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…]

Completing Your Vision in Post-Processing

Red-tailed Hawk / Photo by Vic Berardi

Red-tailed Hawk / Photo by Vic Berardi

Note from the editor (Steve): After reading this great post by my Dad, please check out his new blog, where he’s writing about his travels, his passion for hawks, and other thoughts on life.

That term “vision”—what does it mean? For me it’s simple. When I get home from a day of shooting, I review all my photos. I intentionally look for the images that stood out when I first saw them through my viewfinder. However, I usually get confusingly disappointed when I realize the camera didn’t capture the scene exactly the way I “saw” it—or maybe the way I thought I saw it? [Read more…]

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…]