I'm gearing up for my upcoming Botswana/South Africa photo safari – where I will be teaching creative composition, exposure and image processing. For my photo workshop participants, as well as for those going on a safari of their own, here are my gear recommendations:Read More
I am very much looking forward to my February 2015 Death Valley Photo Workshop with Hal Schmitt - and the workshop participants who have signed up for this awesome workshop.
Here are some quick tips for shooting on and in the dunes, just one of our locations:
• Work with shadows and highlights to create dynamic images.
• Expose for the highlights.
• Think HDR in high contrast situations
• We need to get up early to get on site before the dunes are filled with fresh footprints and other photographers. We'll car pool from the ranch.
• Yes, we will be on the dunes before sunrise, but the light will be very flat. As soon as the sun comes up, the contrast, light and colors are awesome. You may not want to lug a tripod into the dunes, which are about a 20-minute or longer walk from the road. If you do bring a tripod, be very careful not to get the joints packed with fine sand. I've been to the dunes for sunrise three times and have not used a tripod . . . but it's up to you.
• Bring your head-mounted flashlights (and extra batteries) on our sunrise shoots.
• It can get windy on the dunes. Bring plastic bags or camera covers to protect your gear.
• Bring water! Don't forget your water bottle.
• Be very, very careful when changing lenses on the dunes. Sand is your enemy.
• Travel light on the dunes. Maybe just bring a wide-angle and tele-zoom. Fish-eye, too.
• If you put your backpack down in the sand, be very careful about . . . that's right - the sand!
• Plan to shoot panos. The long image above is a four-shot, hand-held pano.
• Pack your polarizing filter.
• Be ready to have your hiking boots and shoes filled with fine sand.
• Wear a hat and sunsceen.
* Getting to the top of some of the sand dunes is not easy. You need to run up fast in the sand. Hal and I will be there to help. But to get to the top of the dunes, you need to be in good shape.
For tips on sand dune shooting, see my on-line class that was shot in the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Above: We will have an awesome model for our early morning and late afternoon shoots.
Above: Hal and I will teach HDR. If you are new to HDR, download Photomatix from my Play & Save on Plug-ins page.
Here is my gear reco list for the workshop:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 15mm lens (my lens) or Canon 8-15mm lens (getting it soon) - for fun fish-eye shots.
Canon 14mm lens - for an extremely wide view.
Canon 17-40mm lens - my basic landscape lens.
Canon 24-105mm lens - for closer views in landscape photography.
Canon 70-200mm f/4 lens - to isolate elements in a landscape.
Canon battery chargers - so I have power.
Arctic Butterfly - for cleaning my sensor.
Tiffen Polarizing filter - to darken the sky and to whiten clouds.
Lexar 16GB cards - for recording your memories.
Induro CT 214 tripod
Induro BHD1 ball head
MacbookPro loaded with Photoshop, Lightroom and all my plug-ins.
Head-mounted flashlight and hand-held flashlights - for seeing in the dark.
Lexar card reader - for fast downloading.
Lacie 500GB portable hard drive - for storing my images.
Above: We'll shoot this cool, old and colorful car in HDR, too!
Above: There are good photo ops at Badwater. We'll shoot sunset there.
Above: Hal and I will also talk about light and composition during our sunset shoot at Artists Palette. As a preview, check out my KelbyOne on-line classes.
We hope to see you in Death Valley!
Explore the light,
If you like landscape photography, I offer several options for improving your images – anytime and anywhere.
On my workshops. In 2015 I am offering workshops that include landscape photography: Death Valley, Provence and Croton-on-Hudson, NY.
On my workshops we shoot and process, and have a ton of fun doing both! All are welcome.
On-line. I have a new on-line class on landscape photography with Craftsy: Landscape Photography in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It includes five HD video lessons and a virtual classroom - where you can share your shots and get my feedback. Very cool! Right now, you can get a 50% discount!
All my KelbyOne on-line courses are listed here.
On-the-go. My iPad and iPhone apps provide on-the-go learning. For landscape photographers: iHDR, 24/7 Photo Buffet and 50+ Tips for Nik Color Efex Pro.
On YouTube and Vimeo. Scroll down to the bottom of my On-Line Classes/Video page and you'll find several videos that I shot in Iceland and on the Oregon Coast that focus on landscape photography.
At my seminars. I share my favorite landscape photographs - and tips, tricks and techniques - at my seminars. I give more than a dozen seminars each year, and love each and every one. What's more, most are free – thanks to Canon sponsorship.
Well my friends, I hope to see you . . . somewhere!
To help you find the best light for your landscape photographers, my friend Craig Ellis and I developed Photo Sundial. This all-in-one app gives you the sun, the stars, the moon - and much more. Never miss another sunrise or sunset again.
The app is great for on-site shooting, as well as for trip planning. Twenty-five photo tips, too!
Hey, if you find a better priced and more fully-featured sun-finder app, please let me know.
Explore the light,
I am planning a June 2015 Provence, France digital photography workshop. Shoot me an email to get on the info list.
See more of my Carmarge horse photographs in my Camargue Horse Gallery.
In addition to photographing the horses, we'll photograph the beautiful countryside. We will also have Lightroom and Photoshop sessions.
This is Part II in a blog post series written by my friend, photographer and naturalist Jonathan Scott. Jonathan has an important message for all of us. Here is a link to Part I, which ran back in May.
All photographs by my friends Jonathan and Angie Scott.
Susan and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to join Jonathan and Angela Scott - The Big Cat People - on safari at Governors Camp for ten days in early September (be sure to check out the Governor's Website). This is 'migration' time in the Mara when tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebras mass there during the dry season from early June to November. The Mara is Big Cat Country so we know we will be enjoying amazing wildlife viewing in great company.
Say Hi to us if you are visiting during our stay - we will be the ones with the big white lenses! And remember a safari is an Adventure of a Lifetime - something everyone has to experience at least once in their life. We will be recording every moment of our stay to share with you on our website - and so will Jonathan and Angie."
Kenya has been my home for forty years, my wife and daughter are Citizens, our Grandson Michael was born here and has made more safaris in his first year than many people will be privileged to do in a lifetime – and he has enjoyed a holiday at the coast. Right now Michael is on safari in Amboseli with his Mum and Dad and Grandmother who is visiting from England. He celebrates his first birthday in a weeks time.
Four weeks ago this prompted me to write an article that appeared in the travel section of the Saturday Telegraph in the UK – the land of my birth – telling people just how much Kenya needed tourism – that it was vital to our economy and to conservation. Without substantial revenue from tourism our wildlife will be even more vulnerable to poachers; setting aside wilderness areas for animals even harder to justify to land hungry humans. The article was circulated widely by the Kenya Tourist Board to encourage overseas guests to visit this wonderful country in the face of a barrage of Travel Advisories that have cast a long shadow over our tourism industry. If you look on a map you will see just what a tiny part of Kenya is prompting security concerns – yet the repercussions of recent events and the impact of Travel Advisories has been devastating and on a scale that in no way reflects the situation in the country as a whole.
What a difference a month can make on this fast paced planet of ours. The World Cup has kicked off and the reigning champions Spain are already on their way home – with England not far behind them. But however disappointing, that is not what is preoccupying my attention right now. It would be easy to feel despondent reading headlines telling the world of renewed loss of life on the Kenya coast not far from the ancient city of Lamu, together with the killing of Satao barely a month after the death of Mountain Bull, two mighty ‘tuskers’ slaughtered for their magnificent ivory tusks worth nearly US$ 2,000 a kilo in the Far East.
The bulls were in their mid to late 40s and had lived through events both locally and internationally that have blighted Kenya’s tourism industry in the past – the bombing of the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi on New Years Eve 1980/81; the Gulf War of 1990/91; the bombing of the American Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 and the political violence that erupted at the time of Presidential elections in Kenya in 1997 and 2007. Despite these setbacks the tourism industry has always shown a resilience that has enabled it to dust itself down and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. But make no mistake these are difficult times. All the more reason then to redouble our commitment to Kenya, put our fears in to perspective and to ‘light a candle rather than curse the darkness.’
Terrorism and poaching go hand in hand. They feed on fear and insecurity. The battle to save our planet’s increasingly endangered wildlife might appear to be a lost cause whether attempting to protect the last few thousand wild tigers in Asia or stemming the catastrophic epidemic of elephant and rhino poaching in Africa. Even the Masai Mara where Angie and I continue to follow the lives of its charismatic big cats has seen an alarming upsurge in poaching in recent months with reports of 117 elephant carcasses new and old discovered during a census of wildlife in the Reserve - minus their tusks. At times like these it is understandable to feel powerless and downhearted. But each individual can contribute in a meaningful way by simply holding up their hand and saying ‘NO’ to the killing.
When I was working on a book on leopards in the 1970s it was estimated that 50,000 leopards were being trapped, shot and poisoned across Africa each year for their beautiful spotted coats. In the 1980s a brilliantly orchestrated advertising campaign writ large on billboards and in cinemas across Europe and America turned the tide in the fight against fur with graphic images from photographer David Bailey showing a model dragging a blood soaked fur coat above the words: “It takes up to 40 dumb animals to make a fur coat but only one to wear it.” And in 1989 when Kenya set fire to 12 tons of ivory in Nairobi National Park it caught the imagination of the general public, helping to change people’s perceptions and leading to a ban on the trade in ivory that same year. But as recent events have shown we must always be vigilant on behalf of wildlife – some people are wearing fur again, some never stopped. And until China bans ivory imports the killing of our elephants will continue apace.
We are not alone in our commitment to change. Kenya is loved around the world for the warmth of its people and the wonder of its great migration of wildebeests and zebras. Right now the animals are thundering in to the Mara in their tens of thousands. This is the time to be there to witness the greatest wildlife show on earth. If my fellow ‘Brits’ are pondering the wisdom of visiting Kenya they can do no better than embrace the Stay Calm and Carry On attitude of their own Royal Family who have lost loved ones to acts of terrorism in the past - the Queen’s cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten was murdered by the IRA in Ireland (along with three other people including his grandson Nicholas), when a bomb detonated on his fishing boat in 1979. They live with the threat of terrorism wherever they are in the world.
Prince William and his wife Kate are one of the most recognizable and iconic couples on the planet - and great friends of Kenya. The Prince proposed to his future bride while on holiday in the country. Like his father Prince Charles, William is passionate about wildlife and recently launched United for Wildlife bringing together a coalition of conservation groups committed to making a difference.
Under the banner of Whose Side Are You On, and harnessing the power of charismatic sports personalities such as football’s David Beckham, motor racing’s Lewis Hamilton, cricket’s Raul Dravid, rugby’s Francois Pienaar and China’s basketball superstar Yao Ming, United for Wildlife is mounting a Social Media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Google to spread its message to all corners of the earth. Imagine if we could engage Kenya’s beautiful and talented Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o alongside our world beating sportsmen to show solidarity with a campaign that will help protect our own wildlife? Knowing Kenyans they will.
One might draw some grain of consolation from the loss of the world’s wildlife if it was the disadvantaged and impoverished among us who were benefiting from the carnage – the people losing their lives and jobs right now. But it is not. It is the rich and greedy – and seemingly untouchable - who are turning a vast profit from the illegal trade worth US$ 5 – 20 billion annually, as is the case with the other major criminal activities that are such a stain on our character: trafficking in drugs, weapons and people across the globe. A friend recently sent me artwork depicting The Earth’s Land Mammals by Weight. It showed all too graphically just how much of our planet we humans and our livestock – cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses - already occupy. Wildlife is being squeezed out of the landscape like never before. Africa’s 450 to 500,000 elephants are barely visible in the larger picture. So how will things look with another 2 billion people on this earth by 2050? We must act now.
When it comes to tourism wildlife is Kenya’s greatest asset as one long time resident reminded me in his response to my recent article. “The world is littered with beautiful places that lure vacationers. Many have beaches, sunshine, great food and lovely people…..just as Kenya does. However Kenya’s amazing wildlife is its advantage over all those other destinations.” With so many options for travellers these days we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Our tourism product has to be competitive in price and services if it is to keep topping up our foreign exchange coffers so we can continue to conserve ‘world heritages’ like the incomparable Masai Mara. That is why tourism is so vital to this country along with the tens of thousands of jobs it helps to create.
The message we wish to send to our friends overseas is this: ‘Sign up to the Why I Love Kenya campaign as you plan your next safari. Lend your collective voices to United for Wildlife by embracing the challenge of Whose Side Are You On. If you do that today we all stand to benefit – people and wildlife the world over.
It may be too late for the iconic Mountain Bull and Satao, but we can still honor their memory.
• • • • •
Thank you Jonathan for your heartfelt post. See you and Angie in August.
Readers: If you are planning a photo safari, my KelbyOne class – Wild Safari: Capturing the Wild – offers tips on photographing and traveling.