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Digital photography has its own terminology

Olympus Stylus SH-1: Aimed at the point-and-shoot user.

IMAGINGIn today’s review of the Olympus SH-1 we get a bit overheated about jpegs with excessive noise reduction applied in-camera. So, what is a JPEG? What is noise? And how can you have too much reduction?When the first digital camera was demonstrated in the Kodak laboratory it produced low-resolution black-and-white images and the files were recorded on a modified audio cassette tape. It was obvious that even this crude prototype was generating files that were too large for convenient, portable storage. In 1992 a group of standards-setting organisations was formed to work on a useable file storage format.

Flashback: Kodac chief executive George Fisher explains Kodak’s new digital imaging technology to the media in San Francisco in 1995.

The group called itself the Joint Photographic Experts Group – JPEG – and its members agreed on a method of file compression that is now universally used in digital cameras, and most camera users are happy to save files as JPEGs and not think about what is happening.
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A JPEG is a compressed version of the information coming from the camera sensor. It is called ‘‘lossy’’ because it throws away information that, in theory, does not affect the subjective quality of the picture. The compression is done inside the camera in the image processing engine.The compression algorithm is universal but other aspects of JPEG conversion – colour, white balance, sharpening and noise reduction – vary according to camera make and model.Image ‘‘noise’’ is a spurious signal that is generated by the sensor, even when no light is falling on it. It shows up as either black, grainy or randomly coloured specs. The crude way of removing or reducing noise – which becomes worse as the ISO sensitivity is increased – is to blur the image. Doing this smudges fine detail, such as hair or feathers, and post-camera sharpening won’t fix the image.The best way to reduce noise is to capture the raw information in the camera, transfer that uncompressed file to a computer and apply the conversion and noise reduction there. But you probably don’t want the hassle; so what can you do to get better photos?First, make sure the JPEG compression setting – usually marked as Quality in the menu – is set to its highest point. Choose the largest Size in the menu. Then, if it is an option, turn down Noise Reduction (it will probably be marked NR in the menu) to Low or Off. A little noise (grain) is better than a little noise reduction (blur). Put the Mode dial on P and set the ISO to 400.The problem with the Olympus tested today is that there are only two quality options and NR cannot be turned off. That obviates the need to think, but at what cost in picture quality?REVIEWOLYMPUS STYLUS SH-1Price: $405 (street)For the un-fussyTHE LOWDOWN: This 16-megapixel compact camera has a zoom lens with a film-equivalent range of 25-600mm. It has 5 axis optical stabilisation. The 75mm LCD is non-swivelling and touch enabled. Focus and shutter can be activated with one-finger touch on the critical point. Wi-Fi makes remote control from a smart phone accessible with the Olympus app – free for iOS and Android but not for Windows phones. Controls are small but well laid out and easy to use. The menu options are basic and the camera is clearly aimed at the point-and-shoot user, although the P and M Mode options do give limited control.LIKE: The 5 axis image stabilisation lives up to its promise. Even at the full focal length extension, images are reasonably sharp.DISLIKE: The noise reduction cannot be turned off and its application is heavy handed. Even at low ISO settings the effect of noise reduction can be seen as a muddying of detail, and there is no RAW option, so there is nothing that can be done to override the in-camera processing. We are being fussy, and for Facebook, Flickr or Instagram it won’t matter.VERDICT: Olympus has vacated the entry-level compact camera business and is concentrating on the premium end with its Stylus range. Most of the Stylus models are fixed-lens versions of their excellent compact system cameras, but not the SH-1. This is a perplexing odd-camera-out in the range. With its small size and smartphone connection it is an ideal social-media camera for the un-fussy snapper, but for a few dollars less you can buy the brilliant Olympus XZ-2, one of the very best compact cameras in the shop. That’s the way to go if you care about ultimate image quality. 

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Adobe Releases New Creative Cloud Photography Plan for $9.99 Per Month

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(Business Wire)–Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the availability of the new Adobe
Creative Cloud Photography plan. Designed for anyone interested in
photography, the new plan brings together — for USD$9.99 per month —
Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5, two tools that have fundamentally impacted
how photographs and imagery shape our visual culture, as well as
Lightroom’s breakthrough mobile apps on iPad and now iPhone. Also
introduced today is the all-new Photoshop Mix, a new iPad app that
provides access to powerful Photoshop features normally confined to the
desktop, enabling compositing and transformative edits while on the go.
Built using the new Adobe Creative SDK (see
separate release), Photoshop Mix delivers new levels of Adobe
imaging precision and magic to mobile users.

“With our Lightroom products alone managing over 100 billion images, we
know there’s a huge appetite from photography enthusiasts to have
powerful, world-class software available on their mobile devices as well
as their computers,” said Winston Hendrickson, vice president, digital
imaging, Adobe. “With Photoshop, Lightroom and new mobile photo apps,
we’ve created the most complete photography solution on the planet,
ensuring that anyone interested in photography can be creative with
their images, no matter where they are.”

Create and Manage Beautiful Images in Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5

Photoshop CC, part of the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, was updated,
with stunning new features — as part of a milestone release of Adobe
Creative Cloud (see
separate press release). Features for photographers, include:

Perspective Warp – The recently introduced capability for fluidly
adjusting the perspective of a specific part of your image without
affecting the surrounding area.

Blur Gallery motion effects – Two new additions, Path Blur and Spin
Blur create a sense of motion, even if not originally captured
with a camera, enabling photographers to tell their story or express
just the right feeling in an image. There’s also faster performance
when creating blur effects with the Mercury Graphics Engine delivering
a performance boost with OpenCL.

Focus Mask – Lets Photoshop CC create the first step of a mask by
automatically selecting the in-focus areas of an image. The Focus Mask
feature works great with headshots and other images that have shallow
depth of field.

Content-Aware color adaptation improvements – Previously when using
Content-Aware features, if a selected area contained smooth gradients,
it didn’t necessarily appear in the final image. Now retouched images
using Content-Aware Fill, Move, and Patch gets more seamless and
realistic. Additionally, new technology blends areas containing
gradients, like skies, to give exceptional results.

Improved stylus support and experimental features for Windows
8.1 – Enjoy smoother brush strokes and a simple out-of-the-box
experience with expanded stylus support for Windows 8.1. Turn on
experimental features for touch and gesture controls and bigger touch
targets on devices like Surface Pro 3.

The Creative Cloud Photography plan includes Lightroom 5 desktop
software, a staple for all photographers, making digital photography
easier, faster, and more amazing. Photographers can experiment without
limits in a nondestructive editing environment and perfect shots with
advanced controls for tone, contrast, color, and more. Efficient
organizing tools help sort thousands of photos and make it simple to
share them almost anywhere.

Mobile Solutions Takes Serious Photography Work Anywhere

Following its April 2014 release on iPad, Lightroom mobile is now
available for iPhone. Lightroom mobile for iPhone and iPad provide the
most efficient way to manage and edit images across desktops, mobile
devices and the Web. The apps can automatically import images from the
iPhone camera roll and sync back to a Lightroom catalog on the desktop.
Lightroom mobile provides photography essentials, including
non-destructive processing of files using Smart Preview technologies to
enable professional class photo editing from the confines of the
desktop. Quickly apply star ratings, flag or reject images and edit them
on iPhone and iPad. Edits and metadata changes automatically sync back
to the Lightroom catalog on the desktop and are also viewable from any
Web browser at lightroom.adobe.com. Lightroom mobile photo collections
are also accessible for users of Adobe Voice, the recently introduced
free animated video storytelling app.

Photoshop Mix, provides a connected mobile workflow to Creative Cloud,
aimed at anyone who wants access to powerful editing tools on their
mobile device. Open Adobe Photoshop documents, individual layers from
PSDs, and images from Lightroom mobile. Easily apply looks, create
advanced selections and masks, and access advanced Photoshop features
like Upright, Content-Aware Fill, and Camera Shake Reduction to take
creativity on the go. Then export your layered and masked composition to
Photoshop CC for further refinement on the desktop. Share work, or even
save it to a Photoshop document for a mobile workflow that works
seamlessly with Photoshop CC.

Technology Optimized for Mobile Photography

The Creative Cloud Photography plan’s desktop and mobile apps are
connected by a powerful technology designed to enable users to edit and
sync photos non-destructively from anywhere. By combining the same
non-destructive editing pipeline found in Lightroom and Adobe Camera
Raw, with Adobe’s renowned Smart Preview technologies, the amount of
information being moved between apps is minimized, without compromising
the end result. This gives users confidence that edits will be saved
while being able to access their images with unprecedented speed, no
matter what device.

Pricing and Availability

Creative Cloud Photography plan is available at $USD9.99 per month. For
additional details, please visit www.adobe.com/go/photographyplan.

To get started with Lightroom mobile, visit www.adobe.com/go/lrmobile_getstarted.

Photoshop Mix is free and available for download in the Apple app store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adobe-photoshop-mix-creative/id885271158.
To learn more about Photoshop Mix, please visit mix.adobe.com.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more
information, visit www.adobe.com.

© 2014 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe, the Adobe
logo, Creative Cloud and Lightroom are either registered trademarks or
trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or
other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their
respective owners.

Adobe Systems IncorporatedMarissa Lee, 415-832-5378marlee@adobe.comorEdelmanReagan
Crossley, 650-762-2955reagan.crossley@edelman.com

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Beach photography tips

Beaches! I love them. So much so that the last post I did on this site was all about beaches. And that wasn’t even the first. Being as I am keen to share my knowledge with you folks on the subject of photography, via both tips and advice on this very blog, and through the medium of the spoken word at the odd workshop, it seemed sensible to put together a post all about how to take better beach photos. Which I just did. Although I actually did it as a post for a site that talks all about beaches pretty much all of the time, which seemed like a good fit. So, if you want to find out all about taking photos on the beach including: How to get the basics right, including tips on composition. Putting the story together, and how to improve your photos so they’re more than just holiday snapshots. Picking the right gear – beaches can be treacherous places for cameras, so you need to pack wisely to avoid mishap! Finding the light – all that white sand and shiny water can make beach photography really challenging – learn how to use the light to your advantage!Then head on over to the post, and get your learn on!

If you enjoyed this post, why not click here to subscribe to get future posts delivered to you by e-mail? Plus, you can sign up to our newsletter for exclusive members only content! Finally, Google Chrome users can get the FTU Chrome extension.

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Nikon Shifts Focus to Health as Camera Sales Flag

June 17, 2014 8:02 a.m. ET

TOKYO—In a bid to counter a slump in its camera sales,

Nikon Corp.’s

7731.TO -2.59%

Nikon Corp.

Japan: Tokyo

¥1616

-43
-2.59%

June 18, 2014 3:00 pm

Volume :
7.46M

P/E Ratio
13.69

Market Cap
¥660.65 Billion

Dividend Yield
2.72%

Rev. per Employee
¥40,776,600

06/17/14 Nikon Shifts Focus to Health a…
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incoming chief executive said on Tuesday he would aggressively expand his company’s medical-device business through acquisitions.

Kazuo Ushida,

currently the senior executive vice president, said the Tokyo-based camera maker plans to spend about $2 billion for mergers and acquisitions in the medical and instruments businesses over the next three years. “Merger and acquisition will account for a large part of the initial sharp growth” in the medical business, Mr. Ushida said. “There is a huge potential” in this business, he added.

Mr. Ushida, who will take over as CEO pending approval at an annual shareholders meeting later this month, said Nikon will hire M&A experts to compile a list of targets and to handle due diligence and postmerger integration. It also will allocate nearly a quarter of its $2.2 billion in planned research-and-development spending for the medical business and new areas. The transition comes as Nikon grapples with falling sales of its compact digital cameras and digital single-lens reflex, or dslr, cameras as consumers opt to snap photos on their smartphones. With a bigger emphasis on emerging markets and cost cuts, the company expects 2.1% growth in its imaging-products business over the next three years. Starting from scratch, the camera and precision-equipment maker will aim to generate ¥130 billion ($1.28 billion) in revenue from medical and other new businesses by the fiscal year ending in March 2017. That would account for 11% of its total revenue target. Overall, the company expects 22% growth in revenue and a 75% rise in operating profit from the year ended in March 2014 to the year ending in March 2017. Nikon’s health-focused blueprint for growth mirrors a series of other technology companies, including

Toshiba Corp.

6502.TO +0.22%

Toshiba Corp.

Japan: Tokyo

¥449

+1
+0.22%

June 18, 2014 3:00 pm

Volume :
22.24M

P/E Ratio
37.42

Market Cap
¥1906.92 Billion

Dividend Yield
1.78%

Rev. per Employee
¥31,552,400

06/16/14 SanDisk to Buy Fusion-io
06/12/14 GE-Alstom Deal: French Fear Lo…
05/29/14 Fujitsu Ready to Spend, Expect…
More quote details and news »

and

Hitachi Ltd.

6501.TO -0.42%

Hitachi Ltd.

Japan: Tokyo

¥709

-3
-0.42%

June 18, 2014 3:00 pm

Volume :
18.75M

P/E Ratio
12.93

Market Cap
¥3470.43 Billion

Dividend Yield
1.55%

Rev. per Employee
¥29,475,900

06/16/14 Mitsubishi Heavy Seeks More Gl…
06/16/14 Siemens, Mitsubishi Heavy Coun…
06/15/14 Siemens, Mitsubishi Heavy Near…
More quote details and news »

, that are betting big on rising medical needs as revenue from traditional electronics products tapers off. Rival Canon Inc. also has beefed up its R&D spending on medical devices. Toshiba and Hitachi have said they are actively hunting for acquisition targets as they look to double their health-care revenue over the next few years. An increasing number of companies, such as Sony Corp.,

Samsung Electronics Co.

005930.SE -1.16%

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

S. Korea: KRX

KRW1358000

-16000
-1.16%

June 18, 2014 3:00 pm

Volume :
220,887

P/E Ratio
6.75

Market Cap
KRW225976.23 Billion

Dividend Yield
1.02%

Rev. per Employee
N/A

06/17/14 Behind Vietnam’s Anti-China Ri…
06/17/14 Samsung Restructuring Could Of…
06/16/14 Nuance Communications Explores…
More quote details and news »

and Apple Inc., have also launched or plan wearable devices and software to collect and track health data. While the field is flooded with new competitors, Nikon says it will use its prowess in semiconductor lithography technology to develop, for example, DNA chips—a hot technology for genetic research. Write to Kana Inagaki at kana.inagaki@wsj.com

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19 Websites That Will Make You Smarter

Tired of wasting your time watching cat videos or scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed? Want to be more productive next time you go online?
Here’s a list of websites that will actually make you smarter:
digital photography School – Read through this goldmine of articles to improve your photography skills; they’re helpful even if you’re a complete beginner. There’s also an active forum where you can find a community of other photographers to connect with.
Duolingo — Sharpen your language skills with this fun, addictive game. It’s a college-quality education without the pricetag. If you’re looking for more free language-learning materials, you can also try BBC Languages.
Factsie — Did you know the horned lizard can shoot blood out of its tear ducts? Keep clicking through this site to find unusual historical and scientific facts, along with links to sources. Another great site for fun facts is Today I Found Out.
Fast Company’s 30-Second MBA — In short video clips from from accomplished corporate executives, you’ll learn great business advice and life lessons, really fast.
Freerice – Expand your vocabulary while feeding the hungry. It’s the best way to feel good about yourself and learn words you can use for the rest of your life.
Gibbon – This is the ultimate playlist for learning. Users collect articles and videos to help you learn things from iOS programming to effective storytelling.
Instructables — Through fun videos and simple instructions, you can learn how to make anything from a tennis ball launcher to a backyard fort. You can also submit your own creations and share what you make with the rest of the world. Still wanting to learn more? You can visit eHow and gain a wide range of skills, such as how to cook, decorate, fix, plan, garden, or even make a budget.
Investopedia — Learn everything you need to know about the world of investing, markets, and personal finance.
Khan Academy — Not only will you learn a wide variety of subjects through immensely helpful videos, but you’ll get a chance to practice them and keep track of your learning statistics, too. It’s a great way to further your understanding of subjects you’ve already taken or to learn something new. Other great learning sites include Udacity, Coursera, AcademicEarth, Memrise, and edX.
Lifehacker –On this highly useful site, you’ll find an assortment of tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.
Lumosity – Train your brain with these fun, scientifically-designed games. You can build your own Personalised Training Program to improve your memory and attention and track your progress.
Powersearching with Google — Learn how to find anything you ever wanted by mastering your Google search skills. Also, read this article on 100 Google tricks that will save you time in school.
Quora — Get your questions answered by other smart people, or read through the questions other people have asked. You can learn anything from productivity hacks to the best foods of all time.
Recipe Puppy — Enter in all the ingredients you can find in your kitchen, and this wonderful search engine will give you a list of all the recipes you can make with what you have. It’s a great way to learn how to cook without the hassle of buying everything beforehand. For a more extensive list of recipes, try AllRecipes.
Spreeder — This free, online speed-reading software will improve your reading speed and comprehension. Just paste the text you’d like to read, and it will take care of the rest.
StackOverflow — It’s a question and answer site for programmers — basically a coder’s best friend. Other great sources to learn code are Learn X in Y Minutes, Codeacademy, and W3Schools.
TED-Ed – This is a new initiative launched by TED with the idea of “lessons worth sharing.” It is meant to spark the curiosity of learners around the world by creating a library of award-winning, animated lessons created by expert educators, screenwriters, and animators. You can create your own customised lesson to distribute around the world by adding questions, discussion topics, and other supplementary materials to any educational video on YouTube.
Unplug The TV — A fun website that suggests informative videos for you to watch instead of TV. Topics range from space mining to “How Containerization Shaped the Modern World.”
VSauce — This Youtube Channel provides mind-blowing facts and the best of the internet, which will make you realise how amazing our world is. What would happen if the world stopped spinning? Why do we get bored? How many things are there? Watch the videos and find out.
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Newborn Photography Tips

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Here are a few newborn photography tips for the non-professionals. | See more about infant photography, photography tips and baby photos.

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Darkroom over digital: Film photography still popular at some local schools

In the age of camera-equipped smart phones and inexpensive digital cameras, the odds are good that most people in high school or younger have never seen a roll of film or used an “analog” camera — much less developed film and paper prints in a darkroom.

But film photography isn’t dead yet, at least not in New England. Plenty of local people, in fact, are still teaching, learning, and doing “analog” photography.
“We have at least 40 accounts with schools buying film, chemicals, and paper for classes,” said Laura Roberts, public affairs liaison at Newtonville Camera in Newtonville, who handles photographic supply accounts at the store.
According to Roberts, those still teaching film-and-darkroom photography include high schools in Andover, Belmont, Burlington, Cambridge Rindge & Latin, Dover, Framingham, Needham, Newton (North and South), Wellesley, and Winchester. Others include Buckingham Browne & Nichols in Cambridge, Beaver Country Day in Chestnut Hill, Phillips Academy in Andover, as well as colleges, including Babson College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the New England School of Photography.
Photo by Natalie Schmitt-Nardin of Cambridge Rindge & Latin.

“I found film and darkroom photography really challenging in the beginning,” says Yanka Petri, a sophomore at the Cambridge Rindge & Latin high school. “We have to develop and process it all on our own, rather than having the camera do everything. But I love it now, and think it is way better than digital.” Petri said she now spends about an hour every day in the darkroom.
Archy LaSalle has been teaching photography at Cambridge Rindge & Latin for more than two decades, and said the classes involve more than just learning to use the camera. Students also learn the importance of composition and how to envision an image as you take it, he said.
Cambridge Rindge & Latin has two black-and-white photography labs, two digital labs, four levels of classes, and two photo teachers. Photography is actually the most popular class at Cambridge Rindge & Latin, according to LaSalle. “There’s a maximum of 15 students per class, and classes are always full,” he said, adding that the wait list for classes is usually in the hundreds of students.
“I chose to do photography because I wanted to express my artistic side in a different way,” said Cynthia Eliacin, a junior at Cambridge Rindge & Latin, who has been taking Photo 1 during this school year.
Using a film camera, she said, “allows me to concentrate on the image that I’m trying to capture, as opposed to a digital camera where you see it more instantaneously.”
Photo by Kailah Korsch of Newton South.
Newton South high school in Newton offers a four-level photography program, allowing students to study photography throughout high school. The first year is predominantly analog, “which is how I like it,” said Robert Bouchal, who has been teaching photography at the school for 23 years.
Second-year students can choose analog or digital, but the interest has been primarily analog. “They feel they can do digital photography on their own,” Bouchal said. “If they want to move towards digital, I allow them to do that, but insist they produce more images.”
Even then, Bouchal says, “I have students who switched over to digital who feel that working with film and the darkroom taught them the discipline, the patience, the desire to capture the best image of the subject matter.”
Bouchal currently teaches 10 classes of 18 kids each. A number of his students have gone on to be professional photographers, Bouchal said. “One is shooting for the New York Times, another is doing head shots for Hollywood actors.”
And, Bouchal noted: “18 of my students won a total of 33 awards in the Boston Globe’s 2014 Scholastic Art Awards, for a mix of digital and analog photography.”
Jay Epstein, who graduated Newton South high school in 2009, now works at Newtonville Camera. He recalled that he’d been using digital cameras before high school. The school’s photography class, Epstein said, taught him “to use film cameras, including black-and-white film developing and paper printing, along with more general photography and camera skills, like how lens aperture and shutter speed help determine the photo you’re taking.”
Meanwhile, at Technique, the MIT student yearbook (where I was one of the photographers from 1969 to 1974), some students still use the darkroom regularly, said  Technique film editor Aaron Baumgarten.
“We find that if students appreciate the process of shooting analog, they will put it to good use when they pick up one of our digital cameras,” Baumgarten said. “In terms of output, I know of two students who shoot upwards of 50 rolls per year. As an editor at Technique, this year I had to go through approximately 6,000 negatives.”

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Durand library sponsors digital photography scavenger hunt

DURAND — The Durand Memorial branch of the Shiawassee District Library is sponsoring a digital photography scavenger hunt over the summer through Aug. 9. Participants of all ages are welcome, and may compete as teams or individually. Children who participate will earn points for the Fizz Boom Read! Summer Reading Program.

A list of 20 photography assignments will be issued to participants.  The assignments include taking pictures of a vendor at the Durand farmer’s market, something named after a person from Durand, acting out a scene from a famous book, and more. The list will require taking pictures throughout Durand.

The pictures should be stored on a flash drive and dropped off at the library by 3 p.m. Aug. 9. A contact name and address should be included so the flash drive can be returned to the owner. Teams or individuals who complete the contest will be eligible for a drawing for a gift card.  

All pictures will become the property of the library and may be used for promotional materials, social media, the library’s website and more.

The list of picture assignments and more details on the contest are available at the Durand Memorial branch, or on the library’s website at www.sdl.lib.mi.us. For more information, call the library at 288-3743. 

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How to Get the Shot: 9 Tips From Wildlife Photographers

In the midst of city living, it’s easy to forget that beyond the tall buildings, the world can be a wild, wild place. Although the concrete jungle has its own ecosystem of sorts (see: rats, pigeons), there’s way more species inhabiting the planet; there are creatures in every crevice of the globe. And there are people who spend their lives documenting Earth’s non-human inhabitants — from penguins playing in the freezing Arctic waters, to mischievous meerkats in Botswana. In doing so, wildlife photographers not only capture the magic of Mother Nature, but they encourage humans to look beyond ourselves, to step outside of our daily routines. The world is a wonderful, inspiring place and wildlife photographers remind us of that with their captivating images.

Mashable chatted with several pro wildlife photographers to find out how they get the shot, time and time again. Here are their tips for snapping compelling images of wildlife.
1. Do your research: The best shots start before photographers even set foot in the field
Joe Capra, a wildlife and time-lapse photographer who has been featured by outlets like National Geographic, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel emphasizes the importance of preparation. “Research the wildlife that’s likely to be present at your shooting location. Try to learn about their behavior, movements and habitat. Research the location you’ll be shooting so you’re able to maximize your chances of finding the wildlife, the best places to shoot from and which direction sunlight will be coming from at various times of day.”
For example, if your subject is crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk), you likely won’t get much traction at noon. If your subject is nocturnal, grab a Red Bull and hope for the best.
2. Patience is a virtue, so arm yourself with it

Wildlife and landscape photographer Jeff Mitchum has had his work displayed on the walls of fine art museums, including the Smithsonian Institute and Getty Museum. Mitchum knows just how important the waiting game is in getting the shot. Consider the image above, which Mitchum calls “The Man.” Although it’s spectacular, it didn’t come easy — Mitchum biked 160 miles across the Alaskan wilderness to capture this photo. Says Mitchum, “In this shot, I was standing on my toes looking over the willows when I saw the moose. I saw a hole and then antlers growing out of it … and I knew he was huge. Looking just to the west, there was an open location that evenly composed the largest mountain in North America, Denali. And in a rare occurrence, Denali was also out! After about five hours of waiting, this behemoth finally walked out of his rut hole and passed over to the exact spot I had hoped for.”
Photographer Neil Paprocki, co-founder and scientific director of wildlife documentary/conservation organization Wild Lens remarks, “Almost every time I try to go for a picture and run out of patience, I don’t get the shot. A few days ago, I laid on my stomach for almost two hours at the edge of a pond, hoping a pair of red-throated loons would come my way. They eventually did … but not before both of my arms went numb.”
3. Think outside the box when it comes to your vantage point

Paprocki, currently in Alaska studying gyrfalcons (the world’s largest falcon species), explains that the most obvious perspective isn’t always the best perspective. “I’ve recently been doing a lot of shorebird photography, and it’s easy enough to walk around standing up and take a photograph of a bird on the ground. However, you achieve a better depth-of-field and intimacy level with birds on the ground if you get down on your belly and see things from their perspective. This also allows you to approach birds far closer than if you just tried walking up to them.”
Consider employing tech to attain an otherwise unachievable vantage. Will Burrard-Lucas, a U.K.-based wildlife photographer, recognized the need to get closer to his subjects and improvised. “In my photography, I aim to leverage technology in order to gain a fresh perspective. For example, in 2009 I created BeetleCam, a remote-control camera buggy which I took to Africa and used to take close-up, wide-angle photographs of dangerous wild animals such as lions, elephants and leopards.”
These buggies aren’t the only gadgets Burrard-Lucas toys with to obtain an interesting perspective. In fact, he launched a company early this year, Camtraptions Ltd., for developing his own camera transport technology. “Recently I have been experimenting a lot with drones, as I believe they have incredible potential. Remote devices allow us to get our cameras closer to wildlife with less disturbance — they can be quieter, smaller and less smelly than a human holding a camera! At the moment, many of the existing drones are far too noisy to be used with wildlife, so I have had to design my own quiet drones.”
4. … But don’t sacrifice safety for perspective
Remember, wild animals are indeed wild — so don’t get too close. Burrard-Lucas once lost a camera to a lion. Thankfully, it was attached to one of his prototype buggies … not his neck.
Husband-wife nature photography team Mary Ann and Joe McDonald know the unpredictability of animals firsthand. Joe was first-place recipient in 2013’s BBC Wildlife Photography of the Year Competition, Mammal Division, and the winning photo, “The Spat” — an action image of jaguars sparring — really captures this. In this photo, “The male approached the female thinking that she would be receptive, but instead she turned on him, talons out and attacked and pushed him right into the bushes backwards.”
5. Aim for simple backgrounds — make negative space work for you

Says Capra, “The most dramatic wildlife photos usually include a very simple, and non-distracting background. The goal is to highlight your subjects and make them stand out. Photos with cluttered and distracting background cause your subject to get lost in the image/scene.” Sometimes, less can be better.
Mitchum emphasizes the importance of understanding space: “A fine art photograph is comprised of a tremendous amount of space and chaos, and it is our job to organize this into a fine art image. When you think about it, there is a lot more space than material to work with. So, why not make space and openness work for us? As photographers, we need to discover a delicate arrangement of space so contrast of subject comes alive. Contrast of space is critical because your subject needs to stand out. Your subject needs to be the dominant element and wisely using these open ‘oxygenated vents’ will allow your images to have the separation needed to eliminate unwanted clutter.”
6. A good photo needs to grab attention, and there are several ways to achieve this

Employ dramatic lighting. German wildlife photographer Gabriela Staebler offers some advice for beginners looking to make dramatic lighting work in their favor. Specifically, she details how to capture animal silhouettes in the context of a sunset. “Most cameras have various functions like ‘low light,’ or ‘sunset’ you can choose. The 10 to 20 minutes after sunset can produce a fantastic colored sky. If you use a digital SLR-camera: Select your exposure reading based off the brightest part of the picture. Focus on the animal and take the picture.”
Capture something that hasn’t been seen before. Burrard-Lucas: “This may mean concentrating on a specific animal and photographing it in more depth than anyone else, or finding a new way of photographing commonly seen creatures.” He lists his first BeetleCam photoset as an example. “The resulting photographs were widely published because the unique perspective really captured people’s attention.”
Inject emotion. Capra recalls a successful, emotionally-charged photo. “One of my favorite shots is one I took of a penguin in a snowstorm while I was in Antarctica. I think it really just captures a sense of the loneliness and harshness of Antarctica.”
Be intentional. Mitchum: “You can see in someone’s work when they have intentionally captured an image. The patience and timing didn’t happen just because they opened their car door. Great images are seen in advance, and then we back into that image through the technical process.”
Observe patterns to capture the most interesting aspect of your subject’s behavior. Ralph Clevenger is a photo instructor and an expert in eco and nature photography — his images have been featured in publications such as Conde Nast Traveler and National Geographic. Clevenger emphasizes the importance of timing in a photograph: “Waiting for an animal to look up, to catch light in its eye, to turn its head, to flare its wings — that’s the moment I wait for.”
Clevenger explains that timing can actually be planned by observing your subjects. He recalls a workshop he was leading with Brooks Institute students in Alaska: “We came across some bald eagles catching fish near Glacier Bay. We watched how they flew to shore to eat the fish and then went back to catch more, circling around for the best angle to approach. They repeated this pattern over and over. By following the bird with my lens and timing the shot to when they made their turn, I captured a much more interesting image then just an eagle flying.”
7. Practice makes perfect … and there are lots of ways to practice (even for city-dwellers!)

Have a backyard? Consider a bird feeder! Clevenger says, “Some of my best hummingbird shots are captured by putting up a hummingbird feeder near a natural looking branch, setting my camera on a tripod with a remote release and just waiting for the hummingbird to show up, all while sitting in the backyard.”
Paprocki adds that for photographers looking to omit human structures, supplying perching and cover opportunities close to the feeder will also draw the birds. “If you can provide a nice natural perch such as a tree or a bush near the feeder, birds will often come there first before approaching the feeder.”

Those with gardens: Give macro photography a shot! Clevenger recommends trying photography on a macro scale. “Macro, or close-up, photography requires a lens that can focus very close and an enormous amount of patience, but the result can be amazing. Your own garden, no matter how small, is a miniature ecosystem.”

Urban folks: Frequent your local parks. Although Neil Paprocki typically shoots in remote locations, one of his favorite photos was taken, ironically, in New York’s Prospect Park. “I was watching a group of ducks foraging on some open water near the edge of a frozen pond when I saw a large group of gulls lift off from the ice. I quickly realized they were responding to a pair of red-tailed hawks, one of which had successfully taken a gull and was picking at it out on the ice. The hawk attempted to fly to the shore with the gull in its talons, but dropped it before it could make it there. I picked up several decent photos of the hawk with the gull, but decided to stick around and watch the hawks. After about an hour or so, the second hawk took off across the ice and plowed into a juvenile northern shoveler on the far side of the pond. After the successful hunt, the hawk dragged the duck to shore and starting plucking feathers. I walked over to the opposite side of the pond and approached the feeding hawk and slowly as I could, using a large maple tree as a blind. Once I reached the tree (roughly 50 feet from the hawk), I got down on my belly and slowly inched my way out from behind it. I was able to fire off a series of shots as the hawk picked away at the shoveler, achieving great depth of field from my low perspective.”
Burrard-Lucas mentions another advantage of frequenting the same spots: The animals will eventually become accustomed to your presence. “If you can, habituate the animals to your presence. Then, they will start to ignore you and you will then be able to capture interesting aspects of their behavior as they go about their daily lives,” he suggests.

Honing your craft can take some time. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.
8. Be respectful of your subjects — know when to call it off
Mary Ann McDonald recounts a time her group called off a shoot. “One year in Tanzania, we found a leopard sleeping in a tree in the midday heat. We pulled our vehicles off to the side in the shade of another tree, to sit and wait for it to wake up and come down. While waiting, some other vehicles showed up and pulled right up underneath the tree. The leopard was ‘shy’ and immediately reacted to these people being too close. It went up the tree and onto the top of the acacia tree and into the hot sun. You could tell that it was agitated, and we felt terrible that these people had violated its space and its ‘flight or fight’ zone. So instead of contributing to its unease and its stress of now being in the sun versus the shade, we went and talked to the vehicles, urging them to leave, and we did the same so that the cat could come back down into the shade and not be bothered.”
McDonald continues. “Through our photography we can educate people on an animal’s behavior and habitat so that an animal is better understood and hopefully protected.”
9. Have fun with it — it will translate on film

Burrard-Lucas recalls a particularly fun project: “Earlier this year I traveled to Botswana to photograph meerkats. The meerkats had no fear of me and would use me as a lookout post so that they could spot any predators that might be lurking in the long grass. I was lucky that my trip coincided with the birth of some baby meerkats, and I was with them for their first week above ground. They quickly became very comfortable around me and they were painfully cute. It was a wonderful experience and some of the resulting images are amongst my favorites ever taken!”
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Have you taken wildlife photos? Share links to them in the comments!

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SLIDESHOW: Tips & Tricks for Improving Your Brand with Photography

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Blog Posts Meetup Slideshow

June 17, 2014
Check out our presentation slides from last week’s free workshop hosted by the Regional Foundation Center at the Free Library of Philadelphia: Tips and Tricks for Improving Your Brand with Photography.
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Thanks to everyone who came out, and we hope to see everyone next month at our next free workshop New Tools & Resources to Get Things Done. 

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