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...]

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...]

How To Take Photos From a Kayak

Photo by Jim Braswell

Photo by Jim Braswell

Note from Steve: Today I’m excited to introduce another new contributor to PhotoNaturalist: Jim Braswell. Jim is a great wildlife/landscape photographer from Missouri, and his first post is all about taking photos from a kayak! Enjoy!

Want to have some real fun? I was turned on to photographing wildlife from a kayak by a friend of mine a few years ago. After a lot of convincing (yes, I had a lot of concerns about taking my expensive camera equipment in a small vessel, over open water), we loaded up two kayaks and headed out to photograph at a Conservation Area. After a day of photographing American white pelicans at pretty close range, I fell in love with the thrill of kayaking the backwaters, where human intervention is rare and the wildlife abundant.

So, then I purchased my own kayak and have since been out hundreds of times, capturing some pretty unique wildlife encounters. [Read more...]

How To Photograph Manatees

Manatee

Photo by Jeff Stamer

Note from Steve: A few weeks ago, I announced that PhotoNaturalist was looking for more writers. Well, today I’m excited to introduce one of our new contributors: Jeff Stamer. Jeff is a great wildlife/landscape photographer from Florida, and his first post is all about photographing manatees in the wild! Enjoy!

It seems that nearly everyone visits Florida at one time or another—at least it sure looks that way when I’m on the interstate near Disney:)

Many of those tourists are photographers, and as a long-time Florida resident I’m often asked about good photo locations. Although Florida is blessed with a wealth of photogenic subjects, the one “bucket list” item I share with all photographers is: “Go Snorkel with the Manatees!” [Read more...]

Should You Always Isolate Your Subject?

Photo by Steve Berardi

Photo by Steve Berardi

One of the things we’re commonly taught about photographing wildlife is to always isolate your subject by making the background completely out of focus (like in the photo on the right).

This helps the viewer immediately focus on the subject, but should that always be your goal?

When you choose not to isolate your subject against it’s background, you can reveal much more about your subject (such as it’s habitat, size, what it might be doing at the moment, etc).

Here are a few examples to help illustrate what I mean: [Read more...]

Ethics of Wildlife Photography

Photo by Steve Berardi

Photo by Steve Berardi

One of the very first articles we published here on PhotoNaturalist was about the ethics of baiting owls to get a good photograph. It’s a great article written by my father, Vic Berardi (if you’re new to PN, I highly recommend reading it, as it represents one of our core beliefs here at PN). In the post, my father makes the point that any photo that was captured as a result of baiting an animal isn’t really a “natural” photograph—it’s an illusion of the wilderness.

Sadly, baiting owls is still a problem. And, it looks like we have a new form of baiting to worry about: smartphone apps. Yes, there really does seem to be an “app for everything” these days.

Apparently, there are a few apps that mimic birdsongs which attract birds—allowing you to get a closer shot of them. Of course, using recorded birdsongs to attract birds is nothing new—but, with the growing popularity of smartphones and the ease of using apps, these birdsong apps are causing problems in a few nature reserves. [Read more...]