My First Day in Africa: Arusha, Tanzania

Woman walking in Arusha by Anne McKinnell

I forgot it would be dark out when the plane landed. It was only 7:30pm, there would still be another hour of daylight at home, but the sun had already gone down in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. I couldn’t see the mountain at all. The make-up of passengers on the plane was about 75% folks older than me going on safari - mostly people in their 60’s. There were even a handful of … [Read more...]

It All Started at Lion Country …

Baby Elephants Playing by Anne McKinnell

It all started at Lion Country in California when I was six years old. I remember driving through the park, amazed by both the openness of the landscape and the variety of large creatures that lived there. The lions came very close to the car and they were more formidable than I imagined. Then there were the giraffes, so graceful with their slow steps that seemed to take … [Read more...]

Topaz Clarity Loves Me Back!

swblue-clarity

My friends over at Topaz Labs have chosen one of my images to show off my favourite plugin: Topaz Clarity! Now on the Topaz Labs home page you can see before and after versions of my image Southwest Blue. I absolutely love the subtle and natural look you get by using Topaz Clarity to adjust colours and contrast in an image, so I was delighted when they asked to use … [Read more...]

Gearing Up for My African Photo Safari

photography gear for african safari

If you're planning an African photo safari, you'll need to give yourself a bit of time to figure out what the best camera gear is for your trip and where you're going to get it. Everyone says good photography is not about the gear. It's about the photographer's skills and whether they can carry out their vision. I think that's true most of the time. But in some cases, it's … [Read more...]

Saguaros as Far as the Eye Can See

Distant Cactus by Anne McKinnell

Saguaro National Park, in Arizona, is a special place. The sheer density of the Saguaro Forest is captivating and I love how the cacti look against the red rock. Usually I photograph them from ground level, often from a low angle looking up to emphasize their immense size. But seen from above, you get a totally different feel for the place. To get a good vantage point, we … [Read more...]

How to Create a Good Composition in a Crowded Desert Scene

Saguaro Cactus in Quartzsite Arizona by Anne McKinnell

The Senoran Desert, in southern California and Arizona, is packed with all sorts of cacti and other plants. You never have to go far to find a good subject to photograph. In fact, deciding on which subject to photograph and isolating it from the rest of the plants is the most challenging part! Creating a good composition in a crowded desert scene is a matter of elimination, … [Read more...]

Desert Sunset at Joshua Tree National Park

Sunset at Joshua Tree National Park by Anne McKinnell

One of the reasons I like going down south in the winter (and there are many) is the incredible sunsets in the desert. It seems like every day is a clear blue sky day with no clouds and then, as the day goes on, the clouds move in just in time for sunset. There are stages to the sunset that we just don’t get on the coast. Or perhaps it doesn’t happen frequently enough … [Read more...]

The Echo of a Shape at Jumbo Rocks

Jumbo Rocks at Joshua Tree National Park by Anne McKinnell

When I am photographing, I always keep my eye out for strong shapes since they tend to lead to strong compositions. Any shape will do: circles, squares, triangles, curves. During my last visit to Joshua Tree National Park in California, I went back to a place I had been before, Jumbo Rocks, where there are all kinds of interesting rocks to photograph. But there was one rock … [Read more...]