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on Aug 11, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Darn That Twig!

You’ve heard me say it many times, backgrounds are everything. In wildlife photography, we should be aware of that background for its pluses and minuses. The background is the stage we create to show off the star, our subject, and use the background to tell its story. That’s a real challenge and a lot to ask from something, show off something and not get in its way in the process. It’s one reason why wildlife photography is so challenging because we can’t control the subject to put it in front of the best background when we want it. This whole issue intensifies when we narrow our subject down to birds. This is when you start hearing, darn that twig! Just like all wildlife photographers, I run into this same issue. When I started out 40yrs ago the only option was to get it right in the camera. I still rise to that same level of perfection which is why I shoot with the D5 / 800f5.6 AFS. Optics to...

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on Jul 19, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Amazing Photoshop World Precon

At 04:00, forty folks were at the door ready to board the bus for our morning shoot. I can’t remember the last time we shared such a gorgeous morning with so many folks! We totally avoided the heat and had as you can see, a memorable sunrise. We were out in the desert outside of Vegas until the light got hard then headed inside for a few hours of digital darkroom time. The folks were real troopers! Hard to stay awake listening to Photoshop lessons when you started the day at 0400, but they hung in. Can’t thank all you folks who joined in enough. You made it a great start to the day and Photoshop World for us! And just a reminder … those at Photoshop World this week … I have FOUR, new Moose Peterson / Mind Shift Photopacks to giveaway! There will be one at each of my classes, Wildlife, Aviation and Landscape and one at the closing ceremonies. And to find out how you can...

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on Jul 11, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

The Silhouette – How Much Do You Need?

The silhouette is a dramatic and romantic way to tell a story about your subject. But just like everything else in communicating, the amount you say helps the viewer understand the story. The silhouette is by its very natural a dramatic image because of the character of the light. The most common silhouette comes in the early morning or late evening when we can so easily take advantage with its color. You can suck in everyone to look at your photograph with that red (make sure you’re shooting in Cloudy WB). We all are drawn to red so in using that you’ve done the easy part, grabbed the viewer’s attention. The hard part is telling the story once you’ve got their attention. That’s where knowing how much silhouette you need in the photograph. What we’re competing with are folk’s life experiences and perceived ideas. For example, a palm tree, everyone knows that shape so you don’t have to show that much for all to relate to the shape as...

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on Jul 7, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Size or Place

We’d just finished flying, had dodge in and out of clouds about 30min out but landed to clear skies. The sun was slowly going down but sunset is after 10:30pm so speed is relative. One of our favorite past times from our locale is watching the skies. Ya, there are a bunch of planes in the air, a Piper PA-11 & Cub, A Taylor Craft and Aeronca, but its against the clouds that makes watching them so entertaining. Off to the west they are slowly building, but behind us we really can’t see from where we’re sitting. We get up to watch the activity flyin about when we see the top of a tower growing behind us. It’s massive! I was so comfortable sitting there. Sharon said “let’s walk up the hill” which, well … I was so comfortable. I got up and we started to make the walk up the hill when I saw the cloud had grown even larger. So i went back down to the car...

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on Jun 24, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

White Pelican over Snow

I was down on the flats shooting the Swallows on a gorgeous morning. Off in the distance is home, the Sierra Mountains, still snow capped and in that filtered light – simply gorgeous. Then up the river I see a White Pelican lift off the water. I throw the D500 / 300PF up to my eye, gently touch the shutter release activating the AF system (in Auto Area AF), the system locked on and I let it rip, and rip, and rip and rip hoping the Pelican’s flight path would put it in front of our home. There was no way to know if the Pelican’s flight path would take it with the background I wanted when it first lifted off. If I waited to put the camera up to my eye once I saw the background, by the time the camera locked on and I took the photo, there is a good chance that the background would be loss. So shooting the D5 or in this case, the...

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on Jun 20, 2016 in Landscape Photography

The Magic of Five Minutes

Light is everything, everything in a landscape photograph. All too often though, the moment we happen upon a landscape we like, the light just isn’t there. But because we are there and all the efforts it took to be there, we click away anyways. It’s really not that different from that hail Marry pass. But unlike the hail Marry, we have options and the biggest option we have in our playbook is time! This is a simple illustration of my point. The side of this old miners cabin when we first walked up is what you see in the top image. The light was a little contrasty but more importantly, not very expressive. But I was there so I took that click. I had no real thoughts about the image other than it was a “I was here” photo. In my book, about the worse kind of photo. But we stayed just five more minutes prevuing the scene. Then the light radically changed, it had character and therefore, gave...

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