In the Moment:
Michael Frye's Landscape Photography Blog
by Michael Frye | Mar 26, 2023 | Light and Weather, Travels and Stories
Cottonwood in snow, Zion NP, Utah
After escaping Mariposa’s snowmageddon, and spending a few days in Death Valley, Claudia and I decided to head for Zion. I’d never photographed Zion with snow, and snow was in the forecast. Well maybe. We drove there on a Monday, and it looked like some higher elevations could get a dusting of snow Monday night, followed by a more substantial storm, with colder temps, on Tuesday night. The question was whether it would be cold enough to snow on the floor of Zion Canyon. That seemed iffy, but odds were decent enough to make it worth trying.
We arrived just before sunset on Monday, with enough time to drive up into Zion Canyon before dark. While we’ve been to this park many times, it had been a long time since we’d visited the main Zion Canyon, because most of the year it’s only accessible by shuttle bus, which isn’t very conducive to photography. But during the winter (outside of holidays) you can drive in. And it was great to be back. It’s such a spectacular place.
by Michael Frye | Mar 18, 2023 | Night Photography
Clouds lit by the setting moon, Death Valley NP, California
The night after the rainstorm cleared during our recent visit to Death Valley, the half-full moon was due to set around midnight, and I thought there might be an opportunity to photograph an interesting moonset if the clouds lingered.
Claudia and I ate dinner at our campsite, slept for about an hour, then I got up and checked the weather. Things looked promising, with clouds, but not too many. So we headed to a spot looking over the badlands toward the lowering moon.
by Michael Frye | Mar 12, 2023 | Light and Weather, Travels and Stories
Snowy mountain above salt flats, Death Valley NP, California
I love winter, and I love snow. But when Claudia and I learned that our house might get two or more feet of snow during the last weekend of February we knew things might get difficult.
We’ve lived in our house in Mariposa since 2005, and several times have received eight inches of snow, and once even got ten inches. Our road and driveway don’t get plowed, and feature a couple of steep hills, but with high clearance and four-wheel-drive we can get in and out with eight or ten inches of snow. But not more than that. With two feet of snow we’d be stuck for awhile.
by Michael Frye | Feb 19, 2023 | Light and Weather, Travels and Stories
Frosted cottonwood, Mono Lake, California
In winter, Mono Lake sometimes gets socked in with fog. Locally it’s called “poconip” fog, though it’s more widely known in parts of the western U.S. as “pogonip” fog (an English corruption of a Paiute word).
The Mono Basin can get quite cold in winter. But Mono Lake never freezes, due to its high concentrations of salt. So on cold nights relatively warm, moist air rises off the surface of the lake, meets that colder surrounding air, cools, and the moisture (water vapor) condenses into microscopic water droplets, forming a low-level cloud – in other words, fog.
by Michael Frye | Feb 2, 2023 | Announcements
For today only, the National Parks at Night folks are offering a free replay of my presentation from last year’s Night Photo Summit, called Expressive Night Photography.
This presentation is all about the limitless opportunities night photography offers for creative exploration. At night, the darkness makes it easy to override what little light exists to add your own; it’s like having a dark, blank canvas to paint onto. And you can find more varieties of natural light at night than during the day, opening up further creative possibilities. In this presentation I explore the many creative paths that dark skies offer, take a look back at my own nighttime photography journey, and discuss how you can use night photography to communicate your vision of the world in unique and expressive ways.
by Michael Frye | Jan 30, 2023 | Announcements
Comet NEOWISE over a Sierra peak, Yosemite NP, CA, USA
There’s still time to register for the Night Photo Summit next weekend, and for the Winter Speaker Series.
The Night Photo Summit online conference takes place February 3rd through 5th. I’ll be joining over 35 other distinguished instructors for this conference, including Albert Dros, Elia Locardi, Royce Bair, Rachel Jones Ross, Katrina Brown, Lance Keimig, Tim Cooper, Susan Magnano, Chris Nicholson, Kevin Adams, and many more. My presentation is about star-stacking – one of the best ways to reduce noise in nighttime photographs.
The first two editions of this conference have been really fun, and I’m looking forward to this weekend! You can learn more and sign up here:
Night Photo Summit, February 3-5, 2023
by Michael Frye | Jan 26, 2023 | Light and Weather, Yosemite Photo Conditions
Mist, snow, and Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite NP, California
We had quite a series of storms in late December and early January. The Sierra foothills, where I live, didn’t suffer major flooding or mudslides, but there were lots of downed trees, power outages, and some washed-out roads.
Some nearby towns in the Central Valley, however, got some of the worst flooding in California. That includes Merced, which is about an hour’s drive from us, and Planada, a small town we regularly pass through on the way to Merced. The entire town of Planada was evacuated for two days earlier this month due to flooding.
by Michael Frye | Jan 10, 2023 | Announcements
I’m happy to be joining the National Parks at Night team for the third annual Night Photo Summit next month!
This will be my third time presenting at the Night Photo Summit, and the previous two have been really fun, so I’m excited to be invited back! This online conference is devoted exclusively to night photography, and I’ll be joining over 35 other distinguished instructors, including Albert Dros, Elia Locardi, Royce Bair, Rachel Jones Ross, Katrina Brown, Lance Keimig, Tim Cooper, Susan Magnano, Chris Nicholson, Kevin Adams, and many more.
I’ll be presenting Reducing Noise With Star-Stacking. Star-stacking is one of the best ways to reduce noise in nighttime photographs. By blending multiple frames together you can average out random noise to create cleaner, sharper images – yet still make the stars points of light, rather than streaks. I’ll be covering the whole process from start to finish, from capturing the images in the field to blending them together later. And more importantly, you’ll learn how this technique can open up new creative avenues for nighttime photographs that wouldn’t be possible with single exposures.
by Michael Frye | Jan 9, 2023 | Announcements
Sunbeams, mist, Half Dome, and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California
Just a reminder that next Monday I’ll be doing a presentation about Lightroom Masking for Nature Photography Classes as part of of their Winter Speaker Series. (That’s Monday, January 16th, at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time.) This winter series also includes online presentations by David Kingham, Nick Page, and Sean Bagshaw – all focused on image processing.
You can sign up for these talks individually for $27 each, or register for all four speakers for $87 (which seems like a great bargain). And 10% of the proceeds go to individual charities chosen by the speaker (I’ve chosen the Yosemite Conservancy):
Click here to register for the Winter Speaker Series.
by Michael Frye | Jan 5, 2023 | Announcements
The votes are all in and counted, and here are my top photographs of 2022!
We had a great response this year: 672 people looked through my initial selection of 42 images and voted for their favorites. That’s the second-highest total ever! (The most was 728 votes in 2016; I’ve been doing this every year since 2010.) A big thank you to everyone who took the time to look through these photographs and voice your opinions! I also really appreciate the kind words so many people posted in the comments or sent by email. I wish I could respond to everyone, but please know that I’ve read them all and am very grateful for all your support.