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Archive for Michael Frye

About Michael
Michael Frye is the author of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. www.michaelfrye.com

November 14th, 2013

Courting Luck: How to Take Advantage of Special Light and Weather in Landscape Photography

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Half Dome and the Merced River, late afternoon, autumn, Yosemite NP, CA, USA
Ansel Adams used to say that “chance favors the prepared mind.” His point was that photographs like Moonrise Hernandez and Clearing Winter Storm weren’t lucky accidents; he was able to capture those moments because he had honed his eye and his photographic technique, and was able to apply those skills when a special opportunity presented … 
October 27th, 2013

Photographing Sunbursts

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Aspens and morning sunlight, Inyo NF, CA, USA
I’ve always felt that the best photographs capture a mood or feeling. It’s easier to convey a mood when the weather gets stormy, but how do you capture a mood on a clear, sunny day? The answer, I think, is to go with it—to emphasize the sun, the blue sky, and the brightness of the … 
October 13th, 2013

A Landscape Transformed

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Autumn aspens, Conway Summit, Inyo NF, CA, USA
Here are two photographs I made last week near Conway Summit on the eastern side of the Sierra. The first one, above, is from Tuesday afternoon, with soft backlight filtering through thin clouds and making the leaves glow. The second image, below, was made Wednesday morning under overcast skies as the snow started to fall. I used a fast shutter speed (1/90th sec.) to freeze the motion of the snowflakes, which created a faint white dot pattern across the frame. 
August 6th, 2013

Light Against Dark, Dark Against Light

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Dogwood blossoms, Yosemite. These backlit flowers stand out cleanly against a dark, shaded background.
Many of the most effective photographs share a simple lighting concept: they either place a light subject against a dark background, or a dark subject against a light background. This first photograph of two dogwood blossoms is a perfect example of a light subject against a dark background. In fact the background isn’t just dark; it’s completely black, so there’s nothing to compete visually with the flowers. The contrast creates a simple and dramatic image. 
July 31st, 2013

My Latest eBook: Landscapes in Lightroom 5

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Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide
Here it is! My latest ebook, Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide, is now available. I’m really excited about this new ebook, because I’ve been able to incorporate features that make this more of a hands-on learning experience. First, you can download the original Raw files used as examples in the ebook, and then follow along with each step yourself – just as if you were attending one of my workshops.  
July 23rd, 2013

Photographing Reflections: Beyond the Mirror

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Creek descending through a granite basin, Yosemite NP. The sun was hitting the rocks just beyond the top of the frame, reflecting the gold color into the water, and even onto some of the polished rocks on the right.
When people think of photographing a reflection, they usually think of a mirror reflection, like a mountain reflected in a tranquil lake. I’ve done my share of those, but I think it’s often more interesting to just look at the colors, textures, and patterns on the water’s surface. During my just-completed Hidden Yosemite workshop we … 
July 10th, 2013

When Separation is a Good Thing

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Rocks and sea stacks, late afternoon, Redwood NP, CA, USA
Spacing and separation are always important elements of composition, but during my recent workshops in and around Redwood National Park we encountered many situations where spacing and separation were particularly vital. The photograph above is a good example. I positioned the camera carefully to avoid, as much as possible, visual mergers between the foreground rocks. … 
July 2nd, 2013

Redwoods, Fog, and Serendipity

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Sunbeams through the redwood canopy, Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP, CA, USA
Weather always plays a big role in landscape photography. I study the weather so that I can put myself – and my workshop students – in the right place at the right time. But a little luck always helps. During my recent workshops up in the redwood country, along the northern California coast, we found … 
April 24th, 2013

Lightroom 5 Beta

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As many of you know, Adobe released Lightroom 5 Beta last week. Now that I’ve had a chance to give it a thorough test drive, here are my thoughts about the new features: Advanced Healing Brush The Spot Removal tool has received a major upgrade – finally! You can now brush over an area you … 
April 9th, 2013

Light and Mood With Intimate Landscapes

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Sunlight slanting across Crane Flat Meadow, Yosemite NP, CA, USA
A Trip to Crane Flat During a recent series of weather systems in Yosemite, I kept checking the radar and satellite images online, looking for an opportunity to photograph a clearing storm. One morning looked promising, so I drove up to Yosemite Valley early, but found no snow. It looked like the snow level had …