Wildlife Photography – Enjoy the Moment

We live on a wonderful world full of incredible animals to watch and enjoy and its easy to overlook the simple beauty when your eye is constantly pressed to the viewfinder. One thing I always try to do when out taking wildlife shots is to look up once in a while and just enjoy the moment.

As they say, “Life Is Too Short!

Peering Hawk

Peering Hawk
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D set on aperture priority (Av), using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM with an EF 1.4X II extender mono-pod mounted. The exposure was taken at 420mm, f/8 for 1/180th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional UDMA digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Friday’s Photo News

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Wildlife Photography – Find the Unusual

Its always nice to find something unusual when shooting wildlife.

Here’s a shot I took last weekend at the Brazos Bend State Park near Needville, Texas. I watched this Egret for thirty minutes standing on one leg and hunting for dinner. Great balance!

One Legged Egret

One Legged Egret
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D set on aperture priority (Av), using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM with an EF 1.4X II extender mono-pod mounted. The exposure was taken at 420mm, f/9.5 for 1/350th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional UDMA digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Scott & Matt Host Nikon D Town!

Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowsky are at it again! I honestly don’t know when these two guys sleep. Not only do they each manage their own blogs and produce the Photoshop User TV podcast, but they also host, manage and teach at the Photoshop World user conference.

Now these two Nikon shooters have created a new web site and video series where each week they will bring you the “coolest tips and tricks, news and accessories for Nikon’s Digital SLR cameras”.

You know with all this Nikon love going around, us Canon shooters are starting to feel a little like the Republicans in Washington. Out numbered and out gunned!

Where is the Fake Chuck Westfall when we need him. :-)

Wildlife Photography – Getting Closer

Getting close to your subjects is vital in wildlife photography. Both Canon and Nikon make some of the best “super-telephoto” lenses in the world for wildlife photography and these babies are incredible! Incredibly long, incredibly sharp and incredibly expensive. So what do you do if you can’t afford to spend thousands (or tens of thousands) for these really long lenses? How do you get close to your subject while not breaking the bank?

EF 1.4X II ExtenderThis is where the teleconverter (also known as the tele-extender) comes in to play. This wonderful little device is an easy and affordable way to extend the reach (focal length) of compatible telephoto lenses. It mounts between the body and the lens and multiplies the focal length by 1.4x.

For example, mounting the Canon EF 1.4X II Extender to my EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens provides me with 420mm of reach. However, it also decreases the lens’ aperture setting by 1 stop. The maximum aperture still opens to the same size but the ratio of the aperture to the focal length is reduced. So my 300mm + 1.4X is now a 420mm f/5.6 lens. This a great combination for shooting larger birds or mammals in the wild with fairly good results. Not as good as a 500mm f/4 lens but much more affordable.

The Canon EF 1.4X II Extender goes for under $280 at Adorama!

Wildlife Photography – Shoot for the Eyes

When you’re shooting wildlife your focus (and your camera’s autofocus point) needs to be the subjects eyes. If the eyes aren’t in focus it won’t matter how great your image looks, viewers will know that something’s missing. It’s a fact of life folks, the first thing a person “sees” when looking at a wildlife image is the animal’s eyes. Everything else can be a blur but if the eyes are in perfect focus (tack sharp as Moose Peterson calls it) they will draw the viewer into the photograph and you’ve got a winner!

For a shot like this I generally set the camera on aperture priority (Av) and use the center auto focus point only. I place this AF point right on the bird’s eye that’s closest to me and shoot away.

Red Shouldered Hawk

Red Shouldered Hawk
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D set on aperture priority (Av), using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM with an EF 1.4X II extender mono-pod mounted. The exposure was taken at 420mm, f/6.7 for 1/350th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional UDMA digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Landscape Photography – Bayou in Winter

I took this shot while hiking through the Brazos Bend State Park near Needville, TX last Sunday evening. The sun had just begun to set and the wind had died down, leaving this small lake still and calm. In the winter when the trees are barren I find black & white processing suits both my subject and my mood. Luckily spring is on its way!

Bayou In Winter

Bayou In Winter
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 40D hand-held and set on aperture priority (Av), using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. The exposure was taken at 32mm, f/8 for 1/350th of a second at ISO 100 on Sandisk digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop Elements using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro filters. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Amateur Spotlight on Arnar Birgisson

Arnar BirgissonCan you imagine living, working and photographing under these conditions?

Arnar Birgisson is an amateur landscape photographer from Iceland currently studying geophysics at the University of Iceland. He’s been photographing since early summer 2007 and posting to his blog since November 2008.

This young man shoots in conditions most of us would never even consider (especially those of us living in warmer climates). He also works in an avalanche rescue team which provides him with some wonderful photographic opportunities. His gallery is full of incredible images from Iceland and his blog is a great read.

Bláihver

Bláihver
Copyright © 2008 Arnar Páll Birgisson
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II at 16mm, f/11 at ISO 400 for 1/500th of a second.