Planning for Safari: Photography Tips and Tricks

Planning for Safari: Photography Tips and Tricks

It’s safe to say that an African safari is on most wildlife photographers’ destination wish list. It is a trip many will never get the chance to do due to the extensive travel and time requirements as well as the significant financial expense. However, for those lucky enough to set out on the incredible journey it’s not as simple as picking a destination, hotel, and plane ticket. There is a significant amount of preparation and planning that must be done ahead of time.

Traveling Cross Country? Tips to Photograph Your Trip: Part 1

Traveling Cross Country? Tips to Photograph Your Trip: Part 1

Upon embarking on my first cross-country road trip, I went to the internet in search of tips suggested by fellow photographers who have also made this iconic exploration. To my surprise, there were few contemporary articles published depicting the experience of others in relation to the photographic aspect of the trip. In my search, however, I did come across a wonderfully inspiring photographer, Amelia Fletcher, who, with the help of a crowd-funding website, trekked across the country on a sole mission to photograph its landscape and inhabitants. This type of trek, of course, is nothing new. It follows in the footsteps of world renowned photographers such as Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Gary Winogrand, and William Eggleston just to name a few (do yourself a favor and look these up!). In this first of a 2 part series, fine art photographer Amelia Fletcher was generous with her time after her trip and answered a few questions for us. Continue reading to discover what she had in her camera bag, how she approached subjects to photograph, and what her best successes and failures were. Tips to Photograph Your Trip: Part 1 BL: What were your photographic intentions and/or goals when you first set out to cross the country by car? AF: My photographic goals were comparable to my other hopes for the trip. I wanted to put myself out there, experience different cultures and ways of life here in the United States, and see this beautiful country we live in as best I could. My hope was that my photos would reflect all of that. Everyone and everything I photographed has some...
Creative Jump Start: Shooting with Fisheye and Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses

Creative Jump Start: Shooting with Fisheye and Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses

Seán Duggan is a fine art photographer, author, educator, and an Adobe Certified Photoshop Expert with extensive experience in both the traditional and digital darkroom. His Jump Start series provides photographers with the informative ideas to effectively experiment with alternative photographic equipment. Creative Jump Start: Shooting with Fisheye and Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses by Seán Duggan On my recent Autumn & Aurora Discoveries workshop in Iceland, I decided to step outside my usual focal length comfort zone and do some experimenting with a 15mm fisheye lens on my full-frame Canon DSLR. BorrowLenses.com is a great resource that makes it easy to take different gear for a test drive and I really appreciate the large selection they have. Sometimes a lens is needed for a very specific purpose but at other times I’ll try out a lens simply because it offers such a different perspective from the lenses I normally use. This was the case with the 15mm f/2.8 lens. Most of my wide-angle shots are made at the 24mm focal length, with occasional images made with a 16–35mm. I knew, however, that the 15mm would offer a much different perspective than the 16mm. It is technically only one millimeter of focal length difference but the level of distortion is significantly more with the 15mm lens. Although the super wide angle-of-view was quite useful for some shots, it was actually the distortion that I was most interested in. Shooting straight at the horizon yielded an image that was very wide with not too much distortion but tilting the camera either up or down yielded a very pronounced curvature of the horizon. Tilting up...
Rely on Yourself, Not Gear: An Interview with Landscape Photographers Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou

Rely on Yourself, Not Gear: An Interview with Landscape Photographers Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou

Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou are full-time, professional photographers from Alberta, Canada. They are creative partners in life and work and enjoy sharing their photographic knowledge with other passionate shooters. Renowned for their accessible and fun teaching style, Darwin and Sam conduct workshops and teach seminars on all things photographic.

Break the Rules: An Interview with Landscape Photographer Varina Patel

Break the Rules: An Interview with Landscape Photographer Varina Patel

Varina Patel is a freelance wilderness and landscape photographer. She is drawn to the challenge of finding her next photograph and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively. Her photographs have been published in various magazines, calendars and advertising materials throughout the world. She teaches workshops on landscape photography and processing along with her husband and colleague, photographer Jay Patel.

Break Out of Your Routine: An Interview with Nature Photographer Jim Goldstein

Break Out of Your Routine: An Interview with Nature Photographer Jim Goldstein

Jim Goldstein is a professional photographer based out of San Francisco, California who specializes in outdoor and nature photography. Jim infuses elements of the natural world into his commercial and editorial work to express his passion about nature and the environment. A member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Jim produces the highest quality photography for both commercial clients and fine art photography collectors.

Focus on Composition: An Interview with Nature Photographer Ian Plant

Focus on Composition: An Interview with Nature Photographer Ian Plant

Ian Plant is a world-renowned professional nature photographer, writer, and adventurer who has been photographing the natural world for almost twenty years. Plant is a frequent contributor and blogger for Outdoor Photographer Magazine, a Contributing Editor to Popular Photography Magazine, and a monthly columnist for Landscape Photography Magazine. He is also is the photographer/author of several dozen print and electronic-format nature photography books and his work has appeared in a number of other books, calendars, magazines, and advertising campaigns worldwide.

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Not too long ago, I switched to the Nikon D800E with a series of prime lenses for all of my primary photography. I love the Nikon, and it’s proved to be a fantastic system, capably handling just about everything I’ve thrown at it. The downside is that it is, truly, a system. A big, heavy system. I quickly found myself looking for a smaller, carry-around camera for some of my more photojournalistic endeavors, and immediately turned to the family of mirrorless cameras out there for an answer. Of these, there is no shortage. You have the awesome Sony NEX-6, which I’ve raved about in the past. There’s also the Sony RX-1, the Panasonic GF3C, the Fuji X-Pro1, and the subject of this article, the Olympus OM-D E-M5. I’ve had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 for the past few weeks now, and have been using it as my primary “take everywhere” camera. It’s small size, lens selection, and great image quality combine to provide a system that’s flat-out my favorite in this category. In this article, I’ll present my experience shooting with this little thing, rather than a full-on technical review. The Build This thing is solid and extremely well-built. I’ve got chubby little sausages for fingers, but I can still get a pretty decent grip on it, thanks to the tab on the back and the indent in the front that give your thumb and middle fingers a secure place to grasp onto. The buttons, though tiny, are pretty responsive, so it’s not hard to use many of them just by feel The back of the OM-D, shown above, is...
Lock it down

Lock it down

This is how the life of a photographer goes sometimes. You’re driving home on Highway 13, right around dusk. You glance off to your left and note that the moon, at an 8% crescent is going to set shortly, and it’s probably going to do so right behind the San Francisco skyline. So what do you do? Well, if you’re me, you step on it and race for Grizzly Peak Road, a scenic, meandering two-lane stretch of tarmac that winds through the hills above Oakland and Berkeley while offering some spectacular views of the Bay Area, including the Bay Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, Oakland, Berkeley, and sometimes, the Golden Gate Bridge, too. You get there, and you hastily pop your trunk, yanking out your lightweight carbon-fiber tripod and the 5D Mark III you’re shooting with. It’s cold, windy, and the moon is taking a nosedive, taking on a blood-orange color. The tripod’s legs fly open, and the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II you’re using (the city is some distance away and using a telephoto lens to compress the distance will make the moon look nice and big, too) already has an Arca-Swiss-compatible plate on it that locks into your ballhead with a couple of twists. You flip on live view and adjust zoom and focus. Fortunately, the 5D Mark III has a top-notch focusing system and you lock focus on the Bay Bridge instantly. You set the camera’s timer to a 2-second delay, make sure everything is locked down, manual focus, and you press the shutter button, then step away. The mirror is already up because live view is...
The Leica Diary, Part V – Final Thoughts

The Leica Diary, Part V – Final Thoughts

This is Part V of a series. The previous four parts are listed below: The Leica Diary, Part 1: Introduction The Leica Diary, Part II – Coming To Grips The Leica Diary, Part III – Focus The Leica Diary, Part IV – An Unexpected Thing or Two After about four weeks of shooting with the Leica M9 and various lenses, I came to a dismaying conclusion. I am not a street photographer. I don’t like street photography. I get nervous, am unsure, and take terrible street photos. And, for most of the time that I had the M9, I was trying to be a street photographer.  What we have here, folks, is a classic case of a photographer trying to mold himself into the image of his camera gear. The Leica is the classic street photographer’s camera; therefore, my thinking went, in order to truly use it and get the hang of it, I MUST shoot on the street. Occasionally, that resulted in a decent image. The portrait below of my friend and colleague, Ben Salomon, was taken with the M9. Every so often, I’d come across an image I’d like. But more often than not, my efforts would be a wash. But this was a really amazing camera. Surely, the fault lay with me if I couldn’t get good images out of it. Well, yeah, kinda. The fault was with me – to a point. The trap that I fell into was allowing the Leica to dictate not just the my technique, but also my style and genre. Since it was supposed to be a great street camera, I...