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

[Read more…]

How To Prepare For An African Safari Trip (Part II)

Photo by Jack Dausman

Photo by Jack Dausman

Last week, Jack talked about how to prepare for an African safari trip. This week, in part two of his post, he talks about how to capture the moment once you’re there.

Early Morning

Landscape photographers enjoy the early light of pre-dawn. Be sure to explain this interest to your guide, well in advance, as it will take some extra planning. Game reserves have a lock-down policy against any night time excursions because there are still incidents of poaching. To leave before dawn will require some coordination. [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…]

Micro Fauna for Mega Fun

Photo by Jay Ryser

Photo by Jay Ryser

My main photography interest is wildlife, especially the little guys. There’s nothing wrong with moose and elk (and given the opportunity to go on an all expenses paid trip to photograph grizzlies in Alaska, I’d jump on it), but I’ve always been drawn to the little guys.

Even though they’re small, they can have big personalities. I can witness conflict, romance, life and death struggles, intimate family moments, and get to know individual animals and their personalities without having to drive hundreds of miles or wander endless backcountry trails.

Photographing microfauna has several advantages for the photographer: [Read more…]