Archive for June, 2008

Digital Essentials

June 23, 2008

There are thousands of photographic accessories on the market, some of which are convenience items and some that are required or “Must Haves”. In the coming months, I will be writing about accessories I’m using in my photography. My intent in writing these posts is to inform and educate. I will never recommend a product I have not thoroughly tested or personally own.

To start things off, I would like to recommend two inexpensive accessories (priced under $20.00 each or less than $35.00 in total) that I’m using everyday and would not want to be without.

The first item is the Giottos Rocket-Air Blower (large size). This product lives in my camera backpack and is indispensable to me. I use it to clean dust and debris off my camera body, lenses, and lens caps. I have also used the Rocket-Air to clean dust off my DSLRs imaging sensor with excellent results. This product is made by Giotto’s Industrial Inc., and is distributed by HP Marketing.

The second item is the Gepe Card Safe/Extreme Memory Card Protector. This product protects your valuable memory cards from damage. This is an extremely well made product that is both waterproof and crushproof. After using the Card Safe, I will never again store my memory cards in any other protective device. The Gepe Card Safe/Extreme Memory Card Protector is also distributed by HP Marketing.

These products are available through Unique Photo at http://www.uniquephoto.com/

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Nikon D300 Training Class

June 20, 2008

On Wednesday evening at 7PM on July 30, 2008, Christopher Knapp, Technical Sales Representative with Nikon Inc, will teach an in-depth two hour session on setting up and using the new D300 camera.

This course will benefit photographers of all levels who want to learn the features and capabilities of this highly sophisticated camera.

Participants should bring items for note-taking, and if you have a Nikon D300, please bring it with you, so you can follow along with Chris as he demonstrates the camera’s features and functions.

The class will be held at Unique Photo, 123 Hwy 46 (westbound) in Fairfield, NJ from 7 to 9 PM. Space for this event is limited to 50 people. Please register early to guarantee your seat. You can register online at http://www.unique-university.com/

Making Great Images in Bad Weather

June 17, 2008

In outdoor photography, some of the best shooting opportunities occur when the weather is less than ideal. This is true in landscape, close-up and wildlife photography. Photographs made in direct sunlight on cloudless days after the magic hours of early and late afternoon have a high probability of being ruined by excessive contrast, bad exposure, burned out highlights and poor color saturation.

I never plan a serious photo trip when the forecast is for bright sunlight with no cloud cover. My preference is to photograph in light overcast or in partly cloudy conditions. This is especially true in the spring, summer and early fall when the sun is high in the sky. Stormy weather is equally appealing to me. I look forward to being in the field right before, during and after a rain or snow storm.

Last week, I decided to visit Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey to photograph birds and wildlife. The weather forecast called for periods of moderate rain and cool temperatures, which didn’t present a problem since most of the photography at Brigantine is done from the comfort and protection of your vehicle.

Because of the foul weather, there were no other visitors or photographers at the refuge on this particular morning. I truly enjoyed the experience of being alone in this beautiful place. The wildlife, in contrast to human visitors was present in masses. I observed a wide variety of creatures including herons, ducks, geese, raptors and waterfowl.

The example presented below is my favorite image from this day.

Great Egret, Nikon D70S, Nikon 500mm f4 P

Time Spent Equals Results Achieved

June 10, 2008

Making professional quality photographs depends on many factors, some of which include having the right equipment (tools) for the job, being able to create artistic compositions, working in great light, being in the right place at the right time, and knowing your subject.  The last factor, not yet mentioned, is persistence and spending the necessary time and effort to “Get the Shot”.

Over the years, I have learned ” Time Spent Equals Results Achieved”.  A good photographer leaves little to chance and luck, especially if he or she earns income from their work.  As a serious and experienced photographer, I like to have control over as many variables as possible.  In outdoor photography, this is not always possible since subjects as well as backgrounds are unpredictable.  The one variable I do have under my control is my time and how many hours and how much effort I’m willing to put into a project. A case in point occurred a few weeks ago when I had an assignment to photograph an American Bittern at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey.

The American Bittern is not a rare species, but it’s shy and tends to stay in remote areas hidden from view in reeds and marsh grasses making it extremely difficult to photograph or view at close distances.  The image presented below was not an easy one to make.  I devoted almost 30 hours of my time to this project.  This photograph was made early one morning after almost two weeks of searching and waiting for the Bittern to appear in range of my camera.  By being persistent and not giving up, I was finally able to photograph this subject with my Nikon D70s and Nikkor 200 mm F4 EDIF AF Macro lens.