What’s Wrong With This Photo?

Rough-legged Hawk / Photo by Vic Berardi

Rough-legged Hawk / Photo by Vic Berardi

This is a photo of a Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus). It breeds in the arctic and migrates southward down into the far southern areas of western Canada and throughout much of the United States where it spends most of the winter. Its journey southward and back again is long and arduous. This particular photo was taken in southern Wisconsin in early March.

Before we get into what’s wrong with this photo, let’s discuss a few good things about it.

At first glance, this is exactly the type of photograph that gets the most attention on forums, listservs and social networks. It might even be a photo that could potentially win a photo contest. Why? Because it captures a dramatic scene that instantly makes the observer feel some kind of emotion. [Read more...]

Quick Tip For Recharging Your Creativity

Photo by Steve Berardi

Photo by Steve Berardi

In a previous post, I talked about something you could do when you need inpsiration: look at a ton of photos.

Well, if you’ve already tried looking at a hundred photos, and still don’t feel that creative energy kicking in, then there’s something else you can try that I just recently discovered:

Limit yourself to just one lens and one camera body.

So, instead of taking all your lenses (or even just a couple) on your next hike, just take ONE. And, preferably choose a prime lens (a lens with a fixed focal length), so you eliminate even more variables. [Read more...]

Three Phases of Developing Creativity

Moonset at Sunrise / Photo by Steve Berardi

Photo by Steve Berardi

In the first chapter of Galen Rowell’s great book, Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, he talks about the three phases of developing creativity. Ever since reading this, I’ve noticed how often it applies to any “creative” hobby I start. I’ve also noticed other people go through these same phases. So, I thought it’d be interesting to share them, and see what other people think.

Anyway, here are the phases that Rowell talked about, and a summary of how I interpreted them: [Read more...]

How to Drive Your Passion as a Photonaturalist to the Next Level

Dickcissel (Spiza americana) / Photo by Wes Gibson

Dickcissel (Spiza americana) / Photo by Wes Gibson

This is a guest post by Wes Gibson, who’s been reading PhotoNaturalist for a few years now, but has been a photographer for over 20 years. After reading his post, please be sure to check out his blog for more of his posts. And, if you’re also interested in writing a guest post here on PhotoNaturalist, please contact me, thanks! –Steve

One of the things that attracted me to the PhotoNaturalist blog a few years ago was Steve’s philosophy of being more than a nature photographer. How we should go beyond just making images of our environment. How we should expand our knowledge and learn more about what we photograph. How we should become photonaturalists.

And, while I have a bookshelf full of nature books that I routinely refer to, I have recently discovered something that propelled my journey in becoming a photonaturalist to the next level: I started donating my photographs to local nature organizations. [Read more...]

Are You In An Artistic Slump or Just Learning?

Photo by Martin Taylor (used under the CC-Attr license)

When you first got your camera, I’ll bet you took a photo of just about everything. I know I did. When I got my first SLR, I could barely walk ten feet on a trail without stopping to photograph something. I probably photographed every flower or insect I saw.

But, then that pace starts to slow down after you have your camera for awhile. In the beginning, maybe you’d come home with over 400 photos on your memory card, but then after a few months it turned into 200, and after a year it might even get as low as 50 per day.

What happened? At first you might think you’re losing interest in photography, or maybe you’re in some kind of artistic slump (just like baseball players who sometimes go 40 at-bats without a basehit). [Read more...]

5 reasons to minimize your camera gear

Photo by Martin Taylor

Have you ever felt like you were just one camera lens away from completing your ultimate collection of gear? Have you ever said to yourself, “if only I had that 600mm lens, THEN I could take those awesome photos I want.” Or maybe there’s some nifty little accessories that you’re just itching to get.

I think it’s pretty easy to get excited about new camera gear. I’ll admit it: I’d love to get my hands on a 600mm f/4, or that Canon 7D. And, I’m sure you would too :)

But, then we get reminded by great photographers like David duChemin that gear isn’t the most important thing. The photographer is what really makes the photo, and one of the best ways to improve your photography is to simply just go out there and take more photos. Experiment. Make mistakes. Learn from them.

I think as nature photographers, it’s especially important to minimize our gear, and here are a few reasons why: [Read more...]