Back to the Basics: Flower Photography Tips

Cluster of Darwin hybrid tulips
Cluster of Darwin hybrid tulips

Story and photos by F. M. Kearney

At the time of this writing, every state in the country has now either partially or completely reopened. Although we are far from being out of the woods with the COVID-19 crisis, more and more people are starting to venture out to enjoy what’s left of this summer. After last winter and the extended lockdown, I’m sure some photographers haven’t touched their cameras in months. I had originally planned to run this article at the beginning of spring, but I postponed it due to the lockdowns – and the unlikelihood that many people would be able to enjoy the outdoors. With things slowly beginning to return to a “new-normal,” I figured now would be a much better time for an article about photographing flowers outdoors.

Continue reading

Get Ready for Nature Photography Day

Nature Photography Day poster

This has been a very difficult year for all of us. Just as the stay-at-home restrictions of COVID-19 were beginning to lift around the US and overseas, protests following the death of George Floyd put many places under curfew and left many Americans reeling and emotionally drained. It’s no wonder that we photographers look forward to getting back out into nature and experiencing, once again, the sense of calm, peace and wonder that the natural world provides. Perhaps we will appreciate the healing effects of nature even more for having missed it so much lately. In this respect, Nature Photography Day (NPD), June 15th, couldn’t be better timed.

Continue reading

COVID-19 and Wildlife in Kenya: Crisis and Hope

A white rhinoceros female (Ceratotherium simum) with an enormous horn stands protectively next to her small calf, The Aberdares, Kenya,Africa
A white rhinoceros female (Ceratotherium simum) with an enormous horn stands protectively next to her small calf, The Aberdares, Kenya, Africa

Story & photos by Jami Tarris

Each of us is drawn to nature photography for our own personal reasons. Some for commercial reasons — to make money. Others because they enjoy sitting in the peace and quiet of nature, waiting for beautiful light. Still others who perhaps enjoy the thrill of capturing animal behavior in front of their very eyes. For me, at the beginning, it was all of the above but, as I spent more time in the field and grew older, it became more about being a champion for innocent and beautiful creatures who needed protecting from, ironically, humans like me. In the midst of a pandemic, it’s easy to see the effects of the COVID-19 virus on humans, but it is also significantly affecting the animal kingdom.

Continue reading

Creative Homework: Using Texture to Minimize Distractions

Hibiscus with Texture Effect Applied
Hibiscus with Texture

Story & photos by F. M. Kearney

Another month has come and gone, but unfortunately, things haven’t changed that much. Most of the country is now on full or partial lockdown. Each day tends to blend right into the other. There were many things I had planned to shoot this spring which will now, undoubtedly, have to wait until next year. But, that’s a small price to pay compared to the medical superheroes who are fighting on the front lines every day. With field work indefinitely postponed, I thought it best to remove the batteries from all my equipment to prevent corrosion. Nowadays, I spend most of my time working in Photoshop. In my last article, I touched on adding texture effects to old images. Since so many of us are still confined to our homes, I decided to expand on this technique as another way to take advantage of this unprecedented downtime.

Continue reading

An Hour With A Flower: A Creative Challenge

California poppy photographed with Tamron 18-400mm at 185mm.
California poppy photographed with Tamron 18-400mm at 185mm.

Story & photos by Alyce Bender

Flowers have long been a subject of study within the art world and many photographers feature them in their images. Landscapers look for floral details to bring pops of color to their grand landscape images. Portrait photographers often use flowers to set the seasonal tone. Wildlife photographers understand that flowers also provide a food source for insects and birds while providing a nice background for their subjects.

But when was the last time you took a flower, in and of itself, as the full subject of your frame? When did you spend time approaching that flower as you would a landscape or animal subject when looking for compositions? When was the last time you took an hour with a flower?

If you can’t easily answer that question, now is the perfect time to try this photography challenge. Not only will it provide you with something to photograph, but it will have you thinking outside the box in ways that can be used with other subjects. If your pre-COVID-19 compositions were mostly wide angle or telephoto images, this exercise can help you focus on seeing all the details.

Continue reading

How Professional Photographers Are Dealing With the COVID-19 Crisis – Part 2

Jon Holloway owns and operates the sundance Gallery in Greenwood, SC.
Jon Holloway owns and operates the sundance Gallery in Greenwood, SC.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit photographers hard. We reached out to some professional photographers to ask how the crisis has affected their businesses. We also wanted to know how they were adapting—both their own lives and their businesses—to the challenges of these difficult times.

We recently spoke with Jon Holloway, a fine art photographer and teacher in Greenwood, South Carolina, who is also a NANPA Board Member and College Scholarship Program Committee Member. (See part one of this series here.)

Continue reading

Get Busy Close to Home With A Photography Blind

A  photography blind in the field.
Social distancing at its best – a Tragopan V6 photography blind in the field.

Story & photos by Gerrit Vyn

One of the biggest challenges in nature photography is getting close to wildlife. This is especially true in locations outside of parks and refuges where wildlife is often habituated to people. Photography blinds allow you to get into camera range in places that would be impossible to otherwise and allow you to shoot where no one else is shooting – a local woodlot, marsh, or your own backyard bird feeders. Using a photography blind is often the best or only way to photograph a particular species, location, or behavior. A good photography blind is one of the most important tools in a wildlife photographers’ arsenal for getting close. Working from a blind also benefits wildlife. Rather than pursuing and potentially disturbing subjects, the photographer lets subjects come to them. This increases a photographer’s opportunities to shoot natural, undisturbed behavior, and minimizes their impact on wildlife. One of the great things about working from a blind is that if you’ve done your homework and planned well you can be confident you are going to have some unique opportunities for photography.

Continue reading

How Professional Photographers Are Dealing with the COVID-19 Crisis – Part 1

Mary Louise Ravese (photo by Richard Fain)
Mary Louise Ravese (photo by Richard Fain)

The coronavirus pandemic has hit photographers hard.  Times are tough, but we’re a creative and resilient bunch.  We reached out to some professional photographers to ask how restrictions imposed by cities, states and the federal government have affected their businesses.  We also wanted to know how they were adapting—both their own lives and their businesses—to the challenges of these difficult times. 

The first photographer in this series is Mary Louise Ravese, owner of Bella Vista Photography, a North Carolina-based nature and fine art photographer, teacher and workshop leader.

Continue reading

Backyard Birdwatching in the Midst of the Pandemic

The author photographing backyard birds from his dining room.
The author photographing backyard birds from his dining room.

Story & photos by Frank W. Baker

Here I am, in Columbia SC, where the weather has taken a turn toward Spring. The azaleas are blooming and the birds outside my windows are quite active.

I’m a big fan of shore and wading birds so, if you’re like me, you’re rather frustrated now that most of the coastline has been placed “off limits” to us as we shelter at home.

Many other bird watching sites are also closed. With nowhere to go, I’m spending more of my time at home. Perhaps, like me, you are taking time to review older images and post some online.

There’s only so much I can do before I need to spend some time away from the computer. A window in my dining room is the perfect spot now because of its unfettered view of my bird feeders.

Continue reading

How are Photo Stores and Manufacturers Adapting to COVID-19? Part 3

Screen grab: Fotopro home page
Fotopro is offering educational videos, product discounts and (soon) a photographer’s marketplace.

The COVID-19 restrictions are slamming photographers and our businesses, presenting us with many challenges. That’s also true of the companies that provide the products and services we use on a near daily basis. We wondered how they were adapting, retooling and managing this crisis. Today, in part three of this series, we got in touch with Fotopro.

Continue reading