Tag Archives: nature photography

Twelve Days of Christmas-Day 3


Day 3 – Celebrating the flow of life-giving energy in the form of pure water. Celebrating that there are places where that water is still drinkable right out of the stream! 

Celebrate the Flow!

Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, Environmental, Europe, Landscape Photography, nature photography Also tagged , , , , |

Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 2


Day 2 – Celebrating the Sun, the mirror-like surface of water on a calm day, the magnificent clouds – and the opportunity to be there to bear witness to the magic!

Celebrate the Magic!

Posted in Alaska, Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, Landscape Photography Also tagged , , , , |

Twelve Days of Christmas-Day 1


At this season of gift-giving, and reflecting on our past year, I am reminded of the wonderful gifts I have received all year – in the form of photographs, but also in the form of experiences. l am so grateful that I can make my living as a landscape/nature/travel photographer, and while that may involve wearing many hats (teacher, tour leader, speaker, writer, marketing director…) I wouldn’t trade it in for any other work. I found my ‘home’ in nature, and in traveling and experiencing the people and the wildlife of places, and the gifts keep coming.

So with that in mind, I’m sharing a ‘gift’ that I received with you, my friends, supporters, clients, students, and readers, each day leading up to Christmas. No matter what holiday you celebrate, it’s 12 days here on this blog of celebrating the light and beauty of this world!

Posted in Alaska, Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, Landscape Photography, nature photography Also tagged , , , |

Break it up – the pattern, that is

Detail of forest floor, Madeline Island, Wisconsin.


I’ve been editing a whole lot of photographs lately, my ‘slow time’ at home giving me the opportunity to process pictures and reflect on the year’s work. Through this process, I always evaluate what works, what doesn’t, etc. As I came across this image that was used in my most recent book Expressive Nature Photography, I was again reminded of the power of pattern, and the need to break it, often.

I was drawn to the pattern of the pine cones, above, but it was really that little piece of lichen that grabbed my attention. I call this ‘lagniappe’ in photography. Lagniappe is technically defined as “a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase; something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.the surprise gift. (according to Merriam-Webster).  I take creative license with this definition, as I consider that little piece of lichen a ‘gift given to an artist from the universe, or Mother Nature.’ I remember first learning about lagniappe from a good friend, Dewitt Jones, in a lecture he once gave to a photo conference. I had always looked for it, and captured it, but hadn’t a definition for it – until then. So thank you, Dewitt!

Why is that piece of lichen so important? Because the brain is stimulated by contrast.  Think about it; a pattern can be visually dizzying after a while, like a carousel you can’t get off of easily. It  becomes monotonous to the brain, after a while; but if you can find something, -anything – of contrast, it actually serves to enhance the pattern, as that element will create the contrast the eye/brain need. That’s not to say you can’t photograph just the pattern, and I often do – they make great jigsaw puzzles – or wrapping paper (!), but more often than not, for a picture that can hang comfortably on a wall, I’ll find something to break that pattern up to create greater impact.

Maybe it’s just one yellow flower in a meadow of blue lupine; or a sea urchin shell amongst pebbles on the beach; or an interesting window in a stone or brick wall. Whatever it is, you’ll find that often the inclusion of something ‘different’ in the pattern will enhance the picture.

There’s a metaphor, here, too. Just like that contrast in a picture stimulates the mind, a little bit of break-up in the patterns of your daily life can make it a lot more interesting, too. 

Thanks for being here!

Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, close-up photography, creative ideas, Insights, nature photography Also tagged , , |