Photoshop Elements at the Corkscrew…

… this weekend!!  If you’d like to learn Photoshop Elements for the first time or pick up on some of the later features this Saturday’s class might be for you.  Set out at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary the class will emphasize digital processing of nature photos and will cover an easy to understand workflow.  A always there will be time for Q&A to help sew things up.

Here’s a hint of what’s on deck: in 2 hours you’ll first learn which images to hang on to then how you finish them with proper lighting (including levels), color and contrast adjustments.  Then you’ll learn framing, correct cropping, photo compositions and other special effects.  Want to stamp your name on your photos that you share on the web?  We’ll do that too!

In this Saturday's class you'll learn everything you need to nicely edit and present your nature photos. Everglades sunrise by Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

 

Time’s almost out so to register call 239-348-9151 x112 or visit the Corkscrew web site.  Hope you can make it- Gordon.

Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

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“Birds of Florida, Wood Stork”…They’re Back-

… the large white bird with the scaly head, long semi curved bill and pink feet.   Recent drives along the waterways of I-75, Rt 41 & other areas have proven  that they’re back.  With luck they’ll nest well out at the Corkscrew Sanctuary this year.

 

Birds of Florida, Wood Stork, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Corkscrew Sanctuary, Everglades,Ding Darling, Turner River Road, Eagle Lakes, Six Mile Cypress

Wood Stork photographed in the Marsh Trail area.

Wood Stork- With a face only a mother could love this unusual bird is also a must on all birders’ life lists.  It’s the only Stork species to breed in the U.S. and that range is confined right here to Southern Florida.  Last I heard there were only about 4000 active pairs and annual breeding success is heavily influenced by rainfall which dictates the availability of food & the storks’ ability to catch it.  A tactile feeder, it submerges its wide open & massive bill while feeling around with its feet-ready to clamp down with lightning speed on fish, snails and other aquatic delicacies.  Where best to see them varies based on rainfall.  The byways out towards the Corkscrew Sanctuary can be productive and I tend to spot them daily here in Naples throughout the Winter.  Keep your eyes open any time you’re driving along a canal lined road.  Heading East on 41 towards the Everglades, many of the road side water ways may hold a few as will marked destinations like Eagle  Lakes Community Park, Turner River Road & Shark Valley.  To the North areas like Ding Darling and the Six Mile Cypress Slough can be productive.

Getting your photo- the good news is that because of the specific habitat they prefer which often happens to be in plain sight, the interested bird photographer stands an excellent chance of a good picture.  Your best poses will be as they prowl the water, bill open and ready to snap on the first unlucky morsel or if you’re lucky silhouetted on their nightly roost.  Like many of our local birds they can be approached to reasonable distance and a 300mm zoom is often more than enough.  Remember they’re white so set your camera to avoid over exposure on bright days.  You can learn more about all of our birds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

We’re now in prime time for bird photography and if you or your group might be interested in joining me afield where you’ll learn the most productive time and places plus proven tips for photographing our most attractive species, let me know via any of the contact points here.  Now find those storks…

Upcoming Nature Photography Classes-

Gordon Campbell is a local freelance photographer, blog author and photography instructor.

 

Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

 gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

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 copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell/Southwest Florida Outdoor Photography

 

 

 

Professional Photography from Ft. Myers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.


copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

- See more at: http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com/photography-classes/#sthash.brv2kiXL.dpuf

Professional Photography from Ft. Myers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.


copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

- See more at: http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com/photography-classes/#sthash.brv2kiXL.dpuf

 

Professional Photography from Ft. Myers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.


copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

- See more at: http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com/photography-classes/#sthash.brv2kiXL.dpuf

 

Professional Photography from Ft. Myers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.


copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

- See more at: http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com/photography-classes/#sthash.brv2kiXL.dpuf

 

Professional Photography from Ft. Myers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades. – See more at: http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com/photography-classes/#sthash.brv2kiXL.dpuf
1- Everglades in December…… With the Understand Photography Meetup Group- – See more at: http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com/photography-classes/#sthash.brv2kiXL.dpuf
Professional Photography from Ft. Myers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades. – See more at: http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com/photography-classes/#sthash.brv2kiXL.dpuf
1- Everglades in December…… With the Understand Photography Meetup Group- – See more at: http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com/photography-classes/#sthash.brv2kiXL.dpuf
Professional Photography from Ft. Myers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades. – See more at: http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com/photography-classes/#sthash.brv2kiXL.dpuf

Professional Photography from Ft. Myers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.


copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

- See more at: http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com/photography-classes/#sthash.brv2kiXL.dpuf

Birds of Florida, White Pelican-

With new avian migrants now arriving regularly I thought we’d visit the white pelican.  A huge elegant, bird I’ve noticed large flocks arriving in our area lately.  Since mistaking this huge snow white pelican with the bright yellowish orange bill and feet with its cousin the brown pelican is impossible here are a few more tips on this unique bird of Florida…

White Pelicans by Gordon Campbell http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com

White Pelicans by Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

 

- Their Summer haunts are our upper mid West & into Canada.  I’ve seen them on both Minnesota’s Leech Lake and Manitoba’s Winnipeg River in July.  You stand a great chance of seeing them this Winter at Ding Darling, Estero Bay, throughout the 10,000 Islands and along 41 East provided there is plenty of water.  Keep an eye out in other large open wetlands too.

- A sight to behold, their wingspan approaches 9 feet and during the breeding season you’ll often notice a weird growth called a centerboard on the upper bill (Peterson).  Like our Brown Pelicans they’re quite gregarious meaning you’ll have a shot at photographing them individually and in flocks.  Unlike the Brown when feeding, White Pelicans  engage in teamwork (Sibley) driving and scooping fish as they paddle along strategically in a carefully choreographed pursuit as opposed to executing an eye popping, brain jarring dive.

- The outdoor photographer needs to watch those camera settings carefully when photographing  all white birds.  Try spot metering if possible & always be prepared to reduce your exposure value adjustment to avoid over exposure and to preserve the delicate details of the whites.  Uh, oh technical jargon- contact me if I can help clarify that.

-Birds of Florida has been lots of fun to produce and has resulted in some great feedback.  Since nature photography ranks as one of the top photographic categories, I’d like to recommend two books centered on the topic right here in Southwest Florida.  Each is an impeccably researched and very useful guide book detailing hundreds of top locations in Southwest Florida with helpful “ins & outs” for each.  They are “The Living Gulf Coast” and “Living Sanibel” by Charles Sobczak of Sanibel who I met at a speaking engagement on Earth Day.  If you’re more adventure oriented and would like to read about 26 true attacks by beasts like alligators and sharks he has a book just for you too.  Take a look at Charlie’s books, they’re the kind you can leave on the coffee table or right in the car as you’re out exploring.

By the way, check out the wing position of the birds here, just about perfect.  Those are the two positions that will really make your flight photos shine.

As always if you have questions or would like to share any of your images, email them here and browse for more helpful articles on outdoor photography right here.   See you next week… Gordon.

 

 

 

Gordon Campbell is a local freelance photographer, blog author and photography instructor.

Corkscrew Nature Photography Classes Announced!!  Beginning in January I’ll be teaching a series of digital photography workshops on site at the Corkscrew.  To learn more & register, visit here.

 

Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

 

gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

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Birds of Florida, Ruddy Turnstone

With our seasonal emphasis here on nature photography let’s kick off our review of the birds of Florida with a shorebird species you’ll photograph along most of our beaches and lagoons.

Gordon Campbell http://www.swfloutdoorphotography.com

Shorebird Photography- Ruddy Turnstone, Naples Beach by Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

 

Ruddy Turnstone-

Moving right along with another shorebird, this one is named for both its coloration and behavioral pattern.  Behaviorally, Ruddy Turnstones prefer the forage available in areas of rocks and small stones often turning over the latter, hence their name.  Along our beaches keep an eye on any limestone boulders along the surf’s edge.

Birds of a Feather-

This species has several distinguishing marks and is usually seen in small to mid sized flocks depending on local habitat.  Birders know that a shorebird with orange legs, a white rump patch (seen in flight) and ruddy plumage means they’ve found their man.  Add another to the “life list”.  Do you keep one?

Your Best Photos-

In addressing shorebird photography over the last few weeks, we’ve established a few key tips: a low profile, large lens and lots of patience.  Beyond that a field guide in your gear bag and  attention to staying dry by dodging the incoming surf are key.  Ever made a mistake on item number two?

As always if you have questions or would like to share any of your images, email them here and browse for more helpful articles on outdoor photography right here.

Gordon Campbell is a local freelance photographer, blog author and photography instructor.

Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

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Gordon Campbell

239-776-4743

copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell/Southwest Florida Outdoor Photography.

3 Tricks For Photographing Birds In Flight…

During a photography class along the beach last week there was an interest in photographing birds in flight so I thought I’d share some tips that will help with this tricky but fun pursuit.  The idea is to both nicely frame and sharply focus a moving object so here are three things that should help:

Pelican in flight by Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

 

Set Your Camera- Make sure to set your DLSR on continuous or burst mode.  Then check your autofocus options and see if you have a setting such as dynamic or predictive mode.  This will help keep your shots sharp once you get your bird in the frame.

Bigger is Better- especially at first larger subjects make better targets.  So forget hummingbirds and go right for the ubiquitous and photogenic pelican.  Their graceful flight and swooping dives make great compositions.  Later when you’ve honed your skills try smaller species like gulls and terns.

Practice- don’t be satisfied with just getting something to show.  Delete out of focus shots and images of birds flying away.  Be observant and learn to anticipate behavior-this will ready you for when good shots present themselves.  Go where the birds are and they’re usually near food.  In Naples the pier is a superb location for flight photography- see you there!

A few more tips:  Areas like piers & inlets attract bait fish and are a great place to start your “hunt”.  Birds normally land into the wind so if you’re photographing them around pilings and other landing spots you can set up in anticipation for great shots.  Last, let the sky be the dominant background, try to avoid choppy water and horizon lines.

If you’d like to learn more secrets about flight photography email me now and browse the archives here for more ideas to help with your outdoor photography.  Good luck over the weekend- Gordon.

Gordon Campbell is a local freelance photographer, blog author and photography instructor.

 

Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

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Gordon Campbell

239-776-4743

copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell/Southwest Florida Outdoor Photography.

Birds of Florida, Photography Tips & Techniques

When we left off a couple weeks ago I mentioned that with the Fall nature photography season upon us and by “popular demand” in addition to new articles I’d begin re running past posts on the topic for new readers and as a refresher for regulars. Now that we’ve identified and are familiar with 75 or so of Florida’s most prominent birds, let’s learn some specific approaches to taking great pictures of our avian wonders.  Today, the portrait.

Wildlife Portraits

The key to good portraits is simple- a sharply focused, well exposed facial subject against a soft non distracting background.  You can achieve this in one of two ways- shooting with the clean sky behind your subject and through aperture control.  Today, why it’s easy to shoot against the sky:

Shooting against the sky makes for easier wildlife portraits. Osprey photo by Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

Under reasonable lighting shooting with the sky becomes as simple as proper exposure and focus.  Sufficient lighting means speed isn’t an issue (you’re not worried about blurring your shots) and since there’s no background distractions, neither is depth of field, for the most part. What does this mean?  If you’re like me and like to keep it simple you could achieve a shot like the one seen here in Program mode and devote your energies to good composition and correct exposure.  Be sure to fill at least a third of the frame with your subject & don’t settle for less than a pleasing head angle.  Not too hard, right?  The results can be outstanding.  Mother nature isn’t always so kind so next week, we’ll learn about using aperture priority to control “noisy” backgrounds in bird and wildlife photography.

For now, jump at the opportunity to take your bird portraits against a soft evenly lit sky.  You can learn to identify our birds and get more outdoor photography tips by browsing the archives at  Southwest Florida Outdoor Photography anytime.  Readers have sent in some great suggestions for upcoming articles- tell me what you’d like to read about…Gordon.

Gordon Campbell is a local freelance photographer, blog author and photography instructor.

Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

Images of Southwest Florida

On Facebook

Gordon Campbell

copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

 

 

 

 


Birds of Florida, Photography Tips & Techniques Edit

Now that we’ve identified and are familiar with 75 or so of Florida’s most prominent birds, let’s learn some specific approaches to taking great pictures of our avian wonders.  Today, the portrait.

Wildlife Portraits

The key to good portraits is simple- a sharply focused, well exposed facial subject against a soft non distracting background.  I achieve this in one of two ways- shooting with the sky behind my subject or through aperture control.  Today, why it’s easy to shoot against the sky:

Shooting against the sky makes for easier wildlife portraits. Osprey photo by Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

Under reasonable lighting shooting with the sky becomes as simple as proper exposure and focus.  Sufficient lighting means speed isn’t an issue and since there’s no background distractions, neither is depth of field, for the most part. What does this mean?  If you’re like me and like to keep it simple you could achieve a shot like the one seen here in Program mode and devote your energies to good composition and correct exposure.  Sound good?  The results can be outstanding.  Mother nature isn’t always so kind so next week, we’ll learn about using aperture priority to control the background in bird and wildlife photography.

For now, jump at the opportunity to take your bird portraits against a soft evenly lit sky.  You can learn to identify our birds and get more outdoor photography tips at Southwest Florida Outdoor Photography all the time.  Readers have sent in some great suggestions for upcoming articles- tell me what you’d like to read about…Gordon.

Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

 

gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

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copyright 2011 Gordon Campbell/Southwest Florida Outdoor Photography.

 

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Are You Ready For Fall Photography?

With Summer’s destination weddings, local travels and other pleasant distractions just about over I thought it

The leading lines of the walkway, her red scarf & the old fort at St. Augustine made for a nice shot of my girlfriend Pina. Nikon D300, 50mm prime lens A Priority, f/10. Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

would be fun to set up the Fall calendar for this blog.  Autumn means migration- people to Florida & birds passing through so real soon I’ll start to re run the weekly “Birds of Florida” posts that ran for a year or so covering the identification of, whereabouts & photography tips for the various species we’re treated to here in Southwest Florida.  Since I often get general requests for ideas, info, tips & techniques on outdoor photography I think it might be fun to kick things off with a photo challenge and anyone who submits their results has the opportunity to see them here in the future.  To start, try photographing a common subject in a totally different way- unusual lighting, shooting angle, time of day, lens choice etc.  This could help overcome “subject burnout” & trigger new skills.  If you think you’ve got a winner, send it in.  Are you in?  I recently decided when out shooting for fun to attach just a 50mm prime lens to my Nikon D300.  The lens is lightning fast and razor sharp and since it didn’t offer zoom capabilities to help with composition I was forced to more closely consider distance and angle, 2 key pieces to the puzzle.

As times goes on, I’ll notify readers of upcoming classes, outings and more.  So get out there and try something new, it’ll help and you’ll have fun.

Gordon Campbell is a local freelance photographer, blog author and photography instructor.

 

Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

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Gordon Campbell

copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

3 Tips For Great Fireworks Photos

As usual around the 4th of July a few questions came in last week about photographing the fireworks.  So, here’s a popular reprint that first appeared a couple years ago-

As we approach Independence Day and prepare to celebrate our great nation, shutterbugs everywhere are ready to photograph fireworks displays.  Here in Naples I usually position myself on the beach to catch the excellent show launched from the pier.  Today’s post is a reprint of last year’s with a bit of new info.

So without getting too technical, here are three techniques for dazzling photos that will make your friends “ooo” & “ahhh”.  I’ve had a few requests for the shooting data on this shot so it’s right in the caption.  It’ll vary & this was a long one. 

Use the tips here to get started photographing fireworks. Here's the shooting data for this shot: 9.3 seconds at f11 with a 70mm focal length. Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.


1) Set up with a clear vantage point- close enough to fill the frame but far enough away to allow for a clear shooting angle.  A tripod or other solid rest is crucial for the best shots.

2) Ideally your camera will be a DSLR with widely adjustable aperture settings but  simpler point and shoot models do often have a “fireworks” scene mode you can try.  With that in mind here are the basic technicals that work for me: Following the instructions in your owners’ manual (one of my favorite themes when conducting photography classes), set the camera to Bulb mode.  This means that your shutter remains open as long as the button is depressed- perfect for long exposures.  Combine that with an aperture setting of F11, my favorite for this job.  Depending on your lens which ideally will be a zoom in the 70-300mm range, you’ll then strive to pre focus on something around distance from you to the exploding flares.  Thinking of your ISO you can adjust it down to 200 or less as those those fiery streaks of light are bright!  Mechanically, now you’re set.  Tip: a remote shutter release is worth its weight in gold.

3) Practice makes perfect.  After the first display rockets skyward and erupts in a sparkling shower of color, immediately depress your shutter and hold it as the sparks and secondary explosions trickle away.  Then check to see how well you’ve done and if adjustments need to be made.  This can be done quickly so try to get off as many shots as possible during the evening knowing that while most will be deleted you’re likely to capture a few real winners.

Enjoy this seasonal pleasure and if you’re like many Americans, take a moment to remember that for our troops overseas the rocket’s red glare is something they’ll enjoy only when they come home.  For photography tips, techniques and more, check here.  Let’s hear how you did…Gordon.

Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

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copyright 2011 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

Fantastic New Canon Lens & The Real Memorial Day…

Today’s post is a reprint from years ago.    Originally a somber day of observance, a byproduct of the Civil War Memorial Day has morphed into a 3 day weekend where its original significance is often lost. With over 1000 WWII vets dying daily and with the huge number of current young vets returning from the Middle East it’s a good idea to take a moment to remember what they’ve been through and who we’ve lost.  If you get a chance this weekend, thank a vet & reach out to a family who has lost a soldier

 

Memorial Day Photo, Naples by Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com

Memorial Day Photo by Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1- Try to photograph something that shows our military history, the effect of war on families of vets, or veterans themselves.  In Naples there is Freedom Park & the Veterans Memorial at Cambier Park.  Cape Coral has the Iwo Jima Memorial.  Say “Thank you”.  The day is based on those who didn’t return from war but anyone who has served deserves recognition.

2- You may get very evocative photos like the one seen here.  I took the photo only to record the sadness some people are forced to endure on this day and as a reminder that others sacrificed for our barbeque.

3- The history of Memorial Day is fascinating with its local and political twists and turns, well worth the readSo enjoy the day and if you’re out this weekend with the camera capture something with meaning and emotion behind it, you’ll be glad you did and you may just take a great photo.

New Canon Zoom With Extender:

If you’re a Canon user they’ve released a fantastic new lens.  One that allows outdoor photographers to both extend their range and avoid the risk of changing up to a bigger lens in the field.  The reviews around the net have been great and if you’ve got the change I think this is a great accessory. 

If this post was interesting, search the archives here for hundreds of articles on everything from individually identifying & photographing birds of Florida through HDR, night photography, technical reviews & more.  And always send in your questions & comments- Gordon.

Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

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Gordon Campbell

copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoot First Ask Questions Later?

Overcome distracting foregrounds & adjust depth of field AFTER you shoot with this new technology. Naples Zoo lion by Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.

That old time saying now applies to your photography.  From time to time I like to post on new technology and here’s something I’ve had my eye on for awhile that’s not only become affordable but is truly amazing.  How’d you like especially when in a rush to shoot first and focus later at home?  Now possible thanks to the Lytro camera.  What’s so great about this?  Well worrying about depth of field or overcoming distracting foreground objects that your auto focus might grab may be a thing of the past.  There’s software availabletoo  that may prime your current DSLR to do the same thing.  I’ll link below…

A question came in this week about flash photography when it’s super bright like on the beach.  Without revealing all the tricks :) the basic idea is to shoot in manual exposing for the background then using an external flash to fill in the shaded subject.  Interested in learning more about this as well as other outdoor photography tips?  Email me.

You can learn more about the Lytro camera here and read tons more posts on everything from wildlife photography, HDR, camera settings and more here.

 

Enjoy the weekend and as always send in your questions- Gordon.


Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

gordon@SWFLOutdoorPhotography.com

Images of Southwest Florida

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Gordon Campbell

copyright 2013 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.