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Posts Tagged ‘stock photography’

Halfway Log Dump
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

In May of 2016, I made a three day visit to Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula National Park. Today I revisited the folder of images from that trip to optimize several of the photographs that were tucked away due to my backlog in editing the files. Bruce Peninsula National Park can be found at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula near Tobermory, Ontario. It is also on the Niagara Escarpment – an UNESCO World Biosphere site. One section of the park lies on Lake Huron while the remainder of the park is facing beautiful Georgian Bay. Georgian Bay provides landscape photographs with a plethora of stunning vistas with ragged cliffs, cobblestone beaches, and unlimited shoreline details to photograph. A short distance out into Georgian Bay lies the Fathom Five National Marine Park, which is home to the famous Flower Pot Island. If you are a landscape photographer the Bruce Peninsula needs to be one of your bucket list items.

Halfway Log Dump
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Indian Head Cove
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Indian Head Cove
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Flower Pot Island
Fathom Five National Marine Park, Ontario

 

The Grotto
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Flower Pot Island
Fathom Five National Marine Park, Ontario

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Rusty Old Wreck Interior
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens

Without a doubt rusty old dilapidated automobiles look great with a touch of grunge processing added to them. On Thursday June 21st I visited a nearby auto wrecker to photograph several old abandoned cars and trucks. I was quite fascinated by the state of decay inside this particular old car.  Using my amazingly wide and razor sharp Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens on my Nikon D800 I set out to create this extreme wide angle, interior view. The above image was created from one RAW image file. In Adobe Camera Raw I made adjustments to the Clarity, Contrast, Shadow, and Highlights slider and also tweaked the Vibrance slider as well. I then opened the image into Photoshop CC and went straight for my Nik Color Efex Filters to apply my simplified grunge processing technique. First a treatment of Detail Extractor was applied, which in Photoshop I reduced the opacity of the layer to roughly 70%. Secondly I applied a touch of Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast filter. I then saved the image as an 8-bit TIFF and created my watermarked low-res JPEG for web use. I spent no more than 10 minutes on optimizing this image using the two NIK filters for a simplified, but incredibly effective grunge look.

 

WORKSHOP NOTES:

I was pleased to sign up 3 additional participants for the Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat in October over the last couple of weeks. There is now only 1 spot available.

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Sachatamia albomaculata

On Tuesday, April 3rd I spent the day testing a new DIY flash diffuser while photographing numerous species of frogs for some of the soon to be announced frog workshops. Most of the species featured in today’s post will be available at the next workshop. I can honestly say that this is the absolute best way to diffuse flash when photographing frogs. I am certain that this method of flash diffusion will also work incredibly well for insects too. Often when using flash to photograph frogs there will be some flash generated spectral highlights. Over the years I have become quite skilled at removing such highlights in Photoshop, but the process is time consuming. In today’s blog post my newly created DIY flash diffuser was used to photograph each of the species that are featured. How much post production did I do to each of these photos? The answer is not much at all. Aside from a few tweaks in Adobe Camera Raw and removing a few dust bunnies in Photoshop these images are essentially as is, straight from the camera. I spent no more than about 5 minutes optimizing each of the images in today’s post. There were no flash generated spectral highlights to be concerned with. I cannot wit to get into the wetlands near my home, with my new DIY flash diffuser, to photograph the frogs and toads during the spring breeding season this year

How much did it cost to make my new DIY flash diffuser? The price of a 1 kilogram plastic jar of Kraft peanut butter! The other items I already had on hand and they included an elastic and polystyrene foam sheeting.

Below are a few photos of my newly created DIY flash diffuser and an explanation of how I constructed it to follow.

DIY Flash Diffuser Set-up

 

Polystyrene Foam Sheeting

 

DIY Flash Diffuser Components

 

Since polystyrene foam sheeting is rather flimsy and you will need the plastic peanut butter jar (or something similar) to support the foam sheets. Polystyrene foam sheeting is typically used as a packaging item to protect various goods from damage during shipping. I cut the bottom off the plastic jar and I also cut the jar lengthwise to spread out the plastic, to form a concave shape. Creating a concave shape will allow the lighting top be equal distance from the subjet providing a more evenly diffused light. I also made one cut to the top of the jar which easily allows me to mount it onto a 77mm lens hood and hold it firmly in place with an elastic. You will also want to have the plastic jar slope upwards away from the lens as it does in the first photo of the DIY flash diffuser. I did this by simply running boiling water over the plastic to soften it and then bend it by hand. I then taped two layers of foam sheeting directly to my old Nikon SB600 and three pieces, cut to shape, onto the main diffuser. I found this quantity of foam sheeting provided me with the perfect amount of diffused light to completely eliminate flash generated spectral highlights. Take a look at the remaining frog images below. I do think the benefit of using such a simple and inexpensive diffuser speaks volumes. Even the catchlight in the frog’s eyes is more pleasing, allowing us to see more of the eye ball details with this DIY flash diffuser. If you have any questions about how to construct your own DIY flash diffuser using the materials mentioned above please do not hesitate to contact me for further assistance.

 

Atelopus sp. Limon

 

Dendrobates auratus “el Cope”

 

Dendrobates auratus “Yellow”

 

Dendrobates tinctorius “Lorenzo”

 

Dendrobates tinctorius “Patricia”

 

Epipedobates anthonyi “Ankas”

 

Megophrys aceras

 

Oophaga sylvatica “Diablo”

 

Phyllobates vittatus

 

Ranitomeya flavovitatta

 

Ranitomeya immitator “Chazuta”

 

Ranitomeya sirensis

 

Ranitomeya ventrimaculata

 

Theloderma asperum

 

Sachatamia albomaculata

 

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On Tuesday March, 27, 2018 I will be presenting my “Ontario & Beyond – Wild Places Wild Faces” program for the Ajax Photography Club at the Ajax Community Centre located at 75 Centennial Road in the HSM Room. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. Guests are welcome to attend for a $10 admission fee. Mark the date in your calendars and come on out for an enjoyable evening of nature photography and learn the secrets behind how I capture and optimize my my landscape and wildlife imagery.

Hope to see you there 🙂

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Flat Rock Scorpion – captive
Nikon D500, Nikkor 105mm f2.8D Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

On Thursday, March 8th I drove out to a potential workshop location to scout out some critters for an upcoming workshop. This workshop will feature Scorpions, Tarantulas, Geckos, and a few other very interesting subjects. While we were working with the subjects the handler suggested that we could use an ultraviolet light on the scorpions as they glow under such light. I thought that would be very cool to try, but I did not bring along a tripod as they would need to be photographed under the UV light along and flash could not be used. We gave it a try anyway and dialed the ISO up to 20,000 (that is not a typo!) to permit a hand held capture at f3.2 for 1/100 second. After applying some noise reduction in Adobe Camera Raw I was actually quite surprised at the end result. The opening image shows the Flat Rock Scorpion under normal lighting and below is the same scorpion glowing under the ultraviolet light. I was also surprised to see that the sand turns purple under the UV lighting.

For folks that do not want to miss out on their opportunity to attend this soon to be announced photographic workshop please send me a note by clicking here to be added to my workshop contact list.

Flat Rock Scorpion under Ultraviolet Light
ISO 20,000, f3.2 @ 1/100 sec

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Fringed Tree Frog (Cruziohyla craspedopus)

On the weekend on February 24th & 25th we held another highly successful frog workshop. This workshop, aside from the incredible assortment of dart frogs, included several species of captive-bred tree frogs. My typical set-up for photographing these frogs is to use my Nikon D500 with an old discontinued Nikkor 105mm Micro lens and an old discontinued Nikon SB400 Speedlight mounted on a single arm Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket. The Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket allows me the flexibility to position the flash anywhere I desire for optimum lighting on the subject.

We are currently in the midst of planning our next event for the London, Ontario area, which will feature both dart frogs and an even larger selection of awesome tree frog species displayed on beautiful tropical flowers. These events will be planned as full day (8 hour) workshops that will include 3 hours of Photoshop instruction at the end. Yours truly will walk folks through the steps I use edit and optimize my frog photography. Folks will also be encouraged to bring their own laptops to the workshops so that I can assist them with editing and optimizing a few of their own image files.

Stay tuned for dates to be announced soon. If you would like to be added to the contact list for this or any other workshop notifications please do contact me by clicking here.

Here are a few of my recent captures from the recently concluded workshop.

Ameerega pepperi

 

Dendrobates tinctorius “Patricia”

 

Amazon Milk Frog (juvenile)

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog

 

Vietnamese Moss Frog

 

Abstract of Fringed Tree Frog Skin

 

Ranitomeya fantastica

 

Phyllobates terribilis

 

Vietnamese Moss Frog – a master of camouflage

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Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D
ISO 50, f16 @ 0.5 seconds

Each of the three images featured in today’s post were created with the Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens. I often receive emails from folks asking me various questions about this lens, complimenting me on the extreme wide-angle scenics I have created with it thus far. The Laowa 12mm Zero D lens quickly became my favorite lens in my gear bag. It is very small, all metal construction, and razor sharp too! Not too mention a fraction of the cost when compared to Canon, Nikon, or Sigma alternatives. With such an extreme wide angle of view it is very important to look for strong foreground elements and then get in very close to those elements. Once you think you are close enough, chances are that you can get a little closer to make the elements within the composition stand out even more for a more effective image. This is exactly what I did for these Muskoka area scenes. Often I was positioning the lens so low and close, the only way to compose the scenes was by utilizing the Live View as I could not physically get close to the camera and tripod because they were sitting on thin ice.

Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D
ISO 50, f16 @ 1 second

You to can photograph these scenes by attending the first-ever Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Photographic Workshop on January 27th & 28th. The workshop is going to be tons of fun with top notch photographic instruction to ensure that you create stunning winter scenics in Muskoka’s winter wonderland. There are only a couple of spots still available and folks can contact me by clicking here for more information.

Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D
ISO 50, f16 @ 1 second

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