Tom and Cree celebrate the great images being created by their community of photographers each month by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For June we selected an image of a coastal brown bear created by Rodger Israel on our Brown Bear Safari Workshop. We hope you enjoy Rodger’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to June 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Rodger Israel
The Story …
This is from the meadow at Lily Pond along the Katmai coast. We were sitting around on old logs, all hunkered together.
The bear decided to take a walk around us to check us out. I just waited for him to line up with the mountains to take the shot.
It was important to have the right lens with me. Everyone thinks of photographing bears with long glass. When the bear started approaching us I realized he was too close for the longer lenses. I switched over to shorter glass to get the environmental shot of the bear.
It was as close as I wanted to get to a bear. I would not have wanted to get closer.
EXIF Data: Nikon D850 with a 24-120mm F4 at 120mm
F8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 450
Rodger’stips for photographing coastal brown bears:
Wear your waders and don’t carry too much stuff.
About Katmai National Park
It is the ultimate bear experience. You can get close to the bears in their natural habitat. We were the only people there and the weather was nicer than I expected.
Katmai National Park is a wonderful combination of bears and scenery.
On Rodger’s Horizon
Northern Lights in Fairbanks
Australia and Tasmania
We have two bear workshops coming up in 2022. Check out our schedule : Click Here
Tom and Cree celebrate the great images being created by our community of photographers each month by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For May we selected an image of a black bear created by Bruce Moore on our Yellowstone in Spring Workshop. We hope you enjoy Bruce’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to May 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Bruce Moore
The Story …
I have been taking photos since I was ten years old. My first camera was an Imperial Satellite 127. I sold flower seeds door to door to earn points. When I had enough points I picked the Satellite camera.
I love cameras. They are like art pieces to me. I have about 50 lenses and 30 cameras in my home. I learned more about my camera on this workshop than any other I have taken. Learning to adjust exposure compensation and ISO quickly on the top of my camera helped immensely.
I also learned to try and get as low as possible when taking wildlife images. It looks like I am eye level with the black bear (photo above) even though I am 20 ft above him. The bear helped a lot. He looked right at me. That really made the picture.
I heard Tom clicking away next to me – his camera sounded like a Gatling gun. So I took about 18 photos of the bear and I have three that I really like.
Each camera only has so many pictures in their life. I take every click seriously. Besides, I don’t have the patience to look through 5000 photos.
Make sure you have the right lens on for the subject matter. When we were photographing the wolf on the bison kill, I noticed that several people in the crowd had the wrong lens. One person was using a 100 mm lens and they would have to crop too much to be able to see the animal.
I had just bought a 150-600 Sigma lens for the trip. It was worth it for the wolf shot alone. When I returned home, I went right out and got the teleconverter to go with it.
About Yellowstone National Park
I signed up for Tom and Cree’s Yellowstone in Spring Workshop because I had never been to Yellowstone before. I learned it is very spread out.
It is an amazing place. You can be an amateur and take really phenomenal photographs in Yellowstone with just a little bit of knowledge…..and the help of really good guides who know where to put you.
On Bruce’s Horizon
Grand Teton National Park in September – in search of grizzly bears and moose
Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created by photographers each month. For April we had to get creative with travel restrictions. We selected an image from our new Facebook Group instead. We hope you enjoy Kimberly’s images as much as we do.
Congratulations to April’s photographer – Kimberly Shadduck
I stumbled upon a webinar by Harold Davis that he was doing for a photo club. I started watching it and was star struck. I realized that this was something I could do during the lock down. The weather was really bad outside and I craved something colorful.
I had my husband build me a 3 ft x 2 ft lLightbox. I knew I needed a big one. I went to You Tube and looked for a video on how to build a lightbox. The lightbox has 2 pieces of glass with a piece of white material in between. It is lit by a strip of l.e.d. lights.
Next I went to the fabric store to buy a white cloth with a fine weave for the white background. I also purchased tweezers and museum glue – I didn’t even know what that was! Finally I went shopping for live flowers.
To create the image I started by removing the flowers from the water and laying them on the box. I tried several different arrangements until I got the right one. Harold Davis recommends taking a flower arranging class online. I couldn’t find one so I just dove right in.
The tulip in the middle was actually closed when I laid it down on the light box. I started peeling back the petals with my tweezers to have the inside exposed. The white lily is a Sonata Lily. I thought the white color would really make the image pop. I couldn’t get it to lie flat on the lightbox at first. It made me wonder whether I should start pressing the flowers for future projects.
For processing I start by merging several frames in Lightroom. I export the merged file to PhotoShop to make my adjustments. I focus on making the image as vibrant as possible. I use a Waucom tablet to hand paint the image, mostly using dodge and burn. The last step is to add a texture background to give it a painterly look. I purchased a few textures from Florabella for this purpose
The Data: 1/500 sec, f/2.8, 200 mm, ISO 500
The Gear: Nikon D850 with a 55mm macro lens; Manual mode f22, ISO 200
Photo Tip from the Photographer:
If you can get a lightbox and go to the store for flowers, this is a great project for you. It is the perfect way to let your creativity go. I will start on a new piece and look up and 5 hours have passed without me even knowing it.
I like hanging my stuff on the wall. I want it to be pretty – that’s what motivates me.
Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created on our workshops by posting a photograph each month from one of our workshops that best captures the environment or people of that location. We decided to return to one of our three February workshops since we postponed our March workshop . We hope you enjoy Greg’s images as much as we do.
Congratulations to March’s photographer – Greg Ness
Every trip I go on, there are a few iconic photos I want to get. We’ve all seen snow monkeys with snow on their head…..that was what I had in my mind for this shoot.
The day before, we went up to the monkey pool and I got a good idea of what I needed to do for the shot. Tom and Cree took great efforts to make sure we were the first ones up at the pool. I knew I wanted a water-level photo….one were I was staring right into the monkey’s eyes.
I squeezed myself into the corner right on the lower platform near the pool. It was very uncomfortable. I stayed right there for two hours in the snow.
I used my 70-200 f/2.8 to blur the background. The shot settings worked great because the monkey was a little further away. I am used to shooting people’s faces with the 70-200 at f/2.8. There is a lot more depth to a monkey’s face with their deep-set eyes, and for some of the closer monkey photos, I wish I had shot more images at f/4 or f/5.6.
I got a lot of nice photos. This one spoke to me the most. It was the picture I had in my head.
My goal a few years ago was to visit all 7 continents and I have done that now. On this workshop, the combination of wildlife, people, landscapes, with cranes, monkeys and people photos peaked my interest. I knew I would get bored with just one or the other the whole time. I thought, “I’m going to stay engaged the whole time.”
It was end to end fun. It was so enjoyable. Japan impresses me more than any other country I have visited…..the locations and the efficiency. It is a big, beautiful world out there.
The Data: 1/500 sec, f/2.8, 200 mm, ISO 500
The Gear: Sony A7R IV, Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS;
Photo Tip from the Photographer:
Photography is such a personal thing. I never criticize other people’s work. I do not know what they want because I am not inside their head.
My tip is to know what you want to accomplish before you walk out the door. Your best chance of shooting good photos is to minimize the time you spend taking ordinary photos.
A recent example of this came up one morning in Torres del Paine in Chile. We were with a ranger looking for pumas and the weather was perfect for wildlife. Along the way we passed some wildflowers and two members of the group wanted to stop and take macro photos. That was the ordinary photo. To get the really good photo, we needed to stick with the plan we started with. We saw the pumas from far away, but were not able to get good photos. After you pursue the image you have in your head, there is plenty of time to shoot whatever you want.
Greg at the Imperial Palace:
This is a gorgeous scene, but I really wanted to emphasize the Imperial Palace in the photo. This is facing west. I had tried morning images, but because the sun was lighting up Nijubashi Bridge in the foreground, it really emphasized the bridge instead of the palace. I went to this location several times this day to check the lighting conditions. When I went at 3 PM, the light was perfect. The bridge was still beautiful, but the face of it wasn’t directly lit up by the sun.
After I took this photo, I decided to walk around the whole palace complex. It is about three miles around it from outside the moat. About halfway around, I noticed another bridge going over the moat with police and security people there. I saw that they were putting on formal white gloves, so I figured something was up. It was just a couple other people and me standing there, as this was not a typical tourist location. A short time late, ex-emperor, Akihito, was driven out of the palace complex with his rear window rolled down. I smiled at him and waved, and he waved back at me as I took his picture.
To see Greg’s photo on FB of former Emperor Akihito click here
On Greg’s Horizon:
Africa – Morocco
South America – coastal Brazil, Bolivia
Asia – Tibet
To see upcoming international photography workshops with TBPW click here
Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created on our workshops by posting a photograph each month from one of our workshops that best captures the environment or people of that location. With so many great images from Japan and our 2 Texas Birds Workshops, it was hard to choose. We hope you enjoy Alfredo’s image as much as we do.
Congratulations to February’s photographer – Alfredo Fayard
I love wildlife and photographing birds in particular. When I am photographing birds I usually use my Nikon D500 and a 200-500mm telephoto lens for birds in flight.
This workshop was my first time photographing from a blind. I drove down from Houston so I brought everything with me including a 500mm f4 lens and my new Nikon Z7. I had never used the Z7 for wildlife photography before. The pictures I loved the most came from this combination 500 F4 and the Nikon Z7.
I set up the camera in the blind at Laguna Seca Ranch with this new combination. I took my first pictures and fell in love with the color of the holy berries. I thought “That would be beautiful with cardinals.” At the time there were Green Jays and a few other birds on the perches so I waited for the cardinals to show up.
I saw that the backgrounds were disappearing (because of the f4 aperture). It reminded me of drawings from naturalists in the 1900’s before there were cameras. The drawings give the sense that there is nothing in the picture except birds and berries. I knew that when the cardinals came in that it would be beautiful.
I loved the variety of birds we saw. Laguna Seca Ranch was the most pictorial of the two ranches. The backgrounds just disappear because of the location of the vegetation. I would like to go back at another time of the year with different flowers and birds.
The roadrunner experience at Santa Clara Ranch was beautiful.
The Data: Nikon Z7 with 500mm F4 EXIF F4 1/1250 ISO 720
Photo Tip from the Photographer:
I went to the location with one idea of what equipment I would use. But I tried something different. The Nikon Z7 is not known for its speed as a wildlife camera. However, the resolution and details it produced were incredible. I did not realize this until I saw the images on my computer.
On the Horizon:
Costa Rica – I have been there several times before. Now I am looking forward to applying what I learned on this workshop to the jungles of Costa Rica,
To learn more about the Laguna Seca Ranch click here
To learn more about the Santa Clara Ranch click here