500px.com/HurtNaturePhoto

This week I started advertising my work on 500px.com. There are some amazing photos on this site posted by photographers across the globe and I was inspired to post some of my images to see how they stood up to the amazing photos of others. The images you see on 500px must reach a minimum “pulse” (algorithm based off the total views, likes, favorites, and comments posted by others) of 80 to be make it viewable in the tabs. Otherwise, one would have to search a key word or a particular photographer to see their work. A photo’s pulse can range from 0 to 100 and each photo has 24 hours to reach a maximum pulse. After 24 hours, and every 24 hours thereafter, the images lose pulse points. This keeps the top images fresh (all images really), so that viewers are constantly being exposed to new work. I’ve only posted a few images so far (10 or so at the time of this post) but I will continue adding them as the exposure is great. My highest pulse at this point is 95.1 but I’m gunning for 99+. While you’ve likely seen the images I’m posting on 500px, I hope you’ll have a look and like the images. You may decide to post some of your own. If you do, let me know so that I can see and enjoy your work.

To visit my 500px site, please click on:  http://500px.com/HurtNaturePhoto

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker.  Canon 7D | ef 500/4.5 @ f7.1 | ISO 400

Red-bellied Woodpecker. Canon 7D | ef 500/4.5 @ f7.1 | ISO 400

I have been living in the state of Georgia for about 1 year and have enjoyed seeing these birds on my property. However, they have remained elusive around my home. This past June my family and I visited Key West, Florida and since we were driving there I took all my camera gear. I anticipated some nice landscapes/scenics, but the last thing I thought I would photograph is a red-bellied woodpecker. One afternoon we decided to visit a local beach with some good friends that were vacationing with us. After setting down the ice chests and other gear that you carry along on a beach outing, I noticed several red-bellied woodpeckers flying around the area and one landed in a tree a few feet over from us. While everyone was anxious to hit the water, I was anxious to go back to the car and get my camera gear.

How I got the shot

I wish I had photographed the area with a  wide angle lens so you could visualize the various trees (shadows/highlights), vehicles, picnic tables, and people that I had to contend with. As many trees as were present, there would be no image with nice golden light on the bird so I needed a cloud to diffuse the sun, giving me nice even light from foreground to background. With respect to the background, I wanted it smooth and clean so that the bird would pop out of the image. One challenge I faced was luring the bird to the tree I had selected. I had not anticipated doing any woodpecker photography on this day so I had no peanut butter or suet to try and attract them with. What did I have as potential bait? You guessed it…. cheeze-its. 🙂  Given their fragile texture, I now had to choose a tree with a slight lean so that I could cram the snacks in the bark and have them stay. Fortunately, I had the right tree with the right background and now in my favor some clouds were rolling in. I baited the tree, sat, and waited wondering whether my cheese-its would really work. After about 5 minutes, I opened my iBird Pro application on my iPhone and played the bird’s call. Almost immediately, I had several red-bellied woodpeckers in the trees around me. In no time at all, one spotted my bait on the tree and the result is the image shared here.

Like I said, it was the last image I thought I would capture in Key West, Florida, but it is one I was very happy to bring back to Georgia. Until next time, good light and keep shooting. — KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: Key West, Florida Sunset

KeyWestPalm

This past June the family and I visited Key West, Florida. It’s a challenge getting out to photograph on family vacations as obviously, family activities take priority. However, I always look for opportunities when they arise and on one particular afternoon, I had such an opportunity. We had decided to spend the day at one particular beach and as everyone  was enjoying the water, I was busy scouting a location for a sunset photograph.

How I got the shot

I utilized two iPhone photography applications (Skyview Free and The Photograher’s Ephemeris) to determine exactly where the sun was going to set and at what time. I decided on this one palm tree, mentally composed the image, assessed the hour at which the sun would be just over the horizon, and then went snorkeling with the family. About an hour before I needed to get the shot, I prepped my equipment, setup my tripod, composed the shot, and patiently waited. As I waited, a couple with two beach chairs walked right into the scene and sat down under the palm tree. I debated on what to do about the couple. Should I include them in the image, sort of a “people in nature” scenic, ask if they could move over a few feet (that seemed a rude option), or should I move to another location? I decided to keep them in the image and clone them out if necessary. In the end, they left before I took the image so it all worked out. This particular image consists of 4 images merged in Photoshop (HDR), then processed in CS6. I do not often utilize the HDR technique but this seemed a good opportunity to try it. I was pleased with the final result.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. — KEVIN