"Walk-A-Bout" at the San Francisco Zoo

"Walk-A-Bout" at the San Francisco Zoo

On Wednesdays I offer a Walk A Bout at the San Francisco Zoo. Not only is the Zoo ALWAYS a fun place but it gives me a chance to introduce myself to folks who may be interested in learning a bit about photographing animals as well as maybe taking future workshops with me.

But is far more than that…as much as I would rather have the animals be free in the wild, where else could you get such a closeup view of their magnificence?

Case in point, I suggest that after you get the image you “need” to get (usually the whole animal) put on a longer lens and really explore the beauty in front of you. _H2L0318 I love the plumage on the many birds, some of whom casually walk around as you do in the park. Forget about the whole of the animal, zoom into the patterns, shapes, textures and colors. Even the skin texture of a Rhino or Hippo can be fascinating.

Take a look at some of my examples here which I hope you’ll enjoy.

Just remember, be conscientious and don’t cause undue stress on these magnificent creatures, they truly are gifts for us to behold.

News! I am the Group Leader NANPA's (North American Nature Photography Association) Meetup Group

News! I am the Group Leader NANPA's (North American Nature Photography Association) Meetup Group

IMG_1003.JPGRecently NANPA began expanding their Meetup.com group to Northern California. I threw my hat in the ring as it were and got lucky. So now we have the NANPA San Francisco Meetup Group!
We held our first “Meetup” at Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay on Nov 21st where we photographed the holiday lighting ceremony of the City’s buildings along the waterfront. There were so many rsvp’s I’m holding a second event on December 5th with even more attendees. Images taken by the group can be seen here
Future events will include instruction in wildlife photography and various other topics related to nature photography.
Join our Meetup Group you don’t have to be NANPA member, however you may want to join after you’ve come out to few events!
NANPA is a great organization which provides all kinds resources and information to their members (and non-members too). If your are a nature photographer and are interested in more information about NANPA check out their website here

BTW…if you’re reading this and are not in the San Francisco Bay Area there is likely A NANPA Meetup group in your area check out Meetup.com
Cheers!

John

The Zoo – a great place to practice!

The Zoo – a great place to practice!

Tiger eyes

The Tiger’s Eyes

The other day I took a client to the San Francisco Zoo to practice  photographing animals. My client has an upcoming trip to Africa and will be taking a photo safari. Since it is a once in a life time event for him he was looking for tips on how to be the most effective he could be.

African Crane

African Crane Crown Plumage

I covered the various concepts and techniques with him and we had a great time. To name just a few….

  • Fill the frame
  • Focus on the eyes
  • Concentrate on particular attributes of the animal
  • Use a fast shutter speed (high ISO if needed to increase shutter speed)
African Crane

African Crane Plumage

In addition to his practicing, I was able to squeak out a few of my own images that you see here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do every time I’m at the zoo.

If you’d like to join me for a few hours and pick up some tips visit my website under the “Workshops” tab. The tabs are on the right of this screen.

Join me! I go to the San Francisco Zoo most Wednesdays where I hold a Free Camera Walk!!!!!

Cheers!

 

At the end of the day….

At the end of the day….

Sunset At McClures-1

Recently on my workshop at Point Reyes, just north of  San Francisco, I had the opportunity to take a few images. Normally I don’t take my “own” photos while conducting a workshop as I’m there for my client(s), not my own portfolio. This day however I had the pleasure of having Desiree Burk as my client who didn’t mind. Desiree is a very talented “Family” photographer. We spent the day doing workshop imagery lessons and finished at McClures Beach where we had a beautiful sunset. Employing longer exposures using a 10 stop neutral density filter I captured the image seen here. I was pleased with the detail in the beach sand and the granite rock in the foreground yet with the softness and motion blur of the waves. A perfect ending to a day out at Point Reyes National Seashore.

For Family portraits taken in natural light visit Desiree’s website at  – desireeburk.com

Photography Workshop – California's North Coast & Giant Redwoods Forest

Photography Workshop – California's North Coast & Giant Redwoods Forest

June 3rd – 6th 2014

2 Spaces Left!
Ladybird Johnson Memorial Grove

Ladybird Johnson Memorial Grove

This is always a fun and popular photography workshop. From the little hamlet of Trinidad to the south Oregon coast, we’ll photograph the fog drifting through the lush redwood forests and beautiful sunsets along the coast. Typically the Rhododendrons are blooming at this time of year! Wildlife abounds in the form of Elk and birds. The local harbors and beaches are full of photographic opportunities as well.

Catering to small groups of up to six participants, I will challenge you to see things in a different way and help you capture stunning images.

Enhance your skills in your artful photographic evolution!

Details:

Lodging:  Lodging is not included in this workshop. I will be happy to recommend locations upon request. There are many options in the are available including camping.

Transportation: Workshop participants are responsible for their transportation during this workshop. During the workshop we will carpool as much as possible.

Fern Canyon Waterfall

Fern Canyon Waterfall

Meals: Each participant will be responsible for their own meals. We will stop so that everyone can stock up on sandwiches, drinks, snacks, etc.

Price:  $495 per person

More info…gear and other stuff: Click here
Note: Participants should be healthy and mobile enough to walk at a leisurely pace off pavement for some distance (1 to 2 miles). You should also consider the weight of your gear and how you carry it.

Trinidad Beach Sunset

Trinidad Beach Sunset

When nature gives you lemons…make lemonade!

When nature gives you lemons…make lemonade!

McCluresBeachBW2

I made this image while conducting one of my photography workshops yesterday at Point Reyes National Seashore. Although I had planned a sunset shot sometimes fog on the horizon nixes what can be a great moment. However all is not lost. Instead you can change your concept during the image taking process and envision it as a dramatic black & white. This was a 30 second exposure using a 10 stop ND filter. I used a limited application of contrast adjustment using dodge & burn techniques. A final step was to add a little vignetting. Keeping detail in the rocks with a smooth silky water was my plan.

I’ll file this in the “When nature gives you lemons, then make lemonade!” category….

Be sure to check my workshop listings for updates on this and other opportunities to learn how to make great images.  Workshop listings…

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Yesterdays Presidio & Palace of Fine Arts Workshop

Yesterdays Presidio & Palace of Fine Arts Workshop

 Gate Bridge near Ansel's view

Sunset Golden Gate Bridge from near Baker Beach San Francisco

Yesterdays “one-on-one” workshop in San Francisco with alumni and friend John S. from New Mexico proved to be yet another stunning photographic experience. While I normally don’t take my “own” photos while doing a workshop, John didn’t mind, so while he was exploring his creativity I had the opportunity to ‘snag’ a couple of my own. Another angle of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Cormorants Dolphins Sunset San Francisco

Of cormorants and passing dolphins

Also a sunset with cormorants drying the wings and if you look close, a pair of dolphins to the right of the rock. I elected to go B&W as the sunset was almost boring yet very colorful indeed. Of Note: The Bay Bridge has activated the cable lights! Give me a shout if you’re interesting in coming along for my next SF workshop and I will take you to my “spots” for a view of this mesmerizing light show.

"Going to the birds…"  A visit with Sandhill Cranes

"Going to the birds…" A visit with Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill CranesThe other day I made the short trip to the Isenberg Crane Preserve near Lodi California. What a wonderful experience. Arriving shortly before dawn the first thing that really hits you when you visit a bird refuge is the noise. Thousands of birds chatting about who knows what…but to my ears simply magic…

I spent the day with the birds, photographing the magnificent Sandhill Crane (standing 4 to 5 feet tall). Like many species of wildlife, the cranes “call” can be heard for surprisingly long distances. When you hear their call you might think it is so close that the bird is hiding from you. Yet when you look up and see them coming, they’re actually hundreds of yards away as they ‘notify’ their friends of their arrival.

The cranes are very social and you’ll see them dance as well as all kinds of other humanistic antics. I love it.

The sheer amount of birds was phenomenal. Great Blue Herons, Egrets, Tundra Swans, and a myriad of raptors and other birds too many for me to name. And I understand it only gets better as the winter progresses. At the end of the day I was blessed with an incredible sunset with Mt Diablo silhouetted in the distance as the suns glow settled on the horizon. It wasn’t until I got home and found two cranes flying into the sunset many miles away. What a wonderful gift!

New Photography Workshops Added

New Photography Workshops Added

I have added an on-going series of new workshops. Some are One-Day and some Multi-Day Workshops. Join me for a great time at locations such as the Presido, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.
Other locations include Point Reyes National Seashore and Mount Tamalpais (we’ll be shooting the waterfalls there in the spring).
For longer trips we will visit the Bald Eagles in the Klamath Basin in February and in late in May we will conduct our workshop at Redwoods National Parkon the northern California coast.
Please visit the link on the right or click here for more information on my website. If you are interested in a custom workshop and or one on one training please let me know. Cheers!
ps…More locations will be added in the next few weeks!
Point Reyes National Seashore Workshop August 11, 2012

Point Reyes National Seashore Workshop August 11, 2012

Yesterday I held a one day photography workshop at Point Reyes National Seashore. The five of us visited several locations and even though the fog was heavy we were able to capture some great images. Along the way we saw elk, deer, elephant seals, raptors and an elusive bobcat.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

We started our journey with a brief meeting at the park headquarters then off to our first shoot, the old wreck of the “Point Reyes”, probably the most photographed boat in northern California. The old boat is definitely showing deterioration as compared to my first images from 10 years ago. Still the photographic learning opportunities abound. We took a bunch shots and discussed the various aspects the “Old Girl” has to offer in artistry.

It was then off to the lighthouse. The fog provided almost zero visibility. Although this lighthouse is now automated it stands as tribute to its own history. Inside the apparatus room there are remnants of the machinery needed to “keep the light”. Outside the harsh climate is evident in the rust and lichen growing on the sides of the building. All providing great opportunities for camera work.

Our group then moved on to the old RCA radio station which has an old growth row of cypress trees that have formed a tunnel effect over the driveway leading to the building. There was such a magnificent overcast/fog layer which gave us near perfect lighting conditions and we got some wonderful images. This location is a great place to discuss HDR (high-dynamic range) when it’s a bright sunny day. The hot spots and shadows provide a great range light and challenges on how to capture it.

Next we headed to Pierce Point to see if we could get some images of the elk herd. The fog was getting thicker. While driving, Menno our friend from the Netherlands, spotted a bobcat. He jumped out of the car and ran back a ways and was able to get an image of the elusive cat staring right at him in the fog. Definitely a cool shot.

We poked around the barn area, shot a few trees in the fog, but the light was starting wane and we decided to head back to Drakes beach for some tranquil surf shots on the level beach. Of course right there on the side of the road was a herd of elk. The males “bugling” loudly, rounding up their harems on a Saturday night. We finished on the beach using longer exposures and got some nice images of the low “silky” surf rolling up the beach.

All in all a nice day to shoot. Weather wasn’t perfect but in a way it’s was. The fog gave us some mood to the images, and of course the overcast is natures perfect neutral density filter.

Thank you, Sarah, Menno, Glenn, and Ash for allowing me the opportunity share my thoughts and techniques in a great location with great company!

Next up: Mini Workshop August 18th 3-10pm San Francisco More info…

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