How to Be a Storm Chasing Photographer

We see a lot great photography these days of severe storms from all around the globe and I admit I am fascinated by lightning and thunder and photographing these events from a safe place. While we can have severe storms anywhere In the United States, it’s the Midwestern states that seem to get a lot … READ MORE +

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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holiday, ornaments, christmas, tree, outdoors,

My Favorite Wireless Triggering Device

I like using flash for my outdoor photography: occasionally with nature subjects and quite often with adventure imagery and there are many options to choose from. I have quite a few and I started using them many years ago in my commercial photography.

I started with the Quantum Radio Slaves as triggers and they worked great allowing me to trigger flash/strobes or trigger my camera as well. They are still out there but no longer the market leader as far as I can tell. That goes to Pocket Wizard, which I also have a few of.

Mine is an older version that still going strong and I use it as well for triggering strobes or flash. These guys make many variations and have a solid reputation for quality. I also have a TT1 and TT5 for my Canon flashes and unlike other PW’s, the TT1/TT5 allow the use of TTL with flash while other PW’s only trigger the flash. But it is this unit that I am quite impressed with.

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OpenSea Diary: Mora and Moynihan Film the South Pacific

In a recent post we wrote about Mora and Moynihan and the preparations to embark on a sailing adventure across the South Pacific filming nature, the environment and the cultures. Here is the first of their many (to come) field reports.

Opensea Film and Photography duo, Nia and Jon Moynihan, have set sail again across the Pacific. This time we have crossed 1,100 nautical miles of deep blue water to reach the Melanesian shores  of Vanuatu – a nation known for the happiest people in the world. Along the way we have come to more realizations about the conviction it takes to
photograph the natural world. Though the long passage was filled mostly with beautiful weather, at times the extremities of the wind strength and the wave size was overwhelming.

Sometimes we ask ourselves “what makes people do it?” What makes a person head out into the middle of nowhere? Maybe for us its to be alone, away form the world, and then to arrive in new places filled with adventure and the unknown. Perhaps its also the peace and mental tranquility that comes with being the only person around for hundreds of miles, only accompanied by the repose of nature, birds, and sea creatures. Therese a sense of connectedness that comes over a person when confronted with the strength of raw nature.

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Moynihan and Mora Set Sail to Film OpenSea: Journey Across the Pacific…and Need Your Help

Editors note: Nia Mora and Jonathan Moynihan are U.S. based photographers and filmmakers and are about to set sail to film and photograph their sailing documentary: OpenSea; Journey Across the Pacific. They will sail across the South Pacific and film the adventure, the cultures and people, and sea life for their documentary film with an end goal of raising awareness to the South Pacific’s peole and natural treasures. They have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project. The following essay describes their first sailing adventure, the inspiration for the new OpenSeas project. Stay tuned as they promise to keep us updated with videos and photographs of this unique journey and film project.

“OpenSea: Journey Across the Pacific” began in the hopes of finding footage about sailing the South Pacific Ocean. We didn’t find much, so we decided to make our own film. We spent 28 days at sea, sailing from Hawaii to French Polynesia in our 35 foot sail boat. Along the way, the project developed into something we felt we had to share with others. We learned things about the way other people lived, which changed the way we ourselves live. We saw the majesty and diversity of the Pacific islands, which taught us about the raw and enduring strength of nature. We braved the ocean, endless blue water for weeks on end, which taught us about ourselves.

We have already sailed 6,500 nautical miles. We have documented places such as The Marquesas,The Tuamotus, The Society Islands,
Niue, and New Zealand’s North Island and Hauraki Gulf. Most people haven’t heard of these places, a lot will never see these places. Our goal is to make a visual montage and a narrative sharing the experience of traveling by sail boat across the ocean and the things a person learns along the way. We’d like to post this documentary for free, online by September, 2014. This project is non-profit, as we believe everyone should be able to share with us what we have seen and where we have been on our amazing journey across the Pacific.

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How to Tell Stories With Light

As we document the world with our cameras, light is a crucial ingredient to successful photographs. It’s that light that tells the story we want told. It tells us the shape of the land with highlights and shadows. It can tell us the temperature outdoors with cool light or warm light. Light can tells us whether the subject is soft or rough or large or small.

Light tells the story of the subject!

It is these stories that are important to convey and if you have a photograph that does not tell the story you want told, consider the lighting as one reason.

Whether photographing outside or inside, we don’t always have the light we need so the solution to that problem is to Make Light! With a basic flash unit you can create light that tells the story you want told.

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How I Created a Top Selling Stock Photo

As outdoor photographers working to make a living, what we shoot, how we shoot it, and how we market it is the very foundation to how we make it in the business.

Sales equal income and that income fills the gas tank for the next trip (and more) and today we need a lot of sales to keep things moving.

It is always challenging for many photographers to differentiate between where they want to go photograph and where they should go photograph. In other words: creating photography the market wants. How do you know what the market wants? Well its research and a lot of it and still you just might not be able to find all the dots to connect.

There are many places I want to photograph where I just don’t know what markets might want them, beyond calendars and other ‘pretty picture’ print markets, but I go anyway. To make sure I create imagery that some market will want I broaden the scope of what I shoot to not only landscapes but adventure scenes when possible.

While I have licensed volumes of nature photography over the years, I have made more money on a per sale basis with adventure images strong on concept. So when i head off for a region where I want to photograph the landscape, I prep and plan to shoot adventure style images as well.

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The Future Professional Outdoor Photographer is………

…a storyteller!

You have certainly heard, maybe even said it yourself; anybody can take a picture! While that has always been true even before digital, the level of high quality photography is more prevalent today and easier to achieve. Why is that?

It is a combo of many things. Digital technology has made the ability to capture and process an image very easy. Software has brought many tools for interpreting a RAW file into a unique personal vision for the photographer. The web has brought us the greatest learning tools ever known. It simply is not that hard to learn how to create wonderful photography.

Yet one thing has always been there challenging professional photographers. It has been there from the early days of film to the today’s digital world. It is the biggest roadblock to success in photography.

Maintaining a current business model!

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Shoot Adventure Silhouettes for More Marketable Imagery

Often when we photograph we are concerned about good light throughout our subjects and light that provides enough detail to tell the story we want told. We might use reflectors, flash, or HDR techniques to maintain important detail with strongly lit subjects.

But there are also times when we can create simpler photographs that tell a strong story and silhouettes are easy way to do that. They can tell just as effective of a story, set a mood, or create mystery and it’s those storytelling images that buyers of imagery look for when licensing images.

Last year we ran a post on creating nature images using the silhouette technique. These images included Sajuaro cactus,  lighthouses, forests, and windmills. What’s different is these images are adventure images and add the human element, a proven ingredient of top selling images. If you are an adventure photographer then silhouettes are one more approach to telling the adventure story and create more marketable images.

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