The Streak Continues
Five of us spent a great morning at the Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan testing our creative abilities. I will be sharing some of my images soon. I am finishing up this post at 6:00pm Japan time on Friday, February 28, 2014. That is 4:00am on the same day in Florida and in New York. If you missed the Jumping Monkeys” blog post the other day, be sure to click here to see the many thoughtful comments on the state of nature photography today.
This post marks 91 straight days with a new blog post, a record by far that should be extended for at least another day or so, or not. Or more…. To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask that use our B&H and Amazon affiliate links for all of your B&H and Amazon purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store. We sell only what I use and depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.
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See my pal Todd Gustafson on Nat Geo Wild on TV this Friday evening. See the details below.
Todd Gustafson on Nat Geo Wild
See Todd on Nat Geo TV this Friday at 9pm Eastern (8pm Central); he’ll be featured as an on-screen and in-the-field expert on National Geographic Television for the second time in Nat Geo Wild’s “World’s Weirdest: Animal Apocalypse.” The show airs on February 28th. The episode will have footage of Todd in the field and natural history action footage and stills from the Gustafson Photo Safari archives. International documentary maker Ross Zuchowski did the interview footage with Todd where they talk about the Great Migration and the Mara River Crossings. It will be an informative and entertaining segment so be sure not to miss it or to set your VCRs or Tivos.
I am co-leading the 2014 Tanzania Summer Safari with Todd. Scroll down to see details on this great expedition.
This image was created at the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, Japan with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (at 100mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop as framed: 2 sec. at f/16 in Manual mode. Color temperature: Shade.
Central Sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF on the closest lantern and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Yesterday in Japan, on Thursday, February 28, five of us visited the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan with an assortment of lenses and other photo gear. Paul McKenzie briefed us with some expert advice and then we all went to work. The big photographic attractions were the two tunnels constructed of orange poles about 5-6 inches in diameter with a wooden roof made of planks of the same colors. In all, there were more than a zillion good pictures to be made; no worries, we counted.
This image was created at the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, Japan with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (at 123mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 2 sec. at f/25 in Av mode was a slight over-exposure. Color temperature: 10,000K
Central Sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF on a post on the left 1/3 of the way into the frame and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.
The Color Work
Getting the color of the image files to match what I thought was correct was a bear. I used everything in my arsenal including Color Temperature adjustments during the RAW conversion in DPP, Selective Color, Hue Saturation, Levels, Color Balance, and various color balancing techniques (including Average Blur Color Balancing) in CS-6.
For the original captures, it was necessary to clip the RED channel fairly significantly in order to prevent the images from being overall too dark. This is a common occurrence when photographing sunrises and sunsets.
Learn everything that I know about balancing the colors in an image and correcting color casts in my Digital Basics File. Digital Basics is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, my killer image clean-up techniques, Digital Eye Doctor, and lots more.
Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount with phone orders only. Learn advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS II. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount with phone orders only. by the pair, APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only.
The DPP RAW Conversion Guide
After seeing the accurate colors that I get from my DPP RAW conversions, Japan in Winter co-leader Paul McKenzie is switching to DPP conversions and Denise Ippolito is considering doing the same. Now that is amazing…. To learn why I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to convert every image that I work on, click here.
This image was created at the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, Japan with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (at 110mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/2.8 in Av mode. Color temperature: 10,000K.
Central Sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF on the second post and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Note that for the image above I chose the widest available aperture after carefully choosing my perspective and my focal length so that the text on the 2nd piling would pop while the rest would go soft.
This zoom blur was created at the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, Japan with the hand held Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop as originally framed: 1/2 sec. at f/8 in Tv mode. Color temperature: 10,000K.
Central Sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF on the lantern, recompose, and zoom from tight to wide during the exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.
I love to create zoom blurs in the field by going to Tv mode, setting the correct EC (Exposure Compensation), choosing a slow shutter speed, usually from 1/5 to 1 full second, and then zooming from long to short. You can create zoom blurs either hand held as this one was or while working on a tripod. I tried a few zoom blurs after seeing some on the back of Denise Ippolito’s EOS-5D Mark III.
Pleasing blurs are not lucky accidents. All need to be accurately focused. Learn to create your own pleasing blurs of all types in A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Denise Ippolito and yours truly.
This image was created at the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, Japan with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 205mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop as framed: 2.5 sec. at f/22 in Av mode. Color temperature: 10,000K.
Central Sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the frame and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.
From the very first image I was captivated by the glow of the light coming through the roof slats. I made many dozens of images; most suffered from a lack of d-o-f….
Long, Slow, Exposures, Small Apertures, and Image Sharpness
To guarantee sharp images with the extremely slow shutter speeds I used a technique that I developed on the Holland Tulip trip: 2-second self-timer with Live View for Mirror Lock. I was aware that I might need to turn off IS but with relatively short focal lengths (as compared to 600 and 840mm) that step was not necessary.
Please take a moment and let us know which of the five images above is the best. And do let us know why you made your choice.
Images copyright 2012: Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris. Card design by Denise Ippolito. Click on the image to enjoy a spectacular larger version.
Holland 2014 7 1/2-Day/8-Night: A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART/Tulips & A Touch of Holland IPT. April 17-April 24, 2014: $4995 Limit: 12/Openings: 5
We still have room for 5 more flower photographers on this great trip.
Join Denise Ippolito, Flower Queen and the author of “Bloomin’ Ideas,” and Arthur Morris, Canon Explorer of Light Emeritus and one of the planet’s premier photographic educators for a great trip to Holland in mid-April 2014. Day 1 of the IPT will be April 17, 2014. We will have a short afternoon get-together and then our first photographic session at the justly-famed Keukenhof. Most days we will return to the hotel for lunch, image sharing and a break. On Day 8, April 24, we will enjoy both morning and afternoon photography sessions.
The primary subjects will be tulips and orchids at Keukenhof and the spectacularly amazing tulip, hyacinth, and daffodil bulb fields around Lisse. In addition we will spend one full day in Amsterdam. There will be optional visits the Van Gogh Museum in the morning and the Anne Frank House in the afternoon; there will be plenty of time for street photography as well. And some great food. On another day we will have a wonderful early dinner at Kinderdijk and then head out with our gear to photograph the windmills and possibly some birds for those who bring their longs lenses. We will spend an afternoon in the lovely Dutch town of Edam where we will do some street photography and enjoy a superb dinner. All lodging, ground transportation, entry fees, and meals (from dinner on Day 1 through dinner on Day 7) are included. For those who will be bringing a big lens we will likely have an optional bird photography afternoon or two.
Click here for additional info or to register.
Join me for the 2014 Tanzania Summer Safari!
2014 Tanzania Summer Safari, 14-day African Adventure/leave the US on August 9. Fly home on August 24: $12,999.
Co-leaders Todd Gustafson & Arthur Morris. The limit is 12. Three photographers/van; you get your own row of seats. Our trip is a bit more expensive than the average safari for good reason. It is the best. We have the best driver guides with a total of decades of experience. They have been trained over the years by Todd and by me to drive with photography in mind. We have the best and most knowledgeable leaders. We stay in the best lodges and camps. We hope that you will join us for what will be Todd’s 35th African safari, and my 8th.
If you are seriously interested please e-mail me; I will be glad to send you the illustrated PDF with the complete itinerary and deposit info.
What else makes this expedition unique?
•Pre-trip consultation and camera equipment advice
•Award-winning photographers as your guides
•A seamless itinerary visiting the right locations at the best time of year
•Hands-on photography instruction in the field
•Specially designed three roof-hatch photo safari vehicles
•Proprietary materials for preparation, including free copy of “A Photographer’s Guide to Photographing in East Africa.”
•Post-safari image critiques
All-inclusive (double-occupancy) except for your flights to and from Kilamajaro Airport, bar drinks, soda & water (except at the Intimate Tented Camp where everything is free for our entire stay), tips for drivers and camp staff, personal items, and trip insurance.
Breathe deeply, bite the bullet, and live life to its fullest; we all get only one ride on the merry-go-round… Join me on this great trip.
Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.
The Southern Ocean…
If you would like to explore the possibility of joining me on the Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris Antarctica/The Extended Expedition Voyage< trip: Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falkland Islands: December 13, 2014 to January 10, 2015, click here for additional information and then shoot me an e-mail.
The DPP RAW Conversion Guide
To learn why I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to convert every image that I work on, click here.
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Many of our great trips are filling up. See especially info on the South Florida, Holland, and Nickerson Beach IPTs. Two great leaders on most trips ensure that you will receive individual attention, have all of your questions answered, and learn a ton including how to think like a pro, see the situation, and get the right exposure every time. In addition you will have fun, and make lots of great images. Click here for IPT details and general information.