Chris Jordan’s Latest Environmental Work

Friday, October 30, 2009

This is one of the latest photographs from environmental photographer Chris Jordan. I’ve made reference to photographer Chris Jordan’s environmental work before. His latest work is a series of photographs documenting the carcasses of dead albatross chicks. The images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries on the islands of Midway, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent. The baby bird stomachs are filled with plastic and trash fed to them by their parents who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young.

This is in my mind just another reminder of the Great Pacific Trash Heap which I wrote about and  photographed in my post The Environment and Photography.

Check out more of Chris Jordan’s albatross photos here.

Geo Tagging Your Photographs

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Geo tagging is a form of metadata that allows you to store with in your photograph GPS coordinates for the exact location it was made. A while back I made a post on Metadata and Keywording Resources and encouraged you to add metadata to your images to help you keep your photo archive organized. Geo tagging is another form of metadata. Like adding information to your image’s city, state, and country metadata fields, you can also add the precise GPS coordinates. This information can be very useful for sorting and finding your images.

I recently came across this video from Peter Krogh on Geo Tagging your photographs. I think this video explains the process and some of the options you have for doing it quite well. Take a look.

Peter is an expert in Digital Assets Management (DAM) and author of the DAM Book, Digital Assets Management for Photographers. He also has a lot of great resources on his DAM Useful web site.

Are you a Flickr user? It was recently brought to my attention that there is a service called GPStagr for geo tagging your photos on Flickr.

Photography Workshops 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I have just set dates for two photography workshops I will be teaching through the Weehawken Arts. If you have questions about them please feel free to contact me directly. To register however, please click through to the Weehawken Web site

Digital SLR Photography Basics

October 28, November 4, 11, & 18 2009
6:30-8:00 PM

Four Class Sessions with Week-Long Breaks for Practice

While learning essential photographic skills such as camera handling and composition, you will see how much fun you can have with your camera. This Class is for beginners and intermediates who want to increase their knowledge of manual SLR camera operation and still photo creation. Although the emphasis will be on digital, both digital and film SLR cameras that can operate in manual exposure mode are welcome in this workshop. The course will include classroom time, assignments, and critique sessions of students work.

The Early Registration Deadline for this class is October 19th. Enroll by or before October 19th and SAVE!

PRICE for this fun Workshop:
Students Enrolling and Paying by or before October 19th:
WCA Member: $120 / Non-WCA Member: $132
Students Enrolling and Paying after October 19th:
WCA Member $132 / Non-WCA member: $145

Visit the Weehawken Arts web site for more information and to register.

Wildlife Photography Seminar

This seminar is intended for amateur to advanced photographers looking to take their photography to the next level.

December 5th, 2009

In this comprehensive seminar you will learn photography tips and techniques to improve your wildlife photos. The seminar is for photographers of all abilities and will discuss equipment, technique and etiquette.

Students Enrolling and paying by or before June 8th (“Go” Date):
WCA Member: $24
Non-WCA Member: $27
Students Enrolling or paying after June 8th (“Go” Date):
WCA Member: $27
Non-WCA Member: $30

Visit the Weehawken Arts web site for more information and to register.

Making The Mayor’s Portrait: Pat Willits

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I have been working on a personal photographic project with my girlfriend Shauna. We are creating a series of portraits featuring the many amazing people that live in our community. Last week we photographed Pat Willits.

Pat is the Ridgway Town Mayor. He is also an environmentalist running his own non-profit orginization, The Trust For Land Restoration, an avid river runner. Our goal is to show Pat’s many facets in a single still photograph.

We chose to photograph Pat looking quite mayoral in a suit and tie, yet standing in the Uncompahgre river, not only a prominent feature in the town of Ridgway, but an element to illustrate his avid interest in river running. We chose the low angle to add to the feeling of his prominent position as mayor. Getting this angle of course required us to be in the water.

Below is a short, raw, behind the scenes video of what was involved in the making of this portrait.

Thanks go to Jack Moseley for assisting with the shoot and shooting the video.

Tech stuff about how the photo was made 

In the video you may have noticed that I was wearing a dry suit. Yes, the water was cold,and having a dry suit enabled me to be comfortably up to my chest in the frigid water. Shauna was wearing a sweet pair of Patagonia fishing waders I had left over from a product shoot I did for them a few years back.

I had my camera on a tripod in the river with me as insurance against dropping it in the water. Yes, I was nervous about that. For the same reason I had the strobes on stands held in place by Shauna. The current, as you can see, is rather swift and the light stands would have been swept away if she had not been there holding them. I triggered the lights remotely with pocket wizards.

There are two light sources in this image. The first is the sun providing the ambient light. It was a very overcast day leaving us with a very soft diffused ambient. We had actually hoped for a fantastically clear blue sky day like we had the day before when Shauna and I scouted the location. We were on location in the early morning and hoped to take advantage of the great alpinglow on the peaks in the background. Didn’t happen, but I think it worked out fine.

The second light source is the strobes held by Shauna. I underexposed the ambient just a little and set the strobes on full power to overpower the ambient. I exposed them properly as the key lights. You may notice in the video I am using two strobes side by side. Two strobes at full power? Yup, I needed as much power or light as possible so that I could keep the ambient down, over power the sun, and have a slow shutter speed.

I wanted the slowest shutter speed I could get in order to have a little bit of blur in the moving water. For a 60th of a second shutter speed I was at something like f11 which meant very little light from the flash was going to get in. Two strobes in the same location gave it to me. We had talked about using an umbrella or some sort of light modifier ont he strobe, but I didn’t feel I could afford the loss of light one would cause. In the end we also decided we liked the harder shadow the bare strobes gave us.