NANPA News

FIELD TECHNIQUE – The Perfect Storm, Story and photographs by F.M. Kearney

W-93Some members of my family were trying to decide between turkey or roast beef. Others were already thinking about dessert. My only concern was how long the perfect conditions outside were going to remain that way.

It was December 25, 2002, and I was enjoying Christmas dinner. It had been snowing for most of the day, and a couple of inches of thick, heavy snow had coated everything it touched. This was the first official “White Christmas” New York City had experienced in several years. Throughout the evening, I found myself constantly leaving the holiday festivities to look outside. I hoped that the magical conditions would hold out until I could get out and photograph. I was not disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »

So You Want to Publish a Book?

by Fred Perrin

A montage of the books that Friesens has published

Compared to challenges nature photographers often face and embrace in their work, creating and publishing a quality book has never been easier. You have the images, likely enough to publish a hundred coffee table books, so what’s next?

This article summarizes what you should know when considering, designing and publishing a photography book.

Before we get to that, let’s review a common book printing question today. Should I print my book digitally or through a traditional offset press? Which is best for me?

“Best” is relative to many technical, artistic and personal variables. Years ago, for professional image quality, digital cameras fell short, yet today they deliver outstanding results. Similarly, the print world has seen impressive advancements in digital press technology. Which is best? Depends. With higher quantity book runs, traditional offset printing remains an “ultimate quality, more options, and lower cost per book” home run. At the same time, print craftspeople using the newest digital presses can print lower book quantities with outstanding quality. Do your homework. If you aspire to deliver trade publishers’ coffee table book quality, does your intended printer print these books? If not, have you reviewed samples of their work? Be careful and inquisitive. There are printers printing books on digital devices much like an office copier, charging as much or more than some book printers printing books on million dollar digital offset presses. There is a quality difference. If you’re unsure of final book quantity (and most book publishers are), ask your book printer to quote multiple book quantities (e.g. 100/250/500/750/1000+) comparing traditional offset and digital prices, and provide samples of both. Depending on your book quantity range and the printer’s press options, you will quickly learn where digitally printed or traditionally offset printed book quantities are attractively or unattractively priced. You must also consider quality bookbinding, but we’ll reserve that for a follow-up article.

book on display stand

Labyrinth Sublime: The Inside Passage, by photographers Pat and Rosemarie Keough. This book opens to almost three feet!*

What’s next?

Do:

  • Have a book concept. Tell a compelling story – don’t just show photographs.
  • Showcase unique images – avoid repetition.
  • Are you a photographer or a graphic designer? If you’re a photographer, hire a professional graphic designer.
  • Hire a professional editor.
  • If you choose to personally design your book:
    • Review and compare published books similar to your concept.
    • Consider and compare font sizes and page layouts before beginning design. Design only when you have fine-tuned your intended layout(s) to your (and more importantly your intended audience’s) satisfaction.
    • Calibrate your monitor. Printers can provide kits that help measure a monitor’s accuracy at which point you may need to calibrate your monitor using a colorimeter (prices start around $100).
    • Ask your printer for a cover design template (based on your book specs).
    • You can work in RGB (Red/Green/Blue) up until you select your printer at which point you should convert RGB files into CMYK (Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/Black). Printer profiles for printing on coated paper are available for this (example: GRACoL2006 Coated1v2). Note: When color images are printed on paper the effect of the paper causes the images to look slightly darker because a computer screen emits light rather than paper which reflects light. Converting images to the GRACoL profile on its own does not simulate this effect. You can use the Proof Colors option in Photoshop to simulate this effect when printing on coated paper.
  • Review and understand book manufacturing formats, options and material specifications. Once you have an idea of book size and format, page count, paper, cover, and quantity range, request a quote. Don’t worry about future quote revisions based on changing specs and/or trying to hit a price point. This is part of the business.
  • If you are personally scanning slides, make sure your scans are of the highest quality. Send test scans to your printer for review and proofing to avoid discovering at press that your images are not at their best.
  • Send hard copy proofs as a guide to your printer especially if you will not be present at the press when the job is run (called a Press Check). You should also request proofs to see and compare to what is expected at press.
  • Sewn binding provides higher book quality and longevity.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread (and not just by you). Errors are easy to miss – even for big publishing houses – but, once printed, impossible to erase.
  • Consider crowd funding to help pay for your book.

Don’t:

  • Design in RGB (can cause issues at press which prints CMYK)
  • Personally scan images unless you have a high quality scanner (by printing industry standards), you know what you’re doing, and you’ve tested your scans through your intended printer.

Good luck with your book! I hope this article is helpful. If you have any book production or publishing questions, please contact me anytime by email at fredp@friesens.com.

Fred will be one of the featured Breakout session speakers at the 2015 NANPA Summit taking place in San Diego, California from February 19th – 22nd. To learn more about the Summit and to register for this exciting and inspirational event, please visit www.naturephotographysummit.com 


Fred Perrin began his career as a Kodak Technical Sales Representative for Professional Photographers. Fred has received honors from The Professional Photographers of Canada as Craftsman of Photographic Arts (Scenic/Nature Photography) and his lithographs have been presented to sixty world leaders by the Government of the United States. Fred is now VP of Marketing & Business Development for Friesens, North America’s premier book manufacturer. Friesens customers include many of North America’s most prominent museums, art galleries, publishers and photographers. Company Website: books.friesens.com

*Pat and Rosemarie Keough detail their experience in printing and binding their beautiful book on their website at http://keough-art.com/tome_passion.php.

PHOTOGRAPHER PROJECT: South Fork of Peachtree Creek, Story and photographs by Eric Bowles

Peachtree Creek South Fork

South Fork of Peachtree Creek

Many people know Peachtree Street is in the center of Atlanta—both figuratively and literally. But even residents are largely unaware of Peachtree Creek, an urban waterway that runs through local neighborhoods into the Chattahoochee River. The watershed includes 2,000-year-old ruins of an Indian village, Civil War battlements, Atlanta’s busiest interstate highway, Emory University, the Center for Disease Control, affluent neighborhoods of Buckhead and Morningside and diverse communities.

Peachtree Creek South Fork

South Fork of Peachtree Creek

Unfortunately, like many urban waterways, the Peachtree Creek watershed has been under appreciated by residents and suffers from years of misuse. Stream banks are covered with invasive species of plants such as privet and English ivy. Trash is gathered by rainwater and flushed into the stream. And communities have lost their connection with the water.

The South Fork Conservancy was formed in 2008 to protect the South Fork waterways and lead development of a pedestrian-friendly nature corridor encompassing 25 miles of winding streams and natural areas. The conservancy has mobilized community and governmental organizations with long-term vision and a series of projects. Read the rest of this entry »

The Excellent Unknown by Sean Bagshaw

On the Verge, Colorado, 2014. © Sean Bagshaw

On the Verge, Colorado, 2014. © Sean Bagshaw

Images and Text by Sean Bagshaw

As outdoor photographers, we work in conditions beyond our control. Fortunately the unpredictable, whimsical and surprising elements of weather and landscape are also what can make it so engaging and fulfilling. Attempting to photograph the landscape in its defining moments has lead me to some formative life experiences, experiences that have taught me to look closely, wait patiently, see deeply and appreciate fully.

Consider an autumn photography trip I took several years ago. Excited by the promise of fall color and dramatic skies, I crossed Oregon, bound for Montana and Idaho. 1,200 miles later I arrived at Glacier National Park on the edge of an approaching storm. Hunkered in my van, I was buffeted by high winds and rain for four days, during which I was able to take photos for perhaps an hour or two. I never did see any of the famous peaks or glaciers on that visit.

Undeterred, I headed south in hopes of better weather. In the Sawtooth Range of Idaho, low cloud cover and snow kept the mountains hidden for all but a few minutes of the next four days. Windblown rain spotted my lens and blurred the aspen leaves in my low light exposures. During the long stretches of time alone in my van, I read, scouted locations, and studied the landscape and weather. I got up before dawn in order to be ready if the sun broke through. It didn’t.

Somewhere-Autumn - Colorado 2014

Somewhere Autumn, Colorado 2014. © Sean Bagshaw

The mountains were still shrouded when my time came to an end. As I drove back across the high desert of eastern Oregon, the skies opened for a brief moment, but by morning the clouds were back and it was snowing.

Despite the lack of photographs I had to show for my effort, I returned feeling invigorated and inspired. I was not ready to be indoors quite yet. The day after arriving home, I decided, on a whim, to make a quick visit to the upper Rogue River (just an hour’s drive away). After days of being immersed in gray, I was caught off guard when one of the most brilliant sunrises I’ve experienced illuminated the sky. For the rest of the day I hiked and I photographed bright fall foliage along the river in perfect soft light. On that single day I took more images than the previous nine combined, including one of my all time favorites. Those ten days will be with me forever: the cold, the gray, the quiet, the slow, the subtle, and finally the brilliant and unexpected.

Contrast that experience with the autumn photography trip I took to Colorado recently with my friend, Zack Schnepf.

The fates of weather aligned very differently for us. In two weeks we saw everything from cloudless, 80-degree days to thunderstorms, snow and 20-degree mornings. With some careful planning and a lot of luck we managed to consistently be in the right place at the right time. With such a string of ideal conditions we were working at a hurried pace and shooting continuously. We were even happy to see low clouds, drizzle and flat light one afternoon so we could justify a few hours off to take a shower and get to bed early. The photographs we took tell the story of the trip better than anything I can write.

The Rogue River is a river located in the southwestern part of Oregon, flowing from the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean.  The Rogue Gorge is a narrow channel formed by volcanic basalt rock that the river flows through. © Sean Bagshaw

The Rogue River is a river located in the southwestern part of Oregon, flowing from the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean. The Rogue Gorge is a narrow channel formed by volcanic basalt rock that the river flows through. © Sean Bagshaw

These two autumn photography experiences will always provide welcome memories. One was solitary, slow paced, introspective and moody, building to a grand finale. The other was very social and frenetic, with little time to reflect as the light and landscape of each new scene somehow eclipsed the one before. Most photography trips fall somewhere between these two extremes. Given the choice I would no doubt opt for perfect conditions every time. But, fortunately, we don’t get to choose the conditions. When the photography is less than optimal we have an opportunity to slow down, put the camera away for a while and just watch and listen. Even though we don’t know when or how, if we are patient and present, nature will eventually show us something wonderful. This excellent unknown is why I will always go outside and take photographs.

Sean Bagshaw is an outdoor photographer and photography educator based in Ashland, Oregon. He spends as much time as he can in the field on a quest for magical light. He can be found sleeping in his truck or on the ground, stumbling around in the dark, eating bad food and avoiding showers. He is one of six members of the Northwest based PhotoCascadia team. You can see more of his photography and find out about workshops and video tutorials at www.OutdoorExposurePhoto.com and www.PhotoCascadia.com.

 

True Grit, Colorado, 2014. © Sean Bagshaw

True Grit, Colorado, 2014. © Sean Bagshaw

Momentary Glimpse of the Sawtooth Range. © Sean Bagshaw

Momentary Glimpse of the Sawtooth Range. © Sean Bagshaw

NATURE’S VIEW – Capturing a Sense of Place, Part 4, Story and Photographs by Jim Clark

Part IV: Personal traits for capturing a sense of place

Mark_Schlesinger_11_08_2012_577(c)_Jim_ClarkThe final piece in capturing a sense of place in our images is using the personal traits we possess as nature photographers to document an area in such a way that the viewer feels what you felt as well as seeing a well-photographed image.

Capturing a sense of place is not easy to do, and for many nature photographers, the process of doing it effectively takes years. Becoming skilled at the technical aspects of photography is important: know how to read light, use the right exposure, understand how the camera operates, etc. But equally important is the individual photographer’s personal response to a moment in time and how he/she effectively captures it on film.

I tell the students who attend my workshops that becoming skilled at the technical aspects of photography should take no more than 365 days. That’s one year. The most challenging aspect of our craft and the one that takes a lifetime to become proficient at is the ability to capture compositions that speak from the heart. If we can’t feel the sense of place in the images we take, then how can we expect the viewer to sense it? Read the rest of this entry »

Lost in the Longleaf by Todd Amacker

Longleaf pine forest in Blackwater River State Forest, Florida

Longleaf pine forest in Blackwater River State Forest, Florida by Todd Amacker

 

Images and text by Todd Amacker 

One of North America’s most biodiverse forests, the longleaf pine forest of the Southeast, is missing from 97% of its historic range. As a proud Southerner, I’ve spent a great deal of time ambling through pine forests in the Florida panhandle. Recently, I’ve made an effort to use my photography and my words to portray exactly what has disappeared along with the forests themselves.

There are a lot of treasures in longleaf pine forests that make them special, both aesthetically and scientifically. It all starts with the longleaf pine tree itself, Pinus palustris. It’s resistant to fire, and that’s important when frequent fires sweep through the understory and flames lap at the trees’ exteriors. Layers of specially evolved, crusty bark protect its delicate innards. It is actually unhindered fire that gives life to the longleaf ecosystem and contributes to its aesthetic beauty. Because of the fire, the undergrowth is burned away and you can see between trees. (This is quite refreshing for forest enthusiasts, as most forests hamper your ability to enjoy the view.)  Read the rest of this entry »

NATIONAL PARKS – Moab, Utah, Story and photographs by Jerry Ginsberg

Turret Arch Through North Window h 1

Turret Arch through North Window

Among the many areas of our great nation popular with nature photographers, few surpass the vicinity of Moab, Utah, for a wealth of iconic subjects in a concentrated area. Just a stone’s throw away from the heart of this high desert gathering place are two of the national parks that give Red Rock Country its name: Arches and Canyonlands.

Famed Arches National Park boasts more than 2,000 arches, a greater collection of red rocks in one place than perhaps anywhere else in the world. These fascinating forms are never static. Surprise Arch was discovered only as recently as 1963, while Wall Arch just collapsed in 2008. These marvelous natural sculptures start as depressions in a freestanding stone wall or “fin.” Add just the right mixture of wind, rain, and freezing and thawing temperatures working on the soft Entrada sandstone, and you get a hole or “window.” Let the erosion process percolate for a few more centuries/millennia and some of these windows will morph into full-fledged arches. Inevitably, however, these great stone sculptures will collapse. Read the rest of this entry »

The Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve by Lana Gramlich

Foggy autumn morning by Lana Gramlich

Foggy autumn morning by Lana Gramlich

 

Images and Text by Lana Gramlich

In 2006 I moved to Abita Springs, Louisiana, a quaint, little town on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. A year later I discovered that I lived just over a mile from The Nature Conservancy’s Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve. Since then I have walked and photographed there dozens of times. Three ecosystems mesh at this 996 acre site– longleaf pine savanna, slash pine/pond cypress woodlands and bayhead swamp. From forests and grassy fields to the Abita Creek that runs through them, this unique convergence offers some wonderfully varied photographic opportunities.

Only about 3% of America’s longleaf pine savanna still exists today. At this preserve, not only do I get to photograph these wonderful woods, but, in an effort to give back, I’ve joined a team of volunteers that meets to plant saplings every January. Light streaming through the pine savanna is always a joy to photograph (particularly on foggy mornings,) but for a few weeks every Fall it takes on a surreal, colorful glow shortly before sunset, an effect I refer to as “fairy light.”  Read the rest of this entry »

FIELD TECHNIQUES – Transitions, Story and photograph by F.M. Kearney

S-235I thought it was a joke or, perhaps, the mother of all typos. The weather forecast called for scattered showers in the morning, with an expected high of 50 degrees and a low of 8. It was not a mistake. It was the actual forecast for January 6, the first Monday of 2014 in New York City. A 42-degree temperature plunge in a single day dropped even further on Tuesday, to 5 degrees. On Wednesday the temperature climbed out of the single digits and was expected to rise to a balmy 25. Read the rest of this entry »

A Photographer’s Pompeii by Chad Anderson

Pine Rocklands

Pine Rocklands by Chad Anderson

Text and Images By Chad Anderson

Vast stretches of azure blue waters thinly vail a dark secret. It’s been happening ever since the melting of the Wisconsin glacier some 12,000 years ago, but now occurs at a hastened pace and with a new cause. Meanwhile, Margaritaville plays, tourists stroll, and wading birds perch on mangrove shores as the slow pace of everyday life in the Florida Keys continues. Scientists, government entities, and even the public are coming to a grim reality. Change is here. It’s not abstract, distant, or easily pushed aside but prevalent, pervasive, and imminent—and the evidence is everywhere. The vast stretches of post card blue waters are a result of recently submerged lands. Even the upland forests here can hardly conceal their ancient marine past. Just millimeters below the leaf litter lies weathered coral reef. One of the oldest permanent tidal monitoring stations in the United States is located in Key West, Florida. Without hyperbole, it states the bare truth. Nearly nine inches of sea level rise has occurred since 1913. That may not sound like much, but for perspective, the average elevation is less than four feet. This effect is amplified by the fact that the slope of the shoreline is near flat, imperceptible to the human eye in most cases. For this reason, a couple inches of rise can translate to hundreds of feet of land lost. In just a few decades the changes to the ecosystems have been staggering, rapidly shifting as the mangroves march inwards. Ancient buttonwoods stand like tombstones of a once proud forest. At times, mangroves, the most halophytic of all flora, can’t keep up the pace. Read the rest of this entry »

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