If you couldn’t tell from our logo,
autumn is a favorite time of the year!
We hope yours was wonderful and you were able to get out to see, enjoy, and photograph the beautiful fall leaves this year. It’s been a busy year for Inspire Photo Tours, and we thought it was time to give you an update, share some of our photos, and give you some tips for photographing in the upcoming winter season.
Our Rocky Mountal National Park tour was spectacular! Attendees were able to experience the park in all it’s glory, from dusk to dawn. The wildlife was abundant, the weather was fantastic, the night skies were clear, and the company was wonderful. Many memories were made that week, and everyone left with a gorgeous portfolio of work. We always enjoy experiencing some of our favorite places with people who have never been there before, and this time was no different. Elk, moose, mule deer, and many birds gave us beautiful subject matter in a setting like no other.
We are so excited to announce an upcoming August, 2020 Inspire Tour:
Prairies & Peaks in the South Dakota Badlands
If you missed out on the Tour to Rocky Mountain National Park, be sure to sign up for the Badlands. Badlands National Park offers an impressive expanse of land consisting of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. Best known for its striped hillsides, the Badlands is also home to bison, mule deer, badgers, antelope, eagles, owls, prairie dogs, coyotes, big horned sheep and bobcats. Working in harmony, this ecosystem thrives and offers a playground for photographers. More info can be found on the Inspire website, but be sure to check out this preview video for a hint of what we’ll experience:
VIDEO: Sneak peek of what you may experience with Inspire Photo Tours on your Prairies & Peaks in the South Dakota Badlands tour. (Click to play)
Are you excited? We are starting a Black Friday special NOW! When registering for the Inspire Photo Tours trip to the badlands, use coupon code “BFinspire” to save 25% on your registration! All the tour details are on the website. This tour will be limited to 10 people, and the coupon code will expire at midnight Monday December 2, 2019 (Cyber Monday) or when the workshop fills to capacity – whichever comes first.
If something can be said about the Badlands, it’s that prairie dogs are not in short supply. “Prairie-dogs are abundant…; they are in shape like little woodchucks, and are the most noisy and inquisitive animals imaginable. They are never found singly, but always in towns of several hundred inhabitants; and these towns are found in all kinds of places where the country is flat and treeless.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Cousins to squirrels, prairie dogs form close family groups and they have a complex system of communication that will signal different types of predators. They seem quite harmless and skittish, but there are several reports of prairie dogs biting people. They have super sharp teeth and claws and they aren’t afraid to use them if they need to.
How many miles of tunnels did they have underground? What kind of shenanigans occurs underground? National Geographic states that typically a prairie dog town covers less than half a square mile, but some have been larger. The largest recorded prairie dog town covered some 25,000 square miles. That Texas town was home to perhaps four hundred million prairie dogs!
In addition to our photography workshops, Inspire has been leading “excursions” for our local photography community. These free-of-charge outings are meant to get people out of the house and into nature. We explore the local area and photograph the beauty in our back yards. We had some fun groups out over the summer and fall, with our most recent visiting Crex Meadows Wildlife Refuge for the fall sandhill crane migration. And man, was it cool!
Thousands of cranes make a stop in this area to congregrate and fatten up before making their long journey south for the winter. It’s an amazing thing to see. While waiting near sunset, we first heard them coming, then flock after flock came flying in, and at one point the entire sky was filled with these magnificent birds. Sometimes we have to remember to put our cameras down and just take it all in.
Let’s switch gears and get back to the winter photography tips we promised. Photographing in the winter is difficult, especially on a bright day. So how do we combat those blown out whites? What else do we need to think about with winter weather?
- Set your camera to RAW. When you photograph in raw mode (rather than JPG), you will have more “information” in your files and can adjust your images easier, and with more detail in the snow, than you can with the JPG files.
- Expose for the highlights, especially when it’s sunny. It’s important not to lose the detail in the snow, and overexposing your images is a sure bet that you will do that. Keep an eye on your histogram so you are sure not to overexpose.
- Get out early. Mid-day sun is tough, regardless of time of the year. Early day light (and late day light) will give you beautiful directional light, and fewer harsh shadows.
- Keep your batteries warm. It’s unfortunate to be out in the field and find all your batteries have been zapped from the cold weather. Keep then in an inside pocket next to your warm body to make them last as long as possible.
- Watch for condensation on your gear. Much like the summer months going in and out of air conditioning, we have to be careful with transitioning between heat and cold in the winter. Keep your gear in a sealed plastic bag to make that transition to avoid as much condensation as possible. The moisture can cause your equipment to freeze in extreme weather, and that’s going to put an end to your photographic adventures quickly.
- Get out there in the fresh snow! There’s nothing worse than having a location in mind, only to find it’s already filled with foot prints by the time you get there. Beat the others out to your spot before you have your image ruined with tracks.
We hope to see you all soon!
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the most up-to-date information, events, and places you can see us. We have excursions and additional tours in the works, upcoming speaking engagements, and other events we will take part in.
And we hope you can join us!
Lisa Asp & Kristy Johnson
Inspire Photo Tours