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…]

How To Build Your Own Flash Bracket

Keeping on pace with my last post regarding external flash units, I’ve decided to show you one of my “do-it-yourself” (DIY) projects: building an external flash bracket. Having the majority of my lenses fitted with the same quick-release plates, this flash bracket mounts to all of them with ease and full versatility. Check it out:

Assembled Flash Bracket

Assembled Flash Bracket

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Need Help Identifying a Bird In Your Photo? Check out this website!

Photo by Steve Berardi

Photo by Steve Berardi

Have you ever photographed a bird and had no idea what kind it was? Sometimes it’s easy to identify it later by looking through a bird book, and sometimes not so much. And, even when you do identify it, it’s nice to get some confirmation from other people.

Well, we’re in luck, because a team of ornithologists and computer scientists at Cornell have developed a web app called Merlin that helps you identify the bird in your photo. And, it works surprisingly well! [Read more…]

Benefits of Using a Flash Extender

Flash ExtenderNote from the editor (Steve): This is a post by our newest writer: Robert Visconti. He primarily photographs wildlife (especially birds), and he’s got some really cool ideas for DIY projects and optimizing your camera gear. In this post, he talks about using flash extenders and how to make one work better.

A flash extender is just that: it extends the flash’s output to a much greater distance by using a Fresnel lens. A flash without the extender literally “floods” the entire subject area with light. The extender takes this conical shape of light and concentrates it into a beam, hence its name. [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

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