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Add Motion to your wildlife images

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

We love watching fast moving wildlife and our typcial image involves freezing their motion with our cameras to produce detail that our eyes cannot see while the animal is in motion. Capturing a diverse set of images is always a challenge for any photographer and adding motion to an image provides the viewer with a feeling of movement as they stare into a still image. To add motion and a feeling of wildlifes speed, try experimenting with diffent shutter speeds …

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Photographers Gear Guide 2017

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

  I thought I would tell everyone about some of my favorite photo gear over the years in this Photographers Gear Guide article. I’m not sponsored by any of these companies nor have I received any of these products as gifts, I just really like these products and don’t leave home without them. Photographers Gear Guide 2017 was last modified: February 8th, 2017 by Matt Shetzer

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Christmas Lights Photography Tips

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

As the holidays approach, we dress up our neighborhoods with beautiful colorful lights providing great Christmas light night photography opportunities. One of the fun things to do is use a zoom lens to create some unique images using a long exposure, and moving the zoom during the exposure. Here is how you do it ! Place your camera with a zoom lens on a sturdy tripod Put the camera in Manual Mode Without taking a picture, look through your eyepiece, …

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Noise Reduction Techniques

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

Noise Reduction techniques in post processing are becoming very important for wildlife photographers. As every generation of camera produces higher quality images at higher ISO’s, it enables us to stretch the limits of what couldn’t be done in the past.

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Nikon D500 First Impressions

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

Nikon’s D500 is the first pro crop sensor released since the D300s was announced in July of 2009. It has been a long wait, and Nikon certainly needed a competitor to Canon’s excellent 7D. Since retiring my D300, I’ve been shooting full frame cameras ever since, however I’ve wanted another crop body to add to my pack and provide a crop (1.5x) to my existing lenses. My D500 arrived a few days before the hummingbird photography workshops in Ecuador , …

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Nikon D5 High ISO test and first impressions

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

So the new Nikon D5 arrived last week, and I got to shoot it a little this weekend. (High ISO Samples below)   I’m only interested in wildlife results (not tests images of wine bottles, etc) as I’m a wildlife photographer. I went out to a local Bald Eagle nest and found a subject to test the ISO settings and new auto-focus system.   The combo I shot was a Nikon D5 with a 600mm + 1.4tc and really harsh …

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Google Nik Collection is now Free

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

This week Google announced they will no longer be charging for their Photoshop plug-ins titled the Nik Collection. The plugins are a fantastic way to process your images quickly with great results. During our workshops, we always demonstrate some of our favorite post-processing tools, and NIK is always at the top of the list. The following list will give you a quick insight to the great collection of tools that are now free: The Color Efex Pro plug-in has tons …

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Photoshop Dehaze

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

In the latest version of Adobe Photoshop CC, there has been a new tool added that really adds a little “Pop” to images and removes (or adds) haze. It’s called Dehaze. There are two ways to access this tool. From the RAW editor, click on FX (Effects) icon. From within Photoshop, click on Filters, then the Camera RAW Filter, followed by the click on FX (Effects) icon. I really like accessing the tool from the last option, as I have …

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Find your Lens’ Sweet Spot

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

In preparation of an exciting trip, it is always good to know the sweet spot of each lens you plan to use. You can spend hours reading all the reviews about a lens, and sift through what everyone else says, however the most important results are the results FROM YOUR lens. While lens’ share certain characteristics, each one is a little unique and some perform better than others. It is best to take the time to know the gear that you …

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Manual with Auto ISO for more control

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

Many of the new cameras have functionality to let the ISO setting (your cameras sensitivity to light) fluctuate with the changes in light similar to Aperture Priority (AV) or Shutter Priority (TV). Here is a breakdown of each auto mode: Aperture Priority (Av) – You set the Aperture (f/stop) and the camera automatically adjusts the Shutter speed to the proper exposure   Shutter Priority (Tv) – You set the Shutter speed and the camera adjusts the Aperture (f/stop) to the …

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How to record video on your DSLR

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

Over the last 5 years, one of the new features our DSLR’s have included is recording video.  By having video on my camera it has really extended my field time.  A couple of years ago I was up in Alaska photographing Bald Eagles, and it started snowing big flakes.  My still images were unusable as I was getting big fuzzy blobs in front of the eagles.  Rather than calling it a day, I switch over to video mode and had …

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Know your Camera’s ISO Performance

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

Having an understanding of your camera’s performance at high ISO, and what you are comfortable with noise wise in an image will help you make better decisions in the field resulting in higher quality images.   Here is a scenario we will use through the exercise:  I am photographing Bald eagles in flight and my exposure settings are: 1/1000s shutter speed f/5.6 on my 500mm f/4 lens ISO 800 The light is fading, and I need a stop of light …

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Using your Histogram to achieve that perfect exposure

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

The histogram displays the amount of blacks, whites and neutral tones in an image. By reviewing your histogram after each shot you will gain a better understanding of how the camera processes the scene and be able to make any adjustment to achieve that perfect exposure. In the sample of the lighthouse image, you will notice the histogram in the top. On the far right of the histogram, this is the number of whites, across the middle are the neutral …

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How to Photograph in the Snow

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

We are going to discuss two items about photographing in the snow in this article. Proper Exposure Creating a Mood with Falling Snow. Proper Exposure Lets first start out with proper exposure.  Our cameras are designed to photograph some scenes very well, snow is not one of these.  By default, a camera will set the exposure for the scene to be middle grey, or 18% grey.  This works great for a scene with lots of green grass, or pretty blue …

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Take the Best Images Possible

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

Take the best images possible and make them perfect ! So what does that mean?  It is best to take your time, think about your shot and the final image you would like to produce.  It is real easy to go out for the day, and shoot the same camera settings for everything all day and come home with a lot of images that could be better. Lets talk about the below image.  I saw this eagle on its perch with …

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How to Photograph Hummingbirds

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

How to photograph hummingbirds Hummingbirds are some of the most extraordinary birds found on the planet. But establishing the proper techniques to photograph these remarkable little birds requires a set up that’s just as unique as they are. There are two ways to photograph hummingbirds – by using natural light and by using a multi-flash set-up. Hummingbirds’ wings move at about 80 beats-per-second, fast enough to produce their signature hum. So, it can be almost impossible to produce an adequately …

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Mastering the Camera Modes

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

One of the topics we always discuss in-depth during a workshop is what is the best camera mode to shoot in? These modes include: Shutter Priority\Time Value Aperture Priority Manual My answer is always the same. It depends on the scene, the desired effect you want to achieve, and the environment. When you are with the pros and cons of each of the modes, and can select the proper mode for the situation, you will achieve photographs that are: Exposed …

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When to use a Polarizer Filter

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

A Polarizer Filter is an optical filter used by photographers to control what type of light passes through the camera lens, and what type of light is blocked.  A polarizer is most effective when shooting 90 degrees from the sun, and typically costs 1.5-2 stops of light. Benefits of a Polarizer     Increase Saturation of Colors.  When adding a polarizer, colors will appear more saturated and vibrant.  Great to use when photographing Aspen fall colors.     Reduced glare.  When shooting …

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What Camera Should I Buy?

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

We get this question at least once a week, so I thought I’d address it and post our thoughts on picking a camera. There is a reason why so many cameras are made by each manufacturer.  They are made for different purposes, so what we need to figure out is what are YOUR needs. Lets break this down: Action Photography\Birds in flight  – So you are looking for that great image of a bird in flight, or a sporting event.  …

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Using converging lines to emphasize your subject.

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

You will see in the attached picture of Pemaquid Lighthouse that I took last week, the texture in the rock points towards the main subject. By doing this your eyes sub-consciously are drawn into the lighthouse. This is a great way to emphasis a subject, without it dominating the frame. A few minutes later, I looked for another composition of this famous lighthouse. I saw a reflection in the puddles of the light house, and was able to point the …

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Using DOF Calculators (Depth of Field)

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

One of the best ways to make a powerful wildlife composition is to have the subject in the foreground, sharp and crisp, with a very soft, pleasing background. To achieve this, you will need to use a very large aperture (small number). But how much? One of our favorite tools is a Depth of Field calculator or DOF. In this little application that can go on your smart phone or PC, you enter in your distance to the subject, camera …

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How do colors affect photography?

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

Sometimes a great photo is not just about the subject of the scene, but also the backgrounds and colors within the image itself. While we don’t always have a choice of backgrounds, sometimes a step to the right or left may make our photo better. To help understand this concept, let’s consider how color affects our moods and perceptions. Warm colors such as oranges, reds and yellows tend to stimulate our senses and create excitement in our photographs. Have you …

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More Megapixels needs better techniques

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

As we watch the new DSLRs being announced this year increasing files to as much as 36 megapixels, we will need to pay more attention to our technique to ensure we get the sharp images we desire. Remember to use a tripod, trigger release, and mirror lockup when possible. The less movement we do with the camera, the sharper our image will be. As these file sizes increase, we are storing more and more data on the sensor, therefore any …

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After the Golden Hour

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

After watching and photographing a beautiful sunset, take your time and don’t run off just yet. One of our favorite times to photograph is about 30 minutes after sunset, which is known as Civil Twilight. You’ll need your tripod for this as the light is getting low. As you review your images you will start to see these vibrant blue tones that are so different from the warm sunset light. One of our favorite ways to spend the evening is …

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Changing Your Perspective

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

A little movement of the camera and now there is a nice panoramic[/caption]One of the most import techniques in photography is to play with your perspective. We tend to find the composition that we want, and shoot image after image from the same location. Take your time and move around a bit. Walk around your subject and look through the viewfinder at different angles and heights. It’s amazing how the same scene can render such different results. The below images …