Chickadee Flight Shot Challenge _____ 2014/05

It’s prime bird photography time, and my backyard chestnut-backed chickadees had eggs that hatched in a homemade nesthole May 9th. It’s a good photo-op, sunlit in the late afternoon, and with birds that tolerate my nearby presence. I shot a few “portrait-type” shots of the birds landing at the hole with bugs or grubs in […]

Photographer Kayak: Necky Elias ____ 2014/04

I’ve been paddling a fiberglass Necky Elias for a year now and I’m constantly reminded of its suitability for photographers. Our needs are a bit different from other paddlers; those needs include ample stowage, ample hatch and cockpit openings, and maneuverability. Speed is rarely an issue. Open ocean suitability is a plus. The Necky Elias […]

Ultralight Camera Bag—Reconsidered ____ 2014/03

In recent years while backpacking, I stowed my Canon 5D in a Tamrac 3330 Aero Zoom30 (7½W x 5D x 8H external). The 7 oz. bag is the lightest I’ve found that meets the need of housing a full-frame camera with zoom lens attached. It’s cheap at $20 (Amazon). In the field, I use the […]

A Most Important Thing ____ 2014/02

Early on, nature photographers are taught the necessity of using a tripod. The great teacher John Shaw calls the tripod a crucial, best single accessory. Pros use tripods. With a tripod you slow down, take control and become a better photographer. You can better fine tune compositions, pick and choose elements like line and shape, […]

2013 Favorite Images Critique ____ 2014/01

I wasn’t thinking I had many favorites when I created a 2013_best_images Collection in Lightroom from the filtered three-star-or-better images of 2013. But I found many I was quite fond of, and in a couple short sessions whittled those to ten. Often it’s the field experience as much as the composition that yields a favorite, […]

Lightroom 5 HSL Panel: More Pop and Mystery ____ 2013/12

Last year (2012/09 Photo Tip), I wrote about using Lightroom Development tools to create Pop and Mystery in a photo. The gist: darken skies, selectively increase color saturation and increase contrast. Ansel Adams famously said the negative is the score, the print the performance. The RAW file you create in camera is a digital negative; […]

Background in Wildlife Photography ____ 2013/11

Photographing elk is much like other wildlife photography, in that background is often key. Early in October I was in Jasper National Park, Alberta, waiting for the weather to break for a planned kayak paddle of Maligne Lake. While I waited I met a friend, Norm Dougan, by coincidence, and for two days he graciously […]

GoPro Hero3 Video/Stills Modes Illustrated ____ 2013/10

I’ve been a GoPro fan since they introduced their fish-eye lens—and particularly since the Hero2 intro—when I thought the quality was good enough to actually buy one. The wide-angle, distorted view of the GoPro perfectly captures the essence of the POV (point-of-view) video action cam. The Hero3 Black Edition—in many ways 2x better than the […]

Photo Tip: Microsoft ICE for panoramas ____ 2013/09

For Windows users—Vista, XP, Windows 7 or 8—Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor), version 1.4.4, generates single or multi-row panoramas with a speed and accuracy that leaves Photoshop eating dust. It’s a free, no-frills, stand-alone application. I downloaded it last month after having some difficulty with Elements 10’s Photomerge Panorama. Re-loading Elements 10, as well as […]

More Deep Trouble

In July, Sea Kayaker Magazine published a second volume to Deep Trouble, which was a treasure trove of sea kayaking accidents and lessons learned by authors Matt Broze, George Gronseth and Sea Kayaker editor Chris Cunningham, still timely today. Sixteen years later, More Deep Trouble is now available at Sea Kayaker Magazine or at Amazon. […]