PHOTOGRAPHING PUPPIES!

By Vickie Uthe

Photographing puppies is like photographing kids, don’t waste time and plan on doing it later because they grow up TOO FAST and there IS no later.

In 2016 my granddaughter got a Dorky. A mix of a Yorkshire Terrier and a Dachshund. A Dorky, cute, right? The puppy lives at Akacia’s dad’s house which means we rarely see her so I KNEW, on this visit, I’d spend a lot of the time shooting and capturing that adorable puppiness before it was all gone.

Plan on this shoot being handheld as I doubt a puppy will stay in shot of a tripod mount. Set you ISO at 400 in good light with the shutter speed at 500 or above. Get as close down to the animal’s level as possible, in other words, don’t stand and shoot from above. Make a sound in hopes they will cock their head, lift their ears and look at you and not run straight at you. It’s a delicate situation.

In this series, she was preoccupied with her leash. You want to try to focus on the eyes, which isn’t always easy as they keep moving. Be sure your camera is set on burst mode and fire away.

What you’re trying to capture is expression and personality.

Another concept I think is important in photography is to add a human to show scale. These images show how really little this puppy is.

They also tucker out pretty quickly so take advantage of their stillness to grab some more cuteness.

And there she is, surveying the situation on her first big hike in Kachina Village.

Take your camera to a friends house who has a new puppy and practice. The other nice thing is these images make great gifts over the years as the puppy moves through life and ages.

Happy shooting!

Vicki Uthe is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

 

Copper Queen Mine Tour, Bisbee, AZ

By Jeff Insel

My wife and I recently spent a couple of nights in Bisbee,AZ. One of the things we wanted to see was the Copper Queen Mine Tour and we weren’t disappointed. Tours are seven days a week with several different tour times. Each tour lasts about an hour and takes you 1500 feet deep into the mine by small train (see photo).
The tours are led by retired Phelps Dodge employees, very knowledgeable about the mining history and progression of more efficient tools ie: from manpower to mules to trains.
The photo with the train is an iPhone photo as we had a light rain going on outside as we waited to enter the mine.
The Copper Queen Mine began operations in the 1880’s and was bought by Phelps Dodge in 1885. It closed in 1975 after 90 yrs of operations. It had one of the world’s largest production valuations: An estimated production of 8,032, 352 lbs of Copper, 2,871,786 ounces of Gold, 77,162,986 ounces of Silver, 304,627,600 lbs of Lead and 371,945,900 lbs of Zinc!
Tours began in 1976 through the efforts of then Bisbee Mayor, Chuck Eads, Phelps Dodge, many local volunteers and a grant from the Economic Development Administration.
The Dynamite wall photo was shot hand held, 1600 ISO, 28mm, f4.5 and 1/20th of a sec.
We learned how the miners originally dug out the tunnels, shored up the work areas, hammered spikes for the drill bits; the evolution of the different types of drills and their capabilities; how they used dynamite to bring down walls safely (see photo) and even the use of their portable toilets (see photo).
The Toilet photo was hand held, 1600 ISO, 1/3 sec, f4.5.
Even though it was about 95 outside at the start of our tour, it was nice and cool inside.
If you go, cameras are allowed but tripods aren’t practical as there’s not enough space to use one. The challenge is photographing in near darkness, some overhead lights and the hand held small flashlights we all had so some of the light is always in motion, but it’s a fun challenge.
Jeff Insel is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

MACRO VS. CLOSE-UP PHOTOGRAPHY

By Vicki Uthe

Something became clear to me recently. I realized the difference between macro and close-up photography and concluded that I’m really more of a close-up photographer than a macro person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the main difference as I understand it: With macro, you need a tripod, a non-moving subject, a lot of patience and you get in SO close to a subject that many times you need a caption to tell you what it is. With close-up, you can shoot it with most lenses, you get very close to your subject with a zoom or by walking closer but can still tell what it is without question and you can do it successfully with a moving subject.

The two images above, shot in Costa Rica in 2012, were taken with the 100 mm Canon macro lens. At the time I was SURE I was shooting macro. I even set the lens for it. Turns out these are really just close-ups. If it were a true macro image a single water drop would nearly fill the frame as would only a few of these frog eggs. (I think they are frog eggs).

I decided to dive into my archive and pull up all images shot with my two macro lenses. The first one was a Canon 100mm, f/2.8. I loved that lens and it worked well for me but in pulling up the images I began to realize I mostly shot close-ups in macro mode or not in macro mode at all but at 100mm. My other lens is the Olympus 60mm, f/2.8 that I got when I switched to the mirrorless micro four-thirds format camera a couple of years ago. Same thing. Most of my images are either close-ups in macro mode or just shooting at 60mm.

I pulled up over 8700 images shot with those two lenses and precious few could be considered truly macro. My minimalist, photograph as you go shooting style does not lend itself to true macro photography. I like to travel light with as little gear as possible.

At the very LEAST a good macro image requires a tripod and a subject that is very still. A macro lens will reduce the depth of field (the space in your image that is in focus) to the width of a credit card. This means that you must be very precise as to what you are focussing on. The slightest breeze or movement will put a flower or insect out of focus.

If you are truly interested in exploring the world of macro photography I have a resource for you. My good friend, Amy Horn, recently wrote a book with Bruce Taubert, a retired wildlife biologist, on this very subject. You can check out their book and order it here: The Art of Macro Photography

The head of this praying mantis is one of the few images I have that could truly be considered macro. It is handheld and my subject was standing very still.

I’m not sure where the line actually is between close-up and macro. This image shows how small the depth of field (the area in focus) is. His eye is about the only thing that is sharp. Always focus on the eyes.

Right? Close-up or Macro? All I know is I should have used a tripod.

I would for sure consider this one just a close-up. And it didn’t jump on me so I was happy about that. Not sure how much closer I would have been willing to get…

This little red frog was pretty tiny sitting on someone’s finger but I would still classify it as a close-up.

I really liked this image to show the shallow depth of field when your lens is in macro mode. This is rusted barbed wire wrapped around more wire. If you look close one strand is in focus while the one right next to it, and a little back, is not. I can not stress enough how crazy shallow the area in focus is with macro shooting. To the point where there is now software that allows you to focus stack. You take many images and continually adjust the focus only to “stack” them later to create an image where the whole subject is in focus. Check it out, it’s in Amy and Bruce’s book. Pretty fascinating.

Well, that’s all I have for macro. In writing this I’ve learned that macro is not my area of focus, so to speak, in photography. It is a fascinating avenue to explore, however, if you are interested.

Happy Shooting!!

Vicki Uthe is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

How To Create Your Own Blog

By Meng Tay

There are many reasons why you want to write a blog. Sure, you can share stories and pictures of your travels, family, friends, and what you are doing on Facebook, Instagram and a myriad of other social media websites.  A blog, however, allows you to write a longer story, enhanced it with photographs and videos, design how it looks, and even make money for you if you do it right.

One of the easiest ways to create your own blog is using Blogger.com.  There are other blogging websites, of course, but Blogger.com is free and easy to create your own blog.  Here are the steps:

  1. Create a Google account (because it is owned by Google).  This means creating a Gmail account.  If you are already using Gmail, then you are all set.  Even if you don’t plan to use Gmail, you need to create this account.
  2. Go to the blogger.com website. Click on “Create Your Blog” orange box in the middle.
  3. The next screen you’ll see is asking you to “Create a Blog”.  Here you need to pick a Title, which can be changed; a Blog address, which cannot be changed; and a Theme that can be changed anytime.  You can have your blog Title and blog Address to be the same.  Pick a title that expresses what your blog is all about.  For example, if it’s about travel, you can call it “TravelWithJoe”.

Finish this step by clicking on “Create blog!” at the bottom of the screen.

4. You will see the screen below.  This is like your Home screen when you are logged into blogger. The next step is to start writing a New Post.  A Post is an entry in a blog.  Click on “New Post” at the top of the screen.

Now you will see a screen like this below.  First, you need to give your Post a title that reflects what this post is all about. Something like, “How to pack for a safari”.  Next, you need to pick the type of font you want for the body of your post.  In the middle of the top menu bar are three important functions:

  • Link: this allows you to add a link to an external article or website to your post.  For example, instead of writing a long explanation about a city, you can add a link to Wikipedia about the city.  It saves you a lot of time having to repeat what’s already out there on the internet.
  • Photos:  a blog without photographs is like eating bagels without cream cheese.  By clicking on the photos icon, you bring up a screen giving you the choice of where you want your photos to be uploaded from.  It basically brings up the Finder (on a Mac) or Folder (on your Windows PC).

The following screen says “Add Images”.  Click on Choose Files and it will bring up the next screen.

This screen asks you to select the images to be loaded.  It can be a file or a picture from the Photos album.  I like to put my processed pictures in my Photos album (on Mac) so that it’s easy to see and upload to a blog, Facebook, or any other media. You can select multiples pictures or files at a time to upload.  To select multiple pictures/files at a time, use the Select and Command key together.

This is what it looks like when a picture is uploaded.  To add it to the blog, click on the picture to highlight it, then click on the “Add selected” button at the bottom.

The following screen shows what the post looks like when a picture is added.  You can change the size of the picture and also add a caption by selecting it

  • Videos – the process to add videos is similar to adding photos. There is a limit to how big the video file can be. I don’t know exactly what the limit is but I guess anything less than a 1-minute video is fine.

All you need now is to add a story to your blog.  Remember to save the post every few minutes to make sure you don’t lose anything you’ve added.  One of the disadvantages of Blogger is you have to be online to use it.  If you don’t save it and you lose your internet connection, you may lose everything that you have added.

When you have finished, you should Preview your post before Publishing it. This gives you a chance to see what your readers see and correct any mistakes or change your layout.  When you are sure that’s what you want others to see, go back your post and Publish it.  Voilà!  You have just created the first Post in your Blog!

The above gives you the basic steps to create a simple blog.  You can customize and design it in many different ways by using the Layout and Theme functions.  You can also make money from your blog by signing up with AdSense.  Click on the Earnings function to learn how to do that.

I have been using Blogger for almost 10 years.  Here is what my blog looks like:

https://mengineurope.blogspot.com

What I like about Blogger is it has an excellent Help section.  Google has a staff that answers your questions.  There is also a big community of bloggers that can also help you. If you don’t get it right at first, don’t worry.  “Rome was not built in a day”.  Keep tinkling and playing with it until you are happy with your design.

Happy Blogging!

Meng Tay is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes