I am not much of a landscape photographer, I tend to concentrate more on wildlife, but sometimes the landscape is so majestic, as it is in the Grand Tetons, that it is hard to make a bad image. I made this image (MAKE SURE to click on it to enlarge it) last week during my Spring Yellowstone & Grand Tetons photo workshop. We had some pretty uncooperative weather the first few days we where there, but we had a few occasions during those rainy days where we had a pretty clear view of the mountains.
That morning, I took the opportunity to make a large HDR & stitched panorama. This image was made by taking 18 individual frames. Here is a quick rundown of the process to making an image such as this.
One species I had not seen before, but knew could be found in Florida, is the Burrowing Owl. So I decided to spend some time photographing them at a couple of locations in the sunshine state…as well as recording my first ‘On Location’ video to give you an idea of the conditions I experienced, and to give you some idea of what to expect if you decide to go out photographing these little guys for yourself.
Burrowing Owls are funny little birds. They are only 9 inches tall and spend most of their time sitting at the entrance to their nests, keeping an eye out for food and predators. Florida’s population is estimated to be between 3,000 and 10,000 pairs and they are located at several specific areas, rather than anywhere and everywhere like other species you find in the sunshine state. They are listed as a protected species to help keep the numbers up, as in places like Cape Coral, they have built nests on empty plots of land. As a result developers have, in the past, disrupted nests so that they can build on the land the owls are occupying.
Where to look?
There are several areas around the state you can find the owls nesting although, unlike other species, these locations are quite few and far between and so not quite as easy to just stumble across.
I visited a couple of areas in my search for the owls, and to accompany this article, I made a video to show them – which you can see below (bare with me as I find my feet with this new skill that I am having to learn, it’s only my second video – shot with a Lumix TZ7 – but I do hope you enjoy watching…). You’ll notice I only talk about Cape Coral briefly and that is simply because I spent a couple of hours one morning trying to find the owls there. At the bottom of this article you can find links to websites that will give you more information about the owls and locations you can find them in to help you find some for yourself.
Now you’ve seen the video…
I also wrote this article to better show some of the Burrowing Owl photos I took and also back up the
With that same sharp wit, Paul has produced another Top Ten list:
This list compiles the top ten things that other photographers have said to him that I’ve found to be annoying. And, the more often I’ve heard something the more annoying it tends to be. That’s just the way I am.
If you’re a photographer who is easily offended or you can’t take a little bit of sarcasm, please don’t read any further. I don’t want your delicate sensibilities to be offended!
With that out of the way, presented in traditional count-down order, here are today’s Top Ten Annoying Things that Photographers Say to Each Other.
There are two types of outdoor photographers: those who need help getting to the right place at the right time and those who don’t. If you are of the latter persuasion, you can stop reading now. Really, I mean it…stop reading. Okay, that’s better. For the rest of you, let’s spend some time discussing just what to expect when you hire a photography guide.
The business of guiding outdoor photographers isn’t new. However, in the past few years guiding has experienced significant growth. I blame it on the digital revolution – everyone has a camera and almost everyone is a photographer. I have seen guides advertised in Outdoor Photographer and all over the internet who are available to lead you on a private photo tour in just about every state. But what can they do for you?
What Do Photo Guides Do and How Much Do They Charge?
What a guide does and how much they charge for their services varies tremendously. One thing almost all of them have in common is that you can usually depend on them to lead you to the right place at the right time. Some guides service only iconic locations while others will spend several days backpacking with you in remote and forbidding territory. Some guides offer personal instruction, image critiques, portfolio reviews, digital darkroom tutorials, and more. Guide fees are all over the board and may range from $150/day to more than $2,500/day with a prominent photographer. Surely the more you pay the better the guide, right? Nope. Not even close. In my research it seems that $300 to $500/day is the average going rate. Generally speaking, paying more than that buys you the opportunity to rub shoulders with a heavy hitter.
Professionally, one of my most important pieces of equipment is my tripod. It took me several years before I started using a tripod for all my photography and it was one of the biggest ‘ah-ha’ moments I’ve had since becoming a photographer nearly twenty years ago. In those twenty years I’ve had more than my share of tripods. Early on, I never fully appreciated the importance of quality when it came to tripods, and subsequently went through more than my share of tripods. I tell a story of a tripod I broke before I ever got it out of the car to use. Over time, my trials have taught me the importance of a quality tripod. It is literally the foundation for all good landscape photography.
I recently conducted a workshop and shoot in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon. This type of environment throws everything at you, and there is no better way to test the durability of a tripod. Water, mud, rugged terrain—this area has it all. I’m using an Induro Carbon Fiber 213 and BHD2 Ballhead. The first thing I appreciate when photographing in an environment like this is the weight. My whole tripod weighs less than 5 pounds. When you’re walking mile upon mile up steep trails, and down slippery mossy rock slopes, the last thing you want is extra weight. Most new cameras weigh enough as it is.
When I exhibit at my art shows each weekend, I have one image that I place in an area of the booth toward the front, so customers passing by with not miss it. This image of dew drops with a flower inside of them always draws a crowd of people in amazement, and the big question is, “did you Photoshop the flower into the drops?“.
No, I did not. In fact, this image is a very easy shot to produce–just find some tall grass in an open field on a dewy morning. Once you locate a nice blade of tall grass with some dew drops, carefully position your tripod and camera close-in to fill the frame, so the dew drops are easy to see. Use a Plamp with one end clamped on your tripod and the other end clamped onto the stem of your choice of flower, and position it directly behind the dewdrops. The closer the flower is to the dew drops, the larger the flower will appear, and the father away, the smaller it will be in the dew.
Once you get the right position of the flower, set your f/stop in the lower range, from f/3.5 to f/5.6. You want to place your point of focus on the flower in the dew drops, and the shallow depth of field will soften or blur the flower. You don’t want to much details in the flower because you want the dewdrops to stand out from the flower and not get lost.
Not so hard, is it?
Have fun and experiment. When you get a good shot, show it off. You'll enjoy answering that Photoshop question!
We've all been aware of the convergence of video and still photography over the past few years. There's a lot of information and a lot of noise out there on the subject. Sorting through it all can be tedious, and every article has its own opinion of how things should be done.
Think Tank Photo has done the "Multimedia DSLR" community a great service today by publishing a Buyers Guide. This guide of course features Think Tank Multimedia Bags, but goes much, much into a broader spectrum of products that the Multimedia DSLR user needs to consider: Camera features, what lenses are best, audio recorders and microphones, and other accessories. Links to those product manufacturer pages are included.
Kudos to Think Tank for doing quite a bit of research that will help us all!
A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I traveled to a location that I've always wanted to photograph . . . Yosemite. I must tell you, it did not disappoint. We stayed in a little B&B called "Yosemite Blue Butterfly Inn". It's located in El Portal, just a few minutes outside the west entrance of the park. The proprietors, Liz and Ron, are a wonderful couple that really go out of their way to make you feel at home. I highly recommend this B&B if you're traveling without kids and want a nice, relaxing place to stay.
Our first full day there was on a Saturday. My wife and I decided to use that day to drive around (our rental car and the shuttle) and get a feel for the layout of the park. I wanted to know how long it took to get from certain locations to another. Later, this would help me get to where I wanted to be, when I wanted to be there. We're always chasing that light you know.
Here is a sample set of the shots I brought back from Yosemite: