Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cure for Cabin-Fever (Tyler)

While the weather here in Ohio isn't the best hiking weather (at least not up in NW Ohio where the wind makes a walk outside painful) I decided to go to the Toledo Zoo two weeks ago to try my hand at aquarium photography.  It was extremely peaceful as I was the only person in the aquarium although there were several challenges I had to overcome.  One difficulty was to pay attention to the subject being photographed as well as keeping an eye on the reflections on the glass surface.  Then I had to overcome the obstacle of photographing fast moving subjects in a low-light situation... nothing my Canon EOS 5D couldn't handle.  Here's my favorite photograph taken in the aquarium.  I am interested in the bubbles that seem to suspend the fish.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Getting Acquainted (Tyler)

Hello Everybody!
I just thought since I was new to the Nature's Best Student blogger team that I would introduce myself. My name is Tyler Brown but I prefer to go by Tyler Benjamin (my middle name). I am 19 years old and have grown up in the "flat lands" of northwest Ohio. Even though most of this region is farmland, I have always had a passion to find nature. In fact my love for photography grew from my personal studies and field trips around the local preserves and parks searching for a glimpse of salamanders, deer, wild flowers, etc. After I began saving all my money for trips across the nation to see the most beautiful landscapes, I realized I had been given a gift. Through my camera lens I am able to bring an awareness to a world that many people only see on television. My hopes are that people will see my work and want to explore these natural environments themselves. If we really want to preserve these pristine places we must show the world why its worth saving. So that's a little of my personal philosophy that I am sure I share with many of you readers. I look forward to posting images and sharing stories from my adventures in the future with Nature's Best Photography: Students Blog!


Tyler Benjamin

P.S.-The image of myself that I have included was taken two years ago at my favorite location in the entire world: Olympic National Park, Washington. I daydream to this day about the drenched Hoh Rain Forest and the sea-stacks that tower over the Pacific coastline.

Star Trails (Gabby Salazar)

While in Africa, I spent a few nights playing with star trails. In the Hamakuya region, I was so far away from cities that the sky was filled with stars. I'd never played with star trails using digital and was curious to see how it turned out. The nice thing about digital is that it is easy to change ISO and to experiment with different settings in the field. It is difficult to make exposures without a lot of grain/noise. In order to do star trails with complete circles, I needed extra equipment. I  only had cable release, so I was able to get bright pinpoints. I composed the image with a Venda hut in the foreground to show the setting and finally came up with this exposure - 30 seconds at f/9 at ISO 1250. Next time you are out at night, experiment with different exposures and ISOs to see what you can achieve. Use flashlights to paint foreground objects so you have a point of interest. In this case, the lights added definition to the house, but in other situations, you can paint plants, trees, or rocks with light.

More soon!

- Gabby

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Literature for Photographers (Johan)

"Christmas Cactus Flower"

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a great and creative new year. There is lots of great literature available for photographers, so I decided to give you a rundown of my favorites.
  • First, of course, is NBP:Students.
  • Nature's Best Photography Magazine is the "parent" publication of NBP:Students, and it shows. NBP isn't the cheapest magazine available, but it has page after page of the most stunning nature photos imaginable. This is the one case where the bad logic of "it's too expensive, but it's worth it" is valid. :-) This is my favorite publication.
  • Another good magazine is Outdoor Photographer, featuring lots of how-to articles and gear guides. Of course, there is lots of great nature photography too.
  • The Arthur Morris Birds as Art email bulletins are free and packed with good information and stunning photos. Click on the link above to sign up.
  • Also free is the Ask Tim Grey (previously Digital Darkroom Questions/DDQ) e-newsletter.
  • Last but not least, "The Digital Photography Book" (vol. 1-3) by Scott Kelby. Although they are not nature-specific, they are the books to have, covering everything from landscapes and wildlife to studio lighting and weddings.
Enjoy reading! :-)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Starting 2010 With Success

Hey everyone, happy new year to you all. I've been pretty slack on my postings lately, that's mostly due to school and lots of rain here in Vancouver. Anyways, I started the new year off pretty exciting photo-wise. A couple days ago my friend ( and I went out in search of an rare visitor to the Vancouver area. This visitor happens to be a Great Gray Owl (they only come here around every 5-6 years). Unfortunately, I had to leave just before dusk, and Jess stayed. The owl came out shortly after I left and Jess had a field day with the owl.

The next day we set out again. We arrived at the spot to find a handfull of "Big Lens" bird enthusiasts. Most of them we knew, so it was ok. But sometimes you have to be careful with how you approach owls if sensitive birders are around. Jess' dad had spotted the owl deep in the woods earlier. It was quite impressive he was able to find it. We waited until the sun went down, when it has usually been coming out. It finally flew out about 10 minutes past it's expected time. We were lucky it perched on a fairly decent spot. They're very tolerant of humans, so as long as you're respectful, it's very easy to get close. Shooting in the low-light conditions made tripods very necessary. I was typically on ISO 3200, F4.5, 1/160 sec, to give you an idea.

Shooting the great gray was one of the most memorable photo experiences of my life. These owls are like the wolves of the bird kingdom. Needless to say it was very majestic.

It's nice to start the new year off with such a fine photo experience.

Hope you all have a great new year of nature photography!

Connor Stefanison