Bird Photography Workshops

Welcome to My Monthly Newsletter - March, 2010
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Greetings,

I would like to thank you all for the positive compliments, encouragements and wishes since my first newsletter back in April, 2009. I also would like to thank you folks for joining me during my workshops, seminars and private classes. Thank you!

Previous Newsletters Since April 2009

Florida's Birding & FotoFest 2010 - See You There!!

 

Birding and FotoFest

The Florida's Birding & FotoFest is upon us!!. This is a great opportunity to learn from the Pro's at a very affordable price. I will be conducting 4 classroom seminars and 1 field workshop which is already SOLD OUT! but there is plenty of learning opportunities during the classroom seminars. Tim Grey, Robert O'toole, Greg Downing and several other photographers are going to be part of the event as well.

Here are my Classroom Seminars Topics:

If you get a chance, visit the event. This is something you don't want to miss. See you there!

Oh Boy..! How Do I Photograph Something Like This?

Whistling Ducks Colony - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Whistling Ducks Colony - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 400mm L @ f/8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure
Feisol CT-3472LV Carbon Fiber Tripod, Slightly cropped

I was recently presented with a great and challenging opportunity to photograph a colony of Whistling Ducks here in Florida. Thank you Kim for the opportunity and invitation! The food was terrific [smile]

When I first arrived to this pond, my jaw dropped! My goodness so many ducks!! My first question was... How am I going to photograph so many Whistling Ducks? Keep reading...

Whistling Duck Calling - S.W FL - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Whistling Duck Calling - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/320 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure,
Feisol CT-3472LV Carbon Fiber Tripod, Slightly cropped

When I first I arrived to this location, the ducks were concern with our presence (See first image). The owner of the property does not bother nor feed the ducks so any human presence was a huge deal for them and a huge challenge for me. Based on their alert pose (see first image), I immediately knew that this was not going to be easy.

While talking to the owner during my first visit, I had an eye on him and my second eye on the ducks. Why? because I was closely watching their behavior. After hanging out for a while, I was told to stick around for as long as I wish..... Music to my ears but, I told the owner that as much I would like to stick around, I knew I was not going to accomplish anything but aggravation and stress to these beautiful creatures. I said.... I'll be back during the upcoming weeks!!

Whistling Duck Looking Back Elegant Pose - S.W FL - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Whistling Duck Looking Back Elegant Pose - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 800, 12mm Extension tube
Ground as support, Slightly cropped

I made the effort to come back to the pond every other day. Soon enough, slowly but surely, the ducks were getting used to me. At the same time, I made sure to press the shutter button of my camera many times allowing the ducks to get used to the shutter noise of the camera as well for when the time comes.

Whistling Duck Chilling - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Whistling Duck Chilling - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/320 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure,
Ground as support, Slightly cropped, Blind

I knew I only had one opportunity to make this right. The ducks could easily fly to the other side of the pond and never comeback to the only accessible side of the pond without getting in the water. I noticed the ducks were not as concerned about my presence as the first day. I arrived in the middle of the day on a cold and cloudy day. The perfect day to spent time in a blind.

The home made blind consist of nothing more but a huge camouflage blanket. Long ago, I purchased the material from a local fabric store and asked my mother fix the ends for me. Within minutes, I had a portable, light weight blind that I can take anywhere with me. The blind is very maneuverable and easy to throw on top of me and my set up.

I didn't use any bait nor any kind of food. The key was to position myself close on their daily path. Several days watching their behavior allowed me to learn their daily traffic activities. All I did was sit there an wait! Soon enough, several ducks walked their regular trail but this time I was there with my camera and I was ready!!

The ducks knew I was there but they also knew I was not going to harm them. One duck even laid down right in front of my lens as you can see in the image above. Some other ducks were busy doing their own activities and none felt any stress with the blind. But why am I telling you all this? Because sometimes we have to learn how to pick our fights!

I often tell folks that before we can become better bird photographers, we must learn our subjects behavior!!

Whistling Duck Walking Pose - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Whistling Duck Walking Pose - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/320 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure,
Ground as support, Slightly cropped
Blind

Whistling Duck Walking Pose - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Whistling Duck Walking Pose - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/320 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure,
Ground as support, Slightly cropped, Blind

After being in the blind and photographing the ducks for few hours, I decided to try to show as much movement as possible without sacrifiying sharpness on the head and body. Notice the leg movement/blur while the head and body are both sharp. But how did I do it? Well... you are going to have to wait until next month newsletter! Sorry... [smile]

Injured Cormorant Incoming Flight - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Injured Cormorant Incoming Flight - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 200, Manual exposure
Feisol CT-3472LV Carbon Fiber Tripod, Slightly cropped

White Egret Displaying, S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
White Egret Displaying, S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 500mm L @ f/8, 1/2000 sec, ISO 200, Manual exposure,
Feisol CT-3472LV Carbon Fiber Tripod, Slightly cropped


Blue Heron During Early Morning Light, S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/1250 sec, ISO 200, Manual exposure,
Feisol CT-3472LV Carbon Fiber Tripod, Slightly cropped

Yet again another reason why I often recommend folks to learn Manual Exposure. This Blue Heron images would be impossible using AV or TV mode without doing any exposure compensation. I will be talking about Manual Exposure during The Birding & FotoFest.

FEISOL Returns From PMA 2010

FEISOL Returns From PMA 2010
FEISOL Returns from PMA 2010 - FEISOL, All Rights Reserved

FEISOL

The folks at FEISOL continue to impress the carbon fiber tripod market. I am grateful for their sponsorship and support. Here, we have Michael talking a little bit about the advantages of FEISOL tripods.

What Works and What Doesn't Work - Part 2

During February's newsletter, I talked about knowing when low is too low. In Part 2, I will talk about something as simple as a good composition.

Great Horned Owl Chick Terrible Composition, S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Great Horned Owl Chick Terrible Composition, S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 640, Manual exposure, NO FLASH
Feisol CT-3472LV Carbon Fiber Tripod, Slightly cropped

Why the above image composition does not work:

  • Subject dead centered in the frame
  • Negative space behind the subject
  • Many more background elements distract from your main subject

Great Horned Owl Chick Better Composition, S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Great Horned Owl Chick Better Composition, S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 250, Manual exposure, Camera Flash set to -1,
Feisol CT-3472LV Carbon Fiber Tripod, Full frame

Why the above image composition DOES work:

  • Subject larger in the frame
  • No negative space behind the subject
  • Less distracting background elements

As you can see, the second image composition is more pleasant to the viewer. Also, using the camera built-in flash with a manual exposure, allowed me to fill those extra shadows and balance the light better.

Stay tune for more "What Works and What Doesn't Work" in April's Newsletter

Photoshop CS4 Worth The Upgrade? - My Experience!

When Photoshop CS4 came out to the market back in 2008, I was very excited about it. After reviewing the new tools and features, my first impression was that it was not worth the upgrade. 1 1/2 years later, I had the opportunity to upgrade from CS3.

After using CS4 for couple of months now, I can tell you that the new tools and new features makes my digital workflow easier to access and apply them to my images.

Few features I normally use:

  • Adjustment Panels
  • Mask Panel
  • RAW Converter
  • More powerful printing options
  • and much more.

I could write more and more about the benefits of CS4 but the bottom line is that I'm glad I made the upgrade. There is a small learning curve but you will be very happy with it. I highly recommend upgrading!

Affordable Bird Photography Workshops Updates:

Bosque del Apache 2010, New Mexico - 2 spaces available

Bosque del Apache Workshop was a total success in 2009, (Click here to see all images). Limited to 4 participants, this year the workshop should be amazing as well.

Gatorland Rookery Workshop - Click here to find more information - New lower price!!

  • April 17th - 18th - 2 spaces available
  • May 8th - 9th -
  • May 22th - 23rd

Gatorland is the ultimate location to truly learn from many challenging photography scenarios. The bird Rookery will be our play ground for two full days. Take advantage of my new lower price!

In April's edition...

  • What Works and What Doesn't Work - Part 3
  • Removing Noise - Photoshop Technique
  • Using Quick Mask to Enhance the Eyes - Photoshop Technique
  • and much more

I hope you find this edition useful. Please email me your questions.
Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon!

Sincerely,

Maxis Gamez
941.623.5155
maxisgamez@gmail.com
www.gvisions.org

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Copying, reproduction, or distribution of these images in any manner is protected by United States of America Copyright laws and International Copyright laws and is strictly prohibited. Thank you.
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