Just a quick post between trips here. This image is from a recent trip to northern Alaska, poking around along the Dalton highway looking for some aurora borealis and nice winter arctic landscapes. We found these spruce trees up north, and had a grand afternoon photographing them. It’s a treat indeed to find trees like this, as winds and slightly warmer temperatures will quickly move all the snow and hoar frost from the trees.
I love how the snowload bends those trees over in such cool shapes.
Outta here for another week.
Recently, a federal judge in Alaska, handed the US Fish and Wildlife Service (F&WS) some homework, when he decided that the agency had been a little overzealous in their designation of critical habitat for the polar bear. In 2010, the Obama administration set aside nearly 190 000 square miles of onshore and off-shore critical habitat for the polar bear. That’s an awful lot of land (larger than the state of California). But polar bears, it seems, are an awful lot of bear.
Last month a federal judge ruled that it’s apparently ‘too much’ land. Which is in itself noteworthy, as the judge isn’t really there to decide what’s too much and what isn’t too much land for a polar bear. The judge is supposed to simply review the decision and see whether it follows the law.
The judge also said the F&WS decision had some “procedural deficiencies”; much better. This means, they hadn’t quite followed the law. So what was one of those deficiencies? How about this one? Section 1533(i) of the Endangered Species Act Read the rest of this entry … »
So, by now a number of people around the web have commented on the new Google Images display; some even talking about how nice and clean the interface looks. What I haven’t seen is anyone discuss how the Google Mobile App now works.
At left is a screenshot from my iPad of how Google Images, using the google app, displays photos on mobile devices. Underneath the image is a tiny thumbnail showing where they’ve extracted this photo from (and where the source file is hosted – in this case, my website).
When the visitor clicks “Options”, under the file, the 3 options are
“Save Image”, “Similar Images” and “View Web Page”. That’s right, the very first option is “Save Image” – Google grant you the option to save the full size jpeg right from my website, without you ever having to actually visit my website.
This is a pretty ballsy move, I must say. There’s been quite a bit of chatter around the ole interwebs about the new google images, on various web masters forums and so on, as well as some of the social media. Twitter, Google plus, etc. See Official Google Rollout, or Webmasters World. Safe to say, a lotta people are peeved. I’m surprised no one has mentioned this (that I’ve seen, anyway). Read the rest of this entry … »
With a host of people heading north this winter/spring to photograph the aurora, I thought it might be of some interest to talk a little about the process of shooting photography at night; I know a lot of people have little experience with that, and it really can be a challenge at times. Particularly on a cold frozen night in Alaska when the northern lights start going crazy overhead.
So, the first thing I’d suggest, if you haven’t already, is read over my 3 part article on shooting the northern lights. There’s a downloadable PDF at the end of that article you can keep for future reference.
So, now that you’re prepared, consider the moment. It’s dark. It’s cold, maybe minus 20 degrees F; cold enough that your hands start to really feel it after a few minutes. It’s dark. You have a headlamp on, and that gives you a little bit of vision out to maybe 30-50 yards or so. After that, you can’t see too much at all. The aurora starts to fire up, and you want to shoot it.
You can’t see your foreground and composition. Its dark. You don’t even know if the foreground is worth shooting. It’s dark. You can’t walk around all over and use your headlamp to see, because (a) there isn’t time, (b) there are other people trying to shoot, (c) you don’t want to track up all the snow by stomping around in it. So setup your test shots. This is probably the most important part of the process. Set up and do your test shots. Read the rest of this entry … »
One of the things I see happen most frequently in the field with groups of photographers is this kind of herd mentality that almost invariably works against the photographer. Particularly when things are not going perfectly. It’s cold, the eagles aren’t doing much, everyone’s been out for a long time, and soon enough, people start talking of packing up, of food and hot drinks, or editing images or watching TV, and before you know it, as the light ebbs, ever so slightly, people pack up and head for home/motel/town.
We all know once the light, on a gorgeous clear afternoon, goes down, the photography for the day is over, correct?
Another photo from this past summer when I led a photo tour to Hallo Bay and the coast of Katmai National Park and Preserve here in Alaska. I’ve been photographing brown bears for many years now, and return to the Alaskan Peninsula every summer to watch and photograph these creatures. They’re simply an awesome animal to see, whether its up close and personal like this, or from a distant ridge on a mountain hike somewhere.
I intentionally picked late June for this particular tour with the hope of catching some interaction between the bears, and especially mating behavior. Brown bear breeding season is anywhere from late May through mid-July, with some exceptions even being later. Generally, early summer is the time for brown bears’ breeding season. Read the rest of this entry … »
Writing Your Photography Business Plan
Mapping out where you want to go with your business, any business, probably starts best if you understand where it is right now. There’s no point in trying to decide how to get somewhere if we haven’t first identified where we are. There’s little point in trying to figure out a place we would like to be without knowing upfront whether or not we’re already there.
So sit down and assess, honestly, where your business is. Don’t just do the accounting and look for a profit/loss sheet. That’s important, but go beyond that. Look over your portfolio/stock files and assess where your work is. For a stock nature photographer, how’s your photography coverage of bald eagles? Los Vegas city lights? Blue whales? From a business viewpoint, that’s all about inventory (what an ugly word that is). That’s part of what your ‘product’ (perhaps an even more ugly word) is, so examine it. Write down, in some brief statement, where your work is at. For you.
How about your service? Where is that at? Email response, print quality, timeliness and efficiency of getting files off to the lab, prints off to the gallery/UPS, images off to your stock agency/website. Examine it and see where you stand. And if it sucks, note it down. If it’s awesome, note that down too.
How about your advertising? Where is that at? Beyond just advertising, how about your business marketing in general? Read the rest of this entry … »