| May 2011 Newsletter
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New Book Projects Underway
Thousands of Images, Now What: Painlessly Organize, Save, and Back Up your Digital Photos. This title should be ready in the Fall 2011.
The Nikon Creative Lighting System is being updated for the third edition. It will include instruction on all the new products from Nikon including the SB-700 and new Nikon cameras. This title should be ready in the Fall 2011
April GOAL Assignment: Point of View Photography
Point of view from a John Deere Gator utility vehicle. I was driving down a road in Unalakleet, AK and wanted to show the view from the driver's seat. Nikon D90, 12-24mm f4, 1/30sec.
Here's the view from the operator's seat of a Bobcat skid steer loader. I was moving a bunch of dirt at my house (250 cubic yards of topsoil!) and I thought it would be good to take a POV shot. Nikon D700, 14-24mm f2.8, 1/8 second.
Just for reference, this is the tractor from the above picture.
Twenty One Point Five! That's the record speed my son rode on his new bike a few years ago. I captured this video with a little Canon G9 mounted to the handlebars of my mountainbike. Great use of POV photography.
May GOAL Assignment: Shooting in P Mode
Your GOAL Assignment (Get Out And Learn Assignment) for May is to photograph in Program Mode. Read the Photo Techniques section to the right to learn more about this exposure mode.
Photo Techniques: Shooting in P Mode
You access Program Mode by setting your camera's exposure mode dial to "P".
If you have a pro SLR, then you set Program from the top LCD panel. This panel also shows the shutter speed and aperture combination for the scene.
When you modify Program using the Flexible Program capability, you'll see an asterisk above the P. This indicates that you have changed the shutter speed and aperture from the default to a different combination of your liking.
This photo of a ferry in Seattle is the perfect application for using Program Exposure. Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8.
Here's a landscape I took along the Washington State coast in Program Mode. If you click through to the larger photo, you'll see that the objects on the horizon aren't really sharp. This is because Program Mode chose a larger aperture than I would have normally chosen. This is easily fixed by using the Flexible Program capability of the camera.
Photo Techniques: How Does VR Respond with Back Button Focusing?
VR (Vibration Reduction) is a function of your lens. You'll need to turn the VR lens switch to "on" for VR to operate.
To activate VR, you need to press down on the shutter release button with your index finger. As long as you half-depress or full-depress the shutter, then VR will continue to actively work. VR stops working when you lift your index finger from the shutter release button.
When you use the back button focus technique, you press the AF-ON button with your thumb. Obviously, with this method, you don't have to press the shutter release button in order to focus. Many people mistakenly assume that "VR doesn't work when you use the back button focus technique." This assumption is incorrect, since all you need to do is half-depress the shutter release button to activate VR.
Photo Techniques: White Balance for Blue Hour Photography
This first photo was taken with white balance set for sunny. Notice the warm colors on the fountain. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8.
I set the white balance for this second photo to Incandescent. This minor change neutralizes the colors in the fountain while really saturating the sky. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8
Sunny WB gives me warm clouds, but also makes the house to yellow.
Incandescant WB gives me the nice blue sky and the natural color on the house, but I lose the color in the clouds.
Here, I merged two versions of the same photo in Photoshop. The top half is sunny WB for the clouds and the bottom half is incandescant WB for the house.
Book Review: Remote Exposure, A Guide to Hiking and Climbing Photography
Remote Exposure is a great guide on how to shoot stunning imagery on your climbing and hiking adventures.
The book is filled with beautiful double page photo spreads.
Lots of "how to" mixed with climbing photos.
Our Photoshop Workshops will be in Seattle, WA June 24th and 25th, 2011.
Tanzania Photo Safari
Come to Africa this November. We still have three seats available. Here's the link: Tanzania Safari
One more blue hour photo for the road (or rail). Alaska Railroad, Anchorage, AK. Nikon D700, 14-24mm f2.8, Gitzo CF Tripod.
Mike Hagen - Out There Images, Inc. - May 2011 Newsletter
In this Newsletter:
- April GOAL Assignment: Point of View Photography
- May GOAL Assignment: Shooting in P Mode
- Photo Techniques: Shooting in P Mode
- Photo Techniques: How Does VR Respond with Back Button Focusing?
- Photo Techniques: White Balance for Blue Hour Photography
- Book Review: Remote Exposure, A Guide to Hiking and Climbing Photography
- Workshop and Business Updates
Welcome to the May edition of the Out There Images, Inc. Newsletter.
I am so happy that it is May. We had so much nasty weather in Washington State during April that just about anything May throws at us will be better. The third week of April was Spring Break for our kids, so we took a quick trip to the Oregon Coast to relax for a few days. Unfortunately, the rain came down in sheets and the wind blew like a hurricane and the hail blew sideways. So, rather than enjoy the beach, we enjoyed boardgames, movies and the hot tub! Here's a link to a photo I took at dusk on one of the stormy days (outthereimages.com/blog/?p=1085).
I was able to get out of the rain for about a week and run some workshops down in Los Angeles, CA. It was wonderful to be in the sun for a few days and lead a bunch of sold-out Nikonians Academy (nikoniansacademy.com) classes at Samy's Camera store (www.samys.com). I'm looking forward to getting back to SoCal in the near future!
During May I kick off a number of new photography projects. Those I'll tell you about now are three new book projects scheduled for completion this year.
The first is an all-new book called Thousands of Photos, Now What: Painlessly Organize, Save, and Back Up your Digital Photos. The publisher (Wiley & Son's Publishing) and I are working on a Fall release for this book. You can see our Amazon placeholder page here: www.amazon.com
The second book will be the 3rd edition of the popular The Nikon Creative Lighting System, Using the SB-600, SB-700, SB-800, SB-900 and R1C1 Flashes. RockyNook is publishing this book and I'll be updating it with new content for the SB-700 as well as all the new Nikon cameras such as the D7000, D5100 and D3100. We are shooting for a Fall release for this book as well.
Nikon Creative Lighting System - 2nd Edition
The third book will be an eBook on blue hour photography (Out There Images, Inc. Publishing). My goal is to have this book published eReaders such as the iPad, Kindle, Nook and Android tablets.
It's going to be a busy summer of writing and photography!
One final note about workshops. I have space available for our Photoshop workshop in Seattle, WA this June as well as our Africa Photo Safari in November. The Photoshop Level 1 and Level 2 Workshops are set for June 24th and 25th, 2011. Here's a link for more information: Photoshop Workshop
Here's the link for the Tanzania Photo Safari:
Tanzania Photo Safari
April GOAL Assignment: Point of View Photography
Last month's GOAL Assignment (Get Out and Learn Assignment) was to take point of view photos to document your adventures. Point of view (POV) photography is defined as taking photos from the perspective of a participant in an activity. Examples might include photographing from a bicycle or from the driver's seat of a car or from a helmet camera on a skydiver.
One of the neatest ways to show your involvement in an activity is to create photos of the action and I've found that these photos work best if they show a sense of motion. Generally speaking, you don't want the scene to appear frozen and tack-sharp, rather you want them to include a little bit of motion blur. Showing that bit of motion blur indicates that things are moving and the scene is dynamic.
The best way to show motion in your POV photography is to use longer shutter speeds. For example, when I photographed the photo shown to the left from a John Deere Gator utility vehicle in Alaska, I used a shutter speed of about 1/30 second. I was moving along at about 20 mph and this shutter speed allowed the scene to blur while the vehicle was still sharp. For the Bobcat tractor photograph, I shot at 1/8 second. In this scenario, the tractor doesn't move very fast, so I needed a longer shutter to show the blur.
The trick is to show enough movement to cause motion blur, but not enough movement that the entire scene is blurry. When I shoot POV images, I end up taking my shots in fast bursts because I know that only one or two will turn out. To setup your camera to shoot fast bursts, set your camera for "Continuous" shooting. I like to use "Continuous High" on my Nikon cameras and then hold down my shutter release button for ten to fifteen shots in a row.
Since point of view photography is all about showing action and participation, it makes sense that video can play a role in this type of photography as well. In fact, sometimes video is the only way to truly tell a POV story.
A few years ago I gave my son a new bike with a computer speedometer. He was very excited to go out and see how fast he could ride, so I mounted a Canon G9 to my handlebars with a Bogen Superclamp and recorded his adventure from my point of view. After the trip, I put together a quick video for him after he achieved his all-time best speed of 21.5 miles per hour. You can watch the video here (left) or, follow this link to the video on Vimeo.com: http://www.vimeo.com/23100448
Most modern point and shoot cameras have built-in video functionality, so they are well suited to POV videography. Even if the camera isn't able to shoot full HD video, they can still be used to create fun compilations. In this case, the Canon G9 only shoots low res videos, but my son didn't care. He thoroughly enjoyed watching his own story titled Twenty One Point Five.
The last point I want to make about POV photography is that you should help the viewer understand where the participant/photographer is located. If you are photographing from a tractor, then you generally want to show just enough of the vehicle or environment to make it clear that the participant is driving. In this case, it makes sense to show some of the controls or metal frame. If you're photographing from an airplane, then show the cockpit as well as the landscape.
Ok, that's all I have for Point of View photography this month. Now, you have all the information you need to create your own point of view photos of cycling, flying or underwater basket weaving!
May GOAL Assignment: Shooting in P Mode
For your next GOAL Assignment, I'm going to suggest something sacrilegious for many photographers. I want you to step away from Aperture Priority exposure, Manual exposure and Shutter Priority exposure for a while. That's right! Your GOAL Assignment (Get Out And Learn Assignment) for May 2011 is to photograph in Program Mode.
A lot of readers have requested articles on shooting in Program mode over the years, and it is time to finally follow through with my promises! To prepare you for this month of shooting, I want you to read the Photo Techniques section below for more background on shooting in Program mode.
In next month's newsletter, I'll show images I created in Program Mode as well as give you some additional tips for making the most out of this much-maligned exposure mode!
During the month, I'll be posting pics to the Flickr Group for Out There Images, Inc. and would love to see your shots there as well. Flickr is free and easy, so don't be afraid! Here's the link to the photo-sharing group. www.flickr.com/groups/out_there_images/
Photo Techniques: Shooting in P Mode
Most modern dSLR cameras have at least four different exposure modes. These include Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual and Program. All four modes are useful for various photo situations, but the truth is that most photographers tend to use Aperture Priority or Manual Mode. Program Mode tends to get a bad rap in the photo world.
Many photographers refer to P Mode as "Professional" mode. Except, they say the word professional with a laugh. When they refer to Program mode, they say it like, "quote – professional – unquote." Wink, wink. In other words, Program Mode is the last thing a professional would use.
Most Pros wouldn't be caught dead shooting Program mode because using it would mean admitting that they let the camera make all the exposure decisions. It means that they aren't taking responsibility for shutter speed and aperture.
As artists, when people look at our photos, we want to be able to tell them, "I set shutter speed to this and aperture to that." The last thing we want to admit is that the camera made these decisions for us. We use our skill with exposure along with our creative vision to make great photos. Right? It is because we make the decisions that the photos are so good. Right?
But, is this really true? Can a professional photographer get true professional results from Program mode?
I've been thinking a lot about this lately as I find that more and more of my professional colleagues are shooting in Program Mode. For example, I was just reading an article in the May 2011 Outdoor Photographer magazine written by David Muench (http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/columns/natural-connections/haleakala-sunrise.html). He described his current foray into digital photography as using automatic ISO and Program Mode.
David Muench! We're talking about a man who's been one of the world's leading landscape photographers for 50 years. A man who has been shooting large format and medium format cameras since the beginning of his career. Along with Muench, I've been reading and talking to more and more photographers who are using Program Mode in their photography.
With all these established professionals using Program Mode, perhaps I really should consider trusting the automated exposure system a bit more. I have a strong feeling that allowing the camera to make more decisions for me will free up my mind to be more creative in the field.
When I shoot photos with my SLR cameras, I like to think of myself as a "professional" who is in complete control of all aspects of photography. I've been practicing photography pretty regularly since about 1985 and feel very comfortable in Manual Exposure mode with a hand-held light meter.
However, I also know that I derive just as much enjoyment from shooting pictures with my point and shoot cameras or my cell phone. As I reassess my motivations for shooting in Aperture Priority or Manual Mode, I have to wonder if I might sometimes be better served in Program Mode.
To prepare you for shooting in Program, I've written ten points you should understand about using this exposure mode.
1. The camera chooses both aperture and shutter speed for each shot. You are not required to set either parameter. Just point the camera towards the scene and it will automatically determine the exposure.
2. The calculation for the exposure is different for each lens that you use. In other words, shooting a photo with a 50mm f1.4 will result in a different shutter/aperture combination than shooting with a 24-70mm f2.8 or an 18-55mm f3.5 – f5.6. Each lens has a different "Program".
3. You can vary the program the camera gives you by rotating your rear command dial when the light meter is on. Doing this is called Flexible Program and it can be a great tool if used properly. When you rotate the dial to the left or the right, this will create a different combination of aperture and shutter speed, but will give you the same brightness in the final shot. For example, if the metering system gives you f5.6 and 1/250 sec, you can rotate the command dial to achieve f2.8 and 1/1000 sec. This results in the same brightness, but different shutter speed/aperture.
Obviously, the use for this is when you want a different aperture (or shutter speed) than the camera first suggests. The first thing that comes to mind is landscape photography where the camera might suggest f4 and you would rather have f16 for more depth of field. The funny thing about doing this in Program Mode is that you are effectively doing the same thing as you would in Aperture Priority Mode. Basically, you are using Program mode to get to your preferred aperture setting.
4. Exposure Compensation can (and should) still be used in Program Mode. Changing exposure comp increases or decreases the brightness of the photo. In Program Mode, changing exposure compensation will modify both your shutter speed and aperture. For example, if you add +1.3 to exposure compensation, you'll see that your aperture will get bigger and simultaneously your shutter speed will increase.
5. The AE-L feature still works. AE-L stands for Auto Exposure Lock and is a button on the back of your camera. When you press this button, the camera "locks" the shutter speed and aperture (i.e. exposure) while you take the photograph. This is helpful in situations where you want to meter off of something in the foreground like grass and then recompose for the final photograph.
6. You are still responsible to set all the other camera parameters such as ISO, autofocus, Metering Mode (matrix, center weighted, spot), white balance, RAW/JPG, etc. Remember, that the only thing that changes in Program Mode is that the camera is making your exposure decisions.
7. Program Mode tends to keep a wide (large) aperture until the light gets bright enough to use smaller apertures. The exposure calculation is designed to let lots of light through the lens so your shutter speeds remain higher. This is good for handholding, but not always ideal for landscape photography where you are using a tripod. Therefore, if you need a smaller aperture, rotate your main command dial (vari-program) like I talked about in tip #4 to choose a different aperture/shutter combination.
8. The obvious application for Program Mode is when you are moving fast and don't want to be bothered with exposure decisions; think family vacations, kids sports and parties. Program lets your mind be free from setting these two parameters so you can be quicker on your feet. Therefore, Program mode still lets you make lots of decisions about camera operation, but frees you up from the exposure decision.
9. Program Mode is very different from Auto Mode. Some cameras, such as the Nikon D5100, D7000, D90 have Auto Mode in addition to Program Mode. Auto literally sets almost everything on the camera. It sets white balance, ISO, autofocus, Picture Control, Noise Reduction and everything else under the sun. When you use Program Mode, the camera only chooses Aperture and Shutter speed. You are still responsible for setting things like ISO, White Balance, Autofocus, etc. This is the same if you were shooting in Manual, Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority.
10. Program exposure mode works just fine with any of your camera's three light meters. In fact, its decision process is directly tied to the metering mode you have chosen. Most modern cameras have three metering modes: Matrix (or evaluative), Center Weighted, and Spot Meter. Each of these light meters work by measuring the amount of light for a given area. If you are using Matrix Meter, then the camera measures the light everywhere in the scene. If you are using Center Weighted metering, then the camera heavily weights the exposure decision towards the center of the scene. If you are using Spot Meter, then the camera measures light from a very small "spot" in the scene.
Now that you know a bit about Program Mode, you need to get out there and see if it works for you. Personally, I'm going to spend the next month learning to trust Program Mode. There will be times when it makes sense to use Program Mode and other times when it makes sense to use Manual Mode or Aperture Priority Mode. However, for all the shots that I would normally shoot in Aperture Priority, I'm now going to use Program Mode.
Let's see what happens. My guess is that the earth will keep spinning AND I'll get some awesome pictures along the way.
Photo Techniques: How Does VR Respond with Back Button Focusing?
After posting a very popular article on using back button focusing in last month's newsletter, I received lots of great followup questions about VR (vibration reduction). VR is a lens technology that reduces camera shake and helps you produce sharp photographs. This technology has been around for many years and is very effective. I use VR in a variety of situations and have learned to rely on the VR system to produce sharp hand-held photos in situations where I normally would need to use a tripod.
As many of you already know, the only way to activate VR on our lenses is by pressing down half-way on the camera's shutter release button. If you focus the traditional way on your camera with the shutter release button (called front button focusing), then you never have to worry about activating VR because you automatically activate it when you focus.
But! If you have started to use back button focusing with the AF-ON button like I described in last month's newsletter, then VR doesn't activate while you are focusing. It only activates when you depress the shutter release button. This issue prompted lots of questions, so I thought I'd reprint just two of them here and then explain more detail down below:
Email Question #1
I have been using the back button focus technique that you suggested using in your April newsletter, and so far I like the technique. However, I was talking with another Nikon user and he said that on his camera (D300s) the vibration reduction function was turned off when using the back button focus. Would this be the same for the D7000? I've tried looking in the manual and on the Internet, but so far I haven't found a definitive answer.
Email Question #2
Since taking your Nikonian course on use of the D300 and the next day taking your Nikon CLS course a couple of years ago, you mentioned that we would be able to email you if we had any questions regarding use of Nikon cameras. Well, this is my first time emailing you with a question for which no one seems to know the answer. I have called Nikon Tech Service direct and my local camera store, which surprisingly enough, neither knew the answer, so it's off to the national Nikon expert Mike Hagen!
After taking your Nikonian course on the D300, I changed how I focused and actuated the shutter button on my D300. Well I got to love it; being able to completely separate the focus function and shutter actuation function now seems a perfectly natural and better way to take pictures until just recently...
In Simon Stafford's D90 Magic Lantern Guide Book he mentions in that section of the book dealing with custom functions that when option #5 (AF-ON) under assignment of functions for use of the AE-L/AF-L button is used, that the "VR function prevalent in so many of today's Nikkor lenses is not usable." ...that VR is only usable using the shutter button in its default setting; ie using the shutter button in the conventional way, to both focus (and wait a moment until the image settles down) and then pressing the shutter button all the way down to trip the shutter also.
Tell me it ain't so Mike!
I just wanted to tell you l learned so darned much from your seminars. And fact is I took notes and remembered much that you said that weekend. You continue to be a big help with my passion (and yours) Nikon photography! Thank you again for taking the time to respond to my email.
Ok, so here's the deal. A lot of people, including store personnel, tech support employees and book authors, completely misunderstand how VR works on our cameras. While it is true that VR is only activated when the shutter release button is pressed, it isn't true that using the back button focusing technique deactivates VR altogether.
To be clear, any time the shutter release button is depressed (half or full), VR is activated and working. Or, to state it another way, VR is inactive any time the shutter release button is not being pressed.
For back button focusers (people who use the AF-ON button), if all you do is press the AF-ON button and never take a photo, then VR will not be activated. If you do press the shutter release button to take a photo, then at the instant you press the shutter button, VR activates and is "on." As soon as you fully lift your index finger from the shutter release button, VR turns off. If you keep your index finger half-depressed on the shutter release button, then VR will continue to stay on.
The only way to keep VR activated is by continuing to keep your index finger "half-depressed" on the shutter release button. In fact, this is a very good practice, because the VR system always takes a little bit of time to become stable. In the field, I find this "settling down" takes about one or two seconds. Therefore, I tend to keep my shutter release button half-depressed and then focus as I need to with my thumb on the AF-ON button. It doesn't take long at all to get used to this approach.
Any time you want VR activated, just half depress the shutter with your index finger. Any time you want to focus, just press the AF-ON with your thumb (or AE-L/AF-L if programmed that way). In practice, I keep my thumb hovering over the AF-ON button on the back of the camera and my index finger hovering over the shutter release button.
However, it is important to note that the order in which you press the buttons doesn't really matter. Either the shutter button or the AF-ON button can be pressed first. Just remember that the VR system needs a short period of time to settle down, so you'll need to plan for that before your shot.
The beauty of separating focus from the shutter release button is the two functions (AF and VR) become independent from each other. Many times, I'll activate VR so the system settles down, then use AF once the subject starts moving. There are many times when the subject stops moving that I release the AF-ON button, but keep the VR activated.
Finally, if you have a camera that doesn't have an AF-ON button (i.e. Nikon D80, D90, D7000, etc.), it is still possible to move the focus to the AE-L/AF-L button by setting it in your custom menu. In these cameras, VR activation works the same way with shutter release button.
Photo Techniques: White Balance for Blue Hour
I've been on a blue hour photography kick lately, so I thought I'd show how white balance dramatically impacts the colors in your twilight photos.
The blue hour is defined as the period of time during twilight (evening or morning) when the sky turns a dark shade of blue. It typically occurs anywhere between 15 minutes to 45 minutes before sunrise or after sunset. Choosing the correct white balance during this time can be confusing because it is in-between daylight and darkness.
So, what kind of light is it? After all, there isn't a white balance setting on your camera named "Blue Hour." The answer to the question is a bit more complicated that you might first imagine. Let me explain.
Generally speaking, you want the color of the sky during blue hour to be ... blue! Therefore, picking a white balance setting that adds a blue filter will help you achieve this goal. As you move down the white balance settings from Sunny to Fluorescent to Incandescent, you'll find that the camera adds more and more blue to the color filtering. In fact, my favorite white balance settings for blue hour photography are "incandescent" or "fluorescent." For you techies out there, that means shooting with a white balance of something between 2800K to 4000K.
If you leave your white balance set for sunny, cloudy or shade, you'll find that your colors will be much warmer. This is due to the fact that these settings filter the image with an amber or warm hue. This results in photos where the sky just doesn't look quite right. Trust me, you don't want amber skies for your blue hour photos!
Another reason I like to use incandescent or fluorescent white balance for blue hour photography has to do with city lights. If you set your white balance for incandescent or fluorescent, then you will accurately render the colors of lights on the buildings and foreground. Since the buildings look like they are naturally colored, then the deep blue of the sky appears much more natural. Viewers of your photos will believe the colors of your scene are accurate, as long as something familiar in the scene appears accurate.
For example, take a look at these photos to the left of this water fountain at The Grove, near Hollywood, CA. In the top photo, I shot the image with Sunny white balance. You can see that the blue of the sky isn't very saturated and the color of light on the fountain is warm.
In the next image, I changed my white balance to incandescent (tungsten) and the colors popped! The lighting of the fountain looks white and the blue sky turns a vibrant blue. Also, the colors on the buildings and trees looks much more natural. Before I set my white balance, I looked down at the light bulbs in the fountain to see what type they were. Since they were incandescent, it made sense to use incandescent white balance. If the lights were fluorescent, then I would have used that white balance setting.
The next series of photos show a situation where it is hard to figure out the best white balance. The images are of a house at Christmas taken during the blue hour. In the first image, the clouds had a nice warm color to them because my white balance was set for Sunny. Unfortunately, this caused the house lights to appear too warm. Trying again with Incandescent white balance makes the house lights look white and the sky turn deep blue. I like the blue sky, but unfortunately I lost the warmth on the clouds.
Which is best? I don't know. That's one of the joys of photography - always trying to figure out the best settings for your images. Because I couldn't decide which was best, I created a merged image of the two in Photoshop CS5. The top half has the warm sky and the bottom half has the white lights from the house. I'm not sure I like this one any better than the other two. Decisions, decisions!
When photographing a natural scene such as a landscape, you'll need to be a little more careful with the use of white balance since many times the blue created in Incandescent is too blue. You'll see this in your photos because subjects like snow or trees will appear to be the wrong color. In these cases, I recommend a white balance around 4500K to 5000K. The sky won't appear as blue, but the landscape will be a bit more natural.
So, the takeaway from this article is that choosing a white balance of Incandescent, Fluorescent or a lower kelvin (~3000K) will result in richer, more vibrant skies for your blue hour photography. Try it, I know you'll like the result.
Book Review: Remote Exposure, A Guide to Hiking and Climbing Photography
Back in the days "BC", Before Children, I did a fair amount of climbing and mountaineering. It was a passion of mine and I loved taking my cameras with me to record my experiences in Washington's Cascades, Canada's Bugaboos or California's Yosemite Valley. At the time, my photo heroes were adventurers like Galen Rowell (www.mountainlight.com) and Art Wolfe (www.artwolfe.com) who took their cameras to every conceivable location on earth.
I still have a passion for the outdoors and love reading about how others tackle the difficult task of technical climbing and excellent photography. When I found out that Alexandre Buisse just finished his new book on this specific topic, I had to read it. Alexandre's book is titled Remote Exposure: A guide to Hiking and Climbing Photography. It is filled with images from his climbing exploits and details everything he goes through when preparing for a photo adventure trip.
If you thought that packing your photo gear for your next vacation was hard, you should try packing camera gear for your next mountaineering adventure. Carrying all your normal climbing gear weighs more than enough, so adding the weight of your SLR and a few lenses can make the weight unbearable. Alexandre talks through the strategy of packing gear, choosing the right camera equipment, and how to manage it in the field.
Creating stunning images in the mountains is always much more involved than pointing your camera towards the glacier. To this point, Alexandre talks about making sure that your photos tell the story of your adventure. That last thing you want is for your photos to become simple record shots of you standing on the summit. Your photos should record the emotion of the climb, the scale of the mountains and capture scenes in the most beautiful light.
Alexandre spends ample time describing how to design your photos so they convey drama. Seemingly small details like whether the rock climber is above the rope (leading) or below the rope (following) play a huge role in the viewer's perception of the photo. Also, providing visual cues so the viewer can judge the real angle of a rock is important. Alexandre explains how he uses horizons, the climber's long hair, hanging ropes and other details to create the visual drama that produces a great image.
Remote Exposure is filled with Alexandre's excellent imagery. The book is printed in full color and there are many double page spreads of beautiful mountain panoramas. All his photos should inspire the reader to get out into the mountains to create their own unique shots.
Remote Exposure is broken down into six chapters.
1. Choosing the Right Equipment (camera, lenses, bags, batteries)
2. Shooting (weather protection, condensation, dust, exposure, workflow)
3. Creating Powerful Images (inspiration, composition, telling a story)
4. Discipline Specific (details on camping, hiking, technical climbing, mountaineering)
5. Advanced Techniques (low light, panoramas, HDR, video)
6. Closing Thoughts (ethics, safety, environment)
One of my favorite tips in the book is about packing for data backup and memory cards. Obviously, you want to pack memory cards so you have enough for the entire shoot. However, Alexandre's recommendation is to pack enough so you have the "perception" of enough memory cards for the trip. One of the worst things that can happen to your creativity is to always have a nagging feeling that you are running out of storage space. This will cause you to stop experimenting and taking photographic risks. If you never have to worry about running out of memory, then you can keep shooting without fear.
If I have one criticism for the book, it is that I would have liked to see more example photos of the photographer in action. As all climbers and mountaineers know, finding a way to shoot while you are in the mix of a technical climb is the biggest challenge of mountain photography. Images or descriptions of how Alexandre takes photos while "on rope" are extremely helpful to understand how a climbing photographer works in the real world.
Remote Exposure is published by RockyNook and is 157 pages. The book is hard cover and printed in square format in full color. Retail is $29.95, but the book sells for $15 - $23 on Amazon. More information can be found here: www.rockynook.com/books/175.html
You can buy the book here: www.amazon.com
Workshop and Business Updates
Photoshop Workshop in Seattle, WA.
That's right, we're bringing back Photoshop workshops to the Seattle, WA area this June 24th and June 25th. We'll have two days of Photoshop for Photographers. You should bring your own computer loaded with Photoshop CS3, CS4, CS5 or Photoshop Elements. The skills I teach will be transferrable to any of these software versions. Here's the link to sign up:
The November 2011 Safari to Tanzania Africa now only has three seats remaining. Our group of intrepid adventurers will be traveling throughout the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire NP in our specially modified Land Cruisers. It is the trip of a lifetime and a wonderful opportunity to check another item off of your bucket list! Here's the link for more information about the Tanzania, Africa photo safari: Tanzania, Africa Photo Safari
These Tanzania safari trips are popular, so I've added two more for 2012. The first one will be in May 2012 and the second in November 2012. May 2012 will include the Wildebeest rut during the Great Migration. November 2012 will include the Mara River crossing in Northern Tanzania. You can find more information on these adventures here: 2012 Safaris
I'm still working with tour operators in the Galapagos to get a good deal for a privately chartered boat. I'll post it as soon as I work out final details with the boat owner and guides. We are planning for September 2012 for our journey. Feel free to write me directly (email@example.com) if you have questions or want to sign up.
You can stay current with our new workshop by watching for news to be posted at the blog (www.outthereimages.com/blog) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MikeJHagen), and on Twitter (twitter.com/MikeJHagen).
Custom Group Trips
If you have a group and want to arrange a custom photo safari or photo trip, contact us and weill put together an incredible itinerary just for you. Simply email or call and weill give you all the details for how to go about creating the trip of your dreams.
Every month I run private workshops for people who want to learn in a one-on-one environment. These are great for folks who want to focus on specific topics related directly to their interests. Topics have included product photography, learning your camera, Lightroom, Capture NX2, wedding photography, Photoshop, color management, nature photography, digital workflow, macro photography, location portraiture and many others. I also regularly consult with businesses, schools, organizations and museums to assist with their photographic and digital workflow needs.
Call (253) 851-9054 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions about private tutoring or consulting.
Have fun this month shooting in Program Mode and setting your white balance for blue hour photography. I look forward to seeing your photos over at the Flickr group. www.flickr.com/groups/out_there_images/
If you need more photo encouragement during the month, be sure to check out www.outthereimages.com/blog for regular updates, news, tips and commentary.
Out There Images, Inc. - "Get Out And Learn!"
PO Box 1966
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
All images and content (C) 1998 - 2011 Mike Hagen / Out There Images. All rights reserved.