Grand Canyon and Sedona Arizona Trip

Lisa and I recently got home from 1 week out west which was a terrific trip.  We flew non-stop from Newark airport into Phoenix and I was able to secure tickets at $300 after some diligent research.  Our first accommodations  were Forest Houses Resort in Oak Creek Canyon (just outside of Sedona).  For the 2nd leg of our trip we stayed at the Yavapai Lodge within Grand Canyon National Park.  We found the rates at both to be reasonable and the rooms were more than adequate.  I also booked a rental car from Phoenix at $16/day thanks to hotwire.

red rock country sedona

Sedona, Arizona. This photo was taken from Red Rock Crossing. Image by Dave Blinder, please contact me for licensing or prints.

For photography equipment I brought along my Canon 5DsR dslr as well as my Canon SL2.  I brought three lenses with me, the Tamron SP 24-70mm VC G1, Tamron SP 150-600mm VC G2, and the Tamron SP 90mm VC G1 macro lens.  I did not use my macro lens much as I was often on the go, and did not want to swap lenses in dusty environments.

elk wildlife picture

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Image by Dave Blinder, please contact me for licensing or prints.

For the sake of brevity I am not posting pictures from each and every park we visited, however I am happy to answer any travel questions that I can help with.  Some of the many attractions we enjoyed include: Slide Rock State Park, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Red Rock State Park, Cathedral Rock, Devil’s Bridge, Palatki Heritage Site, Tuzigoot National Monument, Walnut Canyon National Monument, Little Colorado River Gorge, and of course Grand Canyon National Park.

south rim grand canyon art print

Early morning view of Grand Canyon National Park Arizona. Image by Dave Blinder, please contact me for licensing or prints.

I found the lighting conditions around Sedona to be challenging during my trip, yet I really enjoyed my time spent in the area.  Photographic momentum picked up for me when we made it to the Grand Canyon.  It would be difficult to take a bad sunrise or sunset picture when standing in front one of the natural wonders of the world.  I also found the Navajo tribal land (just beyond desert view) to be very peaceful and a very immersive nature study area.  Do yourself and check out the Little Colorado River Gorge when in the area.

arizona ground squirrel picture

Rock Squirrel at Little Colorado River Gorge. Image by Dave Blinder, please contact me for licensing or prints.

Now that it is finally springtime here in New Jersey, I look forward to photographing the regularly scheduled birds and bees.  Let me know if you have any questions about my Arizona pictures or any of my travel accommodations.

Arizona yellow bird id picture

Lesser Goldfinch Female with Fledgling at the Verde River in Cottonwood Arizona. Image by Dave Blinder, please contact me for licensing or prints.

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Common Lizards of the Florida Everglades

Only 2 days until my return to Everglades National Park in Florida

Here is a look at two common lizards I photographed at ENP in 2013. Main Park Road in Homestead is teeming with wildlife if you slow down to appreciate the biodiversity.

The Green Anole is a native lizard to the area, whereas the Brown Anole is an introduced animal originating in Cuba.

Photography equipment used for the pictures:

Tamron Lenses USA SP 90mm Macro Lens + Canon T2i + Canon Speedlight 90EXII

 

florida green lizard picture

A common lizard of Everglades National Park. Green Anole photographed off of Main Park Road in Homestead by Dave Blinder in December of 2013. Tamron SP 90mm VC Macro Lens + Canon T2i

small brown lizard florida picture

A common non-native lizard of Everglades National Park. Brown Anole photographed off of Main Park Road in Homestead by Dave Blinder in December of 2013. Tamron SP 90mm VC Macro Lens + Canon T2i

 

Two locations I have done well with for macro wildlife photography within Everglades National Park are Paurotis Pond and the parking area near Pa-Hay-Okee.

Do you have any questions on the photography techniques or finding wildlife within Everglades National Park?  If so, leave a comment here on WordPress and I will gladly try to help.

 

5th Annual New Jersey Highlands Juried Art Exhibit

I have the great privilege of being among the finalists for the 5th Annual New Jersey Highlands Juried Art and Photography Exhibit at the Morris Museum

Museum Entrance

New Jersey Highlands Coalition Juried Art & Photography Exhibit Morris Museum Morristown, New Jersey January 11, 2018 Photo by Dave Blinder

My finalist entry within the exhibit is titled “Summer at Kincaid Woods”.  Taken in Summer 2017, I was hiking back towards my car when I found myself bathed in warm late day light as I passed over wetlands and through woodlands.

I hoped to best capture the mood of that moment.  My limited edition (1 of 25) piece is matted and framed to 16″x24″ on archival quality paper and materials.

Dave Blinder picture

Kincaid Woods in Summer by Dave Blinder New Jersey Highlands Coalition Juried Art & Photography Exhibit Morris Museum Morristown, New Jersey January 11, 2018 Photo by Dave Landry

Opening reception took place the night of January 11th 2018.  The artwork remains on display at the museum in Morristown until February 18th.  Please let me know if you visited and would like to provide feedback on your experience.

Museum Attendees

Crowd View New Jersey Highlands Coalition Juried Art & Photography Exhibit Morris Museum Morristown, New Jersey January 11, 2018 Photo by Dave Blinder

I would especially like to thank my friends Jim, Geoff, Len, Pauline, Ellen, and Douglas for coming out in support. Great mingling with the other artists and outstanding organizing by Morris Museum Staff and the Highlands Coalition.

NJ Highlands Coalition Directors

Elliott Ruga and Julia Somers New Jersey Highlands Coalition Juried Art & Photography Exhibit Morris Museum Morristown, New Jersey January 11, 2018 Photo by Dave Blinder

Dave Landry picture

David Landry Photographer, Denville Resident, POWWW Boardmember New Jersey Highlands Coalition Juried Art & Photography Exhibit Morris Museum Morristown, New Jersey January 11, 2018 Photo by Dave Blinder

NJ Highlands Painting

New Jersey Highlands Coalition Juried Art & Photography Exhibit Morris Museum Morristown, New Jersey January 11, 2018 Photo by Dave Blinder

Morris Museum Visitors

Crowd View New Jersey Highlands Coalition Juried Art & Photography Exhibit Morris Museum Morristown, New Jersey January 11, 2018 Photo by Dave Blinder

Morris Museum Exhibit

New Jersey Highlands Coalition Juried Art & Photography ExhibitMorris Museum Morristown, New JerseyJanuary 11, 2018 Photo by Dave Blinder

Morris Museum in Morristown NJ

New Jersey Highlands Coalition Juried Art & Photography Exhibit Morris Museum Morristown, New Jersey January 11, 2018 Photo by Dave Blinder

 

Morris Museum visitors information:

Morris Museum
6 Normandy Heights Road
Morristown, NJ 07960
PHONE: (973) 971-3700
EMAIL: info@morrismuseum.org

Museum Hours:
Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00am to 5:00pm
Sunday, 12:00pm to 5:00pm
The Museum is Pay as You Wish on the second and third Thursday of each month from 4:00pm to 8:00pm.

 

If you have any questions or feedback on my article or artwork please contact me at dave@daveblinder.com

Tamron 18-400mm Full Resolution Butterfly

I took this digital photograph of an Painted Lady butterfly recently in Chester New Jersey.  Click on the picture to download or view the high resolution original.  Zoom in to view the sharpness from the new Tamron 18-400mm ultra-telephoto all-in-one lens.

Tamron 18-400mm Sharpness

Tamron 18-400mm Macro Sample Image of an Painted Lady Butterfly. Straight Out Of Camera.

The Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD all-in-one lens was handheld in conjunction with the Canon SL2 Digital Rebel.  I am extremely impressed by the fine detail resolved in this SOOC (straight out of camera) shot.  The tiny hairs by the butterfly eyes are very well defined.  I also like the pleasing bokeh of background flowers.

100% crop from above SOOC photograph

Tamron 18-400mm macro photography

Tamron 18-400mm VC 100% Crop SOOC. Handheld at 400mm F/9 on Canon SL2. Photo by Dave Blinder

Exposure settings:

Tamron 18-400mm VC @ 400mm, Autofocus On, Vibration Compensation On

Canon SL2 in Aperture Priority Mode +2/3 exposure, AI Servo Focus

1/800 F9 ISO 800

 

Purchase the new Tamron 18-400mm from Amazon using my affiliate links  (help support my blog)

Tamron 18-400mm for Canon – http://amzn.to/2xvjzbX

Tamron 18-400mm for Nikon – http://amzn.to/2xPqXj9

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 Digital SLR Camera Body Only – http://amzn.to/2xBsFU8

 

Do you have any questions about the lens, camera, or photograph?  Any more sample images you’d like to see?  Let me know.

Tamron 18-400mm high resolution pictures

Full resolution sample images from Tamron USA‘s​ 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028 ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens

These are SOOC ( straight out of the camera ) JPEGs with no editing performed. Both shots are with the lens at full zoom, 400mm, at maximum aperture F/6.3 and taken on a 24mp SL2.

Tamron 18-400mm lens sample picture

Full Resolution SOOC sample image from the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028 ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens. Taken on a 24 megapixel Canon SL2 by Dave Blinder. Order via my Amazon affiliate link – http://amzn.to/2eMYfUO Nikon Mount

Flower photograph camera settings:

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR camera

Handheld with VC On (Vibration Control) at 400mm

1/640 F/6.3 ISO 400 using the Center Point One-Shot Autofocus and Auto White Balance

Tamron 18-400mm lens sample picture

Full Resolution SOOC sample image from the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028 ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens. Taken on a 24 megapixel Canon SL2 by Dave Blinder. Order via my Amazon affiliate link – http://amzn.to/2eMYfUO Nikon Mount

Bee photograph camera settings:

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR camera

Tripod-mounted VC Off (Vibration Control) at 400mm

1/60 F/6.3 ISO 800 using Manual Focus and Auto White Balance

 

Due to possible compression you may want to download the full pictures from my personal Google Drive – https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwfEzS2JEk2EbTVRR01oTEwxaTQ

To order these lenses now try my Amazon Affiliate links (gives me a small commission):

http://amzn.to/2xle2W3
Canon Mount

http://amzn.to/2eMYfUO
Nikon Mount

Photographing wildlife in harsh lighting: an Eastern Fence Lizard

Below we have a photo of a small, harmless, and downright cute Eastern Fence Lizard.  A native reptile of New Jersey that is widespread within its habitat, but generally not familiar to residents of Northern New Jersey.

Sceloporus undulatus

A closeup photograph of a wild New Jersey reptile taken with a Tamron macro lens and a Canon DSLR.

Photo taken with the Tamron SP 90mm VC F/2.8 Macro Lens and the Canon EOS 7D.  Camera settings: Shutter at 1/100 Aperture at F/3.2 and an ISO speed of 200.  One Shot focus mode, camera handheld, VC On, RAW image format, manual exposure mode, auto white balance.

F/3.2 is not the punchiest aperture of my lens, but it does yield acceptable sharpness.  Shallow depth of field was very important to me in the making of this photo.  My “go to aperture” for macro of F/5.6 brought a lot more detail in the foreground AND the background.  The impact of this photo is in its simplicity and having prominent background shapes and textures strongly detracts from this type of “mid-day silhouette capture”.

Clearly with the sun high in the sky and without cloud cover, the natural illumination of the subject is going to be uneven with a large contrast between the shadows and the highlights.  Many established photographers would call this “bad light” or “problematic light”.  This is not necessarily the easiest condition to create impactful photos in but by manually exposing for the subject’s mid-tones and shooting into an uncluttered background I’ve created a minimalistic photo that evokes thoughts of desert climates.

Uncommon wildlife encounters

I have no problem photographing the ordinary and trying my hardest to make it look flattering, but every once in a while you stumble upon an animal or scenic opportunity that you feel very lucky to have encountered.  That’s how I felt when I discovered a group of young American Alligators calling for their not too distant mother.  I assumed I would have plenty of opportunities to photograph adult Gators on my Florida trip, but didn’t dream of a golden chance like this.

Baby Gator in Wetlands

Young American Alligator

Nature Photography in “bad light”

I think there really is no such thing as “bad light” in nature photography, as long as you are able to think outside of the box.  This recent photograph of an Airplant in Florida was taken while the sun was fairly high, and also a bit behind the subject.  Typically, this is an undesirable ambient light angle as the illumination of a subject is very uneven and will cause high variations in dynamic range, which in turn will probably blow out some of the highlights and block up the shadows.

Florida Airplant

Manatee River Airplant at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

I find this lighting angle difficult to utilize, and implausible in some scenarios.  However, it can yield some nice dramatic photos with a little experimentation.  In this instance, the sunlight has “kissed” or highlighted mainly only my target subject but caused most of the frame to fall into shadow.  Perfect for an isolating effect.