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Photography Tips

    My New Groundpod

    My New Groundpod - March 2013

    Lately I've been hand-holding the Beast a lot, so that I can lie down and photograph birds at eye level.  This technique has been paying off well with the Sandhill Crane babies (more on that tomorrow!)  To see what I'm talking about, look at the two images below.  The first was taken while I was kneeling on the sand.  Look at the cluttered water behind the bird - I wasn't …Read More


    Fixing an Off-Camera Flash Cord

    Fixing an Off-Camera Flash Cord - December 2011

    Lately I've been frustrated by my flash not firing, or firing incorrectly. For example, when I first saw the male Painted Bunting at Circle B Bar Reserve, the flash over-fired and I got a completely white image. Not exactly what I was expecting! I know the off-camera flash cords are finicky, but mine is fairly new, and I've been taking really good care of it. So I started to troubleshoot …Read More


    Tip for Photographing Little Birds in Leafy Trees

    Tip for Photographing Little Birds in Leafy Trees - October 2011

    I photographed this White-Eyed Vireo this weekend on the Alligator Alley trail of the Circle B Bar Reserve. I used fill flash to illuminate him deep within a tree. I recently started training myself to use a new technique for focusing on these little birds who love to flit in and out of small trees. Using autofocus can be challenging, as the camera often chooses the leaf or branch in …Read More


    Order Matters

    Order Matters - September 2011

    Lately I've been playing with Photomatix and HDR.  I went back to a sunrise panorama that I did at Lake Hancock at the Circle B Bar Reserve.  Each portion of the panorama was bracketed for HDR.  When I first processed it with Photoshop, I did the HDR on each frame individually, taking care to apply the same settings to each frame.  When I stitched them together as a panorama, the …Read More


    HDR Tip

    HDR Tip - September 2011

    This sunrise HDR image was created at the Circle B Bar Reserve on Saturday morning.  I had already taken so many shots of the sunrise and the sun was pretty high in the sky.  But before I switched to the Beast for bird shots, I took one final shot of the sun and surrounding clouds.  I wasn't sure if I would like it without any land in the picture to …Read More


    Ew!  Time to Clean the Sensor!

    Ew! Time to Clean the Sensor! - September 2011

    Recently I've been noticing quite a bit of dust on my DSLR sensor. It's especially apparent at small apertures (like f/22 and up). One spot was so big that it left a big black blob at the bottom of each of my shots. Others were smaller and less noticeable, but I was still spending a lot of time cloning them out, especially since they were a little conspicuous across the …Read More


    Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 6 – Waterfall!

    Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 6 – Waterfall! - August 2011

    This is my last post about our Callaway Gardens vacation in Georgia this month.  We had a great time photographing hummingbirds, songbirds, warblers, butterflies, and turtles at the beautiful gardens in Pine Mountain (about a hour southwest of Atlanta).  But we stumbled upon my favorite photo from the whole trip rather unexpectedly.  It was mid-day, and I had my wide-angle lens on the camera while we hiked the various trails …Read More


    Sunrise HDR

    Sunrise HDR - August 2011

    The weather has been so hot that I've been spending less time outside and more time playing with post-processing. I've rediscovered HDR recently when I began experimenting with Photomatix Pro instead of Photoshop for HDR. I'd always read that Photoshop wasn't quite as good, and now I'm starting to see why. Here's my HDR image of a sunrise at Circle B from this past weekend. And here are the three …Read More


    Slow motion: Turtles

    Slow motion: Turtles - August 2011

    Friends often ask why our website is called "catandturtle" when most of my photographs are of birds. Well, I've always been a cat lover, and Rich has grown up with an obsession for turtles. Actually, it was our cat Goldilocks who started watching birds, and got us interested in them… So when I come back from photographing, Rich always asks if I've seen any turtles. Too often I have to …Read More


    What a Difference a Year Makes!

    What a Difference a Year Makes! - July 2011

    Last November, I submitted a Sandhill Crane colt image for publication in our MFC Spirit magazine at work. I watched and waited, but it didn't appear in the magazine, and I thought it hadn't been selected. Then yesterday people started congratulating me for my picture — and after seeing it in print, I thought, "wow! I have plenty of better pictures now!" It's fun to look back occasionally and see …Read More


    The Importance of Camera Angle

    The Importance of Camera Angle - July 2011

    While shooting at the Viera Wetlands this weekend, I enjoyed watching some Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks landing on palm tree stumps. There was potential for beautiful background bokeh with the green trees in the distant background. At first I stood to photograph, which gave me this kind of picture: Then I realized that the background wasn't as creamy as I wanted. I knelt down and took the same shot again, and …Read More


    Basic Video Editing using Microsoft Movie Maker

    Basic Video Editing using Microsoft Movie Maker - May 2011

    I've had a couple of people ask me recently how I do my videos on my webpage.  So I thought I'd do a post on how I edit my videos. First, download Microsoft Movie Maker.  It's a free add-on to Windows that is part of the Windows Live suite.  (You might already even have it on your computer!)  I have Version 2011, for Windows Vista and Windows 7.  (I have …Read More


    Wood Storks in Varying Light (Goldilocks Photography)

    Wood Storks in Varying Light (Goldilocks Photography) - April 2011

    There have been around 10 Wood Storks hanging around Stoneybrook West for the past week or so.  I've photographed them in varying lights, which will illustrate the "Goldilocks" photography principle (posted today in honor of Goldy's 9th birthday!) The first time I saw the storks, it was the middle of the afternoon.  The light was really harsh and the whites look awful.  Goldy says "too bright". The next time I …Read More


    Tips for Photographing Birds at the Circle B Bar Reserve

    Tips for Photographing Birds at the Circle B Bar Reserve - January 2011

    Join Us for a Nature Hike at the Circle B Bar Reserve.  Bring your DSLR, your point-and-shoot, or just yourself, and join us for a morning's walk at the Circle B Bar Reserve. My dad and I will share some of our favorite birding locations and photography tips. Meet outside the Nature Discovery Center on Saturday, January 8, at 8:00am so that we catch the early birds! All ages and …Read More


    Paper Whites

    Paper Whites - December 2010

    Mum-mum gave me three Paper White bulbs as a birthday present. I planted them a few weeks ago and they are already blooming! I couldn't resist pulling out the extension tubes and taking some close-up pictures of the first flowers. Someone was asking me the other day about why you should pay attention to the f-stop number in photography. Often when I am photographing birds, especially in low light, I …Read More


    What’s so Great about Morning Light?

    What’s so Great about Morning Light? - November 2010

    I've had some people asking me why I get up at the crack of dawn to go to Circle B. The answer is "to get there during the great morning light." So what's so great about morning light? Compare and contrast the following two pictures. Both feature a Greater Yellowlegs, taken yesterday morning on Heron Hideout, from the same angle. One was taken around 7 in the morning (sunrise was …Read More


    Bald Eagles and Teleconverter Magnification

    Bald Eagles and Teleconverter Magnification - October 2010

    I've often wondered how the image quality would be if Dyeyo and I were to stack our teleconverters. I got the opportunity to do an experiment yesterday at the Circle B Bar Reserve. We had seen an adult Bald Eagle flying over the marsh several times, and it finally settled in a treetop all the way across the marsh. I used Live View to refine the focus on my tripod-mounted …Read More


    Fill Flash in the Outdoors

    Fill Flash in the Outdoors - October 2010

    Somebody asked me this weekend why I bother to use flash outside. After all, the sun is up and there's plenty of light, right? What I explained is that fill flash can be useful, even outside in bright sunlight. For one thing, bright sunlight tends to create harsh shadows, and a bit of fill flash can lighten those up. Flash can also illuminate a bird high in a tree: