Spring Break Snapshots

Tis the season for family getaways.

Many schools around the nation are gearing up for spring break, and families are following suit. Now is a great time to drive or jet-off to your favorite recharging spot. For most people that means escaping to the sun, sand and surf, though any place that allows you to become one with nature is a prime choice as temperatures becomes more tolerable.

If your spring break plans include visiting our nation’s natural treasures, don’t forget your camera… and your lenses. This is especially critical if you are planning a trip to major landmarks, such as the Grand Canyon. Taking decent shots of sweeping vistas requires a good set of lenses, including a wide-angle lens anywhere from 17mm to 35mm, a normal 55mm and a zoom in the 80-200 range. In addition, a macro lens will help you capture fine details, such as birds, lizards, cactus blooms, and different rock textures.

Another accessory you don’t want to leave home without is a filter. If you are photographing the Grand Canyon in the middle of the day you will likely need a UV filter. I also recommend investing in a polarizing filter. When used properly the filter can deepen the canyon’s colors and reduce haze.

Of course, timing is everything when you are taking photos in nature. The best time of the day to shoot anything outside is at sunrise or sunset. Also known as the “golden hours,” these select moments are when Mother Nature casts an attractive glow on a variety of subjects. In the case of the Grand Canyon, by waiting until sunset to press the shutter button, you will be rewarded with stunning shades of gold, lavender and pink illuminating the massive rock formations. Taking snapshots early in the morning or late in the evening is also key if you want to eliminate major contrasts and harsh shadows.

Related Articles:

Shooting the Perfect Portrait

Telling A Story With Your Shots

Natural Framing

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.