A Photographer’s Wife

June 14th, 2011 by Mike Moats

Here’s a great post that was on NaturePhotographers.net the other day, and thought you all would like reading it. Thanks Michele for this great insight as a photographer’s wife.  Just in time for Father's Day!

A Photographer’s Wife 
by Michelle Blanchard

  • Yes. I know not all photographers are men. But, being that my husband is one, I’ve learned that a photographer’s wife:
  • Knows that a “going for a walk” really means “stand for long, long periods in one spot”.
  • Becomes accustomed to seeing her husband lay on his belly in public places.
  • Knows that ‘the light’s gone’ doesn’t mean it’s dark.
  • Has learned that photography involves expensive gadgets which break, are easily lost, and are used only once in a very great while.
  • Has learned that photographic equipment multiplies and eventually fills up what used to be the guest bedroom.
  • Is resigned to the fact that camera manufacturers build obsolescence into each piece of equipment, and that after a year of use, the equipment needs to be replaced.
  • Never has to wonder what to get her husband for Christmas and birthdays.
  • Understands that when they board a plane, her bags will be checked, not his camera backpack.
  • Wisely refuses to carry that backpack.
  • Has learned that making statements like “watch your settings” and “did you charge the battery?” aren’t considered nagging.
  • Has learned that, no matter how many photos he takes, she will never see more than one or two.
  • Has learned that, “Okay, here we go” is always followed up with “Oh, wait”.
  • Has learned to check all his pockets for memory cards before washing his clothes.
  • Knows that “blowing out the whites” doesn’t involve explosions or Caucasians.
  • Cannot get her husband to sit still for a family portrait.

Creative Texturing

June 10th, 2011 by Denise Ippolito

Editor's note:  Welcome Denise Ippolito to the blog!  Denise is a freelance photographer, artist and writer living in NJ.  With a background in the florist industry, Denise concentrates her photographic vision on soft, dreamy images of flowers.  Denise has written several ebooks in the OPG store, including A Guide to Creative Filters and Effects and A Guide to Pleasing Blurs.  She is also a moderator on Bird Photographers.Net.  Check out Denise's website here, and watch for informative articles and soothing images from Denise on the blog! 




The same Viola Image as above but with a different texture applied



In this mini-tutorial I will walk you through some creative texturing applications as well as multiple filtering applications to bring your textured images to life. Adding texture to an image can really change the look of it. Knowing how to blend an image with the right textures and learning some highlighting techniques can really improve your final product and that is what we will be discussing here. Most of the things you will need to create textured images can be found in Photoshop, however there is a cool program out there called Dirty Pictures by Totally Rad. It allows you to very easily change out the texture backgrounds by blending them automatically for you. This is by far the easiest way to apply the textures. But convenience comes with a price. The software is not free it costs $149.00. You do not need to buy this program to apply the textures- it just makes it easier. You don’t even need to buy the textures; they are available all over the web for free. All of the textures that I used here are from Shadowhouse Creations they offer lots of great free textures and tutorials.

Choosing the Texture:

When choosing a texture to use for an image there are some considerations to think about. First of all you never want your texture to completely over power your subject. For example, if you are applying a texture to a dainty flower you don’t want to choose a texture that will be too strong either with its color or its pattern. Heavily raised textured looks can be very nice for the right image but

Pixels Vs. Prints

June 9th, 2011 by Bret Edge

Until last year I had never enjoyed the thrill of making my own photographic prints.  When I needed a print, I’d send off a file (or slide) to whatever lab I was using at the time and they’d ship the print directly to me or my client.  With only a few exceptions my image viewing experience consisted of staring at a photo on a computer monitor.

Then, I bought an Epson Stylus Photo R2880 printer and everything changed.  If that sounds like a dramatic statement – it is.  It’s also quite true.  I started making my own prints.  Whenever I wanted.  On whatever paper I wanted.  It didn’t take long and I was addicted to the smell of fresh ink on photographic paper as a new print rolled off the printer, landing ever so gently in the catch tray.  Is there a difference between viewing an image on a computer monitor and holding an actual print, that you made, in your hands?  You’d better believe it.

As an artist I like to have complete control over my work from start to finish.  While it is true that you maintain a degree of control when you do all the post-processing on your photos before sending them off to a lab, you’re really not closing the loop.  The ultimate control comes when you conclude the image making process by crafting your own print.  Today’s inkjet printers are capable of producing professional quality archival prints that rival and, in my opinion, exceed those made using more traditional methods like Cibachromes.  They’re sharper, more detailed, just as colorful and can be made using a diversity of papers.

How to use Lights Out Mode in Lightroom

June 8th, 2011 by John Batdorff

I use the “Lights Out Mode” in Lightroom frequently as part of my final editing process, so here’s a quick tutorial on how I do that.

Learn more about John, view his images and check out his blog here.

Hello everyone. John Batdorff here, and today I want to talk about a feature I really enjoy using at the end of my editing process, and that’s the Lights Out feature. When I’m done editing my image and I think I’m where I need to be, I’ll use the Lights Out feature to just view the image without all the distractions of the panels and lightroom.

To activate the Lights Out feature, all you need to do is press the “L” key on your keyboard. When you do that, it will go to dim first. Now, I don’t use this that often, but some people like this feature to review their images and then make changes to their images, because you still can see your developmental panel and all of that. What I have my setting at is 70%, and I’ll show you how to change that in a second. But what I like to do is go to Lights Out, which you hit the “L” key again, and boom, all we have now is the image and I can review the image. This is where I think about what kind of adjustments I want to make, or if it’s done and ready to go.

Just remember, hit “L” again to go back to full view. Some people will freak out, and they’ll be like, “Oh, I can’t get anywhere.” Well, you hit “L” again and that takes you right back to the beginning.

So to change your Lights Out setting, all you need to do it go into Edit, Preferences, and right here where it says “Dim Level,” that’s the dim level that we talked about that first time that you hit the “L” key. The default is at 80. I use 70 because I think you can see the controls a little better, even though I don’t really use it that much. Let’s just take a look at this again, This is dim, this is at 70% dim. Like I said, you still have access to everything. Once again,

Blakiston's Fish Owl Feeding Video

June 6th, 2011 by Martin Bailey

Here’s a short video that I shot on Feb 1, 2011, of a Blakiston’s Fish Owl Feeding in the town of Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan.

The pool from which the owl feeds is rocks covered with snow. The rocks were put there by locals, and they drop fish into the pool each night to feed the owls. This is done whether photographers are there or not, and is helping the owls to grow in numbers for the first time in decades.

You can also view the embedded video right here on your iPad, thanks to Vimeo!

Don’t forget to hit the full-screen button in the video window to view the video full-screen.

Note that there is an iPod/iPhone version of this video in iTunes, which is good for portability, but if you’re watching on a computer, the video above is better.

Follow Martin on twitter here:  http://twitter.com/MartinBailey

Check out Martin's blog here:  http://blog.martinbaileyphotography.com/

And finally, get info on Martin's workshops here:  http://www.mbpworkshops.com/

272 g: “The Nature of Japan” Exhibition Slideshow

Photographing Waterfalls and Streams

June 3rd, 2011 by Jack Graham

Editor's note:  Welcome Jack Graham to the blog!  Jack comes to us via regular contributors Mike Moats and Guy Tal.  Now living in Portland, Jack conducts workshops all over the country, concentrating on landscapes.  Jack has been published in numerous magazines including Audubon and Outdoor Photographer, and is a chairperson for NANPA.  Reinforcing the the theory that It really is a small world after all, Jack and Chris found out that they went to the same university, lived in the same dorm, and even played the same instrument in the band!  Read more about Jack on his website here, and learn about his workshops here.  A big welcome to Jack, and we look forward to more from him soon!

–Chris Klapheke

I live in the Pacific Northwest. What else says Pacific Northwest more than a waterfall. Spring here in the Pacific Northwest is a glorious time to take advantage of the hundreds of waterfalls  within a short drive. The waterfall  against a backdrop of lush greenery is one o my favorite subjects. Let’s discuss some of the challenges and suggestions that might help you in your waterfall photography. These are in order of how I think about them in the field. They are all equally important  in making quality waterfall images.






WATER EFFECTS: Silky or Natural?

This should be an easy decision. Slow shutter speeds for the silky effect and faster for less silky, or more action packed water. This is determined by the amount of water coming over the falls or over the rocks in a stream. If you are undecided, experiment and shoot both ways. Sometimes this is the best way to attack the situation and make your final decisions after the fact in front of your monitor.  If you want to convey the overall power, force & majesty of a big waterfall, I usually try to use a fast shutter speed. The converse is true for smaller falls and streams.

Adjusting shutter speeds is your call. If you want the silky effect (my preference) use slower shutter speeds. If you want moving water to look like it really does, then use a fast speed. Here is a chart that I refer to

Learning wildlife photography – Making sharper images – Part 3

June 2nd, 2011 by Paul Burwell
Chipping Sparrow perched on a branch

Chipping Sparrow perched on a branch

Learning wildlife photography – Making sharper images – Part 3 – In this final installment on making sharper images, we’ll discuss a few more things to think about when you’re trying to make the sharpest possible images.

Shutter Speed – You need enough shutter speed to have a reasonable chance at making a sharp image. The general rule of thumb is that your shutter speed should match the focal length you’re shooting at. E.g. For an image made at 220mm you should be shooting at a minimum of 1/200th of a second. With an image stabilized camera or lens, you can generally get away with a shutter speed that’s a couple of stops slower (1/50th of a second in this example).

  • If your subject is moving around, you need enough shutter speed to freeze the motion. In most situations, you probably need shutter speeds of 1/250th of a second or faster to freeze the motion.
  • One of the big advantages of digital photography is that you have the option of boosting your camera’s ISO setting in order to achieve a higher shutter speed. Of course the trade off with the higher ISO settings is increased noise in the images.

Camera Support – Many photographers are not accustomed to making images with the aid of a tripod. They find them cumbersome to use but instead enjoy the flexibility that hand-holding their camera gives them. However, I am a strong advocate for using a tripod whenever it is practical. Even with today’s advanced image stabilization system and cameras capable of reasonable images at high ISO settings, it is still generally advisable to use a tripod to enhance your image quality.

Learning wildlife photography – Making sharper images – Part 2

June 1st, 2011 by Paul Burwell
Female Purple Finch perched on a branch

Female Purple Finch perched on a branch

Making sharper images – Part 2 - In the previous psot I discussed some of the finer points of using your camera’s auto focusing features to help compose an image and get what’s important (the eyes!) in focus. Let’s look at some additional factors that go into making sharp images.

Lenses – The higher quality the lens, the better images it can produce. And unfortunately, higher quality almost always translates to higher cost. Most camera and lens manufacturers make a line of “professional” lenses. In addition to the higher price for the “professional” quality, the lenses can produce tack-sharp, well saturated images. Spend enough time on Internet camera forums and you’ll come across a bevy of people constantly chasing the latest and greatest body. There are even some individuals who flip-flop back and forth between brands constantly chasing the newest camera body with the best perceived specifications. I’ve always advocated investing in the glass and then purchasing the best camera body you can afford. And I don’t know if I’ll ever understand people who switch back-and-forth between brands. I sincerely doubt it makes them better photographers and I know I couldn’t afford to take the hit on selling all my gear every couple of years only to stock up on gear for another brand.

Learning wildlife photography – Making sharper images – Part 1

May 31st, 2011 by Paul Burwell
Wilson's Phalarope swimming on a marsh - 1000mm, AI-Focus

Wilson's Phalarope swimming on a marsh – 1000mm, AI-Focus

Making sharper images – Part 1 – A lot of wildlife photography is dependent on the use of telephoto,telephoto-zooms and super telephoto lenses to make reasonable images of small subjects or larger animals off in the distance. When you use a telephoto lens, you need a new set of techniques in order to ensure that you end up with sharp images. Nothing is more frustrating than coming across some desirable subject, actually getting them into your viewfinder only to get home and discover that the images are lacking in the sharpness department.

The first thing to focus on (pun intended or not, you decide) is the subject’s eyes. In nearly all cases, the eyes of your subject should be tack sharp. So, that means that your going to have to put your camera’s focus point onto the animal’s eyes. Or, you can either exclusively use the center focus point and just accept the fact that your going to be spending a lot of time in Lightroom or Photoshop cropping your images to create a usable composition, or you can learn to use your camera’s features to create that composition in the viewfinder.

Andy Biggs on the NBC TODAY Show

May 30th, 2011 by Matt Dennison

Our pal Andy Biggs, of Gura Gear fame, appeared on the NBC Today Show last week to give folks some photography tips.  You can view his segment right here:

You can find out more about Andy, his safaris, his blog and his images at his website:  www.andybiggs.com