lighting tips for landscape photography

Photograph Anytime of the Day – Landscape Photography

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Using a Variety of Light for Landscape Photographing

Yes, sunsets and sunrises are beautiful to photograph but don’t think this is the only time you can photograph amazing landscapes.¬† Check out the tips in the video below for details.

desert landscape with electric poles

One-shot while the hubby was driving our jeep.

Exposure Time: 1/350
F Number: 19
Exposure Program: Manual
ISO: 200

Here is some of my fun to start you thinking about different ways to photograph your landscapes.

sedona arizona indian cave

One-shot image during the middle of the day.


Exposure Time:1/30
F Number:22
desert landscape with electric poles

One-shot while the hubby was driving our jeep.

Exposure Time:1/125
F Number:8
Exposure Program: Aperture-priority AE

Here is some of my fun to start you thinking about different ways to photograph your landscapes.

sedona arizona indian cave

One-shot image during the middle of the day.


Exposure Time: 1/350
F Number: 11
Exposure Program: Aperture-priority AE
ISO: 100
desert landscape with electric poles

One-shot while the hubby was driving our jeep.

Exposure Time:1/2000
F Number:8
Exposure Program: Aperture-priority AE
ISO: 250

So I hope I’ve inspired you to pick up your camera and feel the landscape no matter what time of day it is ūüôā¬† I’m always looking for new places to photograph.¬† If you have any to share let me know below.



Photograph Awesome Landscapes with these 7 Tips

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Photograph Awesome Landscapes with these 7 Tips

Like¬†you, I love to photograph landscapes.¬† It’s always good to grab some pointers to push your creativity so you can photograph awesome landscapes!¬† Below are 7 tips that I have learned through the years of photographing landscapes, especially deserts.


Photograph during storms and be safe.

Dramatic is what you’ll have…during our winter hike in Zion National park, there was a winter storm.¬† We were lucky to see the desert snow and took time to play in various locations of the park. The video below shares some of the fun!

Please be careful!¬† I know it’s exciting when you know you have an opportunity to photograph an exciting stormy landscape, but it can be dangerous.¬† I shot this image right after they had opened up the road from a huge rock landslide that trapped several cars.¬† The people were ok, and nobody was killed, but they had to helicopter them out of the park.¬† Be sure to check the bottom of this post, I share some essentials that Kevin and I have with us that may help you.

zion in the snow

Zion in the Snow – 1/750 @ f4.0 ISO 400 – HDR 2 images.


Look for leading lines and talk to locals.

The rock in the foreground¬†takes your¬†eyes to the sun.¬† Leading lines are powerful and help the viewers’ eyes go to the place in your work that you want them to be.

This India Ruin was a hidden secret.  We met an amazing hiker, over 80 years old btw, that told us about this Ruin.  It was so hard to find!  No way would we have seen this location on our own.  It was a perfect place for the Indians that once lived there thousands of years ago.

Once we got to the ruin, you could see the valley.¬† PLUS, this was a perfect time for me to photograph during the day!¬† Yes, the middle of the day! Most Landscape photographers would never think of photographing with the harsh light of midday…but I did and so can you.¬† ūüôā

An old Indian ruin that we found from locals in southern Arizona. HDR Pano Stack


Don’t leave after the Sunsets and “What are they looking at?”

The best light is about 30 minutes before the sun rises and 30 minutes after the sun sets, give or take a minute or two.  Scout your location during the day for compositions and set up before the golden hour (one hour before sunset/sunrise).

Kevin and I hiked Watson Lake during the day and because we were new to the place, I paid attention to where other photographers were hanging out.

As the sun was setting, people were taking a bunch of pictures around the location below and when they left, I was like “SCORE”!¬† I rushed to the site to see what the excitement was all about and I noticed the amazing compositions all around me.¬† I knew I only had moments to set up. As the sun went down, the sky blew up behind me and bam, happy Janice couldn’t stop taking HDR shots.

Be patient…it’s worth it for you to experience the beauty after the sunsets.

Watson Lake – HDR

Symmetrical Balanced landscapes are beautiful. The Watson Lake image above is a great example of symmetry.

Research where you plan to photograph.¬† Check out its history… you’ll feel the place and take better shots for sure.

This is where they made the famous movie Gunga Din.  It was so much fun photographing historical movie locations for the day.

gunga din, desert, western movie area

Lone Pine California

No more eye-level shots.

Take us on a new journey.¬† We all see landscapes at eye level.¬† ¬†Shoot over or under your main focal point and you’ll have some punch to the story.

sunset, tree, watson lake

I shot this below the tree. The sky popped and the tree seems larger than what it really was.


Look Out For Stories and Perspectives

I call this, “Ouch”!¬† In Joshua Tree, there are many rock¬†climbers.¬† I noticed a bunch of them on a clump of rocks, so I set up my tripod and camera while paying attention to the¬†foreground.¬† Sure enough,¬†this rock climber¬†bent down.¬† I was laughing¬†because¬†the perspective was perfect.¬† You see people holding the Sun all the time in pictures.¬† Play with people in your landscapes…it gives perspective and fun stories.

joshua tree, janice sullivan, sullivanjphotography, rock climer,



Get out of your Car

Almost didn’t get this shot!

We had a full day of hiking and I had done some sunset shots in a different location, but I wasn’t happy that there were no clouds.¬† As we were driving, the sky turned this beautiful yellow and the excitement that we (photographers) have when you know it’s good to pull out the camera came over me…but I almost didn’t.¬† The inner self-wasn’t happy not having clouds in the landscape and the sky wasn’t pink and purple like desert sunsets can be, so I almost didn’t stop and take the shot….last second before the turnoff, I changed my mind. I’m so happy I did.¬† I love this image!¬† I can feel the beauty of the desert.


Get Crazy and Play

green lake, sun, landscape

1/2000 @f16 28mm ISO160

One last tip…I’d like you to step out of the box and play with some of your landscapes in post-production.¬† It’s fun to go over the top sometimes and help you be creative even if you never show anyone what you’ve done.¬† I had fun with these pieces and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it ūüôā¬† And…they are perfect images for Interior Designers, who were my clients at the time.


Now let’s talk a little about gear.

You don’t need much, but you should have at least a couple of goodies in your equipment bag.

  • Tripod – Sturdy your camera
  • Camera (that’s a give me)
  • Graduated Filters if you don’t like to photograph HDR.
  • Your favorite lens¬† – Wide – 50mm – Telephoto
  • Polarizer filter – remove the glare on water and saturate color a tad
  • Shutter remote – To grab that sharp image (remove camera shake)
  • Variable Neutral Density Filter – Slow your shutter speed for soft water shots.

Here are more essentials for when you’re outdoors photographing.¬† You may think this is overkill, but we’ve actually needed most of the goodies during our various adventures.

  • Flashlight
  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Map and compass (phone reception doesn’t always work)
  • Freeze-dried food
  • Firestarters
  • Water
  • Bug repellant
  • First Aid kit
  • Knife
  • Blanket – Extra clothing
  • Trash Bags

99% of my work in High Dynamic Range (HDR) if you would like to learn more about HDR I have an awesome Mini-Course for you.  Updates are forever too!

Feel free to share your gear and tips.  I always love to read your comments.


Janice Sullivan

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Oatman Arizona’s Ghost Town

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Oatman Arizona Ghost Town

If you’ve never been to Oatman, Arizona then pack your bags and hop in the car for an amazing road trip! ¬†From the image below you wouldn’t think it’s a Ghost Town. ¬†It’s still living with amazing places to eat, cool shops that you’ll want to buy from and of course some fun history to enjoy!

It’s a great location to experience the descendants of burros from past miners. These wild burros walk around freely within the tiny town. ¬†They are a main attraction for sure! If you crave¬†historical places with some¬†flare, head out to Oatman, Arizona.

Oatman, Arizona, Ghost Town

Oatman, Arizona – Route 66


It’s right smack in the middle of Route 66! ¬†As I shot this place, I visualized these miners trying to make a living. ¬†The landscape was beautiful…picture in your mind the view without all of the electrical poles. ¬†ūüėČ

Oatman, Arizona, Ghost Town

Old 66 sign in Oatman, Arizona.


The baby burro was trying to nap, with the ears back, I did my best not bother it.

Oatman, Arizona, Ghost Town

Burro in Oatman. Arizona, taking a nap between buildings.


As I was sitting on the bench taking everything in, this burro decides to have lunch with me. They love people and the local shops sell food so you can feed them. Another amazing moment in this tiny Ghost Town.

Oatman, Arizona, Ghost Town

Burro eating hay in Oatman, AZ.


The museum was fun…it seemed everywhere I looked there was some kind of history piece that I wanted to photograph. ¬†Below is just a bit of what you can see in the town.¬†

Oatman, Arizona, Ghost Town

Old mining equipment.

Oatman, Arizona, Ghost Town

Old cashbox used in Oatman, AZ.

Oatman, Arizona, Ghost Town

Old boots in restaurant.

funny signs every where


One of my photographer friends Leah has an Aunt who owns ¬†“The Classy Ass”. It’s a great place to grab some goodies. If you stop in, tell Lynnette… Janice sent you. ūüôā

Oatman, Arizona, Ghost Town

Fun gift shop in Oatman.


I know you’ll feel like Oatman is an amazing Candy Shop. ¬†Everything is so yummy! ¬†The history, people, photo ops, burros. etc… I could keep going with the yummies. ¬†Oh, and by the way…yes, Oatman has a Candy Shop too!

Oatman, Arizona, Ghost Town

Candy Shoppe – Oatman Arizona


Have you been to Oatman, Arizona? ¬†If your answer is a yes, please comment on your favorite part of this amazing old mining town. ¬†If it’s a no…start packing!

A quick tip…go past the town and keep driving a bit… you’ll see an amazing mine. ¬†It’s a wow moment!

Enjoy…I know you will!
Janice Sullivan

Photographing Arizona Deserts II – Hidden Secrets

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Today I want to inspire you to get out and photograph hidden secrets of the desert. You can usually find mining towns, oases and Native American ruins in the Southwest. Arizona has many Native American ruins that are hidden or that blend in with the environment, and when you find one…it is really a “wow”¬†moment.

Here are a couple of places to start off. Check out Montezuma’a Castle. You cannot enter the ruin, but there is an amazing visiting area so you can learn about the exhibit.

Montezuma’a Castle

Next to the castle, is the Montezuma’s well. ¬†Do not just stay at the top to observe, walk down the stairs and you will see hidden ruins to the right, which are amazing. You can see how they built their homes inside a small cave.

If you have time, check out Tuzigoot National Monument it’s next to Jerome. ¬†I wrote a brief posts with images about Jerome. Check that out here.

Now if you really want to see some hidden secrets, do some hiking and talk to locals in the area. The first time my husband and I visited Sedona, Arizona a local told us of an old Native American ruin on the side of a large hill. We hiked up the hill and was a tad harry at times, but it was so worth it. The second time we visited Sedona, we were prepared for the hike with food and equipment. It was such an amazing experience that I had to share it with you.

Here is a fun pano stitch. I have not processed this photo, but for me it is still a fun shot.

Unprocessed pano of our favorite Indian Ruin.

This is the one I will print for me and Kevin. This is a special find and I am happy to share it with you.

Indian Ruin Pano Fun

Our special place.

One more thing…pay attention to the rock art. There are tons of petroglyphs¬†hidden everywhere!


I alway like to hear from you, so if you have any fun hidden secret photography locations to share with us, please feel free to add them to the comment section.


Janice Sullivan
Find me at Google+


Just a quick shout out! I use a lot of A.D. Wheeler’s tools and figured I’d share his link with you to help bring out your creative spin to¬†your images. ūüôā

A.D. Wheeler’s Cool Stuff



Watson Lake Photographs – Don’t Give Up

By | Landscape & Travel | 12 Comments

Have you heard of Watson Lake in Arizona? Well, I hadn’t until one of my photographer friends from the Arcanum showed us one of his shots of Watson Lake.¬†I was mesmerized by the beautiful rock formations and the trees growing from the rocks.

Kevin and I had to go and photograph the lake while we were vacationing in Sedona, Arizona.  It is not far and worth the drive.

I fell in love with this tree, but there were other photographers in the location that I wanted to be. It was a small area surrounded by water so not many could fit. They eventually left after sunset. ¬†Wow, I was in luck! ¬†I hurried to the location because I knew I wouldn’t have much time to set up and then the sun blew up and I shot away taking different exposures and merging them together later in post. Wow, what a feeling of pure excitement and content! I must tell you that the first time we visited Watson Lake the sunset was not as beautiful as this day. We did some research and found out there would be clouds in the forecast so we knew we had to go back.


Burning Bush

In the image below, we again stayed after sunset hoping to have an amazing sky. We scouted around before sunset and noticed the beautiful location in the image below. I knew that was one area for me to focus on.

Watson Lake's Beauty

HDR – Watson Lake Arizona


Tip for the day:¬†Don’t give up! ¬†If you can’t get the shots you want the first time, be persistent and you’ll eventually succeed…and don’t leave after the sun goes down ūüėČ



Janice Sullivan

Find me at Google+

How to Make Your Images Unique – Sedona Arizona

By | Landscape & Travel | 16 Comments

Sedona, Arizona

The subjects in the images below have been photographed by many people, so I asked myself how I could make them different from the rest. I wanted my own spin to Sedona, Arizona. Well, I did a bit of research and I took a bit of time to see what others had done to this location as I was thinking about photographing.

If I like compositions that have already been used, I will often shoot photographs the same way and then change them in post.

For example, both of these photographs have different skies.

Cathedral Rock

Sedona, Arizona – Cathedal Rock – HDR @ 70mm

In the shot above, the sky was photographed in Sedona, Arizona, but in a different location.  I used OnOne masking to merge the clouds to my landscape.  Truthfully, On1 Perfect Photo Suite is the easiest way to add skies to your image.

The bell shot below also has a different sky, but it was shot in the same location. I really liked the way the sun was hitting the rock formation, but the clouds looked horrible. Since the clouds were moving fast, my husband Kevin and I hung out until I saw what I liked and shot it. This was easy since I left my tripod in the same location. I next merged the two images to make one.

Bell Rock – Sedona, Arizona – 102mm with a 70-200 Canon Zoom

I hope this helps you think about other ways to change up your photography when you travel to a well know places to photograph.

Remember…It’s your art, go for it and play!

Janice Sullivan

Find me at Google+

Go Back and Process Old Images

By | Landscape & Travel | 16 Comments

Tip for today…go back and process some of your old images.

As long as the composition and exposure are what you like, go for it! Working on old photographs that I have shot always brings back fun memories.

New software has many fun tools to process images compared to what I had when I shot these images. I do recommend that you always shoot in RAW. It’s so easy to process a group of images in Lightroom and I admit that when others were still photographing in jpeg, I was shooting in RAW so I have more to work with pertaining to my old photo files.

The image below was taken while we were on vacation in Sedona. We actually went North a bit past Flagstaff to see the Wupatki Indian Ruins. I highly recommend you checking this out if you like historical places like I do.

Wupatki Indian Ruins

Wupatki Indian Ruins -1/125 @ f11 ISO 125

While visiting my aunt and uncle the fog came in and I snapped this photo. I made it a square and played with it a bit in post. ¬†Living in California it’s easy for me to drive the 101 coast line. ¬†If you visit this amazing state take some time to road trip the 101 freeway and highway 1. ¬†You’ll have amazing photo ops I promise. ūüôā


Fog on Highway 101 – 1/1500 @ f11 ISO 100

Hope you all have a great week and take me up on my tip. I know you’ll have fun checking out your old shots and processing them. Always, feel free to share your images with us. Just link them in the comment area and tell us a bit about them.


Janice Sullivan
Find me on Google+

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

By | Landscape & Travel, Macro & Close-up | 12 Comments

Guess where we went last weekend? ¬†Yep,¬†Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve! ¬†We had so much fun enjoying the poppies and desert flowers. ¬†Yes, they were definitely¬†not¬†as abundant¬†as in the past, so Landscape photographers wouldn’t be happy. ¬†On the other hand us Macro photographers definitely enjoy the cluster of flowers. ¬† ¬†The wind was blowing, ¬†but if you find a couple of hills next to each other, you’ll find spots where the wind isn’t as bad as the rest of the valley. ¬†I have some really fun images that I plan to share ¬†later, but I wanted to show you this¬†particular photo today. As many of you know,¬†¬†I am a fine art photographer, so I really like getting into my post processing. ¬†This image was shot RAW – ISO 100 f4 @ 1/180. ¬† I had an umbrella to help deflect the¬†wind. The picture below was processed in Lightroom with a couple of tweaks. ¬† I like this image so don’t get me wrong, ¬†it’s nice just to add a bit of tweaks and leave it at that, sometimes. ¬†ūüôā


Here is my fun image. ¬†I had a blast processing¬†this photo! ¬†I used Lightroom for basic adjustments and then took it into Photoshop. ¬†I used a variety of Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters¬†to make it dramatic.


As you can see there wasn’t an abundance of flowers. ¬†This was taken on the dirt road in one of our favorite places between some hills. ¬†If you click on the Antelope Valley link above, ¬†you can see what the reserve looks like when California has plenty of water to feed the flowers.


I was debating about¬†whether or not to go¬†this year. ¬†I’m so glad Kevin encouraged me to get out and photograph. ¬†I always feel so revitalized when we hike and I photograph.




A short behind the scene video. ¬†ūüôā

Inspiration for the day…get out and take a hike with your camera even if you feel the photo op may not be what you expect. You may have a happy surprise like I did!

Cheers, Janice Sullivan

Find me on Google+

Great Grandma’s Visit

By | Landscape & Travel, SJP's News and Updates | 8 Comments

As most of you know my work consists of Macro, Landscape & Travel photography for Art Buyers and Interior designers within the Hospitality Industry. ¬†I’m not a portrait photographer, but when it comes to family and friends capturing that special moment is important to me. ¬†I am blessed to have amazing people in my life and today I would like to share our special visit with Great-Grandma and Uncle Dennis from Massachusetts!

Liz (my mother-in-law) wanted to visit the newest edition to the Sullivan Clan, baby Noah. ūüôā ¬†She has had a really hard time lately with her health so we were so happy to hear that she and my brother-in-law were coming out to California. ¬†I have many images but the following are the special moments of the visit.


Below is my Son, his son Noah, my husband and his mother Liz  What an awesome moment!


4 generations of the Sullivan Family




This is my beautiful daughter-in-law holding her son Noah…I just love this image!




Mommy and baby Noah


I had so many amazing pictures with Uncle Dennis and Noah it was hard to choose from. ¬†Noah loved being with Uncle Denny ūüôā




Uncle Dennis and Noah


Noah talking to us on great-grandma’s lap. ¬†We had so much fun listening to him!



Great-grandma and baby Noah


My beautiful daughter with Noah!  You can feel the love from Auntie in this image.



Auntie Ashley and baby Noah


Me & the hubby with my son’s family (Spenser, Neil, Jacinda & Noah).



Sullivan Family


I love being a grandma! ¬†It’s as special as having my children but even better because ¬†I can spoil them rotten and then give them back to mommy and daddy, lol! ¬†Photography is my passion but my true love are the people in this post and many of my other family members and friends within my life.

Life is challenging but when you have good people within it, it’s an amazing and wonderful life!


Janice Sullivan

Big Bear Road Trip

By | Landscape & Travel | 8 Comments

Big Bear California

Today I’d like to share with you our road trip to Big Bear in Southern California.

It’s been really hot and sticky in Southern California so we decided to go up our local mountains. ¬†Big Bear was the destination…and what a blast we had. ¬†We took the Jeep off-road and stopped to hike a bit. ¬†The weather was perfect! ¬†The Pine below is very different from the pines in Idaho or the North West. ¬† ¬†These are beautiful too..they have character ūüôā ¬†The sky is so blue up in the mountains! ¬†Smelling the pine trees felt so good and refreshing.




Here is Kevin…he’s always helping me find the perfect area for a photo opp. ¬†I’ve tried to get him to pick up the camera but he’s happy observing our locations and being patient while I setup shots, so all is good.


Kevin in Big Bear California

Check out the clouds…I knew we were going to have an amazing sunset.

Road Trip Big Bear


Off roading in Big Bear.

And we did…what a sunset! ¬†The clouds were blood-red and so beautiful! ¬†I was setup on a bridge in Big Bear with many other people doing the same thing as me and Kevin…enjoying/photographing this beautiful Sunset!

Sunset in Big Bear, California.

Sunset in Big Bear, California.

A couple more….The lake was blood-red too! ¬†Crazy…I didn’t bump up the saturation much it was really like this.


California Sunset

California Sunset


The sunsets were processed in Photomatix and Lightroom.  I received a discount from Trey Ratcliff ; check out his amazing work and grab that discount for HDR processing.


Janice  Sullivan

sjp video, nik news

Bay Bridge in San Francisco

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SJP’s Video on Nik News

First…a HUGE Thank You to Nik Software for adding my video to their newsletter.

Below are some unique images of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.  Bridges have amazing lines,  and I enjoy the feeling I get when I drive over or under them; so of course I had to photograph this bridge!

 (Janice Sullivan)

The lines of this bridge were breathtaking…the construction is amazing to view and when you drive through it…what a wonderful feeling!

Driving on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, California, USA. Going to Oakland. (Janice Sullivan)


Some info on the Bay Bridge 



The bridge consists of two major crossings connecting each shore with Yerba Buena Island, a natural outcropping located mid-bay that is part of the city of San Francisco. The Western crossing lies between Yerba Buena and the rest of San Francisco. It is composed of two complete suspension spans connected at a center anchorage.[7] The top of the Rincon Hill neighborhood serves as the western anchorage and touch-down for the San Francisco landing of the bridge connected by three shorter truss spans. The eastern crossing, between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland, is a cantilever bridge that consists of a double-tower span, five medium truss spans, and a 14-section truss causeway. Due to earthquake concerns the eastern crossing is being replaced by an entirely new crossing, to be finished in late 2013.[8] On Yerba Buena Island, the double-decked crossing consists of a 321 foot (98¬†m) concrete viaduct east of the west span’s cable anchorage, a 540 foot (160¬†m) tunnel through the island’s rocky central hill, another 790.8 foot (241.0¬†m) concrete viaduct, and a longer curved high-level steel truss viaduct that spans the final 1,169.7 feet (356.5¬†m) to the cantilever bridge.[9] The viaduct sections east of the tunnel are at present being modified, bypassed and replaced as part of the seismic safety work that will eventually transition traffic onto and off of the self-anchored suspension (SAS) bridge of the new eastern bay crossing.

The toll plaza on the Oakland side (since 1969 for westbound traffic only) has eighteen toll lanes, of which six are dedicated FasTrak lanes. Mainline metering signals are located approximately 600 feet (200 m) west of the toll plaza. Two full-time bus-only lanes bypass the toll booths and metering lights around the right (north) side of the toll plaza; other high occupancy vehicles are permitted to use these lanes during weekday morning and afternoon commute periods. The two far-left toll lanes are operated as high-occupancy vehicle lanes during weekday morning and afternoon commute periods. During the morning commute hours, traffic congestion on the Oakland approach stretches back onto the three feeder highways, Interstate 580, Interstate 880, and Interstate 80 toward Richmond, California.[10] Since the number of lanes on the San Francisco approach is structurally restricted, backups are frequent in the eastbound direction during evening commute hours. The bridge is currently restricted to motorized freeway traffic. Pedestrians, bicycles, and other non-freeway vehicles and devices are not allowed. A California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) bicycle shuttle operates during peak commute hours for $1.00 each way.[11]

Freeway ramps next to the tunnel provide access to Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island. Because the toll plaza is on the Oakland side, traffic between the island and the main part of San Francisco can freely cross back and forth without ever paying a toll. Those who only travel from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island, and not the entire length to the main part of San Francisco, must still pay the full toll.


So when you’re in San Francisco¬†don’t forget to check out the Bay Bridge!!


Janice Sullivan 

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