Outer Banks with Margo Taussig Pinkerton

Join our photography workshop on our own wild and pristine North Carolina barrier islands. We will show you special gems along this untamed coastline we love so well. The sunrises and sunsets can be spectacular, the patterns along the seashore and in the marshes inspirational, and the sights and sounds of the wild Atlantic pounding the coast intoxicating. We’ll even visit a beautiful garden where the spring blossoms are stunning. You’ll love photographing here, and you’ll be able to celebrate your passion for photography, hone your seeing and imaging skills, and learn about the magic of light to make wonderful photographs…

With workshops limited to 12 participants (a maximum 6:1 ratio, students to instructors), you can be assured of nearly as much one-one time as you want/need. We also welcome those whom we affectionately call our “Spousal Units,” those spouses and SOs who return so often to our workshops.

More details. Discount to NANPA members.

Costa Rica with Jeff Mauritzen and Steve Morello

Learn from two of the best nature photographers in one workshop! National Geographic Photographer Jeff Mauritzen & photographer Steve Morello will be instructing a one week workshop at Crocodile Bay Resort, located on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. Described by National Geographic, as one of “the most biologically intense paces on Earth”, the Osa Peninsula will offer us a chance to photograph all 4 species of monkeys that reside here, birds such as the Scarlet macaw and Chestnut-mandibled toucan, as well as a wealth of trees and poison dart frogs, snakes, turtles and of course, the beautiful rainforest!

Jeff and Steve have both led photo programs for National Geographic & Lindblad Expeditions all over the world, including many in Costa Rica. In our words, “We’ve set up this intensive wildlife photography workshop to bring you the best photo opportunities that Costa Rica has to offer.” Although we will have formal classroom instruction and feedback on your photos, the emphasis on teaching will be in the field, while we are on our excursions. This workshop is an opportunity to learn from two photographers who truly are experts in their field. Their combined experience covers every continent, every habitat, and years of working in the most difficult environments on the planet. Their experience will provide you with a once in a lifetime opportunity to hone your photo skills and learn from the best.

For more details please visit the photo workshop link included here.

Pipestem Resort State Park with Amanda Haddox and Ron Gaskins

West Virginia is Almost Heaven, and some of the most beautiful sights are located within our State Parks! We’ll be exploring Pipestem Resort State Park, as well as Bluestone Lake State Park, and some other special locations along the way!

Pipestem Resort in southern West Virginia will be our base for the weekend, with discounted rooms at the Lodge, which also has a fine restaurant and meeting space for us. The Lodge overlooks the Bluestone Gorge, and the Bolar Lookout Tower at 3,000 feet provides an inspiring view, as well. It’s not uncommon to see eagles at Pipestem, and we’ll also trek to Bluestone State Park, where Park Naturalist, Julie McQuade, has recently spotted eagles! We will also visit the historic community of Bramwell, where coal barons built lavish mansions during the coal boom; and we’ll feature a visit to the abandoned Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, as well as some additional attractions.

Amanda Haddox and Ron Gaskins, our Instructors, will provide techniques and share their experience throughout our weekend! It will be an exciting and full one, with many locations to see and opportunities to learn.

Charleston with Margo Taussig Pinkerton

Charleston has many faces. Not only is she a southern belle, complete with handsome architecture, famous charm, beautiful tree-shaded streets and squares, wonderful wrought iron, old cemeteries, and an interesting waterfront, but nearby, there are historic plantations, the ocean and estuaries, and and we must not forget the wonderful, magnificent swamps with their graceful cypress trees, knees rising out of the water, and reflections amongst spring flowers. There is much to explore and inspire your artistic eye …

Landscapes may be found in the wilderness as well as in urban environments.

With workshops limited to 12 participants (a maximum 6:1 ratio, students to instructors), you can be assured of nearly as much one-one time as you want/need. We also welcome those whom we affectionately call our “Spousal Units,” those spouses and SOs who return so often to our workshops.

More details. Discount to NANPA Members.

Hawaii Whale Photography with Tom Mace

When people think of Hawaii; they think of summer vacation, beaches, and relaxation. What many people overlook are the warm winters, lush tropical landscapes, and spectacular wildlife Maui has to offer. February is one of the best times to visit. Over 10,000 Humpback whales return to give birth, mate and nurse their young. Hawaii is the only state in the US where birthing and mating occurs. Why do whales choose Hawaii? Some of the same reasons we do; warm clear water, shallow depths, and lack of predators. Maui is the premier photography location as the depths in the Maui channel do not exceed 200 ft. In February 2017, we witnessed over 100 breaches from our hotel Lanai. You learn quickly there is a big difference between seeing and “experiencing” these majestic mammals when you are on a boat, within 100 yards of a breach, camera in hand.

We round out this itinerary with other incredible photography opportunities. We experience a spiritual Haleakala sunrise, travel and photograph along the historic 64 mi. Hana Highway, and spend time in a unique lava field landscape. Our objectives are to give photographers a chance to scratch items off their bucket list while we work with you to improve your nature photography skills. Your hosts for this trip have been fortunate enough to visit Maui 5 times and understand the island culture, best locations to stay, and where to put photographers in position to capture all the beauty and mystery this island has to offer.
This is an all inclusive workshop, All ground transportation, hotel, excursions, park fees, meals, and all the little things are included in the price.

Included in this Trip:
4 Boat excursions to get up close and photograph Humpback Whales, including one sunset dinner cruise.
1 guided trip to the summit of Haleakala Crater to photograph a sunrise, weather permitting.
1 trip to Hana and Back, capturing Seascapes, Waterfalls, and Rainforest along the way
1 trip to the Wailea Lava Fields
1 Luau, VIP seating
Multiple Sunrise and Sunset opportunities
All Meals, minus one dinner. We want you to experience Kaanapali or Lahaina with your partner.
High end beachfront resort in Kaanapali steeped in Hawaiian culture and tradition. Ocean view rooms.
Built in downtime for exploring, hanging out at the beach. Also a good time to review post processing with anyone in need of assistance.

“Bosque Wildlife” at Bosque del Apache NWR with Sandy Zelasko and Irene Hinke-Sacilotto

Situated along the Rio Grande River, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 57,000 acres and is a major wintering ground for cranes and waterfowl. Refuge personnel manage the water levels of its wetlands and impoundments to simulate what was once the seasonal flow of water from the Rio Grande before the river was damned and the flow altered. To feed the huge number of birds visiting the refuge each year, nearby fields are planted with corn, winter wheat, millet, and other grains. Loop roads transect the refuge marshes and fields and provide prime sites for wildlife viewing and photography. Species that may be seen include shovelers, buffleheads, pintails, teal and other ducks; bald and golden eagles; kestrels and other hawks; turkey; meadowlarks; quail; roadrunners; coyotes; mule deer; and more. In November, large flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes will be present. At night to escape predators, the birds flock to the marshes and shallow pools. With dawn, the snow geese and other waterfowl rise in mass from the wetlands and sweep overhead on their way to nearby fields to feed. Each day we will spend the early morning and late afternoon hours at the refuge photographing birds and many other species of wildlife which are present at the sanctuary.

Outer Banks Lighthouses with Margo Taussig Pinkerton

The Outer Banks are a long, thin strip of barrier islands that protect the North Carolina Coast. Preserved to a large extent by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, it is a visual feast of historic lighthouses spaced between long stretches of wild beaches and pristine sand dunes. The Outer Banks are part of our own back yard that we know so well, and we will go to great locations where you can seek your own vision and make wonderful photographs …

With workshops limited to 12 participants (a maximum 6:1 ratio, students to instructors), you can be assured of nearly as much one-one time as you want/need. We also welcome those whom we affectionately call our “Spousal Units,” those spouses and SOs who return so often to our workshops.

More details. Discount for NANPA members.

 

Low Light Visions by Nevada Wier

© Nevada Wier 2014. Kerala, India: Fire dancer, Theyyam Festival. Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, 1/125sec at f/3.5, ISO 1600 Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash not fired.

© Nevada Wier 2014.
Kerala, India: Fire dancer, Theyyam Festival.
Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, 1/125sec at f/3.5, ISO 1600
Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash not fired.

 

Nevada is one of the featured keynote 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

 

Images and Story by Nevada Wier

Photographing in low light is particularly challenging, but immensely satisfying — if you can overcome the difficulties. However, it is these kinds of situations that stimulate me as a photographer. I know that it is these times when it is more possible to create what I call a “snowflake photo”: one that no one else has in his or her portfolio. So I seek out the difficult light and perspectives. Of course, that also means that the chance of failure is high; I have to work extra hard in these situations. I am on alert, paying attention, anticipating the action and seeking out whatever light is available.

One is definitely constrained by the quality of their equipment. Sorry, an iPhone is not going to be the camera of choice for photographing at night or inside a hut lit by a candle – unless you are going for an abstract with high noise. Many digital camera sensors are not able to produce a relatively noise-free image at an extremely high ISO. Unless you have a top-of-the-line camera that can handle 1600 ISO or more, the highest exploitable ISO for most cameras ranges between 400–1600 ISO. Another limiting factor is the lens. If you are using a zoom lens that has a minimum aperture of f/4.5, it is going to be problematic. Not only will you not have a fast enough shutter speed, the lens will not be able to quickly and accurately focus in dim light. And, it is critical to pay attention to the focusing. During the day in strong light focusing quickly is easy and accurate; it only takes a quick press of the focus button to be accurate (I use the back * button on my Canon for focusing and to set a specific focal point). In low light it is important to squeeze the focus button until you see the focus alert signal in the viewfinder. Sometimes I have to use manual assist. Occasionally I need to shine a flashlight on my subject so I can focus.

Sometimes I use flash but not for a primary source of light, rather to pop color or stop the action with a slow shutter speed. A flash is always a secondary source of light. I usually go to the highest ISO that I am comfortable using and on my Canon 5D MarkIII I rarely go above 1600 ISO; if I can I much prefer to stay at 800 ISO or lower. I photograph primarily on Shutter Priority, but in low light I sometimes switch to Aperture Priority when I want to stay at a wide-open aperture. However, I do like slow shutter speeds (and I’m not afraid to hand-hold at ½ sec. or slower) in combination with flash, either for panning or having a flash stop the action within a blur, so there is sharpness within a sense of motion. I carry a number of different gels for my flash so the flash outputs blends seamlessly with the ambient light. I usually keep my white balance on Daylight unless there is an abundance of red, and then I use Auto (red is a difficult color to desaturate, it tends towards purple).

I make sure my exposure is absolutely perfect; better too light than too dark. I constantly check my histogram. At a high ISO you do not want to have to lighten your image in post processing and expose ugly noise. Honestly, I rarely use a tripod. I don’t like to walk around with them. The photographs I’m showing you on this blog are all hand-held. In fast moving situations it is difficult to use a tripod, and in crowds – forget about it! Knowing how to use flash appropriately is a big key to success.

© Nevada Wier 2014. Barranquilla, Colombia: Carnival. Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 24 f/1.4, 1/50sec at f/3.2, ISO 1600. Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash Fired.

© Nevada Wier 2014. Barranquilla, Colombia: Carnival.
Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 24 f/1.4, 1/50sec at f/3.2, ISO 1600.
Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash Fired.

I mentioned earlier that it is important to anticipate so that one can be in the front of a crowd. I am used to “wiggling” myself into a good location. There is a fine line between being assertive and aggressive, but I don’t want to end up in the back of a huge crowd.

I expect a lot of failures; in fact I mostly have failures in these kinds of situations, as they are technically and often socially difficult. However, all I need is one great image! I try as many shutter speeds as possible; depth of field is not a critical concern to me at these times. I try slow shutter speeds with or without panning, usually with the flash on. I turn the flash off and work with natural light. I try everything! I always say, “If you don’t try, you don’t get”. And, often what one gets is that magical snowflake image.

© Nevada Wier 2013. Bagan, Myanmar: Ananada Festival. Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 24 f/1.4, 1/100sec at f/4, ISO 1600. Aperture Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash Fired.

© Nevada Wier 2013. Bagan, Myanmar: Ananada Festival.
Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 24 f/1.4, 1/100sec at f/4, ISO 1600.
Aperture Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash Fired.

 

Nevada Wier is a multiple award-winning photographer specializing in the remote corners of the globe and the cultures that inhabit them. Her journeys have her crisscrossing the world in search of compelling travel experiences and images. To read more about Nevada, view her extraordinary photography and get information about her photo workshops and tours, visit her website at www.nevadawier.com.