What turns a bird picture into a work of art? A magazine recently asked me and other photographers who had been honored by Audubon that question. I’m certain we gave them enough material to fill a how-to book. But they were looking only for a short article, so little of it ended up in print. Here’s what would have gone into my chapter.
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
There is something that strikes fear straight into the heart of most photographers and it's not a close encounter with a wild bear or a dangerous cliff. It's the manual exposure mode of their cameras.
Friday, November 30, 2012
One factor that can have a significant impact on the quality of your images is how sharp they are. Sometimes I like being able to stand up close to a large print and enjoy the clear definition around the smallest details. Sharpness helps the images look more lifelike.
While there's also something to be said for the art of blurring away the fine details, producing sharp images is something that most nature photographers want to accomplish, at least some of the time. The quality of your equipment plays a big role in how sharp your images are, but so does your technique.
Here are some tips for getting the sharpest images out of the equipment you already own:
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The full moon may provide an excuse for all sorts of crazy activities, but it can also provide an extra special element to landscape photographs. Here are some tips for capturing the moon as a part of a landscape image.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The black-capped chickadee is no ivory-billed woodpecker. Dozens visit my office window every day to feast on the free suet.
But just because they're common, doesn't mean they are not interesting. And a recent snow storm that, at times, had my yard buried under nearly 10 inches of snow allowed me to create some images that help tell their remarkable winter story.
Friday, December 30, 2011
The usual goal in photography is to create an exceptionally sharp image. If you're photographing a bird, for example, most photographers want an image that's so sharp you can see every feather on the bird and every barb on the feather.
To capture that, you typically need a sturdy tripod, a cable release, lots of light — and a stationary subject.
But what if the light is dim and your subject is moving? That's when you need to pan — moving the camera with your subject. It involves moving the camera so that your subject is always at the same spot in the image.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
People often ask me what they can do to improve their images. Often, I reply, "Get a tripod."
I'm a firm believer in tripods, so to speak. They allow you to capture sharp images that could be impossible to capture with shaky hands. They also slow you down. In the time it takes to set up your equipment, you can also think about whether your first idea for a composition is really the best it can be. Nearly all of my images were captured from a tripod.
This one wasn't. And it wouldn't be anywhere near as good if it had been.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
I rarely crop my images. There's nothing wrong with cropping; I just find that most of the time, the relatively wide 35mm frame works for me.
But every now and then, I want something wider. Really wide. Perhaps 10 times the width of a traditional 35mm frame. A serious panorama.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Imagine a print by Ansel Adams. You're probably thinking of a black and white image, impeccably sharp and detailed, perhaps of Yosemite. Now visualize something by Monet. You're probably seeing a vividly colorful "impressionistic" painting, perhaps of a Japanese bridge or the French coast.
A lot of artists have a definitive style. You can see a piece and instantly know that it is an Adams, for example. Cultivating a style can be key to developing your own brand as an artist.
But you may also want to try something else.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I've been out late a lot lately. I've done more night photography in the past couple months than I have in my entire career.
It's not that I'm changing my style or anything. Sometimes that's just how things work out.