Monday, August 31, 2009

Beginning My African Adventure

Dear readers -

I am in South Africa right now in Nylvleys Reserve. I have been here one week so far and am studying savanna ecology. This morning we went on a game drive at 5:30 am and saw a zebra and ostrich. This reserve is a nice place to visit first because I am able to explore on foot. There are no predators here so it is safe. Between lectures I dash into the field with my camera.

I will write as I have reception. I hope you have all looked at the new online issue. I have already sent emails to semi-finalists in our most recent photo contest. I will notify finalists at the end of September and will do my best to provide feedback to other entrants.

Keep in touch!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pattern, Shape and Colour (Jodie Randall)

When looking at the work of other photographers I often find that the simplest images are the most striking. Employing clever use of colour, texture, pattern and shape a photographer has the ability to create an image of great impact.
This is something that is always at the forefront of my mind when I take my own photographs. Working with complementary colours (red/green, blue/orange and yellow/purple) and bold combinations such as black and white can be very effective. I find that using one main block colour also works well, especially when illustrating how a creature can blend into its habitat as in the image above.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Art Of Getting Close (Connor Stefanison)

I'm sure all wildlife photographers have had at least one occasion where they've been close to a cool creature, and it fled the scene. This has happened to myself on many occasions, and it's rather annoying. No matter how slow and steady I would walk up to some animals, they would sometimes take off. A recent technique I've been using is to not let the animal see my face. Animals react more to seeing a face than a body. It may look silly, but walking up slowly to animals with your head down, and sometimes even acting like the animals can get you very close.

The image above is of a Lesser Yellowlegs eating a dragonfly. This image was taken near Chetwynd, British Columbia, Canada. I was able to get within 15 feet of this bird by using these techniques. I could have gotten closer, but wanted the whole bird in the frame.

So next time you're out photographing wildlife, give this technique a try if you haven't already.

Happy Shooting,

Connor Stefanison

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Black and White Photography (Nathanael Gass)

If you are feeling a little bored with the subjects in your backyard, try shooting in black and white. With black and white, you can change the world from a chaos of colors to just 2. This is a great benefit, cleaning up busy backgrounds easily, and providing new challenges. It allows you to see often photographed subjects in a whole new light, which can really help creativity flow. Here is a before and after shot from my backyard.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wildlife Safari (Johan)

Finally! My long-promised Wildlife Safari post! :-) Back in April, my family was able to go to the Wildlife Safari in Winston, OR. Kind of like a drive-through zoo, most of the herbivores are in pastures instead of cages. The carnivores are in a type of free-range cage. All the animals can be photographed easily from a car (you are only allowed out of the vehicle on special guided tours). I took about 600-700 pictures in 1.5 hours! Here are a few of them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

National Wildlife Refuges (Gabby)

Hi All -

I just wanted to share my recent discovery about National Wildlife Refuges. I have been writing a column for the National Wildlife Refuge System on tips for young photographers. The NWR website has a great map that I wanted to share with you - if you visit there is a map of all the refuges by state and you can even put in your zip code and find refuges near you.

Check it out!

For now, here is an image I took at a refuge. The orchids were photographed at the Florida Panther NWR.

More soon!

- Gabby

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Local Nuggets (Connor Stefanison)

Hi everyone,
have you found that there are few nature photo opportunities in your area? If you live in an urban environment, this could be true. I live in Vancouver BC, Canada. Vancouver is a very busy city. As I finish my first year of photography right now, I reflect on the areas I've photographed. Of all the areas I photographed, Burnaby Lake has to be one of my favorites. Burnaby Lake is a marshy lake right in the middle of a big city, and it's only a short drive from my home. I have captured some of my best nature images, basically right in the heart of Vancouver. By finding a clump of nature in your city, I'm sure you will find a new love for your area, and a new appreciation for urban nature. These locations offer close to home shooting, that is usually safe and convenient.
To view some of my images from Burnaby Lake, check out my site : and check out my waterfowl album, to view some examples of what a big city has to offer.

Happy Shooting,

Ps. This image is of a female Wood Duck in a tree. This perch is one of the best kept secrets in the area!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

French TV on Children and Animals

Hi Photographers -

I just spoke with a French journalist named Catherine Sebag who is working on a series for TV on the connection between animals and children. She is looking for stories that follow a relationshp between kids that are 6-16 years old and a particular animals or group of animals. The animals could be wild or rehabilitated. If any of you photographers have such a story or know of such a story, you can email Ms. Sebag at

- Gabby

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What is this? (Gabby)

Recently I've been working on developing a series of images of subjects little known and photographed in such a way as to raise questions about what they are. I stumble upon most of these subjects simply by looking. In Peru I found this insect, a moth in fact, that hangs upsidedown in order to confuse predators. The first image shows the moth as I saw it while standing and how many predators would see it. The second image shows the moth from the side and you can see the wings.
- Gabby