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With 2015 right around the corner, I wanted to share the most popular articles of the Beyond the Lens blog from 2014.

I really tried to focus on writing about the art and craft of photography and how that applies to all of the things we do as nature photographers. Finding inspiration, shooting in the field, editing in the digital dark room, and sharing our work with others. I also wanted to give everyone, regardless of whether you’re a photographer, a patron, or a supporter, an inside look at what really goes into making images that are meaningful and worthwhile.

I look forward to another great year of learning and sharing aimed at helping you in your creative pursuits. Thanks for all the great feedback, it keeps me motivated and inspired.

Here are the top articles and questions from 2014

Top Questions

Would you please comment on the virtues (or lack thereof) of DSLR replacements such as the Olympus em1 vs rangefinder cameras such as the Olympus Pen EP–5. As far as I can tell the sensor, stabilization, etc are identical, so why is the EM1 considered a “pro” body vs the EP–5 a hobbyist body? -Jeffrey Freeman

I think the distinction between “pro” and “hobbyist” is a shallow one at best given the creative potential that all of these cameras have. How do you determine which creates more “pro” images? Does such a thing exist? Of course not, and I for one am tired of the marketing that companies use to persuade you that one camera is better than another.

What is true is that you should choose what you need based on what you want ti accomplish. The OM-D series offer some advantages over the PEN series, namely weather sealing and a viewfinder. IF you need these, then go for the OM-D. Th Pen have some advantages as well, namely ergonomics and handling – the retro style. They both deliver similar quality given the same the same sensor, so it becomes a matter of preference.

As to mirrorless being a DSLR replacement, I don’t see it that way for me. I need the strengths of each and so use both. You may not need the strengths of one of the other. Both categories are capable of delivering outstanding results, and I strongly believe mirrorless will dominate in the near future.

As I’ve said many times in the past, forget labels and choose what you need to be as creative a photographer as possible.

With so much great landscape content on the east coast (especially in the fall / winter) how to do pick and choice locations? You can’t get to them all! -Matt Hicks

I don’t try to get to them all – I focus on re-visiting familiar locations and making different interpretations. I guess it depends on what your ultimate goals are…for me I’m interested in sharing an opinion about nature. The better I know a location , the easier it is to take advantage of unique opportunities others may not see or appreciate – in other words you get lucky more often. Focus on your vision, and not the subject matter – that’s all others will really appreciate in the end.

With all of the Work and Family responsibilities how do you find time in getting out in good light…Also when you started doing photography what did you do to get your foot in the door…Was it local shows/fairs or was it being at right place/right time…I am just curious… – Christopher Wisker

Great questions Christopher, quick answer is getting out in the right light IS work, so it’s a part of my main responsibilities as a photographer. Also I set priorities very carefully- no TV, family first, and work long hours in the field and studio. For getting started, work hard, hard, hard, and be laser focused on what you want. Right place at right time is never guaranteed, helps for sure – but refusal to fail is the key.

Is there anything else you enjoy shooting aside from Landscapes? If not, why did you choose Landscapes as your primary type of photography? – Brandon Fiege

Yes, lots of things – portraits, architecture, cars, cityscapes – but as a career, I wanted to focus on what I love most of all – what I’ve had a deep emotional connection to since my childhood- nature. Great photographs reveal what the photographer feels about his subject – and the stronger that feeling, the better the image.

RR Jr

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