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“Wildlife photography” No.19

July 2011


Team Coordinator : Sebastian Vaida sebastianvaida@cameraobscura.ro

Senior Editor : Marius Ioan Groza mariusioangroza@cameraobscura.ro

Translator : Petra Penciulescu petrapenciulescu@cameraobscura.ro

cover by Moose Peterson


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pg.5 pg.49

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pg.63

pg.77

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Featured Photographers


Portfolios


Erez Marom

www.pbase.com/erezmarom Erez Marom is relatively new to photography, picking up his first DSLR in April 2008. An Israeli engineer and musician, he was always attracted to insects and invertebrates, but only when he saw the results possible with dedicated macro equipment, he took the plunge and became serious about this art. Since then photography has pretty much taken over his life and today, aside regular photo shoots, he teaches in several schools, writes for leading magazines, leads photography workshops and guides photo trips all over the world. In addition to macro he enjoys shooting general nature, landscape and portraits.


Erez Marom on “Macro Photography”

As human beings and as nature photographers, we aspire to know as much as possible about the world surrounding us. We take interest in our natural environment, travel to new places and wonder in front of the sheer abundance and wealth of life on this planet. But it is a fact that we see only a tiny fraction of the true biological spectrum. The world of the minute, the tiny insects and invertebrates, contains most of the living things of earth, and even that’s an understatement. Above that, this world contains the most bizarre, unusual and alien creatures, with appearances and qualities that can surprise, amuse, astound and amaze us in a way unimaginable before. Macro photography is a subspecialization inside the wide family of nature photography, but it is a world in its own right. A field of photography that is, on the one hand, incredibly technical, demanding patience, ability and perfect knowledge and understanding of both

equipment and subjects, and on the other hand very artistic and challenges the photographer’s sense of composition, improvisation and photographic vision, as much as any field if not more. It can open up new worlds in more ways than one, unravel creatures we never thought existed, and all this in our back yard, without any need of travelling the globe. With the right knowledge and technique, one can achieve a deep and intimate acquaintance with the tiny and charming creatures which are so vital to our existence here, reveal their unbelievable diversity and their fascinating behaviors, and, of course, do all this while enjoying every part of it: the beauty exposed for the first time, the thrilling creation process and above all, the brand new world, surpassing even our wildest imagination.


TamĂĄs Hajdu hajdutamas.blogspot.com

Born in 1978 Č˜imleul Silvaniei, he now lives in Baia Mare since 2001. Works as veterinarian at DSVSA Maramures - specialist in laboratory diagnosis for transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. He won a large number of photography awards and his images were published in magazines like: Photomagazine, Punctum, Practical Photography, Fotoblur.


Tamás Hajdu on “Close-Up Photography”

Macro and close up photography are probably the most popular and spectacular approaches in photography. Besides landscape photography, this kind of photography is probably the most easily interpreted form of photographic expression. Finding ourselves in less photogenic places, we sometimes have a sense of failure, but if we can focus our attention on macro photography, we can observe that a whole universe, full of exciting topics is revealed to us. We can say that “we have everything at our feet”. As a wildlife photographers, we are not so lucky living in Romania, so a good wildlife photo takes a lot of hard work . You may have endless expectations, but you need serious technical and material preparation. Another obstacle is the small number of wild mammal and bird species. Macro photography doesn’t need exotic locations or special situations, it can be practiced on a simple field or even in your

grandmother vegetable garden, as well. In a relatively small perimeter we can find a lot of spectacular subjects worthy of being captured. In the “herbalizers” series photoshoot I used an Olympus E30 and an Olympus E3 and sigma 105 mm f2.8, ZUIKO, 50mm F 2.0 and Helios 58 mm f2.0 lenses with intermediate rings. I’ve tried to bring to the public, images from their very intimate everyday life, I’ve tried to impersonate my subjects, to portray them closer to the comic book genre. I avoided a technical and documentary approach, so common in macro photography, because I wanted to reveal them in a more personalized and pictorial way. All the photos were taken in a single area, using only daylight and without disturbing the quiet life of living things :)


Tony Wu

www.tonywublog.com Tony Wu is one of the world’s leading marine photographers, spending nine months or more of the year traveling to spend time in, on and around the ocean. He specializes in images of marine life behavior, and has recently been devoting a large proportion of his time to document marine mammals such as humpback whales, sperm whales, and sea lions. Tony has received a number of awards for his images, including grand prize in Japan’s largest underwater photography contest, Book of the Year award at the Antibes Festival of Underwater Images, and first place in the underwater category of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year, organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum in London.


Mircea Costina

www.mircea-costina.artistwebsites.com www.photo.net/photos/mircea www.pbase.com/mirceacostina_13


Mircea Costina on “Bird Photography”

Where did the passion for wildlife photography came from? Actually, my first passion is nature. I think that this is highly bounded to my childhood spent in the most wonderful place in the world, an isolated village, in Apuseni, Romania. Here I learned to apreciate the beauty of nature. I remember, as a child, I was curious to know the names of all the cratures surrounding me. Later, this passion was decisive in the choice that i made for my career. After graduating the Geography University in Cluj Napoca, I continued my Master degree in biogeography at the University of Montreal, Canada. The passion for photography began about 15 years ago. I started with an old Russian Zenit camera and continued with an Olympus. As a student, I’ve done landscape photography because of the lack of telephoto lenses. Later, I managed to buy me a stronger zoom Olympus camera , but no spectacular results. Most of the times I went out on the field in order to observe and to learn the behavior of animals (especially of birds), a fact very useful to me later when I started and captured them on film. Wildlife photography is still a dream. By 2005, I managed to buy my first SLR digital camera and a 70-300mm zoom lens. With this lens I was able to take my first great wildlife shot with a red cardinal (North American species). Many people ask me what equipment do I use and how important is it in bird photography. I can agree that the equipment is important but not essential. First of all comes passion. I know many people who have lenses worth thousands of dollars, but fail to produce spectacular images. In wildlife photography, another important factor is patience but also knowledge of the behavior of each species, the area of distribution, the periods of migration, etc.. Regarding equipment, I’m not a devotee to heavy telephoto lenses (like 600mm, 800mm). I prefer a relatively light equipment, which gives me the opportunity to move from one place to another and over long distances. Currently, I use a Canon 300mm f4 IS with a 1.4 teleconverter,

which gives me a focal length of 420mm and image stabilisation. With my telephoto lens I did a lot of clichés of birds in flight, including my favorite, an eagle owl (Strix vary) diving in after it’s prey. Although the shutter speed was only 1/400s, the picture came out very sharp. My favourite subjects to photograph are birds of prey (especially owls). In most cases, they are very hard to find. Fortunately, the recent years, I’ve become more aware of the forests in northern Montreal (my place of residence). Here, I’ve managed to photograph seven species of owls in the last three years. The most suitable season to photograph owls is winter, often in extreme conditions at -30 degree C in extreme blizzard and lots of snow. In a winter photo session the battery runs out quickly, so you need to have at least 3,4, all kept in your pocket, for a warm place. Clothing is also a crucial element in an output of 5 to 6 hours. Romania has some great wild places for photographing birds, too. The best is, undoubtedly, the Danube Delta. In the summer of 2010, in two days of shooting, I managed to capture about 50 species of birds. You can shoot here, either from the boat or from man made hidings.. You can find wildlife everywhere, it’s important just to be patient and passionate about it. I remember that in December 2009, I managed to shoot some excellent portraits of the great tit and jays in my grandparents backyard, in the Apuseni Mountains. Mounting a few feeders and constructing a hiding place did the job smoothly. Parks and botanical gardens, also offer a great variety of photo subjects, in this country. This places have the advantage of the birds being somehow adapted to seeing people and thus, you can get closer to them. ClujNapoca’s Botanical Garden is also a great place for bird photography. As a future project, ‘m getting ready for an exit into the Canadian tundra, primarily to photograph snow owls during the nesting period, but also other species of Arctic birds and mammals.


Interviews


Moose Peterson www.moosepeterson.com


Moose Peterson Interview

CO - When did you began photography?

CO - Can you describe a day in the life of Moose Peterson, the wildlife photographer? (At what time are you waking up? How much time are you spending walking through rough terrain with your big lenses on your back? What kind of dangers are you facing? At what time are you going to sleep? etc)

MP - This is actually a common question but there is no typical day for MP - I grew up in a family of shutterbuggers and I got my first camera me. Each and every one is different. I don’t set out with my lens on my when I was 9, bought it with Blue Chip stamps. But as far as my professional back (I never carry it that way), that’s a luxury of time I don’t have. I can career, that was in 1981. tell you that the alarm goes off at 06:30 most days (if not earlier) and lights out isn’t until midnight normall. CO - Your images are great! Is there any other passion in your life besides photography (design, painting) that could help you in the way of thinking CO - Who are your favorite wildlife photographers? Why? and composing an image? MP - There are lots, there are many gifted shooters out there. If I had to MP - Thanks for the kind words! When it comes to other “arts,” list a couple, it would be Joel Sartore and Wayne Lynch because they are woodworking and fly tying are it. If you saw my drawing skills, you’d avid conservationists and teachers. know what I’m a photographer for. CO - What’s the meaning of the expression “perfect shot” to you? Is it the CO - What attracted you towards wildlife photography? composition, the light, the idea that makes it? MP - I take a lot of pages in my book Capture to explain this. It was just the way life unfolded for me. I wish I could take credit for it. The simplest answer is, I’ve been outdoors since I was two weeks old, don’t know anything different.

MP - I never use that expression so it means nothing to me. Those that I enjoy are usually a combination of passion and light. CO - Future projects…

CO - What’s the most important thing in wildlife photography: the MP - I always have a slat of projects on the books but weather tends equipment, the knowledge about the subject you are photographing, to do many of them in. I will be continuing my work with endangered the idea, the patience? critters and those threatened by climate change. MP - Your list is pretty complete, it’s a which came first, the chicken or the egg? The one thing that’s not on your list that I think is #1 is passion. CO - You have a whole lot of equipment for wildlife photography, which is the lens or lenses and the camera that you can’t ever separate from? MP - I actually have a very limited bag of gear and each piece being important to my work. So I have all the lenses and bodies I own with me on every project.


Tony Bynum

www.tonybynum.com www.glacierparkphotographer.com www.glacierimpressions.com http://bit.ly/mJNc4a


TB - I’m a westerner, I hunt and fish, it’s my lifestyle. It’s in my blood so to speak. I specifically gravitated to wildlife because of my attraction to large wild animals - things with fur, feathers, feet or fins. I found that if Tony Bynum Interview I gave myself a purpose for being outside and seeing animals it would CO - When and why did you began photography? Was it an inherited family drive me to be with animals more often. I’m a driven, self-motivated passion or you’ve just discovered it by looking at other photographers person that has to have a purpose in life. artwork?

TB - Started in 1982, began professionally in 2003. Never had any formal training, and have never participated in a workshops and seldom do i shoot with or around other pros, i spend a lot of time on my own. I’ve never been enamoured or spent time looking at other peoples work. Yeah, I like great photography, don’t get me wrong, and sometimes you can’t help but see it, but I deliberately do not look at other people work. I want my images to be organic and influenced by my experiences and the knowledge i have of the subject. It’s really a one on one experience for me. I find that if i see other work it sticks in my mind and then when I’m shooting it gets in the way of creating something that’s all my own. I can find myself trying to recreate what other people have already done. Sure a lot wildlife is similar, but there’s no way for me to get caught up in chasing the last cover from some guy I’ve never heard of. I’m not aware of what other people are shooting. CO - How about Photoshop? Why did you start learning it? Is it a trifle or a need for a photographer’s career? TB - Never really used Photoshop the program. In the early days i use PS a little, but today, i only use Lightroom and do not do HDR. I shoot my images just like i did with film, as though i can’t do much to it after I get in the camera, exposure must be right that’s why I never use auto, I shoot all manual and even carry a light meter with me. As good as the reflective in camera meters are these days, sometimes they are not reliable enough to know that you’ll get the proper exposure. CO - Why wildlife photography?

CO - We saw a very large collection of deer photographs in your portfolio. How do you manage to get those close shots of an animal so elusive? TB - The mule deer images were captured over a three day period during the very peak of the rut (mating season). The temperatures were 20 below C and there was over a meter of fresh snow and very windy! I managed to capture the images by being in the right place at the right time with the right gear - and sometimes that’s a huge challenge because you really can only effectively pack on big lens and body and still move fast


enough to get in front of or anticipate animals behaviour well enough to get in the proper location before the actions happens. 9 out of 10 times you miss it - these are after all wild animals (I’ve never shot a captive in my entire life). Knowing the behaviour of mule deer having studied them for more than 30 years. The more you know about your subject the better prepared you will be to photograph it doing things that they naturally but which most people don’t know about, understand or have never seen. The keys are, my passion and knowledge, my health, the location, weather, time of year and the desire within the mule deer to mate at any cost.

TB - I can not ever separate from my Nikon cameras, both crop and full frame professional bodies. Both use the enel3 battery and it is a workhorse in winter conditions - when most of my wildlife photography is created. The lens I would never part with or be without - so much so that at times I’ve owned two of them at once (one just for a back up) is the Nikon 200-400 f4 a-fs VR II, and the Nikon 70-200 2.8 a-fs vr. I always have the 500 f4 a-fs vr with me but it comes in more handy for bears and other animals that need more separation from me. Finally, if were not talking about gloves, hats, coats, and boots, I’d be foolish not to mention a watch, and a great pair of binoculars.

CO - Can you talk a little about your camera bag? What’s the most important equipment that you can never separate from when you’re out in the field, “hunting” for a good photograph?

CO - You have hundreds of images published annually in all kind of magazines. We’re wandering, is it hard to get there? Is it the equipment that you have, is it your passion, is it the big volume of work or is it Photoshop the thing that gets you there? TB - The truth is, it’s all of that and much more! I spend a majority of my


time in meetings, on the phone, marketing and working to sell images, that is the park that is critical. I’m also on the boat of directors for the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) and that position forces me to be active with other professionals and people in the same business as I’m in. Networking is the key to sales, motivation, passion, drive, skill, knowlege, and some luck are the keys to great images. CO - You agreed to talk about the Photoshop in your images. How much of the final image is Photoshop? Is it possible that someone who doesn’t know a post-processing program to get the same image quality as you, directly from a raw file? TB - I shoot raw. Every image must be processed if you shoot RAW, period. You will not have any chance at paid publication if you don’t properly prep your files, the world is just to competitive and any junk is simply a waste of my time and even worse, a waste of the photo buyers and art directors time - the quickest way to the back of the line, or to get kicked off the bus is to be a copy cat, or send in less than cover quality material - and not just 5 or 6 shots, you better be deep in every subject! My workflow goes like this. After import, I make sure to my metadata is correct. I’m only concerned with keeping properly exposed, well lit, sharp photographs or I don’t even keep it in my library. Load photos into Lightoom; first edit is for junk, I dump it all, even if it’s marginal (about half of it goes to the trash on the first edit); go back though and pick the “winners” all of them, not just the covers or one’s i think have a home or I like most, but one’s that are properly exposed, sharp and well composed; batch edit the images that are alike - remember time is money - starting with the preset “punch,” then from there I check saturation (almost never add more than 6, clarity, shadows, and contrast; key word and title, backup up to external drive (from my 10 TB drive), add to stock.

Essential Rule: know what you’re processing for and process for that look, i.e., web, print editorial, art etc. If your stock agency has rules, follow them. Don’t over do anything.

mule deer buck; shot RAW Nikon D300; processing: LR

Start at the top with white balance, exposure, fill, black, contrast, variance and saturation. Key elements: I use or at least try the preset, “punch” on almost all my shots right out of the camera. Next I modify to my eye using the histogram as a loose guide (calibrated monitor using pantone i1) HP LP 2475w monitor, win 7, 64 bit, intel(R) Core (TM) i7 CPU, 930 @ 2.8GHz, CO - Can we have a glimpse in your image post-processing lab? Can 18GB RAM. you show us how do you transform a simple raw image into a portfolio Here are my basic rules: image? 1. Shoot sunny white balance all the time. I want to capture reality then make adjusments in post processing. TB - Sure, here’s the info and some of my basic rules: 2. Don’t clip blacks or whites, unless you have too, if they are gone in


RAW you may want to consider dumping the file all together 3. Use recovery, fill, and blacks lightly and sparingly, they are powerful tools. 4. Usually, I don’t go more than 6-8 on saturation UNLESS I’m sure I’m still within the realm of reality. Atmospheric conditions and lighting are huge factors so be careful to keep it real. In other words, saturation is easy to over do and for magazines, reality is more important that “bling.” People can spot “wrong” even if they don’t know why or how come. 5. Use vibrance FIRST over saturation then be careful with saturation. 6. Use individual color enhancement when it’s needed but don’t do it just to do it. . .

CO - Any future projects? TB - Future projects of course! I’m starting in a rather large and ambitious conservation photography project that will take me several years of shooting year-around to complete. I’m biting off a huge chuck but it’s important work that will include wildlife, nature, and people. I plan to add video to this project and possibly ad an air frame to get my gear into the heavens. I’ve done aerial work before but I’m talking about an aircraft that i can fly myself! I’m also working on a new blog that will focus primarily on field work and outdoor adventures with a camera. I plan to talk about the process of making images that tell stories but also sell. It will cover some wildlife, some landscape, some photo journalism, some commercial and some family fun! The point of the new blog is to provide a place for people to learn about the life of a 356 day a year outdoor nature photographer with a child and how I mange to make photography a lifestyle choice. Authentic, true to life experience’s from an outdoor photographer that lives it for real - “trails are for hikers, I’m an explorer.” Right now I own and operate FinalShot Photography.

in this shot: no exposure adjustments; + 10 recovery; + 2 fill; + 10 black; + 50 brightness; + 25 contrast; + 50 clarity; + 36 variance; + 20 saturation; sharpening - 61; radius - 2.6 (not common for most shots); detail - 67; masking - 68 (don’t want to mess up the background - leave it blurry to maximize separation); noise reduction: luminosity - 17; detail - 50; contrast - 50; color - 25; detail - 50


Photography Project


Daniel Fox

www.wildimageproject.com


Daniel Fox - Wild Image Project

“One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.” Joseph Campbell Ever since I was a young boy, I found my inspiration and comfort in nature. It thought me about life, and death, about change and evolution, about challenges and perseverance. Most importantly, it thought me about perspective and balance, about being humble and spiritual. I started the “Wild Image Project” so that I could tell a story - a story about our relationship with nature. In our ever growing modernized world, it is easy to forget where we came from. Nature is part of us. We might claim our superiority and control over the planet, but ultimately, just like every other creature on earth, we are made of flesh and bound by our own set of limitations. In this struggle for survival, The Wild Image Project tells the story of hope and unity. As someone said of my work: “Going beyond the rubric of “wildlife photography”, Daniel Fox’s images invite the viewer to act as celebrants/participants in a visual communion with Nature. Portrayed with a fresh directness that captures

the immediacy of their natural environment, the subjects are offered not as “specimens” but as noble protagonists. Fox captures nature at its rawest and most challenging of states. He conveys its beauty and imbues it with exquisite poetry. Through this unique perspective, the natural world in its resplendence is both honored and transformed.” Photography for me is an exchange between a subject and an observer. In my case my subject is wildlife, nature, and in my portraits there is a dialogue between me, the animal and the environment I am photographing. My objective is to capture a photographic moment with the intensity felt at the instant the shutter opened. I create a composition in my mind and then shoot until I feel I have reached my objective. When I look at the images, I am often surprised and amazed at the results. The vast majority of details are unnoticed when the picture is taken. It is only later that the richness of the moment is revealed. This is where my intuitive response to that moment comes to fruition. My photographs are not photoshoped. Neither they are cropped, except for a very few. I use Lightroom for the usual and common adjustments.


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