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…]

Photographing a Subject for Multiple Uses

Bluebell wildflowers blooming in the spring

Spring Bluebells / Photo by Jim Braswell

When photographing a subject, do you picture in your mind just how that photo will be used? Do you ever consider multiple uses? I got caught in the trap of shooting for a single use, early in my photographic endeavors.

When putting together a series of images for a nature calendar, I found some older images that would have been wonderful to include in the calendar. But these images were all shot as verticals (or, “portraits”) and were not able to be cropped to a suitable horizontal format. In some cases, you may be able to re-crop a vertical into a horizontal, but sometimes the result is not what you are looking for. In this post, I’ll share a few things I learned along the way and how I try to shoot all my nature subjects today. [Read more…]

How To Use A Photographic Blind

Shooting from a photographic blind can be very useful, particularly when photographing wary animals. Although I do not routinely use a blind, there are situations where I do. Such as when shooting birds at a feeding station, or at a watering hole.

On one occasion, I was photographing songbirds at a watering hole in the south Rio Grande River Valley of Texas, when this Greater Roadrunner showed up:

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner with Grasshopper / Photo by Jim Braswell

[Read more…]

How To Stay Warm on Those Cold Days

Adult Bald Eagle sitting on a snowy tree limb

Bald Eagle in Snow / Photo by Jim Braswell

Ironically, as I write this post, I’m sitting in a motel room in the Colorado Rockies, waiting for the temperatures to warm up. I arrived here a couple of days ago, to shoot the bighorn sheep in the rut. Although I love to shoot nature in the winter, you also need to use common sense.

When temperatures are record-breaking lows (like right now), or wind chill advisories are in effect (like right now), it may be best to stay indoors. What makes the frigid temperatures I’m encountering on this trip even more of an issue, is the fact that I have to hike back into a canyon for about 3 miles to find the sheep. Then, of course, 3 miles back out. But tomorrow’s forecast is for warmer temperatures (in the 30’s), so I will be getting out tomorrow! So how do you prepare for shooting in cold, winter weather? [Read more…]

The Most Useful Filters for Nature Photography

When photographing nature, there are many times when a photographic filter on the end of the lens can help improve the image, or give the image a different effect. Such is the case when I captured Maroon Creek (Colorado) with a Neutral Density filter:

Maroon Creek landscape, Colorado

Maroon Creek / Photo by Jim Braswell

Kind of like “creativity in a can.” What filters are most useful for shooting nature? [Read more…]

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…]