Shooting Clean Flower Backgrounds

September 5th, 2010 by Mike Moats

If you’ve ever studied some of the better macro images out there, you’ll see those nice clean solid color backgrounds that allow a subject to stand out, with no distractions to pull your eye away.  This presentation just doesn’t happen by accident, it’s carefully planned, and not all that hard to do.  Most people that sign up for my Macro Boot Camps tend to be flower shooters, so we'll use flowers as our subject matter for this post.

In the image below you see a nice patch of Dame’s Rocket flowers.  When approaching a patch like this, I see so many photographers that head right to the middle of the patch to find a flower to shoot.  With all the congestion of flowers, stems, leaves, this approach will only lead to a distracting background and make it impossible to get that clean shot.

For a clean shot, you'll need to concentrate your attention to the flowers at the perimeter of the patch. By finding those isolated flowers at the edges, and shooting at an angle where the background is the farthest away, you'll be able to get those nice solid color backgrounds.

Revisiting Favorite Places by Jerry Monkman

September 2nd, 2010 by Jerry Monkman
Cherry Mountain and the distant Presidential Range as seen from Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge in New Hampshire;s White Mountains.

Cherry Mountain and the distant Presidential Range as seen from Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

I am currently spending a few days in New Hampshire's White Mountains thanks to a couple of speaking engagements. The White Mountains are the place where I became hooked on nature photography 20 years ago. Marcy and I had just moved to Boston and for some reason we decided to give hiking a try even though it wasn't something either one of us grew up with. I still remember our first two hikes like they were yesterday – an easy valley walk into Zealand Falls followed the next day by an above-treeline adventure on Mount Jefferson.  To say these hikes changed our lives is a bit of an understatement.  At the time, we lived and worked in the city, Marcy in human resources and me in computer programming.  Going to live music clubs and Fenway Park were our usual forms of entertainment, but after glimpsing the vast Pemgiwasset Wilderness and the world of glaical cirques and alpine wildflowers so close to home, we quickly converted to weekend backpackers and peak baggers.  Within a year, I met Galen Rowell at a book signing and I suddenly knew I had a new calling in life.  It took another decade to hone my skills and shake the chains of the programming cubicle, but it was worth the wait.

Adobe Releases Lightroom 3.2 and Camera Raw 6.2

September 1st, 2010 by Juan Pons

Earlier this month Adobe released “candidates” for Lightroom 3.2 and Camera Raw 6.2 and today they have released the final versions of these updates.

These final version contain even more bug fixes and support for 16 new cameras (up from 12 on the candidate releases) including support for the just recently announced Canon 60D.

To check out the new features, big fixes, new cameras supported check out this article on the Lightroom Journal.

To download updates, click on the appropriate links below:


Follow Juan on The Digital Photo Experience

Lightning Fast Lightroom Tips: Crop Tool Tip

September 1st, 2010 by Rob Knight

Lightroom 3’s Crop Tool makes it easy to change your photo’s orientation from horizontal to vertical or vice-versa. Press the ‘R’ key to activate the Crop Tool, then press ‘X’ to change the orientation of the crop. You can do this in previous versions of Lightroom by dragging a corner, but LR3 makes it easier and quicker.

Learn more about Rob, view his images and check out his workshops at his website.

Video Review: AquaTech Gear

August 30th, 2010 by Juan A. Pons

In light of the big price reductions on the AquaTech SportShields in the store, we thought we would repost a little video review of them (and other good AquaTech stuff) by our buddy Juan Pons.


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Juan Pons brings you the features of the AquaTech SportShield Rain Covers, Collapsible Lens Hoods and the AquaTech Soft Cap lens protectors in this informative video.

You can see the entire AquaTech lineup here:  AquaTech

Catch Juan at DPExperience.

Introducing Tenba Black Label Bags

August 27th, 2010 by Matt Dennison

The Tenba's Black Label Collection of camera bags features exquisite tailoring details, including double-needle pleats, sculpted curves and massively yet meticulously reinforced stress points.

But the Black Label beauty is far from skin deep. Black Label bags draw on Tenba’s 33-year reputation as the ultimate professional bag, with rugged durability, working pro design, and serious practicality. And while they honor the heritage of those decades of leadership, Black Label bags are crafted from the first stitch to the last, for today’s image makers.

Check out Tenba Black label features:

Check out the Tenba’s Black Label Satchels and Shoulder Bags here.

To celebrate the arrival of this new line, we’re offering a discount code that will save you 10% off any item in our Bags & Cases category.  Just use code BAG10 at checkout.  Combined with our Free Shipping, you can save quite a bit! Code good through Tuesday, August 31st.

Storm Chasing On a Time Budget

August 25th, 2010 by Royce Howland

Editors note:  We are proud to welcome Royce Howland to the OPG blog!  Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Royce is a consultant in the IT industry and is an accomplished wildlife and landscape photographer.  Look for more articles from Royce soon in the areas of HDR and the digital darkroom.  You can learn more about Royce and view his spectacular images at his website:  Vivid Aspect Photography.

A joke about being self-employed goes like this — "Thank God it’s Friday! Only two more working days until Monday." Another one was pointed out to me by a friend — "Being self-employed, you get to work half-days. And you even get to choose which 12 hours you work!" Ha ha, only serious. As somebody with a non-photography day job and doing photography on the side, I don't always get to spend my time the way I would choose. Two serious pursuits to fit into each week, each with challenging and necessary ways to spend a lot of time… well, there are only so many hours. It's easy to get bogged down in the work of it all. But it's also important to preserve some time to focus on creativity.

On a recent weekend, I had a ton of work to accomplish and was busily chipping away at it as one of a series of powerful storm systems blew through Calgary. After taking a break to visit family on Sunday evening, on the drive home my wife and I watched huge cloud formations surrounding the city. I was tired, it was getting late, I still had more work to do, and so I figured I’d lost yet another chance to photograph some incredible stormy weather. But when we got home, I decided to set my work aside and try to do some image making given the opportunity created by the weather.

Selling wildlife photography; cute sells

August 24th, 2010 by Paul Burwell

When I was first getting involved in professional wildlife photography, one of my mentors told me something I’ve made a point of remembering. What he told me should be obvious, but like much of what should be obvious, it isn’t always that obvious until someone points it out to you. And what was this pearl of wisdom and insight that I received? It was simply…

Don’t Leave Home Without a Reflector, Diffuser or Flash

August 23rd, 2010 by Rick Sammon

Travel photographs © Rick Sammon. Fashion photograph © Vered Koshlano

This post started out as just an observation: people all around the world paint their faces. In Brazil (bottom left), the Tarino Indians paint their faces so that when they go into the rain forest, the spirits recognize them and protect them, and help them with their hunt.

My point of that post was going to be that people are basically the same all over the planet – and that experiencing different cultures is a fascinating, rewarding and wonderful learning experience.

In looking at the photographs, however, I remembered that they all had something else in common: catch light in the eyes.

Catch light helps to draw our interest to the eyes. It makes the eyes “sparkle.”

We can add catch light with a reflector or a flash – or by carefully positioning the subject so that sunlight catches the eyes.

Now you know why I never leave home without a reflector or flash.

Explore the light,


See the diffusers, reflectors and other light modification tools in the OPG Store here.

Keep up with Rick at the Digital Photo Experience.

Hoodman HoodLoupe Quick Review by Hal Schmitt

August 20th, 2010 by Juan Pons

Hal from the Digital Photo Experience gives us a quick review and recommendation on the Hoodman HoodLoupe.

See all the Hoodman Products in the store:  Hoodman

Learn more about Hal and his workshops at Light Photographic Workshops.