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Photo Tip – Don’t Forget to Turn Around!

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Moab Sunrise - Arches National Park

Moab Sunrise - Arches National Park

We were up and on-location well before sunrise, and each of us selected a position, waiting for the rising sun to warm up one of the arches we’d selected.

I waited, and waited, kept shooting and trying. I moved around a little bit, but never did get what I wanted.

I decided to walk around a little more, and turned around to face the sun, and then I finally got the shot that I wanted.

(Comment from Craig: I’ll add a post soon about one of the reasons all of us had to wait that morning. Although we ended up with a couple nice shots, it wasn’t easy!)

Written by Sara

July 2nd, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Posted in Photo Tips

The “3000 Foot Flash” – when to use your flash outdoors

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It may have been too dim to shoot the moose, but Sara got this nice shot at Ox Bow Bend

It may have been too dim to shoot the moose, but Sara got this nice shot at Oxbow Bend

One evening at Oxbow Bend in The Grand Tetons, we were watching a cow moose browsing in the water. She was at least 200 yards away, and it was already too dim for a photo. But not according to someone who came up to us.

She claimed that she had successfully taken a photo showing the bottom of a 3000 foot canyon using the built-in flash of her point-and-shoot. She insisted that with our camera equipment, we should be able to capture the moose by using the flash! Uh, right.

She wouldn’t believe us when we said that she picked up the canyon based on ambient light rather than a flash—no flash is good for that distance (if it were, it would melt the camera—and probably the photographer—from the heat).

In most cases, the point-and-shoot users would get better results in dim, outdoor situations by turning off their flashes, at least when shooting distant objects. The flash is fine for closer shots, fill-in, or it the animal isn’t too distant, creating a “glint” in their eye (I’ve done this in bright light to get that specular highlight in the eye).

But not from 3000 feet! 😉

Written by Craig de Fasselle

May 8th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Using a “Sandbag” as a Tripod Alternative

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Wolf pups taken w a Nikon D200 and 400mm lens from a Denali shuttle bus using a sandbag on the windowsill

Wolf pups taken w a Nikon D200 and 400mm lens from a Denali shuttle bus using a sandbag on the windowsill

There’s a story that someone once asked Ansel Adams when he used a tripod. Reportedly, Adams’ answer was “only when I want to take a photograph!”

That generally sums up my philosophy. Yes, it’s a pain hauling tripods on hikes through the bush. True, there are some situations where you cannot use a tripod, such as shooting game from one of Denali National Park’s buses (the only way to get deep into the park without a special, hard-to-obtain pass). So what do you use then?

While you can simply throw clothing over a windowsill, we prefer using a sandbag. Rather than have to travel with a heavy bag full of sand, Sara made some soft-fabric bags for us. When we arrive at our destination, we hit the local grocery and pick up some plastic bags of lentils or similar. Three of these bags go into the fabric bag, creating a very effective sandbag for use from vehicles, on fences, or over branches.

Of course, when you finish your trip, you can always cook up the contents of your sandbag for a getaway meal! 😉

Written by Craig de Fasselle

April 24th, 2010 at 11:55 am

Posted in Photo Tips

Craig’s Wildlife Photography Tips

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Moose photo taken in Rocky Mountain National Park

Moose photo taken in Rocky Mountain National Park

1. Learn about the area (remember that you’re on their turf).

2. Understand the animals’ habits (and keep in mind they don’t read the books on how they are supposed to behave).

3. Camera set and ready to go at all times (when moving from area to area, we keep the telephoto on and tripod ready).

4. Keep ever vigilant (it’s amazing how even big animals like moose and bear can be concealed in brush).

If you put the first letters of those tips together, you’ll notice they spell LUCK!

Written by Craig de Fasselle

April 7th, 2010 at 10:17 am

Posted in Photo Tips