Staying Safe While Photographing Wildlife
Friday, November 21, 2014
Want to take pictures of wildlife but you're a little skittish about, you know, being mauled by a ravenous beast? Take a look at this Slanted Lens video by Jay P. Morgan in which he explains 11 tips to photograph wild animals without getting killed. It includes some old standbys (like using a tripod and a telephoto lens) but there are also some great nuggets, courtesy of Morgan's father who was a National Geographic wildlife photographer for many years. The suggestion to head to state parks and national parks, where the animal populations are used to lots of people being around, is brilliantly simple. So is the idea of spending a lot of time—get up early and stay out late, including during bad weather—to let the animals get used to you and make you part of the herd. (Plus, in bad weather you're bound to make unique and interesting images that not every other photographer is going to find.) Most folks would rather stay warm and dry. But most folks don't make notable wildlife pictures either. There's lots more in this video, including the intriguing "The lost wallet technique," that makes it a unique take on wildlife techniques that I think is well worth watching.
The World’s Youngest Successful Photographer?
Thursday, November 20, 2014
As the father of a toddler myself, I can't begin to imagine my kid wielding a camera—much less using it to make great pictures. But that's exactly what four-year-old Hawkeye Huey does. He's the son of National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey and he's got one heck of an artistic eye—especially given that he's only been on this planet for 48 months. The boy's father introduced him to photography about six months ago, hoping to inspire a bit of father/son bonding. Then when dad posted this image of Hawkeye on his Instagram feed, he was overwhelmed by the response. So the senior Huey created an account for his son, who now has nearly 60,000 followers. It's a neat story, which you can read at Petapixel. Then head over to Instagram to add your name to the list of young Hawkeye's fans.
One Photographer’s Thoughts On Discount Pricing
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
If you're at all interested in getting into the photography business, even part time, you should read this post on pricing by pet photographer Jamie Pflughoeft. It's called, "Dear Cheap-But-Good Photographer: You are ruining my life and this industry." That title's a grabber, wouldn't you say? Some folks might call the long post a rant, while others will say it's just sour grapes because of the seismic changes to the industry in recent years, but I think there's a very valid point here. It's not that I disagree with the capitalist idea of charging whatever the market will bear. It's not that photographers who price their service too low make it harder for everyone else to charge more (though there is that potential effect). The problem is that, in many cases, I've seen very talented young photographers who weren't able to sustain their businesses because they weren't able to charge enough for their great work—either because they hadn't been told how to properly price their work, or because other "lowball" photographers made it too difficult for them to charge more in a field of stiff competition, and they ultimately couldn't stay in business. I like that photography has become ubiquitous in our society in the 21st century. But I want photographers who choose to make a living with their work to be able to sustain a business so that we don't eventually lose them to the ranks of "just some job." Photography isn't something you can do really well only some of the time. In my opinion, to get great you've got to shoot a lot. And if you're charging so little that you don't give yourself a chance to stay in business and put in your 10,000 hours, that's just a darn shame. Anyway, if you're curious about pricing your own photography services, take a look at this post at the Beautiful Beasties blog.
The Complex Legacy Of Kodak’s Shirley Cards
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
During my morning commute last Thursday I listened to an interesting story on NPR about Kodak's Shirley Cards. These photographic portrait negatives and prints were distributed to labs across the country to be used to set the "normal" skin tone standard for photographic prints. The process began back to the 1950s. The story is fascinating both for its examination of how and why these mysterious women (the first, apparently named Shirley) came to appear on these photographic test standards and become famous among a small subset of people—those who worked in photo labs) as well as the discussion about the impact of setting a Caucasian face as "normal" or the standard against which all other portraits would be measured. A good listen, and an interesting read for sure, at NPR.org.