I have 427 species of birds in my files, so adding new species is kind of a challenge. I’ve seen over 650 species so it’s even more of a challenge to see new species since I stay within North America. But there are some kinda common species that despite my looking for them, I’ve just not seen. Well this past week I finally got to see and photograph the Dickcissel. It’s just a little grassland sparrow but I’ve always thought there were pretty cool with those markings. And like normal, once I saw them and made my first click, I saw them all the time and had plenty to click. It’s a simple pleasure in life, seeing a new species. It was a good day!
Photo captured by D3x, 600VR w/TC-20e3 on Lexar UDMA digital film
I spent most of my time shooting in Texas using the TC-20e3 and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. And while it provided a bigger subject in the frame, the trade off was basically NO DOF! What do I mean?
You’ll see a line in the photo, that’s the focus plane. I focused in the middle of the back on the dragonfly. I was at f8 (f4 w/2x) but has an effective f/stop of 6.7 and was shooting 17′ away from the critter. If you look at the photo, you see most of the stick is sharp since it was in the focus plane. If you look just a 1/2″ in front of the focus point and 3/4″ of an inch behind it on the wings, you’ll see the focus is gonzo! That’s just how narrow the DOF is with the 600VR / TC-20e3 at 17′.
Now this can be a good thing or a bad thing. If you want a lot of DOF, this is a bad thing. If you want the background to just disappear, it’s a good thing. Can you work around the narrow DOF? In a way you can things happen. If you have the subject on the same plane as the plane of focus, then the entire subject will be sharp. As like this butterfly, it is flat to the plane of focus so its wings are all in focus. But anything in front of or behind those wings are gone. You as the photographer have to decide first what’s the subject then where to focus the lens and lastly how much will be in focus with DOF. There are plenty of tools to go either way, use them all to your advantage!
Not when I photographed this Couch’s Kingbird, but when I’m finishing this day…I’m toast!
That’s a “#%&**” Cuckoo!!!! We’d been in the blind for a couple of great hours, tons of birds, when I first saw this bird across the alley way. Before I could swing the lens on it to see who it was, it flew over to the blind.
The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is a cool lookin bird that acts “cuckoo!” They are a goofy bird and in California, they are a listed species. I photographed my first on in the state 20yrs ago. But the last place I thought I would find this riparian species is in the heat of Texas.
Well when the cuckoo landed in the shrub and I saw who it was, my jaw dropped after saying some appropriate words. Not knowing if I would get any better shots, I made shots that I could like you see above. Now I’m not making this up, it’s not a windy, I have a witness who is not related to me, I said, “Why don’t you fly over to that perch so I can get a clean shot of you.” And wouldn’t you know it, seconds later, it was on the perch where you see it in the bottom photo. I guess Mother Nature likes me again.
Photos captured by D3x, 600VR w/TC-20e3 on Lexar UDMA digital film
At first I didn’t recognize these doves and we had a few this morning. I liked the pattern in their plumage, they were doing cool things so I shot away. I really like this shot, the very narrow band of DOF gives the gathering a neat feel I think. So I clicked.
Then there is this basic biology of drinking but doing it a nice shaft of light. And the best part, they are just plain old Mourning Doves, young ones out of the nest. Kinda uncommon shot of a very common bird. Most pass up these kinds of opportunities. I just love em!
Photos captured by D3x, 600VR w/TC-20e3 on Lexar UDMA digital film
A real common and very valid question is, “Why don’t you have photo business stuff on your site?” Encouraging folks to get in the business is something we do all the time. I mention “the business” quite a bit here on the blog. So why isn’t there pages and pages and blog after blog of business on the site? We have taught a number of business workshops over the years, the current being Base Camp. They all have been 4-5 day long workshops. Four to five days because it takes that long to just get through the basics of getting a wildlife photography business going. Looking at the stats and receiving the questions asking questions just answered a week prior on the blog, we know the vast majority of folks don’t search the site for past information. The bottomline is, I could put the information here but it one, wouldn’t get read in order and completely and two, would be obsolete so fast I would be constantly updating something that isn’t getting read except by the one person pointing out it was obsolete.
This doesn’t mean for a heartbeat I don’t think YOU can make it in the business. If I can, any body can which is why we have conducted business workshops for the last twenty years. But if you want to learn this stuff from me, you’re going to have to spend some time with me and that for many is more scary then going into business. I sure wish I could right a couple of eloquent postings and give you all the answers, but its just isn’t that simple.
I know I’m a little late to the party, but this is a book you want to read. Don’t let the wedding stuff fool ya, yeah it’s in there but the book is really about the play of light. Be it ambient light or flash or the combination, David does a great job bringing that to your photography. In typical over the top David style, he’ll get you excited to go out and shoot. Yes, the medium he uses to teach light are people and in particular, those who are getting married but light is light and the lessons he brings to you can be applied in many, many areas of photography with just a little creative thinking. It has a five star rating at Amazon at the moment so I know I’m not the only one who thinks very highly of his work. David, congrats on a job very well done!
While our dear friend seems awfully official like in the video, the information he has is anything but stiff. Now he’s letting the secret out of the bag, but here’s just another reason why Wacom 21UX / Intous & CS5 rocks.
While in New York, Stephanie, Sharon & I explored the island from a bird’s eye perspective. We started at the end of the island looking up towards the Empire State Bldg.
Then we went up to the 102nd floor of the Empire State Bldg and from this view, we’re looking back down from where we had shot up from.
Turn 180 degrees and here’s the view looking up toward Top of the Rock and Central Park. On the 102nd floor of the Empire State Bldg, you have to shoot through the glass. I could see the tint in the glass when I shot it and figured I could remove it in post using color correction but alas, there is still a funny tint to the images that reminds me of old time post cards. Not decided if that’s a good thing or bad thing.
Then there is the view from the Top of the Rock looking back at all you see in the above photos. What fascinates me about these images is the light. The different times of day, direction and quality of light both ambient and artificial. It really dances in the Big Apple!
Photos captured by D3s, 18AF / 50AFS on Lexar UDMA digital film
Yeap, the hundreds of shooters left the arch after the “light was gone,” so Joe & I just walked right up to where we wanted to stand, looked at each other, said pretty sweet light and with zero compensation dialed in, just went clicked, smiled the smile of satisfaction and went to have a great breakfast. How sweet it was!
Photo captured by D3x, 18AF on Lexar UDMA digital film
Sometimes, I’m just on the rocks which way to turn, really! Our second day of DLWS Moab was just Phenomenal! The light has been simply, nearly, beyond capture it is so gorgeous. Here’s a case in point, the spires you see through Mesa Arch.
Normally the subject for me is was dictates if I’m going to shoot horizontal or vertical. But the subject here is the light. It’s not the spires but rather the play of light on the spires. The lights filtering through the morning haze and dust plays differently in he scene be it vertical or horizontal and since I couldn’t decide at the time of capture, I took both and more than likely, both will end up to be a favorite. Moral: when in doubt, shoot both!
Mesa Arch was great this morning and for reasons that go way beyond the rocks. But you might have noticed that of late, I’ve been doing a LOT of rock photography between the Sierra, Monument Valley and now Moab. Do rocks affect folks? Well, see what my bud Joe has to say, and show on that matter!
At least, that’s what I asked when I saw this old truck parked at Cisco looking off to the south.
Those who follow my Tweets and Facebook sites know that ever since last Friday, I’ve been talking about the iPad. Actually, if you as my good friend RC, you’d find out I’ve been not only talking about the iPad since before it was publicly announced, but planning making use of this incredibly technology. I’ve had a number of folks ping me and ask that now that I have it, what apps do i find useful or cool, or both. The iPad specific apps that I really like are many. The one that really makes me incredibly happy is Pages. This app permits you to write using the iPad, not just write but type. Working in the landscape mode, I’ve gotten pretty darn good typing two handed. What’s really cool is it saves your text as a Word document. Pages does a whole lot more but that’s the main thing I’m using it for right now. With the great battery life and my travel schedule, this is one hot app!
I also really like the fact that each morning, I can now check the news really easily and fast and READ it! AP News, USA Today, NPR, BBC News all have iPad apps which are full screen, interactive and make it really simple to keep up with our world. I’m loving that! What gets me is, all these news apps and material is free. I’m not complaining but I’d be happy to pay for a subscription so they continue to keep coming.
I also really like the new RadarScope app. This weather along with TWC MAX+ help me keep up with the weather for all the places I travel too. Having this info large screen really makes it easy at the end of the day when the eyes are tired and attention span for detail shorter.
Then there is TIME and Zinio. The TIME app which is free but you have to pay to read a particular issue, is simply, without a doubt, freakin cool! I’m not talking in particular about the content but the presentation and especially the possibilities. I firmly believe this is the hope of saving the editorial market! Zinio which is not new but now has a iPad app permits you to read your magazine subscription on your iPad. All you can do is read, there is no TIME Magazine interaction but it’s still all new.
WRP actually got a couple of 3G 64GB iPads and other then the major bug of buying your data plan I first came up against, I have been completely thrilled with the 1st generation iPad. We hit the road again shortly, I’ve got movies loaded, 3G up and going and looking forward to road testing this bad boy and see if what I envision as a great business tool panning out. Oh, for those who have asked if I’m going to use this for my photography, not how it is now. I have 30Gb of free space, I’d eat that up in one morning of shooting. And until there is some type of FTP app to move images off quickly, I don’t see this as a direct photographic tool. Not yet.
UPDATE: FTP to Go Pro looks like a promising FTP app for the iPad which includes the ability to wirelessly obtain photos taken with the iPhone. I’ve used it enough to bring it to you attention but not enough to say it’s the solution. I’ll be putting it to the test on the road, it will be interesting to see how it flies.
I don’t know about the rest of the country, but winter just doesn’t seem to want to give way to spring. Last week was just weird, coming home from the sunny southwest to pulling out the snow blower to clear the drive way. This week, we had one gorgeous day and then….
Today the wind turned cold, the clouds came over the crest and for a while it seemed like it wanted to snow. The skies were black, solid and threatening with the sun not to be found. Come on, I like snow but really, it’s time!
Well finally late in the afternoon the clouds started to break. That’s when whether it winter, spring or summer, I love to be out and look up. The clouds were just flying by, it’s memorizing! Well, being tired of working on the computer, I grabbed the camera and headed out to the deck. I just chased around the clouds within the confines of our deck for a half an hour, making clicks thinking the whole time I would experiment more with my B&W technique to finish the images. While the clicks aren’t anything earth shattering, it felt good to get out, hopefully say good-bye to winter and know the B&W technique still works.
Photos captured by D3x, 18AF on Lexar UDMA digital film
My good bud Doc Brown has been very busy, in fact he rushed me off the phone Monday to finish his new very cool 3D type video (check it out, freakin cool!). Today he’s released his Watermark Panel. For many photographers, this is just killer. Check this out!
And Doc’s offerings don’t stop there! Yesterday he posted his all new Dr. Brown’s Adobe Photoshop CS5 Scripts. I depend on these and rarely does a day go by and I don’t use at least one of them. Not only is it all free, it’s great stuff, check it out and grab it!
No doubt you’re more than aware of the massive oil spill in the gulf. As a veteran of the Santa Barbara oil spill of ’69, my heart goes out to those who are effected by the spill. And the toll to the wildlife, well, that’s just brings me to tears. But more of our lives and environment is effected then just around the booms. Nat’l G site has a pretty good page on information that is worth the quick read.
The 2nd night the moon started to have a little influence and was coming up earlier. This was my last chance to photograph the Milky Way and get a little Monument Valley in the photo. The glow on the rock comes from the headlights of a vehicle that just happened to go by at the right moment. I like the results.
Photo captured by D3s, 24f1.4AFS on Lexar UDMA digital film