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Welcome to my monthly newsletter - May, 2009.



I would like to thank you all for the positive compliments, encouragements and wishes from my April's, 2009 newsletter. Many of you enjoyed my photo tips and techniques. May's edition is full of information and field techniques, many which I cover extensively during my private classes. Enjoy the images and information.

Let's begin with a simple yet important question from Ted Thelin. (thank you Ted)

Question: How do you get a blurred background shooting at f/8 at Gatorland? My photos taken with you at f/5.6 have only slightly blurred backgrounds?

Answer: I've trained my eyes and vision over the years to only see what works best in my images. Backgrounds (BG) are critical to ALL my images. You MUST learn how to pick your BG. Pay close attention to every corner in your viewfinder. If you see a stick or branch or anything that is distracting, take the time to move to the left or to the right until you avoid the distraction.

Sounds simple right? You will be surprise how many people overlook/forget something as simple as that and in many cases can create a HUGE difference in your images.

I normally have my camera set to a large aperture (f/5.6) which allows me to diffuse the BG. Using a long telephoto lens like my Canon 500mm L, narrows your viewing area a great deal helping me diffuse the BG even more.

Your last option should be Photoshop, why do I say last option? simply, because I rather do it right from the camera but sometimes things don't work the way we want them to. Notice the difference with these two images below, there was no way to avoid the sticks in the BG by moving around. Using Quick Mask and the Spot Healing tool in Photoshop allowed me to clean all the distraction you see around the Grackle. During my private photoshop classes, I explain how I successfully edit all my images. Contact me if you would like to schedule a 4hr Photoshop class.

I hope you find this information useful. Thank you Ted for your question.

Got a question? Feel free to ask. Email me your question and help others!!

Boat-Tailed Grackle


Boat-tailed Grackle


Boat-Tailed Grackle, Gatorland.

This Boat-tailed Grackle posed for me at Gatorland for a short period of time (3 frames) during a private class at Gatorland. Because I photograph in manual mode, I was able to quickly change my exposure (shutter speed) allowing me to capture all the beautiful colors and feather details you see here. I cover manual exposure extensively during my private classes.
Canon 40D, 500mm L @ f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO 400, Manual Exposure, RAW, Tripod, Almost full frame. Back to top

Field Technique: Working Your Subject - Canada Goose, S.W Florida

In this lesson, I will show you how I work my subject (when possible). In this case a Canada Goose. I often tell folks "if you want to be a great nature photographer, you have to become a naturalist (not with a degree) but with learning how to read your subject's behavior.

Image 1: Start working your subject from far Away. These images can help you with future publications.
Noticed the elegant raised foot, eye contact, catch light and low angle. Always give your subject plenty of space ahead.

Canon 40D, 500mm L @ f/8, 1/640 sec, ISO 400, Manual Exposure, RAW, Tripod, Almost Full Frame

Image 2: Set your camera to high speed (multiple images) and capture the behavior. Most of us shoot digital now days
don't be afraid to hold that shutter button like I do! You can always delete the images later and keep the good ones.
Canon 40D, 500mm L @ f/8, 1/800 sec, ISO 400, Manual Exposure, RAW, Tripod, Almost Full Frame

Image 3: Similar elegant pose with raised foot, eye contact, catch light and this time from a different angle.
Not such great low angle as the previous image but I'm happy with the results. Anticipate your subject's next move!
Canon 40D, 500mm L @ f/8, 1/800 sec, ISO 400, Manual Exposure, RAW, Tripod, Almost Full Frame

Image 4: Don't let water stop you. Get low, get dirty. That's what I did to capture this image.
folks keep asking me "what about your equipment?" My answer is... what about it?? Be part of your subject's habitat.
Canon 40D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/1250 sec, ISO 400, Manual Exposure, RAW, Handheld, Almost Full Frame

Image 5: Finally, make sure you get a close up. Work your subject at different angles, habitat and behavior.
Be patience and you will be rewarded. I worked this Canada Goose for almost 45 minutes!!
Canon 40D, 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/1600 sec, ISO 400, Manual Exposure, RAW, Handheld, Almost Full Frame

White Egret

Great Egret Preening- Central Florida

Don't be afraid to break the rules. Experiment your own vision. I watched this Great Egret preening from afar.
I only had my Canon 500mm L with me at that time, so I knew I need it to capture something special. I wanted to photograph the Egret preening up close and that's what I did with this image.
Canon 40D, 500mm L @ f/8, 1/000 sec, ISO 400, 20mm extension tube, Manual Exposure, RAW, Tripod, Almost full frame. Back to top

Greater Yellow Leg

Greater Yellow Legs - S.W Florida

With this Greater Yellow Legs, I wanted to capture an elegant pose. This image is from a 6 frame sequence. I simply picked the best one out of the six. Noticed the raised leg and head angle. I cleaned the water a little to compliment the pose.
Canon 40D, 400mm L @ 8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400, Manual Exposure, RAW, Handheld, Almost full frame. Back to top

White Egret

Great Egret Water Fountain - Central Florida

This is what manual mode is ALL about. If I were using AV (Aperture Priority) or TV (Shutter Speed) mode in my camera, the meter will over expose the whites. Why? because the meter wants to convert the dark water into 18% GREY. The meter does not know you have a Great Egret in front of the dark BG. Some folks will argue that you can compensate for it, but to me that's a total WASTE of time and a waste of opportunities.

Folks, by the time you press the compensation button, look how much compensation to give, re-compose your image, and press the shutter button you WILL miss the opportunity (water drops). In the mean time, I will be shooting away with a big smile in my face like I did for this image. During my private classes, I cover extensively how to shoot in manual mode.
Canon 40D, 500mm L @ f/8, 1/2500 sec, ISO 400, Manual Exposure, RAW, Tripod, Almost full frame. Back to top

Laughing gull Mating

Burrowing Owls - S.W Florida

April, May and June is the right time to photograph Burrowing Owls. I will be conducting few classes in May and June. Take advantage of this opportunity and schedule a class. We'll photograph these little guys up close and personal. We'll be also covering manual exposure, composition, perspective and much more. I also offer a guide for photographers to photograph Burrowing Owls if you rather go alone. Click here to learn more about my Burrowing Owl Guide for photographers

Save 50% off my private lessons and workshops during the month of May and June. Take advantage of this offer!!
Contact me if you have any questions

In June's edition....

  • My Photoshop CS3 settings and color space - Photoshop Tutorial
  • Long lens Panning technique using your tripod Part 1 - Field Technique
  • and more....

I hope you find May's edition useful. Please email me your questions by simply replying to this email.
Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon!


Maxis Gamez

All images contained within this email are Copyrighted by the author Maxis Gamez. All rights reserved. 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. | | 941.623.5155