Elk – Yellowstone National Park

I spotted this elk after sunset as we were driving toward the north entrance of Yellowstone. He separated from a group of elk that were getting ready to bed down for the evening. I shot several frames handheld with my Nikon 500mm f5.6 as he ambled along the grassy meadow. Some nice shots, but when he turned his head to look at another elk approaching him, I knew that was the gesture that would add the pizzazz I was hoping for.

Last Kiss of Light . . .

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On our western driving sojourn, we spent time in the quaint town of Pinedale, Wyoming, which is the gateway to the picturesque Wind River Range. The Winds stretches for more than a hundred miles with 35 peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation. Yes, a nature photographer can truly get lost in time here. It was fun chasing the sweet morning and evening light. In this image, I was attracted to the last rose-colored rays of light kissing the mountains. The scene kept unveiling new, beckoning wonders that had me keeping the camera to my eye shooting. This final capture was its ending tease! A fitting tribute to a fine day of photographing and revealing in the peaceful, majestic Wind River Range. We will definitely be back!

Technical notes: Nikon D850 camera, Nikon 70-200mm f4 @f8, +0.3 exposure compensation.

Bannack Ghost Town, Montana

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This is an interior shot believed to me a miner’s cabin built sometime after gold was discovered in 1862. I loved the natural quality of light that was flowing through the windows, which created a soft palette of colors. Additionally, the gesture of the rippled and peeling wallpaper added some nice visual tension. The wonderful chair just happened to be in the right location. When the gifts come along, celebrate!

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Bannack is truly a fine art photographer’s playground! So many soft, colorful interiors that took my creative breath away! The whole experience was a memorable immersion into historical renderings, lovely natural light, pastel colors, perspective, and weathered design.

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Bannack Ghost Town, Montana

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During our recent western sojourn, we made time to spend a day in an authentic, well-preserved gold mining town dating to 1862. Ambling the main street on a quiet July morning, one feels as though you were transported back in time. The over forty buildings have been preserve rather than restored, which only adds to the “frozen in time” feeling one gets. This image is the grand staircase of the red brick Hotel Meade.

I shot with natural, available light (my preferred style) to preserve the wonderful narrative of the scene. I used my favorite Nikon D850 camera with a Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens shot at 1/60 sec., @f6.3. I really love shooting with fixed focal length lenses! Many times it is my preferred choice over zoom lenses. There is nothing like a single focal length lens to make you move yourself in relation to your subject. As a result, more possibilities continue to reveal themselves.

Spa Time . . .

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I could not resist photographing this bison enjoying the soothing, relaxing heat of a small geyser basin in Yellowstone National Park. This is when a long telephoto is your best friend! A Nikon 500mm Phase Fresnel lens (a super sharp, lightweight lens that you can handhold all day) gave me the reach I needed, while not disrupting his spa time. I prefer not to disturb wildlife in their natural setting. I am after authentic photographs that depict a natural moment.

Twilight – Slovenia

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I loved the tranquil feel of this scene captured during the blue hour. It was a wonderful way to wind down after an active day of chasing the sweet light in the Slovenian countryside.

I’m lovin’ the Nikon 500mm PF lens . . .

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After shooting with the Nikon 500mm f5.6 Phase Fresnel lens every day for over a week, two words come to mind, simply outstanding! This ultralight lens (only 3.2 pounds) is a joy to tote around shooting handheld all day. Its sharpness blew me away! This lens was made to shoot wide open at f5.6. With the awesome VR image stabilization, I can get consistently sharp images at 1/25 sec. More possibilities, more options for an available light photographer who prefers the freedom of shooting handheld.

Again, Nikon delivers! I now have an extreme telephoto lens that will allow me to expand my visual horizons. The included photo was shot at f5.6 from a fair distance. In addition, the tree was on private property; the photograph would not have been possible without the reach of the 500mm. While I love the extra reach of this lens, it’s other wonderful attributes are image compression and subject isolation from the foreground/background within your scene. All for now, off to shoot with my new best friend, the amazing Nikon 500 PF!

Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. ~ Annette Funicello

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My new Nikon 500mm PF f5.6 lens arrived a few days ago. Thank you Steve (West Photo, and Nikon Pro Services) for the fast delivery on a lens that is in high demand and not readily available. My initial thoughts after using this lens is one word, Awesome! For an extreme telephoto lens, it weighs only a tad over three pounds! Easily handheld, no need for a tripod folks. I can shoot this lens handheld as slow as 1/30 sec with Nikon’s excellent lens vibration reduction. Wow! Lens is extremely sharp, even shot wide open at f5.6. Another Nikon winner that makes it into my camera pack!

Of course, you buy a long telephoto lens for extra reach, and when you cannot physically move closer to your subject. However, I also love the fact that long lenses produce more compression in your photo and help to isolate your subject better. Only two flowers are rendered sharp in the photo above, which becomes the focal point of the image. Start thinking of your long telephoto lenses as a tool to help with subject isolation, image compression, and to soften foreground and background.