So, it’s winter – well, just getting into it. But, I’m not waiting. Yesterday morning up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I wasn’t sure what I would find. Do I turn left, or right? – makes no difference. Time in the field, any field is time to test me, or just enjoy the time. Being there is the key. What to shoot, it will be different for each of us.
Looking for something that catches the eye… Just then a shaft of light brightened up the trees – then it’s gone. That was nice.
The car to the side of road, out and tripod with camera mounted. Taking my utility belt (extra batteries, Cars, extension tubes, remote control, etc), I’m walking.
More light … then a piece of green catches my eye…
Getting started a quick shot, Hmm, a start. Warming up a few other shots of trees, then the eye catches some bramble. That could be interesting but there’s a lot of distracting mess — brown dead or sleeping things to distract.
Some moss catches my eye. Umm, shooting with my long lens to better isolate the subject. Tripod to the ground on my knees now. My lens is a Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 so I can blow out the background at 2.8 aperture setting but when I get to the moss I need to open to f8 or 11 to get everything in focus, but we also pick up some background.
I used to just move my EV to -2.0 to darken the background; but with digital that means noise as well. Maybe I can fix that in PP (post production). Using the histogram it’s “expose to the right” (making sure the curve goes all the way to the right). That cuts down on the noise and allows us to push the ISO, if necessary. It sure is a striking study in texture. We’ll see… Click, and another… Click.
The wind is picking up – Darn! There’s that little dried weed pictured above, swaying in the breeze. Can’t tell you how many exposures were made just to get that one shot. Some pros use a plastic tent to eliminate the wind – those that shoot wildflowers a lot. No, I don’t know what that little weed is? Seldom do, as the light dictates what I shoot — there is so much. I have to ID it later. If you know, I’d like to hear from you.
Incidentally , to get more magnification and blow out the background I’m using a 36mm extension tube. It allows me to get closer to the subject also.
Oh look at that — a leaf just glowing “Take me, take me.” I shoot it with the same set up.
I could have stayed there for hours. Be patient. Photograph what captures the eye. The techniques are the same. Aperture Priority, macro or long lens, extension tube, on sturdy tripod. If you don’t have a long lens any lens with an extension tube will allow you to get magnification.
About the mass of moss above. In PP I decided to crop most of it out to get rid of the background and simplify composition. The rule here is Keep it Simple, let the viewer know what the subject is and have fun…
Tips from Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph, November 27, 2013
1. Reboot both the computer and the camera, then try
downloading the same photo (if not already trashed). THIS IS ALWAYS A FIRST STEP WHEN ANY KIND OF GLITCH IS EXPERIENCED.
2. Check your computer RAM and hard drive usage: there is a control panel or utility in Windows that shows you how much RAM you have installed and also what percentage of your hard drive is being used. On theMAC OS go to /utilities/Disc Utility/
or to Apple Logo/About this Mac/Storage/ and also to Apple Logo/About this Mac/Memory/ You are possibly pushing your system to its limits, making even
mundane events like downloading problematic. If so, then the
hard drive will start to become unacceptably fragmented as the
drive “searches” for empty spaces to place newly received data.
Options: install more RAM and/or a larger hard drive (or buy a
new computer with these already installed.) 3. If you are using an old USB cable, trash it and buy a new one
designed to meet todays USB cabling standards. Be sure it
matches the cable that fits your camera. The new USB speeds
are much faster than your older USB ports, but new cables are
4. All camera media cards fail at some point. That’s why
professional photographers like me have 20 camera-specific
media cards and we rotate their use. In other words, your digital
media card may be failing as we speak.
5. Not only do media cards fail, but they are also often used
improperly by consumers. When you insert a card into your
camera and take a picture, you have to give the camera enough
write-time to write the image to the media card. Many, many,
many people inadvertently rush this process and end up with
truncated image files. A truncated image will also occur if the
photographer turns off the camera too quickly after taking a
picture. Some people do this routinely, thinking they are saving
battery life. Forget that, instead buy several or more backup
batteries and rotate their use. Batteries also weaken over time
and with continued use, and thus become unusable.
6. An electrical glitch in your residence can occur while you are
downloading digital files…even a split-second glitch can result in
a truncated download. I pay attention to such things and
typically download large collections of images at non-peak usage
times like late at night. Of course, I also use APC backup
batteries that protect my computers against glitch-related surges.
7. Buy and download a credible REPAIR UTILITY for your digital
media. I use PHOTORESCUE and keep it updated. This is an
industry-standard software solution that I highly recommend. It
is a real steal for $29 for both Windows and Mac OS.
Just insert the card into a card reader and follow instructions. If
the card is filled with glitched images it can repair them for you.
It can also completely erase a card better than your camera can
do it…but be sure to insert it in your camera afterwards and
reformat it before using it. There is no need to use all the
advanced options; the default options are usually sufficient.
8. Card readers themselves come in all gradations of quality. You
do get what you pay for so don’t be a cheapskate huh?
I won this workshop at Bryan’s seminar last December in Orlando. I chose his Oregon Coast one since it has been many years since I was there and always wanted to go back.
We stayed at a very nice condo hotel right on the coast and we each had our own room. The clerk said I had the smallest one, but it was more than enough room for me and with a great view of the ocean. Breakfast was in our own rooms as we had a nice little kitchen tucked in the corner with everything you could want. Lunch and Dinner was at great little casual restaurants and seafood was plentiful and delicious! We also were shuttled around in 2 SUVs, so no car rental needed and it was nice to just watch the scenery go by as we traveled from place to place.
This was the most varied photo workshop I’ve ever attended. Besides photographing the beautiful Oregon coast, we also went to a junk yard to shoot old cars, trucks and whatever junk was laying around! LOL! I did get some really artsy closeups of rust. Also found some very neat dew covered spider webs behind the junkyard on a side road. At the various places along the coast we went to he gave demonstrations of flash mixed with ambient light, close-ups, backlighting, scenics, sunsets, fog, seals… just about anything you could think of.
Bryan is very hands on in his workshops and makes sure everyone gets his attention. He also had Deb Sandidge along as his assistant and she was also very helpful t0 everyone. http://www.deborahsandidge.com/ Check out her photoblog link on her website.
At a couple of places along the coast Bryan filmed a demo of a photo technique which he’ll put on you tube along with the many others he has on there. He included us in these. What fun! Can’t wait to see them!
Bryan is very personable and lots of fun. One of the best workshops I’ve ever attended, and wish I could do the one he has in France.
Found these signs in various places along the coast. There were even instructions in the hotel room about what to do if you hear a tsunami warning siren. A bit unsettling!
The spectacular coral reefs are victims of climate change. Some of the best are already gone.
This is a shallow reef at Suwarrow, some of the small amount of remaining healthy coral we found at the atoll, where much of the coral is dying.
I sailed 2,500 miles across the central Pacific Ocean this summer, visiting islands we dream of as paradise, only to be hit hard with the realization that we are one of the last generations who will experience the Earth as we now know it.
The Holy Grail of our quest, the remote and tiny Suwarrow atoll, lies in the northern Cook Islands, some 700 miles from the nearest land. The crew of our research sailing vessel Llyr, a 53-foot ketch, had high expectations of finding pristine coral reefs in this uninhabited place, which only sailboats can reach. We arrived, exhausted and elated, at the end of a rough passage. Bashing our way through 20-foot waves for several hours, we finally slid through the narrow unmarked entrance into a placid lagoon.
Llyr, named for a Welsh sea god, had sailed from Panama to the far-flung islands of French Polynesia (where I came aboard) to survey coral reefs for a citizen science project, Reefcheck (reefcheck.org). Coral reefs are perhaps the most beautiful and wondrously complex ecosystems on the planet. Enchanted undersea gardens, they occupy only 1 percent of the Earth’s seafloor, but contain some 9 million species and a quarter of all marine fish species.
In the more populated islands like Tahiti and Moorea, our crew (mainly a family of five headed by social scientists/ecologists turned maple syrup farmers; see http://www.berkshiresweetgold.com) saw that the coral reefs were largely dead, which we attributed to local nutrient pollution and overfishing, and (on Moorea) to the crown-of-thorns starfish. Suwarrow atoll, we believed, would be different.
To our surprise and dismay, much of the coral in Suwarrow was dying, some obviously bleached, some algae-covered. We shot videos to record the poor coral health, dove with a couple of manta rays and, with heavy hearts, hauled anchor for the passage to Tonga, without even doing a formal Reefcheck survey.This is a dead reef at Tahiti. The cause could be bleaching or nutrient pollution, or some combination.
On the six-day passage to Tonga, we had plenty of time to ponder the decline of the Suwarrow reefs, which we assumed is due to human-caused global warming. No other cause is apparent. Warmer seas cause coral to lose the minute algae that provide their food and oxygen, and the coral bleaches and dies. Acidification due to increased CO2 is another possible explanation.
Under stars and clouds on a night watch, with a full moon lighting up relentless waves, it’s natural to think on a geologic time scale. The changes we had seen in the reefs of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and Suwarrow seemed to me a metaphor for the rest of the planet.
We have known for a long time that the Earth is changing as the climate is disrupted by our fossil-fuel emissions. But I had never so viscerally understood that we are seeing the end of an era in the Earth’s history, the end of conditions that have prevailed since the last ice age. This brief shining moment of our lifetime, and a little time thereafter, seems to be the last, best time on Earth for humans and many other species as we slide into a new and different ecological age.
For anyone in love with and in awe of nature, there is grief in this realization. People who revere the Earth (and especially those working to build public support for measures that will reduce greenhouse gases) need ways of dealing with the anguish-producing news of worsening climate impacts and the absence of remedial action.
Llyr’s crew, after leaving Suwarrow, benefited from some resilience-building measures that seemed to help with climate burnout. First, we talked a lot about our grief and loss, as well as the science of climate and reefs. Second, we stayed actively involved in working on the issues by writing blogs and assembling a documentary. Finally, we immersed ourselves (quite literally) in beautiful natural places that inspired and renewed us.
Unlike the reefs at Suwarrow, the reefs at Tonga — further south of the equator, with noticeably cooler water — were spectacular, a magical tonic for our spirits. To float motionless in clear water and watch the dance of reef creatures displaying their brilliant colors in a symphony of forms and patterns is a spiritual experience. The coral colonies themselves, collections of minute animals — tan, pink, blue and purple — that build huge reefs through their own skeletons, are one of the great wonders of life.
But the news is still disheartening. The United Nations’ top climate experts have just recently given us another warning: If we continue as we are, we will pass the tipping point of severe climate change in less than three decades.
Frightening, yes, but the tipping point that I look forward to is political — the point when we have the critical mass to elect a government that will act effectively. It has happened before, on racism. It is happening on same-sex marriage. When enough people understand the ethical issue of climate — that it is immoral to destroy the future — things will change.
Meanwhile, those who care need to keep the faith, to keep talking and working. We will best maintain the resilience to keep fighting and to limit the harm to the Earth if we pay attention to the thing that gave us passion to start with — nature itself, where it is still possible to draw energy and experience joy.Chuck Dayton is a retired environmental lawyer. Article republished with permission – originally published in Minneapolis Startribune News.
My long time friend and marketing guru, Rohn Engh publishes some great newsletters. His recent PhotoDaily newsletter, also includes reprints of other hard hitting articles. When I read the Jay Sousa piece I knew we would have to send it on to our Lens Luggers. We have his permission; so, “Thanks again Rohn!” How close this article comes to the elements of our Field Photography programs, details attached.
But, it also provides a guide to use in reviewing our own images. Set you best or favorite in a group then look at them from these three factors – also the factors that PSA uses in judging images.
Technical – Exposure, focus etc
Composition – Design Elements,
Emotion or feeling – this one is hard to describe but once you see it there, you will immediately recognize it. Often it is light that determines this impact!
Now, for the Jay Sousa piece…
ONE ELEMENT? — Jay Sousa: “A friend recently asked me if there was just one element that made a great photograph and if there was, what was it? SOURCE: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/08/08/3144732
COPYRIGHT 2013 PHOTOSOURCE INTERNATIONAL. The PhotoDaily is published by PhotoSource International, Osceola Wisconsin 800 624 0266 www.photosource.com
Field Photography – Sept 17-Oct 15, 2013
The Old Armory Waynesville Rec. Center and Lens Luggers of WNC announce the Fall Photo program dates to begin September 17, 2013 from 6-8PM at the Old Armory Rec. Center at 44 Boundary Street, Waynesville, NC. Participants will discuss impact of light, most recent techniques, equipment, composition, as well as computer assisted technology.
Wednesday mornings the group will meet at 8AM to carpool to field shoots and return
around noonish. “Included will be the Cataloochee Elk Rut, fast water flows, mountain vistas, and getting the most out of the equipment they have,” says program leader Bob Grytten. “We look forward to great fall color this year with some good time events.” All photo levels are invited, as personal individual assistance is available throughout the sessions.
The Wednesday morning field shoots are $50 each and Tuesday evening discussion/critique sessions are $15 each. Those signing up for all seven sessions will receive a 20% discount. There will also be a drawing for a Think Tank Change Up V2.0 Camera Bag.
Graduates of the program will also automatically become Lens Luggers and be invited to display their images on the web site Portfolio Page and qualify for future programs at 30% discounts. Space will be limited and on a first come basis. For more information & registration contact Grytten at 828/627-0245 or e-mail at email@example.com. More information is also available at www.lensluggerworld.com.
by Bob Grytten
Most photographers have a long lens – either in a variable range 70-300 or 18-200 or a faster 70 – 200 mm f/2.8 configuration or a single focal range such as a 300mm F/4. No matter what the range, it can be converted to capture small subjects with either a closeup lens, a bellows or an extension tube.
The Close up lens should be of diopter quality range otherwise you may get serious degrading of the image. Both Canon and Nikon offer diopters, which are screwed on to the front element of your lens and can be adjusted to whatever lens you may be using by purchasing an inexpensive step-down ring. Just make sure the size of the diopter is at least as large as the largest lens filter size you may want to use, otherwise you may incur serious vignetting.
The Bellows is usually made of a soft material affixed to a rail system to enable the user to crank out (or in) to adjust the distance of the lens from the camera’s processor (for digital) or film (for film cameras). It works the same for both. The camera is affixed to one end of the bellows and the lens to the other end. The further the distance the lens is from the recording plane, the greater magnification.
My choice over the years has been the Extension tube or set of extension tubes. They are more durable than the bellows in nature and can be used no matter what lens is used. They also are affixed between the camera and the lens and in principle work the same as a bellows but are limited in size – usually 12mm, 20mm and 36mm if in a set. However, my experience is that size range usually covers most needs.
Noted birding photographer Arthur Morris has been known to use two 50mm extension tubes with his 600mm lens to achieve some of his striking images.
Mostly, it shortens the distance one’s camera will focus to the subject. So, you can move closer to the subject – that alone increases the magnification. As an example using a 50mm of extension on my old Nikon 300mm lens increased the magnification about 40%.
Another benefit of the extension tube is that there is no glass for the light to have to pass through, therefore no degrading of the image. However, you will lose about a stop or more of light depending upon the distance the light has to travel through the tube(s).
*Note: A teleconverter will also increase your magnification as they have glass elements. Caution should be used in how much magnification the Teleconverter has, as anything over 1.4 times (40% magnification) may seriously degrade the image. This extra cost of building the teleconverter is reflected in the price, which can be three times more than a simple set of extension tubes. However; a quality Teleconverter can be used together with an extension tube to solve some very interesting problems in achieving a close up image. More on that at a later time.
In the example I am using here, my 80-200 f/2.8 lens will only focus as close as ___ and that restricts the detail of the image. By shooting at 200mm and attaching a 12mm extension tube to the lens, I can benefit three ways.
First, the surrounding distractions are reduced drastically
Second, the background is greatly muted, further reducing distraction.
Third, one can see the image in the view finder to better do composition.
**Note. As magnification is increased, depth of field is decreased. That is a Principle that we have to keep in mind to make sure everything we want sharp in the image is sharp. This is usually achieved by stopping down the aperture (making the aperture smaller). That is why one looks for a camera body Depth-of-field preview button. However, by stopping down the aperture, the shutter speed is also decreased – one of the reasons we use a tripod, if speed drops below an acceptable range.
***Note: If you must enlarge a subject, the resulting image will depend upon the quality and sharpness of your lens. If your sharpest lens is 70mm you may require the entire set of extension tubes to achieve satisfactory results. Always begin with your sharpest lens and make adjustments. Lens Luggers are in the process of scheduling a workshop on close up and macro photography. Let us know if you wish to be notified.
Posted: 05/29/2013 7:35 am EDT | Updated: 05/29/2013 8:23 am EDT
Mark Hirsch, a 52-year-old photojournalist based out of Dubuque, Iowa, has formed an unlikely attachment to a tree. The attachment is so strong, in fact, that he’s spent the last year photographing it, venturing out to this lone oak each day to capture a unique snapshot of his photosynthetic friend.
The images of this endearing project have been collected under the name “That Tree,” a fitting title for a series that began on a whim. Hirsch had actually spent 19 years driving by his tree without a thought, and it wasn’t until a fellow photographer challenged him to try his hand at the iPhone camera that he began his over 365-day photo journal of the growing relationship between a man and a plant.
We recently caught up with Hirsch, who is planning to release “That Tree” as a book later this summer, and asked him a few questions about his strange fascination with a single tree. Here’s what Hirsch had to say about his unassuming subject matter and the sentimental connection he was able to discover. (Scroll down for interview.)