Archive for the ‘Macro How To Books’ Category

I spent all day on the phone contacting hotels for the fall Macro Boot Camps in different cities..  It takes a lot of time finding hotels that have the right room size and then to negotiate the price down to what my budget is. I’m close to closing deals in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Grand Rapids, MI, and the Reston area, Virgina, Milwaukee.  Already have Denver and Ann Arbor set.  I hope to post the new locations and dates by the end of the week.  Happy to say all the spring boot camp sold out, expect Buffalo in May which only has a few spots left, but will fill.

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Beech leaves during the cold northern winters have a great transparent look, and seem to stay on the trees till spring.  I picked these off the tree the other day with this shot in mind.  I used my light table that’s for viewing slides (which has no use any more)  for the light provided under this arrangement.  You can do all kinds of different setups and it makes for some pretty cool images.  The leaves are curled when they come off the tree so place them in a book with a lot of weight on top to dry and flatten them, then your ready to go. You can use other leaves that will work just as well with the light table.  Have Fun.

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For the macro photographer working with natural light,  here is a tip and products to help improve your photos.

Here are two simple and inexpensive products that I carry with me in the field for controlling  light.

LiteDiscs 12″ Translucent  (diffuser)

 

 

 

Plamp (made by Wimberly)

 

The great advantage that macro photographers have over nature photographers who shoot landscape and wildlife is we can control the light hitting our subject. Landscape and wildlife photographers have to deal with what ever mother nature throws down on their subjects  (harsh sunlight, heavy overcast skies) without any ability to control it.  Because of the small size of our subjects and a little help from these two items above, we take control.

The image on the left was shot on a cloudy day and as you can see the light from over head has washed out the color on the top of the flower.  My friend Jack Graham shows how to position the diffuser over top of a flower shadeing it from the harsh overhead light.  On the Right you see the color of the flower is restored with the shading of the diffuser.

 Using a diffuser makes a big difference in the color of the flower, and if you have ever wondered why your flowers look washed out on the top, this is why, and how you can make this simple fix.

Here is another example of controling harsh overhead light with the diffuser.

Without diffuser                                                             With Diffuser

So what do we use the Plamp for? For holding the Diffuser.

 Buy all three of these products at Outdoor Photo Gear in a kit price.

http://www.outdoorphotogear.com/store/mike-moats-macro-light-control-kit.html

 

“I am honored to be guest blogging on the MCP Actions Blog.   MCP Actions offers resources for both professional and amateur photographers. Jodi, the owner of MCP Actions, offers online group workshops and one on one Photoshop trainings classes to photographers internationally, on topics like curves, color enhancement, color correction, and time savers like speed editing classes.

Jodi also has created a wide array of tools called Photoshop actions that are designed to enrich your photos and save you time. Press play, adjust opacity of a few layers, customize the looks, and your photos will look better in seconds. Her actions do everything from pulling out hidden details and color in your photographs to converting to rich vintage and black and whites. She even has unique collage and storyboard actions that get your images ready to present on the web and in print too.

In addition, MCP Actions has an active blog educating photographers across the globe about photography, post-processing and business.”

See my two posts here at MCP Actions Blog

“Capture Great Photographs of Fall Leaves”
“Five Important Benefits Of Macro Photography In Nature”

For those of you who live in the Louisville, Kentucky area, I will be in town to do a presentation called,

“The Four Seasons Of Macro Photography”

It will be sponsored by “Outdoor Photo Gear”

To see more information and RSVP go “Here”

Limited Seating

Finding the right angle that will produce simple clean non distracting macro backgrounds is simple.  It’s just a matter of taking your time and studying the various angles till you find the background that compliments the main subject. 

  The backgrounds in macro are as important as the main subjects.

This is a nice group of hanging oak leaves, and I need to find a simple background to compliment the leaves. In this first angle you see a heavy black vertical line from a tree trunk that has no value to the image, and this dark area pulls your eye away from the leaves. I have two different tones in the grass. You see the shaded area in the lower section and a lighter tone in the upper area.  You see the dark horizon line is adding another tone and is also on an angle rather than level. So I see a lot of problems with this position.

In the second image I’ve changed the camera angle which eliminated the dark tree trunk.  I still have two tones in the grass, and the little bit of dark horizon in the upper right corner.  You also see a little bit of leaf creeping into the frame in the upper left corner.  Better then the last image but still needs improvement.

I could see from the first two views that I was getting to many different tones and wasn’t satisfied with the background yet.  What I did next was raise the camera up and angle the view downward so I would only see the shaded area in the grass behind the leaves.  This would give me a nice consistent cleaner background. There were many possibilities for the background of this subject and I had to take the time to study every option.

I’m excited to be heading to Carlsbad, California (north of San Diego) on Feb 4,5,6, 2011  for my Macro Boot Camp, and in just two weeks since posting the workshop it is almost half filled.  One special addition to the Macro Boot Camp is Laurie Shupp of Nik Software, who will be there to do a presentation of the Nik software programs, which I use for all my image processing.  Laurie is not only an expert with the Nik programs, but an accomplished nature photographer as well.  I’ve attached some info about Laurie’s association with Nik and her Photography.
Laurie Shupp
Like so many of her contemporaries, Laurie is passionate about photography and her work with animals and nature. “Photography brings me up close and personal to nature and to that quiet place that I crave in my normally busy world. It is a very spiritual experience that I hope to be able to convey in my images.” Laurie’s educational background is a BA with an emphasis in Graphic Design. She has over 20 years of experience working for numerous software companies in Art Asset Management, Education, Product Management and Technical Support.

 
With over 5 years working as the Operational Manager at Nik Software overseeing Customer Service and Technical Support, she was recently promoted to the Education department as the Education Project Manager. She helps to coordinate and implement many of the training programs offered at Nik Software and works closely with many professional photographers. She also teaches some of Nik Software’s Educational Webinars specializing in Wildlife and Landscape photography as well as demoing at Tradeshows and as been a Photo Leader at several workshops.

 
Recently Laurie was an Honored Photographer for the Windland Smith Rice International Awards (Natures Best Photography magazine) as well as other photography awards. Many of her images have been published and are often used for training and demonstration purposes.
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To see more info about  Nik Software programs Nik Software

Macro Boot Camps www.MikeMoatsBooks.com


If you’ve ever studied some of the better macro shooters you’ll see those nice clean solid color backgrounds that allow a flower to stand out with no distractions to pull your eye away from the main subject.  This just doesn’t happen by accident, it’s carefully planned, and not all that hard to do.  Most people that sign up for my Macro Boot Camps tend to be flower shooters so this is for the flower people out there.

In the image below you see a nice patch of Dame’s Rocket flowers.  When approaching a patch like this I see so many photographers that head right to the middle of the patch to find a flower to shoot.  With all the congestion of flowers, stems, leaves, this will only lead to a distracting background and make it impossible to get that clean shot.

Where you need to concentrate your attention to is the flowers at the perimeter of the patch. By finding those isolated flowers at the edges and shooting at an angle where the background is the farthest away will allow you to get those nice solid color backgrounds. In the image below you see the small cluster of flowers on the far right, this is what you should be looking for, a isolated group that will allow you to shoot without all the distractions behind it.

Find an angle where the background that you will be shooting towards is the farthest away, as this will make it easier for the camera to blur the background.   Use a smaller f/stop in the f3.5 to f/8 to help soften the background into a solid color. Here is the small cluster that you see on the far right in the last image.  The image was shot using the Tamron 90mm at f5/6.  

If you can’t find that perfect flower at the edges and have to shoot into the clutter, go tight to eliminate the clutter.

 

Check out my new Macro Critter Contest http://www.pbase.com/mgm123/macro_contest

Send me your best macro critter shots to win

1st Place wins a Fuji Finepix F80 EXR Camera
12 MegaPixels – 10X Wide Zoom – 3.0″ LCD

2nd Place, wins a Interfit 5 in 1 reflector from Outdoor Photo Gear

3rd place, wins one year subscription from Outdoor Photographer Mag

Four Runner-ups each win one of my E-Books

The Spring 2011 Macro Boot Camps are on my storefront and ready for those wanting to sign-up.  Here are the offerings

Register online at www.MikeMoatsBooks.com

2011 Macro Boot Camp – Quality Inn, Carlsbad, California (north of San Diego) February 4,5,6.

2011 Macro Boot Camp – Courtyard Marriot, Farmington Hills, Mich.
(southeast Michigan)March 11,12,13

2011 Macro Boot Camp – New England’s largest photo retailer “Hunt’s Photo” presents this workshop at the Courtyard Marriot, Woburn, MA (near Boston) March 25, 26, 27.

2011 Macro Boot Camp – Hampton Inn, Skokie, Illinois
, (near Chicago) April 1,2,3

2011 Macro Boot Camp – Courtyard Marriot, Farmington Hills, Mich. (southeast Michigan) April 29,30,May1

Presented by Mike Moats, an award-winning, published nature photographer specializing in macro photography.

Sponsored by
Tamron – Lensbaby – Nik Software – Hunt’s Photo – Think Tank Photo – Helicon Focus – PhotoFlex – Outdoor Photo Gear – Outdoor Photographer Magazine

This will be an in depth unique three days of learning, fun, and entertainment. It is for the beginner to the intermediate photographer wanting to learn more about the macro world in nature.

Times:
Friday 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 10th 9:00am – 2:00pm

Mike will cover cameras,lenses,tripods,heads and special macro accessories. How to create artistic images using a Lensbaby. Focus Stacking images with Helicon Focus. See how to build a collapsible enclosed plexiglas wind box for shooting flowers. Shooting high magnification with a focusing rail. How to control lighting with diffusers, reflectors, and a plamp. Most new to macro photographers stuggles with depth of field, but Mike will make this easy to understand.

Learn the rules of composition for composing and framing your subjects. Mike will show you how to choose the perfect flower out of a grouping. With all the chaos in nature you will learn how to define the interesting subjects from the clutter. Choosing the right shooting angles for the proper background that compliments the main subject. Creating artistic compositions with flowers. How to create art combing subjects in nature.

Learn Mike’s techniques for processing images with photoshop and Nik software programs

Bring your camera, lens, tripod, because Mike will have subjects set up for you to shoot.

Lensbaby will be providing lens for you to try out.

You will have a chance to win door prizes from our sponsors.

Sales on many of the products you see at the workshop will be offered by Hunt’s Photo and Outdoor Photo Gear.

Cost $149.00

For more information call Mike at (586)770-3992.

Register online at www.MikeMoatsBooks.com

I will be heading to Chicago tomorrow for the Art In The Glen show.  It’s held in the city of Glenview, just north of Chicago.  I will also be checking out a Hampton Inn hotel in Skokie, also north of Chicago, for a place to hold a Macro Boot Camp in the spring of 2011. Stop by a say hi at the show if you live in the area.

I’ve had very little time to get out and shoot lately, but got a couple new images last week when I got a chance to get out one morning. Here’s a cone flower in the weeds with some early morning sun flitering through.

When I exhibit at my art shows each weekend, I have one image that I place in an area of the booth toward the front, so customers passing by will not miss it.  This image of dew drops with a flower inside of them always draws a crowd of people in amazement, and the big question is, “did you photoshop the flower into the drops“.

This is a very easy shot to produce as you just start by finding some tall grass in an open field on a dewey morning.  Once you locate a nice blade of tall grass with some dew drops, carefully position your tripod and camera close-in to fill the frame so the dew drops are easy to see.  Use a Plamp with one end clamped on your tripod and the other end clamped onto the stem of your choice of flower, and position it directly behind the dewdrops.  The closer the flower is to the dew drops the larger the flower will appear, and the father away,  the smaller it will be in the dew.  Once you get the right position of the flower, set your f/stop in the lower range like f/3.5  to f/5.6.  You want to place your point of  focus on the flower in the dew drops, and the shallow depth of field will soften or blur the flower.  You don’t want to much details in the flower because you want the dewdrops to stand out from flower and not get lost.

The Fall September Macro Boot Camp in Rochester Hills, Michigan is SOLD OUT, so I’ve added a new boot camp in Lansing, Michigan. Details below.

LANSING, MICHIGAN MACRO BOOT CAMP

Presented by Mike Moats, an award-winning, published nature photographer specializing in macro photography.

Sponsored by
Tamron – Lensbaby –  Nik Software – Hunt’s Photo – Helicon Focus – PhotoFlex – Outdoor Photo Gear – Outdoor Photographer Magazine

This will be an in-depth unique three days of learning, fun, and entertainment. It is for the beginner to the intermediate photographer wanting to learn more about the macro world in nature.

Where: University Quality Inn, Lansing, Michigan
Hotel just a short distance from Capitol City Airport, with shuttles service from hotel.

Special room rates for workshop participants.

Dates and Times :
October 8th 5:00pm – 8:00pm
October 9th 9:00am – 5:00pm
October 10th 9:00am – 2:00pm

Mike will cover cameras, macro lenses, Lensbabies, the best tripods and heads for macro, special macro accessories, stacking images with Helicon Focus, composing, and learning how to see the artwork in nature. Learn how to control depth of field. See how to build a collapsible enclosed plexiglas wind shield for shooting flowers. Camera positioning for that perfect background. When and how to use reflectors, diffusers, plamps, focusing rails, and more. Mike shows his image processing using Photoshop and the latest Nik Software.

Bring your camera and lens because Mike will have subjects set up for you to shoot.

Lensbaby will be providing lenses for you to try out.

You will have a chance to win door prizes from our sponsors.

Sales on many of the products you see at the workshop will be offered in a Hunt’s Photo flyer.

Limited availability, so don’t wait long to register or you may miss out. September boot camp sold out in a few weeks.

If you register and pay before July 1st, you will receive free, Mike’s e-book, “Running A Successful Nature Photography Business” ($39.00 value).

Cost $149.00

Register online at www.MikeMoatsBooks.com

For more information, call Mike at (586)770-3992. Visit Mike’s website at, www.tinylandscapes.com

Tamron is offering rebates on most of their lens including all three of there macro lenses, here is the link.
 
Here are some prices on the Tamron macro lenses from Gary Farber at Hunt’s Photo from the east coast. Take the rebates off these prices.
 
Hello mike nice to talk with you last week.
 I can offfer  the tamron  60 mcro lens to your student  for 519.99
90 maco for 459.99 and the 180 macro for 689.99 and no shipping to your students on these lenses, the prices are before rebates. they can contact me at digitalguygary@wbhunt.com or call me at 1-800-924-8682 ext 2332
 
 
Just tell him you’re one of my students if you call or email him to purchase.
 
 

If you pick up the June issue just out from “Outdoor Photographer” magazine, you can read my lastest how-to article, “Diversify Your Macro Portfolio“.

 

For a unique look in your macro images use the sun to backlight your subject.  Low angle early morning or late evening sun works best.  Use it to highlight edges of a flower or highlighting the flower petals.

I have most of my summer/fall art fair schedule in place now. still waiting on conformation from a few weekends, but most are in.

If you live in the area of these shows stop in a say hi.

 

May 15-16
Birmingan Art Fair, Birmingham, Michigan

May 22-23
East Lansing Art Fair, East Lansing, Michigan

June 5-6
Beechwood/Lyndhurst Art Fair, Beechwood, Ohio

June 12-13
Flint Art Fair, Flint, Michigan

June 19-20
Leeper Park Art Fair, South Bend, Indiana

June 26-27
Fountain Square Art Festival, Evanston, Illinos

July 1-2-3-4
Boston Mills Art Fair, Sagamore Hills, Ohio

July 9-10-11
Plymouth Art Fair, Plymouth, Michigan

July 21-22-23-24
Ann Arbor Art Fair, Ann Arbor, Michigan

August 7-8
Art At The Glen, Gleniew, Illinos

August 13-14-15
Milford Art Fair, Milford, Michigan

August 21-22
Lakefront Art Fesital, Michigan City, Indiana

September 4-5
Harrisville Art Fair, Harrisville, Michigan

September 6
Franlin Art Fair, Franklin, Michigan

September 10-11-12
Art And Apples, Rochester Hills, Michigan

September 24-25-26
Macro Boot Camp, Rochester Hills, Michigan

October 1-2-3
St James Art Fair, Louisville, Kentucky

October 15-16-17
Great Lakes Art Fair, Novi, Michigan

 

Anything goes in this macro contest, send me your artistic nature abstracts, processed images using any photoshop filters or software programs you can get your hands on, soft focus abstract flowers, lensbaby shots, blurs, spins, multi exposures, whatever, just make it cool looking to win.

Winner gets a $250 gift from Canvas On Demand

2nd place, wins $50 gift from Hunt’s Photo

3rd place, wins $25 gift from Outdoor Photo Gear

4th place, wins one year subscription from Outdoor Photographer Mag

Four Runner-ups each win one of my E-Books

FREE TO ENTER

Contest running now thru May 18th, winner announced on May 20th, 2010

Submit three of your best macro nature abstract shots for a chance to win.

The best image from each photographer’s submission will be posted along with their name and tech info on my website during the contest. Images will be posted at (www.tinylandscapes.com)

I will be judging for the most unique looking image.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Submit only three images, jpegs at 200kb or less.

Winning images from my past contest may not be entered

Open to amateurs or those with some photo income / excluded full time pro photographers

Contestant represents and warrants that he or she is the sole and exclusive owner of each image entered.

The Mike Moats Macro Abstract Contest will not claim any rights or use of any image without the permission of the contestant.

Please include, name, camera make and lens.

Send images to Mike Moats at, mgmoats@yahoo.com

GOOD LUCK!

If you’re looking for the unusal or even the usual, check out the online photographers store,  Outdoor Photo Gear.

www.Outdoorphotogear.com

Fall Macro Boot Camp

 

Presented by Mike Moats, an award-winning, published nature photographer specializing in macro photography.

Sponsored by
Tamron – Lensbaby – Epson – Fuji – Hunt’s Photo – Helicon Focus – PhotoFlex – Outdoor Photo Gear – Outdoor Photographer Magazine

This will be an in-depth unique three days of learning, fun, and entertainment. It is for the beginner to the intermediate photographer wanting to learn more about the macro world in nature.

Where; ConCorde Inn, Rochester Hills, Michigan (M59 & Crooks)

Special room rates at $59.00

Dates and Times :
September 24th 5:00pm – 8:00pm
September 25th 9:00am – 5:00pm
September 26th 9:00am – 2:00pm

Mike will cover cameras, macro lenses, Lensbabies, the best tripods and heads for macro, special macro accessories, stacking images with Helicon Focus, composing, and learning how to see the artwork in nature. Learn how to control depth of field. See how to build a collapsible enclosed plexiglas wind shield for shooting flowers. Camera positioning for that perfect background. When and how to use reflectors, diffusers, plamps, focusing rails, and more. Mike shows his image processing using Photoshop and Nik Software.  Epson rep from New Dimension will give a presentation on printing.

Bring your camera and lens because Mike will have subjects set up for you to shoot.

Lensbaby will be providing lens for you to try out.

You will have a chance to win door prizes from our sponsors.

Sales on many of the products you see at the workshop will be offered in a Hunt’s Photo flyer.

Limited availability, so don’t wait to register or you may miss out. Spring boot camp sold out 2 month prior to workshop.

If you register and pay before July 1st, you will receive a free PDF of Mike’s e-book, “Running A Successful Nature Photography Business” ($39.00 value).

Cost $149.00

For more information, call Mike at (586)770-3992. 

Register online at www.MikeMoatsBooks.com