Archive for September, 2011

Rejects From the Critique Pool

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

I continue to get lots of great submissions for my photo critique series. Thanks to all of you who have submitted work!

When selecting images to critique I usually pick photos that are good, but could be improved in some way. That gives me something to talk about, and I think these good-but-not-perfect photos are usually very instructive.

But that means many great images don’t get picked, and lie in obscurity in the Flickr critique pool. So for this post I thought I’d do something different and showcase some beautiful photos that I haven’t critiqued because I can’t figure out how to improve them. There are many more, and I wish I could show them all, but for now here are eleven rejects from the critique pool—rejected because they’re just too good:

"San Francisco" by Neal Pritchard

"San Francisco" by Neal Pritchard

I love the layers of hills leading to the barely-visible but still recognizable San Francisco skyline. You can see more of Neal’s work on his web site and Flickr stream.


iPhone App Version 1.1

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

I’ve heard a lot of wonderful comments about the iPhone app version of the Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite since it was released almost two weeks ago. There are ten ratings and eight reviews in the app store, all five stars. And many of you have taken the time to write me personally to say how much you like the app. Thank you all so much! I really appreciate all the kind words, and I hope the app helps all of you get some great photos of Yosemite.

We just released a minor update to the app, version 1.1. This fixes a minor inconsistency in the menus, and adds a link to the YouTube video about the app in the Extras section. This update should appear automatically in the App Store on your phone or iPod Touch, and of course the update is free.

I’ve had lots of questions about iPad and Android versions. First, the current iPhone version will work on the iPad, but it’s designed for the iPhone’s smaller screen. We are working on a version that’s optimized for the iPad, with a new design that takes advantage of the larger screen, and some additional features. We’d love to make this a free upgrade, so that iPad users could download the iPhone version now, and upgrade to the iPad-only version when it comes out. Unfortunately, due to the large size of the iPad app (lots of photos!), we have to make it a separate application in iTunes, and it won’t be eligible for an upgrade from the iPhone version. Of course I hate to suggest waiting to buy the app! But the iPad version will be available soon, maybe even within the next month, so if you own an iPad and can wait a bit I’d suggest doing so.

As for an Android version, we are working on that too, but that will take a bit longer, as it’s a completely different operating system that requires different coding. We hope to have that available early next year.

Thanks again for all your support!

—Michael Frye

Related Posts: The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite iPhone App is Available Today!

Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author and photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to YosemiteYosemite Meditations, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, plus the eBook Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom. He has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.

New eBook by David duChemin: The Inspired Eye III

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

David duChemin has just released another eBook, The Inspired Eye III. If you read my review of his previous eBook, A Deeper Frame, you know that I’m a fan of David’s writing. He looks at photography in a deeper way than most, and is able to articulate sometimes-complex ideas clearly.

This latest eBook, the third part of his Inspired Eye series, is no exception. It contains lots of interesting thoughts and insights into the creative process of photography. I was particularly struck by this passage:

“You can learn about photography by reading books, watching videos, and listening to other photographers. You can study hundreds of photographs. But you will not learn your own process of making photographs until you have a camera in your hands and you make photograph after photograph.”

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to the Millpond Music Festival last weekend, and in his workshop on Sunday Joe Craven said something similar—that we learn by imitating, and by doing, not by studying theory. I think he’s right on the mark about that, and so is David in saying that you have to make lots of photographs to “learn your own process.”


Early Fall Color

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
Yellow and green aspens in Lee Vining Canyon (from a few years ago)

Yellow and green aspens in Lee Vining Canyon (from a few years ago)

Last weekend Claudia and I made our annual pilgrimage to Bishop, on the eastern side of the Sierra, for the Millpond Music Festival—or, as Joe Craven likes to say, “Music festival and consciousness-raising event.”

We’ve actually lost track of how many years in a row we’ve gone to Millpond; it’s either twelve or thirteen. But we look forward to it every year—it’s relaxing and fun, and a great way to refresh and renew our spirits. I think I see more smiling faces per hour at Millpond than anywhere else. In fact this past Sunday evening, dancing in front of the stage to Masanga Marimba and Los Lobos (an interesting mix!), I think I saw more big, wide, joyous smiles than I’ve seen all year.

By now you’re probably wondering, “What’s this got to do with photography?” Well first of all, I think we all need to recharge ourselves once in awhile. For me, since I tend to eat, sleep, and breathe photography on most days, it’s good to do something completely different. And Millpond is not only different, but I get to be outside and enjoy something creative and life-affirming like music.


The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite iPhone App is Available Today!

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

It’s here! The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite iPhone app is on sale now in the app store. Watch the video to see a demonstration of its features, including:

• In-depth descriptions of 40 outstanding locations including the classic Yosemite Valley views, high country, and surrounding areas.

• Locations Filter—a unique feature that allows you to quickly find the best photo spots for any month and time of day.

• Over 100 stunning photographs show you what you can see at each location.

• Detailed maps and directions.

• Clear, logical layout makes it easy to find the information you need.

• Lots of photography tips to help you capture better images of the park, including Exposure for Digital Cameras, Composition, Depth of Field, HDR and Exposure Blending, Photographing Waterfalls and Cascades, Clearing Storms, and more.

• Sunrise and sunset times, full moon dates, and depth-of-field calculator

• Seasonal Planning Guide helps you find unique photo opportunities for each month.


Photographing Yosemite? There’s an App for That!

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Since it was first published in 2000, my book The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite has been very popular. Over the years, I’ve heard from so many photographers who love the book and have found it helpful when trying to capture images of Yosemite. Thank you all so much!

On Thursday, The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite will become available as an iPhone app! This app contains all the information in the original book, and much more: three new locations, completely revised and updated information for the entire park, and new tips specifically designed for digital photography. Plus many great features that could only work in an app—like the ability to filter the locations and find only the best ones for a particular month and time.

I’ll give you all the details on Thursday—stay tuned!

Does Cropping Have to Fit a Certain Aspect Ratio?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
My preferred crop for this image of Bridalveil Fall doesn't fit any of the common aspect ratios.

My preferred crop for this image of Bridalveil Fall doesn't fit any of the common print sizes.

In the comments for my last critique, Michael Glover asked a question about cropping and aspect ratios. I get this question a lot, as many people feel that they must crop their images to a certain size—4×6, 8×10—for printing. So I thought I would expand on my answer to Michael and address this issue in more depth here.

The problem with cropping to fit a particular aspect ratio for printing is that you can compromise the photograph’s esthetics. The accompanying images of Bridalveil Fall show what I mean. Below you’ll find the uncropped version, with its original 2:3 (or 4×6 or 8×12) aspect ratio, and a version cropped to a 4:5 (or 8×10) ratio.

To me, the uncropped version leaves too much empty space on the right and left sides, while the 4:5 ratio is too square, and a bit static. I prefer the crop at the top of this post, which lies somewhere in between.


2012 Workshops Announced!

Friday, September 2nd, 2011
Workshop participant at Tenaya Lake

Workshop participant at Tenaya Lake

The Ansel Adams Gallery has released their (nearly) complete workshop schedule for 2012. I’ll be teaching four workshops for them, including Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom: Mastering Lightroom (January); Spring Yosemite Digital Camera Workshop (April); Full Moon Night Photography (July); and The Digital Landscape: Autumn in Yosemite (October).

Lightroom has rapidly become the software tool of choice for many photographers because it’s simple, yet powerful—easy to use, but sophisticated enough to get great results with almost any image. For the first time I’ll be teaching a workshop specifically focused on this tool—Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom: Mastering Lightroom.


Photo Critique Series: An Intimate, Wide-Angle Composition from Scotland

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Photo Critique Series: “Finnich Gorge” by David Dalziel from Michael Frye on Vimeo.

I decided to try something new for this latest critique, and record my thoughts with video screen capture. I hope this will create a more interactive, immersive experience, as if you were watching me do a portfolio review in a workshop. Let me know how you like it!

To see the best detail, be sure to watch the video in HD and click the four arrows in the lower-right corner of the video to expand it. Once expanded, I prefer to turn scaling off (in the upper-right corner).

This week’s photo was made by David Dalziel in Finnich Gorge, just north of David’s home in Glasgow, Scotland. Recently I wrote about the third dimension in photography, and how lens choice can affect our perception of depth and space in a photograph. Then in my last critique I showed an example of how a telephoto lens can compress space, flatten perspective, and create patterns. This time we’ll look at the opposite: a wide-angle composition that creates a sense of depth, even though it’s not a grand, sweeping landscape.