Monday, 30 April 2012

After a really wet weekend the sun is shining again........ but I'm back at work

Image Thumbnail
A bit of colour before reverting back to black and white. Many thanks for your lovely comments yesterday... of possibly the first picture ever taken of me.


outdoor photography

Springtime beauty

Spring has sprung in my little corner of the world, and how! Reports from around the state confirm that most flowers and trees are at least 2 weeks ahead of schedule (in terms of bloom time) due to the ridiculously mild winter we've had and also the early warming trend we've seen so far this spring. Tonight we are under a freeze warning, though, so I'm not sure what our heavily flowered landscape will look like upon awakening in the morning.

Luckily I was able to get out on our property and some neighboring property over the weekend to get photos of just a few of the things that are in bloom. Enjoy!

Bluebells in my garden. This is the first year they have bloomed, even though I planted them 2 years ago.

Newly emerged Bluebell flower buds, kissed by a dew drop.

Bluets, a dainty but cheery flower.

How could you not be cheered by a flower that has a sunshine burst in the middle?

Bloodroot, which is normally just starting to bloom, is already starting to fade, with many plants already gone to fruit. This one is tattered and worn, but still beautiful.

When out looking at nature, you never know what you'll come across. Here, a pair of snail shells, the larger being about the size of a dime (if that), the tiny one being barely larger than a pin head. Always keep your eyes peeled for magical treasures!


commercial photography

Pet Photo Contest 2012

The first competition in our 2012 photo contest series is now open for entries! The theme is ?Pets?. We are looking for striking and original photographs of your beloved dogs, cats and other pets. For some inspiration, checkout the results of last year’s Pet Photo Contest. The deadline for this contest is 31st March [...]


fashion photography

Bodies, Glass, and Making Images

I have very few hobbies, and in the past 5 years photography has gone from something I do with a point and shoot every awkward once and a while, to something I eat, sleep and breath probably more than most folks.

Averaged over 5+ years I shoot about 200 images a day - I haven't updated that stat in the past 6 or 8 months, but it has to be consistent and around 200 still. In 5 years I've past a few hundred thousands shots and hundreds of outings. It is that persistence and repetition that makes more and more things second nature.

In 5 years I've now bought 5 bodies (d70s, d200, Fuji S5, D300 and D300s) and even more lenses but nothing huge until 2 years ago I got the 200-400mm f/4 VR lens.

The 200-400mm lens is pretty sweet and I've meant to do a review / write up, but Thom (ByThom) has one that is way more detailed than I could make and he's right on. Very good lens, struggle with converters and is weak at long range optically.

But with that and all of my other gear, I've always managed to take images with whatever I have that I like, that keep me going, motivated to learn and keep trying.

This is with a D70s and 70-300 G lens, with one off camera flash, through glass at the zoo.
Return of Kong!

With lots of time and work, and gear, I broke down and got a 500mm f/4 lens. It should be a big leap gear wise / optically over the 200-400mm. I plan to hand hold it often - and have been actually working out in an effort to hand hold the 200-400mm longer and with less strain, and the 500 is just a pound or so heavier. (If I end up carrying both around at the same time I might just need a formal Gym Membership).

Skimmers at Sunrise - Fuji S5 w/ 200-400mm f/4 vr:
Rise and Shine

Always want more, and don't blame the gear - every setup is capable of producing amazing images be it a Holga or a Hasselblad.

Probably one of the biggest things I've focused on in the past 12 or 13 months is learning to see and understand light, sunrise and sunset, and how that is key to images that aren't "Normal" or "Average". The good light is not at mid-day when it might be easiest to head out for some shooting.... Sunrise or bust. / Jon


professional photography courses

Photography Schools See the Web as Main Driver of Job Growth

Photography: lubright There?s never been a worse time to be a photographer. Newspapers are cutting staff. Prices are dropping through the floor. Rights are being reduced and the only part of the industry that?s showing signs of growth are the competition. There?s also never been a better time to be a photographer. The price of [...]


best photography websites

Surprise on the Bulldog Loop

Brents Mountain, Malibu Creek State Park

BIG. That was my first impression when I saw the animal loping across the road. Quite a bit bigger than a coyote or bobcat, with a long black-tipped tail. It was a mountain lion, and it was reacting to me before I'd even seen it. Had I rounded the corner a couple seconds later, I never would have known it was there.

I was on Castro Mtwy fire road, between the top of the Bulldog climb and Corral Canyon Road. Just a few seconds before I'd been kneeling on the ground photographing snow pellets (graupel) along a road cut. I'd just started to run again when I saw the lion. It was 40-50 yards away and crossing the road left to right, diagonally down the road. It seemed interested in avoiding me, and I reinforced this idea by clapping my hands and yelling. It was moving at a speed that fit the situation -- faster than a walk or trot, but by no means wasting energy or overly concerned. I watched as, like a ghost, it disappeared into the thick chaparral along the south side of the road.

I didn't want to overreact. Although we usually don't see them, anyone that runs in the open space areas of the West has likely been watched by a mountain lion. Attacks are extremely rare and often have extenuating circumstances. Even for someone that spends a lot of time outdoors, there are much higher risks in their lives, such as driving to the trailhead. And there are other risks on the trail. Two of my trail running friends have been run down by startled deer, and I was nearly trampled when I spooked a band of horses grazing in a natural cul-de-sac!

In this particular set of circumstances I didn't think it would be any more dangerous to continue down the road than to retreat. If the animal was interested in me it wouldn't matter which direction I went. The Corral Canyon parking area was about a half-mile away, and chances were good there would be hikers there.

But it was going to be unnerving to pass the spot where the lion had gone into the brush. For sure I was not going to run past the spot -- as any owner of a cat knows, that can elicit a response. Had I seen a stout stick or branch nearby I would have grabbed it. Not only for defense, but to look bigger.

I jogged down the road a little further and stopped. On max alert and facing the threat, I walked past the point where the lion had entered the brush. Once past this point, I began to walk a little faster, constantly checking the road and brush to the side and behind me. After about 50 yards I transitioned to a slow jog, and sometime after that resumed my normal downhill pace, all the time being very wary of any sound, noise or motion behind me.

One car was parked at Corral Canyon, but its owner was nowhere to be seen. Still on edge, I continued on the Backbone Trail into the rock formations east of the parking area, and then past the rock gateway onto Mesa Peak Mtwy fire road. The farther I got from where I'd seen the lion the better I felt. I really didn't think the lion was interested in me, but was still glad to have the Corral Canyon parking area between me and the cat.

As I ran along Mesa Peak fire road, I started to calm down. I had just passed the "Morrison" caves and rock spiral and was rounding a corner when, without warning, there was a blur of brown from the left. Three deer bounded across the road just feet away. Put my heart back in my chest!

Deer are very common in Malibu Creek State Park, but I normally see them in the grasslands down in the valley. This morning I'd seen deer tracks going up Bulldog. Whenever I see deer tracks it's a reminder there might be a mountain lion in the area. That was certainly the case this time!

Related post: Mountain Lion Saga Copyright 2006-2012 Gary Valle. All Rights Reserved.


nature photographers

Hard Light and Soft Glass: The Dirty Diana

First, a clarification. That's not Diana above. That's Robin Massie-Jean, a violist I photographed for the Howard County Arts Council.

The Diana in this photo is the lens. And really you can't even call it soft glass, because it's, well, plastic. Read more �


wildlife photography courses

It's Not a Camera, It's a Visa

Of all of the things that I have learned from McNally, I think this is the one has stuck with me the most: Cameras open doors to new experiences and friendships. Or as Joe likes to say, "It's not a camera, it's a visa."

A few years ago my camera allowed me to meet two people who would go on to become good friends. Fast forward to last Sunday, when the three of us found ourselves 8,000 miles from home, meeting new people with our cameras all over again. Read more �


photography blogs

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Don't just take the perfect shots


One thing that I've learned is that you have to take tons and tons of photos.

It takes time to experiment, review, learn. Repetition is a big thing.

I like to have photos that cover the in between times, not just the moments that appear to be "the perfect shots". They help glue together the day for me when reviewing the images I got. They also help me to keep an open mind - and potentially shoot anything.

I shot some photos showing the parking lot here, the signage, and the water tower - a few days ago.

Tonight when I was reviewing the image I realized that there was a peregrine falcon hiding on the tower! While I didn't get anything great of him, I did get him. And I will know for future reference.

Shoot anything and everything.

Peregrine's like high perches and there was lots of other birds in the area. Birds were traveling to the bay side to catch fish, and then flying back to the ocean side. I bet the peregrine could pick off a skimmer or tern in about 20 seconds or less and be done hunting... / Jon


photography institute

The 2012 GPP Shootout Video is In...

You've already seen the post mortem and final pics from this year's Gulf Photo Plus shootout. But now the official videotape version of Martin Prihoda and yours truly getting our butts kicked by Mr. Heisler is live, for your entertainment.

Oh, and hit the jump for a slideshow of student work from 2012... Read more �


stock photography sites

Dipper on the River Tweed, Melrose, Scottish Borders

Here are a few of the dipper pictures from yesterday at Melrose in the Borders. The dippers have had their first clutch and the young dippers have left their nest. The parents seamed to split he young birds up so … Continue reading


sport photography

Denkmal f�r die ermordeten Juden Europas, Berlin 2

Image Thumbnail
Denkmal f�r die ermordeten Juden Europas, Berlin 2


free photography competitions

Native Plant of the Week: Sprengel's Sedge ~ Carex sprengelii

Image Thumbnail
Sprengel's Sedge ~ Carex sprengelii If you're looking to try or add more sedges to your native landscape, Sprengel's Sedge is an excellent candidate.


flower photography

Introduction to Night Photography

A guest post by Sam Levy, founder of citifari. When speaking about night photography and what there is to it, the first thought is long exposure, car light trails, etc. While this is correct, there is a lot more to night photography and since we have more time for our exposure, this might mean endless [...]

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

Introduction to Night Photography


photography classes london

1,675 miles 'till home

Image Thumbnail
?? It was a good week for a Motorcycle ride. White line shows approximate rout of the trip Utah * Arizona * New Mexico * Colorado Light morning rain as we left and sunshine the rest of the time.


lens for wildlife photography

Bird of the Week ? Week 119 ? Sociable weaver

Sociable weavers are small birds with a length of about 14 cm and the sexes are alike in both size and plumage colouration. Their upper parts are scalloped with black and their under parts are white; their flanks are marked with black; and they have black face masks. Bills are grey; eyes are brown; legs [...]


portrait photography tips

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Common Terns Mating, or, Birders are Pervs!

Birds make other birds.� This is a simple fact of life.� Birders watch birds.� This too is a simple fact.� Sometimes birders watch birds making other birds.


photography lessons

Painted Bunting Sighted in Louisville

Image Thumbnail
A rare visitor was spotted Friday behind the Crestwood Veterinarian Hospital - a Painted Bunting! The bird was seen for a short time at the feeder and in the bushes behind the hospital.


black and white photography

When You Need a Photography Consultant

When corporations want to grow, they hire business consultants to show them the way forward. When photography businesses want to grow, they hire creative consultants to show off their images. When photography businesses run into trouble, their owners often feel that there?s nowhere to turn. They know they can produce great pictures. They know that [...]


photography school

Leap Day Giveth, Delta Taketh Way

I had hoped to be landing in Dubai for GPP 2012 right about now, but our mechanically challenged plane yesterday objected. Rather theatrically, I might add.

So instead, I'm encamped next to the airport in Atlanta at a hotel sufficiently downmarket to have free wifi. So that's something good, I suppose.

To that end, my homage to Andrew Hetherington's ongoing Room With a View series. But cool as those photos are, he never tells you the lighting details. So we can at least accomplish that much today. Read more �


portrait photographers

Similk Bay Shorebirds

Image Thumbnail
I have been beachcombing as long as I can remember. My grandparents spent summers on the Washington coast and I would stay with them sometimes for several weeks.


flower photography

Skimmer Swarm

Image Thumbnail
In my continuingendeavorsto avoid showing everyone pictures of desert birds, you will instead be forced to look at this ball (deathball) of Black Skimmers at Crown Point, in San Diego.


food photographers

Lovell Wash Narrows

Janine getting ready to enter the Lovell Wash Narrows, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada. I found this location after checking out some of the more colorful areas of this region on Google Earth.� This was a cool slot canyon!� I included Janine in both of these images to help show the scale of the [...]


photography tutorials

WikiLeaks Truck Owner Arrested For Photographing Cops; Image Deleted


Metropolitan Transit Authority police arrested a man for photographing them at Penn Station in New York City this afternoon – deleting his photo – before releasing him from a jail cell an hour later.

Clark Stoeckley was issued a summons charging him with “engaging in threatening behavior.”

“I was walking through Penn Station and I came across these MTA cops with semi-automatic weapons,” he said in a phone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.

“I stopped to take a photo and the cop came up to me and arrested me. I asked, ‘why am I being arrested?’

“’Because you’re a dick,’” the officer responded.

While in custody, Stoeckley asked the cop why he felt threatened by a cell phone when he was carrying a semi-automatic gun.

"'Because it could have been a phone gun,'"  the cop responded.

Last year, MTA police arrested Joey Boots for shooting video of armed soldiers inside Penn Station because they also feared his camera was a weapon. Those charges were eventually dropped.

Having just been released from custody, Stoeckley was on his way home where he will attempt to recover the deleted image from his iPhone. I recommended PhotoRec, which helped me recover the footage that was deleted after Miami-Dade Police Major Nancy Perez arrested me during the Occupy Miami eviction.

Stoeckley, a 29-year-old artist, is notorious for driving the WikiLeaks Truck, a truck he painted to raise awareness for Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier who is imprisoned for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Other than that, Stoeckley has no connection to Manning or WikiLeaks, the organization that has published or released to media all sorts of classified documents regarding the American wars overseas.

After Stoeckley was released this afternoon, he tweeted of his arrest, which prompted me to contact him for an interview. He sent me his number and when I called, the first thing I heard was a recorded message warning me that his phone was being monitored by the FBI.

The WikiLeaks Truck became a common fixture at Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street encampment.

At one point, police arrested him while distributing blankets to Occupy Wall Street activists when he refused to allow them to search the truck, an incident he caught on video.

When they impounded the truck, it ended up going missing.

Stoeckley had to get a judge to track it down. When he finally found it in an impound lot, a New York City police officer gave him a jump start because the battery had gone dead.

But when Stoeckley tried to video record the generous action, he was threatened with arrest for recording a public official on public property.

Check out that video here because it's not embedding below as I attempted.


Please send stories, tips and videos to


I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.

My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.

So if you would like to contribute, please click on the "donate" button below and contribute whatever you can afford.

You can also contribute to my Legal Defense Fund by purchasing a photographer rights lens cloth and/or laminated card to wear around your neck like a press badge through Zap Rag.Please write "carlos3" in the comments section of the Paypal transaction to ensure I receive a portion of the sale.


portrait photography tips

Friday, 27 April 2012

In An Indian Train


bird photography

Hard Light and Soft Glass: The Dirty Diana

First, a clarification. That's not Diana above. That's Robin Massie-Jean, a violist I photographed for the Howard County Arts Council.

The Diana in this photo is the lens. And really you can't even call it soft glass, because it's, well, plastic. Read more �


photography institute

Pool Reflections

Las Vegas, Nevada. The reflection of the pool at the Cosmopolitan in the windows of a nearby building.


photography courses online

Medical Photographers Document the Doctors

Browse the images on the website of photographer Patrick Pfister and you might be in for a bit of a shock. Past the commercial photos of executives and tower blocks, and beyond the aerial shots of Louisville and Kentucky, you reach a black and white picture of a surgeon holding a heart. Next to it [...]


wildlife photographer

Osprey update June 30, 2011

I haven't been to visit "my" nest in a couple weeks. Last I checked the 3 chicks were doing well.


I visited tonight and was met with a sad sight. One of the 3 osprey died, and is still in the nest.


The chick in the background was really bothered by the situation, just looking at its sibling that wouldn't move any more. And it bothered me too.

I couldn't tell what the cause was for sure until I got home and reviewed the images closely, but I had a suspicion. I thought maybe a hook from a snagged fishing line had managed to be eaten by the osprey. But it appears that the osprey chick got tangled in the line and died from that.

There wasn't much to do, but I reported it to someone that can hopefully get a visit from someone that can remove the dead bird.

And to be expected, mom was still mom, and yipped a couple times. And dad came by with a fish, circled a few times, and then delivered a fish. And then mom fed the (2) chicks.

Life goes on. / Jon


wedding photography