Category Archives: Behind the scenes

How come I never got that picture?

Hello everybody!

It has been quite a while since I have wrote a blog on here so I figured it was time to spark things up again. Today I wanted to talk about what the average photographer will miss while they are at a travel destination. While we were out running a workshop this summer in Nova Scotia we were crossing the ferry coming back from a whale watching tour. I noticed the sun was on a very low angle and if we could find something fast to photograph we would be rewarded with a fireball sky over the Bay of Fundy. It just so happened that there was a light house right out on the point across the straight from us. So we stopped the car and waited for the magic to happen. Now this is what I mean by how people can miss a picture that is right in front of them. This is an image of what caught my eye.

Chris Pepper,photography workshops, Canadian photography workshops

So you can see that we were quite a distance from our subject. The landscape looked nice but it needed something more to help the image along. Hmmmm I thought to myself what can we do here?? Because of the time of the day the tide was rising and the flow of water was quite fast. The clouds were moving a little bit to the right so I thought hey lets tell the clients to try out there ND filters. So I helped everybody get set up and we started to take a few pictures. The results turned out just awesome I though, the motion was captured as to be expected and it gave the image a totally different look.

Chirs Pepper, long exposure, Northof49photography, canadain photography workshops

So reviewing the image above, I cropped out a bit of the sky to just keep in the colour and remove some of the blue. I kept the foreground as I thought the motion captured from the water helped give a sense of movement in the image. After helping the clients out with there images I had another idea! I told the clients we should put on a larger lens so we could isolate the lighthouse and frame it on our left. This way we could try to make the image look more appealing with proper rules of composition. Now do remember that rules are meant to be broken! So here was our first image we took with our larger lenses.

Chris Pepper, North of 49 photography, Boars island lighthouse, Canadain photography workshops, Nova Scotia,

This image was taken @ 420mm, you can now see that the sun is nothing more then a fireball behind our subject (the light house) and the shadow on the rocks has now become a complete silhouette due to exposing for the sky. Isolation from the telephoto lens has created a completely new perspective of this scene now. It removed a large body of water and a large portion sky to keep us right on target to what we were looking to achieve. Now I wont say I like this image more than the others, but it is a completely different look that I’m sure many people would never have captured. Last I wanted to add another edit of the same crop with my telephoto but in black and white.

Chris Pepper, North of 49 photography, Lighthouse photography workshop, Nova Scotia

Although I do like the black and white image as it offers a balance of dark blacks and light whites. But in all honesty do you think it tells a story the way the colour pictures do? I think when you size it up to the photo above it totally lots its oomph.

So let’s wrap up today on a note about perspective. Most photographers that are beginning have lots to learn in the means of being creative. Let’s face it, there are those who have a huge creative side to themselves and pic up a camera and never skip a beat. Then there is the other half of the people that think photography would be a fun hobby. These people buy a camera and struggle because they only take pictures and don’t make pictures. This blog is a classic example of how 4 pictures can look so different but yet be taken from the exact same location. And when I say location I mean my tripod never moved from the same spot. I used 3 different focal lengths, 3 different edits and one long exposure. While your out photographing the rest of the summer try to step back and think outside of the box. Nobody can ridicule you for trying something new, being creative is what makes us all different. If you are a landscape photographer and you are trying to to get noticed you really need to sit back and think what will make my picture look totally different then everybody else?

Happy shooting and thanks for taking the time to read my blog today!

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Behind the scenes of what goes on in the Raptors in Flight Workshop

Today’s blog is on behind the scenes of the Raptors in flight workshop.Raptors in flight workshop, photography workshops, photographing bald eagles, photographing golden eagles, photographing owls, canadian photography workshops, Ontario photography workshops, Chris Pepper Photography, Chris Pepper People have many questions when they contact me about this workshop, so I wanted to help clarify some information for you. First thing is who is this workshop designed for? This workshop is designed for anybody and everybody with all different skill levels. There is no need to be a superstar photographer to attend this workshop. You don’t need a big fancy 600mm lens or have to ware camo clothes to attend, but if you know me I will likely have some type of camo on. :) So let’s take a little walk through on how to be prepared for the Raptors in flight workshop. 1 month before we start our workshop I will send all the attendees my first email.Birds in flight workshop, photographing raptors, canadian photography workshops, Ontario photography workshops, photographing owls, photographing eagles, photographing hawks, Chris Pepper Photography, Chris Pepper This email will contain some tips and tricks to settings and how to photograph birds in flight. As well some encouragement to get out and practice before we meet up so you feel somewhat comfortable once we attend. I also encourage people to contact me if they are having any troubles with there practice sessions so we can work out as many bugs before hand if possible. 1 week prior I will again contact all the attendees to make sure they have all there gear ready with a list of what to bring and how to dress for the occasion. I like to make sure everybody is prepared as much as possible once we get out to our location.

The morning of our workshop I will be on location waiting for your arrival 30 minutes before our session starts. During this time we can relax and get to meet each other and go over some details about our day together. I will walk you over to the fields we will be photographing in to show you some great spots to shoot from and explain the direction of the raptors flight paths and what way the sun will be coming from. Together throughout the day we will work out what ever bugs you may be having. My attendance is to make sure you are having fun and getting all the shots you desire. During our shoot we also have the chance to ask our falconer (James) any questions we would like to about the raptors we will be photographing. This will also help you with identifying raptors out in our local fields by learning colours and feather patterns, or just the characteristics of the flight that these raptors have. Some of the raptors we could be photographing are the Harris’ Hawk, Red Tailed Hawk, Broad-winged hawk, Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Golden Eagle and Bald Eagle. Static birds could include an Eurasian Eagle Owl, Swainson’s Hawk, Peregrine, Aplomado Falcon, Great Grey Owl and a Snowy Owl. Because all of these raptors fly a little different we will be working on your placement to ensure you get different angles and backgrounds for the shots you want.Raptors in flight workshop, Chris pepper photography, canadian photography workshops, Ontario photography workshops, During these periods when we move around we can work on placement according to what lens size you are working with. If you want to use a wide angle and be feet away from a Bald Eagle coming straight at you that can be arranged. If you would like a Great Horned Owl to fly right over top of you that can be done to. It’s all about being creative and using the lens you have with these well trained raptors. Raptors in flight workshop, Ontario photography workshops, canadian photography workshops, North of 49 photography, Chris Pepper Photography, As well throughout the day we will be bringing out some birds that are for just static shots. We will place them in environment type settings to give you the most natural setting pictures possible. This also allows people who are struggling with some flight pictures to take there time and get a proper compositional static photo to make a big canvass of one day.

Everybody I would like you to meet James,James James is our falconer that will be working with us all day. During our selection period for finding a falconer his resume stood out with his many years of experience and extensive devotion to his raptors. Besides providing these photography workshops for us he is very involved in the raptor industry. James owns one of the largest captive breeding projects in the world. He has over 200 captive-bred birds at his facility. He regularly breeds over 15 different species each year. Many are endangered species and some of their offspring are sent back into the wild through organized release projects around the world. All of his birds that he use for our workshops are captive-bred. So on top of working with his breeding project James also is involved in caring for sick and injured birds of prey that have come from wild populations. They work very closely with veterinarians to assess injuries and try, if at all possible, to return the birds back to the wild. He typically takes in over 50 birds per year into his rehab program. Most people would think that sounds like a full time job on it’s own but he still does more. James and his crew use trained Birds of Prey to scare and remove unwanted bird species from a pre-determined place. This is accomplished by relying on the natural predator-prey relationship that exists between raptors and other bird species. This natural bird control method is environmentally friendly in that it does not rely upon killing the pest species; instead it relies on scare tactics, which is more effective as the pest species learns to avoid the given area. This Bird Control Method is applied at landfill sites, airports and industrial sites.

As we wrap up our day together we will go over any questions anybody may still have for myself or James. During this time we can talk briefly on some tips for editing so your new pictures can pop off the computer at you. I also encourage people to contact me if they are having any editing issues as I would be happy to help you. So there you have it this is my behind the scenes of the Raptors in Flight workshop.

It would be great if you could join us for my next May 16th workshop as I still have some spots available for both AM or PM classes.
Half day workshops are 149 plus HST and full day workshops are 249 plus HST

For more information please Email me at

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