Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Part 6

Digital Processing. Saving images while out in the field is important. The first storage place is on the memory card inside your camera. One memory card is enough for half a day of heavy shooting. More than one memory card is always a good precaution to take. Caring around smaller cards instead of one or two huge ones is better to do just in case you lose one then at least your not losing almost everything you have. After the memory card is full, it is usually uploaded on a PC or laptop. Once it is on your laptop it is on your hard drive, but it is always good to put the pictures on a disc or another source of memory just in case something ever happens to the computer.When pictures are in raw mode they are much easier to edit. We have been finding this out in class, most of us didn't take our pictures in raw form.
The first correction made to pictures are either to brighten or darken them. This is easy to do in photoshop and can be done in many ways with many layers and with either the whole picture or just a part of it. Adjusting the color ans saturation is also a common thing to do. I don't like messing with the color too much because it starts to look fake really fast. Saturation can look really bad if it is over done as well. Color and contrast are fun to mess with. I like contrast in most of my pictures so I like to adjust that at least a little bit throughout the picture.
Adjusting the shadows and highlights of pictures is cool as well. Its amazing what highlighting the shadows can do to some pictures. Dodge and burn tools: these work just like a dark room would. Healing brush: this allows you to take pixels from one part of the picture and place it in another spot. This helps things in the photo blend more. Clone stamp tool: This copies pixels from one part of the picture to the next and covers it with what you select. It is used for more than just blending and for much bigger jobs.
When adjusting sharpness, again too much is not a good thing. Sharpness increases the detail on a specific subject, but if it is too sharp it will start to look grainy.

Part 5

The close-up world. I think macro pictures are tons of fun. Surprisingly my digital camera takes really nice pictures of macro things. I took some really cool pictures of plants, insects, and trees using macro shots. Macro lenses are important in this type of photography. They can be used universally and come in handy. Telephoto lenses or converters also do the job nicely as well. For most of the creatures that you photograph and it would be nice to get a really detailed image of, but not so nice to be super close teleconverters are a great way to go. Extension tubes and bellows are great for magnification but on the downside they reduce the amount of light the picture can get. Supplementary lenses do not reduce the amount of light transmitted through the camera and therefore are more beneficial in some situations.
Wide-angle lenses for close-up work is best used with a short extension tube. At close range it has the same feeling of an expanded view of the object, but it is at normal magnification. This is fun to use on flowers and other plants close to the ground. There is also minimum light loss so the pictures turn out really well. Tilt-shift lenses make the best use of depth of field. This makes it easier to use a faster shutter speed to capture motion more focused, and make it more still. Making a life-sized object or animal seem much larger than it is, is tons of fun to do.
The quality of an image can be restored by reversing the lens on the camera. The downfall of this is that it makes stop-down metering, manual closing of the diaphragm, and manual exposure control necessary. Electric flash is also a nice thing to have. It is the only viable approach for taking pictures of small animals. Placing the flash away from the camera makes the fake lighting from the flash look much better. A kleenex put over the flash also works. Background light should be reduced by one stop.
Using wind while photographing flowers is a fun thing to mess with. The flow of the flowers captured by the camera with all the colors can make really neat pictures. Hazy or overcast days are best for photographing flowers and they give the best light. White, silver or gold reflectors around the flowers make the pictures color even better. Finding that perfect blossom or group of flowers is also very challenging and time consuming but it is well worth the picture in the end.
Some tips are to: Get close enough so that the bloom occupies most of the frame, sharpest focus should be on the pistils and stamens unless there are other distinctive pictures, use out-of-focus patches of color to frame the main blossom, check the picture area to make sure nothing takes away from the focus of the flower, shoot at large aperture for a shallow depth of field to soften the background.

Part 4

Landscapes are a huge part of nature photography. Finding amazing landscapes is a challenge in itself. Researching where you are planning to go and knowing at least somewhat of want you would like to capture is a good start. Lets start with color first. Strong color is a key factor in deciding if the landscape picture is worth it or not. The most attractive color for most people is red. If there is a red streak in the sky or the sun is a red color, or even if there is a red hue it is probably worth your time to take a picture.
Clouds make a huge difference in landscape photos. Big dominate cumulonimbus clouds are popular and usually have amazing shapes and are great for capturing the colors sunsets or sunrises. Clouds are also helpful when shooting in midday, for cover and it gives more than just a bunch of blue sky to the picture. Reflections with clouds in the water are a great eye catcher in most pictures. Using still conditions such as no wind and just a very calm scene makes great pictures. The best time to find these relaxed, calm scenes is about 30 minutes before and after sunrise.
Polarizers come in handy when taking pictures of a landscape. Sometime the sky is so much brighter than the mountains or other focus points in the picture that a neutral density filter works great for covering up only the sky section of your photo. Using animals as a small distraction is a landscape picture is also fun and great to do. Using the outlines of birds flying in through part of your picture makes it that much more eye catching. Wide angles are also a good idea for landscape pictures so the whole scene is shown and not just a small section.
There are many factors you have to pay attention to when taking a landscape picture. Such as foreground, background, and how focused the two are. I know with my digital camera it is really hard to take a picture with both being in good focus and it can be really frustrating. The angle that the picture is taken is also important. This is again where the more artistic side of photography can come in. At times it is great to stand above a landscape to get a better view. Then other times it is great to be level with the land or just at any other angle depending on the kind of picture you would like.
The five planes are 1.)Foreground: features interesting landscape details 2.) Midground: contains defined size cues that lead eye into the picture 3.) Feature Plane: shows center of interest 4.) Cloud Plane: ideally a puffy collection of clouds 5.) Sky Plane: comprises the final backdrop in pure shades of blue, rose, peach, or amber, depending on what time of day it is. Fitting all of these into a landscape photo makes a it great but it doesn't always have to be that case.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Part 3

Part three of our book is about adventures with the wildlife you encounter while being a nature photographer. The first section is about getting close to the animals. Always stay a safe distance from any animal your shooting. Never put yourself in a bad situation. Do your homework before taking off somewhere. Research the land and animals before going and map out at least some of where you would like to go. Keep your distance from the animals your shooting. Telephoto lenses would great for this because it keeps you and the animals away from harm and still makes great pictures.
While stalking the animal stay low, and move slowly and quietly while the animals focus is not on you. Plan your advance on the animal before you start walking towards them. Be sure to never fence them in or block them so they don't have a way out. Always make sure both you and the animal have a space to get away if needed. Try not to intimidate the animal either, make movements and stay calm.
Blinds are great for taking pictures of wildlife. A good bird blind is using your car. Put some camouflage in the windows so your body movements cant be seen, and make sure to have a rest for your camera and start snapping pictures. Other blinds such as hunting blinds in trees work as well. You yourself can also be used as a blind by putting a homemade camouflaged outfit on and using a tripod to mill around in. Peanut butter is another way to lure animals into a scene. Although it is not always a good idea it does work to smear a little on a branch or leaf to lure in birds or other small animals. Patients is a must have with nature photography.
Shoot first, edit later is a fantastic rule. If you spend time always trying to get the perfect picture the first time you will end up missing out on many great shots. Lowering your tripod is also another good tip. Instead of always being higher than the animal lower the camera down to their level and snap some great pictures. Background, foreground, and the subject makes up a 3 layer picture and this is always nice to have. Try to have all these in your pictures. Facial features are key when shooting animals. The first place we normal look at an animal is its face to it's important to have it in focus. When taking pictures of groups of animals it is important to try and pay attention to what all the animals are doing to get the best photos.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Part 2

Part 2 of the book is about the essential skills needed for nature photography. Exposure is one of them. A histogram comes in very handy while checking the exposure of a picture. It shows you where the lightest and darkest points of the picture are and then you will find out how to adjust your exposure to fit the right amount of lighting. Figuring out the right amount of exposure takes practice and is perfect with time and needs to become a quick habit because with nature photography you usually only have one chance at that perfect picture. There are many ways on many different camera to adjust exposure such as adjusting shutter speed and aperture. Cameras love to turn really dark or light spots in a picture to 15% gray. Therefore setting the right amount of exposure is important.
Reading the light is another essential skill. There are many ways light can effect a picture. There is front light when you shoot a picture with the sun behind you. This is best for a contrast in colors and shadows of a scene. Sidelight is when the light is coming through the side of your picture. Sidelight is amazing to use for landscape pictures to portray the shadows and depth of the whole scene your shooting. Back light is when the sun is directly behind the subject you are shooting. This makes a very nice outlining of the subject if shot right. If anything stay out of midday light especially if there are not clouds around. This lighting is very over exposed and doesn't make for very great pictures.Clouds make pictures great. Overcast days are great, or twilight, and of course sun sets and rises.
Depth of field is also important. Your point of focus determines how you are going to take the picture. Sharpness is usually preferred but you can set up what part of the picture you may want to look blurry. Such as a picture of an animals face being very sharp and then the back ground and branches being blurred. This is where the artistic part of photography comes in. Everyone sees things differently and likes different looks of the same scene.
Motion is a major point of photography. Shutter speed comes into play here. Shooting birds and running animals is hard to do. Of course you will want to pan with them as they move because this helps make the picture even more clear. For a humming bird shutter speed should be adjusted to 1/3000 of a second, and a waterfall should be around 1/250 of a second. Some photographers love to blur the motion of running zebras or flying birds and others love to get it as sharp as possible. So for each preference you need to know what settings to be on.
There are a couple rules that are important. The rules of dominance are one thing; red is more attractive than yellow, large draws more attention the small, difference is better than conformity, jagged lines are more striking than curved, diagonal lines are more attractive than vertical, sharpness is more attractive than blur and light is more attractive than dark. The rule of thirds is also important. Using objects in the third of the picture is the most attractive.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Part 1

The first section of this book is pretty basic. The first chapter talks about the basic equipment that is used in nature photography. A tripod is one of the most important pieces of equipment I noticed. When we went to Yellowstone I did not have a tripod and I was really mad that some of my pictures didn't turn out just because they weren't all the way focused. Different kinds of lenses are also needed. Telephoto lenses come in handy as do different sizes for travel and hiking purposes.
With being out in nature you have to deal with all mother nature hands out; rain, snow, wind, sun with no cloud cover. That last scenario was really a pain a Yellowstone was so bright all the time without any cloud cover, plus it made the sky really boring. The right packing equipment is important. A vest is a widely used piece of equipment especially for hikers to carry equipment. Cases and protection for all equipment is important for protection against all kinds of weather. Plain plastic bags (from grocery stores) are great protection against snow and rain. Proper clothes are important to have as well. Hats, boots, jeans and warm shirts are always a good idea.
In the winter time its very important to dress rite and have the proper equipment. Snow makes amazing pictures also! The ice and frost and designs they all make are just incredible. The thing to be careful about is exposure with all the white snow. Layers are great to have in the winter because you will get hot and cold so layers of clothes that are easy to take off and put on are great to have. Spare batteries are nice for winter in case something freezes up.
The nature photography for a year is very fun to read about. There are just so many places to go all year round. It makes me wish I had tons of money so I can just go take amazing pictures of all these places! There are so many more than these too. It's just finding out when you want to go and what is the best time to take pictures of what you want. Vancouver Island sound like a nice place to go and also the Badlands National Park. The ocean is definitely one of my favorite places to go though. Thats where I would start.