Category Archives: equipment

Ever seen the inside of a Grizzly Bear’s mouth?

Check this out! Video footage of the inside of a grizzly’s mouth. A Go Pro camera was set up on the ground and two grizzlies wandered by. Apparently one thought the GoPro was pretty interesting and tried to eat it. And so, there’s some great footage, up close and personal, of the inside of a grizzly’s mouth. My what yellow teeth you have….

Now you know what it would be like to be a grizzly’s dinner and what the ‘view’ would be on the way down…. ūüėČ

I think this would be a great advertisement for GoPro. Can’t say their cameras aren’t durable!

Have a look and let me know what you think. Oh, and warning…. considerable saliva/goob involved – not for the faint of heart. ūüôā

Grizzly ate GoPro

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Filed under Digital Photography, equipment, nature photography, photography, technology, wildlife

What’s on the web for photographers? Part I

I recently received a really nice comment from a follower, who said:

Greetings! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading through your articles.
Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects?
Thanks!

This follower’s comment made the think of the photography resources I follow on the internet. There’s a ton of stuff out there and for me, the key is to limit my regular ‘surfing’ to the things I get the most out of or enjoy the most. I wish I had more time because the internet is packed with fabulous resources for photographers. But reality means I only have so much time in a given week to surf for all things photographic. And so, as an answer to my wonderful followers question, I’ve decided to list the top 15 websites, blogs and other resources I follow.

There are lots of others that I follow, some not-so-regularly, but I’m going to limit this to 15 sites – a three part series with 5 sites listed in each post. ¬†This way, you won’t have a honking big blog post to read and you’ll have a chance to visit each of the 5 sites and have a look before the next ones come out. And I’ve tried to keep the descriptions really short and just highlight some of the things I like about the site. The best thing is for you to click on the links and see them for yourselves.

So I hope this helps my kind follower and provides him/her with some great resources to check out. And for everyone else reading this post, maybe some of these will be new to you and offer some great new things to follow.

In no particular order, here are  5 photography websites that I tune in to regularly:

1. Jim Bradenburg’s website and blog

One of my all-time favourite photographers is Jim Brandenburg. He’s been around for a long time, makes incredible images, and has such a connection and passion for nature that I can’t help but like him. His images are stunning. Many of them stir the soul and communicate the deep love of nature that he feels.

Check out Jim’s website. His gallery is full of soul-stirring, inspiring images. You’ll also see Jim’s passion for conservation – he has his own charitable foundation for the preservation of native prairie habitat in southwest Minnesota.

Jim Brandenburg's website

Jim Brandenburg’s website

Jim also has a blog. He doesn’t post frequently, but what he does post is fun reading. I especially liked his posts about the new Nikon D800 camera that Nikon asked him to review prior to its release. ¬†I did my own blog posts on his review, which you can find by clicking HERE.

Check out Jim’s blog:

Brandenburg blog

I can’t let this opportunity pass without mentioning Jim’s iPad app. Definitely check it out! I have it and love it. It’s inspired me to make my own app (it’s in the works…). Click HERE to read my review of Chased By The Light.

2. Art Wolfe’s blog

Here is another master. Like Jim Brandenburg, he’s been around for a long time, but this is why he’s a master at what he does. Art’s images are nothing short of stunning. I love tuning into his blog because it’s always packed with images – some from his adventures, some from the workshops he teaches. He also announces photography contests, print sales and a host of other things.

Check out his blog by clicking on the thumbnail below…

Art Wolfe_blog

He also has some short instructional videos in his archive that are definitely worth watching…

Art Wolfe_instruct video

 

3. Photo News

If you haven’t seen this magazine, you definitely need to take a look! It’s a Canadian photography magazine – packed with tons of great info such as gear reviews, latest news in the photo world, photo tutorials, ¬†and a some online photo challenges where you can submit images. ¬†I just like this as a good, all-rounds newsy photo mag. You can subscribe to the magazine for FREE. To subscribe to the online version (saves on trees), all you need to do is type in your email address. Highly recommend you bookmark this site and sign up for the free online version of the magazine. Click HERE to visit the PhotoNews website.

Shell's List_PhotoNews

 

4. National Geographic Photography website

I almost feel like I don’t even need to write anything about this – NG speaks for itself. What I will say is that their site is more than ¬†a collection of stunning photos – candy for the brain! ¬†I love the video tutorials they have on their site. They are free and offer some great information from the masters themselves. I could easily spend have a day perusing NG’s photo site…..Click HERE to visit the NG Photo website.

Shell's List_NG Photography

5. Outdoor Photographer blog

Outdoor Photographer magazine has a great blog that I tune into. The blog posts are written by well-known photogs who know their craft well – ¬†folks like Jay Goodrich, Ian Plant, Jon Cornforth, and Michael Clark. Some of the posts are instructional ones describing a certain technique such as sharpening your images in Photoshop, others are about a photo shoot ¬†at a specific location, while in other posts, they present an image and talk about what they did to make that shot. Their blog posts are short and sweet and well worth tuning into. Click HERE to visit OP’s blog.

Shell's List_OP Blog

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED…… ¬†the next 5 are coming soon!

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, equipment, Featured Wildlife Photographer, learning, Nature, nature photography, Opinion, photography, technique, technology, Vision, Wildlife Photography

Earth & Light Digital Media for photographers

Earth & Light is a fabulous new website dedicated to selling digital media resources for photographers. The site has just been launched by acclaimed nature and travel photographer and writer, Richard Bernabe.

Earth & Light has only just been launched but already has 9 photography e-books for sale, with tons more coming!

Some of the e-books at Earth & Light Digital Media

Some of the e-books at Earth & Light Digital Media

 

Book topics range from lighting, composition and other instructional books…

Richard Bernabe's book on composition

Richard Bernabe’s book on composition

 

Ian Plant's book on great lighting for landscape photography

Ian Plant’s book on great lighting for landscape photography

 

 

… to those focused on specific subjects, such as my flower photography book and Justin Reznick’s book on photographing waterfalls and streams.

My fine art flower photography e-book

My fine art flower photography e-book

 

Justin Reznick's book on photography waterfalls and streams

Justin Reznick’s book on photography waterfalls and streams

 

 

There are also books focused on specific locations, such as Richard Bernabe’s books about Iceland, the Great Smokey Mountains, and South Carolina.

Richard Bernabe's book on Iceland

Richard Bernabe’s book on Iceland

 

All books are very well-priced at under $10 U.S. and are great value for the money.

Earth & Light isn’t just about photography e-books, it’s about a variety of digital media resources for photographers. The site has only just been launched, but coming soon are apps, videos, screen savers and tutorials. So check back frequently because a lot of fantastic new products will be added!

 

Earth & Light-1

 

I’ll be posting regular updates on the latest additions for sale on the website so check back here regularly. You can also keep on top of what’s new at Earth & Light by tuning in to Richard Bernabe’ blog.

 

We hope you’ll stop by Earth & Light for a look. It’s a great one-stop-shop for digital media resources for photographers.

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, equipment, Flowers, Landscape, learning, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, Opinion, photography, technique, Vision

A new cover for my Flower Photography e-book

I’m happy to say that my e-book, “Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips, has a new cover! It’s the same great book, but with a zoomier cover. And, not only is it available for purchase on my 44th Parallel Photography website, but it is now available through the fabulous new Earth & Light digital media website.

 

The new cover for my e-book.

The new cover for my e-book.

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Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, equipment, Flowers, learning, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, Photo-impressionism, photography, plants, technique, Wildflowers

Spectacular! My captive wildlife photo-shoot

I received my Christmas present a bit early this year. A few days before Christmas I headed up to Muskoka Wildlife Centre near Orillia, Ontario, Canada. For me, about a four and a half hour drive away. I’d been eyeing Ontario photographer, Raymond Barlow’s captive wildlife shoot at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre for ¬†several months. And well, since my hubby was going to be in New Zealand for Christmas, I figured it was time to treat myself and to get out and do something really fun for the holidays. Oh man, I was not disappointed….. (but I’m getting ahead of myself here).

RayBarlow_blogspot

Ray has an arrangement with the wildlife centre where he brings in small groups (max 6) of photographers for a special photo-shoot of some of the centre’s captive wildlife. It brings in revenue for the centre, promotes the centre, and provides (in my opinion) one of the BEST opportunities for photographing captive wildlife that we have around here.

So, I signed up, but tried not to get toooo excited about it because I didn’t want to have a preconceived notion of what it would be like, only to be disappointed by the photo opportunities. For me, this was basically an experiment. An adventure. I’d never photographed captive wildlife before. Initially I had mixed feelings about it. But hey, I’m a biologist. I know that unless I quit my day job and live like Grizzly Adams in the Canadian Rockies, that my likelihood of ever seeing a cougar in the wild, let alone photographing one, is about the same as the likelihood that I’ll win $50million in LottoMax. Actually, I think the probability of me winning the $50million is higher….

So, when you know that it might take 10 consecutive lifetimes to ever see an animal like that in the wild let alone capture it in pixels, you concede that photographing captive wildlife isn’t such a bad idea. And so, I signed up for Ray’s workshop.

Muskoka Wildlife Centre

We met at the wildlife centre at 9 am and Ray prepped us for the shoot by describing what the setting was like and what the best strategy was for getting good images. In retrospect, all excellent advice. We were then introduced to Dale Gienow, a co-founder of the wildlife centre, expert animal handler and just one heck of a nice guy (and also has the distinction of being the top jouster in Canada – go figure…). Dale gave us an introduction to the wildlife centre, why it exists and how it exists. I was surprised to learn that many of its resident animals are super-stars and that they should be signing autographed photos…. Dale routinely works as¬†Scientific Advisor for wildlife documentary films produced by BBC, National Geographic and aired on the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. I was surprised to hear of their international reputation, but once we were in the enclosures and working with the animals, it was abundantly clear that this was a top-notch facility, where the animals are treated like royalty and their health, happiness and safety is an absolute first priority. All I can say is…. IMPRESSIVE!

Dale described how we would be photographing each of the animals for that days photo-shoot: Timber Wolves, Cougar, Silver Fox, Canada Lynx and a Saw whet Owl. All of the larger mammals live in huge, outdoor fence enclosures that contain native vegetation. For all but the cougar, we were in the enclosures with the animals. At no point was I ever concerned about my safety. It was abundantly clear that Dale and his assistant were expert animal handlers and also knew each of these animals personalities like the back of their hands. This meant that we could relax, enjoy the experience, and make the most of our photographic opportunities.

Just as we set out, it started to snow. And snow. And snow. I mean, holy cow, it snowed! Heavy, wet snow. And lighting conditions were challenging – very dark. But hey, you make the most of your situation, whatever it is. I ended up shooting primarily with my Nikon 18-200 mm lens because we were so close to most of the animals. I lugged my Nikon 600 mm bazooka with me, but only used it for photographing Lulu, the super-star Saw whet Owl. We entered the huge, fenced enclosure and when ready, Dale let out two gorgeous Timber Wolves. A male and female pair. Stunningly beautiful animals! At first I cursed the heavy snow and low light conditions. I’d forgotten my lens hood and so snowflakes kept glomming to my lens. I’d quickly try to wipe them off, but instead, smeared water all over my lens. Arrggghhh! ¬†But I quickly adapted, got into a rhythm of shooting and made the most of it.

It’s funny how snowy, dull conditions that you first think are miserable shooting conditions and that you curse, quickly become some of the BEST shooting conditions you could ever imagine! Seriously! The photography was challenging. No, actually, that’s a gross understatement. This was some of the most challenging photography I’d EVER done. But oh, it was sooo much fun. I was on a high. The wolves would trot towards us in a relaxed way, pause for a few seconds, sniff around, and then trot off in another direction. All you could hear was the buzz of continuous shutter releases as we all went mad to make images. It was hard. And with the low light conditions, my shutter speed was too slow for a lot of the images and so a lot were blurry. But I was shooting with my Nikon D200 (my trusty, but way too old steed. It’s sooo time to upgrade). The only thing I don’t like about the D200 is that it’s old technology and so shooting at high ISO is not wonderful. Images can be pretty noisy, unlike the new Nikon sensors that let you shoot at high ISO and you don’t even notice a difference. Sigh…

But, you make the most of your situation and I did. When the wolves paused, I made the most of those opportunities and rattled off a lot of frames, careful to compose as best I could and ensure that the fencing was not visible in the background. Dale and his assistant were great at getting the wolves to move around so that there was lots of opportunity to photograph them with only a forest environment visible and no fence in the background. These guys were good, I mean, really good. They worked hard to help us get the good shots, but what I loved was that the animal’s welfare was always their top priority. Just the way it should be….

Female Timber Wolf at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Female Timber Wolf at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

It wasn’t till I got home and looked at my images that I saw how the slow shutter speed along with the heavy snowfall and dull light conditions made for magical shooting conditions. Have a look at my image of the female Timber Wolf, above. See how the falling snow and slow shutter speed create soft, white, vertical lines? And the dull light conditions actually created a soft feel to the images. Had I had a better camera for the shoot, I would have had a ton more images that were keepers. But I’m still happy with what I did get. And most of all, it was the experience of being in the pen with those wolves that was the real high.

Male Timber Wolf at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre.

Male Timber Wolf at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre.

Next on the photo-menu was the cougar. It’s a no-brainer to understand why we were not allowed inside the enclosure with it. Most of these animals have been hand-raised from a young age and so they are used to people. But still. This is a 150 lb cat with millions of years of evolution that have shaped its behaviour and instincts. ¬†So we went inside the outer fenced enclosure, but stayed outside the inner enclosure. This meant shooting through the chain-link fence. Another challenge. But to be honest, not that big of a problem. The cougar came so close to us that my 18-200 mm zoom was all that was necessary to capture some beautiful face shots. Dale and his assistant were there to keep things safe. When the cougar walked by us on the other side of the fence, we quietly took a step back just in case. But let me tell you, to be a foot away from a cougar and to have your eyes meet his…. it’s an experience that stirs your soul. I once had a mind-meld with a wild Beluga Whale in Churchill, Manitoba. Looking into the eyes of this cougar was on the same order as that. Indescribable….

Cougar at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Cougar at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Cougar at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Cougar at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Next on our photo safari was a Canada Lynx. For this one, we were in the enclosure with the cat. And what a cat it was. Wow…. Such a beautiful animal. Dale and his assistant kept the cat at a reasonable distance from us, maybe 6 feet away. It was perfect for making some amazing images. At one point I stopped shooting just so I could admire this beautiful cat – it’s huge, snowshoe paws, those dapper, black ear tufts, and the luxurious fur. Ya, I’m a biologist and so for me, it wasn’t entirely about the photography. It was about seeing these animals up close. Animals that even the most active outdoors person is so unlikely to ever encounter.

Canada Lynx at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Canada Lynx at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Next on our safari was a Silver Fox. We photographed him in the same enclosure as the Lynx (after the Lynx had been moved to another pen) and so were able to make images of it from 6 feet away. What a gorgeous animal. And those penetrating copper eyes against the black and smokey grey of its fur….

Silver Fox at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Silver Fox at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Our final photographic subject was a beautiful little Saw whet Owl, named Lulu. Lulu is a super-star! She’s the same individual animal that was used to make the Telus Mobility TV ads. So she’s a TV star. I know I should have asked for her autograph…. Dale placed her on several different branches to provide a variety of backgrounds and perches. This is where I hauled out my 600 mm bazooka, took several steps back and began shooting. Wow! The outstanding glass on that lens sure captures the fine details of feathers.

Lulu, the Saw whet Owl at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Lulu, the Saw whet Owl at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

After we’d finished our official photo-shoot, Dale invited us to wander around the centre on our own, to photograph other animals in the outdoor pens or to come back inside to meet the skunks, opossum, Northern Bobwhite, Blanding’s Turtle, and the variety of other interesting critters housed inside.

Saw whet Owl at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Saw whet Owl at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

All I can say is that photo-shoot was one of the BEST experiences I’d ever had. It was some of the most challenging shooting I’d ever done. But also the most satisfying. And to be honest, if I’d come away without any nice images, the entire experience still would have been worth every penny. Would I go back and do it again? You bet! In a heartbeat.

Silver Fox at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Silver Fox at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

A footnote: I was trolling through the Fine Art America website since I’m working on uploading some images to it for selling. Out of curiosity, I searched for images of wolves, cougars, foxes and the like. I have to say that I was appalled to see that only a few photographers actually listed their images as being those of CAPTIVE wildlife. In fact, the only ones who specified that theirs were images of captive wildlife were the professionals – people who are internationally renowned. The rest didn’t give it a mention. And I swear that one person had images that were also made at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre. Maybe I’m wrong, but the backgrounds looked awfully familiar….. My point here is that as photographers, I think we MUST be honest. I’m a biologist and so I know that most images of wolves, cougars and similar wildlife are of captive animals. Frankly, you can pretty much tell by the kind of image. Anything close up is captive. There were images by Paul Nicklen – images of Lynx and other wildlife that you know are authentic, that you know are of wild animals. But the rest….. come on guys… come clean. There’s an ethical issue here. If it’s an image of a captive animal, say so. Don’t try to pull the wool over the eyes of someone who doesn’t have the knowledge to know that the chances of photographing a cougar, close-up, in the wild are next to nil. ¬†And I don’t buy the excuse that they didn’t say they were wild. The omission of the word captive still makes you guilty in my mind. Let’s call a spade a spade….

Saw whet Owl at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Saw whet Owl at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Bottom line – this was an absolutely fantastic photographic experience on all fronts and I wouldn’t hesitant a second to recommend it. In fact, I hope I’m going back. Maybe in the fall, at the height of the fall colours and hopefully by then, with a better camera for the job….

Saw whet Owl at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Saw whet Owl at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Saw whet Owl at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

Saw whet Owl at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre

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Filed under conservation, Conservation & Environment, Digital Photography, equipment, learning, Mammals, Nature, nature photography, Opinion, photography, wildlife, Wildlife Photography, Winter

Photography Gift Ideas for Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching. A bit too fast, for me. I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping yet. And if you’re like me, you’re only just beginning to think of gift ideas. Or maybe you have a hard-to-shop-for person on your list? Don’t worry, here’s a bit of help.

I’ve put together a list of 12 great gift ideas for the photographer on your Christmas list. It doesn’t matter whether that person is a pro or just beginning, there’s something on this list for everyone.

Disclaimer: the info provided below is given purely as suggestion. I receive no sponsorship or endorsement from any of the companies listed below. These are just items that caught my eye and that I think might be great gift ideas for any photographer. These items are listed in no particular order.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…..

1.  Kwik Camo Blind

Does your photographer love to photograph wildlife? Birds in the front yard? If so, I highly recommend one of these. I already own a couple of blinds, but none is as portable and lightweight as this one and so I’ll be asking Santa for one of these this year. Two places that I know of that sell this item are the Naturescapes.net store and Outdoor Photo Gear. I’ve ordered from both companies in the past and am impressed with their prices and very fast shipping. Great, hassle-free online shopping.

Outdoor Photo Gear currently sells it for $99.95.¬†It’s also available in white for those hardcore photographers who are happy to sit out in the cold to get that great shot!

Kwik Camo Blind

Kwik Camo Blind also available for your winter photography

2. AquaTech Sensory Gloves

Now these babies look great! I’ve already snipped the fingers off a couple of pairs of gloves so that I can better operate my camera while wearing them. But this is pretty destructive. Instead, how about a pair of gloves made especially for the photographer? Warm and cozy, but with finger holes already in them. No hauling out the scissors to make your own finger holes. Waterproof and breathable. A must for anyone doing photography in winter or on cold, rainy days. Outdoor Photo Gear currently sells them for $49.95.

AquaTech Gloves

3. Apex Mini Bean Bag

¬†I own one of the bigger ones, but the mini is probably a better all-purpose bag. I highly recommend this item. I use it to steady my camera when I’m lying on my belly in the forest photographing spring wildflowers. It allows me to get down low, move my camera around, but also keep it steady. Also great for wildlife photography from your car window.

NatureScapes sells this for $84.95.

Apex Mini Bean Bag

4. Overboard Waterproof iPad Case

It’s not just the photographer who could use on of these. I frequently take my iPad out in the field with me, but I worry about getting it wet or banged up. One of these would be great!

Outdoor Photo Gear currently sells them for $47.95

Overboard Waterproof iPad Case

5. Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly Sensor Brush

Everybody who shoots with a dSLR needs to clean their sensor from time and time. And so another must-have a Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly 724 Super Bright Sensor Brush. It’s a fantastic product! I own an older model of this and I wouldn’t use anything else. A friend of mine killed one of his first dSLR cameras by scratching the sensor because he was using a cleaning kit that consisted of a padded bit on the end of a wooden stick. Turns out the stick can poke through if you press too hard. Ouch! With the Visible Dust sensor cleaners, no hard parts touch your sensor. It’s just a very soft bristle brush that rotates and grabs and attracts the dust and gunk off your sensor. They work really well. Highly recommended.

NatureScapes currently sells these for $120.95. They are kind of expensive, but well worth the price. And if you scratch your sensor while cleaning it, it’ll cost you far more than $120 to have your camera fixed!

Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly Sensor Cleaner

6. Alan Murphy’s new e-book, Photographer’s Guide to Attracting Birds

E-books are an excellent gift for your photographer friends and family. Personally, I think they are great value for money, e-books save trees since they aren’t printed, and these days ¬†everyone seems to have an iPad or some sort of tablet. And you can take your books with you anywhere without weighing down your luggage. If you don’t have an iPad or other tablet, don’t worry. You don’t need one to enjoy an e-book. You can read it on your desktop or laptop computer.

Alan Murphy’s e-book, available as a downloadable pdf for $50 (U.S.).

Alan Murphy’s new e-book, Photographer’s Guide to Attracting Birds, is a superb new book, the second on the topic that Alan has written. I’m going to write a more in depth review of this book soon, but suffice it to say it’s an excellent book. For anyone wanting to learn to photograph birds and how to create set-ups in your own front yard with attractive perches, this is THE book. I find the $50 price tag a bit hefty for an e-book, but Alan’s book is not only packed with lots of important information, I figure it saves me years of inventing the wheel myself, so to speak. Alan’s years of experience in figuring out what works best for attracting birds and getting those great images is worth the money for his book. I don’t hesitate to highly recommend this one!

You can purchase Alan’s latest e-book ¬†as well as his previously published e-book, The Guide to ¬†Songbirds Set-up Photography, directly from his website.¬†

7. Memory Card

Every digital camera needs a memory card on which to capture those amazing images. As a photographer, I can never have too many of these. There are a bewildering number of sizes and brands of cards these days. But I think there are three main considerations to take on board when thinking about buying one. First, make sure you buy the correct kind of card (e.g. compact flash and SD are currently the most common ones for cameras). Different cameras accept different cards so make sure you know what kind your photographer’s camera uses. Second, there are huge memory cards these days. You can buy 64 GB cards for around $100. But is this the best purchase? I’d argue that buying two 32GB or four 16 GB cards would be better. Sure, it’s a pain to change cards in the middle of a shoot. But cards unfortunately, do fail from time to time and I’d sooner not have all my images on one card. I’d sooner have them spread out over a few cards. As we know, putting all of your eggs in one basket can be bad. So why not buy a few smaller sized cards, which spreads the risk of losing images. Third, is the photographer on your list shooting video too? If so, then you’ll want to consider buying the card with the greatest write-speed.

You can purchase memory cards from your local camera shop, online, or even from local discount stores like Walmart. Regardless of where you buy them, just ¬†don’t buy the absolute cheapest cards on the market. Remember, these cards might be holding your honeymoon photos or those of your childs’ 1st birthday. Those are important photos so don’t trust them to a cheap card.

SD and CF cards are used in cameras. Be sure you know which one to buy for the photographer on your list.

8. Subscription to  a Photography Magazine

There are a ton of photography magazines on the market today. This is great news for the photographer, but if you want to give a subscription, which magazines should you consider? I’d suggest going to your local book store and having a look through the magazine section and picking out a magazine that you think might suit the photographer you’re buying for. Some of the popular print magazines include: Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photography Magazine, PhotoLife, Popular Photography, Nature Photographer Magazine…. The list is long. But here are a few that I really like and have no problem spending dollars on:

Nature’s Best Photography Magazine – stunning images by nature photographers from around the world. Highly recommended!

Nature’s Best Photography magazine

Photograph Рa new photography e-magazine by David duChemin at Craft & Vision. Available as a single pdf download for $8 or an annual subscription. I bought the first issue a week ago and am really enjoying it. Definitely recommended.

David duChemin’s new e-magazine, Photograph

Outdoor Photography Canada – one of the few magazines I buy on a regular basis. Great info, not overly loaded with advertisements. A great read.

Outdoor Photography Canada.

9.  Support a Wildlife Conservation Organization

There are a lot of great conservation organizations out there – Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International – just to name a few. Consider making a donation to a conservation organization in the name of your photographer friend, rather than giving them a gift directly. The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a great organization that I support. I love that you can support species conservation efforts by ¬†‘adopting’ an animal. You get to choose which species you’d like to ‘adopt’ (e.g. Polar Bear, Grey Wolf, Beluga Whale, and others). It costs $35.00 and that money buys you a small stuffed animal to give your photographer friend, a certificate of adoption, and an info booklet about that species. But most importantly, your dollars go towards conservation efforts for that species. I think World Wildlife Fund and other conservation organizations have this same kind of ‘adoption’ programme. Have a scroll through their websites to see what you can find.

Consider ‘adopting’ an animal and supporting species conservation.

10. A Lensbaby

This is the perfect toy for the creative photographer. I’m not even going to attempt to explain what it does or how it works. Want to see for yourself? Just visit the Lensbaby website and have a look at their gallery. But anyone who uses a Lensbaby is guaranteed to produce interesting, surreal, and creative images. I own an older Lensbaby and find it a ton of fun! ¬†Have a look at the Lensbaby website.

The Lensbaby, a fantastic creative tool!

11. An iPad or Android App

With so many people having tablets these days, this is a fantastic gift idea. I actually bought a photography App last year that knocked my socks off! It’s Jim Brandenburg’s Chased By The Light. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must. ¬†I think any photographer would be happy to have this. The images are stunning and I love that the App is interactive, with info pop-ups and videos embedded throughout. Chased By The Light App is available through the iTunes Store and Amazon.com.

Jim Brandenburg’s Chased By The Light App.

Another App I just came across that looks fantastic, is Paul Nicklen’s App, Pole To Pole. I think I’m going to have to ask Santa for this one myself! Paul’s photography is stunning and he’s a really passionate conservation photographer. This App is available through the Photo Society store website. Have a look at the video trailer advertising Paul’s App. I think you’ll be buying this one….

Paul Nicklen’s App, Pole To Pole.

12. My new e-book, Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips

Ok, so it’s Christmas and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to tell you about my new e-book, Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips. It’s ¬†109 pages packed full of great info ¬†and many example images on how to use a variety of creative techniques to make stunning fine art flower images. ¬†It’s full of descriptions of creative techniques and approaches, as well as inspiration and encouragement. And all for only $8.95 (wait, now I’m starting to sound like a TV add for Matel….). It’s available as a pdf download from my website, 44th Parallel Photography.

Not sure how to give an e-book or an App to that photographer on your list? Purchase it online. You’ll receive a link to a pdf file that you’ll download. Once you’ve downloaded it, why not buy a 2GB USB stick and put it on that? Then you just need to put the USB stick in a nice little gift bag and voila! Christmas pressie is done. ūüôā

My new e-book, a 109 page downloadable pdf, available on my 44th Parallel Photography website.

Good luck with your Christmas shopping. I hope some of these suggestions help.

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NEW e-book for sale – Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips

I’m happy to announce that my new e-book on fine art flower photography is now for sale. You can purchase it from Photo44 Press on my website, 44th Parallel Photography.

 Flowers is a 109 page full colour e-book available as a downloadable pdf file for only $8.95 CDN.

What’s the book about?

This book is all about teaching you how to make your own beautiful fine art photos of flowers. ¬†It will open up a whole new world of image-making to many photographers, new and advanced. You’ll learn about key aspects of making great flower images (e.g. depth of field, focus, lighting etc). But this book is about far more than just ¬†technical aspects of producing great flower photos. It’s all about illustrating creative approaches and providing inspiration, about getting you outside your comfort zone to broaden your photography. It’s about learning new ways of seeing, developing a photographic vision, and enhancing and honing your creative skills to make stunning fine art flower images.

I love to teach and I truly believe that people learn best by doing and by seeing concrete examples. So not only have I provided detailed descriptions of techniques for you to practice and master, but I’ve also provided loads of examples of how I have used these techniques and creative approaches myself, to achieve specific results. Each image in the book has a description of how the image was made, so that you can see exactly how certain techniques and approaches yield specific results. For some images, I explain my thinking behind the image-making process and what led me to achieve the final result. Understanding why a certain approach is used is just as important as understanding ¬†how it is used. With this book, you’ll learn both.

What’s in the book?

I cover the following topics:

  • Flower portraiture

  • Depth of field

  • Lighting

  • Selective focus

  • Composition

  • Indoors vs. outdoors

  • Macrophotography

  • Image processing

  • Equipment

  • And…. a large section on creative photography techniques, including multiple exposure, panning, zooming, image overlay, Lensbaby and a whole lot more!

What does the book look like?

Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips is a 109 page full colour pdf e-book that you purchase as a downloadable file. You can view it on any device – desktop or laptop computer, iPad, Android tablet, or even your smartphone.

The book is brimming with vibrant, colour images illustrating each technique and creative approach.

Here are some sample pages….

For more page samples, click HERE.

To purchase Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips, click HERE.

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Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, equipment, Flowers, learning, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, Photo-impressionism, photography, plants, technique, Vision, Wildflowers