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Behind The Lens


This photo was taken in Arches National Park while on a hike through The Devils Garden on the "Primitive Trail". I am in a hiking group called "The-Over-The -Hill-Gang" or "The OTHG" since 1976. Over the years we have hiked most of the major mountain ranges in the continental U.S., Canadian Rockies, Scottish Highlands and the Knife Edge in the Austrian Alps. All of the years of hiking in these locations have given me the opportunity to photograph great experiences through my camera.


The time of day was around 10:30AM about 1/3 of the way through the hike before the midday sun would have ruined the indirect lighting.


The main subject was the very old dead tree in which I got into a position that the end of it's branches to make it fit perfectly in to the opening of the arch. I exposed for the tree roots with spot metering and made a small adjustment of negative one stop because of the high contrast of the opening of the arch. Being in the morning shadows of the arch gave a reddish glow to the indirect light on the tree. Final adjustments to contrast, detail and color were made in Photoshop.


At this time I used a Nikon D7000 with an 18-300mm Nikon lens. No tripod or flash was used. I now shoot with a Nikon D850 and when I am hiking on tough trails I just bring two lenses, a Nikon 28-300mm and an 12-24mm because I'm too old to carry any more weight.


After four years of Art School I studied drawing and painting so I do not think in terms of photographs, I look at a subject and think, "How would I draw or paint what I am looking at an how would I control the composition, color balance, contrast and subject matter if I had a brush or pencil in my hand?". Many people will say to me "I like your painting" and that is a complement. Also many times, depending on the subject, I will make a story about what I am looking at and chose the "right" position to fit what I envisioned. I looked at this old tree and thought "This old dead tree is still trying to hold up the opening to the arch".


I use Photoshop CC and Light Room CC when processing my photos. I never release a photo into public view that has not been processed and gotten my stamp of approval. When making contrast and color adjustments I stare at the middle of the screen and see where my eye is drawn to so that I can make the adjustments to emphasize where I want the viewer to first draw their eye to and then on whatever else the subject or subjects have to offer. This was a lesson I learned in art school when studying the art work of the masters, it works.

In my camera bag

For hiking I just bring a 28-300mm and a 12-24mm. When I don't have to worry to much about weight I add a 2.8 24-70mm, a 2.8 70-200mm, an 1.4 85mm, a 1.4 14mm. If flash is needed I use the Nikon SB900 with a Gary Fong diffuser. Also a tripod with quick release and many other lenses depending on the purpose of the shoot. This photo was taken in September of 2012 with a Nikon D7000 but I now use in 2020 the Nikon D850 as my primary camera with a Nikon D810 for backup along with a full array of zoom and primary FX lenses.


Before you press the shudder release ask yourself, "Why am I taking this photo and what am I trying to show to the viewer what I am feeling". I see the final photo in my head before I take the shot. My main occupation is a classical musician and I am now into my 46th year playing the Viola with The Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Being involved in the "Arts" my whole life has given me a different perspective on life which I use when I do my photography. It's all about "perspective" and "technique". Music, Art and Photography have no limits and that is what attracts me to involve myself in all of these forms of human experience. Finally it's all about "The Eye"!

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