I have been to a couple photography sites where I saw people posting images with flypaper textures applied to their images. I really liked the look and decided to give it a try.
For these textures check out Jerry Jones and his Shadow House Creations Blog. Jerry is kind enough to allow everyone free downloads of his textures he has created. He told me he has about 1000 textures between his blog and flicker. If you use any of his textures he would appreciate a plug for his site. Thanks Jerry, I know I will pick out a bunch to use.
Here is an image I just recently shot and thought it was a good candidate for some flypaper textures.
I load the image into Photoshop Elements, and then open which flypaper texture I would like to apply over the image. Once the texture is up, it will sit on the right side of the image on your screen, I use the move tool to drag the texture over top of the image. You can adjust the texture to fit over the image by going to the corners or edges and dragging the texture to fit completely over the image. On the far right side of the screen you will see thumb nails of both, the image is labeled background and then the texture you applied over top in a second box as a layer. Just above the texture layer thumbnail you will see a box that says normal, click on that box and another box will show up with a bunch of different words. Look for the area that has the words Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Vivid Light, Pin Light. When you click on one of these links it will make the texture some what transparent over the image, and each name that you click on will have a different look. Once you find the look you like, go to the right side above the thumb nails, you will see the word Opacity with a box next to it that says 100%. Click the 100% and a slider will appear, and you can adjust the amount of opacity of the texture.
I received my copy of Topaz B&W Effects and I have to say I love it! There are so many presets and lots of different looks can be achieved from the filters. It’s not only for Back and White. WOW- it is a fun program that is very versatile. I created the image above by using multiple filters from the new plug-in. It is very user friendly just like all the Topaz plug-ins. Below is the original image I started with.
I was skeptical about this one – I have to admit it. I already have a camera strap that I really like. It has great padding and little pockets where I can keep a couple of extra memory cards – so why do I need the Black Rapid RS4? But I’m game. I said I’d try it out, and write up a review if I liked it. If not, I’d just send it back. Well – I was wrong… this thing is great!
First off, it has a pocket. So what? My old one has two pockets. Well – the pockets on my other strap are just the right size for my memory cards. Which is great – if that’s the only thing you plan to put in there. They’re too small to fit anything else. The Black Rapid has one slightly larger pocket with a small zipper – it’ll fit a couple of memory cards– or you can do what I did. I usually use a tripod – so my camera has a quick-release bracket screwed into the bottom. Rather than risk losing the bracket, I put it in the pocket – along with its easy-to-lose screw, and my allen wrench. When I want to switch back to my tripod mount, I know exactly where those small parts are. No fishing around in the bottom of my camera bag trying to find them. That may not seem like a big deal, but if you are primarily a tripod-shooter, it means a lot. The pocket was just large enough to fit a spare memory card in there too. Nice!
Good friend and incredible bird photographer Alan Murphy came in last week to shoot a series of videos, both on bird tips and on products. We had a fun time shooting finches and woodpeckers out on my deck, and have some great footage.
Our first video is on the Eagle Car Door Support from Eckla. Alan reviews all the features of this sturdy mount, which makes shooting from your vehicle a breeze.
You can see the Eckla Eagle in the OPG store here.
Alan has an incredibly detailed and useful best-selling ebook “Songbird Setup Photography” in the store. You can also check out Alan’s images and workshops at his website here. Thanks Alan!
Well we had another cool morning, no wind, and everything covered in dew. I’ve mentioned this before, but if you get out on these cool dewy mornings the dragonflies will hold their position allowing you to set up your tripod, move in as close as you like, and take your time shooting. The cool body temps and dew on the wings prevents them from taking off.
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 often do you see photos posted in online forums or hanging in a gallery, accompanied by a description wherein the photographer recounts the miles hiked, grizzly bears fought off, violent storms encountered and years of preparation before they were finally able to create the image before you? I see it on a regular basis. Usually, I have no doubt about the authenticity of the story. Other times, the claims are a bit dubious. Regardless, a recent experience left me wondering whether the effort expended to create an image is somehow tied to the value viewers place on an image. Is a photograph made deep into an inhospitable wilderness more inherently valuable or artistic than an image where the greatest physical effort expended was simply pressing the shutter button?
The image you see above was not photographed in a wild and remote location. I didn’t backpack 30 miles wearing a 100 pound backpack in stinging rain with lightning crashing all around. No, all I did was pull to the side of I-80 so my son could go pee. I saw potential in the cracked mud, mountains and ominous sky so I casually strolled to my truck (in flip flops) where I reached in, grabbed my camera and tripod, then walked 30 feet to the very spot where this image was made. My biggest challenge was wrangling a persistent 2 year old who was intent on peering through the viewfinder and making his own photo while I tried to nail the composition before the fast moving storm in the distance was upon us.
I posted this image on flickr and, to date, it has received 793 views, 41 favorites and 21 comments after flickr added it to the explore page. If you’re familiar with flickr you’ll understand that 800 views is nothing compared to what truly popular images receive. For me, it’s a bunch. I didn’t mention that I made the photo mere feet from a busy interstate with cars and semis whizzing by at 80 MPH. I wonder if I had, would the photo have received so many likes and comments?
Read more about Bret and get info on his upcoming fall workshops here.
If you were to talk to many of my workshop attendees and they will tell you there are a few things I really espouse throughout the workshop, hopefully not to the point that its information overload. One of these techniques is DEPTH of FIELD. Some of of my attendees did not know what depth of field is, let alone how to achieve it. Some didn’t understand it and others thought it too complicated and therefore have never mastered the techniques. Well, it’s not complicated at all, once you understand it, and perhaps this essay will help explain it to you in as easy terms possible. I will state that Depth of Field is essential in every form of photography and must be understood and applied.
So, what exactly is depth of field? Simply, it is the amount of detail, within the image that is in focus. You, the photographer must decide on how much depth of field (DOF) is desired. Do you want the entire image in focus? Do you want the background out of focus ( often referred to as blown out—-I don’t really like that term as “blown out” might refer to overexposed, not out of focus).
Once you make the decision on how much of the image you want in focus, you must understand the technique that must be used to achieve your goals.
Decisions on setting to attain Depth of field are:
The F-Stop (see below) chosen to make the image
The focal length of the lens
Subject size (the depth of field decreases as you decrease the lens/subject distance
How far away is the subject?
Choosing a lens will have a dramatic effect on your depth of field. Lenses below the 60mm range are capable of attaining a large depth of field. (wide angle lenses) The DOF affect attained with lenses above 60mm will be less and when combining a 160mm+ lens on a DSLR, perfect Depth of field is virtually impossible. This is a principle of physics.
I started off my morning at this beautiful Sunflower farm in New Jersey. I arrived just before sunrise. A hint of fog was in the air and I was excited to set up. The early morning was peaceful and I had the entire field to myself. I spent hours capturing a variety of images. I couldn’t get enough. I used my fisheye lens, my 24-105mm lens and my 100mm Macro lens. I brought a step stool and tripod. The farmer told me that he has another crop about two weeks behind this one so I may get a chance to go again.
Whenever I am teaching nature photography one of the things I really emphasize is that, in order to be a better photographer, it really helps to be a better naturalist. The more you know about your subject the more likely you are to be able to predict its whereabouts and actions.
The images you see here prove that statement as true. Earlier this spring I was out photographing when I heard a bird calling that was not immediately familiar to me. Stopping to listen more, I decided that it might be a Prairie Warbler. Prairie Warblers are only occasionally seen in Michigan, usually during migration. I decided to spend some time searching for the bird, and ended up getting to spend the entire morning with this bird, a species that I had never had the opportunity to photograph before. All because I knew its song!
I was told by a couple of birders (who driven four hours just to see this bird) that this was the only Prairie Warbler that had been seen in Michigan this year!
Browse Steve’s images, read his blog, and learn about his workshops at his site www.stevegettle.com