News from Rod Barbee Photography
June 2017



Summer has definitely arrived in the Pacific Northwest. A pretty wet and cold spring has left things like wildflowers running a little late; I may not find flowers on Hurricane Ridge until late July or August!
But summer seems to be here and I'm already whining about the heat. (It's only about 70 or so. I'm a real whimp...)


Update your camera’s firmware

Most modern digital cameras can have their firmware updated. For Nikons, at least, it’s a pretty simple process. I usually just search for the term “Nikon D810 firmware” and the first result in the search is usually the right one.
You should find easy to follow instructions for updating your camera. It generally involves downloading either the update files or an executable program that creates the update files. You’ll then copy the files to one of your camera’s media cards (cf, sd, etc.), put it in the camera, go to the firmware section of your camera’s menu items and choose the update option.
Firmware updates fix bugs, tweak settings, and generally improve performance.
I wish that Nikon would send out an email to registered owners when updates are available as firmware updates aren’t something I think about on a regular basis. But they don’t so I just have to remember to check occasionally.
So consider this your reminder.


Olympic National Park workshop report

I recently held my first May workshop in Olympic National Park. I usually go in July for the wildflowers, the deer up on Hurricane Ridge, and the lavender farms in Sequim. But this year I chose May. And May is a wonderful time to visit because the forests are looking great, the waterfalls and streams are full, and the sunsets at the coast can be more interesting.
The downside is that there are little to no wildflowers on Hurricane Ridge. In fact, it was still snow-covered. But the parking lot was clear and the mountains were out when they weren’t obscured by clouds and fog.
But fog and clouds at sunrise on Hurricane Ridge is when magic can happen.

Read the rest of my report on my blog...

A case for a fixed wide angle lens

One of the things I like to do is to create a starburst in a photo. The way you do it is to use a small aperture opening like f/22 and show only a bit of the sun, about an eighth. Hide it behind rock, a branch, even a cloud. It works best with a wide angle lens. (This is a trick I learned from David Muench). Push your depth-of-field preview button to get a preview of the starburst.
While I can get a starburst with my Nikon 16-35mm wide angle zoom, it seems that I get a better, cleaner starburst from my Nikon 24mm f/2.8 fixed focal length lens. This lens is small enough that I really have no excuse not to pack it, so I’ve decided to always add it to my photo pack.
You probably know that photographing in the forest on a sunny day usually causes a swift death to any photograph you try to create. But lookie here! A sunny day in the Hoh rain forest! It was really early on a sunny day and the light was still warm. (Click on image for a better view.)
The trick here is to try to avoid as much sky as possible and to expose so that you don’t create too many blown out spots. The super difficult part is getting your camera in the right spot to catch just a piece of the sun. You must act fast because that sun isn’t going to just wait around.

This is where knowing your equipment (including your tripod!) pays off. You need to establish an exposure that works (f/22 at whatever-it-takes-seconds), manipulate your tripod so the camera is in the right place, compose, focus, and shoot, shoot, shoot before the other branches block the sun. Then try again.

Future Trips

I've finally received a proposal from the folks I've worked with in Iceland. I'll be going over that and hopefully soon have a clearer idea of a trip for Sept. or Oct. of 2018. So those of you on the list, I'll be reaching out soon.

I'm also beginning the process of arranging a trip to Patagonia for April of 2019. This will be in their autumn so imagine stunning mountains, blue lakes and blue ice, fall color, soaring condors, guanacos, Malbec!

Be sure to let me know if you're intrigued, piqued, southern hemisphere-curious, or otherwise interested.



The most amazing display in nature has got to be the auroras. And Yellowknife in Canada's Northwest Territories is one of the best places from which to see and photograph them. The Yellowknife area sees auroras something like two out of every three nights. Each trip I've taken there has resulted is many great aurora shots and some truly awesome and moving memories. There's nothing like seeing an aurora storm directly above your head, seemingly reaching down to touch you. It's something everyone should experience.

And there's still plenty of space remaining in this year's aurora tour. Be sure to check it out.

Finished projects!

Well, one finished project. Still working on the others. But here's the green house I put together for Tracy. It's pretty cool. Well, warm... you know.

And the lawn in coming in nicely too, so we actually have a real back yard again. Bailey likes that, it's less confusing for her when she can easily find grass to conduct her business.

That's in for now. I'm off to the Palouse in a couple of days for a private tour and then back there again in a little over a week for my regular workshop. More on the results of those trips next month.

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