Photo of the Month March 2020

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 

Japan

The Story:

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.

Snow Monkey Photo
 Photo of the Month – March 2020

The Location: 

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.

 

Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace in Tokyo by Greg Ness: 1/400 sec, f/7.1, 70mm, ISO 200
 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

Olympic Rings Tokyo Harbor Night
Tokyo Bay with Olympic Rings by Greg Ness: 1/100 sec, f/2.8, 58mm, ISO 400

 

 

 

 

Photo of the Month February 2020

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 

Badlands Workshop 2019

The Story:

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.

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Green Jays on the holy berries

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.

 

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Photo of the Month – Alfredo Fayard

The Location: 

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.

raptorbling
Alfredo at left photographing at Laguna Seca Ranch

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

 

 

 

 

Photo of the Month – December 2019

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 Patagonia, it was hard to choose. We hope you enjoy Patricia’s image as much as we do. Please let us know what you think about our Photo of the Month posts!

Congratulations to December’s photographer – Patricia Solano 

Pattys
Patrica using a low perspective for the iconic landscape

The Story:

I was really nervous and excited for the shoot with all the horses. I was excited about what it may look like. I was nervous because I was surrounded by a lot of talented photographers. In a group I knew I would be vying for space and I am a small person.

I remember asking myself, “Holy crap! How am I going to shoot this?” Because I have done trips with Tom before, I knew I had to be on continuous (auto-focus) and shoot at a high shutter speed. I always shoot in manual so I was not thinking about aperture. I chose the 70-200mm lens to get the vista, but also to be able to zoom in as the horses came running at us.

Pics for Tom Bol Photo of MOnth-2
Gauchos and horses running through Lago Argentina by Patricia Solano

The Location: 

As soon as I got to El Galpon, it spoke to me. It was a combination of the vistas, the horses and the macho men.  The remoteness of the estancia made it peaceful and I just loved the spot. I love Patagonia and El Galpon was my favorite place in Patagonia.

Of course, the gauchos helped!

pattibarn
Patricia taking a portrait of Pablo with natural window light

The Data: Sony ILCE-7R, 70-200mm lens 1/1000 at f6.3 ISO 1250 manual mode

Photo Tip from the Photographer: 

I am on a steep learning curve as a photographer. I have learned that if you screw up, just forgive yourself. Even if it is a once in a lifetime shoot like we had at El Galpon.

On the Horizon:

  • Return to Cuba – outside of Havana
  • Return to India – the south this time

 

To learn more about the El Galpon Estancia in Patagonia where this photo was taken click here

To learn more about auto focus modes click here

 

 

Photo of the Month – November 2019

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.

Congratulations to November’s photographer – Lee Brissey

 

Chilkat Workshop 2019
Chilkat Workshop 2019

The Story:

On our second day we were photographing a wide variety of bald eagles feeding on chum salmon along the gravel bar of the Chilkat river. While we all captured many interesting images of feeding and bird behavior, this one immediately caught my attention as a poignant image of an instant in time. The eagle talons holding down the spent-out chum salmon symbolized the power of predator. While it happened in an instant flip, I was certain that predator and prey connected in that ageless migration ritual. It’s impossible to look at that image and not get a bit reflective about the circle of life.

FLB_5017

The Location: 

The Chilkat River landscape was exceptional with distant mountains accentuated by fresh snow and wonderful cloud/mist patterns providing an ever-changing backdrop to the scene. When the sun peaked out we had beautiful low-angle back-lighting to illuminate wings of eagles in flight and birds resting on logs and in perches along the riverbank. But in addition to the sights, the continuous sounds of the river burbling by and the endless cries of seagulls and calls of eagles made the place come alive.

Chilkat Workshop 2019
Lee (right) and his photo friend Dennis Garrood (left)

The Data: Nikon D850, 200-500 mm lens 1/1600 at f5.6 ISO 900 Manual mode

Photo Tip from the Photographer: 

The usual advice about being patient and watchful is not new. Some of my best images came out of scenes that emerged without warning and were gone in a flash. I was just lucky. And I learned again to pay attention to the changing light conditions and adjust accordingly.  Periodically step back and adjust to the scene by rechecking whether settings/histogram are appropriate to the conditions.  I learned some of this the hard way again this year.

On the Horizon:

  • Costa Rica in April
  • Bosque del Apache & White Sands in New Mexico

 

To learn about the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and Haliaeetus leucocephalus click here