Secrets of Digital Bird Photography

  This free online book is one of the

 best informational resources I have

 come across. William has written an

 excellent book covering much more

 than how to photograph  a bird!

 I highly recommend this outstanding

 book.

 

Recent Photos

Recent Blog Entries

                                               Doctor and Patient

     Making an image look like a Norman Rockwell is a challenge but when your subjects are not even twenty months old, you need to be quick to get the photo you want.

                                   Hot and Spicy Spoonful

 

Here's how you do it:

Setup a piece of black poster board as a background.  Support a tablespoon (not your wife's good silver) anyway you can. 

 I used a second tripod and a rubber band to hold the spoon.

Set your camera up on a tripod with a remote shutter release.  I used a 24-105 lens you will have to play with your settings depending on your room lighting and effect you want.  Set to manual focus and focus on the spoon.

Put either lighter fluid or rubbing alcohol in the spoon a very small amount is needed. The lighter fluid will give you a RED flame and rubbing alcohol will give you a BLUE flame.
 
Light the fluid and start taking images.  Have fun and don't burn the house down!

 

                                           Fun Things To Try

      You can do something like this without using Photoshop or any other software to manipulate the photo. To accomplish this I used a black foam board for the background and base.  Placing a table placemat, a bowl of cereal, a glass of juice, and a spoon on the base, you are now ready for the interesting part.  I next sliced the banana then took a black coat hanger that I had cut and straightened.  Cutting a black straw into 1/2" long pieces  I then slid the coat hanger thru the entire banana placing a piece of straw between the slices and then bent the end of the wire after the last slice.  Using a tripod located to the right I suspended the coat hanger and banana.  I had to use the straw pieces because the banana slices wanted to slide down the coat hanger. To the left of center I had a 150 watt clear bulb mounted on a tripod with tissue paper in front to diffuse the light. Centered on the subject, I had my 5D Mark II set to Manual mode and mounted on a tripod with a Canon 24-105 lens set at 28mm focal length.  My ISO was 500, aperture  was f16, with a shutter speed of 1/4 sec.  The picture came out dark enough that you do not see the coat hanger or straw. I pre focused the lens and then set it on manual.

     Fire with reflection is another interesting shot to try.  For this photo you need to be in a room that is totally dark.  I used a black foam board background and base.  I took a piece of picture frame glass about 10x14" and laid it on the base.  My 5D was set to Manual mode using a Canon 24-105 lens with a focal length of 82mm.  Lens was prefocused and set to manual  (set something on the glass to focus on).  ISO was 500, aperture f8, and shutter 1/320 sec.  I then placed a small line of lighter fluid on the glass then lit the fluid, turned the lights out and tripped the shutter using a remote.  To get beautiful shades of blue flame try using rubbing alcohol in place of the lighter fluid.

 

      This is a double exsposure.  Standing in front of a black backgound the camera was set to Manual mode with black/white sellected.  I had my wife take a picture of me then very carefully I put my hands over my face and had her take a second picture.  In Canon's DPP software I over-laid the two photos.

      If you would like to get some interesting photos of tropical fish you don't need to travel to the South Sea Islands.  Just ask your local aquarium store if you could take some photos.  Most aquarium stores keep their fish tanks in very subdued light which makes for tricky photo shooting.  I found that I got my best photos when I used a 24-105 lens with a 82mm focal length.  Camera was set to Manual mode with an ISO of 500 aperture was f4.5 and shutter speed was 1/30 sec.  This fish was very slow moving with faster moving fish I would bump up shutter speed and ISO.  You will need to shoot straight on at the aquarium other wise you will have light refraction problems. You can not use a flash for this type of photo or you will have light bounce back off the tank glass.

      You can open a whole new world of interesting photographs with a simple black light, which you can purchase at your local hardware store, and a white bed sheet.  Simply hang the bed sheet over a clothes line and attach the black light to the top of the sheet. Then when darkness arrives, grab your camera with a flash, and a tripod and begin shooting.  I used my 5D Mark II and a Canon 180mm macro lens.  Shooting in Manual mode my ISO was 3200 exposure bias was +1 and the aperture was f8 with a 1/30 sec shutter speed.  Something that I find helpful is a head type night light which makes it easier to see where you are focusing.  Some of the bugs you will see are no bigger than a pin head and very colorful.

      Here is an old trick from film days that will still work with digital cameras and bring you different and interesting photos. Put a UV filter on your favorite lens and then take just the slightest amount of vasoline on your finger tip.  Then try placing the vasoline on your UV filter using different patterns. You will be amazed at the different effects that you can obtain.  In the above photo I left the very center of the filter free of vasoline.  When you have finished your shooting take the UV filter off and wipe clean with a soft rag and some rubbing alcohol.  Do not do this directly on your lens.

      This could be sparkling champagne or maybe just made to look like that.  A black foam board back ground and black cloth base were used.  Below the cloth base I had a piece of 1 inch foam insulation board.  I filled the glass 3/4 full with Ginger Ale.  Behind the glass I placed a sparkler into the foam insulation board and let the top of it stick up about 1/4 inch above the glass keeping the sparkler in perfect alignment with the stem of the glass. The room lights were off for the shot.  I quickly filled the glass to the top with Ginger Ale, dropped a very small amount of Alka Seltzer in the glass, then lit the sparkler as quickly as possible.  I hit my remote as soon as the fireworks started. Settings were f22, ISO 200, .8 sec.  Lens was set to 105mm.

      Here I have used the Compositing Tool in Canon's DPP to place the eye and smoke in the image.  The things that you can do are endless.

       Try a B&W with just one thing in the image having some color.  I used Smart Photo Editor to get this effect.  Below is the photo I started with.

      A "pencil sketch look" also makes for something more interesting. This was also done using Smart Photo Editor.  See below.

      As you can see there are a lot of things that you can do with a photo to make it have a different look.  Below I have taken the same setting using different objects on the table. 

        The above image is a double exposure.  I used a black cloth background and base.  Taking an old book and opening it to about the middle where there was a picture on the left page I took the next six pages or so and curled the bottom edge.  Standing the book up on edge I fanned the cureled pages and placed a piece of masking tape across the top edge near the binding touching each page to keep them apart.  Then laying the book down I took my first shot using room light. My 5D Mark II was set to Manual mode with a shutter speed of .4 sec and an apeature of f8 using an ISO of 400 with a 24-105 lens set to 40mm depth of field.

        I then took the tape off and laid the pages down flat open to the picture on the left page without moving the book.  I laid the glasses on the right page and took my second picture.

        Taking these two pictures into Canon DPP software I combined them using the composition tool.

 

 

 

     "Spooks" is what I call this image.  It is made up of 11 layered images and then varyiny the opacity for each foot step. I used Elements 9 and Smart Photo Editor to create this.

     To take the photos I used a tripod and remote shutter release while moving the shoes for each shot.  I then stood at the top for the final photo.   

     Here is another sample of what you can do using layers. Same person and nine layers.

 

Photos & Text Copyrighted 2012 by Joe Anderson

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Joe Anderson (Nature Thru Photos). All rights reserved.