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on Dec 5, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

The Moment of Elegance

Sandhill Cranes fly with amazing elegance and grace! Their long wings grab so much air with each stroke, it sends them gliding through the air with little effort. Watching them fly, it’s very easy to see this grace but when you stop it with a camera, the motion and grace is often not captured. Is there a trick to this? Is there a wing position in flight that says this more than another? In saying this in a photograph, I tend to try for a couple of things. First, I try to start firing the camera when the bird is at the top of their wing stroke (crane on the right). I don’t know what it is but it seems to work out when you rip the shutter to capture the best wing strokes. The other thing I do is go for synchronized flying. Shooting with the D5 / 800mm (so I can shoot with Auto Area AF), I look for two birds flying together. They tend to at...

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on Nov 26, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Heat Shimmer … Good?

Heat shimmer especially with long glass can cause a real issue with sharpness. But isn’t there times when we want to limit sharpness? First thing that comes to mind is DoF, something we use very mechanically to limit the focus to help tell the story. So why then couldn’t heat shimmer do the same thing? Here, the Very Large Array, those dishes way in the distance are blurred out by the heat shimmer. But do you need to see them sharply to know they are there? Doesn’t it add mystery to this mysterious place with them being out of focus, kinda “out of this world” mystery? So shooting D5 / 800mm / TC-14eIII then not only compacts the three miles of track, but brings into play the heat shimmer to finish the storytelling. Just a...

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on Nov 17, 2016 in WRP Ed Zone, B&W Photography

Luminar … More Than Just Something New!

You’ve probably received the email and said something like, “Oh, something new for the digital darkroom” and then deleted the email. I’m here to tell you, that might was a BIG mistake because Luminar available today has at least ONE thing you need to own! My challenge is to explain all that Luminar from MacPhun is all about in a blog post, and I can’t. You’re going to want to head to here after reading this post to at the very least learn more but let me tell you why you’re going to do that. What is Luminar? You might rightfully so think Luminar is a stand alone Raw file processor because it is. What you won’t understand until you start to work with it is that it’s a Raw file processor with layers, effects and so much more. And it not only works its magic on Raw files but you can use it on layered PSD files, that’s right, PSDs. To understand how all of that works, you...

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on Nov 15, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Turnstone?

Turnstone, turnstone, what kind of name is that for a bird that is found most often on the beach? We have two turnstones in North American, the Black and Ruddy, this is a Ruddy. And their name comes from their constant habitat of turning over debris looking for food. Unlike many of its beach neighbors, Turnstones don’t constantly prob the sand looking for a bite to eat, but under debris where the rest of the birds never look. It always fascinates me to watch all the different species of shorebirds gather and feed with minimal competition in the same little patch of sand, all finding what they need to survive the day. Beautiful! In these first two photos you have two different stories of the Ruddy Turnstone. The above is your basic intimate with the subject shot, the bottom is the biology unfolding. While they were both taken with the D5 / 800mm w/TC-1.25x but the top one, the rig was resting on the sand with the Panning Plate...

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on Nov 14, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Ya, I Pretty Much Suck at Moon Landscapes

Isn’t it obvious with this photo? Why is that? Well, in this straight shot taken at Kodachrome Basin, just like everyone else, I saw a beautiful moon in person and the mind’s eye made it big and special. But put that cold heartless bastard to your eye and instantly that beautiful moon looks like what I’ve always called a “processing mistake” (an old reference back to the days of film). We’re drawn to the moon like a moth to a flame, and we all know how that turns out for the moth. Technically, it’s real easy to get the exposure, a full moon is Basic Daylight (ISO-Shutter Speed f/16) or you Spot Meter off the moon. The problem is visually, the moon, unless you use a long lens is always small in the frame. That’s why I’ve always gone old school when I really want a big moon in a photo, double exposure (photo below). That is the actual moon that evening, but when the photo of the buildings...

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