Now that winter has arrived here in southeast Michigan I’m mostly shooting indoors. Dealing with varying light conditions can be tough without artificial lighting. I mainly shoot in two location of my house, near a wall at the back of the house, or in the front foyer where a huge window on the second level floods the stairway with natural light. Whether I shoot at the back of the house or front depends on the time of day and where the strongest light is entering the home.
I have always preferred natural light for my images without the use of flash, and have been successful the majority of the time working in this manner. On most days I do get enough natural light through these windows that gives me enough light to pull off my shots. But there are those heavy overcast days when it’s just to dark in the house and tough to shoot. I tried flash in the past and found it frustrating at time and didn’t care for the look, even through I have seen photographers that use flash that get good results. It was just not for me.
Recently I’ve seen these LED light boxes that are sold as a constant light source used for shooting video with DSLR cameras. They attach in your camera’s hotshoe where the flash would be, and I thought this would be a great lighting tool for the macro photographer. I don’t use it attached to the camera, but rather use it by hand holding it where I what the light to hit the subject. Because the subjects we shoot are small this light works perfectly.
Come join us for some Holiday Cheer!
We’re having an Open House Thursday December 16 to say thanks and Happy Holidays to our local customers!
Forget the shopping crowds for a while and stop in to say hello. See our new showroom and enjoy refreshments, killer door prizes (see below) and unadvertised specials!
If you plan on stopping by, please take a moment to RSVP below so we don't run out of refreshments.
WHEN: Thursday December 16th, from 4 pm to 9 pm
WHERE: 440 Commercial Drive Suite 101 Louisville, KY 40223 See map below
RSVP: Please take a moment to RSVP below so we don't run out of refreshments.
REFRESHMENTS: Light snacks, holiday cookies, soft drinks, beer and wine.
DOOR PRIZES: Come by and drop your name in the hat for some great prizes from our best vendors!
- Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 70 Pro Bag
- Nik Software Complete Collection for Lightroom & Aperture
- Manfrotto 327RC2 Grip Ball Head
- LensCoat BodyBag
- Black Rapid Camera Strap
- Westcott Mini Apollo
- Benro HD-18 3 Way Pan Head
- Rogue Flashbender
- AquaTech Sensory Glove
- Cotton Carrier: Carry-Lite
That’s over $1000 in door prizes!
If you're a photographer, chances are, your friends and family have become very accustomed to seeing you with a camera. As a matter of fact, if you're like me, then they might even think there's something terribly wrong with you, or perhaps wonder if you're sick (mentally or otherwise) if you show up to any gathering and don't have a camera with you. I've been toting a camera around with me everywhere I go for so long now, that I've sorta become the de facto staff photographer for any social gathering.
This is actually a good thing though, because its a low pressure way to experiment with different techniques while not worrying about actually upsetting paying clients. Sometimes though, you might feel that slight pinch from your friends and family expecting top quality work (since you're a photographer) but really all you want to do is snap a few photos of the event and have a good time. Ever happen to you?
As we enter into the first phase of winter here in the northern regions of the US, we find less and less to shoot outdoors. The colors have all disappeared and the plant life has wilted and faded away until next spring. Once the first week of December arrives, I look forward to heading to the local creeks and shooting ice abstract. These images that you see are produced in the very first stages of freeze at the edges of the creeks. In this newly formed ice you will find interesting patterns and unique natural designs. With each winter day the cold adds new layers of ice causing the ice to turn white and erasing these creative designs, so being out there at the first ice is your best chance to shoot these cool abstracts.
A long focal length macro lens (150mm to 200mm) works best as you will be shooting from the bank of the creek and need that longer range to reach the subjects and fill the frame.
You will be shooting at low angles and to increase my depth of field to bring the whole design into sharp focus I use the higher f/stop numbers in the f/22 to f/32 ranges.
Look for designs that have a lot of interesting swirling lines
Editors' note: We thought for this Holiday Season we'd poll our photographer friends to see what would be on their wish lists. From our local pals to worldwide celebrity shooters, here are their picks. We're sure you'll find some great ideas here!
Rick is a Canon Explorer of Light and probably the most famous guy we know, so we'll start off with him! You can check out Rick's blog with a new address at www.ricksammon.info.
- Signed 19×20 inch print of Chris's Fire Mist Crane shot at Bosque
- "I Shoot RAW" t-shirt. XL. Funny!
- PowerEX 8 Cell battery charger. I need to keep charged at all times.
- Dust-Aid Sensor Cleaner Keep clean. Enough said.
- AquaTech Sensory Gloves XL Up here in New York, a necessity.
James is the Publisher of Birdphotographers.net, an extensive resource site and lively forum for bird, nature and wildlife photographers. When James isn't working on BPN, you'll find him leading workshops on his boat, the Hooptie Deaux. You can check out James's site here.
- Lensbaby Composer for Nikon. Makes me see in a different way.
- Datacolor LensCal. You'd be surprised how many of your lenses need calibration.
- Think Tank Hydrophobia for 300-600mm Lenses. The best raincover made!
- Nikon SD-9 High Performance Battery Pack. Makes my flashes recharge much faster than I do!
- AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4 ED VR. The big gun. Nothing else to say.
John is a frequent contributor to our blog, and we run photo contests with him as well. Splitting his time between Montana and Chicago, John is an active blogger and conducts workshops. You can view his site here.
I wanted to share this image that I processed 95% in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw CS5).
The image is full frame and was shot in very harsh light. The image on the left is converted from Raw with no adjustments.
I used the adjustment brush to tone down the over-exposed right side of the Owl and also to bring out more detail in the shadow side of the Owl, and the dark background.
Since the bird's right eye was in shadow, and his right eye was in full sun, you can see the different size of the eyes. After balancing the light with processing, I felt both eyes should be the same. I used a small brush in “liquify” (under “filters”) to resize the eyes. Credit to Mike Gray for showing me the “adjustment” tool.
I love that each new version of Photoshop is saving more and more images that I used to throw away
You can read more about Alan, browse his images, and learn about workshops here.
I first met Chris Klapheke, founder/owner/operator of Outdoor Photo Gear, during a workshop I was co-leading in December 2008, in Bosque del Apache, New Mexico. We met during the event that Chris eloquently describes below, and exquisitely illustrates above.
I was new to the area, but Chris had been there several times before.
Day one of the workshop: Not only was I freezing, but I needed some help with finding the best shooting locations. Chris took me under his wing, so to speak, and helped me, and all the members of the group, get some knockout images.
Chris is a humble dude. You never hear him brag about his photographs, yet he is one of the best outdoor photographers I know. Recently, I asked him to jot down a caption for the image you see here. Well, Chris is the kind of guy who goes above and beyond in everything he does (most recently when it comes to customer service at Outdoor Photo Gear). Below is the “caption” that Chris sent me.
• • •
My alarm clock went off at 4:30 am in the Super 8 motel in Socorro, New Mexico. A sleepy little town about an hour south of Albuquerque, Socorro is the gateway town to the Bosque del Apache national wildlife refuge.
At 4:30 in the morning in Socorro in December, it’s darn cold. Fumbling awake, I checked the temperature: 12 below zero. Great. No, wait a minute—Great! Yesterday was a nice warm day in Bosque, with plenty of sun. That means, with this brutally cold morning, that any water that was shallow enough to warm up would be emitting a rare substance in the desert winter—steam.
When you get a nice warm day and a shivering cold morning, you can have steam rising from some of the ponds in Bosque. And when you get that steam and a clear sunrise, you have a chance to capture one of the “holy grail” shots from Bosque —birds in a golden mist of light.
Editor's note: Last week UPS profiled OPG in their Air Group newsletter "The Launch" which goes out to 7000 UPS Air employees worldwide. We are thrilled to be included and have reposted the article below.
UPS helps photo gear retailer move into international markets.
Louisville-based online retailer Outdoor Photo Gear relies on UPS to help give picture-perfect service to its customers around the world. Clients include pros and hobbyists, from photographers heading to Africa for a photo safari to shutterbugs shooting in their back yard.
“We invite our customers to capture their world, wherever it may be, and bring it back to us through their images,” the company’s Accounting and Customer Service Manager Kim O’Neal said.
“To us, ‘outdoor’ photography encompasses all types of photography: wildlife, nature, avian, landscape, travel, journalism, adventure and event photography,” said owner Chris Klapheke, who is an avian and nature photographer.
Outdoor Photo Gear has been a UPS customer since February 2009. The company has more than 1,100 products for customers to choose from and is continually adding more to its inventory, according to O’Neal.
The e-commerce business carries products from tripods, reflectors and rain covers for camera gear to camouflage photography blinds that cover photographers and their gear, allowing them to view and photograph wildlife without being seen.
Is Black Friday almost over already? If you’re looking to buy something practical or just fun for your favorite photographer in the family, then here are a few favorites. You will notice a lot of these suggestions are from my sponsors and for good reason. These folks make quality products and have great customer service. I won’t buy cheap products nor will I recommend companies with questionable service, so I'll try to steer you folks towards companies I know and like. Anyway, here’s a list of things I currently own and really enjoy using.
Here’s my naughty or nice list:
|1. Think Tank Cable Management 10 Organizer—I love these things. I have my back-up batteries, battery chargers, and pocket wizards all organized in these slick little pouches. And if you’re really Type A, you can get a label maker and slap some labels on them to keep everything seriously organized.|
|2. Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots—sure I’m a little biased on this one since I contributed a chapter, but this is an excellent book written by Laurie Excel. I’ve had a chance to go through the entire book, and it really has a lot of great tips and the photography is amazing.|