Thursday, December 29, 2016

Photographers: Tell the Librarian of Congress what you want in the next Register of Copyrights!

Copyright and rights graphicPhotographers, you need to help yourself, your fellow photographers, writers, artists, composers and other creators of copyrightable content, in shaping the type of person, and defining their abilities and sensibilities, who will be chosen the next Registrar of Copyrights.

You may or may not be aware that just last month, the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, “reassigned” Maria Pallante from her position as Register of Copyrights. Following this shocking turn of events, Ms. Pallante resigned, finding she was literally locked out of her office and denied computer access.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Camera manufacturers asked for in-camera image/video encryption

Aegis Secure Key 3.0 courtesy of AegisLast week, over 150 filmmakers and photojournalists called on the world's major camera manufacturers to build-in encryption into their still and video cameras to help protect those who use them. They did it in an open letter published by the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Documentary filmmakers and photojournalists often work in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. They risk their lives to get images and video footage of newsworthy events to inform the general public.

Filmmakers and photojournalists are regularly threatened by border security guards, local police, military personnel, intelligence agents, private police forces, terrorists, and criminals when attempting to safely transport their images and videos for editing and publishing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ned's top 7 tips to be prepared for cold weather photography

Winter in Grand Canyon National ParkWinter arrives this week in the northern hemisphere. Parts of the U.S. have already had snow and frigid temperatures. Too many travelers put their cameras away in winter climates, missing great photo opportunities.

Shooting in frosty weather has challenges of fast power loss, mechanical parts freezing and sometimes breaking, LCDs not functioning and travelers' clothing not giving needed protection.

Cameras manufactured today have temperature specifications of about 32°F-104°F (0°C-40°C). If ambient temperatures are in or near that range, you're okay. In fact, I've found that most cameras and lenses have few if any problems, other than power, at temperatures down to 0°F (-18°C), at which the battery will run out of power quickly. If you warm the battery you will regain some of its power.

Below 0°F (-18°C), especially if there is a wind dropping the "wind chill factor," things can quickly get dicey.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

So, you're going on a Photowalk? Help yourself enjoy it!

The Statue of Liberty made during a Photowalk in New York CitySome might say that if you take your camera and go for a walk, you're on a photowalk. While it's true you would be making photos while you walk, it's not really a photowalk as it's known today.

These days, photowalks are organized events. They typically involve photography of a specific area or genre.

For example, I lead wildlife photography photowalks at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge ten months per year, as well as travel photography photowalks in Philadelphia, New York, Washington and other cities. I've also led photowalks in botanical gardens for participants to learn about and practice macro/close-up photography, in national parks for landscape photography, at night for night photography, and in cities for street photography.

A critical part of photowalks is their social aspect. Photowalks are for group of photographers, who may or may not know each other. A photowalk permits group interaction to enhance the experience by have participants help each other technically and artistically.

Some photowalks have a leader to organize and lead the walk as well as share their expertise. Sometimes a group self-organizes their own walk, such as a photography club, for a shared photowalk experience.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Nikon to retire, reassign or rationalize 23.5% of domestic workforce

Nikon Corporaton LogoThe rumors have been flying for some time about Nikon layoffs in Japan. Today, Nikon finally announced their workforce plans publicly.

Nikon's last quarterly financial report was mixed and troubling. While Nikon was able to increase overall income and earnings per share substantially, they continue to face shrinking sales which doesn't bode well for future earnings if the trend continue

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Did you change your camera's clock when you changed your home clocks to "Standard" time?

Clock in Musee d'Orsay in Paris, FranceThis morning, Sunday, November 6, 2015, most of the U.S. switched from “Daylight Time” to “Standard Time.” Arizona, except for the lands of the Navajo Nation, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands never switch between “Daylight” and “Standard” time. They're always on “Standard Time,” so right now the entire U.S. including its territories are on “Standard Time.”

The switch between “Daylight” and “Standard” time doesn't universally occur across the globe. More than 100 countries never change to “Daylight Time” and many countries have chosen different dates to make the change than other countries.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Does the perfect camera gear bag exist? Is it possible to design one?

Tardis Camera BagPermit me to remove the suspense before I even start. There's no such thing as a perfect camera gear bag.

I've been in the midst of a discussion for a couple of months about the perfect camera gear bag. Many photographers have two, three, four, perhaps more camera gear bags. For this article I counted mine. I have seven camera gear bags, plus Pelican cases for shipping or hauling gear for various special shoots.

The problem is, all bags have some strengths and weaknesses. Many bags are general purpose, while others are for specific uses.

There are shoulder bags, belt bags, belt systems, sling bags, roller bags, and backpacks to haul photo gear. I use a backpack when in transit, a smaller backpack hiking, when shooting wildlife images, a Dryzone backpack by Lowepro for rain, snow, rainforests or rafting and a modular belt system by Think Tank in cities. I have other bags for other purposes.

Each bag isn't quite suitable as a “perfect” multipurpose bag. Some are heavy, not protective enough in all conditions, a pain to carry all day, or scream “Steal me!” Some aren't large enough, for some shoots.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Eight tips to improve your travel photography

Eiffel Tower, Paris France - Copyright © 2009 NSL PhotographyStrictly speaking, “travel photography” could be defined as the documentation of an area's landscape, scope and sphere of activity, but I don't think that definition really tells the tale.

To photographers, travel photography involves telling the story of an area through photographs which speak about its physical landscape, its cities and towns, its outposts and their history, people, and culture, but there are more elements of travel photography.

Travel encompasses both the human-made and natural worlds. So, in addition to the human-made world, travel photography includes telling the story of the natural world and it's physical landscape, history, its denizens and their way of life.

There is still one more, often forgotten element of travel photography.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Photograph the July 4th fireworks well during your holiday vacation

4th of July, Philadelphia, PAIf you're traveling to America’s birthplace, Philadelphia, the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the United States, during the long Independence Day Holiday weekend, you're in for a great concert at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with more than a half million people in attendance, followed by one of the largest, most spectacular fireworks displays in the nation.

All over the U.S. on the evening of July 4, there will be fantastic fireworks displays in large cities and small towns, in every corner of the country.

Even though it's not particularly difficult to make great fireworks images, many have a real trouble with it. Problems come because making fireworks images takes thought and planning, and because many don't understand that while it's dark outside, fireworks are extremely bright, so very long exposures only wash out the photos. An exposure of just 2–4 seconds is all that's needed to capture the light, including the fireworks' tails.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

6 safety tips for travelers when viewing and photographing wildlife

Muskox at Renodde, Scoresby Sund, GreenlandIt's summer vacation season in the northern hemisphere. Travelers are visiting cities across North America, Europe, Central America and Asia. Vacationers are seeking travel to see nature in action while visiting national parks, rain forests and even underwater reefs.

Some vacationers are planning ecotours of fragile, generally pristine and relatively undisturbed natural areas.

Many are planning trips to see and photograph wildlife in their native habitat in hot spots like the Galapagos archipelago off Ecuador, South Africa’s Kruger National Park, the great parks of Tanzania and Kenya, as well as Svalbard and Greenland in the Arctic and Alaska's huge Denali National Park.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What is takes to make great garden photos when traveling

Garden of Eden Botanical Garden, Maui, HawaiiGarden tourism draws millions, across the world each year. Australia's National Botanic Gardens attract 400,000 visitors per year while Britain's gardens attract more than 16 million garden enthusiasts every year. In the U.S., Longwood Gardens, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, welcomes more than a million visitors each year.

Most every garden visitor can be seen documenting their visit with a cellphone, point and shoot camera, or DSLR. Some take their garden photography very seriously, using high end cameras, multiple lenses, tripods and other photography gear.

If you're interested in improving your garden photos, I've have some tips for you, about equipment, lighting, expanding and contracting your “field of view,” choosing when to shoot and three specific hints.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Zika and Lyme Disease are a problem for millions who spend this summer outdoors in the U.S.

2016 Map of U.S.A. of Range of Mosquitoes Transmitting Zika Virus and Ticks transmitting Lyme Disease
This summer, millions of Americans, and travelers in the U.S. will encounter the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes potentially carrying the Zika virus, along with varieties of the North American black-legged tick carrying Lyme Disease.

How wide-spread the transmission of Zika will become is unknown. This is the first summer since some cases of Zika have been reported in the U.S. On the other hand, the black-legged tick, otherwise known as the Deer Tick, has been transmitting Lyme Disease in the U.S. for many years.

Travelers, wildlife and travel photographers, hikers, campers, and others enjoying parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and other outdoor venues in the range of these disease transmitting insects in the U.S., as shown on the map above, will need to take precautions to avoid their bites to prevent contracting Zika and Lyme Disease.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Twelve P's of Wildlife Photography™

Harlequin Duck (Breeding Male)
Travel to see and and photograph wildlife is becoming one of the most desirable types of travel in the 21st century. Spotting an animal in the wild, then capturing it can be rewarding and exhilarating.

Wildlife photography is a genre many photographers aspire to do well. Unfortunately, many photographers out in the wild for the first time don't have great success. While they may have experience photographing animals in zoos, photographing animals in the wild is different and far more challenging.

To help achieve success in making great wildlife images, I've developed the “Twelve P's of Wildlife Photography™.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Google's Nik Collection of plug-ins now free

Nik Collection Logo, courtesy Google Inc.If you're an Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom user, or use another compatible photo editor, you might have know about Nik Software's plug-ins which enhance the capability of these powerful photo editors.
Nik plug-ins help photo editors turn digital color images into spectacular black-and-white photographs, combine photos into a magnificent HDR images, correct color and retouch images with ease, and sharpen images perfectly.

Beginning on March 24, 2016, Google made the full Nik Collection available as a free download for both Windows and Mac based computers.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Secrets of photographing birds in flight: Part II

Adult bald eagle at the Conowingo Dam Travel to destinations to view wildlife in their native habitats is getting more and more popular. Images of flying birds are among the most coveted photos for “wildlife travelers,” because making photographs of flying birds is both challenging and satisfying.

In Part I, I discussed my secrets for shooting birds in flight covering such issues as: location, lighting, exposure, photographer's clothing, best lenses, RAW vs. JPG and more. In Part II below, I discuss my secrets about composition, focus, handholding, and using tripods and monopods.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Secrets of photographing birds in flight: Part I

Adult bald eagle at the Conowingo DamTravel to destinations to view wildlife in their native habitats is getting more and more popular. Images of flying birds are among the most coveted photos for “wildlife travelers,” because making photographs of flying birds is both challenging and satisfying.

Over the years, I've learned a few secrets about wildlife photography, and how to make great images of birds in flight. I'd like to share what I've learned, which may help you make wonderful photos of flying birds for yourself.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Don't forget to reset your camera's clock if you change to Daylight time

Clock in Musee d'Orsay in Paris, FranceOn Sunday, March 13, 2015, most of the U.S. will switch to “Daylight Time” from “Standard Time.” That's “most,” but definitely not “all” of the U.S. Arizona, except for the Navajo Nation, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, don't switch between “Daylight Time” in the spring, and “Standard Time” in the fall. They stick to “Standard Time” year-round.

The switch between “Daylight” and “Standard” time doesn't universally occur across the globe. More than 100 countries never change to “Daylight Time”, and more than a few countries switch between the two on different dates than other countries.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Should you or shouldn't you use lens filters to protect lenses

Nikkor AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G with Nikon Clear NC Glass Filter for lens protectionIt's a question that's been around almost since the first truly portable camera. Should you or shouldn't use lens filters to protect your lenses. Generally, the question is viewed in black and white, but I think it's more complicated, more nuanced than most photographers care to admit.

The argument against using lens filters for lens protection is that when you put any extra optical glass between your lens and film or digital sensor, it's likely to degrade your camera/lens IQ (image quality). Yet photographers compromise image quality regularly for all sorts of reasons. For example, to increase the reach of a lens many photographers regularly use teleconverters that most definitely diminish lens IQ.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Google Picasa Soon to be Sent to the Freeware Graveyard

Google Picasa LogoIt's not often the death of software used by countless people is announced this far in advance, but Google is giving Picasa users plenty of warning that they are finally putting the dated, outmoded software into the freeware graveyard.
On the official Google Picasa Blog, Google announced yesterday,
“As of March 15, 2016, we will no longer be supporting the Picasa desktop application. For those who have already downloaded this—or choose to do so before this date—it will continue to work as it does today, but we will not be developing it further, and there will be no future updates.”

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Getting it sharp from a telephoto

Nikon D4 with Nikkor 500mm lens on tripod with ball head and long lens supportTelephoto prime and zoom lenses are among the most useful lenses for a wide variety of genres. They are used for sports, wildlife, travel, and street photography. Many photographers use them for portraits and close-up shots as well.

Technically, telephoto lenses have a focal length or 60mm or more for a standard 35mm or full sensor size camera, though most people think of telephoto lenses having a focal length of 85mm or more. Lenses with a focal length greater than 300mm are considered to be super-telephoto lenses.

Telephoto lenses help us bring distant subjects closer, fill our frame with the subject, show detail difficult to see, capture action, and produce a shallow depth of field.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Avoiding Beginner Photography Issues and Mistakes Revisited

The Canals of Bruges, BelgiumTravel photography requires versatility and knowledge of a variety of photographic genres. Beginners must be serious about learning the craft if they want to produce solid travel images. When engaged in travel photography, beginners have two major issues to overcome; a lack of confidence and a lack of basic photo knowledge.

It's hard to study and learn from practical experience when you have little confidence in your equipment. Often, when I'm leading photowalks or workshops I hear, “If only I had your gear.”

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year - It's time to change the copyright notice in your camera!

Happy New Year. I hope it's a healthy and prosperous new year for you and your family.

It's January 1st so it's time to reset the copyright notice in your camera(s) to reflect the new year, so your 2016 images will have the correct information.

Most digital cameras today, can automatically insert your copyright notice into the metadata of every image you make as they are stored.

Each of my cameras will be reset on the upcoming new year's day morning to insert “Copyright © 2016 NSL Photography, All Rights Reserved” into every image I make.

If you haven't been inserting your copyright notice in your images, to date, to protect them, I suggest you consider start doing it today.

I'm often asked the question when I run workshops, or anytime I'm with enthusiasts and we're talking photography, “You're a pro, so I understand why you place your copyright on your photos, but why should I worry about it? I'm not selling my photographs, nor using them in my work.”

It's a great question.