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Entries in Photography (8)

Friday
Feb032012

Nature 10+1 - 2.33 "Into the Wild"

Shot in Oro ~ iPhone 4S

Thursday
Feb022012

Nature 10+1 - 2.32 "The Inspector"

Red-breasted Nuthatch shot at Tiffin Conservation Area ~ Canon 7D, EF 100-400mmL IS

Tuesday
Feb012011

Tuesday's Photo Tip ~ Pre-Focusing

After last weeks cop out for a tip, I figured I would actually write this one myself ;-) This week we'll be taking a look at pre-focusing when taking photographs of birds, although you could apply this technique to other genres such as sports or wildlife.  This little tip may just end up being one of the best techniques you will ever learn, it certainly was for me.

The technique works like this: you focus the camera on a nearby static subject in order to capture the moving subject quicker and more accurately.  A great example to start with are Hummingbirds!  Hummers are one of fastest bird species on the planet which makes photographing them very difficult.  Not only that, they are small, I mean 3-4 inches of small!! :)  If you've ever tried to track one in flight, especially with a camera, then you know how quickly they move and how difficult of a task it can be - this is when pre-focusing can help you.

With this next photo I focused my camera on the flowers and pressed the shutter button halfway down;  all I needed was for the Hummer to enter frame.  When the hummer came close to the flower I happily fired away, all the while keeping my camera's focus point on the flower.  This technique eliminated my having to track the hummer in flight and increased my chances of getting a keeper just by cutting down on focusing time.

For the second example we'll go with a Downy Woodpecker, the cutest woodpecker of them all ;-)  Let's say your out at your local park and you notice a Downy on a tree branch but unfortunately there's a bunch of branches surrounding the bird, what do you do?  What I did was anticipate where the Downy would go knowing that they usually work an entire branch before moving to a different spot.  I scanned the rest of the branch for clean spots.  Once I found one, I pre-focused on the branch and waited for the Downy to enter my frame.  Once in frame I fired away!  Of course there's a good chance the bird will take off before getting into frame but that's the risk you have to take if you want to capture the best shot.

A couple weeks ago I actually tested this technique out at home on the perches we have setup on our patio and was shocked at the results.  When I randomly jumped from perch to perch following the birds I only came up with a few decent images.  When I pre-focused on just one perch and waited my keeper rate skyrocketed!

I hope you find this technique as helpful as I did!!  Next week we'll be taking a look at how I set up our patio for bird photography during the winter months.

 

Sunday
Jan302011

Pearl Jam 20 - "Yield"

Our favourite band Pearl Jam is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year!!  In celebration we've decided to post through the course of the year 20 different images in their honour, and each image posted will be named after one of their song titles or albums.  Happy Anniversary PJ!! :)

"Yield"

Tuesday
Jan252011

Tuesday's Photo Tip - Raw vs. JPEG

Am Goldfinch shot at our place in Barrie.

I set off to do some research on this subject and found a post written by Darren Rowse on Digital Photo School. After reading the post I realized that I couldn't have written it any better so my tip this week is to click here and read his article ;-)

Monday
Jan242011

iPhone Photo App Review - Camera+

Publisher : Tap Tap Tap                                Cost : $1.99

For my inaugural review I'll start off with my #1 iPhone app, Camera+.  This is the app which led me to fall in love with the iPhone's camera and I use it exclusively to take every photo now!  

The one thing I didn't like about the iPhone's standard camera was that the exposure was set from the same spot as the focus.  Camera+, in all its glory, addresses this issue by allowing the user to set the exposure on a separate spot by placing a second finger on the screen after setting the focus point - pure genius!!  On the camera side of things it also sports a great zoom, much better then any other app I've tried.  The app also offers image stabilization, a timer and a burst mode!

Once a photo has been taken much can be done with the apps robust editing features.  It offers a wide range of white balance settings as well as the ability rotate and flip the image and of course cropping.  

Now for the fun stuff - the effects options!  To start, you have three sections of effects, Colour, Retro and Special.  In these sections you'll find effects like Vibrancy, So Emo, Lomographic, Antique, Cross Process and even HDR!  Another brilliant touch they've added is a slider bar for every effect so you can control the strength of the adjustment.  There is also a set of effects called I Heart Analog that can be purchased in the app for an additional $0.99.  The last step post-processing is the ability to add one of many borders if one so choses.

Once your masterpiece is done, what can you do with it!?  Share it of course!  Luckily the app addresses this as well by allowing one to instantly upload their photo to various social networks including Facebook, Flickr and Twitter!  Once you've registered your login information with the app sharing component is literally become as easy as just pushing a button and off it goes, fast and easy!

As a sidenote, the app was developed in partnership with fellow Canadian photographer Lisa Bettany!  Way to go Lisa and congrats on the huge succes of the app, well deserved!  Here's a link to the info page for the app. Warning - do not mistake this app with the one titled "Camera Plus," they are not the same. :)

Wednesday
Sep012010

Pay It Forward - Perspective 

I was thinking of titles for this segment and Pay It Forward seemed to be the one that best describes what I'm trying to do .  The one thing I have to come to find about the online photographic community is that they are ever helpful by passing on valuable information and tips for free through their blogs, podcasts, twitter, webinars, etc.  Most of my photo knowledge has come from these free sources and I'm going to try to pay it forward.  As the great Scott Bourne says,  "no matter your skill level you can always help somebody progress in their photographic journey."

This first post centers around perspective with two quick tips that can make a world of difference in your bird photography.  Take a look at the following two pictures of a juvi Ring-billed Gull; here's picture A,

 And Picture B.

Now I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you probably prefer Picture B?  I prefer B as well, by a landslide,  and I only did two things different between the two.  Here's a hint -  it has nothing to do with camera settings.... give up? The difference was moving my feet! 

The two pictures were taken seconds apart with the same camera settings.  The first difference you probably spotted was the background.  For the first image I was standing straight up and shooting down on the gull.  This caused the background to be closer and still carry some detail, which in this case is distracting.  To negate this I just got down on one knee and this moved the background further away and completely out of focus; it also places me at eye level with the gull; which is where you want to be most of the time.  This technique of getting low to the ground works extremely well on waterfowl and shore birds, though any bird on the ground will do.

The second main difference,  which may be a little more subtle,  is the head angle of the bird.  The first image the head angle is parallel to the camera sensor, which is alright but not very engaging.  In the second picture the head angle is much more pleasing and is a couple degrees towards the camera.  I achieved this by taking a slight shift with my feet to the left.  You can also just wait for the bird to turn its head slightly towards you but in this case my shift also caused the entire birds composition to change for the better by being slightly angled towards me.

Hope you enjoyed the first instalment of Pay it Forward and look for another one to come soon.  Just remember the next time you're out shooting use your feet to explore different perspectives because the slightest movements can make dramatic changes.

N.

Saturday
Jul172010

3rd Annual Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photowalk

Just a heads up that next Saturday is the WWPW hosted by the great Scott Kelby.  Kelly and I have never been on a photowalk before and are excited for our first one.  No matter where you reside in the world there is likely a photowalk scheduled near you.  As I type this there is a total of 1096 walks with a whopping 26,471 people participating!!  That's gonna be a lot of photos!  In our area there is one in Barrie, Wasaga Beach and Newmarket,  just click on the banner up top for more info and to register.  Hope to see you out there making some great photo's next weekend. :)