Snapshot: The Road and a Thunderhead

January 12th, 2012 by Bret Edge

Last summer I took a three day motorcycle trip throughout southern Utah. I always carry my 5D Mark II, tripod and an assortment of lenses along with my amazing Canon S95, which resides in a pocket in my jacket for easy access. Riding a motorcycle opens your eyes and lets you see things you’d never see in a cage, er…car. You’re not isolated from the environment in a neat little cocoon – you’re in it, surrounded by it, part of it. When it’s hot, you’re hot. When it’s raining, you’re wet. You feel the wind and the heat and the sand in your teeth. It’s an experience unlike any other.

Making images with the 5D Mark II requires digging it out of the tankbag, taking off gloves and helmet, finding a place to safely park the bike and the whole process requires more time and effort than I’m usually willing to expend. All this means I end up using the S95 90% of the time. Such is the case with the photo above.

Guess How I Get Colorful Fall Leaves In The Winter

January 11th, 2012 by Mike Moats

I decided to take a shot of this colorful fall leaf clutter and use a nice soft feel dreamlike look with Nik Software Color Efex Pro. I started with the “Midnight” filter and then added some “Polaroid Transfer” filter. Then added a Vignette to darken the corners.


How to use a vignette in Silver Efex Pro

January 11th, 2012 by John Batdorff

Here’s a quick video on how I’ll use a vignette in Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro to direct the viewer’s attention in the frame.

Hi, everyone. John Batdorff here, and today I thought we’d process this image of the Great Migration that was shot in the Serengeti earlier this year. What I like about this image is I have the wildebeest here just staring at me dead center of the frame. And so I think we can apply a small vignette to really draw more attention to this image. It appears a little flat in color, but if you look at the histogram and take a look at this dip here, that represents the contrast. And so I think once we convert this out, we’ll have a decent image to work with.

Let’s open this up in Silver Efex Pro, and this is the default conversion. It’s still kind of flat, but we’re going to make a couple quick maneuvers here to bring it to life. Let’s work the structure on the global adjustment. I’m going to increase this and then moving it to the right that’s increasing it. I think I’m going to wind up right around 60, and that works nicely. Now I’m going to increase the highlights a little bit and then the shadows. I think that’s making this image pop pretty well. One thing I want to point out whenever you’re using the structure sliders, if you have a lot of noise in your image, it’s going to bring that to life as well. So, either you work the noise early on and get rid of it early on using Define or Light Rims Noise Reduction, or you deal with that on the back side. I typically deal with it on the back side, but it really depends on the image. This one, if there is a lot of noise, I’ll probably deal with it, like I said, on the back side.

Anyway, I feel pretty good about this image right here. What I’m going to do next is come on down and use the color sliders. I want to get this beard to pop a little bit more, the highlights if you will. So I’m going to use the yellow and increase it. You’ll

Need a Good Gear Bag? Kata OMB Review and Deal

January 9th, 2012 by John Adkins

Looking for a good quality gear bag that can hold a little bit of everything? Then this bag might be for you!

I stopped by to see my friends at Outdoor Photo Gear the other day and they had just received a shipment of these bags in. While I wasn’t really in the market for a new bag, I couldn’t help but notice the size of this thing and how well made it is (its a Kata –duh). Its billed as a medium sized bag, but this thing looks like it will hold everything but the kitchen sink! So I had to check it out.

Its the Kata KT-OMB-75 One Man Band Bag and I believe it would store everything a one man band could possibly throw in it. Its surrounded by pockets all the way around and on top. The front pocket zips open to reveal a large, flat storage area with smaller, utility style pockets for everything from notebooks, to pens, chords and all sorts of smaller knick-knacks. It also has a flat pocket on each side and another voluminous one on top. On the outside top of the bag, there are straps that can be used to strap on a tripod or light stands.

Detailed Gura Gear Chobe Review

January 6th, 2012 by Dan Carr

Editor’s note:  Welcome Dan Carr to the blog!  Dan spends the winters as a senior photographer for Skier magazine in Canada as well as shooting commercial images for many of the biggest winter sports brands and resorts in the world. In the summer he shoots a range of other commercial and sports photography specializing in motorsports. His work has been featured in more than 50 different publications from Japan to Canada and everywhere in between.  Check out his blog with incredible equipment reviews  and news here.


Started by world renowned wildlife photographer Andy Biggs, Gura Gear has gathered a strong following from nature and wildlife photographers in the last couple of years with their Kiboko 30L backpack. The Kiboko was designed by Andy specifically to hold large super telephoto lenses during travel and in the field. It’s take a few years but this past Autumn, Gura Gear expanded their lineup to include two new bags; Kiboko 22l and Chobe 19-24L. We’ll be taking a closer look at the new 22L Kiboko in the coming weeks but today I want to give you my thoughts on the new Chobe shoulder bag.


Gura Gear Chobe can be purchased from the Outdoor Photo Gear Store.



Colorado based photographer Daniel Kelly Brown made this great little animation of the Chobe which is also worth watching.

Working With White Balance

January 5th, 2012 by Mike Moats

A nice feature to our digital cameras is the ability to change the white balance and adjust the colors depending on the light source hitting the subject. A color will actually change under various types of lighting, and the camera will make color corrections according to light source. So if you’re shooting in sun light, then you use the sunny mode, and cloudy days, use the cloudy mode, and inside under florescent lighting, use that mode, and so on. I find that my camera’s auto mode works great, and I use it most of the time.

If you shot a subject using the different white balances that your camera offers, you will see a difference in the colors of the subjects. Sometimes I will play with these different modes to see what kind of unusual color I will come up with.

Here is a rose that I shot using three different white balances, and as you will see each one has a different color.

So try this next time and see what different colors you come up with!

Same exact flower, same lighting, three different white balances and three different colors.

Same exact flower, same lighting, three different white balances and three different colors.

You can visit Mike’s blog and learn about his workshops here: Tiny Landscapes

Mike’s eBooks are available in the OPG store here: Mike Moats

How Failure Leads to Success in Landscape Photography

January 4th, 2012 by Robert Rodriguez Jr.

Inspired once again by Seth Godin and a recent blog post titled “the difference between a failure and a mistake,” I wondered how I might apply it to nature photography and the issues we all struggle with in our attempt to make successful images. Of course this applies to life in general, as Seth so clearly explains, but I think it provides many paths of exploration for those of us trying to be more creative with our photography.

Casscade Mtn, Adirondacks

Cascade Mtn fails on several levels, but mostly for me it lacks a clear path for the viewers eye to travel, which translates to a weak story. A lack of textural contrast makes the image rather busy, and the light in the background competes with the details in the foreground. I was experimenting with trying to omit the sky and horizon in order to create a lack of perspective, but it didn’t quite work out as envisioned.

As a workshop instructor, I work hard on trying to help students get beyond whatever is limiting their potential. Unfortunately the majority of reasons are due to mistakes and less often to failures. My goal is to reverse this and promote failure as a way to learning. Certainly I don’t want students strictly to fail as that would be rather frustrating and demoralizing in the long run. Who wants to come away from a workshop having only failed at their attempts?

Happy Holidays from all of us at OPG!

December 24th, 2011 by Chris Klapheke

NEOS Overshoes Review by Jim Caldwell of Fotobug

December 21st, 2011 by Chris Klapheke

Make sure and check out Jim’s great Elusive Image podcasts at Fotobug!

Take Chances – Sometimes It Works Out

December 19th, 2011 by Mike Moats

How many times have you photographed a cool looking subject, and thought that it would turn out really great, only to be disappointed when you get home and viewed the image on your computer. It happens to me quite often.

What we see in 3D with our eyes doesn’t always translate well on a flat screen or flat photo paper.

Sometimes I shoot a subject that I really don’t think will turn out well, and it turns out awesome.

You just never know, so shoot everything, pixels are free!

You can visit Mike’s blog and learn about his workshops here: Tiny Landscapes

Mike’s eBooks are available in the OPG store here: Mike Moats