Outdoor photographers are trained to recognize good light. For most situations, this means the “golden times” right after sunrise and before sunset, and sometimes the pastel light just before dawn and at dusk. Of course, depending on your latitude, the “golden hour” can sometimes be more like the “golden ten minutes.” Other times, sunrises and sunsets just don’t happen. Clouds in the wrong place on the horizon can kill your chance at amazing light, and weather conditions are often unpredictable, as my students discovered a few weeks ago in South Dakota, where we got fogged in until after 10AM one day.
I doubt that I am the only one that becomes obsessive when it comes to packing for a photo workshop. It may seem peculiar that a man whose profession it is to coordinate photography workshops here in Iceland, and who rarely—if ever—attends a workshop as a student, would be writing on this topic.
For many years, we've been told that color casts—those shifts in color towards blue or yellow—are a bad thing and should be corrected at all costs. In the film days we used color-correction (CC) filters to battle them and, in the digital age, most choose to set their cameras to auto-white-balance (AWB), in effect telling the camera to detect and neutralize color casts automatically. After all, neutral whites and lack of color casts are desirable and natural, right? Wrong!
The off camera flash is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in our camera bags. It can serve as our main light source, an accent light, or be used to simply fill in shadow areas of a high contrast scene. Recently I have been experimenting using the flash to illuminate foreground subjects in the landscape. I first came up with the idea when photographing a lava beach in Hawaii.
Photographers are, in many ways, perfectionists. We thrive at manipulating every detail of our surroundings to exact personal preferences. We tweak, nudge and adjust things over and over again until everything is exactly the way we want it. We shoot hundreds upon hundreds of images with the hopes of capturing a few that live up to our own impossible standards.
Birds have captivated wildlife photographers from the beginning of photography, but no group of birds are more intriguing than hummingbirds. It's not difficult at all to photograph them when you see them in the garden hovering above a flower, but unless you do it right your efforts will only result in mediocre pictures.
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