Selecting a Tripod: Tripod Heads for Nature Photography

This is the second of a two part article on selecting a tripod, and covers the selection of tripod heads and quick-release systems. The first part discusses tripod legsets and can be found here.

For most nature photography tasks, I’d recommend using a large, high-quality ballhead. The best of these feature a large ball, adjustable tension, and a can hold quite a bit of weight. The Kirk Enterprises KB-1, Arca-Swiss Z1, Markins M-20, and (if you can find it) the Burzynski Protec are all excellent choices for general-use tripods. (more…)

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Quest for knowledge

I love books, all types of books, fiction, self-help, history and my favorite – photography books. I love reading about how other photographers work, their style, what equipment they’re using and how they handle difficult assignments. My recent purchase and quickly becoming a dog-eared classic is by Joe McNally and The Moment it Clicks.

The Moment It Clicks (more…)

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Selecting a Tripod: Legsets for Nature Photography

One of the most common questions I get from students who are just starting to get serious about their photography is “what sort of tripod should I buy?” This quickly breaks down into two questions, “which tripod legsets?” and “which tripod head?”. In this article, I’ll talk about how to select a good legset for your needs, in part two, I’ll cover tripod heads and quick-release systems. (more…)

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Let’s make a deal…

Copyright Booray Perry Photography All Rights Reserved

Last week I was talking to a potential client who was wanting a portrait session for her baby. She wanted my full session and she planned to buy three 16×20 prints. When I told her the price she said, “Oh, that’s way too much money… especially in today’s economy.” (more…)

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“Canon or Nikon?”

Backlit Aspen, Bishop Creek
Backlit Aspen, Bishop Creek (Photo © Joe Decker, All Rights Reserved.)

So, my friend J.D. and I are up photographing along the South Fork of Bishop Creek in the Eastern Sierra. It’s autumn, there’s excellent color in the aspens in the valley, and we’ve scouted the area the previous day to estimate when last light will fall on the aspens. We arrive ten or fifteen minutes before, set up our tripods, find our compositions, and casually embrace the “If it looks good, shoot it….” rule, shooting as we chat and watch the shadow of the valley wall creep towards the edge of our compositions.

That last moment approaches, and just then…. (more…)

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Ten Travel Photography Commandments


Photo ©Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

I’m soon to travel on a photo-expedition to the south of India with the intention of documenting the unusual ritualistic dances called Theyyam. The dances take place in remote villages principally in the state of Kerala, in a region known for its several thousand-year-old traditions, rituals and customs.

I thought I’d start my inaugural post by sharing my ten travel photography commandments, distilling what I’ve learned over the course of the past years as to what helps make better travel and environmental (on-location) portraits…or at least, what works for me. (more…)

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If it Looks Good, Shoot it…

Into the Future
The Grigory Mikheev travels through sea ice and sunrise in the arctic North Atlantic.

If it looks good, shoot it. If it looks better later, shoot it again. –Galen Rowell

So goes one of the best pieces of photographic wisdom I’ve received. It’s more than just a simple strategy, it also reflects something important about nature photography: many of the best nature photographs feature ephemeral light. Whether dramatic (like sunsets or rainbows), or subtle (like the play of light and shadow across the landscape on a partly-cloudy day), the best light is often short-lived and unpredictable. (more…)

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Did you get the model and property release?

You should have. I know this, I preach this, I’m supposed to know better. But what happened yesterday?

I got an email from the editor of one of my magazine clients. She’s working on a piece about interior design and her writer is one I’ve worked with in the past. The writer said, “Steve and I did a story a few years ago and I think he’s got some shots that would work well for this.” The editor asks to see the shots and if there’s anything there that will work for her she’ll pay my stock rate to use them. Great!

This image has a property release
This image has a property release


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Ignoring the obvious

I sometimes tend to ignore the obvious, the obvious being that which the ancient Greeks referred to as Helios, the Sun. How could I be so distracted by radio slaves, studio flashes and softboxes – not to see that ball of fire 92,960,000 miles from my house. How could I completely forget what I first learned about photography and natural light? Easy, I ignored the obvious. (more…)

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