landscape photography

Badlands Nation Park, and why I'll probably never be an astrophotographer

We visited the Badlands National Park recently.  The entire purpose was to try my hand at astrophotography. It was a bit windy the night we went out, but I was still able to capture a few shots. None of them are worth showing the public though; they all turned out a wee bit blurry because I used way too long of a shutter speed. At least I know what I did wrong. 

Badlands Selfie | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Besides the shutter speed, I learned a few things about astrophotography...

  • It is way harder than it looks

  • With my camera I need to be in place, and focused in, before the sun goes down

  • I am a great big chicken when I am standing out in the middle of no where, in the pitch black.

Badlands by Day | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I seriously would have had a Blair Witch Project experience if my family had not been out in the pitch-black-you-can't-see-beyond-a-foot-in-the-darkness-of-night with me.  I can totally relate to those poor kids...


Joshua Leonard:
I heard two noises coming from two separate areas of space over there. One of them could have been a deer, but the other one sounded like a cackling.

Heather Donahue:
No way!

Joshua Leonard:
Yeah, it was like a serious cackling.

~Blair Witch Project


Badlands by Dusk | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I think I will stick to the daylight for now, and something I happen to enjoy, panoramas. 

Things you will need for beginning astrophotography....

  • A tripod

  • A remote trigger.... I have an app that will do this for me, or you can use your timer. Which is what I ended up doing because I forgot about my handy app.

  • I used a wide-angle lens, because I was wanting a landscape shot.

  • An editing program, because no matter how great of a shot you make, astrophotography almost always needs a boost from editing.

This is a great site if you want to explore astrophotography further.


You can see more of our visit to Badlands Nation Park at my new Instagram gallery called @wanderingroad

Bear Butte at Sunset

The good, the random, and the fun!

Sometimes all you need is a photo....

But, then again, it is alwasy fun to create...

"Midnight Sky" by Lisa Kerner Digital Artist

"Midnight Sky" by Lisa Kerner Digital Artist

Of course, it is so much better to see creation on display right in front on you...

And then you take that creation, and make art....

Panoramic of Bear Butte, South Dakota

Panoramic of Bear Butte, South Dakota

A Sneak Peek of Yellowstone National Park

The good...

I have a ton pf photos to edit of our recent trip to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National park. It was an epic trip that left me with a list of photographic opportunities I want to pursue in the near future. A trip back is a definite must. 

For now, I'll leave you with a sneak peek of three panoramas that I took with my iPhone. I have several others that I took with my DSLR that I will share at a later date. Yellowstone and Grand Teton is a must for panorama photography. You'll really cannot capture the topography of the landscape without using panorama. 

Yellowstone in Panorama | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life Thru the Lens Link Up

The fun; Tips and Tricks for Panorama Photography....

~If you plan to print your panoramas think about the length. Generally, you do not want to stretch them out too long, or have them too narrow. I have found that a 3:1 ratio is a great size to print. 

~If you are sticking your panoramaS together from individual shots you'll want to shoot in portrait aspect so that your short side will not be too thin. 

~If you do not have a panorama track for your tripod, don't worry you can still shoot them by hand. I plant my right foot and pivot from left to right (in a semi-circle) never moving my right foot. It takeS a little practice but the results are fairly spot on. 

~When shooting individual pictures for your panorama always shoot with an overlap of 15% to 25%. I have found when sticking photos together that 25% tends to work out a bit better for me. 

~Before you begin to shooting, pivot while tracking with your eye to notice where you might have to adjust up or down for the curvature of the Earth. This is very similar to following the line on your phone when shooting in panorama mode. 

~I always shoot more than once just to make sure I have what I need. So, I shoot my shots left to right, overlapping each shot, and then begin again. You can always delete your photos later, but it's hard to stick them together in Lightroom or Photoshop if you do not have enough information. 

~I like to stick mine together in Lightroom using the panorama feature because I can then adjust any aspect issues in Lightroom in the Transform Panel if I have any curvature issues in my final photo. 

Yellowstone in Panorama | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life Thru the Lens Link Up
Yellowstone in Panorama | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life Thru the Lens Link Up

The Beauty of Art and Breaking the Rules

To me the beauty of art is that, as the artist, you can take any creative measures you want. Sure there are rules in art, but when it comes to creativity, rules are always meant to be broken. Every new area of art is an example of this thought process. Realism, to Impressionist, to Post-Impressionist, you can clearly see the rules breaking for the creation of art. 

The same holds true for photography. There are rules when taking photos, rules when editing photos, but ultimately it is all up to the vision of the artist on what rules to follow, or to break. I break rules all the time, and I LOVE it. It is in the rule breaking that I find myself to be the most creative. 

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” ~Ansel Adams

There are those that see the above shot as cheating with editing. Some people have said that editing a photo at all is cheating. All photos over the lifespan of photography have been edited, and manipulated. The darkroom was the place to manipulate photos through the exposure of light to the image before digital photography took over the world. And now, digital processing is the new rule breaking generation to create an entirely new era of photographic art. 

The number one rule of rule breaking... do not lie about it! Own it. Be proud of it, but do not try to pass off edited photos as "what the eye sees" photos. Technology has made people incredibly smart and they know a scam when they see one. All of these photos are mine, and are heavily edited because I LOVE the editing process, the creative freedom in shaping beauty. 

"It's not what you see, but what I want you to see." ~Ansel Adams

Colors of Autumn; A Final Farewell

The Random....

We are beginning to say farewell to the colors of fall in our area. Today is also the last day of our Colors of Autumn Photography Challenge. Kristy is announcing the winner of our give away today. Be sure to pop over to her site to see who won and to congratulate them. 

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn; A Final Farewell

In my part of the world we are entering a month where thankfulness should be lingering on every second of our day. But, all too often, it is easy to entangle ourselves in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and we forget to breath deep and contemplate our blessings. 

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn; A Final Farewell

The Good...

Will you join me this year on Instagram in #CapturingBlessing. I do not have a prompt list this year because I want you to find the blessing in your every day moments, not search for them. I want you to linger in the seconds of the day and capture the essence of your personal blessing. I want you to stop in a moment so overwhelming powerful you cannot help but try to capture the blessing. I want you to capture what is blessing to you!

Lisa Kerner | Life Thru the Lens | Colors of Autumn; A Final Farewell

Life Thru the Lens 35/52... a Sneak Peek; A Guessing Game

A few weeks ago we headed west for the day.... can you guess where it was?

Sneak Peak | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

The good...

I am more than a little obsessed with sun flares. And, these reflection shots of me. It's the closest I'll get to a selfie. 

Sneak Peek 4 | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Sneak Peek 2 | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

The random...

The powers that be want to rename the place we visited.

Recently, in the Black Hills, there was a renaming of a popular hiking destination. You might of heard of it in the news... Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak. There are a few reasons I am against actions like these. First, it's a frivolous waste of money. If our state agrees to the name change, then everything would have to be altered: signs, maps, online social media, and tourist brochures, to name a few. Second, this name changed could lead to several name changes in our state, which leads to even more spending of money. Third and most importantly, we have a history in our country. Our history includes the good, the bad, and the down right ugly. To sweep the ugly under the carpet does absolutely no good for the generations that are up coming. If we forget where we have been, we are bound to repeat our mistakes. 

Sneak Peak 5 | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Snake Peek 3 | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Sneak Peek 6 | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

The fun... 

I'll give you a few hints about where we went, but you'll have to come back next week to see if you are right. Until then, leave a comment on where you think we went. 

1. It is a National Park Monument in the U.S.

2. It was the shooting location for a popular 70's movie.

3. It's a popular destination for mountain climbers.

4. It's more than four football fields in height, yet the base is only one mile in circumference. 

5. It's in another state, but is still located in The Black Hills. 

SO, WHAT IS YOUR GUESS??? WHERE DID WE GO?


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

New to Life Thur the Lens??? START HERE!

LIFE THRU THE LENS weekly linkup | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Phtography

Please remember to link your DIRECT url to the post you are linking!!

Life Thru the Lens 31/52.... The Badlands National Park, South Dakota

{Side note... I am finally all caught up on visiting your blogs... can I just say, you are ALL amazing. Make sure you visit one another, there is tons of FABULOUS stuff going on around the world.}

The Good....

This year is the Centennial celebration of The National Park Service in the U.S. We have a goal to visit all of the continental national parks, and most of the national parks in Hawaii and Alaska. I am not a huge fan of the thought of riding in a bush plane, but mind might conquer matter to see the majestic sights in northern Alaska. 

We began our national park journey back in the spring of 2013 with a visit to Glacier National Park. That experience was beyond any words that I might string together adequately enough to capture the beauty of the park. Next, we visited Smoky Mountain National Park late in the summer of 2013; I have not shared that experience, but it was fabulous. 

This year, we are planning a fall trip toYellowstone NP and to The Grand Tetons. We have been trying to visit these parks for over 15 years now. We had a trip all planned out but our sick baby boy Dreamer, and an emergancy room cancelled that trip. 

We are extremely excited about our fall trip, but of the most exciting thing about moving back to South Dakota is that several National Parks and sights are right out our backdoor. 

The Fun... Badlands National Park....

Badlands National ParK | Life Through the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Badlands National Park | Life Through the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Badlands National ParK | Life Through the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Badlands National ParK | Life Through the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Badlands National ParK | Life Through the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Badlands National ParK | Life Through the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

The Random...

Tips for visiting The Badlands:

~ The Badlands NP does accept park passes... otherwise it is $15.00 per vehicle, or $30.00 annually. 

~ If you visit during the summer time, be sure to bring plenty of water for hydration as the shade is limited and the heat plentiful. 

~ There are a ton of little hikes at each pull over all ranging in a half-mile, to a mile-and-a-half. Take the time to explore off-the-road to experience The Badlands intimately. We are planning a fall trip to hike every trail in the area. 

~ There are accommodations within the park... the Forever Resort, the Cedar Pass and camping as well. 

~ The Badlands vegetation is high desert foliage perfect for rattle snakes to hide in so...

Badlands National ParK | Life Through the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

~ You cannot visit The Badlands without a stop at Wall Drug. From either direction, once you hit the boarder of South Dakota, you will begin to see the signs. "Where the heck is Wall Drug?" Or, "Only (fill in the blank) miles to Wall Drug." Wall Drug is a drugstore that is famous the world over, and so much more.

(Once you see the signs you will begin to see them everywhere. We have seen the signs from Montana to the Middle East, and every where in between.)

Polebridge Mercantile, Montana 

Polebridge Mercantile, Montana 

 

HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR NATIONAL PARK? IF SO, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ONE?


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

New to Life Thur the Lens??? START HERE!

Please remember to link your DIRECT url to the post you are linking!!

Life Thru the Lens weekly linkup | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Life Thur the Lens 28/52.... Hiking Bear Butte, South Dakota

I have a fear of heights.

Bear Butte State Park, South Dakota

Bear Butte State Park, South Dakota

I read somewhere where all fears originate in one thing, death. So realistically, I have a fear of death by falling. It's a fear that bubbles up deep within my stomach. One that has only left me paralyzed in one situation, otherwise I have been able to conquer my fear of heights. Although, it is no easy feat, it's a constant battle of mind over matter.

Let's Begin....

Let's Begin....

About a quarter of the way up....

About a quarter of the way up....

About half-way up, taking a photo break....

About half-way up, taking a photo break....

A view of The Great Plains...

A view of The Great Plains...

We started way down in that parking lot....

We started way down in that parking lot....

We hiked Bear Butte a few weeks ago. It has an elevation gain of 1036, which is not much of an elevation gain when compared to some of the hikes we have done in Europe. However, combine the teeny tiny trial in places, with gusting wind, and navigating loose schist rock... I'm not going to lie, I was scared. You know, the kind of illogical fear that makes you picture your sudden plunge to death as you slip off the face of the Butte from a powerful gust of wind. Ummm hmmm, I mentally envisioned that scenario a few times. 

There was a ton of color on the hike between the memorial flags and the wildflowers....

There was a ton of color on the hike between the memorial flags and the wildflowers....

About three-quarters of the way up, on the backside of the Butte where the trail tapers off and the wind picks up....

About three-quarters of the way up, on the backside of the Butte where the trail tapers off and the wind picks up....

Never too frightened to skip a photo opportunity of a flower....

Never too frightened to skip a photo opportunity of a flower....

Often, I cannot enjoy a good view because of the overwhelming emotion that suspends reality for me. But, this time I took the views in with triumph and awe. 

Life Thru the Lens | A Little Randomness | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Tips for hiking Bear Butte...

~Take lots of water, especially on hot days since the majority of the hike is in the open. And, wear sunscreen. 

~Wear sturdy shoes as the elevation gain is not gradual and the majority of the trail is covered with schist rock.

~Be respectful that Bear Butte is a sacred spiritual ground for the Sioux Nation.

~Hiking poles came in handy on the descent, and I would recommend them. 

~The views are spectacular so bring a camera. 

~Watch your hat on the top!! And, enjoy the view; you can see four states on a clear day. 

WHAT FEARS HAVE YOU CONQUERED LATELY???


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

New to Life Thur the Lens??? START HERE!

Life Thru the Lens weekly linkup | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Please remember to link your DIRECT url to the post you are linking. 

Life Thru the Lens 24/52... Crazy Horse Volksmarch

Our goal since moving back to The Black Hills was to hike more often. While there was hiking in MO, there was not much hiking that was easily accessible to us. It is nice to be back in an area where we can literally walk out our door and find a trail. There is nothing like the smell of warm pine needles while the wind rustles through the tree tops, and the birds call to one another. 

A couple weeks ago we decided to drive to the southern hills to participate in the Crazy Horse Volksmarch. The last time we participated in the Volksmarch I was full blown pregnant with our first born. This time we told Blue Eyes she has to hike on her own... no free rides. :-)

Crazy Horse Volksmarch Spring 2016 | Lisa Kerner| Simply Living Photography
Crazy Horse Volksmarch Spring 2016 | Lisa Kerner| Simply Living Photography
Crazy Horse Volksmarch Spring 2016 | Lisa Kerner| Simply Living Photography

It was such a stunning view I had to at least try my hand at a panorama. There is normally a Volksmarch in the fall as well, and I hope this year is no different. The fall colors will make for a fabulous view. 

Crazy Horse Volksmarch Spring 2016 | Lisa Kerner| Simply Living Photography

A few Facts About Crazy Horse Memorial....

  • June 3rd, 1948 was the first blast on the hill.
  • Crazy Horse was a Lakota Warrior. There is a controversy over whether the family of Crazy Horse authorized the building of this memorial. 
  • Crazy Horse led The Battle of the Little Big Horn, or Custer's Last Stand.
  • The Crazy Horse Memorial is run by a non-profit organization accepting no government (state or federal) funding. So, your entrance fee is actually a donation to the building of the memorial.
  • The memorial is being built on Thunderhead Mountain, a sacred site. 
  • When/if completed the memorial will be the worlds largest mountain sculpture. 
  • You can only hike to the arm during the spring and fall Volksmarches. 

WHAT FUN PLACES HAVE YOU BEEN EXPLORING???


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

New to Life Thur the Lens??? START HERE!

Life The the Lens Weekly Linkup | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Please remember to link your DIRECT url to the post you are linking. 

Life Thru the Lens 20/52.... Custer State Park, S.D. and Wind Cave National Park

The Random....

Did you know that the buffalo is now the national mammal of the United States? This statues is not to be confused with the national emblem, and national animal, of the U.S. the bald eagle. Oh course, it comes with no additional species protection, but.... stop me now before I digress into a conversation about how it is NEVER a good idea to try to pet a bison. Or, take a selfie with one.

The Good....

I captured these beauties in Custer State Park, one of our favorite places to visit in The Black Hills. 

Do you want to learn about travel photography? Try CreativeLive's   Travel Photography Toolkit . (Affiliate Link... see police page from more information.)

Do you want to learn about travel photography? Try CreativeLive's  Travel Photography Toolkit. (Affiliate Link... see police page from more information.)

Tips for taking photos of wildlife....

  • A zoom lens is a must so that you can keep a safe distance from the animals, both for your protection and theirs.
  • A camera bean bag is a terrific aid in keeping your camera steady when you are capturing wildlife through an open window of a car. (You can see the one I use in the sidebar.)
  • Always use common sense, if the animals seem agitated move on from your location.
  • Never, never, never approach wildlife!!! With all the events taking place in Yellowstone and in our local area, what seems like common sense must be reiterated... these are wild animals they will defend themselves if they feel threatened. No shot is ever worth the loss of your life.
  • Wait for it. Take your time and just simple watch the animals for a while. A good shot never happens right away. We waited for this big guy to gradually make his way towards us before I got the shot I wanted. 
Want to learn new techniques for outdoor photography? Try CreativeLive's  Unique Outdoor Photography Techniques . (Affiliate Link... see police page from more information.)

Want to learn new techniques for outdoor photography? Try CreativeLive's Unique Outdoor Photography Techniques. (Affiliate Link... see police page from more information.)

The Fun....

We head down to the southern Black Hills quite often, and on rainy day in the early spring we went buffalo baby hunting. Unfortunately, we were a bit early, which was a bummer, but we did happen to come upon these fluffy bison in Wind Cave National Park. We might, or might not have, sat there for about 30 minutes watching these guys. We were quite amused, we have never seen buffalo with such shaggy hair on their heads. 

Winde Cave National Park | Life Thur the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Since we did not find the treasure I was hunting for, I thought I might as well try my hand at taking photos specifically for a panorama. This shot is made up of 13 shots total and then stitched together in Photoshop. I am pretty happy since it was my first try at a stitched panorama. But, there is always room to improve...

1. I should have taken my shots in portrait view so that the short side of my photo would have been bigger pixel wise. My overall shot ended up being 13047 by 3165. Not bad, but I would have to upsize on the short side to print this, because (very basically speaking) I could print a 43 by 12 picture. I'd want it to be bigger than 12 inches on the short side. 

2. I forgot my tripod, or I should say I just didn't bring it. I was not planning on shooting a pano on this particular day.

3. It was sprinkling which made for a really pretty sky, but I needed an umbrella to protect the lens from water. My camera is waterproof, but keeping sprinkles off the lens is always a challenge without an umbrella. 

WHAT ADVENTURES HAVE YOU TAKEN LATELY????


WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

New to Life Thur the Lens??? START HERE!

Life Thru the Lens weekly linkup | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I'm linking to these lovely photographic communities.... join along!