# of Kids:
Hello! I am a full-time stock and assignment photographer living in Anchorage, Alaska. I have a lovely wife, Lisa, and two beautiful children. My son, Jack, will soon be eight and my daughter, Claire, will soon be four.
We have just recently returned to Alaska from an eight year stint in California. Lisa and I had previously spent a year in the Yup'ik village of Eek and two years in Anchorage. After moving back to CA I couldn't get Alaska out of my mind. I started coming back up in the summers and finally realized this is where I wanted to be! I feel so lucky to be back in a place that never ceases to inspire me and to be able to work in a profession I love .
I am a member of the Alaska chapter of ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers). You can review a recent presentation at: http://www.asmpalaska.org/Programs/2007Feb/index.html or you can visit my website at: www.waydecarrollphotography.com
Thanks for visiting! - Wayde
Friday, January 22, 2010, 1:20 AM
with Wayde Carroll
So Long For Now!
I just got word today that Chatalaska will soon be shutting down. This will be my last official posting for them.
I wanted to say thank you for all of you who kept checking in to see what I was up to photographically. It's been a pleasure trading comments and viewing your photos as well. Thanks!!
I will be keeping a blog on my new website soon. If any of you would like to be e-mailed once that blog is up and running, please feel free to send me an e-mail at:
and I will contact you as soon as it is in action!
Thanks again. Hope to see you out shooting!!
Sunday, January 17, 2010, 2:44 AM
with Wayde Carroll
Effective Use of Aperture
Someone sent me an image recently in which a person in the photo was clear and sharp while the foreground and background were out of focus. This person really liked the look of the photo and wanted to know how they could emulate the style.
The answer is aperture. For those of you who don't know, when you press the shutter release on your camera three factors come in to play to give you your proper exposure. The shutter speed, your ISO, and your aperture.
The shutter speed simply determines how long the shutter remains open and is one way of controlling how much light is allowed on to your sensor when you take an image. The darker it is the longer shutter speed you need etc..
Your ISO (same as "film speed" in the old days!) determines how sensitive the sensor is to the light coming in. A photo taken at a lower ISO of 100 needs more light to give a proper exposure than a photo taken at ISO 400. There are good reasons and times to use both but that's another post!
The aperture determines the size of the opening that is allowing light in during the exposure. The smaller the aperture opening, the less light gets in and the more time needed for your exposure. Thus, with a larger aperture opening the less time needed.
Sounds similar to the shutter speed right? Well, not exactly. The size of the aperture opening also determines your "depth of field" or range of apparent sharpness. The smaller your aperture opening, is the sharper your image appears. This is referred to as being "stopped down". If you have a large aperture opening, less of your image appears to be sharp. This is called "shooting wide open".
To make it a little more confusing the aperture numbers are sort of counterintuitive. The larger the aperture number ( F16, F22, etc.) the smaller the aperture opening. The smaller the aperture number (F2.8, F4, etc.) the larger the aperture opening.
I get clients to think about it this way; "The larger your aperture number, the larger amount of your image appears sharp, the smaller your aperture number, the smaller your amount of apparent sharpness is."
So, in general, if you want to isolate a subject with a shallow depth of field- a small range of apparent sharpness- then set you camera's aperture on the smallest number you can. Focus on your subject and let the rest fall out of focus. There are various factors that effect this technique as well. The closer you are to your subject the greater the effect will be. Using long telephoto or zoom lenses compresses a scene so things appear closer and thus diminishing the effect. The best thing to do is experiment with the lenses you have at various apertures and various distances. Soon you'll have a good feel for what works well with what you have.
Here are a couple of examples to show you the difference between photos taken "wide open" (larger aperture number) and "stopped down" (smaller aperture number.
Aperture "Stopped Down" to F16
"Wide Open " Aperture of F2.8
Aperture "Stopped Down" to F16
"Wide Open " Aperture of F2.8
Of the top two images I prefer the wide open exposure. Of the bottom two I prefer the stopped down image.
Here is a typical scene that required a small aperture of F22 to get the canoes and the mountain to appear in focus.
Here is a scene where I wanted a large aperture opening to blur the distracting foliage behind the leaves.
Monday, January 11, 2010, 1:57 PM
with Wayde Carroll
Snowshoeing in Chugach State Park
Last week my son, Jack, and I spent the day snowshoeing in the Chugach mountains. We entered Chugach State Park via the Eagle River Nature Center. This is just a stunning, and easily accessible, area to get out and explore the nations third largest state park.
The eagle River Nature Center is a not for profit organization that keeps trails groomed and hosts many outdoor programs as well as providing a great "base" to launch from. It's nice to peruse their collection of natural artifacts while sipping a hot coffee after several hours out in the cold!
Snowshoes are wonderful because they allow you to explore wherever your eyes take you. They work fine on trails and when you want to veer off they keep you from sinking too far into the deeper, unpacked, snow accumulation.
Jack and I had a great time getting off the trails and making our own. I was thrilled with the photo opportunities and my son had a ball carrying a stick and whacking snow off of everything. (He did also manage to admire the beauty of the place as well!). More importantly, I got to spend time with my son clowning around and getting exercise.
I made sure to have an extra camera battery tucked in my pocket, next to my body, in case the cold sucked the power out of the one in my camera. (Even though my "battery low" indicator was flashing for quite a while in the 10 degree F temps, it did last the four hours we were out.)
Below are some of my favorite images from the day. I shot everything in daylight balance in RAW. When shooting daylight balance shady areas have a deep blue cast. Some of the images I preferred that way. For the rest I later warmed up the color temperature in Adobe Camera RAW to have a more natural looking color. It's a personal judgement call and one of the reasons I always shoot in RAW. To change color temperature in a TIFF or JPEG image is much more time consuming. If you haven't experimented with RAW and all the variable control the format gives you I highly suggest you give it a try.
Because of the extreme contrast range between the brightly lit peaks and the lower shady areas it was important to keep an eye on my histogram. The camera's meter exposed for the larger shadow area. I had to underexpose to keep the highlight detail.
Using a wide open aperture gave me a shallow range of focus and helped isolate this tree from the background.
I'm a sucker for the texture of cottonwood bark!
I used an off-camera flash for this. I set the background exposure manually and used a manual setting to dial in the flash power. ETTL work well most of the time but any variation in composition can change the flash output. Manual keeps it consistent.
You can see the effect of daylight white balance well here. The area hit by the flash, which is also daylight balanced, has natural color. The shady background holds the blueish cast mentioned earlier.
Friday, January 1, 2010, 2:52 AM
with Wayde Carroll
Photo Improvement Tip: Rule of Thirds
I wanted to share a fairly simple and extremely effective technique, the “Rule of Thirds”. This “rule” is the basis for well-balanced and dynamic images and is used by visual artists of every discipline. Weather you are a painter, cartoonist, cinematographer, or still photographer, this technique can help you immediately take more interesting and memorable photos.
What all of us are trying to do is create images that convey the same sense of joy, awe, or wonder, we felt when we were making them. My hope is that this tip will help you to think twice about placing the subject(s) of your photos in the exact center of your frame every time! This typically results in static and, ultimately, disappointing images.
Here’s how it works. Take a look at the viewing screen on the back of your camera. Now imagine two equally spaced vertical lines dividing the screen into thirds. Do the same with two equally spaced horizontal lines. What you end up with is a grid that looks like this:
Placing your subject(s) along, or even close to, these lines and intersections creates more tension, energy, and interest. (This is particularly true at the intersecting points.) That, in turn, holds the attention of your viewers longer.
That’s it! Easy isn’t it.
Of course every rule can be, and should be broken from time to time, but I think it’s important to know, and practice, the rules before doing so! This tool is useful for all subject matter. I’ve included samples of wildlife, people, architecture, and landscapes.
By placing the horizon line on either the top third or bottom third of your image it typically becomes more interesting. Any key elements composed at the intersections make the photo that much stronger.
The hummingbird and the flowers are near intersecting points on the grid making this image much more dynamic than simply a bird centered in the middle.
Though the horizon line is centered here, the interest grabbing elements of the volcano and the front corner of the swimming pool are along our grid lines and make the image work.
Lining the body close to the vertical line and having the eyes along the horizontal line make this a compelling portrait. The person’s face is at an intersecting point and makes for a strong subject with room to show his environment.
Note 1: When photographing people or animals, it works best if your subject is placed on the side opposite of the direction they are looking. If your subject is looking towards the right you want to place him/her on the left third. You want to get an idea as to where your subject is looking as opposed to having the person looking out of the nearside edge.
Note 2: For cultures that read from left to right, images feel stronger with the main subject on the left third. It’s the opposite for those that read right to left.
This all sounds simple enough to do but most cameras today are auto focus and can be tricky. This is wonderful technology but how do you place your object of focus at one of our grid lines or intersections if the camera focuses from the center?
Here are a few pointers to help:
1) With most camera models you can hold your shutter button half-way down to lock your focus. As long as your finger is holding down the button half-way, your focus distance will not change. So if you want to place a person on the left third of your image, simply point your camera at your subject, push the shutter half-way down to lock the focus, keep the button pushed half-way down and re-compose your photo. Once you’re happy with your composition, finish pressing the shutter all the way down until you’ve taken your image! It’s a lot faster than it sounds and comes easily after a bit of practice.
2) Some models now let you select one of several focusing points on your screen. You might see several dots or rectangles in a grid either on the screen view or in your viewfinder. If you have this option, take a look at your manual and figure out how to change your focus point. With a bit of practice you can easily switch your focus selection point to one of several choices. This comes in handy if you know you’re going to be taking a lot of photos with the same composition. For instance, if you’re taking photos of a monkey in Costa Rica and you want it on the left side of your composition, and you want to take a lot of photos quickly, it’s great to just change your focusing point to the left of your screen instead of having to focus and recompose for each shot and possibly miss a great shot!
Just be sure to change your focus point back when you’re done with that scenario.
3) More advanced lenses allow you to manual focus by way of turning a ring around the outside of the lens. This is very useful in low-light situations when some cameras have trouble focusing. Put your lens on “M” for manual or else the camera will continue to focus for you.
I hope you find the “Rule of Thirds” a helpful way to start bringing home more memorable images!
Friday, December 25, 2009, 4:13 AM
with Wayde carroll
Ok, I know it's a little hokey but once I got started on the idea I couldn't stop until I proved I could do it.
I was toying with the idea of making a turning a moose red for a Christmas photo and was wondering if I could make it look fairly believable. Well, not quite, but it was fun figuring out how to change the brown to red.
Obviously this is a digital composite of two photos. The background was from last weeks blog and the moose was from the neighborhood last summer.
The hardest part was clipping the moose out from the fall foliage behind it using my laptop. If you've ever tried using a mouse-pad for detailed work you know what I mean. Once I cut out the moose I experimented with changing it's color. I made two copies so that I could bring back the natural color of the antlers once I changed the moose's color.
To change the brown to red I went into selective color in photoshop and boosted up the red and magenta channels. Then I went into the saturation tool and added more saturation. Once that was done I made a layer mask and erased the red version antlers to expose the normal color. Added text and there you go.
Have a wonderful Christmas and a super, and safe, New Year!!
Thursday, December 17, 2009, 2:39 PM
with Wayde Carroll
The Value of Our Elders
I had a wonderful experience on an assignment a couple of weeks ago. I was commissioned to take photographs of a retirement community for their various promotional needs. I was excited for a couple of reasons. First of all the location was a couple of hours away from Anchorage which meant I got to enjoy a beautiful drive in my favorite state. Secondly, I've always had good friends that are quite a bit older than I am. For some reason we just get along. I have tremendous respect for those who have traveled this life longer than I have. I've had so many good friends that are filled with life, real joy, regardless of the amazing trials they've endured. Many of my elderly friends have more energy than I do and their minds are constantly learning, exploring, coming up with creative ideas. They know what they like and how to savor the good moments. I've lost a few but I'll be forever grateful that I was lucky enough to be considered their friend.
I was a little apprehensive because I had never been in a home for so many people in their advanced years and I wasn't sure what to expect. What I found was a place I wouldn't mind spending my last years in. It was a gorgeous location and I saw a loving, attentive, staff spending time with the residents. Cooking, laughing, helping when needed. During a full day of working there I gained a profound respect for those that work there. Obviously not all the work is pleasant and it's hard to see some people at the time of their life when they can't take care of them selves any longer, but the staff was so pleasant, patient, and kind, that I was seriously moved inside.
I was fortunate enough to work with several "models" that were willing to brave the camera and share some time and many smiles.
I have to say a few words on the two native women you'll see together having tea below. These two women were a blessing. Everyday they get together for tea and I have never seen such love and joyous interaction between two adults. I could have photographed them all day long. I'm sure you'll get a sense of why. If only we could all be so lucky to have a friendship like that in our later years.
The one thing I couldn't get out of my mind was the realization that we will all, if we're lucky, end up being old and less able to care for ourselves. I could only hope that each resident has family that visits often, though I'm sure that's not the case. I've always been of the mind that our elders are valuable to us in so many ways and I think they should be celebrated. I hope that all of us will take the time to talk with the elderly we come across. So many are just ignored. I hope for all of us a long, happy life, with lot's of friends and family to be there when needed.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009, 5:48 PM
with Wayde Carroll
In and Around Seward
A few days ago I had a shoot in Seward for a local retirement home. With not much daylight these days I decided ti stay the night down there instead of driving the icy roads home in the dark. I was waffling a bit but the news of a fatal accident on the Seward Highway the day before helped make a wise choice.
Besides, I love any opportunity to shoot stock on the Kenai Peninsula!
I finished up work just before dusk so I rushed down town to see if there was anything interesting going on. It was the perfect time of day to blend the lights of the town with the beautiful dusk glow in the mountains. These two sources don't balance for long so I found three or four nice compositions before it got too dark.
The next morning I forced myself to get up by sunrise- about 9:30a.m.!- and hit the road towards home looking for more photos. Everything was covered in a form fitting blanket of fresh snow-gorgeous! The big trick is to keep an eye on the histogram. There is so much white that I needed to open up my exposures one to two stops to have the snow actually register as white.
Here are some of my faves' from the day.
With the camera on a tripod I was able to use a small aperture of F22. This gives me a good range of focus- which allows for the lights, building, and mountain to be sharp- and also gives the starburst effect to the lights.
When the ambient skylight exposure matches that of the town lights, it's a great time for photos!
I just loved the subtle gradations of the days last light.
I included the fence in the foreground to cover up a grubby looking road.
If I'm not mistaken this is some kind of coal conveyer that assists in the off-loading of the fossil fuel from a mine across Resurrection bay.
Quintessential Alaska Cabin #1
Quintessential Alaska Cabin #2
I like the three dimensional quality of this photo. There is foreground, middle, and background subjects that take the eye through the photo.
I've always loved this Alaska Railroad Bridge. Usually I drive by and say " someday I'm going to stop and get that". I finally got out to photograph it!
This is Salmon Creek. I'm standing on a small snow-covered railroad track that's crossing the creek here. I really liked the glow from the sky reflected on the water.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 2:04 AM
with Wayde Carroll
Grizzly Bears: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
We had some family up from Seattle for the Thanksgiving holiday last weekend. After stuffing ourselves on the big day several of us were looking forward to getting out and exploring some Alaska!
I especially was looking forward to getting out and shooting something for the fun of it. I've been doing a lot of inside assignment work lately. It's great for the work aspect but my true love is shooting outdoors.
We've had plenty of fresh snow recently which was great. I was hoping for some clear skies so our guests could get a full on view of how stunning our state is. I like to show off Alaska when I get the chance! Well, the weather wasn't perfect but we all still wanted to head out. I decided to head to Portage Valley. The drive, when clear, is visually stunning and there are plenty of places to tromp through the snow and there's a nice easy hike up to Byron glacier. What makes it all even better is the fact that the Portage Glacier Lodge serves the best criss-cross fries in the state to go along with their delicious soups and sandwiches.
We did some exploring and filled up on hot food. The weather wasn't clearing, in fact it was starting to snow, so we decided to check out the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center which lies right at the entrance of the Portage Valley road on the Seward Highway. At the gate we were told that all of the animals were out and about except for the bears. They were already tucked away for the winter. Not the best news for out-of-towners who would love to see bears but the moose were still exciting and we decided to enter.
With the snow and the oncoming darkness there weren't many people around. This is a nice change. In summer you sometimes have to stay one step ahead of the hoards flowing out of the tour buses.
After getting right up close and personal with the moose and Elk we decided to drive down to the area where the Grizzly's usually were. We got lucky! All three Grizzly's were out and there wasn't anyone else around!
It was such a treat to shoot the bears with the snow falling. Even though they are captive it's still awesome to be around them in a natural setting, hearing them breathe, having them stare at you through the snowfall.
It was pretty cold and my companions retired to the car but I couldn't resist the opportunity and stayed out until they slowly rambled out of site. Maybe for the last time this year.
Here are a few of my favorites plus a few others from the day.
Friday, November 27, 2009, 3:00 AM
with Wayde Carroll
More From Kenai Fjords National Park
I've spent more time this week editing photos from last summer. I was happy to find some gems I had forgotten about. All of these images were taken inside of Kenai Fjords National Park. I feel incredibly thankful to have such a world class scenic wonder so close to where I live and even more grateful that I've been able to visit so many times. I can't wait for next summer!
This was ok in color but really stood out as a black and white image due to the wonderful contrasts.
When photographing ice it's really important to keep a good eye on your histogram. Your camera's meter will try and turn the white ice to gray. You may need to add exposure, usually a stop and a half or so.
Ice floating in front of Pedersen Glacier
Don't forget details and color!
Lower Pedersen Lagoon. Tripod and graduated neutral density filter made this high dynamic range image possible.
Silhouettes and sunrise on the peaks. Nice combo!
Dave Yorkanis at work.
Frank Baensch captures the beautiful low light of sunrise.
Why are canoes always so inviting?
A dying salmon at water's edge.
Isolating repetitive shapes is one way to add visual interest to photos.
Keep an eye on your negative space- the "empty space" around your subject. It can be a dominant part of a composition.
I like to use natural objects as framing whenever I can.
Shooting after sunset has it's own gifts.
Black and white detail of vegetation growing along the rocky beach.
I loved the gradation of shades and layered textures.
Thursday, November 19, 2009, 2:48 AM
with Wayde Carroll
As winter hits (and it has hit! it was -2 degrees F this morning!), work is slowing down a little so I'm finally getting a chance to go through more of my images from summer and get them ready for stock submission. Here are some new favorites I've come across.
I'll get some new winter stuff soon!
Coyote, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
(wide open aperture, F2,8, to separate coyote from background)
Bull Elk, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Grizzly Bear, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Bull Moose, Fall, Anchorage
(orange graduated filter added color to dull sky)
Alaska Oil Pipeline, Fairbanks
(wide angle lens makes you feel like you're right there!)
(another typical day in Alaska!)
( close foreground element leads the eye into the scene)
Fisherman's Memorial, Cordova Harbor
(graduated filter added to darken the sky and add drama)
Bird Banding, Cordova Shorebird Festival
(I set a fast shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second to freeze the fast beating wings of this shorebird at release)
Fireweed in full bloom, Potter Marsh
( shallow depth of field again)
U.S. Forest Service Supervisor John Skinner, during a hike above Eilson Visitor's Center,
Denali National Park and Preserve
(polarizing filter saturates the color and adds contrast to the cloudy sky)
Wonder Lake, Denali National Park
(polarizing filter and a small aperture for depth of field)
Alaska Zoo, Anchorage