Well over the past week I have had a chance to spend some time with a group of Pelicans that have taken up residence close to my home. I have always loved these birds, the way they fish and soar on the air currents. This was the first time that I have had a chance to get this close – actually they were the ones to get close to me when I was shooting. I have created 5 images into wall prints, see the prints below.
If you would like a copy of these prints click here to go to our ordering web site.
One of the most common questions that I am asked is – “I would like to get more serious with my photography, what should I buy to get better pictures?”
Well it is not an easy question to answer as a lot depends on the type of photography that you want to do. I will address this question from the position of wanting to get some great nature and wildlife pictures.
Camera – A SLR camera (one that will take interchangeable lenses) and it is at least 8mp you are starting at a good place. I would upgrade other equipment first if your camera meets these criteria.
Lenses – A good wide angle lens and a good telephoto lens is a must. You do not need to go with the $4000.00 lens but small improvements in your lens range will help to bring in the subject better or give you a better wide angle capability.
Flash – For nature and wildlife I would stay away from spending on any flashes. More important areas should be updated first.
Tripod / Monopod – If you do not have a good tripod this is an area that you should look at. The cheaper tripods are fine as a platform to hold your camera but a good tripod will hold your camera still and allow you to pan with your lens. Monopods are a great option if you like to hike or just need some extra support. Cheaper than a tripod and a lot lighter these are designed to add some additional support to your camera, a tripod is still recommended for longer exposures.
Carrying bag – A good carrying bag is a must to keep things organized and safe. If you do a lot of hiking get a good backpack and you will never regret it.
Batteries – Extra batteries are relativley cheap and a great idea. Nothing is worse than getting out to a location and running out of power. A in-vehicle charger is also a good idea to charge your batteries if you are going to be on location for a number of days.
I am always asked how to keep your images safe from harm. If you are serious about photography what can you do to keep your images safe and secure. Well if you want to make sure that all your images are backed up and protected from computer crashes, fires and floods here are a few ideas;
1) Burn to disk as soon as you get to a computer. I hear so often that “I was planning on burning them”.
2) Use an external hard drive. Internal drives will often crash with your computer. Use an external to make sure you have an extra copy.
3) Burn more disks. Many times people will burn a disk of the fresh images, then after doing some work on the images they forget to make another back-up.
4) Store disks off site! If you have a safety deposit box use that, if not ask family or friends if you can take some disks to their place to store them. Don’t bother with on-line storage companies, they are not very reliable and you are just a number.
Had the chance to photograph a mom and babies this past week. I was teaching a course out of town and the student mentioned that she had a owl baby in the tree outside. Went to take a look and found three babies and mom and dad. This one turned out the best as the leaves did not cover them.
I had to start out with Waterton as this is one of the close to home places that I love to go. Lately I have not found it too much fun on busy holiday weekends but I think that is because I am getting old. Waterton has it all Hotels, restaurants, playgrounds, hiking and so much more. Why do I like Waterton? The different looks and feel for pictures is the big thing as well as something for the entire family.
My ranking scale
0 Nothing, does not have
1 Poor to 10 GREAT (selection and value)!!!!!
Accommodations (Hotels, Hostels, Motels, Lodges) – 9 – Falls short on price for a large family
Camping (camp spots and amenities) – 10 – Has a large selection from full power sites in the town to rustic sites at Belly River and Crandell. Also has private sites outside of the park. VERY windy in the town site campground but also the only one with hook-ups in the park.
Family oriented (Playgrounds, Family hikes, Theater programs, etc) – 8 – No playgrounds in the campgrounds for the kids, very strange! Great selection of hikes and theatre programs in the high summer season July & August. Off season nothing.
Amenities (grocery, snack bar, boat rentals, etc) – 9 Lots of things but only in the high season and prices are high as well. Great ice cream shop, you need to have a waffle cone, my favorite!
Photography (locations, wildlife, etc) – 10 – It is waterton need I say more!
This is another area I am always being asked about. Where can we go that has good camping and offers photography opportunities as well. I never wanted to be a travel writer but I decided that I should take a stab at it here. I travel alone and with the family so locations vary widely from a Walmart parking lot on the way to a shoot, to a spot like Calaway Park for the kids to enjoy to a back country campsite in Kananaskis for the entire family. I will try and give you some ideas and hints for good campsites and photography locations (possibly not together). Let me know if you have gone to any of these places and your thoughts on them.
Many people have asked me to start a hints and suggestion area of my blog so here we go. The first one is not going to be photography related as it just happened and is fresh in my mind.
Many will know how much I love Telus, have had great service over the years and am very happy with them for all my phones and Internet. Well I was looking at my bill yesterday and saw that it had a feature that I was not using very much (okay not at all), called and asked about getting this feature changed. Well it ends up that I can switch phone packages and save $20.00 per month and keep all the features that I need. Then the customer service person says that they will upgrade my Internet to a package that is 4 times as fast and drop this price by $5.00 per month. Then asked about my studio and the same thing with the Internet – upgrading it to a package that is 4 times as fast for the same price.
Funny thing is I was told a year ago that I was on the fastest plan available for both locations, how things change!
My point is take the time to look over your bills. In the last two months I have now saves just about $100.00 per month by just calling and asking for a better plan or rate on different things from supplies, phone service, Internet service, cell phone and insurance policies. Don’t think that you are getting the best deal or you even need to pay for something – ASK!