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Photography Tips

The Dewy Bug Guy Is Back

All the photos in this article were photographed on the morning of Sept. 15, 2019, at Lincoln Creek Prairie in Aurora. When I first started working with Nebraskaland as a college student in the mid-1990s, my nickname among at least some of the magazine staff was “the dewy bug guy.” It was completely fair. A large part of my portfolio, such as it was, consisted of insects covered in tiny water droplets. At the time, my parents had recently helped …

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Your Camera Doesn’t See Like You Do

Part 3 of 3 Have you ever been frustrated because some parts of a photo are way too bright while others are so dark you can’t see any details? Why does the image on the screen of your phone or camera look so much less vibrant and impressive than the gorgeous sunset in front of you? Simply put, your camera doesn’t see the world the way you do. The first two parts of this series covered the more mechanical aspects …

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Your Camera Doesn’t See Like You

Park 2 of 3 Have you ever wondered why the photos you take at dusk turn out grainy or blurry? Why is it that only the left ear of your deer photo is sharp and the rest of the scene is out of focus? Simply put, your camera doesn’t see the world like you do. The first installment of this series, released in the May 2021 edition, covered mainly field of view and focus, but also mentioned depth of field. …

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Western Fireworks

In the pursuit of captivating photography, it sometimes pays to aim low. When developing an interest in nature photography years ago, capturing the subjects on these pages were at the bottom of my list. Yet, on countless mornings of taking photos of landscapes and wildlife, there they were: Little bursts of color around my feet. I already knew that pretty sunrises, sunsets and fauna were even more attractive with wildflowers in the scene. Soon, though, I learned a macro lens …

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Your Camera Doesn’t See Like You Do

Part 1 of 3 Have you ever taken a picture of a bird or other animal, only to have it show up as a mere pinprick on the resulting photo? Why do some photos have large portions that look blurry and only a few bits that are in focus? Simply put, your camera doesn’t see the world the way you do. The lenses on your camera are constructed very differently than the lenses in your eyes (though the basics of …

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2020 Photo Contest

Best of Show With more than 2,500 entries, the 2020 Nebraskaland Magazine Photo Contest drew a record number of stunning images from Nebraska photographers in the categories of Wildlife, Flora, Scenic and Recreation. This year’s Best of Show winner, “Young Buck” by Karen Kader of Omaha, was shot at Chalco Hills Recreation Area. She used Lightroom as her post-image software, adding shadow and accessing the program’s color sliders to accentuate the photo. We thank everyone who participated and look forward …

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Sleeping with the Cranes

An Adventure Story I’m often asked about the best place to see the sandhill cranes during their annual spring stopover in Nebraska. My reply: Do you want to see the cranes or experience them? The former requires getting a reservation in a riverside viewing blind, several of which are available in the central Platte River Valley. But if you really want to experience the cranes, I tell them, you need to spend the night with the birds on the river. …

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Ice Bubbles

As a photographer drawn mostly to small subjects like bugs and flowers, it can be hard to find much to photograph after the end of the growing season. Most invertebrates die, migrate or go dormant. Plants wither and turn brown. It’s fun to seek out interesting texture and patterns after a fresh snow or on a frosty morning, but those opportunities are relatively uncommon during most winters. When I start to feel especially stir crazy, one of my go-to remedies …

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Reflecting on the Crown-tipped Coral

One morning last July, I was riding in a UTV down a trail at Indian Cave State Park with ecologist Krista Lang, when I blurted out “Stop, stop, stop!” What had I seen? What had so excited this botanist? There, deep in the oak woods, growing on a log, was a beautiful crown-tipped coral mushroom. One of our missions that day was to photograph mushrooms, and this was a perfect specimen — fresh, big and immaculately shaped. But there was …

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Feathers: Nature’s Abstract Art

Nature’s Abstract Art About 20 years ago on a Sandhills hunt, I was arranging a few harvested grouse for a classic “I shot my limit” photo when I noticed something far more enticing — the feathers on the bird’s back accentuated in warm sunlight. After taking the photo, I was immediately hooked and have been photographing feather close-ups whenever the opportunity arises. For bird hunters, feathers to photograph are easy to come by. Gaudy rooster pheasants are decked out in …

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