I’m at the Omega Institute teaching a sold out week long workshop “Nature Photography and the Art of Seeing.” This is truly a privilege for me as I have always wanted to combine the concepts of mindfulness and photography—how what we focus on and what we’re aware of at any given moment shapes our approach to photography. This is especially true in nature where all that matters is you and your thoughts.
As part of my opening remarks to the students, I explained my 8 principles of nature photography which I recently put together. Of course this is not an authorative list for all situations and all photographers, but for the purposes and goals of the workshop, I think it was important to share. And most of all I truly believe in and try to practice each of these daily in my own photography. I hope they provide some insight and perspective for you.
We’ve all seen the awesome imagery that Alan Murphy creates. In this special video, from the setup to the snap of the shutter, Alan provides some handy tips on how to capture the perfect shot. His subject? The American Goldfinch.
Hi. I’m Alan Murphy. I’m here in a Kentucky backyard doing some goldfinch photography, and my goal is to try to get some goldfinches on something as pretty as this flower or perhaps on this teasel. So I’m going to share with you some of my tips and tricks to do that. So come join me. All right. So we’re at our setup now, and as you can see, this looks like a mess. But there’s a reason. I’m going to go through this with you. First of all, we chose this location for the background. If you can see, we have these distant trees right out there which are going to be a nice, beautiful green setting for the birds landing on our perches.
So the first thing we want to do is we want to remove any hanging poles that you may have. So we don’t want our birds landing up there. We want to completely control where they’re going to land. So we want to support the feeders from underneath. So you can use anything, a tall box or a ladder, as I have here. It’s not pretty, but it’s not going to be in the image, so I don’t have to worry about that. What’s very important is the height of the feeders in relation to the perches. So in this case, you really want your perches to be a little bit lower than the actual food source. Because what’s going to happen is the birds are going to come in. They want to get to the food. We’re going to control that, and they’re eventually going to flutter around and hopefully pop down on our flowers that we have set up. So that’s a very important thing.
The next thing we do is we tape off all the feeder ports, and what I’ve used here is just some Scotch tape. I’m just taking some strips. So it’s still visible, so the birds can see the seed, and they think they can get to it. But we’ve taped it off so they can’t get it. But you want to leave
One of the most common and useful functions of Lightroom catalogs is using them to create temporary or mobile catalogs that you use while traveling. For example, when I go on a photo trip, I will create a new catalog on my laptop that I’ll use to import, rate, keyword, and develop images that I shoot while on the trip. When I return home, I usually want to add those images back to my main or master catalog, but retain all of the editing work I’ve done on the laptop.
Exporting and Importing Catalogs
The easiest and most complete way to move images from one catalog to another is to use Lightroom’s ability to export and import images as complete catalogs. This also works if moving from Mac to PC or visa versa. Here are the steps to follow to move images from your laptop back to your main computer. You’ll need some type of portable storage like a USB Drive or hard drive to make the transfer. (IF you used a portable hard drive with your laptop while on your trip to store your catalog AND RAW files, this is even easier, and you can skip steps 1 and 2.)
In the mobile catalog on your laptop, select “Export Catalog” from the File Menu.
In the next dialog, choose a name for your new temporary catalog, then choose your destination – either a portable hard drive or USB drive.
At the bottom of the window, make sure to uncheck “Selected Files Only”, BUT check “Export RAW negative files”. This is critical!
The grill is hot. The burgers are sizzling. The brats are almost done. The kids are having a watermelon seed fight. It’s time for the Fourth of July.
If you are like me, this time of year means getting ready to cover one (or more) fireworks shows during the holiday. This article will take you through the technique I use, tips on finding the best location, and advice on execution for making wonderful fireworks photographs.
In case you didn’t know, the hottest bag to grace the planet right now is the Rotation 180° from Mindshift Gear. The Rotation 180 takes photo backpacks into a different level of high tech gear, with the features and materials of hiking and climbing backpack. The coolest feature? An integrated camera waist pack that rotates out to the front of your body, allowing instant camera gear access.
Hey friends. Today on Gear 30, it’s the MindShift Gear Rotation 180 professional backpack. Have you ever missed a great nature photo because you couldn’t access your camera? Well, revolutionize how you work in the field with a Rotation 180. The camera waist pack rotates out in front of your body, allowing instant access to your camera gear without putting the pack down. With an internal aluminum frame and a memory foam back panel, this bag is built for photographing the great outdoors. Pick up your MindShift Gear Rotation 180 and outdoorphotogear.com right now.
One of the best features of Adobe Lightroom (all versions) is the ability to have multiple catalogs. A catalog is a database that tracks the location of your RAW files and information about them. This includes any Develop Module adjustments you’ve done to them, as well as keywords, ratings, and labels. The power of catalogs is the flexibility it gives you to organize your image library, or enhance your particular workflow. Each catalog can contain different pictures, and can reside on different computers or hard drives (but not on a network.)
Gear:30 today, we’ve got the Custom SLR Split Strap. Your neck and back with thank you if you use this strap! The split strap distributes weight more evenly than flat straps, to reduce pain and fatigue and provides superior ventilation to keep you cool while you shoot.
Hey, Gear 30 friends. Today it’s the Custom SLR Split Strap. Your back and neck will thank you when you use this Custom SLR Split Strap technology. The strap distributes weight more evenly than flat straps to reduce fatigue and provide superior ventilation while shooting. This stretchy, padded, ergonomic design conforms to your shoulder and the rotation quick release reduces strap tension by pivoting to your movements. It attaches to your DSLR’s regular strap mounts or it works great with a custom SLR c-loop. Pick up a strap at OutdoorPhotoGear.com right now.
In case you don’t know it, cameras and lenses are prime theft targets. You may never think it’s going to happen to you, but almost every day I hear from someone who is missing thousands of dollars worth of gear with no hope of getting it back. Some of the things I’ll describe are total overkill for someone who owns a camera and a couple of lenses, but could be quite useful for someone else who has most of their net worth and future income tied up in their equipment.
By the way, in case you are one of those people who just got a ‘too good to be true’ deal on a Craigslist or eBay lens, you might want to read the section about recovering stolen gear. In most states, if the original owner finds out you have their stolen lens they can take it back and don’t have to pay you a dime. (For those of you who are thinking “over my dead body”, I’ll just say that’s never necessary.)
Gear:30 is back in action this week! Today we have the LensCoat BatteryPouch DSLR 2+2! If you’re anything like me, you may have DSLR battery’s all over the place, keep those things safetly stowed with this cool new product from LensCoat!
Hey, Gear 30 fans, today it’s the LensCoat BatteryPouch DSLR 2 + 2. These compact pouches snap together to hold four DSLR batteries for easy storage and retrieval. They’re made of lightweight and waterproof material that’s completely durable in the field. It’s compatible with all standard size DSLR batteries, including the Nikon D800, the Canon 5DMKIII, and the Sony A77 and similar cameras. As with all LensCoat products, these pouches are made right here in the USA. Check them out at Outdoorphotogear.com.
Hey, there. On Gear 30 today, it’s the Sensor Swab from Photographic Solutions. So many photographers are simply afraid to clean their sensor, but it couldn’t be easier with this set, Sensor Swab Plus. Two swipes and say sayonara to those annoying black dust spots. Sensor Swab Plus comes in packages of four individually wrapped swabs and is sealed with the highest purity cleaner available. Grab a set at OutdoorPhotoGear.com and clean that dirty sensor.