With the snow coming in (here in the Northeast U.S. anyway), it seems like a good time to review some winter photography tips.
1) Stay powered. Cold temperatures reduce the length of time your camera’s batteries will function. Always bring a spare or two, and use power-sapping features like auto focus, live view, and LCD playback sparingly.
2) Stay dry. Keep snow away from your camera and lenses as much as possible. While dry, fluffy snow isn’t as bad as rain on your equipment, you should still blow or wipe it from your gear whenever necessary. Also, never bring a camera and lenses directly into a warm environment after it has been out in the cold. Pack them in your camera bag or plastic bags before heading inside and let them warm up to room temperature before taking them out. Otherwise, moisture will condense on the glass and metal surfaces, potentially damaging your gear.
3) Expose for your highlights – the snow. A snowy landscape will often throw off a camera’s meter, sometimes to the point of underexposing your photo as much as two stops. When shooting in winter, take a test shot and check your histogram. You should have pixels stretching almost to the right side of the graph in order to ensure properly exposed snow. If you don’t, add light to your exposures by using a slower shutter speed. However, if your histogram spikes on the right side (you’ll probably have the blinkies too), then your photo is overexposed and you need to use a faster shutter speed.
The SpiderPro Single Camera System is a great way to have your camera at your finger tips without the fuss of a strap. I like the quick release and the locking system that they have used to make this holster. This sturdy well made system uses a pin to connect to your camera (I recommend that you tighten it down with a wrench to make sure it is secure). It fits comfortably on my hip and lets me be “hands free”. I like that I don’t have a strap over my shoulder. When carrying my 500mm lens on a tripod, having the holster for my second body is much more comfortable then having it strapped to my neck.
The company also offers a smaller Black Widow Holster for carrying your smaller lenses, and a dual holster for carrying two cameras at the same time. Visit Spider Camera Holster’s website to see a quick video clip and to learn more about these great holsters.
The SpiderPro Single Camera System is the one I chose because it handles my Canon 100-400mm lens safely and easily.
As a nature photographer, having quick easy access to your camera makes a world of difference. Outdoor Photo Gear has the SpiderPro and the Black Widow available. I just love this holster and I have added it to my gear list so I thought that I would pass on the info.
Beech leaves during the cold northern winters have a transparent look, and seem to stay on the trees till spring. I picked these off the tree the other day with this shot in mind. I used my light table that’s for viewing slides (which has no use any more) for the light provided under this arrangement. You can do all kinds of different setups and it makes for some pretty cool images. The leaves are curled when they come off the tree so place them in a book with a lot of weight on top to dry and flatten them, then you’re ready to go. You can use other leaves that will work just as well with the light table. Have Fun!
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
The Universal kit comes with 20 tabbed filters and a band to attach the gels to any sized speedlight. The kit includes various dramatic colors for effect, and a set of color correction gels to match your light with just about any available light from tungsten to florescent. A really cool feature of these gels is that each one comes printed with the actual color and the number of stops of light each gel uses. This can be really handy when determining how much light to use. These gels also attach very easily to any speedlight with the included band.
The Rogue Grid kit is designed to be used with the new Rogue Grid and these fit easily in to the Rogue Grid holder. This kit comes with the same tabbed 20 filters as the Universal kit and each gel is also marked with the color and number of stops of light each gel uses (I love this feature). If you already have the Rogue Grid then this is a must have addition, and if you don’t have the grid, go out and pick one up, its priced right and easy to use!
Both kits come with their own carrying pouches which if you’ve used gels at all, you know how cumbersome it can be to keep
It’s fall here in the US, and photographers are out and about, capturing lots of color in mountains and forests. But the early morning chill in the air and the honk of migrating geese remind me of my favorite fall place: Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.
Bosque del Apache was the site of my first photo workshop, and where I was bitten hard by the Bird Photography bug. Not only is Bosque a great place to learn bird photography, it’s become an annual “meet and greet” for the outdoor photographer community. Photographers of all levels, either on a workshop or on their own, invade the little town of Socorro and comingle, exchange ideas and socialize both in the field and the various hangouts around town. I’m trilled to be going back this year with Rick Sammon and Juan Pons for a great workshop.
If you’re heading there for the first time, you can take advantage of those of us who make it an annual pilgrimage, and plan ahead for your gear and supplies. You won’t be heading to a remote place like Africa, so if you forget something, you can always pick it up at a local store. However, Bosque is so enchanting you won’t want to miss a single minute of shooting time by shopping!
Let’s start with non-photographic gear. You’ll be in desert air, with wild temperature fluctuations throughout the day. In the before-dawn when we set up, it can get cold. For most of us, I mean really cold. I’ve spent many mornings in below zero temps at Bosque. By afternoon, it can reach 70! So, dress in layers. Invest some good outdoor clothing and supplies. Check the weather ahead of time! Here’s a good non-photographic gear list:
Good windproof outer shell parka.
Long underwear. My favorite is made by SmartWool. Expensive but worth every penny.
Warm socks and sock liner. Again, SmartWool.
Warm shoes. We won’t be hiking, but warmth is the key here.
Gloves that allow you to work your camera. AquaTech Sensory Gloves are our best sellers, and for good reason. You may also want to get a pair of thin gloves or liners you can wear under the
I get a lot of questions on how to straighten an image in Lightroom, so I thought I would “level with you” and show how I fix the problem with a video tutorial…
Hello, everyone. John Batdorff here, and today I thought I’d show you how to straighten an image in light room.
Now, in many cases, when I’m off shooting ocean landscapes, I’m using my tripod and a level to make sure that the image, of course, is leveled. However, when I’m shooting straight photography you don’t have that luxury. In this case I think I was actually on my stomach when I was shooting this gentleman. And so, as you can tell just by looking at the image, it’s not leveled and there’s a couple of techniques we can use to straighten this image up.
So what we’re going to want to do is go to our crop tool here. You can click on the box or hit the letter R in your keyboard and you’ll notice we have this box right here. So one thing you can do is you can go outside the box and you can rotate it. Take note of my cursor here, how we have those two arrows, and you can just grab it and rotate it until you think it’s straight. One of the benefits to using a grid overlay with the box is you can try to line them up, as you can see right here on this horizontal line. That’s one technique. Let’s reset that.
Another technique is to grab the straightening tool. And I like to use this and I’ll grab a long horizontal line and I’ll go all the way across and then go up a little bit. In this case I’m using the curve. And that put us right on -2.5 and you can click on the overlay box again or hit the letter R in your keyboard. And that looks pretty straight.
Now, to cycle through as we discussed before this crop overlay, just hit the letter O on your keyboard. Let’s get a good grid here and that’s a pretty good grid to work with when you’re trying to straighten things up. It looks pretty darn straight so I’m going to use this crop right here.