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Yosemite Photography: Expect an Adventure

Yosemite Photography is in my blood.  I’ve been there too many times to count, but my favorite time is winter. 

Yosemite in winter is the best time of year because it’s quiet. The crowds of summer are gone and just the hardy, adventurous types are there to experience nature at its finest.

Yosemite Valley Winter Photography

On one particular trip — just two days before Christmas, December 1964 — it was raining like crazy. We were spending the holidays in the Yosemite Valley, just like we did every year. The rain was coming down in buckets. We slept peacefully in our cozy housekeeping cabin at the Yosemite Lodge unaware that the Merced River was starting to flood. When the river started to threaten the little cabins at the Lodge, we were evacuated to higher ground in the middle of the night, out of harm’s way.

You never know what you’re going to find in this beautiful valley in the winter. 

Mark Jansen in Yosemite Valley Continue reading

How Come My Photos are Never Sharp?

Solid tripods are essential for landscape photography
The most common question asked by many people is
“How come my photos are never sharp?”

Their big concern is that the lens or lenses they already own are not good enough and they need to upgrade.

Photography has always been a lens specific pursuit. So much of what we do as photographers is wrapped up in gear. Not surprising, once you enter the sales funnel of the photographic arts, you’ll most likely consume more gear than you ever imagined.

When it comes to camera lenses we all have our favorites.

Getting the most out of them is another story… Continue reading

Complete the Creative Circle with your Photography

Last weekend I attended a local art show here in beautiful Camarillo, California. Having spent quite a few years working the Fine Art circuit from Malibu to Santa Barbara, (now guiding workshops and teaching photography with Jansen Photo Expeditions), I have a lot of respect for artists who put their art out there in hopes of a sale or two over a weekend. For them, there is a complete creative circle with their photography or other art form they pursue.

 Vintage Aviation: Waypoint Cafe, Camarillo, California

Vintage Aviation: Waypoint Cafe, Camarillo, California

This art event was a bit different from your regular fair. It was paired on the same grounds as our local artisan community with open studio doors, allowing you to visit the artists at work. This would include mostly painters, sculptures and assemblage artists.

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The Process and the fundamentals of Landscape Photography

Photography has been going through a rapid transformation. With the internet, it’s no longer resigned to the skilled professional. Democracy rules this craft more than ever.

This statement has been bounced around for years. While true in some respects, in regards to post processing in Lightroom and Photoshop, it leaves unfilled pot holes for many. These potholes are most apparent in in the field for landscape photographers. This is where 1 on 1 interaction with an instructor in the field is so important, privately, or in a small group environment.

Sweet sunset light in Yosemite Valley, by Mark Jansen

First off, the landscape photography process is a physical activity, paired with the awareness of environmental changes. Mental acuity is required along with a solid understanding of the physics of light. This is sculpted by a device with a lens, as it transfers light to film or electronic sensor to affect depth of field and exposure. The camera is nothing but a tool. Understanding its full form and function is paramount.

Landscape photography, like no other activity I can think of, balances the physical, creative and mechanical world. The process can produce amazing beauty when combined effectively.

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Why is Photo Editing Essential?

Are you spending a lot of time learning your digital camera and getting up early to shoot at just the right location, in just the right light?

Are you getting the results you hoped you would? You’re not?

Learning Lightroom

Learning effective photo editing is easily the other half of creating amazing images with your digital camera. I have been using Adobe Photoshop for many years, but have recently converted to doing the bulk of my editing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Lightroom is a powerful program that offers you easy adjustments to push your editing and your photography from good to great.

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Landscape Photography (Learning The Basics and More )

I’ve been in the business of teaching landscape and street photography for the last 15 years.  In the early days, the lion’s share of our business was fine art and commercial photography. But after countless requests, I’ve created a fool proof and simple to understand curriculum. I started offering one on one mentoring to quite a few individuals. I was soon leading private landscape photography workshops and small group landscape photography workshops with my wife Holly.

Learning photographyWhen I’m not leading small group photography Workshops in Yosemite, or leading a private photography workshop in Big Sur, or an Iceland small group photography workshop. I teach one on one basic photography workshops in Ventura California, near my home when I’m not on the road.

After doing this for sometime, I’ve found that many of my students, while having a deep desire to learn landscape photography, sorely need to grasp the basics of their cameras form and function, along with understanding exposure and compositional rules.
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