I've shot a lot of images from my car over the years, but I have to say that I really don't care for it. Yes, it’s nice that you can drive around and sneak up on your subject. Your camera is supported by the car, so you don’t have to carry your gear over your shoulder. You are sitting in a nice leather chair, with maybe a little snack sitting next to the soft drink in the cup holder.
But for me, it totally limits my style of photography. My camera is five feet off the ground and I have limited background options. I can’t get closer that the car can be parked. This was the situation when I tried to photograph a Long-billed Curlew in a field next to a road. The bird was used to traffic so I felt confident that I could drive up as close as the road would permit. I waited untill the evening so the sun would be behind my back (or the back of the car), but when I pulled up, the sun was behind clouds. I fired off a few frames and got the following image.
Nothing too wrong with the image. The bird is nice and sharp. The head angle is good with the bird making eye contact.
I'm heading out to Reno for the North American Nature Photographers Association annual Summit!
The Summit is great get-together of many of the nation's premier nature photographers for presentations, workshops, socializing and exhibits.
In addition to attending some of the presentations and scouring for new products, I'll be helping out our good friend Scott Elowitz in his LensCoat booth. We'll have plenty of LensCoat product to sell, and discount coupons for the OPG Store to hand out.
If you are attending or in the area, stop by and say hi!
Here’s a quick tip for getting good exposures of both very dark and very light subjects. When photographing a dark subject, such as this leopard seal that I photographed in Antarctica, set your exposure compensation to -1. When photographing a white subject, such as this polar bear that I photographed in the Sub-Arctic, set your exposure compensation to +1.
I know that sounds backward, but it’s actually true. Very dark and very light subjects can fool a camera’s exposure meter into thinking that the scene is darker or brighter than it is in reality.
By the way, those are just starting points for a good exposure. As always, check your histogram to get the very best in-camera exposure. You can’t trust your camera’s LCD monitor when it comes to exposure and color.
You may have seen Alan Murphy's incredible signature work: beautiful birds on gorgeous perches with uncluttered backgrounds, presented with the elegance of an artist.
But did you know Alan came to this country as a birder?
Growing up surrounded by the beautiful countryside of Ireland and England, Alan developed a love for birds and nature early on. He was a quick study of these birds and upon immigrating to the US in the early 1980's, Alan was thrilled to find many new species to learn about and new habitats to explore. After studying field guides, Alan wanted to capture similar images, and so began his quest to learn photography. Most of Alan's spare time became devoted to chasing the perfect shot. His artistic background cultivated his creative use of perches with uncluttered backgrounds and excellent lighting.
Spare time was hard to come by, for as Alan was developing his photographic style, he was also starting and developing his own salon business. Today, the Alan Murphy Salon is a leading salon in the Houston area and is consistently ranked among the Top 200 Salons in America by Salon Today magazine.
Dig out and dust off your old light table and put it to use as backlighting for macro subjects. When I started in photography in 2001 I bought a few nature magazines and noticed all the pros were using Velvia slide film, so I used slide film which required me to buy a light table to view the slides.
I only shot film for three years and then made the change to digital. The light tables has been dark until I found a use for it. It works great for backlighting which creates a special look to your images. You need subjects that are somewhat transparent for the best results.
Recently I had the opportunity to test and review the newly released Gitzo Ocean Traveler tripod. Here is a short video review.
The Ocean Traveler is an extremely compact and lightweight tripod specifically made for use in the ocean and in harsh conditions. Tripod is made from Gitzo's 6X Carbon fiber and a specially treated stainless steel that repels any corroding agents, truly making this a durable tripod.
The tripod is pretty pricey, but when you need your equipment to survive harsh conditions, there is no substitute.
If you are interested in one of these tripods, check out the product detail page for the Gitzo Ocean Traveler
Last summer I was fortunate to have some unusual visitors to my back yard. We had a cicada invasion, and the insects were crawling up out of the ground and making their usual racket. Siting in my office, I thought I saw a dog run across the clearing. On further inspection, it was Great Horned Owl! To add to my surprise, two juvenile owls waddled out of the underbrush. All three were after the tasty morsels emerging from their sleep.
Seeing a Geat Horned Owl around these parts is rare, and having two juveniles on the ground in one's own yard even rarer. I knew I had to get to work, for this might be a fleeting moment.
"Before that Nat Geo spread you could have this whole place to yourself … now just look at it!"
Our friends at Digital Photo Experience, Rick Sammon and Juan Pons, have judged the best caption for our contest, and picked Tom Twigg's caption above. Lucky ( and creative) Tom gets his choice of NEOS Overshoes!
We're leaving all the entries up for your reading pleasure. This contest was a blast, and we'll repeat it with a new image in the future!
Congratulations to Tom, thanks to Rick and Juan, and thanks to Martin Bailey for such a fine image!
The spot removal tool in Lightroom has to be one of my favorite features. With Adobe adding this tool, I can now spend more time in Lightroom than in Photoshop, increasing my workflow and my productivity.
The spot removal tool looks like a big O with an arrow pointing to the right. It can be found in the Develop panel, in between the crop tool and the red eye tool. When clicked, you will see an option to Clone or Heal the spot. You can also adjust the size of the area and the opacity you want to use for the removal. Typically I use "Heal" and adjust the other sliders to match the spot. The really nice part of this tool is that Lightroom will try to fix the spot on its own by finding a matching area! However, if the fix is bad you can just drag and drop the matching area to find one that works. Simple, right? It really is!