternoon light, or in more adverse weather conditions. THAT will give you images that no one else may get. You can't duplicate weather conditions! Are you shooting in the right season? The colors of fall will give you spectacular images - each fall is different - some dull, some bright. Use the color to your advantage - it almost always makes your image beautiful! How about winter? Don't discount shooting in winter to get images different than the status quo. Bring out the lovely shapes of trees that you can't see with their leafy coverings. Water in mountain streams often become a vibrant emerald green in the winter, adding color to an otherwise neutral scene. Snow simplifies your image and lets the eye focus on a more peaceful scene, eliminating clutter that would otherwise be exposed. Spring brings out soft, "fuzzy" color that softens your scene in a more pastel way. Be there when the leaves start to open, and when the blooms of dogwood and red bud add interest to your landscape. Capture the flowers at their peak, when they cover a hillside with vibrant color. Summer is a time to capture the beautiful verdant greens of moss near a waterfall and the shady paths through the woods.  


Choosing your time to shoot a subject can result in a drastically different image depending on when you photograph it. It's a fun exercise to photograph a scene in all seasons. That doesn't mean just taking a snapshot of it in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer - it means to do that, but also capture the moods of that season in your photograph to make people wish they were there. Try to take images that will bring out emotions of longing to be where you were at that same time. This, of course, can't always happen, but it's a great thing to aim for. Get there when other people aren't. Don't wait for something better tomorrow - shoot what you have today! You might miss something if you don't! 


Stop taking snapshots and start making images. Take the season, the lighting, the atmosphere all into consideration when you make your photograph. Then, you will be happier with your images, and others will enjoy them even more.  Now, get out and shoot!

]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear creek photography kyle cook kyle elizabeth cook kyle mccomb cook melissa cecil southern melissa southern nc photography photography blog photography education scenic photography seasons Fri, 13 Oct 2017 15:28:00 GMT
The Importance of Good Light THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD LIGHT

Kyle Cook


108A4107GentleColorMinkVignette copy108A4107GentleColorMinkVignette copy The Golden Hour: Definition from Wikipedia - In photography, the golden hour is a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is soft and even with a warmer color temperature. This is also commonly referred to as the "magic hour."


What's all this talk about the Golden Hour? See the definition, above. Light is one of the most important aspects of photography! Light can make or break an image. Does that mean you can only shoot during those times of day? No - of course not! However, the dramatic light that's often present during the Golden Hours adds so much dimension to your image. The warmth of the light enhances just about every subject. Dramatic light adds depth and shape, shadows and highlights to your image. 


Just for fun, go out and shoot a scene or object in afternoon light - you know, when the sun is high overhead. Then, shoot that same subject in early morning or late afternoon light. Which image is more expressive or impressive? Odds are, it's the image with the more dramatic light - the one you took during the golden, or magic, hours.


What to do when your subject is in shadow and there IS no light on it? Reflect light onto your subject. You can use flash, but it can be harsh. Using a reflector with either the existing sunlight or bouncing a flash off of it can be an effective way to simulate the light of the Golden Hours. 


Experiment with light the next time you are out shooting. Don't always be a "harsh-light" shooter! Get up and out early to capture beautiful light, or stay out a little later. Either way, I think you'll get better results and images you'll be proud of!


Now, get up, and get out and shoot!


]]> (Bear Creek Photography NC) bear bear creek photography birds creek golden hours kyle elizabeth cook light melissa southern nature photography nc" north carolina photography photography instruction Fri, 06 Oct 2017 15:30:00 GMT