Tag Archives: nature

Under Amazing Tuscan Skies



I love clouds! And I love Tuscany! Put the two together and you have a magical experience for me. I also love these little trees, the cipressi and umbrella pines, that line this roadway. They’re not really little, but I made them appear to be by including so much sky.

This might be breaking the rules of thirds, but it’s a great example of WHY you want to do that more often than simply sticking by the rule. The clouds were the real story, but the trees and land anchor those billowing clouds and express how wonderful afternoon storms can be in Tuscany in summer. Continue reading »

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House Finches in Flight



They say practice makes perfect, but in this case, I think I simply got lucky!! I was practicing, however, over and over again, to capture these house finches as they skirmished in the air. A nearby feeder was their target and they’d squabble and land on this barrel cactus and it was great fun to watch and to photograph! I won’t tell you how many images I threw away – because the wings weren’t right, or birds overlapped, or half of the bird was great and the other half, well, wasn’t even in the frame! lol. But with persistence, and patience, I managed to get a few that I liked, like this image. The most fun was that I spent the time with my good friend Wendy Kaveney, who has been practicing this herself in her desert backyard outside of Phoenix, Arizona. It was a great time, and we’d spend each morning watching the birds and photographing Gila woodpeckers, Gilded Flickers, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrashers, Mourning Doves, Verdins, Quail, and the sneaky Harris Antelope Squirrel who’d get into the food, too.

I recalibrated my Tamron 150-600mm lens with the Lens Align Kit and I’m so glad I did. If you think you don’t need to do that with your long lenses you bought, think again! I was able to make mine even more accurate by doing the test.

Thanks for visiting, and please share with friends!


Posted in bird photography, Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, nature photography, wildlife photography Also tagged , , , , |

Impressions of Spring



The Carrizo Plain is a wonderful place, home to pronghorn antelope, birds, reptiles, and in Spring, a great location for large displays of flowers. This year, it was mostly goldfields, with some purple phacelia and a few Fremont Tidytips thrown in, but the wind was ‘howling’ the entire day I was there – steady winds at 20-25mph, gusting to 35-40mph. Nothing to do but enjoy the big scene and photograph it at a distance and fast shutter speed. No close-up images were possible. Heck, you couldn’t have held your diffusion disc in place for anything! But the impression of the joyous display of flowers was still there – the bright sunny yellow of thousands of flowers bobbing in the sun is imprinted in my memory. This multiple exposure is my ‘impression’ of the experience. 8 exposures, hand-held for random positioning.

Enjoy, and thanks for visiting!


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

Death Valley Spring


By many accounts this is a super bloom year in Death Valley. And in my opinion, it was super no matter whether the media/park service called it that or not! It was spectacular to witness the landscape bathed in bright cheerful yellow. You would step out of your car and be greeted with not only the cheerfulness of the flowers, but the softly pungent/sweet fragrance of them, too. It’s not over, but the showy desert gold flowers have gone past their peak, about a week ago, as I was leaving, and that’s what shows up the most in the big landscape.

Yet no matter how great it looked, it was at times challenging to capture. When you were driving around, looking at the vast scenes, you’d think that the desert floor was choked with flowers. But get out of your car, and you realize that each plant has space around it in all directions, and for good reason: water rights. They each need a certain amount of water and the space allows them that, essentially. “Ah, but that’s just the side of the road”, you think to yourself, looking deeper into the landscape at swaths of yellow carpeting the alluvial fans. “It looks like they are more dense further in.” So you walk in – well I didnt, but so many did, hoping to get to “that area over there that looks so great!” I knew from the last superbloom I experienced there that you never get to that place of dense flowers, because it’s all an optical illusion! I have to admit I chuckled a few times as I watched people deep into a field trying to get closer to that elusive great patch of flowers.


In theTharp_20160226-5815 end, the compression of the scene is what made for more interesting photographs for me. I used my Tamron 150-600mm and my Canon 70-200mm a lot more than I had expected. I looked for stories, the way the desert gold flowed down an alluvial fan, as that was where the most moisture flowed in the rains. I found flowers in the volcanic rocks, backlit and looking like a ski slope the way they trickled down the erosional gullies on the hill. And I loved how the splash of color accented the mountains of ochre, brown, and beige.

And when I had my fill of the larger landscape (which was never), I found the intimate scene just as special, because beneath all those showy yellow flowers, tiny plants were flowering everywhere, too.



The desert heat was getting to the flowers, and getting to me!! Hotter than usual for this time of year, and an unforgiving sky meant you had only a little time in the morning or late afternoon to create images of this natural spectacle. In between? You went for the shade of the Tamarisk trees near Furnace creek to download, chart batteries, and, um, nap…!

Thanks for visiting, and don’t forget to share with your friends, please.


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