How To Research a New Photo Location

Bighorn Sheep / Photo by Jim Braswell

Bighorn Sheep / Photo by Jim Braswell

Traveling to photograph at a new location is always a fun experience for me. I love reading, or hearing about a place that I “just have to photograph.” But, to get the most out of the experience, be prepared by thoroughly researching the location before packing and heading out.

Why Should I Spend Time Researching?

Well, there are several reasons to do your research. The main reason is that travel is expensive, and conducting upfront research can save you time and money. Besides transportation, you’ll have lodging expenses, food costs, and you may have to use vacation days to get away from the day job (if you are still bound by that thing!). So, doing your research will help you to minimize any “surprises,” as well as help you stay within an affordable budget. [Read more...]

Micro Fauna for Mega Fun

Photo by Jay Ryser

Photo by Jay Ryser

My main photography interest is wildlife, especially the little guys. There’s nothing wrong with moose and elk (and given the opportunity to go on an all expenses paid trip to photograph grizzlies in Alaska, I’d jump on it), but I’ve always been drawn to the little guys.

Even though they’re small, they can have big personalities. I can witness conflict, romance, life and death struggles, intimate family moments, and get to know individual animals and their personalities without having to drive hundreds of miles or wander endless backcountry trails.

Photographing microfauna has several advantages for the photographer: [Read more...]

Tips For Shooting In Wet or Damp Conditions

Photo by Jim Braswell

Photo by Jim Braswell

Photographing in wet or damp conditions is a mixed blessing. The opportunities are often enormous; in a constantly damp area, the flora can be beautiful. A good example is the Inside Passage of Alaska, where lush, old-growth forests are common. Or a photo journey to a place like Costa Rica (I’ve never been there, but it’s on my “bucket list”).

But, working in these conditions requires some additional care so that our photography equipment will not be affected by the constant moisture.

So what are we to do? [Read more...]

How To Guide Your Viewer Through An Image

Photo by Steve Berardi

Photo by Steve Berardi


When you look at a photograph, you don’t view it as a whole. Instead, you first focus on one key area that grabs your attention and then you move your eyes throughout the rest of the frame to see what else is there.

Where your eye travels from that first spot depends on the image, and how that spot guides you to another spot in the frame. In an image that has good “flow,” your eye will always know where to go next (elements of the image will guide you). But, if an image doesn’t have a natural direction of flow, then it’s harder for the viewer to move through the image (they don’t know where to start and then they don’t know where to go from there). [Read more...]

Use PhotoPills To Plan Your Next Milky Way Shot

PhotoPills

PhotoPills

One of the great things about being a photographer in this day and age is that we have a ton of awesome tools available for planning our landscape shots. I’ve talked about many of them already, including The Photographer’s Ephemeris, PhotoPills, Google Earth, and Stellarium. Together, these four tools can help you answer just about any question you have about a potential landscape shot.

Well, one of these tools (PhotoPills) just added an awesome new feature to their app: a 2D Milky Way Planner. And, the creators just published an excellent tutorial on their website on how to use this new feature.

So, if you’re interested in photographing the Milky Way in one of your nighttime landscape images, be sure to check this out! [Read more...]

How To Photograph Wildlife in Low Light

Have you ever tried to capture that great wildlife shot in low light? It’s often not easy, is it? Such is the case of capturing this rare and endangered Barn Owl in a Missouri barn:

Barn Owl / Photo by Jim Braswell

Barn Owl / Photo by Jim Braswell

In Missouri, loss of habitat and farms, including barns where the Barn Owl prefers to live, have caused the Barn Owl to be placed on the state’s endangered list. In fact, the above owl is only the second Barn Owl I’ve heard of in the state over the past few years. Photographing it was a high priority on my list. And I certainly didn’t want to cause it undue stress by using flash photography. In cases like this, shooting in very low light may be the only alternative you have.

Let’s explore some of the factors of shooting in low light and look at some things we can do to help us capture a great image in low light: [Read more...]