Composition Basics In Microphotography

Photo by Huub de Ward

Portrait of small Jewel bug: Magnification 7, f/9, ISO 100 and 1/250 sec.

Microphotography is magical because it takes us into a smaller universe of vibrant colors, exquisite details and extraordinary patterns that can literally take your breath away. I photograph invertebrates so close-up that they are transformed into large subjects. Through my images I aim to highlight the different characteristics of a variety of species – and their individual charm.

Microphotography can be challenging because it involves moving in close and magnifying what is there beyond our normal perception of it. As a consequence, we need to pay a lot of attention to every detail we see in the view finder because it will have a huge impact on the overall look and feel of the image. Where we place the subject in the frame (i.e. composition) is critical; even the smallest movement left-right, up-down, can substantially change its impact. [Read more…]

Watch The Perseid Meteor Shower This Week

Photo by anttler (used under the CC-Attr-NC-ND license)

Photo by anttler (used under the CC-Attr-NC-ND license)

Every year between July and August, you can watch the Perseids meteor shower in the night sky. This year it’s supposed to peak on the night of August 13, so any night this week you should be able to see a good amount of meteors streaking across the sky. And, the Perseids is especially great this year because it occurs during a new moon, so the meteors won’t have to battle the brightness of the moon in the sky — allowing you to see MUCH more! :)

To increase your chances of seeing some meteors, it’s also good to get away from the light pollution of cities. You want the sky as clear and as dark as possible. [Read more…]

Captive vs. Wild Images

Common raccoon

Common Raccoon / Photo by Jim Braswell

Today’s post delves into an area we photographers often find ourselves … dealing with photographic ethics. Photographers have to constantly contend with ethics. Do you need a model release? Do you need a property release? Am I about to shoot on public property, or do I need to obtain permission to be here? As with everything in life, we have rules and regulations that we must adhere to when conducting our business. One of the most “gray areas” we encounter in nature photography is one of photographing wild animals versus photographing captive animals. [Read more…]

How To Build Your Own Flash Bracket

Keeping on pace with my last post regarding external flash units, I’ve decided to show you one of my “do-it-yourself” (DIY) projects: building an external flash bracket. Having the majority of my lenses fitted with the same quick-release plates, this flash bracket mounts to all of them with ease and full versatility. Check it out:

Assembled Flash Bracket

Assembled Flash Bracket

[Read more…]

Need Help Identifying a Bird In Your Photo? Check out this website!

Photo by Steve Berardi

Photo by Steve Berardi

Have you ever photographed a bird and had no idea what kind it was? Sometimes it’s easy to identify it later by looking through a bird book, and sometimes not so much. And, even when you do identify it, it’s nice to get some confirmation from other people.

Well, we’re in luck, because a team of ornithologists and computer scientists at Cornell have developed a web app called Merlin that helps you identify the bird in your photo. And, it works surprisingly well! [Read more…]

Using Your Smartphone As a Post-Processing Playground

Photo by Steve Berardi

Photo by Steve Berardi

Post-processing is one of the most important steps of creating a powerful image (as my dad wrote about in a previous post). Ansel Adams once said, “The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.” In modern day digital photography, post-processing leads to the “performance” part that Adams refers to. A RAW file from your camera can go in so many different directions.

In the past year or so, I’ve been really trying to improve my post-processing skills (especially with landscape images), and I discovered that one of the best ways to practice is using your smartphone.

The great thing about the smartphone is that it’s a camera and a little computer built into one small device that’s always with you. There’s tons of excellent photo editing apps that have professional editing abilities—my personal favorite is Snapseed (available for iPhone and Android), but I’ll get more into specific apps in a future post. [Read more…]