Digital Wildlife Photography

Overview

The ultimate reference for aspiring and established natural history photographers.

Digital photography has quickly become the norm for all photographers. For those shooting wildlife in particular, it has opened new realms of expression and technique. This comprehensive and easy-to-use guide is suitable for photographers of all levels of experience and covers all aspects of using digital equipment for wildlife photography.

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Overview

The ultimate reference for aspiring and established natural history photographers.

Digital photography has quickly become the norm for all photographers. For those shooting wildlife in particular, it has opened new realms of expression and technique. This comprehensive and easy-to-use guide is suitable for photographers of all levels of experience and covers all aspects of using digital equipment for wildlife photography.

Wildlife photographer David Tipling explains how digital equipment has changed the art of photography and shows how photographers can adapt their craft to exploit this new technology. He guides the reader carefully through every aspect of digital wildlife photography, referencing his own stunning photographs with technical notes and detailed captions. Concise instructions are provided for cameras and lenses, field craft, locations, composition, post-processing, image manipulation,
publication and more.

Chapters include:

  • Getting started
  • Taking pictures
  • Field techniques
  • Creative techniques
  • The digital darkroom
  • Working in RAW
  • Basic image adjustments inside Adobe PhotoShop™
  • Storage and backup
  • Printing and scanning
  • Examples from the wild
  • The business of wildlife photography.

The author addresses those challenges unique to wildlife photography and offers solutions and advice based on years of field experience using both conventional and digital equipment.

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Editorial Reviews

Wavelength
Fabulous photos on every page illustrate a text written in a personal style, drawing on the author's experiences with photographing animals in the studio and the field. This is a useful guide for anyone wanting to learn more about digital photography and how to take stunning wildlife photographs using new technology and techniques. Even experienced photographers will benefit from learning how Tipling approaches his work, and can apply his techniques to their own way of working. Amateur photographers can read and practice now, and be ready for encounters with wildlife during the paddling season!

— Diana Mumford

Wavelength - Diana Mumford
Fabulous photos on every page illustrate a text written in a personal style, drawing on the author's experiences with photographing animals in the studio and the field. This is a useful guide for anyone wanting to learn more about digital photography and how to take stunning wildlife photographs using new technology and techniques. Even experienced photographers will benefit from learning how Tipling approaches his work, and can apply his techniques to their own way of working. Amateur photographers can read and practice now, and be ready for encounters with wildlife during the paddling season!
The Cottager
Tipling provides valuable information and techniques to take the best pictures possible by making the right adjustments.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554073054
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/14/2007
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.87 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David Tipling is a professional wildlife photographer and birder, whose work has been widely published. He has won many awards, including the prestigious Nature Photographer of the Year, and is the author of several books.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

  1. Getting Started
    • Digital capture
    • What type of camera do I need?; top tips for choosing a DSLR body; how many pixels do I need?
    • Batteries
    • Lens choice
    • Macrophotography; what is a macro lens; alternatives to macro lenses; depth of field problems; macro mode on compacts
    • Tripods and heads
    • Digiscoping; problems with digiscoping
    • Mobile phones
    • Digital film
    • Computers
    • Digital storage; digital storage in the field
    • Taking care of your equipment
  2. Taking Pictures
    • Setting up the DSLR; formats; RAW versus JPEG; white balance; color temperature;
      color space; sharpening; noise reduction
    • f-stops and shutter speeds; understanding exposure: the lens aperture; the camera's shutter speed; sensor sensitivity
    • Using your camera's different light metering modes
    • Flash: flash accessories
  3. Field Techniques
    • Research: getting to know your subjects; wildlife tours
    • Getting close: approaching on foot; wait and see; using a vehicle as a mobile blind; feeding sites; water attractions; tape-luring and using noises; being invisible
    • Blinds: setting up blinds (hides); using the blind
    • Photographing captive wildlife: birds of prey; game farms; zoos
    • Spontaneity
  4. Creative Techniques
    • Composition:
      backgrounds; lighting; composing; horizontal or vertical; choosing perspective; creative choices with f-stops and shutter speeds
    • Depth of field
  5. The Digital Darkroom
    • Color management
    • Downloading and editing
  6. Working in RAW
    • RAW converter: color space; image size; resolution; bit depth; zoom; preview, shadows and highlights; sliders; save, open and done
    • Adobe Lightroom and Aperture; batch processing
  7. Basic Image Adjustment Inside Adobe Photoshop
    • Cropping
    • Cleaning: clone stamp; healing brush and spot healing brush; patch
    • Exposure adjustments: adjustment layers; levels; curves; shadows and highlights
    • Image processor
    • Interpolation
    • Sharpening the image: unsharp mask; smart sharpen; eyes
    • Captioning
    • Image enhancement on a budget
  8. Storage and Backup
  9. Printing and Scanning
    • Choosing a printer
    • Printer calibration
    • Inks and paper
    • Resolution and print sizing
    • Scanning
  10. Examples from the Wild
    • Brown Bears: Katmai, Alaska
    • Dolphins: Roatan, Honduras
    • Mara River crossing: Masai Mara, Kenya
    • Dippers: Lathkill Dale, Derbyshire, U.K.
    • Otters: Shetland,
      Scotland
    • Bald Eagles: Homer, Alaska
  11. The Business of Wildlife Photography
    • Choosing a stock agent
    • Marketing your own work

Useful websites and addresses
Acknowledgements
Index

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Preface

Introduction

Digital photography has evolved rapidly, leading to an exciting revolution in the capture of wildlife images. New technology has inevitably brought new challenges, notably how to extract the best from digital cameras, and how to tackle the steep learning curve associated with processing images once downloaded to a computer. It is the latter process that perhaps challenges most, provoking a common unwillingness to embrace new technology. The fear of change is a human emotion shared by many, and I include myself in this. It took me two years to jump into the digital arena, but when I look back now, that feels like two wasted years.

A poor picture cannot be transformed into a great one. However, a good image can be enhanced to one that really shines. It is worth remembering the popular saying "garbage in, garbage out." Using poor techniques in the field with the attitude that the important part of making great photographs lies in your computer prowess is a recipe for taking pictures that could have been very much better.

The terminology within digital photography of "bits," "bytes," "megabytes," "histograms" and so on can be offputting. In this book, I aim to unravel this jargon and show you what it means, and to present an explanation of what I do alongside the resulting pictures. While the first few chapters explore the technology you will use and the techniques you will commonly employ in taking pictures, the later chapters on processing images on your computer are far more personal; they are written from my own experience, and illustrate what I do, rather than showing the only way to do things. This is important to recognize because in talking to different photographers you will find that no two photographers work with images on the computer in quite the same way. Although the basic processing techniques will be the same, both workflow (editing and processing steps) and adjustments in Adobe Photoshop are likely to differ. The simple fact is that there are both many software programs for editing and many different ways of carrying out the same adjustment in Photoshop. You may have already developed your own way of working; this is good, but you may also learn some different techniques from this book.

The many software programs available for editing images include well-known names such as BreezeBrowser and Capture One. More recently, Adobe has launched Lightroom and Apple has introduced Aperture. Both are designed specifically for photographers, and offer ideal platforms for editing and processing RAW images. I have chosen to illustrate the steps I take in the editing process using Photoshop C52's Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw. The reason for this is because it is likely at some point that you will have to or want to use Adobe Photoshop when optimizing your images, and no other software application on the market comes close to Photoshop in offering photographers the tools required for doing this. If you are really serious about your photography, it will pay to use the latest version of Photoshop. As mentioned in this book, the tools within Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop are identical or very similar to those found in all other applications. Consequently, even if you use another application, you should still be able to follow my explanations and apply them to your own workflow.

If you are new to digital photography and you are learning how to process your images, you will soon discover the majority of adjustments you make are down to using your judgment, and such adjustments will soon be second nature. By remembering this, the often daunting prospect of remembering various processes will feel less arduous.

The ability to manipulate images, and even the ability to create images, has created quite an animated debate within the wildlife photography world. Some photographers have emerged who describe themselves as "photographic artists," producing beautiful images that are heavily manipulated, and often the combination of two or more images. On the other side of the fence are the purist photographers who want to stay as true to nature as possible. The problem lies with those that create images and then attempt to pass them off as being true to nature. This generates an atmosphere of distrust, and the viewer becomes confused and cynical about whether a particular image can be believed. While photographers can generally identify these created images, the viewing public may lack the insight required to spot them.

A similar subject exists with regard to captive subjects. For many professionals, the opportunity to photograph a captive animal or one in a controlled environment is a means to an end, and can save many days or weeks in the field. Indeed, most professionals cannot justify extended periods in pursuit of subjects that may at the end of the day fail to repay the time spent in the chase. But purists condemn photographs of captive animals, and most people would always prefer an image of a creature taken in the wild, in its natural surroundings.

Both images of captive animals and those created with a computer have their place, and they can help to enrich the world in which we live with new and exciting pictures. Such images should always be clearly identified as of captive origin or manipulated. Those that publish images, knowing they are not natural but presenting them in a genuine context, are perhaps as much to blame as the photographers themselves. However, I would like to think that the majority of wildlife photographers feel a duty to declare when an image is a montage or when the subject has been photographed in a controlled or captive situation. Of course, context is everything; people generally accept that images used in advertising have no need for such disclosure. It is only important when images are used in an editorial context and passed off falsely as the "real thing." In this book, I have not included such images, with a few notable exceptions where I have given an explanation in the caption.

My main purpose in writing this book has been to show how I go about taking and dealing with digital images, and to try and convey the immense pleasure I derive from being out in the wild, taking pictures. Being so close to a surfacing whale as to be able to smell its breath, and watching in awe as tens of thousands of starlings wheel in unison over a city skyline are two spectacles I have recently enjoyed with camera in hand, and on both occasions I put down the camera in order to soak up the atmosphere. My message is that you should never lose sight of what you are photographing and its welfare, and if you do put your camera down to enjoy that special experience, just make sure you don't miss that exceptional shot!

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

Digital photography has evolved rapidly, leading to an exciting revolution in the capture of wildlife images. New technology has inevitably brought new challenges, notably how to extract the best from digital cameras, and how to tackle the steep learning curve associated with processing images once downloaded to a computer. It is the latter process that perhaps challenges most, provoking a common unwillingness to embrace new technology. The fear of change is a human emotion shared by many, and I include myself in this. It took me two years to jump into the digital arena, but when I look back now, that feels like two wasted years.

A poor picture cannot be transformed into a great one. However, a good image can be enhanced to one that really shines. It is worth remembering the popular saying "garbage in, garbage out." Using poor techniques in the field with the attitude that the important part of making great photographs lies in your computer prowess is a recipe for taking pictures that could have been very much better.

The terminology within digital photography of "bits," "bytes," "megabytes," "histograms" and so on can be offputting. In this book, I aim to unravel this jargon and show you what it means, and to present an explanation of what I do alongside the resulting pictures. While the first few chapters explore the technology you will use and the techniques you will commonly employ in taking pictures, the later chapters on processing images on your computer are far more personal; they are written from my own experience, and illustrate what I do, rather than showing the only way to do things.This is important to recognize because in talking to different photographers you will find that no two photographers work with images on the computer in quite the same way. Although the basic processing techniques will be the same, both workflow (editing and processing steps) and adjustments in Adobe Photoshop are likely to differ. The simple fact is that there are both many software programs for editing and many different ways of carrying out the same adjustment in Photoshop. You may have already developed your own way of working; this is good, but you may also learn some different techniques from this book.

The many software programs available for editing images include well-known names such as BreezeBrowser and Capture One. More recently, Adobe has launched Lightroom and Apple has introduced Aperture. Both are designed specifically for photographers, and offer ideal platforms for editing and processing RAW images. I have chosen to illustrate the steps I take in the editing process using Photoshop C52's Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw. The reason for this is because it is likely at some point that you will have to or want to use Adobe Photoshop when optimizing your images, and no other software application on the market comes close to Photoshop in offering photographers the tools required for doing this. If you are really serious about your photography, it will pay to use the latest version of Photoshop. As mentioned in this book, the tools within Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop are identical or very similar to those found in all other applications. Consequently, even if you use another application, you should still be able to follow my explanations and apply them to your own workflow.

If you are new to digital photography and you are learning how to process your images, you will soon discover the majority of adjustments you make are down to using your judgment, and such adjustments will soon be second nature. By remembering this, the often daunting prospect of remembering various processes will feel less arduous.

The ability to manipulate images, and even the ability to create images, has created quite an animated debate within the wildlife photography world. Some photographers have emerged who describe themselves as "photographic artists," producing beautiful images that are heavily manipulated, and often the combination of two or more images. On the other side of the fence are the purist photographers who want to stay as true to nature as possible. The problem lies with those that create images and then attempt to pass them off as being true to nature. This generates an atmosphere of distrust, and the viewer becomes confused and cynical about whether a particular image can be believed. While photographers can generally identify these created images, the viewing public may lack the insight required to spot them.

A similar subject exists with regard to captive subjects. For many professionals, the opportunity to photograph a captive animal or one in a controlled environment is a means to an end, and can save many days or weeks in the field. Indeed, most professionals cannot justify extended periods in pursuit of subjects that may at the end of the day fail to repay the time spent in the chase. But purists condemn photographs of captive animals, and most people would always prefer an image of a creature taken in the wild, in its natural surroundings.

Both images of captive animals and those created with a computer have their place, and they can help to enrich the world in which we live with new and exciting pictures. Such images should always be clearly identified as of captive origin or manipulated. Those that publish images, knowing they are not natural but presenting them in a genuine context, are perhaps as much to blame as the photographers themselves. However, I would like to think that the majority of wildlife photographers feel a duty to declare when an image is a montage or when the subject has been photographed in a controlled or captive situation. Of course, context is everything; people generally accept that images used in advertising have no need for such disclosure. It is only important when images are used in an editorial context and passed off falsely as the "real thing." In this book, I have not included such images, with a few notable exceptions where I have given an explanation in the caption.

My main purpose in writing this book has been to show how I go about taking and dealing with digital images, and to try and convey the immense pleasure I derive from being out in the wild, taking pictures. Being so close to a surfacing whale as to be able to smell its breath, and watching in awe as tens of thousands of starlings wheel in unison over a city skyline are two spectacles I have recently enjoyed with camera in hand, and on both occasions I put down the camera in order to soak up the atmosphere. My message is that you should never lose sight of what you are photographing and its welfare, and if you do put your camera down to enjoy that special experience, just make sure you don't miss that exceptional shot!

Read More Show Less

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