Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Final Photographs

All of these photos were taken on my Olymus Stylus 740. I used the Landscape setting as well as the Auto setting on all of these photos. If they were altered I only changed the levels layer, hue and saturation of blues and cyans, sharpness with an unsharp mask and cropping.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Photography Book -- Part 5

This part of the book is all about shooting close up. The first section is titled "Working at Close Range" and tells about how to use special accessories and lenses for close up photography. Macro lenses fall into two categories. A true macro lens is designed and specially corrected for high quality close-up work. Macro zoom lenses allow photography in the close-up range but it is often not continuous. Usually you simply asjust the focusing ring to a special setting that pulls in a limited range of magnifications. Accessory devices that modify prime lenses for close up work may be combined singly or in combination with one another, offering numerous ways of working at close range.

Extension tubes and bellows permit varied magnification and produce quality images, even at great reproduction. On the negative side, they reduce the amount of light transmitted by the lens, which limits the range of stop-action photography under ambient light and creates problems when you are working in the wind. Most extension tubes couple to all the camera's automatic functions, except auto-focus. Bellows are designed for high magnification work. They are constructed with two sets of rails -- one for changing camera position, the other for adjusting the extension.

Teleconverters conveniently increase the focal length of the prime lens by 2X or 1.4X while maintaining the lens' full focusing range. Telephoto lenses allow you to maintain adequate working distances from wary subjects. Adapting a wide-angle lens for close-up work is best accomplished with a short extension tube. Tilt-shift lenses make maximum use of depth of field making it possible to use larger apertures and faster shutter speeds that freeze motion. They allow the film plane to be aligned with the subject plane with minimal framing compromise.

The next section is titled "Wild Flora" and is about conventional and offbeat approaches to one of natures most expressive subjects. This section is all about how to get the most out of shooting flowers and other such plants and the best ways to do so. Taking into consideration the wind and light (if you are shooting at high noon). And knowing what lenses are going to make the most of your shooting of these subjects.

Photography Book -- Part 4

This part of the book is all about light on the land. The first section is titled "Finding Photogenic Landscapes". It is ten clues to evaluate the photographic potential of any landscape setting. First, the presence of strong color is the best indicator of the landscape's potential for surrendering a great photograph. Remember that red is the most attractive color to humans. Then we have clouds. They make all the difference. Nothing energizes an impending landscape-shooting session more than clouds. For landscape photographers, a still atmosphere offers added design possibilities. It means that you can shoot with great depth of field subjects that you might otherwise have to edit from the composition because they move around in the wind and cannot be sharply recorded during long exposures.

Fog, mist,haze and falling snow infuse ordinary landscapes with moody energy. Such meteorological events add novel distinction to scenic photographs. Search for a camera position that is north or south of the target landscape. This camera angle will record landforms when they are illuminated by sidelight. When you find a landscape feature that appeals to you check to see if the east and west horizons are clear of light-obscuring landforms. These offensive topographies are most apt to handle your shooting aspirations when shooting in mountainous regions. The best landscape photos are make in locales that harbor interesting foreground details Micro features can be used to set up the scale of a scene, establishing important perspective cues that infuse a flat plane of pixels with a convincing sense of three dimension.

Check your calendar for periods when the moon shows itself in the sky. In rare instances it will appear in your viewfinder over the landscape in just the right place. Beaver ponds, bernal pools, lakes, lagoons. river backwaters, and tide pools are all indicators of fantastic scenic shooting. Opportunities to capture a beautiful landscape that also includes wildlife are rare. Even in rural areas it is difficult to come upon landscapes that are free of human artifacts-- telephone poles, highways, dams and all manner of buildings.

The second section is titled "The Power of Perspectives" and is about how to infuse your landscape photos with the impression of three dimensions. Using size cues and different angles for your point of view are easy ways for you to put some creativity into your photography. When shooting landscape use upwards of five or six layers to give the photo depth and perspective. The author of the book talks about using five planes for deep perspective. The foreground plane should feature interesting landscape details that set the scale for the compostion; the midground plane should contain well defined size cues that lead the eye into the picture; the freature plane should show the center of interest, usually a dramatic landform; the cloud plane should ideally be a puffy collection of cumulus or nimbus; and the sky plane should compromise the final backdrop in pure shades of rose, blue, peach or amber, depending on the time of day.

The last section is titled "Nature's Mystical Mirrors" and is about how to record dramatic reflections of the landscape. Water is the best form of a natural mirror. Other reflectors include ice or crystal formations. The biggest factor to take into consideration when trying to get a good reflection shot is light. Filters are probably going to be a huge part of your reflection shooting process.

Photography Book -- Part 3

 The third part of the book is all about photographing wildlife. The first section is titled "Getting Close"
and is about techniques to draw withing the camera ranger of wild subjects.You can photograph at close range only at the subjects forbaance.

Except for the photography of birds from blinds, the senses of birds from blinds, the senses of wild animals are too keen for you to shoot undetected for more than a few seconds. Generally you must seek out animals that don't mind being near you. You also need to do some homework on where you will be shooting at. Knowing the natural history of the animals that you are shooting is important because it will help you to know when and how to set up your camera.

This section also talks about how to stalk the animals that you are wanting to photograph. Its a lot like when you are hunting. You want to use appropriate camoflage and blinds in order to not make the animals aware that you are there. If they know you are around they might not act how they normally do in their surroundings, which is what you are wanting to shoot. You must also be patient and persistant. The animals are going to do what they want when they want so you are going to have to sit and wait for them.

The next section is entitled "Animals in Action" and is all about how to create a stage as well as other techniques for recording animals in action. Again knowing the natural history of where you are shooting and the habits of the animal you are shooting is important. Being on site before the animals are up and moving around is also important. Knowing your camera is import when shooting action shots of animals because you don't want to lose any shooting time because you were fussing with your camera and you need to know what shutter speed and settings its needs to be set at to get the most out of your shooting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Photography Book -- Part 2

This part of the book is entitled "Essential Skills" and contains numerous sections that correspond with things that are needed to know when doing nature photography. The first section is all about exposure. Learning how to make a good exposure is the first step in becoming a photographer. Exposure is controlled by aperture size and shutter speed and can be set automatically or manually. Attaining correct exposure is a matter of checking the histogram on the LCD screen. The histogram graphs the luminance values in the frame and tells you instantly if all parts of the scene have been recorded on the sensor. Next, this section talks about meters. Light meters are best used for an average shot while if you are shooting snow and an inactive lava field the camera is not going to be able to differentiate between the two. Exposure modes include Aperture Priority (AV) mode, Shutter Priority (TV) mode, and manual mode. All of these help make the amount of light in the photo turn out the way it should.

The second section is about reading the light, how to recognize and use different types of light. The first suggestion is to stay out of the midday sun. On cloudless days in this such light much of the subject's detail will be lost to excessive contrast. A rule in general for shooting nature photography is the visual and photographic appeal of natural light improves the closer the sun is to the horizon and these periods are when your shooting will be most productive. Due to front light's direct and even illumination, it is recommended when you wish to portray saturated color, contrast between different colors and fine detail in all parts of the scene. Side light produces long, deep shadows that reveal the wrinkles, dimples, ridges, and other details of a surface in greatest relief. Backlighting's effect is dramatic on subjects with indistinct, shaggy peripheries -- furry and feathered animals in particular. Lens flare becomes a problem that you must watch for. This occurs when the rays of the sun strike the front lens elements directly, resulting in a loss of color saturation, contrast, and the appearance of octagonal hotspots caused by light reflecting off the interior diaphragm blades of the lens aperture. Twilight provides wonderful landscape lighting for photography. Overcast skies produce soft light that illuminates the subject evenly without noticeable shadows.

Next is motion effects. This is where you use shutter speed and camera movement to control the effect of motion. Panning the camera is a way to reduce blurring by tracking the subject as it moves while trying to keep the position in the viewfinder stationary. Panning is most effective if you keep the camera moving smoothly through the shot, both before and after the exposure. Choosing an exposure time that produces obvious blur in moving subjects is an exercise full of potential for producing beautiful abstract imagery whose precise formulation is normally hard to predict.

Then we have modifying natural light. This is by using filters and reflectors with natural subjects. The filters that are normally used are polarizing filters, split neutral density filters , graduated neutral density filters, standard ND filters, color modifiers, and blue/gold polarizing filters. Reflectors are also used to modify light around you. Portable reflectors may be used to change the light that is reflected off of the subject. You can also use fill-in flash for much of the same purpose.

Finally designing the picture space. This section is all about how to manage image features to achieve clarity of expression. The dominance rules are as follows. Red is more attractive than yellow; large draws more attention than small; difference draws more attention than conformity; jagged lines are more striking than curved ones, diagonal lines are more attractive than vertical ones; sharpness is more attractive than blur; light is more attractive than dark. Color evokes the greatest emotional reaction of any graphic element. The center of interest is where the eye is most likely to begin its exploration of the image. If you prioritize the features of a scene based on their visual dominance, you can be pretty sure of a strong composition if you follow the well-known rule of thirds. This guide calls for the center of interest to be placed one-third away from the top or bottom of the frame and one-third of the way from either side.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Book- Part 1

Part One of our book is all about having the right equipment. In section one, the book starts out talking about the advantages of digital camera's over traditional film cameras and what to look for when you are buying a digital camera. Then the book goes into cameras and tripods, lenses that one should have and all the accessories that go with them such as teleconverters, telephoto lenses, adapters, filters, etc. This portion is just a brief overview of some of the necessities.

The second section in Part One talks about tripods. There are a few things to consider when looking for a tripod. First of all you need to have the right size. When the tripod is fully extended with the camera mounted it should come to eye level with the center column seated. You also need the right head for different things. The ball and socket head with panning capabilities is best for nature photography. For large and heavy telephoto lenses, a gimbal type head is best.

The third section in Part One talks about Super-telephoto Lenses. There are a lot of advantages to having these lenses. They focus closer and so it makes getting what were once hard photos to capture easy. Distance is no longer as much of a problem as it used to be. If you get a lens that is water resistant it will allow you to shoot during periods of precipitation without any problems or inconveniences.
Section three and four kind of go hand in hand. The third section of Part One talks about everything you need for working in the field and the fourth section discusses what is needed in order to spend time doing photography in the winter. The author talks about how to carry your tripod and that wearing a vest is sometime a lot more convenient than carrying around a bunch of bags. He also describes all the things one needs to bring while out in the field such as Duct tape reflectors, plamps and bags for if the weather turns bad on you. He also talks about making sure to have some way to communicate with someone if you are shooting alone.

In the portion about winter photography, he talks about wearing layers that are NOT cotton to wick away moisture so you don't freeze (Cotton kills). Then you should have an insulation layer to keep the heat in and the cold out. An outer shell that is loose fitting and wind/water proof is also important for winter shooting. The pants you are wearing should be water proof since a lot of nature shooting means getting on the ground for a different perspective. The author also talks about head gear, and water proof and warm footwear gloves that make shooting easy but keep your hands warm, etc. Making sure your equipment is weatherized is also important.

The last section of this book talks about different places around the world that are great places to go visit and get some awesome pictures as well as the prime time of year for each of them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

John Shaw

John has been a professional nature photographer since the early 1970s. His work has been published in many publications and books, including National Geographic, Nature's Best, National Wildlife, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, and many others. In 1997 he received the first-ever Outstanding Photographer Award given by NANPA (North American Nature Photography Association).  Nikon chose him as a featured Legend Behind the Lens in 2002, while Microsoft designated him an Icon of Imaging in 2006.  He has been part of Epson's Stylus Pro fine art print makers group since 2001.
John has published six books on nature photography, plus five ebooks on Photoshop and Lightroom.  He has photographed on every continent, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Provence to Patagonia.  Previously he used a variety of film cameras, primarily 35mm and 6x17cm, but switched completely to digital capture several years ago.