Widlife photography

iPad App Back to School Special Sale

Well, it's back to school time once again. I can't believe how fast the summer fly by!

Many of the stores here in my neighborhood are having "back to school" sales. So, I thought it would be a good idea to put some of my apps on sale for a limited time.

Butterfly Wonders and Life Lessons We Can Learn From Mother Nature are on sale for $0.99 each.

For info on all my apps, click here.

Enjoy the fall!


Life Lessons We Can Learn From Mother Nature – iPad App Now Available

The bird hunting a locust is unaware of the hawk hunting him. – Chinese Proverb

Canon 1Ds Mark II
Canon 100-400mm IS lens @ 375mm
Aperture Priority Mode
ISO 160
f/6.3 @ 1/250th sec.

Photo tips:
• Focus on the eyes.
• Blur the background to make your subject stand out in the scene.
• Shoot at eye level as possible.
• Try to light the eyes, with either natural light or a flash.

• • •

Life Lessons We Can Learn from Mother Nature, my latest iPad app, was recently released on the iTunes app store. The concept: On each page of the e-book-type app you’ll find an inspirational or motivational quote accompanied by one of my wildlife or landscape photographs. I tired to match each photograph to the quote, which was a challenging but rewarding process.

The photographs are from my travels over the years; the quotes are gathered from a lifetime of looking for inspiration from others.

To celebrate the iPad app, co-developed with Juan Pons (the dude who started the Digital Photo Experience with me), I’ll be posting a picture and quote from time to time here on my blog – pictures and quotes that are not in the app. I’ll also include the location in which each photograph was taken, as well as the camera data – as I do in the app.

To order the app, which also features my favorite Photoshop techniques for wildlife and nature photography,
click on the iPhone/iPad photos on the right.

If you have an inspiration quote you’d like to share, please share it here via a Comment.

Explore the light – and explore the iPad!

Tripod Trials and Tribulations

Hi Gang,

For many, choosing a tripod is almost as hard, or even harder, than choosing a camera bag. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

I'll cover camera bags in another post. For now, I'd like to share with you what I look for in a tripod . . . actually tripods, because I have two: one for lightweight shooting (17-40mm lens and 24-105mm lens) and one for heavier duty shooting (70-200mm lens and 100-400mm lens).

Before reading on, keep in mind that I don't use 500mm and longer lenses. The longest lens I own is my Canon 100-400m ISL lens. (Click here for my gear list.)

Here are the key features and benefits that I look for in a tripod:
• Quick-release bracket for fast mounting and dismounting.
• Bubble level to level my shots.
• Ease of opening and closing - with twist locks rather than snap locks.
• Ball-head for quick horizontal and vertical shooting.
• Lightweight and compact.
• Solid as a rock.
• Height adjustment for low-level and high-level shooting.
• Size (for carry-on consideration).
• Weather resistant.
• Padded legs for comfort.
• Carry strap for hand-free shooting.
• Ease of operation.

Before you buy a tripod, check it out personally or talk with others who have used the brand and model you want to purchase. Do a web search for sure.

Good tripods (and ball heads) don't come cheap. On that note, don't cheap-out when it comes to a tripod - especially if you are into HDR photography, low-light photography, wildlife photography . . . well, you get the message.

You'll notice that my cameras are "strapless" in these photos. I removed the straps for beauty sake. When I am shooting in the field, I always use a camera strap and hold onto it when I am carrying my tripod over my shoulder . . . just in case I mess up and don't tighten the quick release bracket. I saw that happen to another photographer – and saw the smashed results on the ground. :-(

Steady as you shoot,
P.S. I actually have another tripod: my JOBY mini-tripod.

Great day for the fox, but not so much for the squirrel

My friend, George Lepp, our most recent addition to the talented writing staff over at the Digital Photo Experience, sent me this picture yesterday that he took outside his window. His caption: Great day for the fox, but not so much for the squirrel.

George's comments reminded me of one of my favorite quotes: "The harder you work, the luckier you become." I am sure the fox worked hard at capturing the squirrel - but luck played a part.

As photographers, the harder you work, the luckier you will become. I know! I work hard.

Explore the light,

In and Out of Africa

I took the picture on the left at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas - out of Africa.

I took the picture on the right in Botswana - in Africa.

Both photographs have several things in common:
- Light in the eyes. Important in wildlife pictures.
- I focused on the eyes. Important in wildlife photography.
- Tight cropping, which draws attention to the subject.
- I shot as close as possible to eye-level, so the viewer feels like he/she is on the same level as the animal.
- I selected a relatively wide aperture to blur the background.
- I selectively sharpened the image in Photoshop, only sharpening the animals.
- I used my 100-400mm Image Stabilization lens - my favorite lens for wildlife photography.
- I had a good guide who helped me get into the best possible positions for the shots. A good guide is very, very important!

Like to photograph big cats and other big animals? I have opening on the following workshops: December 2009 Fossil Rim. Check out Fossil Rim and shoot me an email about the trip: ricksammon@mac.com.
September 2010 Kenya.

Here's a peek at Fossil Rim.

Explore the Light,

P.S. Speaking of guides, here's a tip from one of my safari guides: When looking for animals, look from right to left, as opposed from left to right... the direction in which we read. Looking from right to left slows you down... and gives you a better chance to spot animals.