Mom has my back!

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Photography Workshops, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2018 by lilybug1960

Mom has my back.
 
While our group was at Harris Neck NWR last Friday, we were entertained with a moment of nature. We could hear the grunts of baby alligators but had not seen them until we saw movement from a White Ibis. There were 2 very nervous young alligators on an open area and a White Ibis was foraging the shoreline. The gators were backing up as the Ibis approached, but then Mom emerged from the water on the bank and one of the baby alligators suddenly became brave and started leaping at the Ibis. The Ibis stopped in its tracks, stood still for a little while, weighed out its options, and flew off. It is amazing how possible prey becomes predator when Mom shows up!
 
Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f8, ISO 800, shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second, Sirui N3204X tripod and PH20 Gimbal head, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional
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Immature White Ibis

Posted in Bird Photography, Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Photography Workshops, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2018 by lilybug1960

Immature White Ibis.
 
I have to be honest, I am kind of unprepared with my post today. We experienced a fast moving wildfire, due to high winds, on the mountain yesterday and sleep did not come easy last night. Living on a mountainside, has great benefits like the view, wildlife and a mostly peaceful life. What we all fear up here is a fire that starts downhill from us because fires naturally move quickly up a mountain, add high winds and it can be deadly and devastating. It started around the mountain to the east and notifications went out to our neighbors to be prepared to evacuate. The winds kept the fire to our east, but it didn’t make it any easier. We live in a community of like minded people who love our lives up here and when one person suffers we all suffer. Bulldozers and Firetrucks raced up the hill and began digging firebreaks below 3 houses. They started wetting down the area to help as well. With their hard work, the fire was contained and I believe there was no damage to any of the houses. Thank you to those who rushed into harm’s way to keep all of us safe.
 
With that, I did photograph many things beside Driftwood Beach. I led a group on a field trip to Harris Neck NWR. One subject that jumped out visually to me was this immature White Ibis on a perfect diagonal snag. Time for a little rest…
 
Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f8, ISO 1250, shutter speed of 1/250th of a second, Sirui N3204X tripod and PH20 Gimbal Head, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #BirdNirdvana

A Review of Night Sky Settings

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Photography Workshops, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2018 by lilybug1960

A Review of Night Sky settings.
 
I was really fortunate that in my 2 shoots on Driftwood Beach I was able to have the Milky Way present in the sky for one of them. It was questionable for a while with the haze, and never did clear completely, but it was enough for me. I wanted to take a moment and talk about the settings I use for night skies. They are a starting point and can vary from place to place and should simply be used as just a starting point. First, my lens of choice is a Tamron SP f2.8 Di VC USD lens set at 15mm on a full frame camera, in this case the Nikon D-850. I shoot in Manual Exposure and Manual Focus modes setting the shutter speed to 30 seconds, aperture at f2.8, and ISO to 3200. I use the RAW setting on the camera since I will be adjusting the White Balance in Lightroom. On this lens I set the focus ring to infinity, on otherslenses I will back it off just a little. A must is a sturdy tripod and ballhead, for this image the Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead. A cable release or self-timer is needed to minimize camera shake. When I did this scene I did my first exposure at ISO 3200, but it was a little too bright, so I brought the ISO down to 1600. You want the image to be bright on the LCD, but you do want to see your Milky Way, be careful about it being under exposed, you will need the extra light for the processing of the image. After your first exposure, zoom in on the LCD to make sure your stars are good “point” sources of light, if not, adjust your focus. That is why I love this lens, it is always spot on at the infinity mark.
 
Get to your location and let your eyes adjust, use an App to locate the “Galactic Core” and move around to set your composition. Be patient and learn to process the image in Lightroom or another program, because more than half the image is achieved in the post processing. Most of all have fun!
 
#WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional

Tips for shooting at Driftwood Beach

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Photography Workshops, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2018 by lilybug1960

Tips for shooting at Driftwood Beach.
 
I just returned from 5 days on Jekyll Island while attending and presenting at the Annual Expo for the Georgia Nature Photographers Association. I wanted to share some of my observations as tips for shooting on Driftwood Beach and some notes on the Expo as well.
 
Driftwood Beach is much like shooting on any beach with some special subjects to consider. The trees, or driftwood, is a key to the composition so make sure you scout to find the tree that appeals to you the most. The trees will be on dry land except for rising or falling tides near their peaks. I personally like to have swirls and wet sand around the wood to reflect the morning sky. Using a simple App to determine where the sun will rise on the horizon will help you to get set up for that perfect image. Plan to be able to shoot on a couple different days just in case the weather conditions are perfect. Lower humidity will hopefully eliminate some of the haze on the horizon and help if you want to shoot sunstars. A slight breeze will help with the gnats, and believe me, you want the help with the gnats! I put some type of bug spray on every 15 minutes, and if you miss a square inch, they will find it. I like the smooth water so for me using a Neutral Density filter is a must. A circular polarizer will remove the reflection, so an ND filter is better. You will want either a 4 stop or 6 stop. I use the square filters from Sirui. When the sun is rising and the detail in the foreground and sky are so dark due to the sunlight, a Reverse Graduated ND filter is needed. I used a 2 stop Reverse Graduated ND filter for my images. A good tripod is needed as well for longer images. Watch the legs to make sure they aren’t in the water because it will sink in the middle of your exposure and cause blur. Be ready to run around and work other trees as well, and most of all have fun.
 
The GNPA Annual Expo kicked off Thursday with some pre-conference classes and workshops. I taught a Macro class and then we went out to shoot around the building. On Friday I took a group to Harris Neck NWR, which is an incredible location and everyone should visit it, even if it is just to see the birds that visit and reside there. Once the Expo started officially and all the presentations were in one location, the break out sessions and meetups were great because you got to meet so many new folks, shoot with friends and people who share the same passion for nature. The Expo, to me, isn’t about all the presentations or workshops, its about the sharing of knowledge between photographers, the camaraderie that is there. I never leave one of these events that I don’t see the formation of lifelong bonds and friendships. For me, seeing so many people that come hoping to walk away with more knowledge is a personal goal to make sure I do my best to give them that which they seek. I hope most of all to inspire people to try new things, shoot new places and most of grow their passion for photography and nature. I hope everyone will check out the GNPA or NANPA, or the local equivalent, wherever you live. Go to their meetings and conferences, you won’t regret the experience!
 
Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-850, Manual Exposure mode, f22, ISO 64, shutter speed of 15 seconds, Sirui 4 stop Neutral Density filter and 2 stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density filter, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L slingbag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #MindShiftGear

Finishing your vision

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2018 by lilybug1960

Finishing your vision.
 
I have posted 3 images from my experience on Thursday morning at Driftwood Beach, but when I left I was saying to myself…”if I only”. If I only had 5 more minutes to shoot that tree with the long branch in the foreground, if I only could be there when the tide was higher, and so on. You can never really finish your vision without visiting on different days and in different conditions. I went back Saturday morning with Ken Hubbard to shoot and it looked like we were set for an “epic” sunrise complete with some nice clouds and high tide. However as the sun approached the horizon, there was just enough haze to prevent the clouds above us to light up dramatically. It didn’t stop us though from working more compositions that we could visualize in our minds. One for me was to try and capture a sunstar in the crook of the branch. So I positioned myself to a point where I could capture that and used a 4 stop Neutral Density filter and a 2 stop reverse Graduated Neutral Density filter to hold back a little light on the horizon. I felt really good about the images I captured, but I did walk off the beach saying..If I only…
 
Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-850, Manual Exposure mode, f16, ISO 64, shutter speed of 8 seconds, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, Sirui 4 stop ND filter and 2 stop Reverse Graduated ND filter, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L slingbag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #MindShiftGear

Driftwood Beach Sunstar

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2018 by lilybug1960

Driftwood Beach Sunstar.
 
I have shared the experience leading up to this image, shooting the Milky Way, then sunrise, now walking off the beach, and it was just a perfect ending to a perfect morning of shooting. When the Sun had appeared over the horizon it was behind some haze, which made for some great imagery, but I couldn’t put a sunstar into my frame because I needed a clean light source. As my friend and I started to leave we approached the tree where we had started our morning’s journey, the sun emerged from the haze and became a point source of light. Knowing if I could place that light partially behind a branch, I could achieve the sunstar I was hoping for all along. I found a nice perspective to place the burst in a hole between branches causing some nice diffraction of light, set my aperture to f22 to get nice length in the burst’s spires, quickly metered and adjusted my shutter speed, and “click”, done!
 
I talk often about a photograph being nothing more than a “moment in time”, and I try to teach my students to improve their photography, think of every click as creating an image vs simply capturing a photograph. I tell them an image has a process the photographer goes through to capture it, the thought, the selection of a lens, the position we place our cameras, we try and capture our feelings and emotions in our images. I tell them to improve, stop taking photographs, start creating images. I feel that instead of capturing a moment in time (whatever that shutter speed is), start capturing and creating a memory of that moment or of that event. Start creating an image that you can share that memory and evoke the emotions of the viewer to feel they were there with you when you created that image. I will have vivid memories of the morning each time I see one of the images I created, and remember the people we met, and the experience we shared, and I will remember walking off the beach seeing the sun shining through the window of the branches.
 
Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-850, f22, ISO 64, shutter speed of 4 seconds, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, Sirui 4 stop ND filter, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L sling bag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #SiruiFilters, #MindShiftGear

Driftwood Beach Sunrise

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2018 by lilybug1960

Driftwood Beach Sunrise.
 
As the Milky Way disappeared and the Moon was rising higher into the sky, color began appearing on the horizon. I looked around the beach for other subjects for my foreground for my “perfect” image. I saw this great driftwood log laying about 15 feet from a tree in the surf. There were other photographers gathered near it but no one shooting with it in their compositions. Like a wish come true, they all stepped away from it as the sun started to rise over the horizon. Luckily no one had left foot prints beside it. I ran over and started working it into my scene. The light started getting brighter so I placed a 4 stop Neutral Density filter in front of the lens and was able to keep my exposures long enough to give the water some movement. This was critical for what I envisioned for my image to reflect the warmth of the sky. I hoped for a wave to come up and touch the end of the log and my patience paid off as for one exposure during my shooting, a wave did just that. I was covered in sand after getting the perspective I needed for the image, but I could have cared less, sand washes out of your clothes! We spent a few more minutes on the beach before starting to head back to the car. One final image would complete the morning, but you have to wait until tomorrow to see that one!
 
Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-850, Manual Exposure mode, f11, ISO 64, shutter speed of 2 seconds, Sirui 4 stop Neutral Density filter, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L sling bag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #SiruiNDFilters