Spooky Gulch II (Alex Mody)

Hey everybody,

Here’s another one from Spooky. I thought the shadows and contrasting colors looked interesting. Happy holidays!

Spooky Gulch (Alex Mody)

Hey everybody,

I’m now in Moab, Utah. I have been shooting in a bunch of different spots in the area, including but not limited to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. It has snowed the last couple days, and I’ve been out from sunup to sundown photographing. I’ll have photographs from here ready in my next post.

A few days ago, before arriving in Moab, I shot for a few days in the Grand-Staircase/Escalante National Monument. Among my favorite spots in the Monument is Spooky Gulch, a long and narrow slot canyon. If you didn’t know, A slot canyon is a deep and narrow canyon that is formed by the erosion of rushing water. There are dozens, if not hundreds, peppered throughout the desert southwest. Most of them are fairly difficult to get to, requiring advanced skills in rappeling and climbing.

Spooky Gulch is a favorite of mine, because it is more easily accessed than others. It requires a round-trip hike of under 4 miles, and only has a few obstacles once inside the slot. Spooky is one of the more deep and narrow slots in the area. In some sections, it was so narrow that I could barely fit through.

The reason many photographers want to shoot in slot canyons is because of the beautiful reflected light. The best part is that they are well photographed in the middle of the day, when the sun is high in the sky. Direct light hits the top of the canyon walls, and then reflects back and forth off the sandstone, eventually reaching bottom. When there is a good amount of reflected light, the walls seem to glow with red and orange light.

Here is a photograph that shows just how narrow and colorful Spooky Gulch can be. At this point, the canyon was about a foot wide at the bottom.

December Issue is Posted!

Hi All -

I hope your holiday season is going well and that you are almost on winter break from school. I leave on Wednesday for a birding trip! Hopefully I will have some great images to share in the coming weeks. For now, check out the December issue of NBPS online at www.naturesbeststudents.com and remember to enter our new online photo contests. Details on the Take Action page.

- Gabby

Death Valley Badlands (Alex Mody)

Hey everybody,

Here’s a shot I took last week in Death Valley, CA. I saw the light hitting just the tops of the ridges, and I saw a few different compositions. I really love photographing badlands, or any really textured terrain when the sun is low in the sky.

Photojournalism Tip #3: Approaching an assignment

After getting to know your camera the next step in photojournalism tackling your first assignment. Each type of newspaper or magazine has a different style for doling out assignments. At the newspaper where I work, we meet weekly to give out general assignments for the week and then touch base with our photographers throughout the week if things change or if other news items come up. We have an editor go with new photographers on their first assignment to make sure they understand the procedure of a shoot and to see if any questions arise. I recommend taking an easy assignment first. It’s a great time to make sure you’re comfortable with the camera. And, even if the assignment seems boring, it gives you all that more room to be creative: what angles can I use to best capture this lecture? What kind of lens would work best for crowd shots? How can I make this meeting interesting to my viewers and still tell the story?

Things to remember on your first photo assignment:
1) Move around! Move yourself to different locations and move your camera to different orientations. That is one of the most important aspects, you never know what size or orientation the editor is going to need.
2) Take Lots of Photos! This is extremely important as well, the more photographs you take the better chance you’ll have some great shots. Even if your taking a simple assignment take lots of photos.
3) Understand your assignment. Before leaving on assignment make sure you understand what you need to get photographs of or what the story is about. Don’t be afraid to ask if to get more information on site if things seem different.
4) Get names. Obviously this is not the case for large group shots, but if you take a picture of a small group, don’t be afraid to approach them after the shot to get their names. Having a small notebook where people can write their own names down leads to fewer frustrated readers and happier editors — both great things.
4) HAVE FUN!! Be Creative! Don’t be afraid to get close to your subject.

~Maya

Coyote Buttes South (Alex Mody)

I was shooting at Coyote Buttes South yesterday and I made this image. The Coyote Buttes are on the border of Arizona and Utah. The land is divided into two sections, North and South. The land is managed by the BLM, and visitors must have a permit to enter. There is a daily quota of twenty permits for each section. The North section is full almost everyday, as it has more popular and well known landmarks (The Wave, The Boneyard, etc.) Just google it if you’re not familiar. The South section, however, is quite desolate, and getting a permit is usually pretty easy. High clearance 4WD is a neccessity to get to the trailheads, which helps thin out the crowd a bit as well. I was there for two days, and didn’t see another soul! While the North section has more landmarks, I feel like the South section is a bit more impressive due to the fact that it’s so much more diverse.

Little Green Heron (Nathanael Gass)


Other than Pennsylvania, the only other place I visit regularly is the small town where my grandparents live. It is about 4 hours from my house, and still in North Carolina. When I am there, I photograph around my grandparent’s house and a boardwalk nearby. At the boardwalk, I photograph everything from landscapes to wildlife to macro shots. Boardwalks can be great places to photograph. They allow you to safely shoot in areas that would be hard to access otherwise. The main drawback is the lack of maneuverability, but with a little creativity, you can get some great shots.
Here is a photo I took of a green heron at the boardwalk.
Metadata: ISO 320, f/6.3, 1/250th of a second.
Nikon D-80, 180mm macro lens.

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