At Last

Finally after getting over my personal technical difficulties (aren’t problems with technology supposed to start after you are 30) I am back!  Took me long enough to figure out how to make the transition to WordPress. Anyways,  I meant to post this preview last week but here it is now…  A few weeks ago I photographed a prescribed burn at the local preserve.  How amazing I must say!  Even as far as 500 hundred feet back I could still feel the heat of the fire as it roared through the native grasses on my face!  Prairies and other ecosystems are burned to control the native population of plants and animals and help them thrive.  Fire destroys invasive species while native species have developed special adaptations to continue to survive after the fires.  These photos are a preview of the article I am writing for the Natures Best Photography: Students Magazine.  Enjoy! Happy Springtime! 

Volunteer Conservationist

NBPS Flickr Contest (Image 5) Photo by Timothy Brooks

I chose this image because of the simplicity of the composition. I really like that the tree is the only object in the image. This image, while it may not actually be in black and white (it is difficult to tell), is a nice reminder that  nature photography does not always have to feature color. Try converting some of your images to black and white using a program like Photoshop and you might like the results. While I really like this image, if there were one thing I could change, I would crop it so that the tree is exactly centered. It is currently shifted slightly to the right and I find that it throws off the balance a bit.

More soon!


Snowy Rhode Island (Gabby)

Hi all!

A new photo from a recent trip in Rhode Island using my new 17-40mm lens. Just wanted to share!

– Gabby

NBPS Flickr Contest Image 4 (Photo by Nick Leech)

After taking a bit more time to look through photos this week, I came across an image that is lost in the mix as a thumbnail, but stands out as one of the best in the pool when it is displayed large. In this image, Nick Leech has used under exposure to create incredibly dramatic lighting. If he had properly exposed the image, the water would have been almost white and the duck might have had details in its feathers. Instead, he has underexposed (probably around 1 to 2 stops) to tone down the bright sun and to emphasize the colors in the sky.

If you are using a digital camera, you have the opportunity to experiment with different exposures without incurring additional cost. Next time you are shooting a sunrise or sunset, try shooting at 5 different exposures (2 stops over, 1 stop over, right on, 1 stop under, and 2 stops under), this exercise will give you an idea of what a “stop” means so you can make creative exposure decisions quickly in the field.

Great image Nick!!

More soon!


Costa Rica: Preview (Johan)

This little mantis was less than half of an inch (~1 CM) long.
Stay tuned for more picture posts!

Hares and Harriers (Jodie Randall)

I have spent the last couple of evenings photographing brown hares. Unfortunately, over the past few days a blanket of cloud has crept across the sky a couple of hours before dusk. I am hoping for a clear sky soon so that I can photograph them in the last golden rays of light.

Sitting in my car (which is currently serving as a hide as well as transport), the light was fading fast and I began to wonder whether to just give up and go home when I spotted a marsh harrier gliding towards me. As it flew past, one hare that had been feeding in a nearby field jumped up towards the bird, then  stood tall on its hind legs until the marsh harrier had passed by. I have never witnessed this sort of behaviour before and was quite surprised by the hare’s boldness. Things then became more curious as the harrier landed in a tree. The hare followed it, then  stood underneath the tree staring up at the harrier, while the harrier looked back down rather bemusedly.

By the time the harrier took off, it was too dark for me to photograph the display that ensued as it flew over the marsh. It was the closest encounter I have ever had with this impressive bird of prey.

New Magazine! Click on the icon below (Gabby)

Click on the magazine cover to read the new issue!!

NBP Students Flickr Contest Image 3 (Evan Pagano)

By Evan Pagano

This image of a dragonfly by Evan Pagano caught my eye right away because of the bright colors and the beautiful lines. Dragonflies are commonly photographed subjects and it is difficult to photograph them in a new and exciting way – Evan did!

While some ‘rules’ of photography suggest that the subject should not be centered, this is an example of an image where centering works. I love the sharp focus on the dragonfly’s eyes and the shallow depth-of-field surrounding its body. The blurring around the dragonfly keeps my eye focused on the subject and provides a beautiful contrast to the crisp head. My favorite part of this image is the composition, I like how the wings mirror the shape of the flower. Both point out in diagonals and the combination creates a pleasing balance. If I can make one critique, it is that the image appears to be slightly over-saturated. This could be due to a difference in our viewing screens or might reflect what Evan remembers of the scene. However, I tend to err on the side of caution with saturation and would bump it down a few percent.

More soon!

Gabby Salazar

NBPS Flickr Contest (Image 2 by Elliot Young)

When used effectively in an image, silhouettes are incredibly striking. When we are first learning photography, we often put so much focus on achieving the correct exposure that we forget to experiment with other lighting effects. By exposing a brighter sky correctly, a subject in front of the sky will be black, or silhouetted.

This image by Elliot Young displays a fantastic use of silhouette. I really like the gradation of colors in the sky – this makes the image more interesting. You will also notice that the deer are all facing forward so that their ears and shapes are clearly defined. It is important with silhouettes to make sure that your subject is identifiable – a deer on the ground might look like a blob.

If there is one area that could be improved in the image, it is the tight crop. I would like to see a little more free space to the right and perhaps a bit more of the tree. Now, as a viewer we can wish for many elements, but I do not know what the conditions were like when Elliot was out taking pictures. Perhaps a barn or car is to the right and would have complicated the image. However, I recommend always backing off when shooting – you can always crop later, but you cannot add to the image!

Best Wishes,

Flickr Photo Contest Image 1 (Gabby)

I was just shifting through the images in our Flickr group “Nature’s Best Photography Students Flickr Contest” and one caught my eye. The image is by Ben Smyth and it is quite striking. As an Editor and judge of photo contests, one of the first things I look for as a scroll through images are shapes and colors that catch my eye. In the case of wildlife photography, images that include an animal looking straight at the camera are often most striking. In this image the giraffe is engaging the viewer. However, if the image only included the giraffe, I would not find it very interesting. It is the extra element of the bird in flight to the right of the giraffe’s head balanced by the bird on the left side of the head that make the image special. If there were one thing I could improve about the image, I might add some fill light in Photoshop (digital post-processing) to lighten the shadows on the giraffe’s face. Compositionally it is a fantastic shot!

If you would like to see your image critiqued on the blog, join our Flickr group and contribute your images to the group pool – Nature’s Best Photography Students Flickr Contest.

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