It takes skill to become a professional landscape photographer, but anyone who is in the right place at the right time can capture the perfect shot.
Author Tim Truby has been in many of those places at the right moments, he’s come up with a new e-book guide that tells amateurs and more experienced photo enthusiasts alike how they can improve their skills.
The Kindle edition of “Photographing the American Southwest,” which is available through Amazon.com, profiles six to eight well-known locations and marquee attractions at each of Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks, including Delicate Arch and Mesa Arch near Moab.
Truby includes representative photos and trail route descriptions of each area, and he also offers technical suggestions about the best ways to compose a good shot and the best times of day to shoot. Anyone can use the nuts-and-bolts guide, he said, whether they’re working with state-of the-art digital cameras, basic point-and-shoot devices or iPhones.
The Redondo Beach, California, resident has worked as a professional writer in the Los Angeles area since the 1990s, contributing to software manuals, trade journals and informational brochures, among other things. He also served as an unofficial photographer for the website cars.com.
When he isn’t on the job, he often retreats to Utah, his “go-to” place for the last 20 to 30 years.
Like many other visitors, Truby said he’s drawn to the Beehive State for its variety of terrain, from red-rock deserts to snowcapped mountains.
“I don’t believe there’s any other area in the world where you can have so many different landscapes, all in one state,” he said.
Utah offers a lifetime’s wealth of subjects for landscape photographers, since the scenery often changes dramatically from one national park to the next. In the case of Arches and Canyonlands national parks, he noted, those changes occur within a matter of miles.
“You go to these five parks, and each one is very different in its own way,” he said.
As he worked on his new guide, Truby stationed himself around each national park for extended periods of time.
He likely knew it already, but his experiences confirmed that peak mid-day visitation periods at the parks are among the worst times of day to shoot landscape photos.
“Like they say, midday light just kills photography,” he said.
As a landscape photographer, he prefers to visit the parks during the early morning and early evening hours, when visitors are fewer in number and the light in the sky is often magical.
“Certainly for Canyonlands and Arches, you really want to be there not necessarily just at sunrise, but during those first few hours when you have that great crosslight,” he said.
Although park visitation often thins out during those times, smaller numbers of hikers are out and about, and Truby offers readers common-sense advice about etiquette to sharing the trails with others.
For instance, photographers should not expect to arrive at Canyonlands National Park’s Mesa Arch just before the sun comes up over the horizon, and then act as though they have the area to themselves.
“If you show up at dawn or a few minutes later, nobody’s going to let you take a picture,” he said. “They did wake up early just to get to the right spot, so there’s this sense that, ‘Somebody came in late and is going to get in the way? I don’t think so.’”
Beyond its focus on photographic techniques, Truby’s book delves into the history of the region, including a profile of John Wesley Powell’s exploration of the Colorado and Green rivers. It also touches on public lands issues that have come up in more recent years, and offers an overview of the Moab area’s role in movies such as “Thelma and Louise.”
“It all gives the creative person something to chew on,” he said.
Taken together, Amazon.com reviewer Ronald Zigler calls “Photographing the American Southwest” a useful cross between a trail guide and a guide to photography.
“Whether you are an experienced photographer or any level of hobbyist who wants to make the most of a trip to any or all of these parks, this book is indispensable,” he wrote.
Amazon reviewer Christopher Norman previously met Truby at a workshop held by renowned landscape photographer David Muench, and he said the author’s new book adds to the knowledge he picked up at that time.
“He was a great help to me at that workshop and this book will not only help my photography skills but will teach me how and where to shoot the national parks,” he wrote.
“Photographing the American Southwest” combines powerful images with technical advice
I don’t believe there’s any other area in the world where you can have so many different landscapes, all in one state.
To purchase the book, go to: amazon.com/Photographing-American-Southwest-Impressive-Canyonlands-ebook/dp/B00XLV8ZEI.
For more information about Truby’s photography, go to: www.tim-truby-photography.com/.