Show #26–Jim Davis

Host Mike Howard, Tim Kemperle and Kathleen Bowie are joined by the show’s first Landscape Photographer, Jim Davis.  Jim shares his secrets and a few of his amazing images.  He also tells us about some incredible journeys he has taken.  You will have to watch to find out more.


Special Gallery he made just for the show –!i=1683558472&k=SVHhLht


  • What gear do you use?
    • Digital Camera – Nikon DLSR D300 (Crop) -Nikon D3x (Full) – having both types gives the best of both works…Crop for pulling in long range and Full for the wide angle landscape shots.
    • Film Camera (Medium Format) – Hasselblad – Focus on Black and White only, chance to slow down and be focused
    • Tripod (99.9% of shots are with a tripod) – work without the tripod for composition but the final shots will be with a tripod.  Gitzo Tripod 3541.
    • Head – Monfrotto but will change to Really Right Stuff
    • Lens – 14-24/2.8 – 16-35/f4 / 70-200-2.8 / 300 Prime / Sigma Macro – The good thing is that I can use a 30 year old Nikon lens that works on all the Nikon bodies
    • Filters
      • Most of the time Polarizer – Clouds in the sky or reflections in the water.
      • Singh-Ray – Variable Neutral density filters
      • Graduated filters, depending on the scene
  • How do you chose you light?  Sunrise, sunset, other?
    • Subject matter determines the time of day for the photography
    • Planning / scouting process to determine when the sun will rise / set, where will the moon be in the shoot
    • Need to research prior to getting to the location, if travelling thousands of miles you need to know what to expect before being there
    • Golden Hour – Morning
    • Evening just prior to the sunset
    • Blu Hour – Evening
  • Are any of these HDR? Yes
    • Photoshop
    • Photomatix, do not like…it seems to make an average
    • Photoshop – manual work on the photos with layers and feather the areas out manually
  • How do you chose your locations?
    • Clients are general public
    • Have some people ask for certain types of prints
    • Will plan a future trip if people are specific
  • Do you prefer to shot alone or with others?
    • Shoot on my own, allows me to not be influenced by others, get the opportunity to know the environment
    • Will shoot with a few select friends
    • Don’t go shooting with someone that isn’t a photographer
  • To get that one great shot, how long do you generally stay at a location?  Which goes along with the best light.  If you don’t see the location in every light, how do you know which light is best?
    • Planning and preparation
  • What gives you the ability to travel so much for your work?
    • Love nature, a passion (photography is just a progression)
    • Wanted to capture what I see…the feelings and emotion
    • Tried weddings / also work full time
  • The market is not saturated but the general public has the opportunity with the use of DSLRs that enable good quality pictures
  • Do you expose for your sky or your subject? (image of rock in water in Ontario)
    • Ensure the most important subject is exposed
    • Know the dynamic range of the camera to ensure nothing is blown out
    • Boulder was the main subject
    • This was a 5 image HDR
  • “Ensure each quadrant of an image is important to the overall image or else it should be removed”
  • Ontario image #1…..was the water really that clear in real life so you could see to the bottom of that rock or is that enhanced in post?
    • This was the actual image, the water is very clear and the colors of the water are the turquoise seen in the photo
    • Try to keep photo as natural as possible
    • Use the Rule of Thirds in the composition
  • Lake Huron – cedar trees covered in ice– “From the Otherworld”
    • Looks like an other worldly object
    • On camera flash used for exposure (-2.0 EV)
  • What kind of shutter speeds and apertures are you using to achieve your flowing, soft water effect.  Are you using a tripod or monopod for stabilization?  Slow moving water
    • Shutter speed is over ¼ second…the longer will lose detail but smooth out the water further
    • The left side shows a rock…if there was a longer exposure you would lose the clarity of the rock from water constantly moving over the surface
    • Needed a neutral density filter to slow the shutter
  • Photo of photographer on the Mesa Arch, Utah, showing photographer in their element
    • Usually everyone shows for sunrise, fifteen minutes later they leave
    • Advice – stick around and wait…the light bounced off the lower levels
  • Spirits in the Rock
    • Again the midday light with the light bouncing off the walls to create the color…pure magic
    • You can see faces in the rock wall
    • Tripod in the water to obtain the shot
  • Spencer Gorge, Flowing Water
    • Loved the composition, placed the big yellow leaf
    • The water over the edge made the shot
    • This is not the entire fall…part is cut off from the right…the eyes travel to a certain parts of scene…that is what is photographer
  • (Ontario #16)This images looks like it was taken during the peak of day when the sun was bright because of the shadow from the boat.  As portrait photographers, we avoid shooting at that time of day.  This shot is beautiful….are the rules different for landscape photography?
    • Travelled 250 kilometers – hike, canoe
    • This is my element where I get away
    • Go to places that people can’t get to
    • Me, myself and my camera equipment
    • Advice – there is a time to stop following other photographers and create your own trail for photography
    • Protect equipment in canoe – have been canoeing for a long time (35 yrs) and very confident
  • Photo #18
    • Vibrant stars, long exposures with no one moving
  • Photo Services
    • Local place in Ontario / Smugmug in the states
    • Canvas and metallic

Focus Blend – Focus on foreground and then focus throughout the image with 5 – 6 images and then merge them in post processing.  The program will delete the pixels not needed.



Jim Davis



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About geephotant

geephotant (Geek-Photographer-Accountant) (aka. Mike Howard) is the creator of Nov Studios and the jpeg2RAW podcast. Mike is an accountant by day as the Controller for a large US based corporation. By night, he is a geek and has appeared on the Home Server Show Podcast & the BYOB podcast ( both found at He has also appeared on the Home Tech Show podcast ( and is now a regular guest on that show. Mike's true passion is photography and shoots when ever he can find time. As an amateur photographer, he is always looking to learn more about the craft.

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