Your arrival in South Africa

You have planned for months and triple-checked your luggage and gear. Now you are ready to board your long flight, arrive in South Africa, and start your adventure. In part 2 of this multi-post theme I will discuss what to expect in the country and the travel to your first photography destination. Karoo-08111-EditKaroo-08111-Edit   Your arrival in South Africa will most likely be in either Johannesburg (north central region) or Cape Town (southwest coastal region) and the two could not be more different. Jo'burg is the heart of the SA business world and is a bustling large city with an unfortunate number of crime ridden areas. My advice is to get your vehicle and move out of the city quickly. Cape Town, on the other hand, is a beautiful destination city with wonderful beaches, restaurants, and diverse attractions. My advice is, if you have the time, spend a few days to adjust to the time change and enjoy the city on foot, by tour bus, or with Uber. I will have more about Cape Town and the south coast in a later post. Continue reading "Your arrival in South Africa"

Light Painting Without Lights

Lightroom and Photoshop to the Rescue!

Recently, the Park Service announced slight changes in the enforcement of a few rules already on the books. The change involved a restriction on the use of artificial lights to illuminate a subject for the purpose of photography. Flashlights are still allowed for safety and wayfinding. I posted a new page on the subject a week or so ago. Check out this page: Artificial Light for Photography in Grand Teton National Park. Night Barn Original Capture I thought it might an interesting challenge to attempt to imitate a light painted shot. This is a screen grab of an image as it was captured on a Nikon D5 body and a Nikon 14-24mm lens. You can see the shooting data near the top corner: 20 seconds at F/2.8, with ISO 2500 at 18mm. The photo was taken during the “blue light” period, which can often appear too blue. I set the White Balance to a Custom setting of 6800k. (This is just a starting point for LR and not set in stone).  Of course, I was using a tripod. This page will show a lot of steps and tools that might spark some ideas of your own. I am using Lightroom CC 2015 (the current version) which contains a nice set of features that are not included in the boxed LR6 version. One of the recent additions is the Guided Transform tools, which work similarly to the Perspective Crop tool. It has been in Photoshop for quite a few revisions. Lightroom can do a lot of the heavy lifting on most images—and can even do all of the work on many images—but a project like this one still needs Photoshop. Continue reading "Light Painting Without Lights"

Planning an African photo safari

Africa - the dream of a lifetime but how do you plan for an extended photo safari? [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="944"]Kruger-3715-Edit African lion in Kruger National Park[/caption] Kruger-3715-EditBig cats of South Africa   I recently returned from a two month photo safari in South Africa, truly a trip of a lifetime and want to share many of the things I learned in the planning, execution, and photography of this adventure. This is part one of a multi-part series of posts about South Africa and its photographic treasures. Continue reading "Planning an African photo safari"

Artificial Light for Photography in Grand Teton National Park

The Times They Are a Changin’!

How about borrowing a line from Bob Dylan’s 1964 title song?  The days of adding artificial light in Grand Teton National Park (and all National Parks for that matter) are coming to an end. As it turns out, the regulation has always been in GTNP’s rules—they just weren’t being enforced. In essence, it states that no artificial light can be used for night time photography. You can use a flashlight for navigation and safety, but not to light a subject. Photographers have been shining flashlights and popping strobes on trees, barns, footbridges, wagons and so forth for as long as I have been doing digital photography. I heard about “light painting” for a few years before I ever tried it. The concept is simple: during a long exposure, the photographer shines a light on a subject, usually slightly from the side. After that, it’s simply a matter of practice and finesse. March Snowman Over the years, I’ve asked if it was okay to use a flashlight in the Park, and have always been told it’s fine as long as I don’t shine the light on wildlife. I’ve had rangers come up while I was light painting, and each time said I was fine. One time, the Ranger chatted with me while I was light painting a snowman at one of the turnouts. He chuckled at the setup and drove off. As it turns out, I was probably breaking two regulations that night…more on that later. Continue reading "Artificial Light for Photography in Grand Teton National Park"