I am going to start this week of wildlife photography tips with what I consider to be the most basic and essential tip – Be Ready!
What does this mean? Being ready means a lot of things, but for me it means the following:
Know your equipment – Your equipment should help you get the shot, not get in the way of getting the shot. In a way the camera should be an extension of you. The only way you are going to get to know your equipment is to use it and use it often. I only had a fraction of a second to make the image of the red fox above, and I only got one shot. If I had to think about how to change the controls of my camera I would have completely missed the shot.
Keep your gear ready – Make sure your camera is on, you have a recently formatted memory card, and the camera is set to your favorite settings. Double check these settings every so often, it is easy to bump your mode dial to an undesired mode inadvertently.
Know your subject – In order to make the best images, you NEED to know your subjects. There simply is no substitute, make sure you read up and study your subject habits, preferred environments and favorite food. This will help you in not only finding your subjects but also making the best images you possibly can.
From the top of the world to the bottom of the ocean, Emmy award winning photographer and videographer Art Howard has brought forth images from 25 countries and both poles. Art has covered an incredible range of events and environments in his career so far, and continues to work worldwide at a breathtaking pace.
Art got his first camera at the age of 9. He says it was “love at first touch”. In the seventh grade, he was introduced to the darkroom, and the power of the image emerging. Art loved photography but disliked the wet darkroom. The advance of a digital future was tailor-made for Art.
In high school, Art joined Explorer Post 5, a division of the Boy Scouts of America geared toward careers. Art says “Explorer Post 5 changed my life”. Post 5 exposed Art to the moving images, sound and stories of television. With cooperation from a local TV station, Post 5 produced a weekly TV show. Art became firmly planted in what would be a lifelong career.
Art got a job at that TV station and started out shooting the “weather shot”—the 30 second scene behind the weather stats. But Art had his heart set on being a news photographer. He applied (and re-applied) many times at that station and at others. He still keeps his rejection letters from that time. Underscoring the importance of mentors in photography, Art’s mentors kept him motivated until he landed a news job.
Capturing video is a bit different than capturing stills. Although some of the same rules apply there are some key differences and some key techniques you can employ to make a compelling film.
As more and more folks are entering the world of video with the new video capable DSLRs I thought I would share with you my top ten tips.
W M T
Wide Medium Tight. Think about it, you need a shot for every 7 seconds of your story, roughly. You want it to move, flow, excite. You do this by creative framing; keeping your eye and the camera moving. Not literally moving, because too much movement can get you in trouble. I mean get a wide shot, move, get a medium shot, move, and get a tight shot. You can’t get too wide or too tight. Take the viewer places. You, if you edit, will thank yourself – and so will your viewer.
The sun rises above fog as seen from the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Maine's Acadia National Park.
The Maine Coast, including Acadia National Park has been inspiring artists for more than 150 years. In the 19th century, before the area had been designated a national park, Hudson River School painters like Thomas Cole and Frederick Church painted here, bringing back to the cities of the northeast canvases of iconic scenes from Eagle Lake, the Beehive, and the Porcupine Islands. Throngs of tourists followed and the popularity of the area continues to this day. In the 20th century, the park was photographed by America’s best landscape photographers, including Ansel Adams, David Meunch, William Neill, and in the 21st century, the park is still a mecca of sorts for photographers, with numerous photo tours visiting the park each year and plenty of tripods to be seen at popular spots like the summit of Cadillac Mountain and Otter Cliffs.
I’m sometimes asked what custom function settings I select on my Canon EOS 1D Mark IV camera, so I figured I’d share this information so that you can compare my settings with your own. I have also made my custom settings file available below for you to apply to your own camera if you want to try this. First, here are my settings.
Martin's Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Custom Settings
This equates to the following custom settings:
C.Fn I: Exposure
1 – Exposure Level increments = 0 : 1/3-stop set 1/3-stop compensation
2 – ISO speed setting increments = 0 : 1/3 stop
3 – Set ISO speed range = * : Highest ISO set to H2 (51200). Lowest set to L (50) – I don’t use H3 (102,400)
4 – Bracketing auto cancel = 1 : off
5 – Bracketing sequence = 1 : -, 0, +
6 – Number of bracketed shots = 2 : 5 shots
7 – Spot metering link to AF point = 1 : Enable (use active AF point)
8 – Safety shift = 0 : Disable
9 – Select usable shooting modes = * : M, Av, Tv, BULB (I turn P off, because I will never use it)
10 – Select usable metering modes = – : Disabled; all metering modes available
11 – Exposure mode in manual exposure = 0 : Specified metering mode
12 – Set shutter speed range = – : Disabled; settable shutter speed range is 1/8000 sec. to 30 sec.
13 – Set aperture value range = – : Disabled; maximum aperture to minimum aperture of lens attached
14 – Apply shooting/metering mode = – : Disabled; Pressing the <*> button will lock the exposure (AE lock).
15 – Flash sync. speed in Av mode = 0 : Auto
16 – AE Microadjustment = none set
17 – FE Microadjustment = none set
From Houston, Texas to the wilds of Africa, Andy Biggs makes a living as a professional photographer. Andy’s diverse business interests mix photography, safaris, workshops and print sales with his newest venture—camera bag designer. More impressive still is the fact that Andy only started taking photos ten years ago.
Andy picked up his first camera and started his journey in photography in 2000. At the time, he was employed in the software industry, implementing accounting systems. In a short two years, he honed his skill and made the decision to become a full time pro. Since 2002, Andy has put both his business skills and his photographic vision to use, creating a diversified professional photographic business.
Andy started building his business with stock image sales and worked toward fine art sales, two areas of business he still pursues today. However, as Andy's business interests have diversified, his stock and fine art images have narrowed to his favorite subject: Africa. This specialization in his images has served him well. Andy's stock sales have continued to be strong in today's environment of stiff competition and falling prices.