Watch Spirit Canoe: A Superb Video Story

The creative spirit that has motivated me through 35 years of photography, often yearns to do the same with motion shot using my HDdSLR. While I will probably never get there, this video is a great example of what I find so attractive with shooting video stories. Superbly done, the creators tell a inspirational story about a man on a canoe trip.

“SPIRIT CANOE is the mystic journey of a man who is in search of himself and navigating through a passage with the memories of his once self and a special figure who lingers in his soul. He is setting out on a quest, armed with his old map and small canoe, to venture the river in hopes that a new path will reveal a novel future, unfamiliar and restoring. This is a story of the spiritual compass that no one can ever expect to understand; it’s powers, it’s unknown.”

The angles, the lighting, the editing are a great learning experience for a novice film maker like me. It’s worth 5 minutes of your life to watch:

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How to Photograph a Hiker In the Forest with Flash and Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5

Flash is an excellent tool for photographing any subject outdoors. From wildflowers to people, action to adventure, the flash is an excellent lighting tool for outdoor and nature photography. In this video we show how to light a hiker in an old growth forest of ponderous pines with  a remote wireless Canon 580EXII flash on a light stand and Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5 wireless radio transmitters in a Strobist style photo shoot.

The amount of photo equipment required is minimal: a light stand and bracket to hold the flash. The flash and Pocket Wizards radio triggers. The camera and tripod. He used a Canon 70 – 200 f/2.8 zoom lens and a Canon 5D digital camera. See how to lighten and darken the background with shutter speed and then the RAW digital files are taken into the digital darkroom and sorted in Adobe Bridge and some light processing in Adobe Photoshop. Watch the video:

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Here’s One Photography Idea That Sells in Today’s Markets

It’s well known in the business of photography, that photographs of news worthy subjects sell and sometimes very well. I’ve written about this before and the need for outdoor photographers to create images the markets will want.

Paparazzi’s for example, have been known to make a fortune capturing images of celebrities in ‘news making’ situations. With some foresight and good ideas, so can nature photographers.

Outdoor photographers shoot just about every subject that has to do with the outdoors, nature, and how humans interact with the outdoors, but often they lack that news making ingredient. Those images often languish waiting for a buyer, if there ever is one. So what should you shoot? Here are some ideas.

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Watch Thomas Shahans’s Simple Technique for Photographing Creepy Crawly Things

I have never been that fond of bugs but this video had me mesmerized. Thomas Shahan, obviously loves bugs and when you see the brilliant and stunning macro images he captures, you might be mesmerized as well.

He photographs all sorts of bugs, spiders, and flying insects extremely close using very simple techniques. And he knows those bugs very well as he rattles off the names of each one in this video.

Thomas also is a talented artist and musician.

This video is well done as Thomas narrates (he should do natural history films) and i believe the music soundtrack is his music as well.

If you don’t get ‘bugged out’ watch the video below.

Read moreWatch Thomas Shahans’s Simple Technique for Photographing Creepy Crawly Things

The 10 Commandments of Professional Photography

Our world is jam-packed with photographers! Many position themselves as professionals, a claim anyone can make when there is no definitive criteria for qualification. But does it matter? While some see this as a problem in the world of professional photography, others view the low threshold as an opportunity to fulfill a dream.

While you might enjoy that debate, you may have already learned that titles, great equipment and even some beautiful photography means little when it comes to earning a decent living as a professional outdoor photographer. The ability to create great images has little to do with business success. What does matter is how you set up, build product and market your business. Here are 10 important considerations:

Plan and Vision

To realize your vision you must have a realistic plan that guides you along the journey.

If your vision is traveling the world and photographing anything you want with professional grade cameras in exotic destinations, then,

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Are You Working Hard to Be an Average Photographer?

I am in Arizona and the sunrise this morning was quote colorful. I kept thinking that I should have been out there to shoot it. It certainly would not cost me anything other than the time to go out and shoot. And I love to photograph!

I often ask myself; just what should I photograph or create that will earn me some money? Should I rise early every day, or most days that I am here, and go capture the sunrise? It is impossible to predict what might be discovered and immortalized in a digital file from a click of the shutter.  But one thing is certain: you won’t capture any great images if you are not out there!

That’s the goal: great images! Great Images that sell! But just what is a great image for today’s market? The bulk of what you see seems average. So I ask myself again: what should I photograph that will make a great image that sells? Should I go ahead and go shoot sunrise, not for the joy, but for my business? I am often torn. My career includes many episodes of feeling guilty when I saw something and I was not out there to capture it. That fear of missing out.

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How to Add a Sense of Scale to Your Landscape Photographs

When the landscape before us is wide and far reaching and stretches to the horizon, it is natural to want to frame our image to ‘take it all in.’ Many grand landscapes are captured just like this.

Sometimes to add a sense of visual depth we bring a foreground object up close in the frame to provide a better sense of how deep the scene is. However, on some occasions, your camera position may not lend itself to framing something close to the camera and it is these scenes that might require a new approach to providing that sense of grandeur.

Placing a subject close to the camera generally requires a wide angle lens and while that helps bring that foreground subject into the frame, it also can visually ‘push’ the grand scene in the background further away. But if you are zooming out to capture a segment of the grand scene, you leave out most foreground details and this can leave your image lacking that sense of immensity.

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How to Find the Magic In Winter Photography

For many photographers who live in the Northern hemisphere it is winter time and with a new season comes new opportunities to photograph.

Winter conditions can be just as exciting to photograph as the spring, summer, and fall, the conditions can present some challenges.

It’s obvious that snowy or icy winter conditions mean cold and preparing for those temperatures is a given: dress warm and protect your gear from getting wet. Beyond those, there are technical and creative considerations for great winter photography.

These include Exposure, White Balance, Contrast, and Lighting.

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Photographing the Land and Culture of China’s Southwest Frontier

As a travel photographer and photo tour leader, I’ve been photographing in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces for couple of years.  Yunnan is the most southwest province of China, bordering Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Guizhou adjoins Yunnan to the east. They are demographically the most diverse provinces in China.

There are 55 ethnic minority groups in China, over 35 of them are living in these two provinces, including: Miao, Yi, Dong, Zhuang, Hani, Bai, Tibetan, Yao, Thai, Lisu, Qiang, etc. Almost every group has its distinctive cultural traditions, folk customs, architecture, festivities, colorful dresses and handcrafts, which provide endless photography subjects. In addition, some landscapes in these two provinces are breathtakingly beautiful and unique. Overall, the cultural and natural beauties of these two provinces added luster to China’s southwestern frontier, they constantly attract visitors, especially photographers around the globe.

Here are the some highlights of my photographic journey through these two wonderful provinces:

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