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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

5 Top Tıps For Autumn Wildlife

With the seasons in flux, fall gives nature shooters some of the best photography possibilities of the year

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MOOSE: Nikon F5, 300mm ƒ/2.8 Nikkor
5) Use Light To Create The Feeling Of Three Dimensions
Creating an image that has the power and dimensions to make you feel as though you’re really there is a difficult task. My reason for specializing in wildlife and outdoor journalism revolves around my desire to be a part of nature. I want to see it, smell it and touch it and then bring that story to as many viewers as possible in hopes of making them want to conserve it. To that end, I regularly try to take a two-dimensional medium, a still photo, and turn it into a three-dimensional medium, one that gives the feeling of actually being there. Proper lighting can help make that happen.

We can thank Kodak for photography, but also for one of the most offensive lighting rules ever introduced. Back in the day of the Kodak Brownie, its manual stated, “The sun should be behind your back or over your shoulder.” That was necessary then due to slow lenses and film with ISOs of 12 or less. But today it’s one of the most boring lighting techniques you can follow.

To create the feeling of dimension in still photos, look for sidelighting or backlighting to illuminate a subject. Light from these angles creates highlights and shadows that gives the perception of depth. In the photo of a young moose, notice how you have shadows in the foreground, a shaft of light coming from the left illuminating the middle ground and once again shadows in the background. Break it down further to see the rim light on the animal’s back and shadows on its side facing the camera. All of this gives you the perception that you could reach out and touch this beautiful creature and the willow patch in which it’s standing.

To see more of Daniel J. Cox’s photography, visit www.naturalexposures.com.


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