As a photographer, I'm always looking for ways to expand my skill set. I recently had a chance to do just that and work with animals at the same time.
David Fitzsimmons is a photographer and author from Ohio who came to Nashville to conduct a workshop photographing animals in a studio setting.
David didn't bring any animals with him, so he needed he needed some subjects. And there's how Walden's Puddle got involved. Walden's Puddle's mission is to provide "care and treatment to sick, injured and orphaned Native Tennessee Wildlife", and they do it free of charge. What a great organization!
So I got the chance to photograph some animals that had been rescued right here in Middle Tennessee. Unfortunately, the animals that I saw that day were unable to be release back into the wild because of their injuries.
What we did was use a light tent to photograph the animals. David showed us the technique, and the people from Walden's Puddle managed the animals. I found this to be pretty interesting in terms of photography because these animals were photographed outside of their natural environment. I thought that the resulting photos really accentuated the animals' colors, texture, and features in a way that you wouldn't normally see in the wild. I mean, when was the last time you saw an animal that was photographed in a studio?!
Here's a few images from this workshop...
Well this was completely different. I've considered myself a wildlife photographer for a while now, but only for marine animals. recently I had the opportunity to photograph birds. Raptors specifically, also known as birds of prey. I'm not one to pass up on a chance to get up close and personal with beautiful animals, so I packed up my gear and headed to Ontario, Canada to visit the Canadian raptor Conservancy.
This place is absolutely fantastic for photographing owls, eagles, hawks, and falcons. While not all the birds are brought out to fly, you will get some guaranteed great shots of the ones that do.
I got lucky as far as the conditions were concerned. It was cold enough for there to be a little bit of snow still on the ground, but then it warmed up, and on the next day of shooting it was pretty much all gone.
This type of photography can be a bit challenging, 'cause these birds are pretty fast. You have to lock in focus on them, and then try to track them as they fly. Some of the birds, like the Harris hawk, don't have a lot of contrast on them, so it's very hard to track them during flight.
On the other hand, bigger birds like this bald eagle were much easier to track while flying. The fact that they are black and white provided and lot of contrast and helped as well.
This type of photography requires some really fast shutter speeds and high ISO. When the birds were flying I set m,y shutter speed at 1/1250 or faster. I got as fast as 1/2500, and I have admit that was the first time I've set my camera to shoot that fast. I set my ISO anywhere between 800 and 1600. I was shooting with the Canon 5D mark 3 which performs very well at high ISO settings so digital noise wasn't really an issue.
This was a fun and quick trip to try some new photography for me. I anticipate that I'll be going back here to get some images in the fall with all the flowers in bloom, and the pond won't be frozen.
These sharks can grow up to 20 feet long, and are pretty much solitary. That makes them hard to find, so when large congregations of these sharks begin to gather around Bimini Island in the Bahamas, you can bet that divers and underwater photographers are there to see it. In fact, between January and February in Bimini is pretty much the only place in the world you can pretty much be guaranteed to see great hammerhead sharks.In addition to the hammerheads, you will also see nurse and bull sharks on these dives.
Despite what many would have you believe, hammerheads are not aggressive, and almost never attack humans. In fact most sharks never attack humans. Even if these sharks did, their teeth are tiny and not evolved to tear huge chunks of flesh.
I've got to say, I've done a lot of shark dives, but diving with these is one of the most fun I've ever done. These sharks are big, and when the conditions are right, they come CLOSE. It's such and amazing encounter.
Here's a quick video I made to show you how it all happens...
Whenever I return from an underwater photography trip, people often ask me "did you find Nemo?" Nemo, of course, is the lovable clown fish that is the star of the movie Finding Nemo. It's easy to see why they picked a clown fish to be the main character, because, what's not to love? They're small, they're cute, and they are brightly colored underwater photography subjects. They can also be territorial, and downright aggressive. I've dove with a lot of different animals, including many species of sharks, and the only animal that's ever bitten me was a Nemo. Yeah.
Let me explain. Clown fish come in lots of different shapes, sizes, colors, and temperament. Clown fish are also know as anemone fish because they all live in a symbiotic relationship with an anemone, which, believe it or not, is an animal.
Clown fish are usually orange, yellow, reddish, or even blackish, with white patches or stripes. So there's clown anemone fish, orange fin anemone fish, skunk anemone fish, spine cheek anemone fish, saddleback clown fish, etc, etc. But the one I always look out for is the Clark's anemone fish. They are territorial, and they do bite. Especially on your ear. Twice.
Some photographers get easily bored with these fish as photo subjects, but I haven't grown tired of them. Their bright colors against the color and texture of their anemone make for brilliant photos. Plus people always immediately recognize them.