Shooting Wildflowers

Kevinv-BW-smallSoon wildflower season will be here and thanks to the wet fall the wildflowers in Central Texas are expected to really really nice! I’m looking forward to getting out and trying some new techniques that have been rolling around in my noodle. The one thing about wildflowers is everybody loves to shoot them…the same old way! Selling wildflower photos has gotten harder harder with all the competition out there willing to in some cases give them away for free. In response, I’ve noticed a few photographers have gotten really creative in the approaches which has inspired me to do the same. I think people are looking for fresh looks at fresh flowers. Really, even HDR has gotten way over used. Recently I was talking with one of my clients who is an art director at one of the national photography magazines and he was telling me he is done using heavily photoshopped and altered landscape photos. As he said, “They just are not real, a pack of photographic lies”. A little harsh, but somewhat true. Being creative is good and using manipulative techniques is fine, as long as you do not pass it off as real. Real being if one were to have been with you at the time, they would have seen what you captured in front of the lens themselves.

So, what can you do to stand out? Light is your paint. Use light in creative ways. I play with it all…flashlights, neon lights, strobes, moon light, foil, mirrors, etc. There is no real formula other than pushing the envelope, trying new things and failing a lot in between successes. I’ll be leading a couple of wildflower expeditions in March so if your interested in learning some really cool techniques, check it out. The lodging and meals are included and we are staying at the Canyon of the Eagles Resort on Lake Buchanan in Texas, which is very cool in and of itself! Here is a link to SHOOTING TEXAS WILDFLOWERS ( http://www.texasphotoworkshops.com/node/216 )

Kevin Vandivier

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Barbara Magnuson & Larry Kimball Nature & Wildlife Photography

Rocky Mt. Elk [Cervus elaphus]
Light & Substance

Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth [Bradypus variegatus]“We are first and foremost nature photographers. We are not specialists in that we tend to capture images of what interests us, inspires us and surprises us, macros to landscapes, behavior to portraits and all of the wild. As a husband and wife team we collaborate of course but retain our own individual vision.

Our market has been the print media, calendars, books and magazines but we also produce custom prints here at home and use Imagekind.com, ArtFlakes.com, Photoshelter and AGPix.com to widen our audience. Several photo agencies represent our work worldwide and give us access to markets of which we would never have been aware.

Writing the occasional article also opens markets for our photo images. We prefer writing about locations or specific critters as opposed to technical information.

We hope our images and words promote an understanding of and more reverence for the natural world and our wild brethren.

Come to our website, view our images, read our blog and don’t hesitate to send us your comments, observations, requests or questions. We’d love to hear from you! ”


Barbara Magnuson and Larry Kimball

1467 Red Feather Rd
Cotopaxi, Colorado USA




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Professional vs. Amateur Photographers?

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photoselecThe Olympics are coming and there have been already many controversial discussions on how the photography rights will be handled during the games. There were rumors that it will not be allowed to share images on social networks in the stadiums and photographers were prohibited to photograph the Olympic locations during construction. Well, this week came the news that only small cameras will be allowed in the stadiums and any camera or lens bigger than the allowed size will be confiscated, but there are no lockers to keep them, so they most likely will be gone when you come out. As a response a discussion spun off from both sides, professional and amateur photographers. The amateur photographers were upset that they cannot take their great equipment with them and the professional photographers were cynical, stating that with the allowed camera and lens size one still can take great images. What is this about?
The professional photographers who are the official photographers of an event make their living from photography, invest constantly in their business and often have to pay to be allowed photographing an event. For a big event as the Olympics photo and press agencies pay for the right to take photographs. They need to earn that money back by selling the images to the media and online platforms. That becomes very difficult when everybody in the stadium with a big zoom lens gets in the position to photograph the event as well. At such an event it’s not that much about the quality of the images, it’s more about catching a moment and being the first to have it on the Internet. It’s a race.
That race can be real fun for amateur photographers, but is very annoying for professional photographers. The professional is working there and does not have the time and energy to play a game with thousands of amateurs challenging him or her. It’s completely understandable that everybody wants to photograph the Olympics when being one of the lucky ones having a ticket. But just do it for your own and your friend’s fun and leave the professionals doing their job. All photographers share the passion for photography. Respect each other’s role in the photography world and learn from each other.
Imagine being an electrician, called in to repair a power failure and the head of the household is telling you how to do it, because he built his electrical miniature train system himself. He can be of big help by telling the electrician when the failure occurred, which machines were running at that moment and probably other relevant information, but the actual work needs to be done by the called in professional.
If the amateur feels the desire to become a professional, do it! Follow you heart and make your passion your profession and respect those who did that already.

Ute Sonnenberg
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