Archive for July, 2011

I would like to thank the great people at SWMCCC for inviting me to participate in there Summer Weekend Of Photography in Holland, Michigan.  My three macro presentations went well and meet lots of great photographers.   It was nice to see the hardest working guy in the camera store business, Gary Farber of “Hunt’s Photo” and Nik Software expert Janice Wendt.  Got to meet some facebook friends, which is always nice, and many photographers that have attend my past Macro Boot Camps.

Thanks again and hope to be invited back in the future.

As macro photographers we have lots of nice art in nature to photograph. Learning to see art in nature takes lots of time spent in the field.  It may take years before that talent kicks in and you become really good at it..  None of the images from my first three years shooting are in my macro portfolio, so stick with it.   I once asked a student photographer in one of my workshops how many times a month she was able to get out to shoot, and her response was about once a month. That‟s only twelve times in a year. I‟m sorry, but no one will develop if they only shoot twelve times a year. If you‟re serious about becoming a good macro nature photographer, you must get out to shoot at least once or twice a week.

 

Every Friday I will be featuring some of the macro photographers that I have gotten to know and become friends with over the years, and wanted to share their talents with the people that visit my blog.

There are so many good macro shooters and I see them all the time at my Macro Nature Forum and on many of the online nature forums throughout the web.

Linda is one of the active members of my Macro Nature Forum, and is always posting some really great macro images, so she was a perfect choice for a featured macro photographer.  Check out here interview and images.

#1 How many years have you been shooting.
I have always had a camera ever since childhood but only shot images of my family.

#2 What camera, lenses, tripod make do you use.
I purchased my first DSLR, Nikon D90 with a Tamron 18-270mm lens and I then read an article on Macro Photography by Mike Moats and purchased a Nikkor 105mm Micro lens in 2010. I use a Manfrotto M Y tripod with Quick Release Ballhead. I also use a Lensbaby Composer with Macro lens.

#3 What are your favorite subjects to shoot.
I like to shoot flowers but also anything that is small and interesting, I am not that big on the critters but don’t mind bees and butterflies.

#4 Do you shoot a certain style of macro.
I do like shooting sharp with a shallow depth of field but also like Lensbaby images and some abstract.

#5 Have you won any awards, been published, or any other successes.
I purchased the book “Tiny Landscapes” from Mike Moats last year and liked it to much that I took “Mike Moats Nature Photography Online Macro Course”. I learned so much from that course and am stilling learning, using all the rules. Other than that I am completely self taught. I did win 7th prize in a macro contest and in January I won a Lensbaby Composer in a macro flower contest. I have had a photo published in the February 2010 Issue of Shutterbug Magazine but was not macro.(It was on Spot Metering) and a Macro image of a snowflake in the 2011 spring issue of “Photo News” magazine.

#6 What program(s) do you use to process images.
I use Photoshop CS4 for processing and have just recently purchased Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete from Nik Software. I am now learning how to use it and it is great.

#7 Where are you from.
I live in Monetville, Ontario, Canada on the shores of Lake Nipissing in the French River District.

#8 Your website, or blog address.
I don’t have a website or a blog address but I do have a Photo Stream on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/54017466@N06/

Need that extra depth of field while maintaining a nice blurred background, try focus stacking.  Using  Helicon Focus to get the job done is as easy as loading the images and clicking on the “Run” button.

Let’s say you have a flower that you need to shoot with the macro lens aperture set in a lower range at f/8 to blur out a cluttered background.  The problem is the f/8 won’t allow you enough depth of field to get the whole flower in focus.

Leave your aperture at the f/8 and shoot multiple shots at different focus points through out the flower.  Then take the images and load them into Helicon Focus and merge them all together for a fully focused flower while maintaining a blurred background.

Here is the first image I shot of this Turk’s Cap Lily.  I placed the point of focus on the front petal of the flower.  You can see the middle and back portion of the flower has a soft focus look.

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The second shot I refocused a little father into the flower.

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Third shot I refocused again a little deeper into the flower.

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The last shot I focused on the stem which was the very deepest part of the flower.

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Okay I’ve got four separate images with different focus points through out the flower.   I open the Helicon Focus program and load the images into the program.  Once the images have loaded I click on the run button and it will merge the four images together and I’ll have a totally focused flower with a blurred background. Here is the finished image.

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At the f/8 setting of the aperture I was able to get this flower in focus with four shots.  If I had to shoot the lower ranges in the f/2.8 or f/3.5, the depth of field would be much shallower and would require me to shoot more images at different focus points.

Check out this program at,  heliconfocus.com

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Thanks to all those who attended tonight’s “Finding Character Through Your Marco Lens” webinar.

If you missed it, the webinar will be repeated again in August, so watch for updates.

I will be at the “Summer Weekend of Photography and Digital Imaging” this weekend in Holland, Michigan

I will be presenting my “Four Seasons Of Macro” as the Friday evening feature presentation, and two presentations about “Finding Character Through a Macro Lens”  on Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon at 1:00 each day.

If you are attending, take a minute to stop and say hi.

See info about the conference Here

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Feather Art

Posted: July 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

Feathers make great subject for creating artistic images.  When I shot feather I what the viewer to see all the great details in the subject and the backgrounds, so I shoot these in the high f-stop range for maximum depth of field.

Gull feathers on the beach


Here are some turkey feathers.

Peacock feather with a Lensbaby

Crow feather

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The Sales Pitch

Posted: July 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

A camera store salesman was telling me about his frustration since photography online forums were created.  Customers come into the store looking for a camera and lenses and ask for his advice.  He would go through his sales pitch and once he was finished the customer would start in with, well this guy on this forum said this,  and another guy on this forum said this and on and on.  Every sale was a battle with the customer on who was right, the salesman or the people online.

So he came up with this line.  When a customer comes in and starts with the what everybody online was saying and paying no attention to what he says,  he tells them to find a photographer that they look up to, and admire the look of their images, find out what kind of equipment they use and buy that.

If you use the same equipment as the photographer you admire, then your images will look just like theirs, Right?

Finding Character In Nature Webinar, July 27th, 8-9pm, US eastern standard time.

Webinars are a live session where you will be able to see my computer screen on your screen, and hear me talking about the subject covered.

Finding character in nature will help make your images stand out from the average macro photos.

I will teach you the art of finding character in the macro world.

Cost of $9.95. To sign up and pay go Here

Frogs Are Fun

Posted: July 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

My best selling image at the art shows is a frog.  Never in a million years would I thought a frog would sell so well.  Frog are fun to shoot and easy shoot.  They are like people with their own individual tolerances, so some frogs will let you get in real close and some will take off as soon as the see you coming.

Like shooting most small macro critters, you have to move in slowly, and the frogs will usually blend in well with their surroundings, so you have to really study the ground so you can spot them as far in advance as you can. Here is a Wood Frog on the side of a mossy tree trunk.

A long focal length macro lens in the 150, 180, 200, will help out, but you can still shoot with a mid range 100mm focal length, but it takes a little more patience. This Wood Frog saw me coming and jumped up on this Skunk Cabbage leaf, and posed for me as I set up my tripod and camera.

I mentioned that my number one selling image at the art shows was a frog, and here it is.

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Macro Depth of Field Webinar

Macro Depth of Field Webinar  July 25th,  8-9pm, US eastern standard time.

Webinars are a live session where you will be able to see my computer screen on your screen, and hear me talking about the subject covered.


Most close-up/macro photographers struggle with depth of field.  I will teach you how to work with f/stops and depth of field to produce better macro photographs.

Once you sign up, you will receive within 24 hours a link to register.

Cost $9.95

Sign up Here

I had a lady in my booth at the Ann Arbor Art Fair this week that was asking my questions about many of my images.  She commented that she was surprised that I could remember so much information about all the images.

I remarked that I can’t remember when my wife tells me to fix something around the house, or to water her plants when she’s out of town, or to get milk sometime when I’m out running around.  I can’t remember peoples names, and have to use the calendar in my email account to remind me of things to do, but I can amazingly remember the exact location, time, and other info about every single image I have in my booth or on my website.

Now I can understand if you’re a landscape photographer, as it would be easy to remember where you shot a landscape, but I have about eight hundred images of random leaves, flowers, feathers, shells, lily pads, frogs, dragonflies, butterflies, snail, etc. that could be shot anywhere, and I can remember each shot and exactly where it was in the park I shot it in.

Isn’t that weird how those photos have burn into my memory, but yet my memory is so poor in other areas.

Every Friday I will be featuring some of the macro photographers that I have gotten to know and become friends with over the years, and wanted to share their talents with the people that visit my blog.

There are so many good macro shooters and I see them all the time at my Macro Nature Forum and on many of the online nature forums throughout the web.

I got to know Lorna from my Macro Nature Forum, and one of the other nature photographer online websites.  She has some excellent images, so take a look and read what she says about her macro photography.

#1 How many years have you been shooting.

I’ve been shooting for almost 3 ½ years now.

#2 What camera, lenses, tripod make do you use.

I use an Olympus dslr.  My favorite lenses are my Zuiko 70-300mm and Lensbaby Composer, with many of the Lensbaby accessories.  I also use an EX-25 extension tube, and a Manfrotto tripod with a ball head mount.  Just basic photo gear.  I don’t have any high end equipment.

#3 What are your favorite subjects to shoot.

I tend to shoot a lot of flowers and nature abstracts, but anything is fair game when I have a camera in my hands.

#4 Do you shoot a certain style of macro

I do a lot of Lensbaby macros.  I like the artistic blur it adds to the images.  I like to keep the photos clean and simple.  I tend to stick to the KISS rule of photography (Keep It Simple Stupid).  I don’t do much post production work, so I depend on my lenses to get me the creative look I want in-camera.

#5 Have you won any awards, been published, or any other successes.

I’ve won numerous local, national and international awards over the last 3 years.  I love competition because it forces me to think outside the box and push the boundaries a little.  I had two successful solo art shows last year.  I’ve been published in a few minor publications and websites.

#6 What program(s) do you use to process images.

I use Lightroom almost exclusively for my image processing.  I’m not much into post-production work, though the Nik image plugins are looking tempting.

#7 Where are you from.

I am originally from Newfoundland, Canada though I currently live in Alberta.  We recently moved here after 14 years on the British Columbia coastline.

#8 Your website, or blog address.

My website is www.taylorimages.ca, but much of my recent work can be found regularly on the Lensbaby website, http://lensbaby.com/forum/profile.php?0,14248, or on flikr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/40968863@N04/

Not A Wall Hanger Series #6

Posted: July 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

I have a lot of images that I think are interesting but they don’t seem to be images that people will buy to hang on their walls. , so this series is for those images. The images in this series have all been through my art shows and were pulled out due to the lack of selling.

This image of fern fronds that I backed with a skunk cabbage leaf had won Highly Honored in Nature’s Best Magazine’s, Windland Smith Rice International competition, and has be published in some magazines, but no nobody wanted to buy it to hang on there walls, so not it’s just stored on the computer.

Looks like it’s going to hit a temp of 100 with high humidity today at the Ann Arbor Art Fair.  Weather man says this could be the hottest day in 16 years.  Lots of people come from out of state to attend this show so there still will be a crown but the locals I’m sure sill wait till tomorrow or Saturday to come back out as the temps will only be in the low 90′s. :)

Sales yesterday were not to bad considering the heat, which they say reach 96.  Crowns were down some from what we normally see at this show.

In 2004 I enter my first year of selling in art shows.  Even before I became a photographer I new of art shows and was aware of the Ann Arbor Art Fair being considered the largest of them all.

I was really excited that in my first year of doing fairs, I was accepted into this prestigious show.

Of the four shows that compose the Ann Arbor Fair, I was in the one called the “Original Street Art Fair”, which is the one that started the whole art show business back in 1960.

One of the rules of being in the Original Art Fair is every artist must have an artist statement hanging a wall in their booth.  I had never written an artist statement so had a hard time thinking what to write.

I came up with the idea that I would let everyone know that I was not only the photographer, but  had a hand in the whole process of printing, mating, framing, etc.

In my statement, my reason for doing everything myself was, “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself”.

So I had my artist statement hanging on my booth wall for all to read.  By the third day of the show, I was standing up at the front of the booth where the artist statement was hanging and happen to glance at it an read it.

As I read it, I was embarrassed to find three words that were misspelled.

So much for my, “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself” :)

 

New Social Media Site

Posted: July 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Just signed up for the new Google+ site, which is a new facebook like social media site in the testing stages.  Like that you can have different circles, which I have as Photographers, family, friends, etc.  It will take some time to figure out how this one works. Looks like more time now spent on the internet. :)

Today is set-up day for one of the largest art fairs in the country, the Ann Arbor Art Fair.  It is my best show of the season and produces the highest grossing sales of all shows each year.  It starts Wednesday and runs till Saturday.  It’s long brutal hours, 10am till 9pm in usually the hottest days of the year, and this year is no exception, as the temps are running from 93 to 99 with high humidity.  Lots of fans are required and some artist even bring air conditioners.   Strong storms also evade the show most years, and last year the show was closed down for eight hours over the four days due to bad storms.   Even with the brutal temps and weather issues, this show still draws humongous crowds that come in from all over the country.  One year I think I sold more to people from out of state then from Michigan. I even waited to long to register at one of the many area hotels and everything was sold out, so I have to drive outside of Ann Arbor for a hotel.

Ann Arbor’s gigantic art festival actually is 4 separate fairs that draws over 1,000 artists and a half a million visitors over the 4 days. The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original , is at Ingalls Mall between North University and W. Washington. The State Street Area Art Fair  is in the shopping districts around State and Liberty. The Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair  has a downtown section on Main and Liberty and a campus section on S. State. Ann Arbor’s South University Art Fair  occupies most of the South University business district and adjoining East University and Church. Along with the fairs are free concerts and a huge variety of food and drink vendors.

I’m in the State Street Area Art Fair and my booth is located in 322 on Liberty Street near Maynard St.


Still time to sign up for the Macro Composition Webinar.

Go to my storefront, http://www.mikemoatsbooks.com 

Scroll down till you find the Macro Composition Webinar.

Time 8pm US eastern standard time,  Cost $9.95.

 

Stump Art

Posted: July 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

A few years ago I found this old downed tree trunk, and it had this hole with a very cool design in the wood around the opening.  I thought it was really cool looking, but on it’s own I didn’t think it had enough going on to photograph by itself.  I came up with the idea of turning the hole into a natural flower vase, and inserted these Marsh Marigolds and called it, Stump Art.

After this shot I was on the look out for any stumps I ran across that had holes I could add flowers too. Here is another cool opening I found that worked well with these nice orange flowers.


I used the same hole from the last photo and placed these small white flower and made it a horizontal.

Here is another photo I just shot a couple days ago.  I liked this little slot that was in the stump, and found these little yellow flowers near the stump.  I liked the nice texture in this stump.

So keep your eyes peeled for old tree trunks with holes to create your own Stump Art.

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