Friday, February 28, 2020
Reflections can help make an image pop. The strong greens in this image make the white egret feathers stand out well. To get good reflections in relatively still water is easy. Just be sure the sun is shining on the trees along the shoreline. That gives them good strong color that reflects well in the water. If the shoreline is in shadow, the reflection will not be nearly as strong and vibrant.
So with that simple rule, you can almost always get great reflections.
The behavior in this image helps to tie everything together. It provides visual interest, and captures a moment of movement and action.
1/4000 sec. at f/8, ISO 800. Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS lens with 1.4x extender for an effective focal length of 784mm on Canon 5D Mark III body. Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead and Wimberley Sidekick.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart." Proverb
Friday, February 21, 2020
Life. That is what wildLIFE photography is all about. Whether the image shows an animal or a bird, we want the image to feel alive with the vibrance of life. One way to show that is by using a slow shutter speed and panning the camera to show motion in the subject.
This Sandhill Crane was captured during the winter migration at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. That is the time of year when thousands of cranes spend a few winter months there, generally from mid-November through January. That is the best time of year for the greatest opportunities to hone your bird photography skills. And just to enjoy the huge numbers of migrating Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes that winter-over at this location.
This shot was made in the morning, when the cranes leave the ponds where they spent the night and fly to nearby fields to feed. There is wave after wave of birds flying by, so you get many chances to try different approaches.
To get this type of shot, all you need is a tripod, a slow shutter speed, and be able to pan smoothly to follow the bird as it wings past. I'm always asked what is the best shutter speed to use, and the answer is "it depends." It depends on how fast the bird is flying. I have found that shutter speeds ranging from 1/30 second to 1/2 second work best in most situations. The slower the shutter speed, the more motion shows in the image.
So when you are trying to achieve a more artistic representation of a bird in flight, compared to an image where the bird is tack sharp, it is advisable to try different shutter speeds to see what works best for the look you want to achieve.
And remember that regardless of which shutter speed you use, be sure to keep your camera focused on the bird's head, and try to pace the camera's panning motion with the forward movement of the bird. Doing that helps assure that the head is sharp while the wings show motion, and the background becomes a smooth sweep of tones.
Plus, always be prepared for a lot of images that do not work. Take many images so that you increase the chances of getting ones where all the elements come together to give you the images you seek.
I'll be returning to Bosque del Apache December 1 - 5.
Only 4 spaces left.
See complete details HERE
I hope you can join me!
1/15 sec at f/36, ISO 100. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lens set at 400mm on Canon 40D camera body (yes, this is a shot from several years ago!). Gitzo tripod with ballhead and Wimberley Sidekick.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Saturday, February 15, 2020
TWO EXCITING NEW WORKSHOPS JUST ANNOUNCED!
Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico,
famous for its tens of thousands of Snow Geese
and Sandhill Cranes, incredible sunrises and
sunsets, and unique photo opportunities.
And White Sands National Park, New Mexico,
known for its pristine white sand dunes,
undulating abstracts, and wild beauty.
At Bosque del Apache, one of my favorite places for bird photography, you will have numerous opportunities to witness and photograph the famous awe-inspiring lift-off at dawn of thousands of Snow Geese, plus the graceful flights of the beautiful Sandhill Cranes. Improve your bird photography skills, learn tips and tricks to get the best shoots, and learn artistic creative techniques that result in images that go beyond the ordinary. We will shoot lift-offs and flight images in the mornings and late afternoons / evenings. Mid-day hours will be filled with classroom sessions for Lightroom and Photoshop techniques, plus image critiques.
At White Sands, a beautiful and surreal location with dramatic photo opportunities in every direction, we will photograph in the mornings and afternoons / evenings in order to capture the best directional and most beautiful light for sand dunes, and spectacular sunsets. Mid-day hours will be filled with classroom sessions for Lightroom and Photoshop techniques, plus image critiques.
These two workshops run back-to-back. Take either one, or both. The Bosque workshop runs from December 1 - 5, followed by the White Sands workshop December 6 - 9.
BOSQUE DEL APACHE Wildlife Refuge details:
WHEN: Tuesday, December 1 through Saturday, December 5, 2020
WHERE: Our base will be Socorro, New Mexico, about a 20 minute drive from the Refuge
LIMIT: maximum of 12 photographers
FEE: Early sign-up fee of $1995 if you register by March 20. After that date the regular workshop fee of $2495 will apply. Special Combo rate of $1695 for each workshop if you take both workshops. Must register for both workshops by March 20. Fee includes all entry fees to the Refuge, in-depth training and coaching for bird photography, breakfasts (at the hotel), personalized attention, creative techniques, guide service, and image reviews and critiques. [Not included are lodging, lunches, dinners, transportation, and personal incidentals. Special hotel rates are being arranged.]
A $500 deposit will reserve your space.
ITINERARY (subject to change):
Tuesday, December 1 - Workshop begins with a Welcome and Teaching session at 7PM in our hotel.
Wednesday, December 2 - early morning start so we can be on location before sunrise to catch the famous Snow Geese lift-off. Return to the hotel between 9AM and 10AM for breakfast, optional nap, download and edit images. Lunch on your own around noon. Afternoon classroom teaching session will run from 1:15PM until approximately 3PM. Return to the Refuge by 3:30PM for late afternoon / sunset shoot.
Thursday, December 3 - same as above
Friday, December 4 - same as above
Saturday, December 5 - early morning shoot at the Refuge, then return to the hotel for breakfast and a final workshop wrap-up session. Workshop will end by 11AM.
WHITE SANDS National Park details:
WHEN: Sunday, December 6 through Wednesday, December 9, 2020
WHERE: Our base will be Alamagordo, New Mexico, about a 20 minute drive from the park
LIMIT: maximum of 12 photographers
FEE: Early sign-up fee of $1995 if you register by March 20. After that date the regular workshop fee of $2495 will apply. Special Combo rate of $1695 for each workshop if you take both workshops. Must register for both workshops by March 20. Fee includes all entry fees to the National Park, in-depth training and coaching, breakfasts (at the hotel), personalized attention, creative techniques, guide service, and image reviews and critiques. [Not included are lodging, meals, transportation, and personal incidentals. Special hotel rates are being arranged.]
A $500 deposit will reserve your space.
ITINERARY: (subject to change)
Sunday, December 6 - Workshop begins with a Welcome and Teaching session at 6PM at our hotel.
Monday, December 7 - leave the hotel early enough to reach the Park when it opens at 7AM. Shoot until the light is no longer good, return to the hotel for breakfast, optional nap, download and edit images. Lunch on your own around noon. Afternoon classroom teaching session will run from 1:15PM until approximately 3PM. Return to the Park by 3:30PM for late afternoon / sunset shoot.
Tuesday, December 8 - same as above
Wednesday, December 9 - early morning shoot at the Park, then return to the hotel for breakfast and a final workshop wrap-up session. Workshop will end by 11AM.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER,
or CALL 757-773-0194
Monday, February 10, 2020
I was happily surprised to start the day with a notice from the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) that this image is being showcased on their homepage this week. Here is the link http://www.nanpa.org
When you get to the homepage, several images will cycle through so you may have to wait a few seconds for this one to come up.
I was thrilled that this image was selected as one of the Top 100 Images Of The Year.
Here is the caption that goes with the image:
"This pair of Horned Puffins posed themselves beautifully on their rocky perch during breeding season. While their colorful bills were beautiful, and their black and white feathers in lovely contrast to one another, this monochrome artistic rendering brings out the texture and contrast more clearly than what our eyes see in a color image., Bird Island, Cook Inlet, Alaska"
1/1250 sec at f/8, ISO 800. Canon 100-400mm f.4.5-5.6L IS II lens set at 400mm on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "All photo competitions are a gamble. You never know how your images will do. It is best to accept the wins with humility, and the losses with grace." --Mollie Isaacs
Saturday, February 1, 2020
I am still enthralled with all the sights and sounds of my December trip to Antarctica, and penguins top the list of appealing subjects. They are gawky and comical on land, but sleek and elegant in the water.
This Gentoo penguin had been fishing and was just returning to the nesting area. While this is a simple, basic shot, several things help elevate it to a higher level.
First, the composition. The penguin is nicely separated from the background. The color of the water, along with the horizontal ripples, are a nice counterpoint to the smooth black and white body. And the slant of the rock creates an oblique angle which is an added element of visual interest. Also, the hint of a reflection adds a sense of depth.
Next, there are several small details that help this image. There is a sense of motion created by his foot being raised, ready to step on the rock. And because he was just exiting the water you can see water droplets on his head and bill if you look closely.
Finally, the color contrast between the cool tones of the water and the warm tones of his bill and foot are the finishing touches.
So the big question is - did I have any control over these elements? Clearly the answer is "no." BUT we always have a choice regarding which images stand out above the rest. If you look for small details in each image that sets it apart from others, and determine whether the composition is appealing, you will be able to find the images that stand out from all the hundreds or thousands you shoot. And to maximize your options, it is best to shoot a lot of images of each subject from different angles.
1/1600 sec at f/8, ISO 800. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens set at 100mm, on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "No photographer, no matter how talented or trained, has a 100% success rate. If you take 1000 images that result in 50 good ones, consider that a great success." --Mollie Isaacs