Photo Tip: Photograph Birds at Eye Level ____ 2012/06

At an April presentation “ Adventures in Bird Photography” at Rainier Audubon, I listed a few tips for photographing birds. A short list, and the tip I thought most salient was “photograph the bird at its eye level”. For intermediate bird photographers—especally those passionate for more after their early forays at bird photography—I can’t think […]

Photo Tip: Gearing Up! ____ 2012/04

We all make decisions about photography gear based on perceived need, cost or cost-effectiveness and—as pro photographer John Shaw pointed out—the “lust factor”. I’m guilty on all counts. Here’s what I did last month. Spring is always a transition. In our local (Kirkland, WA) watershed park, Indian Plum blossoms early. Next up are the dazzling […]

Clipped Bird Wing Repair in Photoshop Elememts 8 ____ 2011/07

A throw-away image rises to four-stars. I was in Eastern Washington last week at a Williamson’s Sapsucker nest site. They’re interesting birds, and unlike other woodpeckers, the male and female look completely different. The male is a black and white typical of woodpeckers, but the female is brown with spectacular white barring on the wings. […]

Canon 7D: AI Servo Set-up for BIF (Bird in Flight) _ 03/2010

I bought a Canon 7D in December, and have used it for some tough bird in flight (BIF) shooting, as well as for perched but flighty songbirds. My hope for the 7D was that I finally had a camera that could nail a high percentage of BIF shots, images that my primary camera, the Canon […]

Lightroom 2 Spot Removal (on steroids) ___ 02/2010

Finished image after clone and cropping is much stronger than original.

The Spot Removal tool introduced in Lightroom 2 was a nice feature, part of set of tools that allowed manipulation of individual pixels on RAW files. Almost coincidently, though, manufacturers introduced dSLR cameras with self-cleaning sensors that worked so well Spot Removal was rarely needed for dust touch-up. I nonetheless use the tool frequently—for wildlife […]

Photo Tip: Bird Photography Kayak __ 07/2009

I’ve photographed birds with a 500mm f/4 from kayaks since 2003, when I mustered the courage to risk the big, expensive glass for the task. Since then I’ve used the same set-up in a dozen or so different kayaks—kayaks from my own fleet, outfitter kayaks and rentals. All of these were closed-deck boats, which offer […]

Photo Tip: A Matter of Numbers ___ 02/2009

If you work at composition—and what photographer doesn’t—you’re probably aware that number is a compositional element, and a powerful one. Consider that composition is a way of organizing a photograph. The best compositions paring down, simplifying, gett to the essence. It puts a stamp on who you are as a photographer.Number is one of many […]

Digital Thinking: A Vertical from a Horizontal __ 01/2009

For many of us, shooting verticals takes a conscious effort. The comfortable grip of most cameras—especially most dSLR’s—induces “landscape” shots. Only high-end dSLR’s have a built-in vertical grip that helps make “portrait” shooting routine. Still, rotating the camera 90° involves either a thought like “I should get this in a vertical for its cover potential”; […]

Photo Tip: Digital Thinking __ 07/2008

Edited 3/15/2013. Photographing with today’s  digital SLR’s is the stuff of dreams: sub-$1000 cameras, instant feedback, cost-free shooting, on-the-spot ISO change, image quality superior to 35mm film. One consequence is we shoot way more, but taking advantage of digital isn’t just filling 32-GB cards in the hope of getting the shot.  As always, it still […]

Photo Tip: Handheld Super-telephoto Lens Hood __ 04/2008

Another once unthinkable shift for outdoor wildlife shooters is handholding the big lens. Tripods have always been the rule for telephoto work, but in good light—even in the film days—handholding a medium-telephoto 300mm  f/4 or 400mm f/5.6 for flight shooting was commonplace. Shoulder stocks or other aids helped smooth performance, as did electronic image stabilization. […]