Three Old Books That Will Help New Photographers

Seems like a new photography book is published every day - and promoted on the web every day. Older books go by the wayside.

I have a ton of photography books - new and old. Three of my favorite books are actually not new, but rather a bit old. I think new photographers can learn a lot from these old books, in some cases simply by looking at the pictures and studying composition and lighting.

Here are the books and links: 

Approaching Photography

Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs

Photographs: George Eastman House, Rochester, NY (Klotz)

Explore the light,

Guest Blogger: Russ Bishop

My guest blogger today is Russ Bishop. I am so happy to have this talented photographer as my guest!

Russ is an outdoor photographer/writer living in Ventura, California. He picked up his first camera at age 14 and has been exploring the world through the lens ever since. His award-winning imagery can be seen in advertisements, posters, books, and national publications with clients that include National Geographic, Sierra Club, Toshiba, Sunset, and Rodale Press. He lives in Ventura, California with his wife and two children.

Here are some of his outstanding photographs.

Take it away Russ.
• • • 

Opening image: Lightning, Organ Pipe, AZ - They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but on this stormy evening in Organ Pipe Cactus NM the bolts continued to hit the Ajo Mtns about 10 miles away. With a 300mm lens I timed the rhythm of the strikes while opening the shutter for about 30 seconds, enough to record the drama.

Horsetail Falls, Yosemite, CA - This unique phenomenon occurs each year during the latter part of February if conditions are right. The winter snowpack needs to be substantial enough to allow spring runoff to create the falls on the south side of El Capitan. With clear skies to the west and for a few moments before sunset, the falls are back lighted to create this natural fire fall. I used a 180mm lens to capture this fleeting moment.

Bryce Canyon, UT - A winter storm was just clearing as I setup this shot at Bryce Point looking across the amphitheater to Sunset Point. I captured this scene with a 180mm lens as the fog was beginning to lift, revealing the hoodoos and tree-lined ridge below.

Watchman Peak, Zion, UT - This image was taken on a crisp fall evening from the classic view above the Virgin River. A 2-stop ND filter was used on a 24mm lens to hold the detail and color in the sky, while a 6 second exposure gave the water a silky look.

Mist Trail, Yosemite, CA - The Mist Trial is a classic hike in Yosemite that ascends hundreds of stone steps adjacent to Vernal Falls. True to its name it’s a popular hike in the summer when the cooling mist is a welcome respite from the valleys soaring temperatures. A fast shutter speed revealed the power of the falls and a 300mm lens compressed the scene to create a dynamic image of man and the environment.

False Kiva, Canyonlands, UT - This sensitive archeological site is perched in a cave a thousand feet above the classic White Rim trail and is an iconic view of the southwest. The extreme contrast of the scene made it a perfect candidate for HDR. With a 17mm lens backed up against the wall of the cave, I captured seven brackets, which were then combined in Photoshop CS5 to create this blended exposure that accurately represents what I saw with my eyes that evening.

For more info, see:

Bosque del Apache Photo Workshop

If you like bird, nature, wildlife and HDR photography, as well as info-packed seminars, this event is for you.

Join me and Juan Pons in Bosque del Apache, New Mexico for this hands-on workshop.
Number of participants: Only 20.

Date: December 1 to 5, 2011. 

We will be based in Socorro, NM.

For a schedule and to sign up, click here.

Here are some photographs that I took on a previous Bosque del Apache trip.

Juan and I hope to see you there.

Here is a list of the gear you may want to consider packing:

• 400mm telephoto - close-ups of birds
• 100 - 400mm zoom - close-ups of birds
• 17-40mm zoom - scenery shots and HDR shots
• polarizing filter
• sturdy tripod - for HDR and scenery shots before sunrise
• laptop with Lightroom or Photoshop
• HDR Efex Pro or Photomatix  - for HDR processing. (Discount here)
• Topaz Adjust
• Flashlight or two. I suggest this flashlight for hands-free shooting:
'Flood Light' Head Lamp: NINE Super-Bright LED

For the dawn shoots, I recommend having both a wide-angle and telephoto lens handy, as you will want to shoot it all!

Here is a list of the clothing I recommend:
• Very warm coat, hat and gloves for the early morning shoots. It's often below freezing.
• Sunglasses
• Much lighter jacket for mid-day shooting.
• Hand and foot warmers:
Little Hotties Hand Warmers 40 Pairs Plus Toe Warmers 3 Pairs

For some tips in photographing birds, click here.

Explore the light,

Photo, Photoshop and Podcast Fun in Florida Next Week!

There will no time for yawing during my Florida seminars (five) and workshops (one) next week.

I'll be teaching in the Tampa Bay Area and at Photoshop World in Orlando.The sessions will be action, info and fun packed.

Here's the scoop:

Tampa Bay Area • Photographic Art Society of Florida
March 26 • Street Shooting Workshop
March 27 • Exploring the Light Seminar

Orlando • Orlando Camera Club
March 28 • Photoshop and Plug-in Workflow.
Plus: DPE Podcast Recording

Orlando • Photoshop World
March 30 •  Canon Speedlite Session
March 31 • So You Want to Be a Travel Photographer
April 1 • Lighting People Indoors and Out

I hope to see some of you at these workshops and seminars.

Also: If you want to be more famous and have a photo question, track down me/Juan Pons at Photoshop World. We are taking your questions for the DPE Podcast

Speaking of workshops, if you save the green info sheet that I distribute on my seminars and workshops, you can get $100 off my Croton Creative Workshop.

Explore the light,

Some Thoughts on Photographing Birds

After being away for the winter, the birds are starting to return to my yard. It's great to see and hear them again.

With birds on my mind, I thought I'd share some of my bird photographs (not from my yard, ironically) and a few tips on photographing these wonderful animals.

Above: Behavior shots are often more impressive than portraits. To get behavior shots, you need to be patient and lucky. I was lucky to get this shot, but the dove was not that lucky . . . . 

Above: These portraits are okay. However, the background is distracting in one shot and boring in the other. Remember: the background can make or break a shot. Maybe the one good thing about both pictures is that I shot at eye level.

Above: Birds-in-flight shots are cool. To stop the action, use a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 sec. In Photoshop, selectively blur part of the wings to add a sense of motion to your still shot.

Above: And speaking of Photoshop, always envision the possibilities that await you in the digital darkroom.

Above: Try to get some light in the bird's eye. Select a good shooting position or use a flash. To extend the range of your flash, use a Better Beamer. I use one on my Canon Speedlite 580EX.


Above: When choosing a tele-extender, go with one that is made by your camera manufacturer. Also, 1.4x tele-extenders are usually sharper than 2x tele-extenders. I use a Canon 1.4X tele-extender on my Canon 100-400mm lens and Canon 70-200mm lens. 


Above: Go where birds hang out. I took this picture in Bosque del Apache in New Mexico in early December. I used a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second to slightly blur the action.

Juan Pons and I will be leading a photo workshop to Bosque in early December 2011. Shoot me an email if you are interested in joining the photo and Photoshop fun.

Speaking of hanging out with birds, we have two spaces open on my Alaska eagle workshop with Hal Schmitt.

Above: Know everything about your camera - so you can shoot even with one hand. Also master your flash and daylight fill-in flash, so your pictures do not look like harsh flash pictures. The key is learning how to balance the light from the flash to the daylight.

Above: Have fun!

Explore the light,