Category Archives: Vision

Wildphotomag – my image portfolio and interview

Recently, I was very kindly invited by Andre of wildphotomag to be interviewed and to submit a portfolio of images for his wonderful online nature and wildlife magazine. If you haven’t seen wildphotomag, check it out. There are fantastic articles and images in there, by a lot of talented photographers.

The May issue is out and my portfolio is in there. Have a look and let me know what you think.

Wildphotomag_Portfolio

Not only was it nice to be able to have a selection of my images in the magazine, but it was great to be able to share some of my thoughts about photography. I am truly passionate about conservation photography. I think it’s an amazing tool for creating awareness and understanding of conservation and environmental issues and hopefully, for fostering concern and caring for our planet and all of its species.

Wildphotomag is loaded with great articles. Check out this month’s issue. You won’t be disappointed.

wildphotomag_MayJune2013

 

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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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Perils aside… let’s talk about passion

My last blog post, a few days ago, was about the perils of following your passion, whatever that may be. In the photography world, many of us would quit our ‘day jobs’ in a heartbeat, to become a full-time photographer. That doesn’t necessarily mean you hate your day job. It just means that you have a greater calling. It just means that there is something you are really, really passionate about and that you wish you could spend all your waking moments doing it.

Like I said before, for me, photography (and the things associated with my photography such as writing, conservation, environmental preservation, and connecting with people) is oxygen. Sure, I find it hard that I can only ‘breathe’ part time. 🙂 But let me tell you, it’s better than not breathing at all!

"You conceive your world in your mind and then create it with your hands" - Chris Widener

“You conceive your world in your mind and then create it with your hands” – Chris Widener

To reiterate what I said in my last blog post, read Malcolm Munro’s article on the perils of following your passion. Then dial that message back one or two turns. I wholeheartedly agree with Malcolm. You NEED to be a realist. But at the same time, don’t give up on your passion. And don’t become disillusioned. Just be realistic about what you can do given your current circumstances.

The key is: find a way to make it work. Might not be the way you first envisioned it. But this is life. We don’t always get what we want, when we want, in the way that we want. So, instead, tweak your expectations. Trim your sail. Refine your course. You WILL get there. It’s just that the path you take may very well be different from what you first envisioned. But that’s ok. It doesn’t make you any less successful at achieving your dreams.

"Dreams express what your soul is telling you, so as crazy as your dream might seem - even to you - I don't care: You have to let that out" - Eleni Gabre-Madhin

“Dreams express what your soul is telling you, so as crazy as your dream might seem – even to you – I don’t care: You have to let that out” – Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Oh, and one more thought…. don’t give a rats fuzzy bottom what anybody else thinks about your passion for photography (or whatever else it may be that you want to do – as long as it’s legal and ethical). You’re following your passion for YOU. Not for them. For you. In doing so, however, just ensure that you meet your responsibilities to yourself and your family. You know, the important stuff like mortgages, food, vehicles, utilities. It’s hard to process images in Photoshop when your electricity has been turned off due to non-payment.

I’m only a part-timer, but I feel like I’ve been around long enough to be developing a pretty healthy view of what the photography world is really like and that, typically, it takes a massive boatload of hard work and long hours to make a living as a photographer, especially in the field of nature or wildlife photography. But don’t let that stop you. Be persistent. Be positive. Be determined.

Here are a few more great quotes – fodder to fuel your drive to fulfill your passion…

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't fine them, make them." - George Bernard Shaw

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

"The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that's bigger than they are - that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth." - Richard Leider

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are – that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” – Richard Leider

"For the first couple of years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. If you are just starting out or are still in this phase, you gotta know that it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.... It's only be going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions." - Ira Glass

“For the first couple of years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. If you are just starting out or are still in this phase, you gotta know that it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work…. It’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” – Ira Glass

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." - Neil Gaiman

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil Gaiman

"Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

“Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it." - Kurt Vonnegut

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” – Kurt Vonnegut

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The Perils of Your Passion….

A few days ago I read a really interesting article called, “The Peril of Following Your Passion”, by Malcolm Munro. In a nutshell, the article was about the perils of following your dream to become a professional photographer (or any other career path, for that matter). It’s about that ‘leap of faith’ moment, when you decide to quit your day job to pursue your photography passion, full-time.

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There’s been lots written over the past year or two about following your photography dream. In particular, David duChemin has written a lot about it. His takehome message is that life is short, so follow your passion. Be willing to take risks. Make it happen now.

I don’t disagree with David’s advice. Life is short. Sadly, there are events in life that remind us starkly of this reality. Do you want to go to your grave having a long list of unfulfilled dreams? Me neither….

However, I think that when we decide to make that career shift, to follow our passion, our dream, to break the chains of that job that is so deeply unsatisfying, well, we just need to be smart about how we do it. I think some of Malcolm’s message is maybe a bit harsh. The image that says, ‘don’t follow your heart’…well, I disagree. I’d tweak that statement and say, be smart about following your heart.

Feathers-1162

I’m an optimist, but also a realist. However, I’m not a pessimist. I do believe that in the grand scheme of life, we should ultimately follow our hearts. But I think we need the foresight and wisdom to follow in a sustainable way. Would I love to quit my day job to become a full-time wildlife and conservation photographer? You bet! In a heartbeat. That’s nothing against my job or my employer. It’s just that for me, photography is oxygen. I need it. It’s part of who I am. I can’t survive without it. But I also can’t afford to quit my day job to do it full time.  So instead, I’m trying to be smart about feeding my passion. I do it part time. I do it in my ‘spare’ time. Is it easy? Nope. Is it challenging? Yup. Does it sometimes cause unhappiness in my family? Yup. It’s hard to balance your own needs with those of your spouse and/or your kids. But bottom line is that you need to feed yourself and your family. You can’t default on your mortgage payments.

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So, my opinion about following your passion is by all means, do it! If you don’t, you may regret it. Just find a way to do it that won’t lead you to future of grief. You have a responsibility to yourself and to your family (if you have a spouse and/or kids). But with the internet, there are a ton of ways you can get your photographs ‘out there’. Is it easy? Nope. Does it require a LOT of work? Yup. But that doesn’t mean you don’t do it. You just work your butt off to pursue the things that make you tick. You find a way to make it work. You might not have the fanciest most high tech dSLR. You might not have all the lenses you want. Just find a way to make it work for you. Build your equipment up slowly. Buy good used equipment. That’s what I did initially.There are a number of ways to be smart, creative, and successfully follow your dream. You just might find that you aren’t following that dream the way you thought you would. But that doesn’t make it less wonderful than your grand plan. It just makes it feasible and realistic.

I encourage you to read Malcolm’s article, especially if you’re just starting out in photography or if you’re young and trying to work out your career path. Whatever you do, don’t give up on your passion. Just be smart about how you pursue it. Be a realist. Read Malcolm’s article.

And then draft your plan to pursue your passion…

Shoot for the moon!

Shoot for the moon!

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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

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