Saturday, July 30, 2016

Birds of a Feather

Generally we see egrets standing alone, searching for fish in shallow waters. But occasionally we see groups of them, either roosting in a tree or enjoying the same fishing hole. On this bright sunny July day in Bombay Hook, Delaware, the egrets were everywhere. Lots of Snowy Egrets, the smaller ones with yellow-orange feet, as well as Great Egrets, the largest of the species. All are beautiful long legged birds, graceful both on the ground and in the air.

Because I wanted to capture the feel of this group of birds, but wanted to single out one as the focal point, I waited until the one in front of the grasses was in a good position and not blocked by anything else. As always, I took a lot of images in hopes of getting just the right one. When photographing birds or wildlife, it is important to take a great many images. Even though the main subject might be relatively stationary, subtle changes in head position, eyes open or closed, and other variables happen imperceptibly, and it is better to have a lot of rejects than to miss that perfect moment. Shoot like crazy and delete later.

The best camera settings for birds or wildlife are:
-  set the shutter on High Speed burst, and
-  the autofocus on Continuous (Nikon) or AI Servo (Canon).

Use High Speed burst (if your camera gives you options) because the shutter will fire more rapidly, helping to assure that you capture that perfect moment. BUT it is not necessary to fire off more than 3 to 5 shots in a row. Take a small number of shots, and then stop for a few seconds to allow your camera to catch up with you. If you take too many in a row, your camera's buffer will fill and then will not allow you to take more images until it has processed all the shots you just took.

Use Continuous or AI Servo autofocus so that your camera will focus continuously as long as you have the focus button depressed. This is especially important when shooting moving subjects.

TECHNICAL DATA:  1/1250 at f/8.  ISO 400.  Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens with Canon 1.4x extender for a focal length of 560mm, on Canon 7D Mark II body.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before."  --Robert Lynd

Monday, July 18, 2016

Now's The Time

Now's the time to decide. Is Denali National Park in Alaska on your bucket list? This is your chance to be there in 2017. Spend your days and nights deep inside the park where very few people ever get to go. Enjoy the unique wilderness of Denali in luxury in a comfortable lodge with chef-prepared meals. And best of all, have photographic opportunities of a lifetime. We have our own vehicle with naturalist driver to take us where the wildlife and the scenery are best. Day after day. It doesn't get any better than this.

The trip runs from September 2 - 8, 2017 when the fall colors of the tundra should be at peak. We meet in Anchorage and then head into Denali. Each day we are transported in our private vehicle to photograph wildlife like caribou, moose, brown bear, willow ptarmigan, pika, and migrating birds. And each day we are surrounded by spectacular scenery. The incredible snow-capped Alaska Range spreads out before us, punctuated by the warm colors of autumn.

Access to all shooting locations is relatively easy. There are no long hikes, and all your gear is transported on our vehicle. Except for the first and last nights in Anchorage, the trip includes all lodging and meals, all ground transportation and guide service, personal photographic instruction, image critiques, and tips. 

This trip is limited to 10 photographers and there are only 6 spaces left. So call or email now for rates and more details. Join me in Alaska next year for one of the best and most spectacular photography trips imaginable.

1/160 sec.,  f/18,  ISO 800.  Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens set at 70mm on Canon 5D Mark III.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."  --Jawaharlal Nehru

Friday, July 8, 2016

Super Curvy

Anthurium plants are very difficult to photograph successfully. This particular one had a beautiful curving leaf with beautiful light on it. It was just a matter of finding the best angle to show off the curve, and at the same time incorporate the warm tones. I took dozens of images from different angles and this is the only one that worked.

When photographing flowers and plants, it can take some effort to find the best angle. Often you do not know whether you were successful until you get home and download. It is not always easy to judge the success of an image by viewing it on your camera's view screen. For some reason it often takes the "big screen" to show you what you really have.

For that reason, I always recommend taking a lot of shots from many different camera angles and heights. Give yourself every opportunity to get great shots. Stalk the plant. Look at it, REALLY look at it, to determine what will give you what you are looking for. Look for complementary colors, leading lines, and pleasing shapes. Explore every angle. Leave no stone unturned and you will be rewarded for your efforts.

1/3200 sec.,  f/3.2,  ISO 400. Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens on Canon 7D Mark II, handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Winners are ordinary people with extraordinary determination."  --unknown

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Beach Blues

For many people this is a beach weekend. If you are not on a beach somewhere, you might wish you were. Holiday weekends in the summer conjure up visions of lazy days and relaxation. And that is what this image is all about. No hurry, no worries. All is calm.

This simple still life was made late in the day when the beach was already in shadow. That, plus the darkening blue sky, created the blue tones on the sand. I chose to compose this so that the lines went diagonally across the image, and the shell was about on the 1/3rd line. The warmth of the shell against the cool blue of the sand combined to create a cohesive image that says sum-sum-summertime.

1/640 sec.,  f/7.1,  ISO 200.  Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens on Canon 7D Mark II body.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."  --Jacques Cousteau