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How-To

Outdoor Photography Techniques


Master the skills you need with photography techniques from the experts. Whether you're a novice seeking advice on landscape, wildlife or nature photography or a pro looking for more advanced techniques, you'll find all the information you need, here.




Saturday, December 1, 2007

Storm Chaser

When the weather turns bad, it's time to get the camera. Even in the winter, there are astonishing images to be had if you‚’re willing to look for them.

My choice of seats on the eastern rim of a 1,000-foot chasm was questionable, but the sandstone boulder was a welcome relief from the long hike I had just made along the rimrock in search of cactus flowers in bloom. It was in the spring season, and wildflowers were blossoming in full color over the northern Texas Panhandle, and I needed images for a Texas Highways article on Panhandle flowering plants. The day had been long, and I was taking a much-needed respite before the 200-mile drive home.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Stock Options

An estimated 80,000 images are licensed for publication each day, with the stock-photo industry making sales of about $2 billion per year. Here‚’s a primer on how to market your images as stock.

More than 29 years ago, I received my first check in the mail for the use of one of my images. It was an indescribable thrill for a beginning nature photographer—the ultimate affirmation of my work. I now have more than 10,000 published images, and I firmly believe you also can have the same success.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Magic Buttons

The Targeted Adjustment Tool—a geeky name for a wonderful part of Lightroom

Wouldn’t you like a magic button that would allow you to get the most from your photography, make digital easier to work with and shorten your time in front of the computer? Of course, you would! Any nature photographer would, especially if it means less time inside and more time outside.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Make It Just Right

Turn your good images into your best images by using Photoshop to bring out those details that are too bright or too dark

Do you have that potentially great shot sitting on your hard drive, ready to be made into a beautiful print or sold to some publication that could really use such a brilliant image? Except for one little problem. The photo is too dark or too light to be used in those ways. Maybe it’s not even the whole photo, but just a part of it; but that part is too important and serves as a distraction to the overall image.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Nikon School Of Photography

What lens to buy next?

What lens should I buy next?" must be one of the five questions I’m asked most frequently at the Nikon School and the various other photographic seminars, tours and workshops I teach. That’s a little like going to a physician and asking, "What pill should I take?" Before giving you any kind of answer, the doctor will qualify it by getting your family medical history, examining you and asking about your symptoms, allergies, current medications, etc. To answer the lens question, we ask similar questions.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Value Of Brightness/Contrast

How a much maligned adjustment tool can help you work images like a darkroom master

As soon as I mention the Brightness/Contrast adjustment control, I know some Photoshop sophisticates will turn up their noses and figure that I’ve lost it. Brightness/Contrast is the adjustment control that the experts love to hate and denigrate. Yet it has powers that are perfect for anyone interested in going beyond basic Photoshop adjustments.


Monday, October 1, 2007

E-Books: New Directions In Photo Publishing

The photographer's new market is your own computer. Expand your work into the world of profitable self-publishing

What photographer hasn’t dreamed of publishing a book of his or her work—or, more exactly, having a book published, because both the technology and the expense of do-it-yourself publishing is daunting? Publishers, alas, aren’t usually so eager to bring your best photos to the public, understandably, because fine printing is devilishly expensive, so much so that publishers can’t charge their usual markup on a photo book, and most photo books just don’t make money.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Daylight Fill-Flash

Sometimes changing the exposure just isn't enough to get the shot

An accessory flash may not come to mind initially as an important tool for wildlife photography, but I never go out on a shoot without one. I recommend that you pack a flash in your gear bag before you next venture into the field.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Best Techniques For Digital Exposures

Setting everything on full auto isn't always the ideal solution. Try these tips to get your best shots every time.

Film photographers have known for years the importance of correct exposure. If you overexpose a slide, the highlights are gone irretrievably. If you underexpose a slide, the image will be murky, with no true black tone in the darkest areas. Negative films have a little more leeway, in that you can make some adjustments when printing the negative, but again, the image quality won’t be great if the image is over- or underexposed.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Tilt & Shift To Boost Your Megapixels

While tilt-shift lenses can be used for both practical and extreme purposes, they also can be utilized to increase your image file size and creativity in unexpected ways

Why not create your own focal length? This concept rattled around in my head for some time after going digital. Then again, many things rattled around in my head after I went digital. But one concept that rattled louder than others was how to utilize a moving lens mounted on a camera body to achieve multiple formats and compositions. With this in mind, I started using a Canon tilt-shift lens and began combining two offset digital files of the same scene. I began creating new compositions and aspect ratios and also increased the file size of my images—all without the use of panoramic equipment.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Power To The Background

The background can be just as important as the foreground.

For the past 20 years or more, there has been a trend among wildlife photographers, myself included, to minimize the contribution of the background in their photographs by rendering it as low key as possible. By doing so, the subject can be freed from visual competition and stand out clearly.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Landscape Lighting

Start with the basics and your images will keep getting better

The most challenging aspect of teaching landscape photography is that of helping students find a creative voice. One way to think about improving your creativity is to ask yourself, "What do I want to say with my photographs?" It’s important to have something to say, to have a theme or concept within which you can organize the imagery about which you’re most passionate. Think of your favorite photographers, and I’ll guess that you can immediately recall what they’re trying to say with their work. As regular readers of this column know, I’m passionate about the subject of pushing ourselves creatively.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Seeing in Slo-Mo

How to get motion blurs that will add a new dimension to your photography

Long exposures can blur moving subjects and portions of scenes into fascinating forms, revealing flows of motion and form that can’t be seen in an image made with a short exposure. All you need is a slow shutter speed, a sturdy camera support and your imagination.


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Light, Heat And Life: Infrared Photography In A Digital Age

Infrared photography is an enigma—something that isn't as it first appears. It plays with the viewer's emotions and often brings out the whimsical side or the eerie, dark shadows in everyone's hearts.

I love to have fun with my photography, and infrared is no exception. When George Lepp lent me his Canon EOS D60 that had been converted to infrared, I went wild.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Photo Art Papers

Choosing the ideal texture to showcase the details and colors in an image

Experimenting with photo papers is one of my favorite things about printing. Besides the usual suspects—premium gloss and semi-gloss—I try different textures to see how they affect a photograph. Deciding which type of paper will best reproduce an image or series of images is subjective, though. It depends on the subject matter, whether I’m going color or monochrome, and the desired visual impact.


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