Visionary Wild, LLC • 2200 19th St. NW, Ste 806, Washington, DC 20009
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org • Tel: 1-202-558-9596 (9am to 6pm, EST). • Justin Black’s iPhone: 1-202-302-9030
We look forward to hearing from you!
by John Shaw
Editor’s note: There’s a lot of photo-mythology floating around out there. Visionary Wild instructor John Shaw puts a few of his favorite myths to rest.
1. Images for the web should be sized at 72 dpi. First of all, “dpi” refers to dots per inch, and computer screens have pixels, not “dots.” But “72 ppi” is also false. Pixels dimensions are the only criteria for computer images. 1200 pixels are 1200 pixels, whether they be 1/inch or 1200/inch. You still have 1200 pixels. Say you have an image that’s 1000 x 500 pixels at 72 ppi. How many total pixels is that? 1000 x 500 = 500,000. Resize to 1000 x 500 pixels at 300 ppi. How many total pixels is that? 1000 x 500 = 500,000. Exactly the same. If you’re resizing web images to 72 ppi, you’re simple adding a useless step to your workflow.
2. Mac monitors use 72 ppi while Windows ones are 96 ppi. Sorry, this is a myth. If it were true, a monitor would have to change resolution depending on whether it was connected to a Mac or a PC. Want to know roughly what the resolution of your monitor is in ppi? Measure the horizontal width of the screen and divide this into the horizontal pixel dimension at the monitor’s native resolution. My laptop’s screen is 1920 pixels wide, and measures about 13.5 inches horizontally. 1920/13.5 = about 142 ppi.
3. You should set Adobe RGB in your camera if you’re shooting RAW files. While this might affect the image displayed on the camera’s LCD, it does not directly affect a RAW file. After all, if Adobe RGB were actually applied, the file would no longer be RAW data.
4. For the best RAW file results, set a specific white balance in the camera. Don’t use Auto White Balance. RAW files have no white balance. Just as I said above, if a white balance were applied the file would no longer be RAW. A specific white balance is only set when the file is processed into a standard graphic file format such as .psd or .tiff or .jpeg; that is, when it is no longer a RAW file.
5. This RAW image is how it appears right out of the camera. Not true. A RAW image has to be rendered in some way before you can even see it. Exactly how it is rendered depends on the default settings of the RAW conversion software you use.
6. You can evaluate exposure by looking at the image on the camera’s LCD. You can adjust the LCD’s brightness on almost all DSLRs, so exactly which level of brightness would be “correct?” Sorry, not true at all. For that matter, the camera LCD most certainly is not a color corrected and calibrated monitor. You can evaluate composition; you cannot evaluate color or exposure. You definitely should use the histograms for exposure information.
7. Always use a UV filter to protect your lens. From what? Dirt and fingerprints? Then you must take the filter off for every shot, otherwise you’re shooting through a dirty, fingerprinted filter. Use one for “protection” only if you can state from what it is you’re protecting the lens. Salt spray? Yes, this might be an answer, but I live about 100 miles from the ocean and on the other side of a mountain range, and if there is salt spray here, protecting my lens will be the least of my worries.
8. 12 frames/second is better than 10/frames per second. In what way? Neither one guarantees you’ve caught the peak moment. Consider this: let’s assume a shutter speed of 1/1000 second. 12 frames/second captures 12/1000 of the action, and misses 988/1000 of it. Holding down the shutter button at the highest frame rate yields lots of images, but not necessarily the one you wanted.
9. Always underexpose a half-stop to richen the colors. Intentional underexposure with digital cameras is one of the worst things you can do. It simply adds noise.
10. Professional photographers get all their equipment free from the camera manufacturers. Boy, do I ever wish this were true, but it isn’t. For that matter, I wish it were true for cars and houses also.
11. All information on photography forums is true. You might remember back when there was an actual discussion about using Scotch® tape to clean camera sensors. I’m fairly sure someone fell for this, and actually tried it. We all know that it’s not Scotch® tape you should use, but duct tape, right? (Well, I read about using duct tape on the Internet, so it must be true.)
CLICK HERE to check out John Shaw’s blog.
In January 2012, photographers Jack Dykinga, John Shaw, and Justin Black collaborated on our first Vision Workshops at Santa Catalina State Park in Oro Valley, Arizona. Cinematographer Austin Andrews joined the group for a few field sessions in an attempt to capture the experience. Jack, John, and Justin are returning to Santa Catalina State Park for two more Vision Workshops in February 2013.
There is nothing like exploring sublime landscapes with a group of friends who share a love for photography and wide open spaces. Immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday, Jack Dykinga, Jeff Foott, and I led a week-long overland photo expedition with nine other passionate photographers, visiting some stunning backcountry areas in northern Arizona. As the guest of a gracious Navajo elder, we first explored and photographed a very special location characterized by dramatic red rock sandstone hoodoos and dinosaur footprints 200 million years old. We then traversed over twenty miles of sandy 4WD jeep trails to one of our very favorite Colorado Plateau locations, a photographer’s paradise of swirling petrified sand dunes, intimate abstract designs, and grand vistas overlooking the Grand Staircase leading down to the Grand Canyon. Our merry band was joined by Chris Collard, Editor-in-Chief of Overland Journal magazine, Laurie Rubin of Nik Software, and Tom Hanagan of Four Wheel Campers.
The days were so full of photographic opportunities that many of us had to force ourselves to take a break in order to get some food and a nap, and the photography didn’t end at dusk. Working by the light of our headlamps, we set up Nikons with MC-36 intervalometers to shoot five-hour multi-exposure star trail images, the results of which can be seen in Jack Dykinga’s stunning image in the gallery below. After a week of intense photography and fulfilling camaraderie, we exchanged hugs, said our farewells, and set off toward home.
The Arizona Overland Expedition was a prototype, testing a model for more overland adventures to come. Stay tuned for exciting overland trips in 2012.
Here are some highlights submitted by the group.
At a gala event in London sponsored by Veolia Environnement, Visionary Wild instructor Daniel Beltrá has won the 2011 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award for his image Still Life in Oil, a striking shot of eight brown pelicans rescued from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in June 2010.
Beltrá made the photograph at an ad hoc bird-rescue facility on the Louisiana coast. ‘Crude oil trickles off the feathers of the rescued brown pelicans, turning the white lining sheets into a sticky, stinking mess. The pelicans are going through the first stage of cleaning. They’ve already been sprayed with a light oil to break up the heavy crude trapped in their feathers,’ Beltrá explained. A statement from the judging panel described the image as ‘a strong environmental statement, technical perfection and a work of art all rolled into one. The sheer simplicity of this powerful image makes it really beautiful and shocking at the same time’
The international judging panel of respected wildlife experts and nature photographers reviewed more than 40,000 entries from aspiring amateurs and established professional photographers from all corners of the earth. As a sign of the competition’s growing international reach, this year saw first-time submissions from countries as far afield as Cambodia, Moldova, Brunei and Kyrgyzstan. There was also a notable increase in photographs submitted from countries such as India, China and Russia.
Now in its 47th year, the competition is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine and is sponsored by Veolia Environnement. It is internationally recognised for taking a lead in the artistic representation of the natural world and continues to be held in high esteem with a reputation for being the Oscars of the wildlife photographic calendar.
The winning images will be featured in an international exhibition beginning at the Natural History Museum, London, on Friday 21 October
This important photograph is presently touring as part of Beltrá’s exhibit, Spill, at the Long Beach Aquarium in California, and at Roca Gallery in Barcelona, Spain. Limited edition prints are avaible as follows:
Oil Spill #20 – Still Life in Oil
Limited Editions: Mounted Size: Price:
8 48 x 60 $10,250
10 40 x 48 $5,500
15 25 x 30 $3,500
Prices are for unframed, museum quality mounted, archival prints.
Shipping and sales tax not included. For more information and edition availability, contact Susan Newbold at email@example.com.
Visionary Wild instructor, Polar explorer Chris Linder produced this stunning video featuring his photographs from his latest expedition to Iceland this past August with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute researchers. Chris and landscape photographer Justin Black will lead a photo expedition for nine passionate photographers August 12-19, 2012, which will visit Iceland’s puffin colonies, coastal landscapes, glaciers, iceberg-filled bays, and dramatic volcanic interior. Click here for more information about this exciting expedition!
“Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised,” wrote Apsley Cherry-Garrard of his time with the 1910 Scott expedition to the South Pole. And that’s how most of us still imagine polar expeditions: stolid men with ice riming their beards drawing sledges and risking death for scientific knowledge. But polar science has changed drastically over the past century—as Chris Linder shows us, brilliantly, with Science on Ice.
The result is a combination travel book and paean to the hard work and dedication that underlies our knowledge of life on earth. Science on Icetakes readers to the farthest reaches of our planet; science has rarely been more exciting—or inspiring.
Review of Science on Ice:
“Science on Ice gives the reader a glimpse into the challenges of conducting field research in the extreme and isolated environments of the Arctic and Antarctic. I came away with a new appreciation of both the risks and adventures scientists experience, the creativity and adaptability they must possess to work in difficult conditions, and most of all, the fact that they are normal human beings with a strong sense of curiosity that fuels their work. This book will help us understand these distant reaches of our world, and] it has enormous potential to spark the minds of future would-be scientists.”—Amy Gulick, photographer and author ofSalmon in the Trees: Life in Alaska’s Tongass Rain Forest