New Blog Layout

Posted in Blog, Bob Shank, Photography, WordPress with tags , , , on October 4, 2013 by bobshank

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 2.55.57 PM

My photography blog moved to:

http://bobshankphotography.com/blog/

Check out my new blog post by clicking on the link or screenshot above! Then update your bookmark.

Thanks!

 

Before & After

Posted in Adobe Lightroom, Editing Photos, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , on October 3, 2013 by bobshank

PEPE#7-3496a

PEPE#7-3496b

 

Lightroom is my go-to choice for both keeping track of and editing my photographs. I do use Photo Mechanic, as well, but that is a topic for another blog post. I also have and use Photoshop, but easily 95%+ of my photo edits are accomplished in Lightroom. So I thought for today’s blog post, I would share this before and after photograph to just share a few edits I do routinely in Lightroom.

First, I have to thank Dick McCreight, my colleague and professional photographer who is an absolute guru with Lightroom’s Develop module. He makes it look so easy and is somehow uniquely able to teach what he knows. He is awesome! Thanks, Dick! Also, John Kliest, another colleague and photographer, recently helped me to better understand Lightroom’s Develop module. One tip in particular comes to mind that I learned from John, which involves the Highlights slider. I know my way around Lightroom’s Library module well. I can edit a new shoot in no time, flagging the best photos and using color labels to identify photos I want to use for my blog or some other purpose. The Develop module, however, was a place I somewhat feared to tread. It just seemed kinda overwhelming to me to be honest. Well, Dick and John relieved my fears and taught me some really valuable and helpful stuff so I can now edit my photos efficiently. Thanks guys!

Let’s start by looking at the first photo above. You can see the exposure is a little dark and there is a floating arm from a person located in the lower-right corner of the photo. The cropping tool was used first and I just slightly cropped out that floating arm. LIghtroom makes this quick and easy.

Then I adjusted the exposure, bringing up the light a little shy of half a stop. This was a good start to editing the photo but I knew I couldn’t stop here.

So, I then adjusted the highlights, white clipping, and black clipping sliders. The goal in wildlife photography is to always keep the focus on the subject. Working with the white and black portions of the photograph can sometimes provide drastic changes. Sure enough, once I made these adjustments, I had to scale back the exposure about 2-tenths of a stop. I guess I should have started with these adjustments before correcting the exposure.

Then I worked on adjusting the shadows and contrast. Typically, I find the shadows slider to be a very helpful tool in bringing details out of the dark, literally!

Finally, I added a little smidgen of clarity and vibrance, which I do to most of my photographs.

Within just a few short minutes I edited the photo to a very usable and better quality photograph by using the Develop module in Lightroom. I know I still have a lot to learn about properly editing photographs, but equipped with even the little knowledge I do posses, I can see big changes in my photographs after editing them.

Lightroom is a great tool on a number of levels. I will post more blog entries in the future to share in detail how I use this amazing software. Lightroom rocks!

Be Patient… Let Them Come to You

Posted in 200-400mm, Getting Closer, Patience, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill with tags , , , , , , on October 2, 2013 by bobshank

PEPE#7 2528
Much of the time spent in wildlife photography is pursuing the animals we want to photograph. I often tease that, “Yeah, I was out on the mountain chasing the elk around with my camera.” I do not mean this literally, of course. Chasing an animal is just not a very good idea if you intend to photograph it!

PEPE#7 2134

So how can you actually get closer to the wild animals? Be patient and let them come to you. That’s right, be patient. In our fast-paced society today, this is not an easy thing for many people to do. Being patient means taking the time to stay in one place for an extended period of time.

PEPE#7 2139

Last week, while shooting the Pennsylvania Elk, we were on a hill with a small harem of cows and a couple of bulls within about 100 yards of us. We had our cameras on our tripods and were capturing some photographs at that distance. We patiently remained in that one location for well over an hour. Amazingly, the elk ever so slowly began to feed in our direction. They didn’t close the distance by leaps and bounds; rather, they slowly mossyed in our direction. This took time and we remained patient.

PEPE#7 2154

Eventually, the bull moved to within a few yards of our location. You can see in these photos that I now had too much lens with my 200-400mm. It was an amazing experience!

PEPE#7 2170
The key was staying still and patient, while letting the animals slowly feed in our direction instead of chasing them by trying to get closer. I firmly believe that most photographers will get better photographs if they practiced more patience with their subjects. The next time you are shooting wildlife, practice more patience. Remain in one location and let them work toward you. It is an amazing experience when this happens and you will get some incredible photos, too!

PEPE#7 2528

 

 

Photo of the Month

Posted in Brandon Leap, Football, High School Football, Lehighton High School, Photo of the Month, Pleasant Valley High School, Pocono Record, Poconos, Sports Photography with tags , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by bobshank

Pleasant Valley v. Lehighton

September’s Photo of the Month was likely to be a football photograph. For one thing, this is the time of year for football. After all, is there any better season than fall, and is there any better season than football season? I think not! We are definitely in the midst of football season!

It is incredible to me, but I still find myself getting butterflies on Friday nights before the games. I certainly did when I played high school football back in the early ’80s, but even now, as I am preparing to photograph a game, I find myself pacing back and forth a little bit and fighting off those nervous butterflies that fly around inside my stomach. Will I capture the moment at the exact right time with my camera? Will the photo be in focus? Will the referee run between my camera and the play? Yep, butterflies are still there flying all around in my stomach. There isn’t a feeling in the world to match it!

Some of my goals for a good, quality football photograph include: 1) the face should be showing in the frame and hopefully the eyes will be visible, 2) the ball should appear in the frame, 3) a special moment or peak action should be captured. This photograph accomplishes all three of these goals. It was a special moment in time captured by a camera so it can be recorded for all time. This to me, is the goal of good, quality photography. It is a worthy pursuit and it keeps me coming back time after time to the field to try to capture another special moment.

The next day, this photo ran six columns wide in the sports section of the Pocono Record.

You can view this new Photo of the Month and previous ones here.

Wild Photo Tips Magazine

Posted in Photo Magazine, Photo Tips, Wild Photo Tips Magazine, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , on September 30, 2013 by bobshank

 

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 10.05.28 PM

 

I enjoy photographing wildlife and sharing insights I learned over the years is just a natural progression in my photography passion. So, inspired by fellow photographers, I decided to write a wildlife photography tips magazine. You can view the premier issue here, or by clicking on the photo above.

In this magazine you will find a breadth of info on wildlife photography from suggested gear to practical shooting tips in the field. I share some camera setting suggestions as well as a detailed step-by-step account on location during one of my photo shoots. The goal is to share wild photo tips to help photographers capture better wildlife photographs they will be proud to share with others, and help you become a better photographer. Beginners to experts will find something of value in each issue.

Check out my new Wild Photo Tips Magazine. Share it with others who are interested in wildlife photography. Then be sure to let me know what you think about it!

 

Lenses for Wildlife

Posted in Lenses, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Photo Tips, R-Strap, Think Tank, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , on September 28, 2013 by bobshank

PEPE#7 0854

 

Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience #7 was a pure blast! We saw elk all over the place and bulls were everywhere! I cannot remember a year where we saw so many different bulls and most of them were in camera range. Many of us are spoiled, owning 200mm, 300mm, and even 400mm lenses. The big boy wildlife photographers even haul a 600mm lens out on the mountain!

I confess that lens envy is rampant in my photo circles. We always want more reach. Bigger lenses allow us to stay at a safe distance from the animals and still fill the frame with the subject we are photographing. The other related problem is lack of light in many lenses. Take, for example, the typical 70-300mm zoom lens that is often the second lens purchased by many photographers, it has reach but at 300mm the f-stop is a whopping f/5.6. That is simply not usable at dawn and dusk when animals are most visible and active. An f-stop of 2.8 is ideal, but many settle for f/4, which is a decent comprise to get the reach but also keep the lens affordable. The Nikon 400mm f/2.8 is $9,000!

PEPE#7 0984

My favorite lens for wildlife and sports photography is the 200-400mm f/4. I really like the zoom capability of this lens, especially for sports and wildlife. It allows me to zoom in and out from my position on the sidelines or on the mountain with the twist of the wrist. Typically I rest my left hand on top of the lens to be able to rotate the zoom mechanism when needed. Just remember, righty tighty, which zooms in closer, at least for the Nikon shooters.

I purchased the book, “How to Photograph Animals in the Wild,” by Lennie Rue III, and Len Rue, Jr. about 11 years ago. I got to meet them both twice–once at my favorite spot on the elk range behind my camp and once in a workshop they co-led here in the Poconos. Anyway, this book contains some of their incredible photographs. As I read the book and studied the photos, I saw a repeating trend: most of the photos were captured with a 200-400mm lens. Well, it then instantly became my dream lens. I saved for 3 1/2 years to purchase the lens and I use it every week. It really is a great lens for sports and wildlife photography, and it has quickly become my go-to lens!

PEPE#7 1756

 

Each of these photographs in today’s blog entry were captured with my 200-400mm f/4 lens. The lens is sharp and clear and it can be coupled with a teleconverter to provide even more reach if there is enough light. I also am now in the habit of carrying a second camera body around my body. This is necessary when photographing football games, so it comes quite naturally to me now. This week I carried the D300 with the 200-400mm f/4 on my tripod and another D300 with the 24-70mm f/2.8 around my body on an R-Strap. I also toted the Think Tank Belt System to carry my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, my 50mm f/1.4 lens, my 1.4x teleconverter, and other accessories. It is all easy to carry and I am covered from 24mm all the way through 560mm. That’s pretty sweet for wildlife photography!

When we teach our photo classes for the Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, we recommend at least 200mm with a teleconverter. This covers out to 280mm and provides good minimal coverage for the large elk. For most other mammals, which are smaller, we recommend 300mm or more. A wildlife photographer can never seem to have enough lens reach!

Another helpful tip is getting close to the wildlife, or preferably, letting the wildlife get close to you. More on this topic next week. For now, just remember that lenses for wildlife might be expensive, but they sure produce consistently clear results. I really, really like my 200-400mm f/4 lens!

Now my next dream lens is the 400mm f/2.8 for football, and the 600mm f/4 for bird photography. It just never ends…

PEPE#7 2515

 

Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience #7 – What an Experience!!!

Posted in Bennezette, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill with tags , , , , on September 27, 2013 by bobshank

PEPE#7-3176
It’s in the books. The 7th Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience just wrapped up yesterday. Wow! We saw more bulls on this trip than any I can remember in the recent past. We watched bull after bull, heard their blustering bugles, and were astounded by how many were within camera range. This was one outstanding experience!

One of the many highlights was on Wednesday night when we were literally in the middle of six bulls and a harem of cows. This alone could be thrilling, but add to it the location was on a river full of water and you can begin to see why this experience was so thrilling! We watched patiently for the first bull to cross over the water with splashes of water at its feet, but eventually we saw six crossings. This all provided an astounding opportunity to capture some amazing wildlife photographs.

If you want to photograph the Pennsylvania Elk, you really should consider signing up for next year’s PA Elk Photo Experience. You can find more info here. We are also seriously considering another winter trip. This is a quieter experience without the hoards of elk viewers we are accustomed to seeing in the fall rut. The elk can be a little more difficult to find in the winter, but once we do they make for stunning subjects in front of the wonderland of snow!

Here is a gallery of my best captures this week.

PEPE#7-3592

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 155 other followers