Tag Archives: photography

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 chrispepperphotography@gmail.com

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50 shades of grey

On today’s blog I would like to talk to you about filters. So for all of you who read the title and thought this was a raunchy sex type post, sorry! Filters for photography have been around forever, over the years techniques have changed a little but the fundamentals of being a creative photographer are still the same. Stepping out into the creative world of filters can be addicting, it is also known to cause lack of sleep, disappearance of extra funds in your bank account, many wasted hours processing photos and the need to travel for that next shot once your hooked. So lets go over some filters that are available for photographers today. First we have a UV or protective filter.3111_filtry-all2 Then we have Polarizer that helps cut down the harsh sun. We also have ND filters that cut out light to create longer exposure times. And of course the old faithful color filters. So let’s talk a little more about these types of filters and what they really do.

Haze filters or UV filters seem to be a great seller for most photography businesses. The average person will buy one of these filters when buying a new lens for the protective value that it adds to the glass of the lens. It also will cut down the glare on water or harsh light in landscapes. So as much as people think they are doing something good for there images they really are degrading some of the image quality. When a lens is designed it is made to what technicians feel is optimal quality, adding that one more piece of glass can have that much effect on your image. Sometimes these filters will add more flare from direct sun or in the nighttime they can add star bursts from specific light sources. This also depends on the type of lens that you install this filter on as well.maxresdefault So the real trade off you have to think about is, do I need to protect my lens? Or will I gamble and remove it so I get a better picture? I will tell you this much that a 20-30 dollar filter is a lot cheaper then to repair or replace a lens, so you decided.

Next we should talk about those polarizer filters and what they can do for you. Polarizers are designed to cut out some of that harsh light so you can get more depth in your clouds and give it that rich blue sky.polarizer-filter-example Or they can also cut down some light to give you a more real look of water, removing the glare and adding deep tones. Some polarizers filters can also be circular, meaning that you can rotate the filter to adjust it properly on your horizon. But be careful when using these filters because if it’s a strong one and you don’t have it aligned properly to your landscape you will have a funny looking line across your image. Best way to tell is to aim it up towards the sky and adjust the filter so you can see the defined line. Another problem people have with these filters is they do not work when facing the sun. You must be facing 90 degrees from the sun. So the easiest way to remember this is to face the sun and what ever direction your shoulders are turned will be the best light for your filter.

filter-in-holderOk so ND filters are a very popular filter on the market right now. When you are looking into buying one I would suggest doing some research in regards to the color cast that can be created by them. So the idea of a ND filter is to cut out the light and trick the camera into thinking it’s darker outside then it really is. What this does is it allows you to get a slower shutter speed to create a long exposure. Some examples would be that soft silty looking water from rivers or waterfalls. Or another example would be that streaked look of the sky that you see in nighttime long exposures. Or one of my favorites would be the look of some rides at the fall fair in the nighttime.fair crop ND or Neutral Density can be fairly expensive and usually require a proprietary holders for that specific type of filter to mount onto your lens. The holder can again increase the total cost of owning one of these setups. Some people would rather purchase a regular screw on type filter instead of the holder style. One thing I should mention is that the lip on a screw on filter should be slim if you are shooting with a wide angle lens or you will catch the lip in your photos.

Many people still ask me if they should get color filters for there DSLR so this is what I tell them.rodenstock-filtry-1000x750 The usual color filters for BW film are not very useful in digital world as these can easily result overexposure in one channel and leave the other channels underexposed and noisy. Putting a strong color filter in front of your lens means that you are using your digital camera inefficiently, as for example in case of red/blue filter, you’re using just 25% of your available pixels and 50% in case of green. However people who shoot black and white photography and do not use editing software these filters can still be of use. Black and White is a balance of dark blacks and white whites so to use a filter to make a channel stronger can result in a more impacting contrast in a photo. For those of you that have editing software this can all be done at your fingertips without filters.

If you would like to learn more about how to use some of these filters please join me on one of my composition workshops. The workshops we will be using filters on will be 50 Point sunrise, Night photography into a sunrise, Golden hour workshop, Fall colors in Paris and the Fall fair. We will work together using your filters to make sure you bring home the pictures you desire.
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