ECUADOR PHOTO SAFARI is scheduled for November 4th through the 14 th, 2006. Travel from the beautiful, modern city of Quito up into the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains. The patchwork patterns of the green and cool mountain scenics with llamas, farming lifestyles, country churches and the beautiful birds and flowers will excite your eyes and photographic “trigger finger”! One-half of the world’s populations of various species of beautiful hummingbirds make Ecuador their home!
Tanagers, barbets, nightjars…plus the colorful people adorn the countryside. A trip to the Sacha Tamia Lodge, where I photographed eight species of hummingbirds in two hours, will be included as well as the Termes de Papallacta resort. Bellavista is also part of our itinerary as well as a five-day trip to the Napo Wildlife Center in the rain forest. Cost is $3,435.00 (single supplement is $300.00)
RED-EYE:While shooting the Horned Owl and her chick up at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Preserve in Boyton Beach, Florida over the past six weeks, I have overheard lots of discussions about flash reaching the shadowed area of the nest etc. and naturally red-eye was of concern. I’d like to clear up some facts once and for all. First of all, flash with the Better Beamer Flash Extender (which I have in stock for most flash models) will reach about 500 feet. I have absolute proof on film of this for those that doubt my statement. Also, I stated that redeye does NOT occur because of the color of the owl’s eye. There are a few individuals who disagreed with me (imagine that!!), but obviously they didn’t take the time to either think it through or do their research. (People with blue, green, brown, hazel or black eyes have the same problem, which should have been the first clue that color is not a factor.) I have long-been convinced that the inner construction and location of the eye on the bird’s head is the cause of red-eye. Yellow-crowned and Black-crowned Night Herons get red-eye convincing me that it has more to do with the “prism” effect or inner construction of the eye. This was also the opinion of my long-time friend and ‘bird expert and bird mentor’, Sherry Branch, who also happens to be the head bird curator at Sea World Orlando. Whatever the cause, it is still a photographer’s nemisis, but can be avoided. By placing your flash in position so that it is not pointed directly at the subjects’ eyes (or have a photo buddy hold it for you, or use a cable release and hold the flash unit yourself), you will eliminate or reduce the possibility of getting red-eye. I’m sure some of you are saying at this very moment, “I’ll fix it in Photo Shop”!! I, personally, would rather be out shooting. Oh, by the way, when I lowered my flash and put it on the normal height flash bracket (which is when I made the comment about betting I’d get a good dose of red-eye, and was scoffed at) I got red-eye in both the adult’s eyes, which are brown, and the chick’s eye, which is grayish. I rest my case…
CENTER FOCUSING DISEASE: The other day I was told that it is no longer proper to refer to our homeless people as ‘homeless people’---now we call them ‘Residentially Challenged’!! Well then, are you among the many ‘Compositionally Challenged’ photographers suffering from the Center Focusing Disease? While reviewing images from a few of my tour group participants, I am noticing that many still have the CFD problem (center-focusing disease). The primary symptom of this disease is when the subject is placed smack-dab in the middle of the frame. Not only is this artistically speaking, poor composition, especially when shot horizontally, but it tends to make for a boring picture. Try and use the rule of one-thirds, which is placing your subject a little bit off-center to the right or left of the frame. If the bird is looking to the right, place him further off to the left of the frame facing to the right. Sounds too basic to many of you, but I am surprised how often I see this and from very experienced photographers. A helpful hint for Canon SLR shooters: Use Custom Function #4-3. This allows you to zero in and focus on the eye of your subject (in most cases, an in-focus eye should your primary concern) with the center focusing red ring or dot, and then re-compose your picture. This is also good when your subject is bouncing all around allowing you to keep it focused while tracking…Remember to use/press the star * button on the back of the camera for this function (not the shutter button). I’m sure you Nikon users have a similar function but you need to check your manual.
PROGRAM MODE OR NOT? Almost 99.99% of the time I shoot in aperture priority. Most of you know that by my signature salutation “keep your aperture your priority” at the end of every newsletter or e-mail. Aperture Priority is when you set your desired aperture and the camera automatically sets the appropriate shutter speed based on the information it receives from its internal light meter. The reason I do this is because I have more control over the camera and the end result that I am trying to achieve for my photograph. I also do it 99.99% of the time because I believe strongly in consistency with the equipment when trying to be fast and efficient out there in the field, especially when speed is important in order to catch that special moment. Sometimes there are moments when you just plain don’t know what to do…..the light has gone, it’s starting to rain, the ground is rumbling, and up pops the Loch Ness monster with Elvis Presley riding on ol’ Loch’s back!!! You gotta get that shot, but what to do??? Panic has set in and your mind has gone dumb! This is when I will flip the camera dial to P for program and start praying to the camera Gods. Program is the mode where the camera takes over everything, you just compose and shoot. Beware of becoming too dependent on Program……I’ve noticed a few people shooting in this mode more than they should be. To me, doing this all the time is a lot like saying those six most-hated-by-Joanne Williams words “I can fix it in Photoshop”! Try and shoot it right the first time using all the tools you have control over, including that little muscle that is housed in that mass that sits on top of your shoulders held up by your neck!! You’ll get better pictures, I promise!
ASSISTANT NEEDED: A JOB OPPORTUNITY
HELP, HELP!! Hard work has brought me many favorable results with the success of my photography business—mainly growth. Loosing my office assistant a few months ago has proven to be a huge detriment. I thought I could go-it alone, but there just isn’t enough time or enough of me to go around. I’m looking for at least part-time help from a mature individual who is fairly proficient with Adobe Photoshop, and other computer skills, such as knowledge of the web. Due to the intense competitiveness of this business loyalty and honesty are top priorities. Often there are publication deadlines that must be met on a timely basis so dependability is also a top priority. There is no need for any camera knowledge or skills, but there are opportunities to learn from a professional how to recognize a good photograph, and/or be knowledgeable or willing to learn how to use a scanner and a printer. Must speak English fluently and have polite and pleasant telephone skills. The hours and days are very flexible (good for mothers, fathers, and students). Working conditions are relaxed, informal and comfortable with excellent state of the art equipment, and fair compensation based on knowledge and ability.
Please pass this along to anyone you think might be interested. Thank you.
Screen Shades for LCD panels on digital Cameras
At last! You can see the LCD panel on your digital camera even on sunny and glary days! Also protects the UV effects of the sun on the screen...$25. each. (add $1.00 for shipping and handling)