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Tips and Techniques For High Flying Photos

Tom Bol discusses taking photos from hot air balloons, planes and helicopters

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Northern Exposure

Corey Rich documents a first ascent of the Arrigetch Peaks in Alaska's Brooks Range

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Lynsey Addario

Photojournalist Lynsey Addario is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about her photography.

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The Importance of Composition When Shooting Nature

Pat O'Hara had to go far from home to really appreciate the…

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For Memorable Family Vacation Photos, Focus First on Family

Tamara Lackey on taking great photos during family vacations

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How to Take Pictures of Water Using Long Exposures

Getting that "silky" look when photographing moving water isn't…

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Creatively Photographing Objects Up Close

The idea that less is more can be applied to the subject matter in your photos.

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Going Solo: A Two-Wheel Photo Journey Across Asia

Photojournalist Eleanor Moseman documents vanishing cultures

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When to Use Graduated Neutral Density Filters

How to use a graduated neutral density filter to decrease extreme light to…

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Preserve and Protect: Got a Backup Plan for Your Photos?

Don't lose those precious photos. Make sure you've got a backup…

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One Shot: No Exit

Bill Durrence on ow a simple change can alter a photo’s feeling

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Making Pictures in the Rain

Just because it's raining doesn't mean there aren't great pictures waiting to be made.

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Yes, I Pan: Pursuing the Bigger Picture

Tony Sweet on creating panoramas

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4.4 Rating
Zoo and Wildlife Photography

Spend a day at the zoo with wildlife photographer Julie Larsen Maher

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Vincent Versace

Fine art, commercial and nature photographer Vincent Versace is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his…

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Tips for Environmental Photographers

Nikon Ambassador James Balog offers tips for environmental shooters

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A Photographic Expedition — Easter Island and Patagonia, Chile

Travel to Patagonia and Easter Island for a photographic…

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Photograph Family and Friends During the Holidays

The holidays are prime picture-taking time. Get some great tips on…

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Photographing the Night Sky

Astrophotography: tips for making great images of the stars, moon and night sky time-lapse

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Fast Frames: A Quick Guide to Bird Photography

Matt McRay discusses how to get birds to visit your yard so you can…

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Versatile Views of the World of Wildlife:

Ron Magill field tests the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens

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Destination Latin America:

Blaine Harrington on photographing Latin America

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For Great Nature Photos, Look Close to Home

Carol Freeman on photographing nature in your "backyard"

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Night Photography

Reed Hoffmann's tips for great night photography

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Photographing it All

With experience as a newspaper photographer and close to 20 years with Sports Illustrated, George…

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Taking Better Photos of Your Kids at Play

Taking photos of your kids while at play make great images; next time you’re…

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Outdoor Pursuit

Bill Hatcher photographs the impossible—well, let's say the extremely difficult.

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Pete Turner: Master of Color Photography

Pete Turner is a master of color, but he's also a master of content and mystery.

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12 Tips for Better Vacation Photos

A dozen easy tips for taking better vacation pictures

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Santa Fe Photographic Workshops

Discover the spirit of place. Capture the soul of a portrait. Refine your personal style.…

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Outside Shots: Go Long

Tony Sweet on revealing the invisible in images

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Top Photography Tips from Nikon School Instructors

Learn photography the easy way, at Nikon School

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Want Better Landscape Photos? First Check Your Definition of "Landscape"

Tony Sweet offers tips for better landscape…

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No Limits: For Better Photos, Think Like a Photojournalist

David Handschuh on thinking like a photojournalist

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Shooting Long Exposures:

Deborah Sandidge on shooting long exposure landscapes and cityscapes

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Tips for Photographing Birds

Birds make great subjects for photographs; tips for capturing them with your camera.

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One Shot: Are We There Yet?

A photo destination well worth the effort

Walk through the horizontal slot canyon known as The Subway, on the left fork of North Creek in Zion National Park, Utah. Stand up on the rock ledge and turn around. If it's a sunny day, you'll see a scene similar to what you see here, as reflected sunlight pours through the tunnel-like canyon from the V-shaped valley at The Subway's entrance.

One of the reasons The Subway is a favorite location for photographers is that the flood of light through the passageway isn't dependent on sunrise, sunset or any particular angle of the sun. "The light effect peaks for a few hours around mid-day," says Gary Crabbe, who made this photograph shortly after 1:00 p.m. in November, 2013. "There's a three- to four-hour window; but noon to two is the best time," he adds. Gary also notes that November is a particularly good time to visit: not only is there the benefit of colorful fall leaves in the creek, but it's also the time of year when most of the summer thunderstorms are over and done. (If you happen to hit an overcast day, you'll still be rewarded by light through the tunnel, but it'll be pale sunlight rather than a golden glow.)

To make the most of your Subway photo opportunity, you'll want to have a wide-angle lens because the space is pretty tight. Like Gary, you might go for a long exposure to slow the movement of the creek water. A small f/stop will provide good depth-of-field. Also like Gary, you'll likely want to do a lot of shooting and a lot of bracketing to be sure you get the winners you came for, because getting to The Subway is no walk in the park.

There are two ways in. The Bottom Up route, a nine-mile roundtrip hike that involves, in the words of the National Park Service, "route finding, creek crossing, and scrambling over boulders," is the easier way. The Top Down route, says the Park service, "is a strenuous 9.5-mile hike that requires rappelling skills, 60 feet of rope, and extensive route finding experience [as well as] swimming through several deep pools of very cold debris-filled water."

Very cold? Debris-filled? Okay, then. With the Top Down Route sounding like something best enjoyed by extreme canyoneering adventurers, Gary chose the easier way and arrived at The Subway with a full kit of gear and some pretty clear ideas of what he wanted to capture. His shutter speed choices were aimed at getting some blur to the water, but not a silky smooth look. "I wanted to show some movement but still preserve definition," he says. And to maintain the depth of field he needed to get a level of sharpness on those leaf bits at the bottom of the frame, bracketing exposures by changing shutter speeds was the way to go.

With his tripod set up on the rock ledge, he took a number of horizontal and vertical shots, zoomed in and out and changed framing and composition. "You want to get some great shots during the time you spend," Gary says, and the location gives a lot more than just light through the tunnel: note the leading line of the curve of the ledge; the variety of textures and tones; and how the blue sky reflecting on the rock ledge contrasts the warmth of the sand and silt below the creek.    

Travel plans: visit the National Park Service website, where you can find out about the reservations and permits required for a visit to The Subway.

Keep in mind: Comfortable hiking boots, much bracketing.

The specs: D800, AF-S Zoom-NIKKOR 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED, 2.5 seconds, f/13, ISO 100, manual exposure, Matrix metering.

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