Moose Peterson's Website Where the world of photography is explored and shared! Fri, 31 Oct 2014 13:30:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 It’s Wings Over Houston Time! Fri, 31 Oct 2014 13:30:58 +0000 DPKEFD3132

This weekend is the killer airshow at Wings Over Houston airshow put on by Commemorative Air Force. This will be our second time at this show and we’re really lookin forward to it. This is where we shot Warbirds and the Men Who Flew Them last year. We have a bunch of editorial work to get done, so we’ll be hopping! In getting ready, I thought I’d share some of the thoughts, techniques and gear I’ll have along for the weekend of work and fun. Let’s start with some thoughts and techniques to capturing the image. Here are two posts that go into that in greater detail

10 Tips – Putting Action into Your Stills

Ten Tips to Better Aviation


And here’s the gear I’ll have with me to make it all hopefully happen:

You might be wondering why I have both the 200-400VR and 80-400VR3? I love to use the 200-400VR2 for ground to air photography and the 80-400VR3 for all the static work. Why not just use the 80-400VR3 for everything? When folks see the 200-400VR2 on your shoulder, they give you a whole bunch more credibility and you just never know who you’ll meet. Why are the bags and straps listed? They are essential to make it to the event and than through the entire event. In the heat and humidity, carrying a lot of gear will beat you down (and one can only eat so much ice cream). This is of course the list of the main gear, there is as you might imagine a ton of support gear. Spare batteries for everything along with chargers. Mounts for the GoPro and app on the iPhone & iPad. And all of this has been cleaned, tested and gone through this week before being packed to go. Hope this helps if you’re going. And if you’re at the show and see Jake or me, say hello. And if you need help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Hope to see you there!

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Just How Important is WB? Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:30:00 +0000 DAMLCSAD0001

I realize this is just a Moose thing because the rest of the world just does it in post, but I am very conscious of the White Balance (WB) when I’m shooting. This is for the simple fact that when I look at my images back in the computer, I don’t want to try to remember what the light was like. I want to know from my images. And when it comes to critters, this is very important to me. So this is what I do. I always take a frame when I go out with all the settings I think should be dialed in and then I chimp. I then look at the LCD to make sure all is working as it should (ever shot a HDR and forgot to turn off bracketing?). This includes WB especially when shooting in light that is not 5500k. The above image was shot in Auto WB and while it was close to what I was seeing, it wasn’t right on. All I did to get the shot below was to dial in A6. This raised the WB from 4400k to 5000k and that little but brought the warmth back to the frame. It’s just another little piece of that craftsmanship puzzle I use everyday.


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BTJ Biz Issue – Thx for the Love! Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:40:46 +0000 Volume 17.3

Not sure what just happened, but all of a sudden today a WHOLE bunch of love notes for our latest issue of the BT Journal just came flying in! It’s very rewarding to hear from You, Terry and Jon that with the BTJ in hand, you followed its steps and made your first editorial sales. Congrats, that’s great!!! The Journal is all about making money from your photography. You want to learn more, get out your iPad or Android and get it!

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“Wonder What Moose Tastes Like?” Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:30:21 +0000 DAMLCSAD0370

I have a whole new appreciation and admiration for the very endangered African Wild Dog. No, never once felt threatened by the Dogs or any critter at anytime on safari. This adult who’s pack had just made two kills, was as well fed as Wild Dogs can be. It’s one of those moments I look for in my files after a shoot like this where I’ve laid down on the hammer and taken 50+ images in a few seconds. Shooting the D4s / 800mm, it’s the tilt of the right ear that connects with my warp sense of humor. As I go through my images, I just see things like this and most of the time, just say the caption with an inside voice. Then there are times I let it out.

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Africa Biggest Surprise! Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:30:23 +0000 _DSC2826

I was mentally prepared for nearly everything we saw accept for one thing, the African landscape. It’s just amazing! The book on the trees of the area is three inches tall, oh my! While it reminded me a lot of California’s Oak woodlands, accept it has Lions, Leopards and Elephants and we have squirrels and a couple of deer, the beauty of the open African woodland habitat we ventured through is, stunning! If there is one regret I have from the trip is there wasn’t enough time to sit and smell the roses. Sitting on the deck and just looking out over the landscape and watching life grazing on by, that was adventure in itself. And it didn’t hurt either that Mr. G (seriously, his name) was there to fill up your cup with killer coffee and offer awfully good tasting pastries (oh, did he make a great Vodka Tonic!).

I’ve talked about my principle wildlife gear but I’ve not mentioned my primary landscape gear. And I have to admit I didn’t see this coming. 99.9% of my landscape work was shot with the Nikon 1 V3! And many of those taken while the Landie was moving, there wasn’t much stopping for landscapes with all the wildlife. And there certainly was no getting out of the Landie for landscapes because, well, you might get eaten. That fact kept me in my seat! The V3 is so small, light, takes big, gorgeous files and with its tilt monitor, a simple joy to use as my primary landscape tool. And its video ability … oh my! I’ve NOT even gotten through a tenth of that I shot! One reason why I am so excited to go back in 2015 is in large part to enjoy more of this magical landscape.

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Mylio Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:54:25 +0000 Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 8.48.03 AM

Mylio, it’s NOT EVEN what it appears to be. It’s much more, incredibly powerful and I think YOU should use it! It works magic, miracles on your ENTIRE digital library like nothing else and it has NOTHIN to do with the CLOUD! Brent & I were given a private demo months ago and I have it on my devices. Please, check it out and while you do, keep a very open mind because it is much bigger than you can imagine and not until you’ve gone through it all can you grasp the enormity of it all.

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Time with a Medalist Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:30:02 +0000 _BMP2873

“Awesome, I may have to do a short portrait with my 3 medals somewhere with the mountain top/background.” The text read from our dear friend and former neighbor Meb when he confirmed we’d be home during his next visit to Mammoth. We’ve had lots of fun with Meb over the years, photographing him for his own personal project as well as commercial work for his sponsors. Well with the addition of the medal for winning the 2014 Boston Marathon, it would seem Meb wanted to do the medal portrait we’d always talked about. But he put a twist to it. He wanted his favorite high altitude training grounds in the background. We were more than happy to oblige!


The shoot was actually pretty simple, once the right location was found. Wanting Mammoth Mtn in the background and with it having no snow, it needed to be an evening shoot. Meb not being “real” tall, needed to find a place that he would be higher than the camera. This is so he would be not only taller than the mountain, but so I would be shooting up on him naturally. Then there was the light, I wanted main light from the flash doing the lion share lighting Meb, the ambient light bringing life to the background. Because of the wind we’ve been having, I went with a beauty dish up close and personal to light Meb. I knew I’d have it above and angled so the light would fall off keeping the medals from blowing out. And I wanted a sidelight on both one side of Meb as well as the sage in the background. I wanted just a hint of the Eastern Sierra in the photo as that was Meb’s request.

With the spot found, we arrived early and set up the Profoto B1 / 27″ Beauty Dish Reflector on a C Stand (32lbs of weight on it because of the wind) and took test shots (which took seconds with the Profoto TTL), shooting with the Df / 85f1.8 AFS and the Profoto TTL. As you can see from the BTS photo, it was a real simple set up but the results were what were desired and we were done in minutes. Meb is off to NYC for the marathon this coming weekend and hopefully he’ll be back up with a new medal so we can take a new portrait. Go Meb!!!

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Drew Does Good! Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:00:28 +0000 Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 12.59.11 PM

Drew Gurian is simply a good guy! I so enjoy our conversations but even more, his photography! It is so GREAT to see him doing so fantastic following his heart and his photography. His latest is just too cool for words. Check this out, it’s darn good stuff! Keep up the fantastic work Drew!

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The Problem Is … Tue, 28 Oct 2014 19:04:03 +0000 DAMLCSLD2642

We have such marvelous tools available to us, but in order to select the right one for the task at hand, we have to first ask, “The problem is …” and then come up with the answer. We all approach our photography differently, that’s how it is supposed to be! And while that is true, there are many aspects of the craft we all have in common. One of those is this thing called exposure. The light and how it falls on our subject and then is related by our meter to the pixels is a magical and maddening process at times. There are many aspects to this formula but the one that is the hardest for most to wrangle with is the light. While we can see with our eyes/brain a range of 14 stops of light with a single glance, most cameras can only hold detail in 5 stops, and a couple, 6 stops, in a single click. And I know right there, in that one sentence, I just lost many of you. That’s why I think I was flooded with questions from the confusion generated by my post yesterday. To get the full, long winded explanation to this, I encourage you to get our FREE Photography FUNdementals. But here’s the abridge version.

If we were to measure the light using a spot meter (this is a “IF” proposition, I DO NOT use a spot meter) falling on the top and front of this Leopard, keeping a constant f/stop, we would see the shutter speed change by just less than 5 stops. That tells us we have a 5 stop range of light on the subject. The camera can hold all the detail in one click. The background, which is shadow, if we measured it the same way using the top of the Leopard’s head and just the background behind the head, we would see we have a 7 stop range in the shutter speeds. And because of this, the background shadow is going black, loosing detail in that busy bush. I have no doubt this very, very, very brief description of the problem is just as confusing to many. That is to be expected because we are trying to use words to describe a visual issue that manifests itself technically. Yuck! That’s why in the 90’s I came up with the Teddy Bear Exercise in my own process of mastering this very important part of our visual storytelling. In grasping this limited 5 stop range of light, you have three important variables: Light, Camera, You! Exposure = Emotion but to get to this point in your photography, you must master light, camera and your storytelling. So before you try to grasp how the D4s works with a 6 stop of light of light, master how your camera you have now works and communicates light through exposure to tell your story. There is no race, time is your friend, you just gotta remember to find the right answer for your photography when you ask, the problem is …

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Size Matters? Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:38:06 +0000 DABBELE0428

Twenty years of shooting and submitting 35mm slides to clients, not cropping an image after it was taken is firmly planted in my storytelling consciences. I “compose” and tell the visual story within the borders of the viewfinder, arrange the elements so the eye sees the subject and then moves through the frame ending back up at, the subject. Part of that arranging of elements and that path of travel is done with lens selection and exposure. And that’s influenced by the environmental factors that have unfolded while I was taking the photo. Simply put, the photo for me is a glorified memory, a couple steps up from those photos you put on the refrigerator with a magnet. That comes from my own personal desire to share the wild world I am so fortunate to witness with my camera with you, the world. So that brings up a question that popped into my mind this past week looking at the photos of another photographer. I asked the photographer, “Does size matter?”


This photographer cropped in post everyone of her photos, every single one! After realizing this, I asked why, why did she crop every single image? She said, “Because I like them better.” That’s a really valid answer and one I have no comment to. If you like it, then to me, that’s a done deal. But for me, the cropping was so random and often, created such an awkward visual path, I finally asked if I could see the whole image, the uncropped photo. When she showed me the first uncropped image, I saw this wonderful, wonderful photo. We spent a whole lot of time talking about why it was so wonderful and at the end, I asked why she cropped this marvelous photo down to a piece of &$*#()? She said something to the effect, “I thought that’s what we were supposed to do to get a big subject size.” That sent my mind a spinning, cycling through all the cropped images I’ve seen over the years (it drives photographers nuts when I look at their photo and say, “You cropped this didn’t you?” It often shows, badly.)

Subject size in the frame, that seems to be the core reason why photographers crop their images. There is nothing wrong with that, I am not trying to have an open season on the debate about cropping. I am hoping though to start a debate within your own mind if you’re a post cropper, especially for just the sake of subject size in the frame. I put up these two examples of a Little Bee-Eater as an example of my point. The top frame is the full sensor, FX, and the bottom image is with HSC, what most think of DX crop, both shot in the camera (shot with D4s / 800mm w/tc-.25). The top frame, you can’t help but see the subject, there is a path for the eye to travel and the story of the open African Woodland habitat in which we were working is being told. You see basically the same thing in the bottom frame, but the openness of that habitat to me is lost. Now why you can’t help see the subject in the top frame, well I wrote a book, Captured, to explain that. All I want to do here is to make you think about why you crop in post rather than compose in the viewfinder? Can your photography improve if you ask yourself that question next time the camera goes to your eye? It’s your story, your memory, you need to do it so you like it. Make the most of all the tools you have especially the heart and perhaps, size doesn’t matter.

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