Category Archives: technology

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

Tactilize – a new resource for photographers?

I try to make time to tune into a variety of info pages to keep up with new technology, new developments in photography, new software, things like that. I’ll say right off the bat, it’s impossible. You just can’t keep up. But I figure tuning in, even irregularly, will still keep you partially informed.

Yesterday I tripped over something called Tactilize. From what I’ve read, it’s hot off the presses, very new! Now how to explain it… In a nutshell, it’s a service where you can use their web-based software for building iPad apps. But they aren’t apps in the sense we normally think of them; they’re ‘cards’, which are one page posts. Could be an image, an advertisement for your website or an exhibit. Just about anything. It’s another way to get your content out there. But I like it. It’s fresh and simple.

Tactilize_SS

I’m quickly learning that engaging in social media is absolutely essential for building a following and developing a name in photography (or any other business). If you don’t ‘put yourself out there’, nobody really knows about you. It’s a tough slog, but oh so necessary.

I’m a huge fan of digital technology. Although I wonder what being addicted to our smartphones will do to our brains and eyeballs over the longterm, I do feel that we are in a period of unprecedented development, where global communication sits at our fingertips. All you need is access to a computer and the internet (yes, I realize that there are many people in the world who don’t have access to and can’t afford such access – I think that’s something that needs to change – we need to democratize access to communication tools).

I decided to try Tactilize. My first ‘card’ is a mock-up of my advertising postcard for my photography business – 44th Parallel Photography. Nature photography is a really big field and getting noticed is hard. So I figure using a variety of ways to get the word out is worth the effort.

Here’s what my first card looks like:

Tactilize Advert_44thParallel

 

 

There’s an iPad app you can download from iTunes store

 

Grab the free Tactilize app from the iTunes store so that you can browse the 'cards' on your iPad

Grab the free Tactilize app from the iTunes store so that you can browse the ‘cards’ on your iPad

 

The Tactilize website has a brief video describing what they are all about. Have a look.

At this point, I’m intrigued by it all. Who knows what my final view will be – whether it’s a keeper or not. But for now, I like it. It’s different. There are so many info sharing services out there – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, just to name a very few. But Tactilize seems different (either that or I’m living a sheltered existence and am not aware of its equivalent out there; if that’s the case, post a comment to let me know what else is out there).

If you give it a try, post a comment here and let me know what you think. I’m curious to know!

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, nature photography, photography, small business, technology

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

A New E-book, Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips

This month, my new e-book, Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips will be on sale through the 44th Parallel Photography website. Over 100 pages of photos, descriptions of techniques, examples, and inspiration to help you make beautiful flower images.

I’ll be posting an announcement in the next few weeks on how to purchase the e-book online.

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

Jim Brandenburg on Nikon’s new Coolpix camera

More from nature photographer, Jim Brandenburg, on Nikon cameras. This time he put the new Nikon Coolpix 7700 through it’s paces. For a point and shoot, it sounds like a pretty amazing little camera. It makes me think maybe this is something I should have so I can carry it with me all the time. How often have I driven to work at 5:45 am, sun’s just coming up and there’s a mist hovering just above the ground. It’s glowing in the early morning sun. And I have no camera with me. Sigh. But maybe the Coolpix would be something I could carry with me all the time. I’m looking forward to reading more about this camera.

Have a look at the video on Jim’s blog.

 

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Filed under Digital Photography, equipment, Featured Wildlife Photographer, nature photography, Opinion, photography, technology, Wildlife Photography

Another Grand Slam for Nikon?

Yesterday, Nikon officially announced the birth of it’s newest dSLR, the D600. Nikon’s done it again – produced another superb camera with amazing specs, for a very reasonable price tag. The D600 comes with a 24 MP full frame sensor. Smaller than its big brother the D800, which boasts a whopping 36MP sensor. But for just $2099, the D600 seems like fantastic value for the money.

I’m saving up for a new camera. I’m wayyyyy overdue to upgrade my D200. Yes, it’s OLD. But it’s my trusty steed, it fits me like a glove and, I’m not one to rush out and buy new equipment because it’s there. I like to let things steep a bit. See what the reviews are, let other people ‘test drive’ these cameras, blog about the pros and cons and then I decide. I had my sights on the D800. I still do. But my vision of my future purchase is less clear now that the D600 is out. 24 MP would suit me just fine! And the fact that it’s $1000 cheaper than the D800 catches my eye. If I had big budget, I’d definitely by the D800. Ideally, I’d like to buy both as I don’t have a back up camera right now. But unless I win the lotto, my next order to a camera store won’t be for two cameras. So, I sit here pondering whether I should wait a little longer, save up more dough and buy the D800 or whether it’s worth it to get the D600 now and then work towards the D800. At 8 MP, I really, really, really need to upgrade from my D200. It’s become obsolete. So any increase in MP is a bonus for me. But still, this won’t be an easy decision. I’ll keep my eye on the D600 reviews over the coming months and see what the masses say. Either way, I can’t go wrong. Both seem like superb cameras.

If you want to find out more about the D600, click on the thumbnail below to read dpreview’s thoughts on it.

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Filed under Digital Photography, equipment, Opinion, photography, technology