Showing posts with label advanced photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advanced photography. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Here is the link to the new Photographing Animals book.  Click Here.

The Birds and The Bees and the Bears.

This is the e-book that accompanies the presentation given at the Alice Austen House Museum.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Photographers, if they do it correctly, don't go on vacation.  They go on expedition.  While not part of the official dictionary definition, we must plan ahead for having adequate equipment, batteries, cards, chargers, laptops and backup drives.  Now think about packing the basic cameras, strobes and lenses.  Add to this, the additional equipment if you are an underwater photographer.  

If you are a pro, vacation was never in the picture. You need to think shot list, additional opportunities for marketing images, review what has been done before, plus think openly about new approaches, destination client and publisher expectations.

Then to deal with the gauntlet of our wonderful friends, the airlines. What fun the post 9/11 world has become.  Don't you wish you could go back to being a tourist carrying a point and shoot so gleefully and unrealistically described in the Airline ticket folders?  Devotees and Pros do not exist in their eyes.  Even the TSA is frequently taken aback by what we carry.

So packing is a challenge.  Taking stock of inventory and distributing weight is the order of the day.  A small camping scale with a max capacity of 50 lbs is a great help to travel with you for rebalancing when needed.

Backup equipment is recommended for everything.  You first learn something doesn’t work when you are USING it.  It depends on your budget, insistence on perfection, and personal neuroses for how you handle this.  Respectfully, you may be going to places where electricity is novel or different voltages.  Digital photography is electric intensive.

Digital backup capacity
Important consideration for not running short.  Think about how much you will shoot, and plan cards, hard drive capacity to last the trip.  It is not hard now to shoot 8 – 16 GB per day even with Point and Shoots and movie files.  Do the math and plan accordingly.  Plan on bringing back files on two devices or two media for safety.  Example is a Laptop Hard Drive and an external Hard Drive.  Relying on just one is risky.  PACK THESE SEPERATELY in case one bag is lost!

SLEEP NOTE: If you are diligent, the External Hard Drive will easily allow you to do backups each day due to the speed of the drive, especially if you use firewire.  If you are doing DVD, the discipline required at bedtime may cause you to skip the backups.  Buy more Cards as an alternative to the chore.

Ancillary items that complement the checklist:
o   Equipment Serial Number list for Customs and Insurance.  One for passport wallet, one in each major piece of luggage.
o   Camping Scale to balance out luggage - 50 pound capacity min.

Personalize the checklist
It is only of value if you ADD / DELETE / MODIFY items as they apply or don’t.

If you are an Underwater Photographer, I have two lists posted on Dive PhotoGuide:
Click here for the DSLR list.

Click here for the Point & Shoot list.

COMPREHENSIVE LIST (For Customization)

o   Backup SLR BODY
o   Point and shoot Camera
o   SLR batteries (3 minimum)
o   Point & Shoot Batteries
o   SLR battery chargers
o   Point & Shoot Charger

o   Carry on bag
o   Camera Manual

o   Wide Angles
o   Fisheye
o   Macro 1  (50 – 60?)
o   Macro 2   (100mm)
o   Normal fast (50 1.4)
o   General Purpose Zoom(s) for land  (eg. 18 – 200)
o   Wildlife Zoom(s) for Land (eg. 100 – 500 )

o   Strobe (s)
o   Strobe Batteries and spares
o   Sync Cord(s)?
o   Strobe charger(s)
o   Strobe Manual

o   Lens paper
o   Screwdriver with multiple tips
o   Duct tape, maybe three feet rolled up as a neat roll (just standard procedure- improvisation)
o   Electrical ties (just standard procedure - improvisation)
o   Multi-tool like a Leatherman or small vice grip
o   Sensor Blower bulb / kit

OPTION A:  LAPTOP & External Hard Drive - Best option
o   Laptop
o   Card Reader & CABLE
o   USB / Firewire Cable for Hard Drive
o   External Hard Drive
o   Laptop charger
o   International Voltage Transformer (If needed)
o   International Plug adapters (If needed)
o   Power Strip / Surge protector
o   Three prong grounding adapter.
o   Combo Camera & Laptop bag (carry on in camera bag like Lowepro Laptop & Camera backpack)

OPTION B – Laptop & DVDS
o   Laptop
o   Card Reader
o   USB Cable
o   Laptop charger
o   International Voltage Transformer (If needed)
o   International Plug adapters (If needed)
o   Blank Disks
o   Container for burned discs or disc pages
o   Power Strip / Surge protector
o   Three prong grounding adapter.
o   Combo Camera & Laptop bag (carry on in camera bag like Lowepro Laptop & Camera backpack)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Creativity in Photography is a critical skill that is infrequently discussed.  It is hard to define because it is so personal.  Breathless discussions of megapixels are far easier.  However, Creativity is a well defined process and there are tools and techniques that anyone can use to become more creative (AND MAKE BETTER PICTURES).

A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More CreativeTHIS IS NOT A BOOK ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY.  Roger von Oech wrote this classic book in 1983.  A Whack on the side of the Head is chock full of ideas, exercises and approaches.  It is a good resource when you get a "creative block " or are looking to jump start new ideas.

Here are some examples from the Table of Contents:
1 The Right Answer
2. That's Not Logical
3. Follow the Rules
4. Be Practical
5. Play if Frivolous
6.  That's not My Area
7. Avoid Ambiguity
8.  Don't be Foolish
9.  To Err is Wrong
10.  I'm Not Creative.

As you can see, the opposite of all the titles is closer to the truth of creativity.

You can purchase   A Whack on the side of the Head here.

Speaking of Creativity, click here for my fine art galleries.

Click here to see the follow up review of "A Kick in the Seat of the Pants."

Friday, December 4, 2009

HDR #2 - High Dynamic Range - Using Photomatix Pro

There are different versions of Photomatix, but this post is designed to give you an idea of the controls you can use to effect an illustrative effect that the plug-in is capable of producing.

Rule #1 for Photomatix is don't be afraid to "play."

I like to use the dashboard more or less in order, starting at the top and working down. Be bold with changing settings to experiment.

Strength On the dashboard of controls, you will get the biggest "bang for the buck" by starting with Strength at 100%. It will give the most photo illustrative effect. The lower you go, the more photo-real it will appear.

Saturation at 100 is more Illustrative. At low settings, you can produce B&W.

Set Luminosity at 10 to begin and adjust from there.

Light Smoothing has five radio button settings. I usually like the second button. Experiment.

Microcontrast settings are a matter of taste and small adjustments count for large swings.

The remaining controls will have a less dramatic impact on the image but experiment to see what you like. Below is the product of combining the seven exposures and using Photomatix Pro.

Click here to see a larger version of this photo and more HDR.