Photograph the "Old West" on My Casper, Wyoming Photo Workshop

I am gearing up for my "Old West" photo workshop in Casper, Wyoming later this year. Can't wait, and I hope you can join the fun.

Fun? I run a lot of workshops, but this one will be a ton of fun, as illustrated in this video.

I took the opening image for this post on my previous Casper photo workshop. Yes! We got a horse in the Wonder Bar, and we'll do it again - for you!

In going though my files, I came across some of my favorite Old West images (from a shoot in Spearfish, SD) along with some captions. Enjoy.

Reflecting on the day. The most important element in a photograph is the mood, feeling or emotion. I created the mood in this photograph by “painting” the cowgirl with the light from a $5 flashlight. My goal was to create an image with dramatic shadows. Shadows are the soul of the photograph.

Lone rider. I like the feeling of  freedom that this image captures. That’s part of being a cowboy.

Looking for her. I am drawn to faces. It was the intense look on this cowboy’s face that inspired me to make this photograph. To add to the artistry of this image, I removed the color. When you remove the color from a photograph, you remove some of the reality.

Best friends. The eyes are the windows to the soul. It was this cowgirl’s beautiful eyes that first drew me to make this photograph, but then I noticed the look and “feeling” in the dog’s eyes. Both subjects seem to be having the same feeling, so I included both of them in my frame.

Daybreak on the range. I like shooting at the crack of dawn, capturing dramatic silhouettes against the rising sun. I like to challenge myself to make pictures in these high contrast situations, as the light changes very, very fast.

Good morning, pardner. The perfect silhouettes of the horses and cowboys drew me to make this photograph. Silhouettes add a sense of mystery to a photograph.

After the storm. I like the way the dark clouds create the mood in this image. Not every picture needs to be taking on a bright, sunny day.

Heading home. This cowboy was riding as fast as he could. To convey the sense of speed, I used a photographic technique called panning, which blurrs the background but keeps the rider in sharp focus.

Ride 'em cowboy (and cowgirl),

Where To Go For Great Horse Photographs

Here's a look at some of my favorite horse photographs from my past photo workshops. If you like to photograph horses, we'll be doing just that on my 2015 Provence, Iceland, Oregon Coast and Casper, WY photo workshops. Click here to see all my workshops.

Above: Provence, France.

Above: Oregon Coast.

Above: Conwy Valley, North Wales.

Above: Casper, Wyoming.

Above: Mongolia.

Above: Iceland

You'll find a few more horse photographs in my Cowboy/Cowgirl Gallery here on my site.

Explore the light,


Top Ten Reasons to Join My "Out of Africa & Into Texas" Photo Workshop

Looking for an action-packed, info-intensive and fun-filled wildlife photo workshop? If so, here are my Top Ten Reasons to join my May 2015 Canon Destination “Out of Africa and Into Texas” photo workshop at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas.

One - You’ll get photographs that look as though they were taken on an African Safari. I took all the photographs in this post on my previous trips to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

Two – I’ll be there to help you make good photographs, and so will a Canon rep who knows everything about Canon cameras and lenses.

Three – I’ll help you process your images on site on your laptop - and I'll help you to awaken the artist within with plug-ins.

Four – We’ll have a Canon printer on hand, so you will actually walk away with two great prints of your two best shots.

Five – You’ll get to borrow top-of-the-line, professional Canon digital SLR cameras and telephoto lenses – lenses that will get you up-close-and-personal with the animals.

Six – You’ll have a private tour of the cheetah area, which for many is a highlight of a visit to Fossil Rim.

Seven – We’ll shoot from private safari vehicles, so I'll get you into the best positions to nail the shots. Everyone gets a window seat.

Eight – We’ll have a group slide show/critique session at the end of the workshop, which is a great opportunity to get input on your images. Yes, we have fun, but we take our work very seriously.

Nine – I’ll take you to the best BBQ in Texas. No kidding.

Ten - You'll leave Fossil Rim with a greater knowledge of photography, image processing and your camera. You will also take home some wonderful memories.

I hope to see you at Fossil Rim. You can register here.

Shoot me an email if you have any questions.

All my photo workshops are listed on my 2015 Workshops page.

Explore the light,


Chris Reed Talks Photography Copyright Law

First off, thanks to Rick for the opportunity to contribute to his blog. I've followed Rick's work for years and have always respected his sage advice about all things photography, so being able to contribute to the blog is quite the honor! 

As a copyright lawyer and photographer, I spend a lot of time thinking about not only how to create compelling images, but also how to help photographers maintain control of their work and to protect it from people looking to steal or profit from it without permission.   

Copyright law is an area of great confusion and anxiety for many photographers, but it doesn't need to be. Fundamentally, copyright is about the right to control your work and how it's ultimately used. Like any law, there are some exceptions, but generally, if you make an image, you own the copyright and you get to control how it's used. 

That means that you might still want to think about how copyright affects your images even if you don't plan to sell them. Of course, if you want to make your images freely available and just not worry about it all, that's fine too. My goal is to give you the tools necessary to evaluate your options when it comes to protecting your images legally and effectively online so you can decide for yourself what approach to take. 

My new book, Copyright Workflow: Protecting, Managing, and Sharing Digital Images, walks through the nuts and bolts of copyright law, how to register your works with the U.S. Copyright Office -- something that's highly recommended, especially if you're a U.S. based photographer. 

But in today's post, though, I want to give you four simple techniques you can apply today to protect your images online. 

First, be sure to include identifying information in the metadata of your images. You can do that using your image management software. Using an import preset in Lightroom, you can make sure that every image in your library has the right information burned into the file.  

In addition, most modern cameras let you put ownership information right in the camera so that its attached to your image file as soon as you create it.   

You can also apply image borders or watermarks to help identify yourself as the photographer and copyright owner. Here I've applied a simple text watermark using Lightroom's Watermark Editor (accessible from within the Export dialog box), but you can also apply your logo (in PNG or JPEG format). 

If you want to get a little bit more involved, you can add borders to your image that include logos, copyright statements, and whatever other information you might want to include. 

There are lots of ways to do this, but I like to use a plugin for Lightroom called LR/Mogrify which lets me tailor the look of the image a little more than Lightroom's own watermark editor. 

Of course, none of these methods are foolproof -- the metadata could be removed, your watermark could be cloned out, and the image could be cropped out of the borders. But, our goal isn't to make it impossible to take your images without permission, but just make it a "little bit difficult" to steal, and maybe even get some promotional value out of it. 

The unfortunate reality these days is that there's a strong chance the images you post online will be used without your permission at some point. You can use a service like Tineye (which is free for noncommercial use) to help monitor online use of your images. 

Here's a screen grab of Tineye showing 31 online uses of one of my images of the U.S. Capitol. (I should note that most of these uses are probably properly licensed, since I offer this image for royalty-free images, but this same tool can help you find unlicensed uses). 

So, there you have it -- four techniques you can apply today to help keep control of your images once they're posted online. Interested in learning more about protecting your work? You can get 35% of my book, Copyright Workflow for Photographers: Protecting, Sharing, and Managing Digital Images by clicking here, and using the coupon code PEACHPIT35 when you check out. 

You can read more about me and my work on my web site.

Thanks for reading, and again, thanks to Rick for giving me the opportunity to share this with you!

Best Lenses for Best Bird Photographs

I briefly cover lenses in my info-packed Master the Art and Craft of Bird Photography on-line class. ($10 discount code for blog readers is: rsbirds1.)

In this post, I'll talk a bit more about what I feel are best lenses for bird photography.

If I could use only one lens, it would be the Canon 200-400mm IS with 1.4x teleconverter. That lens is super-sharp and super versatile. I took the photo above with that lens. I actually don't own that lens. I borrow it from Canon's CPS.

To digress for just a bit. Here's a photo of me, along with my friend Jonathan "The Big Cat Man" Scott, using that lens in Kenya. Jonathan loves that lens, too!

Another versatile lens is the  Canon 100-400mm IS Lens. Most of my bird photographs, including the one above, were taken with that lens. If you have the original push-pull model, check out the updated version. The rotating zoom is awesome, and I think the lens is sharper than the original model.

When the birds are relatively close, I'd recommend using a 70-200mm lens. I use the f/4 version because it's smaller, lighter and less expensive than the f/2.8 version.

For a general purpose fixed lens, check out the Canon 400MM DO lens, which I used to make the photograph above. When I go on a bird photography trip, I always have this lens with me. Again, I borrow it from Canon's CPS.

A must-have accessory is a Canon 1.4x teleconverter. I never leave home without it when birds are on my hit list.

Here's another shot taken with my Canon 100-400mm lens.

For environmental bird photographs, I recommend the Canon 24-105mm IS lens, which I used to take this photograph at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico.

I don't have any bird photographs taken with the Canon 70-300mm lens, but some say it's the sharpest zoom Canon offers. Above is a photograph that I took in Kenya that illustrates its sharpness.

Of course, 500mm and 600mm lenses are great for bird photography. They get you up-close and personal with the animals. Super-serious bird photographers use these super-telephoto lenses.

Again, you'll find lots of technical tips in my Master the Art and Craft of Bird Photography on-line class. ($10 discount code for blog readers is: rsbirds1.)

The $10 discount code for my Landscapes & Seascape class (on the same page) is: landscapes.

Birds will be the focus of my December 2015  Bosque del Apache photo workshop, listed on my 2015 Workshops page.

Explore the light,