Alpine Lagoon ~ Desolation Wilderness

It’s been a busy few months since moving to Reno, starting a lab at UNR, making friends, skiing, biking, and welcoming a small dinosaur (parrot) into our home, but at long last Aubrey and I finally had a chance to do some backpacking over the past two weeks. Here’s a few images from our first trip.

To get back into the swing of hiking and camping we decided to take a short warmup trip to the Desolation Wilderness, an area I’ve heard of often, and probably visited many years ago, but have few memories of. The Desolation Wilderness is southwest of Lake Tahoe (just an hour from our home!), and is mostly known for the plentiful lakes. The largest and most famous, and in many ways most beautiful, is actually a shallow reservoir called Lake Aloha. I’m not sure who decided on the name, but it inspires a tropical hawaiian feeling that is surprisingly appropriate. Aubrey brought along an inner tube floaty and we took turns paddling among the many granite islands. The pine trees almost looked like palm trees, and despite the snowy backdrop, it almost felt like floating in a tropical lagoon.

Summer greenery impatiently appears as the winter snow finally begins to melt away in mid July in the Sierra Nevada.

The warm(ish) waters of lake Aloha and plentiful granite islands make for an almost tropical experience in the Sierra alpine. To get this view point I scrambled up to an overlook of polished granite.

Pollen collects along the shores of Lake Aloha in California’s Desolation Wilderness, arranging itself in gentle curves on the calm water. 

Tags: desolation wilderness, lake aloha, sierra

Complete guide to outdoor light in photography

August 1, 2022

Understanding light is an essential skill when it comes to mastering your photography, and in this complete guide to outdoor light, professional photographer David Noton guides us through the importance of light in photography, as well as some of the best times to shoot. 

Welcome to the AP Improve Your Photography Series – in partnership with MPB – This series is designed to take you from the beginnings of photography, introduce different shooting skills and styles, and teach you how to grow as a photographer, so you can enjoy producing amazing photography (and video), to take you to the next level, whether that’s making money or simply mastering your art form.

Each week you’ll find a new article so make sure to come back to continue your journey, and have fun along the way, creating great images. If you’ve found these articles helpful, don’t forget to share them with people you know who may be interested in learning new photography skills. You’ll find a whole range of further articles in this series.

My college lecturer used to assert that a good photographer could make a lump of coal look appealing with the skilful use of lighting. I never felt the need to prove his point, but my subsequent decades behind the lens have convinced me he was right. Even the Grand Canyon can look uninspiring under the flat grey light of an overcast day, whilst a view of some flat Essex fields can be transformed into a breathtaking vision by evocative dawn light.

What is the importance of light in photography?

Light is our raw material; the building block that makes or breaks our pictures. In fact, lighting is so important to the finished image that I often feel I photograph the light more than the subject.

We photographers need to see the light, and I mean really see it, feel it and understand it in all its endless forms and subtleties. When contemplating a scene the first thing to do is consider where the light is coming from. And beyond seeing what is happening now we need to predict the light that will best illuminate the picture we have in mind at different times of the day and year.

Anticipating what could happen with the light in a few minutes, an hour, later the same day, the next morning, in a few months or next year is a fundamental photographic skill. It comes with experience and is the product of every photographic vigil, productive or otherwise. Standing by the tripod watching the light paint a landscape is never time wasted.

We have the obvious time options – daylight, dawn, dusk or night. Beyond those we have the directional aspect to consider; do we want the main light to come from the front, back, side or above the subject, or a combination? Then there’s the nature and colour quality of the light: high or low, hard or soft, warm or cool? In truth, most lighting situations in the natural world are a subtle fusion, and the permutations are endless.

Guide to outdoor light – Colour temperature

All light sources have a colour temperature, expressed in Kelvin. The light our planet receives from the sun is constant, but as the Earth rotates what we receive on the surface goes through radical daily transformations.

What are the different types of light called?

  • Daylight
  • Golden hour
  • Twilight
  • Blue hour
  • Night

All have their appeal, but atmospheric conditions, the weather, our position on the globe and the time of year are all factors affecting the nature of the light painting the landscape. That’s why, after a lifetime behind the lens, I still feel I’m only beginning to appreciate the endless subtleties of natural light.

Take any photo group out at sunset or sunrise and most will be transfixed by the sun peeping over the horizon. It takes mental effort to turn away and observe the far more subtle lighting effects playing on the landscape and sky to the north or south, but that’s where the photographic gold dust lies.

Seeing it is one thing, predicting it is something else. Our ability to pre-visualise these lighting situations is what sets photographers apart. It’s a skill to be honed, so read on for details on how to shoot using various types of natural light.

Guide to outdoor light – Daylight

Chocolate Hills, Bohol, The Visayas, Philippines. Canon EOS 5D Mk II, 24-70mm, 1/40sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

At noon the overhead sunlight has had the shortest passage through the atmosphere so it is neutral in colour balance; what we term daylight, with a colour temperature of 5200K, give or take a few Kelvin. Generally speaking the hard vertical light of midday is the least favourable to work with.

Shadows are hard, contrast is high; time was I wouldn’t touch the camera after 10am and before 4pm. But ideas change and I’m confronting some of my more entrenched assumptions. Sometimes the skies in the middle of the day have billowing cumulonimbus and streaking cirrus clouds that beg to be captured.

Guide to outdoor light – The golden hour

Loch Maree and Slioch, Wester Ross, Scotland. Canon EOS 5DS R, 24-70mm, 1sec at f/11, ISO 100

The contrast between the warm highlights and the cool shadows enhances the scene with the complementary colours of orange and blue. The last golden light of a crystal-clear evening after a rain shower is perfect for revealing all the form, texture and scale of a landscape. How soft the light of the golden hour is depends on the clarity of the atmosphere. Light that is too soft can be too insipid for big views but perfect for details.

When is the golden hour in photography?

The golden hour is the “hour” just before sunset, or just after sunrise, known as the golden hour, or sometimes the “magic hour” and gives a warm glow to objects in your scene lit by this light. You can see it clearly on light buildings, where the orange contrasts beautifully with the blue sky. The length of time this lasts will change depending on the time of year, so may last less time than a full hour.

Guide to outdoor light – Night photography

The Milky Way and night sky over Lago Roca, Patagonia. Canon EOS -1D X, 14mm, 20 secs at f/4, ISO 12,800

The night sky is an enticing subject, and we have the ability to capture it in all its glory. Including a landscape in the scene as well as being in the right place at the right time takes planning, and a truly clear night is essential. The capability of modern DSLRs to work with minimal noise at high sensor speeds makes this possible.

Guide to outdoor light – Twilight

Malham Moor, Yorkshire Dales at dawn. Canon EOS-1Ds, TS-E 24mm, 5 secs at f/13, ISO 100

Minutes before the sun rises and after it sets, the light reaching Earth goes through some great transformations. Whilst direct rays are absent we are still bathed in twilight from the sun below the horizon. That twilight reaches us as the last rays of sunlight bounce off the bottom of clouds and down into the landscape, and as residual ambient light that the atmosphere has scattered. The two combine, which is why this time of day is so special and worth rising before the crack of dawn or lingering as dinner beckons to witness.

When is twilight in photography?

Twilight happens in the minutes before the sun rises, and the minutes after the sun sets, just after the golden hour. As the amount of light reduces, you’ll be able to see the colour of the scene change before your eyes.

Guide to outdoor light – The blue hour

Dawn, Loch Maree, Scotland. Canon EOS 5DS R, TS-E 24mm, 6secs at f/16, ISO 100

The residual ambient half-light that either brightens as dawn approaches or dims as dusk settles has had all of the warmth stripped from it after being bounced and scattered through the atmosphere. Its colour temperature is sky-high, well in excess of 10,000K, resulting in a very blue light, and virtually non-directional. This cool monochromatic twilight is a favourite for those hooked on seascapes with slow exposures of swirling water. It’s also the perfect light for night shots of illuminated landmarks, when the artificial lights of our towns and cities perfectly match the lingering tones of the twilight sky.

When is the blue hour in photography?

The blue “hour” is again, not necessarily a whole hour long, depending on the time of the year (and where you are located). It happens after sunset, and before sunrise, and covers the scene with a blue light. As there isn’t much light, it can stretch your camera’s low-light performance, but can give your images a beautiful look that’s different to the norm.

Guide to outdoor light – Direction of light

With such wide discrepancies dependent on our location when planning a shoot we need to know when the sun is due to come and go, and where in the sky it will rise and set. I have to admit I rely on experience, but it pays to be precise. Apps such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris and PhotoPills are handy, but I’m cautious of relying on them. We still need to ascertain which direction we want the light to be coming from to paint the landscape best – front, back, side or above.

Side lighting

Late-afternoon cross lighting reveals all of the detail and form in the landscape at Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. Canon EOS-1DS Mark III, 70-200mm, 1/6sec at f/11, ISO 100

Side lighting is my favoured default for landscape work. The low rays of a rising or setting sun slanting across a scene reveal every shape, texture and contour in the landscape. Shadows provide strong shapes and every detail from the poppies in the foreground to the distant mountains beyond is apparent.


Sun rising behind Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire. Canon EOS-1DS Mark II, 24-100mm, 1/100sec at f/11, ISO 100

Backlighting can often be the route to graphic impact. Shooting into the light is beset with problems – flare, exposure and contrast to name a few, but strong shapes backlit and silhouetted against a dramatic sky often have a bold simplicity that can be very powerful.

The big drawback though is any tantalising detail in the shadowy foreground will be lost. How much detail is sacrificed depends entirely on the contrast range between the rocky vegetation and the bright sky; softer light allows us to retain more foreground detail, whilst stronger more dramatic light renders silhouettes and foregrounds black.

We have strategies for tackling that immense contrast range; namely graduated filters or exposure merging, but there is a limit to what can be achieved without the loss of all credibility. In my book any such wizardry needs to be done with subtlety if believability is to be retained.

Front lighting

The exception to the rule: front lighting on Llyn Dinas at dawn, Snowdonia, Wales. Canon EOS 5DS R, 24-70mm, 1/125sec at f/8, ISO 200

Full frontal light from directly behind the photographer leaves little to the imagination; all is revealed with maximum stark illumination, usually with the photographer’s shadow thrown in, but the harsh flattening effect and lack of shadow/highlight contrast rarely shows a landscape or indeed any subject off to its best; it’s an unappealing light that I avoid like the plague.

Top lighting

Diffuse top lighting is perfect for shooting woodland and water. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-70mm, 1.6sec at f/16, ISO 100

When the clouds coalesce into an oppressive grey ceiling the low-contrast diffuse top lighting can be just the job for woodland and canyons. When the clouds close in there’s also the option of turning the camera on faces; it’s the perfect light for portraiture.

Guide to outdoor light – Light on my local patch

Durdle Door and St Oswald’s Bay, Jurassic Coast, Dorset. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm, 13secs at f/32, ISO 100

Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is my home patch where I have the luxury of being able to choose precisely the best time of year to shoot a specific location. The east-west aspect of the coastline makes shooting most locations between the spring and autumn equinoxes unfeasible; the sun is rising and setting over the land to the north, which casts its shadow across the cliffs and beaches. In the short days of winter though, when the sun is rising to the southeast and setting in the southwest, tantalising side lighting bathes the white cliffs and coves. It’s a view I never tire of, and one that provides endless inspiration.

David Noton is recognised as a leading landscape and travel photographer. His passion for photography, travel and the world’s beautiful places are the defining influences that have shaped his life, work and his creative approach to photography. His images sell all over the world – both as fine-art photography and commercially in advertising and publishing. Visit

Tune in next week, for the next article in the series of the AP Improve Your Photography Series – in partnership with MPB.

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Japanese Garden Photography Wall Art

The Art of Japanese Gardens

Humans have always struggled to find ways of keeping in touch with nature as farming, industry, and modern cities have pushed away and fenced off the natural world around us.

Solutions to this problem have ranged from National Parks to municipal landscaping, but none have rivaled the harmony and perfect synthesis of the traditional Japanese garden. For a millennium and a half, these sculpted enclaves of nature have provided inspiration and relaxation, and today they are widely viewed by photographers, artists, architects, and more as one of the most beautiful and important expressions of art and design.

A legendary Japanese maple at the height of its autumn spendor sits on a hillside inside the Japanese garden in Portland, Oregon. Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

The History of Japanese Gardens

Japanese gardens were first imported from China in the 6th century Asuka period, when Chinese gardening methods and design elements were fused with aspects of the local landscape. The high mountains, great forests, running streams, and deep valleys were all reproduced in miniature around the palaces of nobles, the only ones who could afford such stylistic expression at the time.

Chinese influence increased during the Heian Period (794-1185), when much of the Tang Dynasty governmental apparatus, writing system, and culture were imported to the Japanese islands. Zen Buddhism began to flourish during this period, and more complex ideas about organization, flow, and aesthetic were combined with philosophical doctrines to produce the first set of stylistic principles for garden design.

These ideas were further developed and cemented during the Kamakura Period (1192-1333), rendering these gardens more recognizable and popular. By the time of the Muromachi Period (1338-1573), they were seeing wider adoption by the public in shared and private spaces. This resulted in a profusion of new styles and philosophies, and by the Edo Period (1603-1867), garden design had become a nationwide artform, engaged in by every level of society.

Since the 1800s, many Japanese households have transformed their traditional interior courtyards into smaller gardens. Because of the spatial constraints, miniaturization is often taken to the extreme, and looking out from the rooms of the house, one has the sense of gazing out over a vast wild landscape. This importation into the home has also allowed each individual or family to design their gardens according to their own aesthetic sensibilities. Today, new creative ideas and elements are emerging all the time alongside a continued respect for and preservation of the antique gardens still standing.

A small twisted Japanese maple tree shows off its autumn color inside the Japanese garden in Portland, Oregon. Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.

Beauty By Design | Essential Elements

The many different styles of Japanese garden each have their own sets of elements and features, but there is much overlap, and some parts which are shared by all.


Water is a core aspect of Japanese gardens. Water can either be represented literally, by small streams, miniature waterfalls, small ponds, or placid lakes. Dry riverbeds are also relatively common, invoking the essence of a flowing river or paying homage to the islands’ dry season. In Zen rock gardens, sand and gravel represent water while not impinging on the spatial balance. Japanese gardens always have water, either a pond or stream, or, in the dry rock garden, represented by white sand. In Buddhist symbolism, water and stone are the yin and yang, two opposites that complement and complete each other. A traditional garden will usually have an irregular-shaped pond or, in larger gardens, two or more ponds connected by a channel or stream, and a cascade, a miniature version of Japan’s famous mountain waterfalls.

Fine Art Limited Edition of 50 – Japanese gardens first appeared on the island of Honshu, the large central island of Japan. Their aesthetic was influenced by the distinct characteristics of the Honshu landscape: rugged volcanic peaks, narrow valleys, mountain streams with waterfalls and cascades, lakes, and beaches of small stones. They were also influenced by the rich variety of flowers and different species of trees, particularly evergreen trees, on the islands, and by the four distinct seasons in Japan, including hot, wet summers and snowy winters.


One of the most stunning aspects of Japanese gardens is their botanical variety. Twisted and moss covered trees are one of my personal favorite photographic subjects. Most gardens are populated by carefully manicured evergreens, their twisting forms calling to mind windswept coastlines or high mountain passes. Cherry trees spread their rosy blossoms over rolling meadows bounded by expertly carved shrubbery. Japanese maple trees have become synonymous with the natural harmony of these gardens, and their star-shaped leaves exchange their vibrant colors with the passing of each Autumn before falling silently to rest on the soil below. Emerald mosses are encouraged to mottle the grey stones of walkways and paths.

Rocks & Sand

Rock, sand and gravel are an essential feature of the Japanese garden. A vertical rock may represent Mount Horai, the legendary home of the Eight Immortals, or Mount Sumeru of Buddhist teaching, or a carp jumping from the water. A flat rock might represent the earth. Sand or gravel can represent a beach, or a flowing river. Rocks and water also symbolize yin and yang (in and in Japanese) in Buddhist philosophy; the hard rock and soft water complement each other, and water, though soft, can wear away rock.

In ancient Japan, sand (suna) and gravel (jari) were used around Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Later it was used in the Japanese rock garden or Zen Buddhist gardens to represent water or clouds. White sand represented purity, but sand could also be gray, brown or bluish-black.

The Portland Japanese garden boasts multiple maple trees, but none more famous than this lace leaf maple photographed at the height of autumn. Fine Art Limited Edition of 200.


To replicate the foggy mountainscape of Japan’s high places, artificial islands are constructed in many gardens. Their tops offer stunning vistas of the miniature landscape below and their bases are often bordered by lakes and ponds, representing the ocean. These features, along with the trees, create a much more interesting and diverse topography, with many different levels and angles serving to alternatively hide and reveal various aspects of the space.

Elevate your home with Aaron Reed’s limited edition photography print, The Burning Bush, from his Amazing Tree Photography collection. Order yours today! Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.


Beneath the shady boughs and in many a hidden glen, visitors to Japanese gardens will find collections of statuary. These sculptures may depict monks, philosophers, ordinary folk, or even the Buddha himself. Like the many stones in these gardens, they too are encouraged to affect a mosaic of colored lichens and moss.

Bridges and Walkways

Not only the appearance of Japanese gardens is important, but also their presentation. Paths and promenades wind through the landscape, revealing new scenes and vistas with every turn. Allowing visitors to experience each little spot of beauty one at a time creates a much more immersive and interesting experience than laying everything out all at once. To cross the many ponds and streams, various ornamented bridges are included. The eye-catching moon bridges can be difficult to cross at times because of their profound arc, but add to the mystic ambience of the gardens.

Transform your space with Aaron Reed’s luxury fine art photography print, Silent Lucidity, from his Panoramic Wall Art collection. Order yours today! Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.


Some gardens, especially those constructed in the Zen tradition, may feature small shrines and temples to various deities and religious figures. Not all of these are accessible to the visiting public, but their towering pagodas or secluded refuges are a nice human touch which blend with the nature around them.


Another kind of sculpture which deserves its own section are the Japanese stone lanterns or tōrō. These can be hidden away among the shady trees and shrubbery or gathered in rows or collections along the garden paths. Traditionally, lanterns are composed of five parts representing the five elements of nature—earth, water, fire, air, and spirit. Much improvisation and creative innovation has taken place in lantern design, and not all elements may be present, but most still retain their carved base, taloned cap, and void-like central chamber.

A beautiful autumn morning blanketed by fog inside the Kubota garden in Seattle, Washington. Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.


The use of fish, particularly nishiki-goi (colored carp), medaka or goldfish as a decorative element in gardens was borrowed from the Chinese garden. Goldfish were developed in China more than a thousand years ago by selectively breeding Prussian carp for color mutations. By the Song dynasty (960–1279), yellow, orange, white and red-and-white colorations had been developed. Goldfish were introduced to Japan in the 16th century. Koi were developed from common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in Japan in the 1820s. Koi are domesticated common carp that are selected or culled for color; they are not a different species, and will revert to the original coloration within a few generations if allowed to breed freely. In addition to fish, turtles are kept in some gardens. Natural environments in the gardens offer habitats that attract wild animals; frogs and birds are notable as they contribute with a pleasant soundscape.

Adorn your walls with Aaron Reed’s limited edition photography print, Feeling Green, from his Oceans & Rivers Luxury Art collection. Order yours today! Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.

The Art and Experience of the Japanese Garden

Together, these and many other design elements have been mixed and matched to derive a multitude of unique styles and aesthetics. Regardless of how they are arranged, though, a deep harmony is always achieved which has fascinated and inspired artists and the public for centuries.

Gardens have figured heavily in Japanese art since their creation. Paper prints, screens, and household items from many eras display nobles strolling alongside lakes beneath maples and cherry trees. Other works focus on the gardens themselves, reproducing quiet scenes from the interior courtyards and temple grounds that have always dotted cities Kyoto and Tokyo. Even today, gardens are often seen in manga and animated shows and movies, given meticulous detail to further publicize the beauty and history of their design.

Photographers have been especially taken with the artistic precision and attention to composition and view in these spaces. Photography is one of the best ways to capture the numerous unique perspectives and minute details of these gardens, and many professional photographers visit them throughout the year to document and capture the seasonal changes and variations in light and atmosphere. The fine artworks produced by professional photographers have also helped to drive greater appreciation for these sacred spaces across the globe.

Anyone who has visited a Japanese garden will be familiar with the sense of calm and peaceful tranquility which pervades them. Many come to see the wonders of their natural design, others to unwind, relax, and reflect. Throughout the world they are known as pinnacles of aesthetic excellence, and though much has changed since their inception, they still speak to the deeper need we all have to join our daily lives to the natural world.

Transform your space with Aaron Reed’s limited edition photography print, Zenetics, from his Abstract Nature Photography collection. Order yours today! Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.

The Portland Japanese Garden

As a Portland native, the Portland Japanese Garden will always be a special place to me and one that I visit almost every year to photograph during the autumn season when the garden springs to life with color.

The Portland Japanese Garden sits nestled in the hills of Portland, Oregon’s iconic Washington Park, overlooking the city and providing a tranquil, urban oasis for locals and travelers alike. Designed in 1963, it encompasses 12 acres with eight separate garden styles, and includes an authentic Japanese Tea House, meandering streams, intimate walkways, and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. This is a place to discard worldly thoughts and concerns and see oneself as a small but integral part of the universe.

Born out of a hope that the experience of peace can contribute to a long lasting peace. Born out of a belief in the power of cultural exchange. Born out of a belief in the excellence of craft, evidence in the Garden itself and the activities that come from it. Born out of a realization that all of these things are made more real and possible if we honor our connection to nature.

Transform your space with Aaron Reed’s limited edition photography print, Colorfall, from his Vertical Luxury Photography collection. Order yours today! Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

Portland Japanese Garden Art

The Portland Japanese Garden is a natural vehicle through which to explore Japanese art and design. Art exhibitions explore ideas and aesthetics integral to the fabric of life in Japan. Introducing a wide array of artists and art forms, these exhibitions will reflect on ways we experience peace through connections to art, nature, and one another.

Of all the work I have produced over the years, images created inside the Portland Japanese Garden has been some of my most successful. The simplicity, serenity and peace found inside the garden can be brought inside your home through beautiful artwork created here. To see more and take a virtual stroll through the garden from your chair, please browse the rest of my Japanese Gardens Art Collection and find a piece to bring home to your collection today!

While fall is the season of choice to photograph this popular Japanese Maple tree, the end of summer provides fresh green growth and a distinctly difference yet equally beautiful image inside the Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon State. Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

Elevate your home with Aaron Reed’s limited edition photography print, The Shining, from his Newest Work Photography collection. Order yours today! Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.

16 Most photo-worthy spots in Birmingham!

Birmingham is a city in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama’s most populous county. As of 2020, Birmingham had a population of 200,733, making it Alabama’s second-most populous city after Huntsville. The broader Birmingham metropolitan area had a 2020 population of 1,115,289, and is the largest metropolitan area in Alabama as well as the 50th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.

In Birmingham you will find some beautiful attractions that you just cannot miss! Places like Birmingham Museum Of Art, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, and Ruffner Mountain Nature Center and many more. Continue reading to know more.

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The bright and beautiful, Birmingham Museum of Art.

Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama, has undoubtedly one of the finest art collections in the Southeastern United States. The Museum features a large collection of paintings and sculptures from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. There are more than 25,000 objects that represent a rich panorama of cultures from Asian, European, American to African, Pre-Columbian periods.

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Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is 7,157 acres filled with wildlife and greenery perfect for outdoor activities.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, located in Alabama, is one of the best places to visit and do outdoor activities. It features a 40-acre lake where visitors could fish or just admire the sea turtles during summer. The place is also perfect for those who want to watch migratory birds as it features a migratory bird stopover.

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Visit the Ruffner Mountain Nature Center where it offers various outdoor activities and beautiful views of nature.

Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, located in Alabama, is perfect for those who love the great outdoors. The center is perfect for various outdoor activities and offers breathtaking scenery. The center features 14 miles of trails and a protected area for native flora and fauna.

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Admire the wondrous views the DeSoto State Park offers as it is situated atop the Lookout Mountain.

Visitors would surely love to check out the DeSoto State Park as it is situated atop Lookout Mountain and offers magnificent views overlooking nature. The mountain also has waterfalls and wildflowers which visitors should not miss out on seeing. The place is also perfect for various outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

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A sandstone canyon located near Phil Campbell in Franklin County, Alabama.

Dismals Canyon is a natural gorge and is marked as National Natural Landmark because of its uncommon wild rugged character. Many native plants are grown in the canyon. There is a 1.5-mile hiking trail from the canyon floor following the waterfalls. You can also enjoy canoeing and camping here. However, camping is allowed at specific camping sites and cabins.

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A mix of nature and history awaits visitors here.

This nature preserve is not only composed of awesome natural settings filled with trails for running and hiking. There are historic mines that can be visited, albeit with certain rules or protocols. However, one of the main objectives of this preserve is to conserve plant and animal life like chestnut trees, bats, and frogs. Educating people about the value of preserving biodiversity is another goal of Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve. The natural park does this partly through the Nature Center, which has informative exhibits.

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Aldridge Botanical Gardens is a place filled with beautiful and vibrant flowers located in the heart of the busy city.

Aldridge Botanical Gardens, located in Alabama, will surely delight those who love gardening and admiring the beauty of nature. It is a 30-acre garden that features different flora and fauna which visitors would surely love to see. Different varieties of flowers are always in bloom every season. Tourists should not miss out on this garden.

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Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens in Alabama was once a plantation and currently houses 6 acres of landscaped gardens.

Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens, located in Alabama, is a mansion that was a former plantation house. It features an Antebellum-era Greek Revival architecture that would surely leave guests in awe. The house also features a collection of 19th-century furniture and textiles that visitors could admire and learn more about.

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Cahaba River is the longest free-flowing river in Alabama where it features beautiful scenery.

Cahaba River, located in Alabama, is famous not only due to its length where it is the longest free-flowing river in the city but also because of the beautiful views of nature it provides. The river and its surroundings are also a great place to do outdoor activities such as fishing or hiking.

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Birmingham Civil Rights Institute houses an expensive archive of documents regarding civil rights.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, located in Alabama, is an interesting and educational attraction as it houses an expansive archive of documents about civil rights. It also includes nearly 500 recorded oral histories of these rights. Its collections date back to the events of post-World War I racial segregation to the present racial progress.

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Sloss Furnaces is considered to be a historical landmark as it is one of the first industrial sites in the states.

Visitors should try exploring the Sloss Furnaces in Alabama as it once operated as an iron-producing blast furnace from 1882 to 1971. It is considered a historical landmark since it is one of the first industrial sites in the country. Visitors will also learn more about the country during the industrial age through this attraction.

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A place perfect for lovers of plants, art, exercise, and healing.

The foot of Red Mountain in the city of Birmingham holds a unique natural refuge that benefits different types of travelers. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens features around 10,000 plants spread across 25 different gardens. For art and photography enthusiasts, the gardens also feature original outdoor sculptures. In case gentle exercise (along with deep or casual conversations) is desired, this area has several miles of walking paths.

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A fiery god dominates this tourist attraction.

Only the Statue of Liberty is larger than the cast-iron statue of the Roman god Vulcan, which can be found at this site. The mythical god of fire and forge has an imposing presence here to symbolize Birmingham’s origins as an iron manufacturing powerhouse. The museum, on the other hand, is also noteworthy since it features exhibits on geology, metallurgy, mythology, map reading, and fine arts.

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The 16th Street Baptist Church is both a Civil Rights historical landmark and an ongoing house of worship.

The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was established in 1873 as the First Colored Baptist Church in Birmingham. In the early twentieth century, the church relocated to 16th Street and 6th Avenue North. During the Civil Rights Movement, the church served as an organizational headquarters.

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This park is perfect for those who love outdoor activities as well as learning about history.

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, located in Alabama, is the perfect place for those who love doing outdoor activities and history enthusiasts. Visitors could not only learn more about the history of the American iron history in New England but also do outdoor activities. Also, the park offers stunning views of nature. Visitors would surely love the park and visiting it.

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Catch a heart-pumping football game at the outdoor stadium of Legion Field.

Those who want to watch an exciting game of football should head on to the Legion Field, where it is usually used as a venue for American football. The stadium is located in Alabama and has been named after the organization of military veterans. It also prides itself as the “Football Capital of the South,” so football enthusiasts will surely have a pleasant time here.

Visit Birmingham to book a budget friendly trip!


Philippe Cousteau to speak at library | Community

The Pioneer Library System is set to host filmmaker, explorer, advocate and Emmy-nominated TV host and producer Philippe Cousteau.

He will speak at 6:15 p.m. Nov. 11 during the “Spark a Change: Let’s Talk About the Environment” event at Norman Public Library Central, 103 W. Acres St. 

Attendees can learn more about the environment and conservation efforts through aconversation with Cousteau, moderated by Oklahoma State Director of the Nature Conservancy Mike Fuhr, whose nature photography will be revealed in an exhibition prior to the event.

Seating will be available for the first 300 attendees.

The event caps off Pioneer Library System’s PLS Reads initiative, a year-long look at the topic of the environment in which community members have learned how small changes can make a big impact on the world around them through reading, conversation and exploration.

“Philippe and his family have done so much to raise awareness for the environment and to foster regeneration and restoration efforts. We’re honored to have him in Oklahoma, to hear his story and to learn how we can work together in protecting our beautiful planet,” PLS Director of Community Engagement and Learning Ashley Welke said. 

The event will be featured as part of Norman’s Second Friday Art Walk in partnership with the Norman Arts Council.

Attendees can meet NAC Executive Director Erinn Gavaghan at MAINSITE before heading out on a guided walk to ​Norman Public Library Central.

The gathering will depart the gallery at 5:30 p.m., stroll through Andrews Park to see the “In Their Words” installation, then arrive at the library for the event. 

Inspired by the legacy of his grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, Philippe Cousteau is a multi-Emmy-nominated TV host and producer, author, speaker, and social entrepreneur.

He is the host and executive producer of the weekly syndicated series “Awesome Planet,” now in its sixth season.

His conservation efforts are focused on solving global social and environmental problems.

In 2005, he founded EarthEcho International, a leading environmental education organization. To date, EarthEcho has activated over two million youth in 146 countries through its programs.

Cousteau’s children’s book, “Follow the Moon Home,” has been chosen for the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List. He has co-wrote “Going Blue” and “Make a Splash,” both of which have won multiple awards.

His new book series, “The Endangereds,” with Harper Collins, launched in September 2020. His latest book, “Oceans for Dummies,” which he co-authored with his wife, Ashlan, was released in February 2021.

For more information about the event at

Story Behind the Image “Gaze” – Barger Nature Photography

The riviting gaze of a lynx as he walks out of the forest and onto a remote logging road in British Columbia

This past February, I traveled to British Columbia primarily to photograph wolves. The wolves are active during the winter and wolves photographed on snow can create, in my opinion, a very striking image. Unfortunately, unseasonable temperatures and a heavy snowfall prior to my arrival, forced the local wolf population to temporarily relocate to another area. Since wolves can cover a territory of 50 square miles, given the conditions, it would be impossible to locate the wolf packs during my short visit. During the week I did hear a pack howling and barking in the distance. I had one wolf sighting but in a position where I was unable to take a meaningful image.

I was returning by snowmobile one afternoon after an unsuccessful day scouting for wolves when I noticed a lynx ahead sitting on the side of the trail. A good friend of mine was traveling with me. When traveling in the backcountry in the winter it is smart to travel with at least one other person in case of mechanical failures or injuries. We stopped approximately 150 yards away from his position, and watched as he continued to sit and eat. He was obviously not concerned with our presence due to our position relative to his. Finally, the lynx tired of eating, stood and walked into the forest next to the trail. We then moved on down the trail past where he entered the trees and stopped approximately 150 yards on the other side of his entry into the forest. I then proceeded to walk back up the trail and laid down in the snow approximately 75 feet from where he entered the forest. I knew it was a long shot, but I hoped if I remained perfectly still and did not make any noises, he might return. Sure enough, after patiently waiting 15 minutes or so, he appeared at the edge of the forest.

I slowly raised my camera and lens to my eye and began to take a few photographs. During this time, he just stood motionless in front of the forest watching. His position was such that if he sensed danger, he could quickly move into the forest using the snowdrift in front of him as cover.

After maybe five minutes, apparently realizing that I posed no threat to him, he proceeded to slowly walk out to the snowmobile trail and up the trail away from me. During this time, I held my position knowing that he would maintain a safe distance from me outside his “circle of fear”. Enter into an animal’s “circle of fear” and they will either fight or take flight.

During this time, I avoided making any sudden movements or strange noises. He walked slowly but with purpose. When he reached the snowmobile trail, he turned and walked up the trail. It was very clear to me that he did not feel threaten by my presence, since his behavior was business as usual.

As is often the case when photographing in the wild, opportunities to photograph the primary subject may not materialize. Avoid getting discouraged, keep an open mind and constantly be aware of your surroundings, and something worth photographing will appear. This trip was no exception. Besides, if this were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Art In Nature : Gardening for Stars

Many months ago now, Aubrey and I were fortunate to have found time to go on our annual adventure. For about 10 years I had wanted to explore the Gardiner Basin in the Sierra, which is the basin that the popular Rae Lakes loop circumnavigates. It takes quite an effort to get in, and out… our loop was about 35 miles and 11,000 feet up and down. But it was worth every step.

Our trip started with some thunder and rain, and for a moment it almost felt like we were back in the Northwest. After two days of weather, the skies parted and we enjoyed crisp and clear weather as we navigated our way through the granite landscape. Our route took us past the Rae Lakes, to the Sixty Lakes Basin, and up and over a remote pass into the upper Gardiner Basin. Once there, we saw very little signs of any human activity.

Our camp beside a remote lake provided stunning view of Mt Gardiner. One of the symptoms of getting older is that I now have to get up to pee in the middle of the night. On this particular occasion, the milky way was fortuitously aligned with Gardiner Peak. A cluster of Jeffrey Shooting Stars provided the perfect foreground.

The following day we descended 3,000 feet through forest and granite, alongside steep braided waterfalls. Reaching the bottom of the valley of course meant we needed to climb right back up. The faint use path barely provided any guidance, but the mosquitoes motivated us to keep moving. For our final day we scrambled up and over the pass, through an epic avalanche path, and made our way back to Kearsarge pass.

Hopefully such adventures will become more frequent again, now that we are getting settled into our new careers and home. Our little parrot is doing a great job of bringing some wilderness into the home, though. Pictures at the end

Moss and blooming Sierra Shooting Stars provide a verdant foreground for the Kearsarge Pinnacles under stormy skies in California’s Sierra Nevada.

Sierra Shooting Star flowers bloom in a field of frosted grasses in a meadow in the wilderness of California’s Sierra Nevada.

The milky way lights up the dark skies over Mt Gardiner, deep in the wilderness of California’s Sierra Nevada. Blooming Sierra Shooting Stars offer a fitting foreground.

A big snowpack in 2019 followed by hot summer days leads to plentiful cascades in the wilderness of California’s Sierra Nevada.

Blooming heather covers the hillsides of this remote canyon in California’s Sierra Nevada.

Birthday pudding: pistachio / chocolate swirl!

Mosquito carcasses decorate my face after a bloody battle.

Baby Wasabi, ~ 1 month old.

Wasabi, ~6 months old.

Wasabi, ~8 months old.

Tags: backpacking, California, mountains, sierra

Guide to fine art landscape photography

November 3, 2022

Connect with the landscape and your images will be all the better for it, as Paul Sanders explains in his article on fine art landscape photography. He shares more about his long exposure work below…

It took me a long time to discover the style of photography that matched my emotional and spiritual responses to what I was seeing, as I stood in the wind and rain that usually accompanied my expeditions. Many people see long-exposure work as a bit of a cliché: misty water and a few sticks in the sea; drifting clouds and an overly light high-key look. Yes, it can be, but the same can be said of many aspects of photography.

Personally, long-exposure photography allows me to explore a sense of calm; a visual relaxation that matches the way I feel when I look at the landscape. In my previous job as picture editor of The Times, I used to look through somewhere in excess of 20,000 images a day trying to find the perfect one for the front page. I lived my life at break-neck speed, barely taking a breath. When I left The Times at the end of 2011, I was convinced there must be more to life than what I had. I needed to get more out of myself photographically and that’s where long-exposure work came to the rescue.

Long-exposure photography can allow you to explore a sense of calm.

Get started with fine art landscape photography

Have a connection

Before we get into the technical side of long-exposure photography and counting exposure increase, there is something far more important than the technical issues – it’s vision, interpretation and connection with your subject.

I love what Ansel Adams said: ‘A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.’

You have to be able to connect your emotions to the landscape around you. It’s no good just shooting lots of images in the hope of getting a good one. Instead, shoot a picture that really captures how you feel at the time, and perhaps shoot a second image. If nothing else, long-exposure work will stop you shooting lots of needless images. The one thing you’ll need in abundance is patience, not memory cards.

Think about what mood you want your images to reflect.

My very first long-exposure image was a mistake. I set up my Horseman SW612 medium-format camera in my bedroom window one Christmas night to take a picture of the snow under moonlight over the Pennines. I’d had a glass or two of wine – probably slightly more – and wasn’t in the sharpest of mind frames. I vaguely remember taking a meter reading off the snow with my spotter and thinking it was darker than it looked. So I set the aperture to f/11 and thought five minutes would do it. Four hours later I returned to the bedroom and saw the camera, remembered what I had tried to do, laughed drunkenly and closed the shutter.

Thankfully, now my images are somewhat more considered and a lot less wine is consumed in making them!


For me, long exposures are anything over 30secs, although most Facebook groups argue that it should be anything over 1sec.

The filters are the key bit of equipment that you should pay attention to. They will depend on your budget, but – and it’s a big but – more expensive brands like Lee and Formatt Hitech are without a doubt better in manufacture, consistency of colour and density.

So when it comes to filters, buy a system with a holder and adapter rings. You can mix filters with systems too. I use Lee adapter rings and holders, and some of their filters, but I also use Formatt Hitech. They are all 100mm and are interchangeable. Don’t buy the variable screw-in filters as you can’t accurately predict what density you are shooting through, and don’t buy cheap brands of filters because the colour of a ND filter is meant to be neutral, not pink or green.

Filters are key to this kind of photography, so make sure to invest in a system with a holder and adapter rings.

Locations and subject for your fine art landscape photography

You can shoot any subject with a long exposure, but before you invest five to ten minutes of your time you have to ask yourself what is moving and what is stationary. Are you trying to capture a fast-moving sky over a city skyscraper, water swirling through a series of rocks or the incoming tide?

As a starting point, most people begin with groynes on beaches, with the tide breaking around them. This right-of-passage shot allows you to experiment and learn your craft, as everything apart from the groyne – like the clouds and tide – moves, giving you a quick positive result.

Composition is still very important. Many people seem to think that milky water or a blurry cloud will replace a well-executed image, but it won’t. So think about how you would normally compose your pictures and work with that, or allow yourself to start from the beginning and use very basic compositional rules to help.

I always work in the same way. I’ve made many mistakes and probably still have many to make, but as a result I have a workflow that works for me.

Groynes are a good starting point to hone your skills.

I find my location, spend a great deal of time seeing how things are, then I start to form an image in my head. Once I know what I want to achieve, I set up my tripod and I always make sure it’s level. Good tripod craft is essential. So many people don’t bother to extend the tripod legs correctly or get the tripod level and they make life hard for themselves from the outset.

I place the camera and lens on the tripod, then attach the cable release and the filter holder. At this point I turn the camera on, and make sure the ISO sensitivity is nice and low. One very important thing to check before you start shooting is in the menu. Find the ‘Long Exposure noise reduction’ and turn it off. If you leave it on, the camera will shoot a second exposure that is essentially a black frame to eliminate any noise generated during the exposure.

This will take as long as the first exposure, but will render your camera useless for the duration, meaning you can’t take as many images as you may want to.

Once you’ve found your location, take the time to study it before shooting.


Fine-tune your composition. Make sure that only the things you want are in the frame and they are where you want them. When shooting long-exposure images, errors in composition stand out like a sore thumb. If you’re trying for the minimalist look, make sure there is no clutter around the edges of the frame. Place the elements deliberately where you want them and think and see the image in your mind’s eye before you press the shutter.

You can then think about taking your image. Using a heavy-density ND filter means that it’s a little more complex than simply firing the shutter. See my step-by-step guide below on how to calculate the exposure.

Remember, though, that the key to success is practice, practice, practice – but also to enjoy using the technique. Hopefully, you’ll persevere through the learning curve and produce some beautiful images that reflect a sense of space and calm.

Make sure there’s no clutter around the edges of the frame.

Fine art landscape photography: Common mistakes

Some ND filters have a slight blue cast, but you can easily remove this by shooting raw and adjusting in post-processing. Alternatively, you can adjust the white balance at the time of shooting. Use the custom white balance setting and set it to between 8,000K and 10,000K, and the blue cast will disappear.

You may have flare down one side of the image, as the sun can cause flare if it’s to the side of the camera and reflects through the edges of the filters. On a sunny day I often shield the filters either with a cloth over the edge, gaffer tape or even just my hand.

If you use very strong ND filters – 10-stop and above – you may notice the subtle branding from the front of your lens is reflected onto the back of the filter. This normally occurs when using very wide-angle lenses. So I use black tape or paint to cover the white writing on the front of my lenses.

Use the rules of composition for strong results.

Need some more fine art photography advice? Check out our guide here.

Paul’s step-by-step guide for calculating exposure

Base exposure

I usually do a test exposure to establish what the image will look like without any filters. I expose for the shadow areas, aiming to get detail in them, which pushes the histogram to the right. Then I add an ND graduated filter to control the contrast from the sky or brighter areas of the scene.

Note exposure

Once I am happy with the addition of the graduated filter (if I have a straight horizon I’ll use a hard grad, otherwise I use soft grad), I re-check the exposure – this becomes your base exposure. For the sake of argument, let’s say the exposure is 1/4sec at f/16 – make a note of this or remember it.


Before you add your ND filter, double-check your focusing. Then turn off the AF and just check again to see if your image is sharp. Most AF systems can’t see through the dark glass of a 10-stop ND filter, so if you leave the AF on and try to take the picture, the AF will hunt and your image will be out of focus.

Set to bulb

Add your ND filter and turn your camera to its bulb or ‘B’ setting. Check that your aperture hasn’t changed. On some Canon models the aperture doesn’t carry over to B and you have to reset it, so please double check! You now have to recalculate the exposure to allow for the 10-stop ND filter in front of the lens.


Some filters come with a piece of paper that gives you approximate conversions. Or you can – as I do – use one of the many apps available. I use ND Timer, but there are lots available. Some have a countdown timer too, which is very useful if you haven’t got a timer on your cable release or camera.


On the app, input your base shutter speed and the strength of filter. Here, a shutter speed of 1/4sec becomes 4mins 16secs with a 10-stop filter. If you have an eyepiece blind, use it to prevent stray light entering and causing strange flare. Now press the button on the cable release and lock it, start your timer and wait.

Kit List for Fine art landscape photography


Although most cameras have built-in timers, a camera with a bulb (B) is very useful. Plus either an electronic or screw-in cable release with a lock.

See our buyers advice and reviews for the best options.


A 0.6 (2-stop) graduated ND filter, a 10-stop ND filter and a 3-stop ND filter should get you started.


Don’t always choose a wide-angle lens and think it will make the best focal length. Lens choice for is personal and entirely related to the subject. The lens I use most is my Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R.

See our lens reviews and buying advice here for guidance.


Give your camera that extra support and use a tripod to keep the camera steady. Especially when experimenting with long exposures in your fine art landscape photography.

The ultimate guide to tripods


If it’s windy you may have camera shake, so try shielding the camera with your body or an umbrella.

Further reading:

Fine art photography and how to do it

Top fine art portrait photography tips

World’s best fine art photography revealed

Improve Your Photography

Follow AP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

How to Light Artwork in Your Home

Lighting Photography Prints In Your Home Like A Pro

Now that you have found the perfect photograph to transform your space, it is important to choose the best way to illuminate your artwork. Quality lightning can make the difference between a piece of art being overlooked or commanding the attention of every guest entering the room. Soft, targeted lighting also brings out beautiful detail, tonal transitions and colors that may otherwise be lost to the viewer. You have a fair amount of choices when it comes to lighting, each having its own set of benefits and considerations. The best lighting enhances the artwork, without distracting from the rest of the decor in your room. Before we go any further, lets discuss the various types of lighting available to you.

Ceiling-Mounted Accent Lighting

Spotlights mounted from a ceiling facing downward offer an easy and adjustable solution for illuminating art. They can be surface mounted, chosen for their aesthetics as part of the overall design of a room or recessed, completely obscuring any housings in the ceiling for a more clean and minimalist approach. Either way, ceiling mounted lighting should be placed at a 30-degree angle, directed at the center of the artwork and should provide a soft even spread of light, illuminating the majority of the print without distracting hot spots or unbalanced coverage. Lighting directed at this angle reduces the amount of shadowing cast onto the wall below the art and eliminates reflective glare caused by fixtures mounted too far back from the wall.

Track Lighting

While essentially providing the same benefits and overall look of ceiling-mounted lighting, track lighting can be beneficial for those who have multiple pieces of art across a room or for those who enjoy moving or changing out their artwork seasonally or as their decor changes. Track lighting is also typically easier to install and carries a reduced cost of installation as well. Today, track lighting can be found that is much more flattering than the bulky cream-colored tracks you may be used to seeing, but regardless of the design, one must still consider the overall aesthetics of track running across the ceiling.

Wall Washers

Wall washers offer a more convenient and flexible way to illuminate large or multiple piece art installations. Wall washers can be mounted from the ceiling or floor and come in many forms and styles. This style of lighting often works well in modern homes full of symmetry and contrasting lines and shapes. While I have seen varieties of this type of lighting that worked well in my opinion, I personally prefer a more targeted and specific approach.

Picture Lights

Picture lights are mounted directly above or even from the frame of individual artworks and in most cases are low wattage light sources with a very small spread of illumination. You have probably seen paintings utilizing this style of lighting and while the fixtures themselves can be decretive and add to a rooms overall decor, I personally have never appreciated the look or the lack of uniform illumination they offer. With the exception of the most inexpensive battery-operated lights, an outlet or hard wires will still be needed where the artwork is to be displayed.

Conservation And Considerations

It is important to take preservation into account when illuminating most types of artwork. Photographic prints are no exception to this rule. While they may not be as delicate as that Vincent Van Gogh or Claude Monet you dream of stumbling across at a local estate sale, improper lighting can cause fading and unsightly color shifts that will destroy the visual appearance of the work over time.

There are some easy to avoid mistakes when hanging and lighting artwork that should be considered to avoid damage to your artwork:

* Avoid Direct Sunlight. Ultraviolet light and radiation can cause fading even when artwork has been protected against direct lighting with a UV coating or other surface protection.

* Do Not Allow Direct Facing Light Sources. This will protect your artwork from heat damage. If you are unsure, place your hand near the surface of the artwork while under the light source. If you can feel the heat, it is too close.

* Avoid Fluorescent Lighting. High levels of UV light accelerate fading and color shifting.

Halogen vs LED

While Halogen bulbs historically have been a favorite of many art galleries around the world, many are now being replaced with LED’s. Halogen bulbs produce large amounts of infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can be damaging to your artwork over time if mounted too closely. These types of bulbs also run very hot and can cause burns if touched. Halogen lighting has been widely used due to the quality of the light source itself and its bright, white illumination. Also, when compared to incandescent bulbs, there are many advantages.

Today, we have the benefit of LED technology. Where LED bulbs were once shunned due to the bluish light that they cast, LED’s have come a long way in a short period of time. A wide variety of color temperatures are now available, and while a more expensive option up front, LED lighting pays for itself over time with lower energy costs. Even Michelangelo’s painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was updated using a staggering 7,000 LEDs. After fading from sunlight exposure and harmful halogen lighting, the switch was made, extending the opportunity for the work to be enjoyed for decades to come.

SoLux ColorView LED Artlight

Tailored Lighting Inc., is the maker of Solux, a patented light source that provides an unparalleled replication of natural daylight. SoLux is used by many of the world’s top museums including the Musee d’Orsay, Van Gogh Museum, and Guggenheim Museum and the National Archives.

The ColorView LED Artlight is the result of nearly a decade of research and development. The ColorView LED light fixture offers unsurpassed light quality, stability, and flexibility of use, providing optimal presentation and preservation of art. The color temperature is 3150K, has excellent color consistency fixture to fixture and tilts and swivels in all directions. The ColorView LED Artlight offers flexibility of use with continuous beam spread adjustment from 12 degrees (5721 Candlepower) to 60 degrees (1302 Candlepower).

The ability to change beam spread from 12 to 60 degrees provides the perfect solution for lighting artwork. There is minimal light spill around the painting. The ability to dim with with a standard incandescent dimmer switch means perfect light levels every time with no flicker.

The team at Solux will help every step of the way in creating beautiful lighting for your home or office. Please reach out to them directly to learn more about the great lighting systems that they offer.

For past, present and future collectors of my work, I am always happy to help in any way that I can. I look forward to discussing your vision and how I can help you create a beautiful space you will love to come home to.

Fine Art Photography Lighting With LEDs

There are many ways in which you can light art and photography on the walls of your home and office. However, how you light your walls and art matters! It is not as simple as getting the most powerful light you can find and setting it upon your favorite artwork. The quality of light matters, and if you want to be able to tell those hues apart with any accuracy, you’ll need to opt for the right kind of lighting.

We call it fine art photography lighting, and the good news is that with today’s LEDs, it’s easier than ever. Gone are the days of trying to match tungsten or fluorescent bulbs to your viewing areas and preferences — modern-day LEDs are capable of achieving a light similar in quality and consistency to the sun, which is the ideal lighting source that provides a cool and natural blue light.

Compared to traditional tungsten, fluorescent or halogen bulbs, LEDs represent some of the best fine art photography lighting options available today. Not only do they render colors with greater accuracy in the crucial natural range (5000K to 5300K), but they also won’t cast a yellow or orange hue to the imagery that adorns your walls, giving a faded, dull or warm look that hides the true colors of the art.

While halogen lighting can achieve those same hues and vibrant colors, it’s unfortunately not the desired fine art photography lighting option due to both the heat and UV rays that are emitted. Over years and years, that can start to oxidize the surface and cause damage, potentially altering the image itself.

Ideally, the best fine art photography lighting is cool-running LEDs that won’t deceive your eyes. LEDs are also much smaller and lighter than traditional lighting techniques, allowing for easy track lighting installations or adjustable recessed lighting that offers the utmost in flexibility while also being friendly to the budget.

The twisting and curled nature of the Japanese Maple tree makes for an incredible subject during any time of year but none more special or beautiful than its brief transformation during autumn. Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

A small patch of aspen trees displaying beautiful autumn foliage with red undergrowth located near Tumwater Canyon in Leavenworth, Washington. Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.

Elevate your home with Aaron Reed’s limited edition photography print, On Earth As It Is In Heaven, from his Newest Work Photography collection. Order yours today! Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

What’s in my bag: pro wildlife photographer Katie Mayhew

There is no right answer when it comes to choosing the right kit. What works for you might hinder someone else and vice versa, it really all comes down to what you’re shooting and what your preferences are. 

Wildlife photographer and videographer Katie Mayhew is a veteran in her field and during her time working for the BBC, Channel 4 and Netflix, she would’ve used a wide variety of different kit. Her current preferred setup however includes the powerful Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 camera – a video focussed cine camera with 15 stops of dynamic range, a super 35mm 4.6K sensor and the ability to shoot 2K at up to 300fps which is super slow motion.

Accompanying her main camera, Katie shoots with an array of fast Canon lenses (opens in new tab) and Sigma lenses plus a Laowa probe lens (opens in new tab) for those close-up macro shots in hard-to-reach places. 

Katie Mayhew is a veteran wildlife photographer and videographer. Starting her career with Silverback Productions, she has produced content for Netflix, the BBC, Disney Nature, Channel 4, and Apple TV. Her projects have ranged from uninhabited islands off the coast of Mexico to filming forest fires in California – as well as closer to home, shooting a variety of wildlife and macro productions.

1. Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K

(Image credit: Under the Oak Films)

This is my workhorse camera; it’s been everywhere with me and endured a lot. I love that it’s versatile – I can use it without a viewfinder, and over- or under-sling it without having to re-rig. The camera body is nearly vertically symmetrical to the center of the sensor so I can achieve very low-angle shots when under slinging the camera. 

The built-in ND filters are brilliant, they mean that I don’t have to change external filters when the light levels change. I’m looking at trying the URSA 12K as well at some stage, and the common interface will make the change easier.

Looking for the best BlackMagic cameras?

I’ve been shooting most of my forthcoming documentary, 15 Years, on this, and it’s got a really nice focal length, a very shallow depth of field and creates a sharp, abstract images very easily. All of that makes it perfect for shots of people – 15 Years is about David Plummer, a Natural History Photographer and Filmmaker with Parkinson’s Disease. The film aims to inspire others with disabilities, showing that filming the natural world can be an accessible career choice or hobby.

(Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

This is my all-time favorite lens; even at F32 it’s still got a nice shallow depth of field, and being a macro lens you can film extremely close-up with great bokeh. The strangest-looking insects look brilliant with a glossy, out-of-focus background (even leeches … more on those later!)

This is a really solid, standard establishing lens – it’s my ‘jack of all trades’ lens, with a relatively good minimum focal distance. This means that you can get fairly close up to animals, but without losing the environment behind them, which is crucial for a lot of nature films, to set the scene. It is also rather sharp.

(Image credit: Future)

This lens has a really small front element, so you can get right down to the level of an insect or inside a hole. I tend to put it on a slider and get a bug’s eye view, sliding between individual blades of grass – it looks absolutely amazing. The only downside is that it’s F14, so it does need quite a lot of light for the best possible look.

(Image credit: David Plummer)

This is my go-to, affordable wildlife lens. It’s versatile, lighter than a lot of cinema lenses and five to ten times cheaper. It does need quite a lot of support, but that’s very normal for long telephoto lenses!

7. Miller 3155 Arrow X7 Tripod

This is essential for supporting long lenses like the Sigma Telephoto. It’s got a great fluid head, and is relatively light, which is great when you have to carry a whole kit bag a long way!

8. Camouflage Rain Cover

Essential in both the UK and Borneo! This has been designed for long lenses and fits the URSA really well – it’s completely waterproof and hooks over the camera and fits underneath the tripod really well. It’s also good if you need somewhere to sit and eat your sandwiches.

9. Leatherman

Leatherman: I couldn’t be without my multi-tool, although it’s usually the first thing to go missing. I’ve had a few occasions where I thought I’d lost it, only for it to re- appear in a completely different bag or pocket. As well as a lot of conventional stuff, I’ve had to use it for prying leeches off my skin in the jungle in Borneo; if you use your hands, they just transfer to the other hand!

You might also like to read: Blackmagic 12K or 4.6K cinema camera for $5,995? I know which I’d go for (opens in new tab)! and to find out about the best cinema cameras (opens in new tab).