Digital Photography

10 Countries, 10 Days, 10 Tips: Day 3 - Mongolia

Photograph by Rick Sammon

It's Day 3 of my series on travel photography here on my blog.

Location: Mongolia.

Tip: Plan your trip for June.

Each June, the Nadaam festival takes place just outside of Ulan Bator, Mongolia’s capital. During the festival,  500 or so soldiers from the Mongolian army get dressed up like the soldiers in Genghis Khan army and put on a spectacular reinactment. Witnessing the festival, you can see why at one time Khan’s army scared the hell out just about everyone in its path.
Do you homework on the web. Note the show hours. Find out the earliest possible arrival time so you can get in a good shooting position. The more you plan, the fewer surprises you’ll have on site.

Photograph by Rick Sammon
On site, ask for a general timeline of events. This info will help you plan your day so you don’t miss festival highlights. In addition, take behind-the-scenes shots of performers getting ready. Ask if that’s okay and find out where to shoot.

Here are my recommendations for sharp shots of fast-paced action: set your shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second to freeze action, set your auto focus to AI Servo or Continuous Focus to track a moving subject, and set your frame rate to the max for the greatest number of frames per second.

When it comes to choosing an exposure mode, go for Shutter Priority. In that mode, once your shutter speed is set to 1/1000th of a second, if the light level changes, the shutter speed will remain at 1/1000th of a second. To get that fast of a shutter speed, on a cloudy day you may need to boost your ISO to 400, 800 or even 1000.  Don’t worry about shooting at high ISO settings. If digital noise is added, you can reduce it in Photoshop and Lightroom. 

Lens recos for photographing festivals:

Canon 70-200 f/4 IS lens
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS lens

If you like traveling and photography, check out my workshops and photo tours.

If you'd like travel tips at your fingertips, check out my apps.

Explore the light,

Photograph by Rick Sammon
P.S. Explore the countryside, too. You'll find many more people photography opportunities. While in Ulan Bator, take in a cultural show.

Photograph by Rick Sammon

Texas Wildlife Workshop at Fossil Rim

Photograph © Rick Sammon
I hope you can join me and 10 photographers for my 2012 Texas Wildlife Workshop: April 13 - 15, 2012. I have been to Fossil Rim four times, and each time I have come back with nice photographs and wonderful memories. It's almost like being in Africa - tent and all.

If you can't get to Africa, or if you are planning a trip to Africa, Fossil Rim, which is about two hours south of Dallas, Texas, is a great place to shoot. 

Here are the details:

Arrive at Foothills Safari Camp Pavilion by 3PM
4-6 PM Game Drive (our cars)
7 PM Dinner in Safari Camp
8 – 9 PM Rick’s Slide Show in Safari Camp
Overnight in Safari Camp Tents

Photographs © Rick Sammon
7:30 AM Breakfast at Safari Camp
9 AM Game Drive
11 AM Jason’s talk on cheetahs
12:30 PM Lunch at Fossil Rim Cafe
2 –4 PM Download/Photoshop work in Safari Camp
5 – 6 PM Game Drive
7 PM Dinner out (at local BBQ restaurant)
Overnight in Safari Camp

Photograph © Rick Sammon
7:30 AM Breakfast
8 –10AM Rick’s Photoshop Session
10 – 12 Noon – Group slide show
Noon – Checkout and depart (or do a final game drive on your own)

Photograph © Rick Sammon
Workshop fee:
            $    800 per person -- double occupancy
            $ 1,000 per person -- single occupancy

Space is limited – there are seven tents – we will take a maximum of 10 participants

Cost includes:
            2 nights lodging in safari-like tents
            Dinner Friday night
            Breakfast Saturday and Sunday
            Meetings in Safari Lodge  
            Guided Game Drives and Tours on Saturday
            Rick’s presentations and on site photo guidance

Not included in Cost:
            Lunch Saturday
            Dinner Saturday
            Bar bill at Safari Lodge
Fossil Rim Web site:

Here’s a video from one of my previous visits to Fossil Rim.

Photograph © Jeff Kane
Here's a review by Jeff Kane, one of my past Fossil Rim participants. 

Space is limited. Email Susan Sammon for an application.

Explore the light,

P.S. To see all my workshops, click here.

Goodbye Bosque - Be Back Next Year

Photograph © Rick Sammon
Today was the last day of the workshops that Juan Pons and taught at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico.

Our group was treated to an amazing "blast off." (That's mist at the bottom of the frame.)

For those of you new to Bosque, the "blast off" usually lasts for less than one minute.

As in all photo situations, I had two camera bodies with two lenses handy, so I could shoot both wide-angle and telephoto shots – with the goal of "telling the story."

I had my Canon 400mm DO lens on my Canon 7D. I had my 25-105mm IS lens on my Canon 5D.

Photograph © Rick Sammon
On the workshop we talked about the importance of setting goals. My goal this morning was to show the incredible number of birds that take off at the same time. The photograph directly above shows just how close the birds are to each other when they take off all at the same time. The photo looks chaotic! I know. But that is exactly what I was trying to convey.

My question: how come they don't crash into each other? :-)

Juan and I will be back in Bosque in 2012 for another set of workshops. I'll have some Canon lenses on hand for the students to use: 100-400mm, 500mm and few more. If you want to join the fun, shoot me an email.

Explore the light,

P.S. Here's a close-up of two snow geese flying by the moon. Yes! I created the image in Photoshop. I can show you how to do this on my workshops - as well as how to enhance your images.

Learn Digital in Delray

I am happy to announce the launch of my Digital Delray Days – a series of one-day, fast-paced and fun-filled digital photograph workshops in beautiful Delray Beach, Florida. 

• Dates: January 30, January 31 and February 2, 2012. (These sessions will be held after my Florida Photo Caravan.)

• I'll be giving a free lecture on the evening of January 30th.  Place and time TBD.

• Each session is one day long: 8 AM to Noon and 1 to 5 PM. The same workshop will be given each day. (Hang out after the workshops for happy hour!)

• I'll be your photography and Photoshop instructor.

• The groups are limited to 8 – for up-close and personal shooting and training with me.

• I'll teach HDR, model, street, outdoor, flash, reflector/diffusers, and beach photography. Yes. You will leave the workshop with a very good understanding of your flash.

• In December, I will review your portfolio on line and give you feedback. I'll need a link.

• We'll have a digital darkroom session, so you'll see how to enhance your images. I will offer some tips, tricks and techniques.

• Cost is $149 and includes: Workshop fee and a copy of two of my books: Exploring the Light and Field Guide to Digital Photography.

• All meals, hotel and transportation are on your own.

• We'll be based at the Colony Hotel in Delray.

• Skill level: All... but you must know how to find your pictures on your laptop.

You'll need:
• Your camera, lenses and flash.
• Tripod.
• Laptop with card reader.
• Loaded on your laptop (in addition to Lightroom, Photoshop or Photoshop Elements): Photomatix or HDR Efex Pro. Also: Topaz Adjust. For a discount on Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro, see my Creative Plug-ins page.

To learn about HDR photography, check out my iHDR iPad app.

I hope you can join the photo fun in Delray.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email.

For an application, email Susan Sammon.

Explore the light,

P.S. Here is a behind-the-scenes shot taken in the room where I took the opening pictures for this post. Ahhhhh, the wonders of HDR photography!

Learn Photography on the Go!

Want to learn on the go? Check out my go-anywhere apps.

  • Rick Sammon's 24/7 Photo Buffet for iPhone: reduced from $1.99 to 99¢
  • Rick Sammon's 24/7 Photo Buffet for iPad: reduced from $4.99 to $1.99
  • Rick Sammon's iHDR for iPad: reduced from $4.99 to $1.99
  • Rick Sammon's Light It! is reduced from $4.99 to $2.99.

Click here to order from my app page.

I hope you enjoy my apps!

Explore the light,