Monday, 31 March 2014

Flowers: The Perfect Photography Subject

Flowers: The Perfect Photography Subject

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Flowers: The Perfect Photography Subject

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 08:29 PM PDT

Spring is here, and there is no end to the number of beautiful flowers out there ready to be photographed. And what’s more wonderful is that they will keep blooming all summer and well into the fall. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a warmer climate, you could be photographing flowers outdoors well into the winter months–possibly year-round. Whether it’s a single bud, a single flower, a bouquet, a plant, a bush, or a blossoming tree, flowers are wonderful subjects to photograph. They’re not temperamental, they generally stay where you put them (or where they grow), they’re a great subject to experiment with, and they come in an array of vibrant colors.

cherry blossom flowers

“Spring Blooms” captured by Tommy Cox (Click image to see more from Cox.)

Equipment

As with any task, being prepared is important. Gather your camera and accessories and choose the right camera bag for the equipment and the outing. If you plan on going to one location, such as an arboretum or perhaps a rose garden, take along your tripod, lenses, filters, and any other accessories you may need to spend the day making beautiful images. If your camera calls for them, make sure you have back-up batteries and extra memory cards, as well.

Tripod

The tripod really is an essential tool when photographing flowers. As you get closer to a subject, the slightest movement of the camera will greatly affect the outcome of the picture. It’s virtually impossible to hold the camera still enough to take a quality picture without the benefit of a tripod. It will be money well spent. There are small tripods compact enough to fit nicely in the right camera bag.

Focal Point

As with any photography, you need a focal point. A lush, pink rose bud just beginning to open on a graceful thorned stem. Or, maybe you’ve spotted a cheerful plant of daisies with bright yellow centers, but the focal point is the little red ladybug resting on one of the delicate white petals. Look carefully–there’s a lot to see.

flower and insect photography

“Butterfly set Canon 60D EF 100mm to 400mm at 300mm” captured by Christopher Okano (Click image to see more from Okano.)

Lighting

Lighting can be tricky, at times, depending upon where you’re shooting. It’s almost always preferable to head out with your camera bag in hand in the early morning to shoot your florals, for a number of reasons. The dew is still on the flowers, so you can get some very effective macro shots of droplet covered blossoms. The sun is not yet high in the sky, so your lighting will be more ideal, casting fewer harsh shadows. If you must shoot in midday, pack a diffuser in your camera bag to soften the harsh effects of the glaring sun.

macro flower photography

“The Offer….” captured by Steve Barr (Click image to see more from Barr.)

Perspective

Give careful consideration to your point of view. Shooting across the top of a field of yellow daffodils results in a breathtaking picture. Or, laying on the ground and taking a picture from beneath a cherry blossom tree in full bloom results in a picture of a lacy, pink cloud. Look outside the box. Pictures of beautiful bouquets and single stems are still the classics and should never be ignored, but try new, creative pictures. In addition to taking traditional still lifes, try taking a shot of a single bloom close up with just a portion of it in the picture.

flower photography

“Untitled” captured by John (Click image to see more from John.)

Experiment. Have fun with it. Remember, flowers are excellent subjects. All you need is a quality camera bag with the right equipment, some leisure time, and the right season.

About the Author:
Suzanne VanDeGrift has developed this article for m-rock, manufacturer of user-friendly camera bags.


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Interesting Photo of the Day: Bubble Nebula Photographed via Telescope

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 06:03 PM PDT

Mike Hankey fell in love with astrophotography when he attached his camera to a telescope and peered through glass at the night sky for the first time. Six months later, a large “fireball” meteor exploded near Baltimore, Pennsylvania while Hankey was photographing the Andromeda galaxy from his backyard, and he accidentally captured a shot of the meteor fragments streaking down to Earth.

He’s been hooked on astrophotography ever since, and he spends his nights producing stunning long exposure astrophotos like this image of an emission nebula within the Cassiopeia constellation:

astrophotography outer space bubble nebula stars universe telescope astrophoto long exposure

This is the “Bubble Nebula,” technically named NGC 7635. (Via Imgur. Click for larger size.)

An emission nebula is a cloud of gas that has been ionized by close proximity to a hot star such that it emits light of various colors. There are two types of emission nebulae—H II regions and planetary nebulae—which are ionized by huge young stars or dying stars shedding their outer layers and exposing their warmer cores, respectively.

Hankey shot the image in Auberry California using green, blue, and red narrow band filters over a span of 15 hours across four nights. He used an Apogee U16M camera attached to an RCOS 14.5 telescope to capture the image and SkyX, MaximDL, FocusMax, CCDAutoPilot, CCDStack, and Adobe Photoshop to edit and optimize the final image.

“I [love] taking pictures with my telescope and I work on it every night that is clear,” said Hankey. “The great thing about astronomy [is that] space is infinite, you can never run out of things to learn, look at or take pictures of. The study of astronomy has transforming effects on people and I encourage everyone I meet to look up at the stars.”


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Watch Timelapse Photographers Capture Northern Lights Over Sweden (Video)

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 04:23 PM PDT

The northern lights are well known for their beauty and spectacular colors as they light up the night sky. It’s no wonder that they grab the attention of photographers, many of whom travel long distances to witness the natural phenomenon for themselves. This spectacular timelapse shows the northern lights over Sweden as they made their appearance on February 1st:

When the timelapse was made on the night of February 1st, aurora borealis had come out to play over Abisko National Park 29 out of the 32 nights that had passed so far in the year, making 2014 a great year to witness the lights.

sweden_timelapse_1

The timelapse video was created by taking still photos at timed intervals and compiling them together in post production to create a moving image. It is not uncommon for tens of thousands of photos to be used to make a timelapse video.


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Using a Paraglider to Gain New Perspective as a Photographer (Video)

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 10:58 AM PDT

National Geographic just released an intimate black-and-white interview with one of their most prominent landscape photographers, George Steinmetz. Steinmetz is known for his aerial photography–impossible images taken while floating overhead in his absurd-looking, slow-moving, ultralight motorized paraglider:

“You see the world three-dimensionally. Even very minute differences in position. I can get a very different feeling in a picture.”

A motorized paraglider is an awkward flying contraption; Steinmetz says it’s “the world’s lightest and slowest aircraft”, and it resembles a harness attached to a giant leafblower-like fan and held up by a gliding parachute.

Steinmetz started flying the motorized paraglider around 15 years ago years ago, and it’s a miracle he hasn’t died. Not only does he fly this precarious device often, but he flies it to some of the most dangerous, remote parts of the world–post-war Libya, the remote desert of Chad, the salt domes of Iran.

george-steinmetz

“I want people to be amazed at our world, to see things they didn’t know existed, and to be excited and enthusiastic about our planet.”

aerial-landscape

camels

The interview is full of inspirational quips and stories about capturing moments and finding little details. His demeanor is calm and comforting–he makes it all look so easy.

“I once did a story on the Sonoran Desert. I went down this one little road in Mexico, must have been down that road, like, a dozen times, and every time I went down I saw different things. I just kept finding different ways of looking at it, and it was just endlessly wonderful.”


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Watch Divergent Full Movie Stream Free Online 2014

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In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.

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Storyline
DIVERGENT is a thrilling action-adventure film set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it's too late.


Genres: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Release date: March 21, 2014 (USA)
Director: Neil Burger
Adapted from: Divergent
MPAA rating: PG-13
Sequel: Insurgent


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The Imagine Subscriptions Newsletter - 31 March 2014

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In Poppit!, the object is to pop groups of 2 or more like-colored balloons so that you can release the "prizes". You must pop groups of 2 or more-single balloons cannot be popped. After you pop balloons, balloons below the ones you've just popped will rise upwards (or inward) to fill the gaps.


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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Bird Photography: How to Take Great Bird Photos

Bird Photography: How to Take Great Bird Photos

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Bird Photography: How to Take Great Bird Photos

Posted: 29 Mar 2014 06:06 PM PDT

One of the most popular aspects of animal photography is bird photography. Taking perfect pictures of birds in the wild can be very challenging, but you can create many wonderful photo opportunities in your own backyard.

bird photography

“Chaffinch on Cherry Blossom” captured by John Booth (Click image to see more from Booth.)

Setting up your Backyard Photo Shoots

The biggest challenge isn’t actually attracting birds to your yard. Once feeders are out and discovered, word will get around fast! The biggest challenge is getting the birds to perch where you want them. So before setting up your feeding stations and birdbaths, consider the locations carefully.

Choose locations that won’t make the birds easy prey for cats and other predators, and at the same time that will provide you with the opportunity to photograph them with nice backgrounds and good angles.

Do remember that if you set feeders out in the winter to consistently provide quality seed so your feathery subjects aren’t filling up on something like bread that won’t provide them with the energy needed to stay warm at night.

Birdbaths also provide good photo ops, and bird houses will help encourage birds to hang out in your yard.

backyard bird photography

“Robin on the Bird Bath” captured by John Booth (Click image to see more from Booth.)

If your goal is to attract certain species of birds, check with The Audubon Society to see what types of seeds or plants (in the case of birds that won’t take their meals at feeders) are best. You can also find good tips at the National Wildlife Federation’s Gardening for Wildlife pages.

Don’t limit your photographs to the bird feeders and baths either. These will attract birds to your yard that will perch on tree limbs and fences nearby, so when you have your camera in hand, scout out these areas too.

Camera Settings for Bird Photography

Have you ever noticed that birds are in almost constant motion? When eating, their little heads are bobbing up and down, and when they are on the ground they are always looking this way and that for predators. The best setting for your bird photography will be a high shutter speed, so use Sports mode or set your shutter speed to at least 1/250.

high-speed bird photography

“Orange Breasted Sunbird” captured by Patrick Benade (Click image to see more from Benade.)

If you have an optical zoom on your compact digital or a telephoto lens on an SLR, this will make taking pictures a whole lot easier. An optical zoom of 6x, depending on the camera, can give you about the same magnification as a 200mm lens, meaning a photograph taken from about 10 feet away could look like a close up.

Some of the so called “bridge cameras” offer zooms from 10 to 20 feet, but not all produce quality results, so check around before purchasing. You may also need a tripod or other camera stabilizer when using the high range zooms, and as always, opt for optical.

Given a long enough lens, you can get some wonderful pictures of birds in flight or perched high up in trees too. Professional nature photographers often use a 600 lens to capture images with good detail of birds in flight or far away.

Telephoto lenses of this size are very expensive, but there is another way, brought to us from birders. It’s called digiscoping. With this method, you combine the birder’s spotting scope with a digital camera.

Blue skies are best for pictures of birds in flight. And the bluest sky of the day is often that hour after dawn. Also, look for patterns when you may have flocks of birds that fly over your yard at certain times of day. Or, if you want to photograph birds of prey, such as osprey, go to a lake or river early in the evening when they fish. This is also a good time for soft, even, and warm lighting.

bird in flight photography

“Egret” captured by Patrick Benade (Click image to see more from Benade.)

Hopefully by using these tips, you’ll not only attract more birds to your yard for more bird photo opportunities but capture some fantastic pictures that you’ll be proud to display.

About the Author:
Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames and loves taking pictures. Your Picture Frames makes it easy for you to find just the perfect frame for your photo or artwork.


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Interesting Photo of the Day: Tiny Planet Panorama of the Bonneville Salt Flats

Posted: 29 Mar 2014 03:07 PM PDT

Tiny planet photos have been gaining popularity, and the reason is clear when you see examples such as this photo of the Bonneville Salt Flats:

Bonneville Salt Flats Tiny Planet (Via Imgur. Click for larger size.)

The photo was taken at the Bonneville Salt Flats, an area in Northern Utah well known for hosting several land speed record events.

These types of tiny planet images are made from a traditional panoramic portrait and are made into a sphere during post processing. It is possible to make tiny planet images in Photoshop, but there are also apps available on bot iOS and Android mobile devices.


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How Some Amazing Composite Photography Was Done for the Fiat Car Brand (Video)

Posted: 29 Mar 2014 01:18 PM PDT

When Dave Hill was approached by car manufacturer Fiat to create a series of images for an advertising campaign that would be featured in Vanity Fair magazine, he was thrilled at the opportunity to work with the company a second time after his first experience with the car makers back in 2012. The new shoot would involve four different images, each paying homage to a specific film genre. Take a look at the mini-documentary for some behind the scenes footage and insights from the photographer himself:

To complete the entire campaign, each of the four film genre shoots was shot over the course of a day in various locations.

The Sci-Fi Shoot

The crew took to the desert where they transformed a section of the sand into a road and used lifts to hoist the car above the ground. Using various light sources, such as Profoto Octos and different colored gels, the car was lit to make it appear as though it was being beamed up to outer space.

fiat_ad_campaign_1

Sci-Fi

The Film Noir Shoot

Hall says the film noir shoot was one of his favorites. It was shot on a Paramount Films back lot in black and white to create the moody feel the genre is known is for. The crew spent a couple of weeks getting the lot to look exactly as they wanted it. This included taking out some streetlights and adding in features, such as the neon cafe sign you see in the background. Fog machines added further drama. After all of the preparations, the shoot went off without a hitch.

fiat_ad_campaign_2

Film Noir

The Thriller Shot

This photo required a lot of foresight, as many aspects that made the final image had to be shot individually and composited in during post production. The car was shot separately and lit using a large wall of white diffusion. The trees, fog, and the light in the window of the house were all added in post.

fiat_ad_campaign_3

Thriller

The Action Shoot

This shoot also required a lot of post production to create the final image. The cars were shot separately, as well as the actor jumping, who was actually suspended from ropes in the safety of a closed parking lot. The buildings, helicopter, and background elements were shot individually and added into the final image.

The Action Shot

Action

For some of the shots Hall also used an inexpensive Sony HD video camera to broadcast a live view of the scene. This assisted with lighting and eliminated the need for taking test shots all day. This was a good piece of insight that could be applied to many different photo shoots.

“In the end it was a crazy month of production that resulted in four very different but fun images. I’m so lucky to be able to do car ads that are so far from the norm.” –Dave Hill


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Beautiful Imagery from New York Ballet’s Street Art Installation (Video)

Posted: 29 Mar 2014 10:39 AM PDT

A Parisian street artist known only as “JR” has been making waves in the international art scene for a few years now. So much so that the New York City Ballet contracted him to design their latest art installation. You can check out the part-documentary, part-trailer for the exhibit here:

The trailer makes the final product look intriguingly ambiguous, but it definitely looks cool. JR’s trademark is taking powerful photographs and pasting them–large-scale–on physical boards and walls across Paris.

“It’s just a portrait. For me, it has no meaning until I do something with it. The moment I started pasting photos on the street, I realized the power of paper and glue. The power of actually an image on the street, and how people would actually react to it.” – JR

paste-wall

JR works in large-scale prints pasted across the streets of Paris.

black-and-white-photography

He uses the movement of ballet in his photographs, generating powerful and evocative shapes out of human bodies. The ballet was a natural fit. The end product, a massive cloud-like eye, was pasted on the floor of the NYCB’s main hall.

french-artist

This photographic work was pasted on the floor of the New York City Ballet’s main hall.

“The skills of dance help the artwork become such another piece.” – JR 


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