Bursting on to the scene of professional nature photographers just a few short years ago, Canadian born nature photographer Glenn Bartley has quickly established a reputation as one of the best bird photographers on the market. With books, articles, workshops and of course wonderful images, Glenn stays busy pursuing his career in nature photography.
Glenn has been enchanted by nature and wildlife for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Toronto, Canada, Glenn, like many of us, spent many hours with National Geographic magazine and natural history books. Glenn's favorite TV show at the time was David Suzuki's "The Nature of Things". Glenn says "It may have all started in the backyard of my childhood home. I'd spend hour after hour lying underneath a hummingbird feeder trying to capture an image of one of these amazing birds with a simple point and shoot camera".
Glenn obtained his first “real” camera in college….A Canon Elan 7 film SLR.
In college, Glenn had an incredible extended travel opportunity. He took part in an exchange program that had him swapping places with a student from Brisbane, Australia.
Continuing my love affair with my wonderful Canon S95 camera, I toted it with me to Goblin Valley State Park for a photo assignment I’d managed to win from Utah State Parks & Recreation. Not only did they ask for scenes from Goblin Valley, which is an absolutely awesome little park, but they also wanted photographs of the surrounding area. So, I did what I do best – I wandered. At a point in my roaming I observed this interesting feature in the sandstone. I grabbed my trusty S95 and hiked a short distance to it for a closer look.
I have absolutely no idea what causes this lightning like pattern in the sandstone. I suspect it to be caused by water cascading down the rock, creating a sort of reverse desert varnish. Regardless, I immediately envisioned it as a high contrast black and white abstract image and went to work composing a photograph on the S95’s LCD screen. Back home I converted the color image to monochrome in Photoshop CS5 using Nik Silver Efex Pro. I then used several curves and levels layers to make the “lightning” pop, as well as Nik Color Efex Pro and Viveza 2 for some finishing touches. Lastly, I used a little black magic in the form of Photoshop’s “Content Aware Fill” to remove some distracting blemishes from the rock.
Whatcha think? If you know what causes this pattern I’d really appreciate an explanation, too!
Learn more about Bret, view his images, scout his workshops and read his blog here.
I see lots of photographs of this simple Gerbera Flower, and I will say it is one of my favorites to shoot during the winter when I’m doing all my indoor shooting.
To many images made with flowers are shot from the front side, with little imagination. A flower has so many different angles that you have to explore all the possibilities.
Here is the typical frontal shot, and rather then place the flowers center in the middle of the frame like you see most photographers do, I’ve offset the center of the flower in the lower left corner. Because every part of this view has interesting designs I want everything in focus, so I set my f/stop as the highest number at f/22.
The next shot is also a frontal shot but I moved in closer and only included a quarter view of the flower center by placing it in the lower right side and making the image as a horizontal. Again I’ve set my f/stop at f/22 to bring the whole flower in focus.
There's a new softbox for speedlights on the market called the Lumiquest LTp! Lumiquest has long been making cool modifiers for speedlights, including my previous favorite, the Softbox III. Based on how popular the SBIII is, Lumiquest came out with another softbox for speedlights, but this time its bigger, and as we all know, bigger is better, right?
Lumiquest's new softbox is roughly twice the size of the SBIII. At 10" x 14" the LTp creates a nice, soft light source for hand held portraits. However, this softbox is just not limited to hand held portraits, it can be used for a myriad of lighting solutions including a hair light, a kicker light, a fill light and it works excellently for product photography. It eats up about the same amount of light as the SBIII, which is a little more than one full stop of light.
In this first portrait, I used the LTp on a Nikon SB-800 hand held to camera left. This image is straight out of camera with no editing except to crop and resize for the web. You can see that this softbox gives a nice, soft quality of light (click on it for a larger view). It's not quite as soft as a larger softbox or shoot-thru umbrella, but for a compact softbox that can be hand held and packed away in almost any camera bag, its gives awesome results! The light from this softbox is kinda 'punchy' and soft at the same time, similar to that of a beauty dish.
If you have ever wanted to make selective adjustments to your images but have been unsure how – this video is for you! Understanding how to creatively use layer masking can really open up a lot of new doors to photographers in the digital darkroom. This video just scratches the surface of what can be done. But I hope it will be easy to understand and be a good start. Enjoy!
Learn more about Glenn, check out his images, books and workshops here.
Continuing my post from yesterday, here's a look at some more rock slabs.
I recently purchased this great looking Laguna Lace Agate Slab. It’s always fun searching for interesting patterns in these slabs. I shot this with the standard 1:1 60mm Tamron macro lens, but will be exploring into tiny areas as I add on my extension tubes.
This is the slab I started with
Check out both sides if you buy any slabs, as the patterns vary on each side.
Lots of fun with these rock slabs!
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
One of my favorite subjects to shoot during the winter months are slab cut rocks, which are thin slices of rocks that are polished smooth exposing all kinds of great abstract designs. Each year I search out companies online that sell these rocks and this year I found “Dandy Slabs” which is a premier site for rare, high grade and old stock lapidary materials – slabs, rough rock and collector specimens. You can chekck them out at www.dandyslab.com.
I shot these images using my Tamron 60mm macro lens. When I’m shooting indoor I like using a short focal length lens and working in close with the subject.
This first rock is a Deschutes Picture Jasper Slab and I liked the rich warm tones and lines.
This part of the rock reminded me of a mountain range, and the bright area on the left is the early morning sun with a large flock of crows in the sky entering the scene.
Finally! After many, many months (possibly even a year or so) of research and investigating, I finally purchased myself a ring light, or rather a ring flash modifier that I can use with my existing speedlights.
There are several makes and models to choose from which made the process a little more difficult than I expected, but I made a decision based on my shooting style, what would work with what I already have, and what my pocket book could let go of.
I decided on the Orbis Ring Flash adapter for quite a few reasons. Number one, it will work with my speedlights …all of them. There are a few other ring flash adapters made for speedlights but some of them will only fit specific models. The Orbis is designed to be a universal fit, and it does indeed fit both sizes of my Nikon speedlights.
The holidays are now over. Your naughty/nice tally has been reset and another year is a head of us! Apparently, you were super good because you got that new camera gear you had been asking for. The excitement of getting what you wanted has passed, and now it's time for you to take your new toy and put it into action.
Many times, this is much easier said than done. Many people get stuck pondering what to do next once they have their new gear.
Never fret (yes folks, some of us still use that word…). We have four tips to make this transition easier. Not all of these suggestions are applicable in all situations so yes, your mileage will vary. Some may seem basic, but you can never underestimate the importance of mastering the basics. Nonetheless, these ideas are better than you engaging in a staring contest with your new and exciting toy. The new gear always wins the staring contest… I promise…
1. Read… The Manual
Regardless of where you are in your photographic journey, it is beneficial to read the manual. You need to be familiar with how to use your new equipment before you take it into the field. The last thing you want is to get the killer moment presented to you in the field only to miss it because you were futzing around with your gear. Your gear are your tools which enable you to make the photographs. If you start reading through the manual and you don’t understand stuff, don’t worry. This is all about learning
A very common source of confusion for nature photographers is how to properly calibrate a monitor.
Glenn has provided a short video tutorial on how he calibrates his monitor. No matter what calibration system you use, you'll find this video helpful. If you don't calibrate yet, this video will clear up some of the mystery!
You can see useful Color Management tools in the store here.
Learn more about Glenn, check out his images, books and workshops here.