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BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

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  #1  
Old 07-25-2010, 03:11 PM
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BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

I have just found these on the web, they are free downloads in pdf format
http://www.bbcwildlifemagazine.com/masterclasses.asp

I havent really had time yet to look through them but thought they maybe of some interest to some of you

should you get to them before me please give your opinions both good and bad

Palms
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:04 PM
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Re: BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

Thanks for pointing out. Haven't checked, but it sure is worth a bookmark.
Have a great week ahead.

Hugs
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:42 PM
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Re: BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

Nice find, Palms!

In the Dusk to Dawn article, they talk about silhouettes - which I am trying to practice on now - love a good strong silhouette!

Here's a summary from the one on Plant Portraits (thought you might be reading that one when you have time). They get tips from a working pro photographer and add tips from the article's author - seems to cover important issues and gives good tips to improve images.

Plant Portraits

The best light is bright but overcast daylight (Palms - sounds like the UK? ) Twilight can also be good. If you shoot at mid-day in sun, use diffusion to reduce contrast and a reflector to add light where you need it.

Polarizer (filter) helps produce rich colors.

Search for the best specimens - no tattered petals or dead leaves. Remove dead insects/fallen leaves etc. that spoil the composition.

Consider telephoto lens at times to compress the perspective and throw background out of focus. Try all your focal lengths / lenses to see which view you like best.

Try all the angles - from below, from above, around all the sides of the plant - to see what different looks you might get.

Try backlighting - shooting into the sun to capture the translucent look (or rough, furry textures) of some petals and leaves.

Don't run inside just because it rains - plants may look their best after a shower, and water drops on leaves/petals can be especially photogenic.

Focus is important - if you have to choose, choose foreground sharpness.

Beanbags can help when you need to get low (instead of using tripod). They even have tips on DIY beanbags in the "From Dusk to Dawn" article.

Notice color - contrasts (green/magenta, gold petals/blue sky,etc.).

Notice graphical elements - diagonals, wavy lines, radiating lines...

Prepare for wind - a reflector can serve as a wind shield as well as filling in shadows or reducing contrast. Wind can rob you of focus, so either block it or add it to your design and shoot slow speeds and emphasize the blur for an artistic look.

Don't pick the flowers.

Last edited by CJ Swartz; 07-25-2010 at 06:14 PM. Reason: added something that I forgot...
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:40 PM
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Re: BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

CJ, those are good comments for any photograph as well as for silhouettes.

Palms and CJ, thank you both for your comments. I love it that you are on the ball.

Janet
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:13 PM
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Re: BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet Petty View Post
CJ, those are good comments for any photograph as well as for silhouettes.

Janet
Good point, Janet! (The part about picking dead insects off our subject isn't always necessary with people portraits, but never hurts to check.)
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:00 AM
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Re: BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

If nothing else i must, i must, i must,check for insects and bad petals ( and on portraits (especially one particular granddaughter) what i call chocolate chops )

I am very guilty of not looking for those

The bean bags sound like a good idea, not only as a make do tripod but for the old knees for low down shots

Palms
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:44 AM
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Re: BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Swartz View Post
(The part about picking dead insects off our subject isn't always necessary with people portraits, but never hurts to check.)
Ahh, but CJ, you don't live in the hot, humid, and bug-ridden south.

Good point Palms. And funny too. I forget to look for those things as well.

The beanbag works well for cruising in your car and using it as a blind. If the engine is running, the car is vibrating and makes holding a camera steady problematic. The beanbag over the door/window mitigates some of that when a shot requires fast action.

Janet
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:06 PM
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Re: BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

Another summary from another of these guides - many of these tips also pertain to much of general photography as well as the specific subject of --

Animals in their Environment

Tips from Tom Mangelson (remember "Polar Dance" or "Bear Hug" - photos of polar bears? ), Mark Carwardine, and Laurie Campbell --

Use short or medium telephoto lens (70-300mm range or so) - provides just the right magnification and includes plenty of habitat as well.

Move around - use your feet! Keep moving until there are no distracting elements and everything in the frame works towards the final image.

Think about the light. Go back and try again another time if the light is not right.

Composition - compose so your subject is moving INTO the frame rather than out of it; watch your horizon to keep it from cutting thru your subject or cutting your frame in half; avoid clutter in background - use your feet to find a better position so your subject will not be lost in distracting backgrounds, or open your lens aperture to throw the background out of focus; if the sky is light gray without interesting color or clouds, don't include it in your images.

insects - rather than trying to get really close for frame-filling image, find a brightly colored species against a contrasting background and photograph it smaller in the frame using elements within the scene to aid composition. Ex: ladybug resting on wisp of wheat grass - compose diagonally in frame to fill the frame. Although the ladybug is small in the frame, it's contrasting color makes it the center of attention.

"Moths are easier to photograph than butterflies because they often rely on camouflage rather than flight as their first line of defence." - Laurie Campbell

Not a part of this guide, but added this since he's a great nature photographer -- (read his "Animal facts" for this image) Frans Lanting - Elephant

Last edited by CJ Swartz; 07-26-2010 at 04:27 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-26-2010, 11:45 PM
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Re: BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

Thank you so much for this, Palms1! For some time now when I watch the BBC and marvel at the incredible photography I've wondered if they shared how it was/is done.

I think the BBC 'look' is quite unique, distinctive and recognizable. Of course it helps to have a big budget and the best talent in the world...but still just knowing how they approach things would be helpful, I think.

CJ - thanks for the summaries
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  #10  
Old 07-27-2010, 03:28 AM
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Re: BBC wildlife magazine masterclasses

This is the website for one of my favorite wildlife photographer/film-maker who has a big link with the BBC

http://www.simonkingwildlife.com/index.html

Palms
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