Butterflies are one of the easiest and most rewarding subjects to shoot for a wildlife photographer, especially if you visit one of the many butterfly hot houses around the world. They are usually slow moving, stop frequently to rest and are usually unfazed by a photographer getting in close with a camera. They are also incredibly varied and colourful, often resulting in strikingly vibrant images. Butterflies are one of my favourite things to photograph, and over the years I’ve picked up a handful of useful rules of thumb on how to get the best results.
Getting photos from a Lightroom catalog to an iPhone has always been like treading through treacle. Until Lightroom Mobile there was no practical way of doing it without creating an intermediate copy of the photos in iPhoto or the file system, which then has to be kept up to date. If you have photos that appear in multiple albums the situation is even more of a maintenance nightmare.
My requirements are simple enough; I use Lightroom on the desktop to organise and post-process my photos, and I want the results of that work to appear on my phone for viewing and sharing. I’m sick and tired of having to work so hard to achieve this simple objective, so I decided to sign up for Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography plan which offers the promise of automatic catalog synchronisation to a mobile device. I wish I hadn’t bothered. Against all odds Adobe has managed to make the mobile sync experience even worse with Lightroom Mobile than using iPhoto as a sync hub.
I want to be able to take photos like the spectacular example above by Thomas Shahan. Well, not exactly like it; as photogenic as those little critters are, spiders and I don’t mix, especially when jumping is involved, but I’ve always been impressed by extreme close-up macro photography, so when I read about the Yasuhara Nanoha Lens 4x-5x Super Macro Lens I decided to take a punt and buy one, even though I already had the 1:1 Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. There’s something so compelling about the idea of getting really, really close. I expected working with this lens to be difficult, but it turned out to be way harder than I had imagined. So hard in fact, that I’m giving up. Read the full article »
Some photographers subscribe to a philosophy of modern photographic purism, frowning upon any use of post-processing techniques and seeing them as a form of cheating. This idea was popularised popularised in the 1930s but few photographers today subscribe to the movement’s ideals of ridding one’s work of “qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form”. Today’s photographic purists have no such ambitions; conversely, they often strive to create highly artistic photographs using only their camera (and physical accessories such as lights and filters) and they extent to which they consider themselves successful correlates directly to the extent to which their results appear to have been created through post-processing when in reality they have been achieved in camera. There are many legitimate reasons not to post-process your digital photographs but the popular notion that all forms of post-processing are somehow inauthentic is deeply misguided.
There’s a lot of hate amongst the user community for Flickr’s bold new design. Some of the complaints are justified, but as a professional web developer I’ve been at the business end of the intractable problem that Yahoo! is up against here: that you can’t please everyone, no matter what you do. For years Flickr has been lambasted as an Internet backwater because Yahoo! was neglecting innovation on the platform in favour of integration. Now that the Flickr development team has made a determined effort to re-imagine the user experience of Flickr, many users are understandably upset that the site they have known and loved for years is changing radically in ways they are not comfortable with. Well, I think the new design is great.
If you’re just getting to grips with the fundamentals of photography it may seem like there is a lot of information to take in. An introductory book can be helpful here, but when I was starting out I could have really used a quick reference of the essential facts that I needed to commit to memory that did not confuse me lots of nuanced discussion of the key topics. This will be the first in a series of posts in which I will attempt to provide that quick reference for beginners. This post will deal with the most important topic in all of photography: exposure.
Wildlife photography in England isn’t the easiest of pursuits unless you’re content to photograph pigeons, snails and the occasional squirrel or domesticated cat. Since I love wildlife photography, I started visiting Britain’s many zoos with my camera and I discovered that it is actually quite easy to take great animal portraits at a zoo if you follow a few basic rules.
If you’re just starting out in photography and you don’t have people around you who share your interest, making yourself to get out there and do it can be hard. There are a plenty ways to motivate yourself but the most effective for me has been sharing. Sharing with friends and family, but also with the rest of the world. I’ve shared most of the photos I’ve ever taken through the Creative Commons licence and because of that my photos have been used, widely.
It’s about time I had my own website. I’ve been building them for everybody else for about 10 years now. I’ve started projects to build websites for myself a handful of times and usually gotten bored with the process before completing the job, or finished it after weeks of effort only to abandon it shortly thereafter. I’m not exactly what you’d call a starter-finisher, especially if there are no external pressures on me to do the finishing – but one thing I have maintained over the last several years with uncharacteristic persistence is an enthusiasm for amateur photography. So I figured I’d start a blog about my hobby with a view to passing on the occasional nugget of knowledge accumulated in it’s pursuit.