A Third World Diary (Nathanael Gass)

One of the other NANPA students that I learned with is in Africa right now, doing some work with ex-child soldiers. He’s a great guy who is very mature for his age, and is really passionate about using photography to help conditions in third world countries improve. I know that he will one day be working with National Geographic to help these places through photojournalism. He’s not just a great photographer, he’s a great person. It would mean a lot to me if you could please support his efforts by visiting his blog: http://tylercacek.blogspot.com/

Thank you.

Call For Stories (Gabby)

Hello Photographers -
I am currently gathering materials for the spring and summer issue of next year and am looking for articles on the following topics:

- Photoshop (Elements or full) tips
- Full Feature Stories – locations, adventures, your home state, etc
- Shooting on National Wildlife Refuges
- Tips and Tricks

Please email me if you have any ideas or suggestions or if you’d like to work on one of the features listed above – gabby@naturesbestphotography.com.

Also, ENTER OUR PHOTO CONTEST (www.naturesbeststudents.com/takeaction) – the deadline is August 15th and we don’t have that many entries yet. The grand prize winner will receive a Sigma Lens of their choice (up to $600).

Best,
Gabby

P.S. The image included in this email was taken in Peru from a 180 foot canopy tower.

National Geographic Glimpse Writers (Gabby)

Hi Readers -

National Geographic released a new magazine about experiences abroad called Glimpse. They have a great opportunity for young travelers who are spending more than three months abroad (perhas on a school program) and are between 18 and 30 years of age. You can become a correspondent for their website and you receive $600. Check it out: http://glimpse.org/stories/share/.

More soon!

- Gabby

Home and Editing (Gabby)

I’m finally back in North Carolina after a few more days of travel and some visits in the DC area. I am making the switch to Mac this week after spending my whole life as a PC user. It’s time because I need the speed for video editing and I am excited for the MacBook Pro.

I have posted some new images on my website http://www.gabbysalazar.com/ under NEW galleries. For now, here is an image of one of the many orchid species inhabiting the cloud forest. The first two weeks of my trip were spent at this site and I did not have Internet to share images with.

Best,
Gabby Salazar

Summer insects (Jodie Randall)


Hot, hazy days in the middle of summer always bring an abundance of butterflies and dragonflies and an enthralling assortment of bugs and beetles.

During the summer months the light can be quite harsh, so rising early and being out in the field at dawn produces the best results. At this time of day, not only is the light softer, but most insects are just waking up, proving much easier to approach.

Arriving at one of my favourite locations on a still, dew-covered morning a couple of weeks ago, I began my search for damselflies and dragonflies resting in the long grasses.

Just as I had hoped, four or five bejewelled common damselflies clung to the blades of a tuft of grass – perfectly still. As I took my photographs the sun rose steadily higher in the sky warming the damselflies, some of which began to vibrate their wings sending a flurry of dew falling to the ground.

As the day heated up I moved deeper into the scrubland in search of bugs, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets. Somewhere from a near-by lake I could hear the honking voices of geese, just audible over the din of the grasshoppers around me. I find that concentrating on a very small patch around a square metre in size is the best way to find insects. The more you look, the more you see.

Tips: A small reflector can prove an invaluable tool when photographing insects. I use a home-made reflector, made from a strong sheet of card and a warm gold paper.
Reflectors can be purchased from most photographic stores and are inexpensive. If you do decide to make your own reflector, make sure you crumple the paper well before fixing it to your base so that the light will be reflected evenly.

Machu Picchu (Gabby)

I had to visit Machu Picchu while in Peru and especially while staying in Cusco which is a mere three hours from the “Lost City of the Incas.” While I usually avoid tourist locations, this particular draw warranted a visit and it was actually full of suprises. The town outside of Machu Picchu is full of pizza joints and souvenir shops, but if you take just a 5 minute hike outside of the town there is an abundance of montane cloud forest. The area adjacent to the historical sanctuary is thankfully forested and I enjoyed a very successful afternoon of birding on the first day. I saw a female cock-of-the-rock and a number of stunning tanager species.

As for Machu Picchu, we woke up at 4:30am to stand in line for the 5:30am bus which was incredibly crowded. In order to hike up Wayna Picchu for the classic view from above you have to be one of the first 400 visitors in a day. When we arrived at the site they took our tripod because it was “dangerous” and held it for our visit. So, we hiked in to a mist covered stone city without a tripod. While at first annoyed it turned out to be okay because we hiked a very steep mountain to reach the stop of Wayna Picchu. The view was breathtaking and the stonework amazing. While I did take some “typical” shots of the site, I ended up with two I really like – one of the landscape including the peak where Wayna Picchu is located and one of the mountain viscacha hanging out in the ruins.

More soon!

- Gabby

Macro Workshop & Updates (Johan)

Recently I attended a macro photography class at a tulip farm. Never in my life have I seen so many macro lenses–mostly the 100/105mm ones. Here are some macro photography tips I learned:

  • When photographing flowers, it is good to use the RGB histogram (verses the luminance histogram) to ensure that you don’t blow out important color channels. The RGB histogram shows a histogram for each color channel (red, green, and blue) so that you can properly expose that color. For example, when shooting a pink flower, the luminance histogram may show a correct exposure, but the RGB histogram may show that the red channel is drastically over- or under-exposed.
  • Even if you have a macro lens, use extension tubes or diopters to get even closer to your subject. I used a macro lens and extension tubes for the picture below. The flower was backlit with a off-camera Canon 580EX II strobe.

To avoid getting your camera wet, use Op/Tech rainsleeves. When shooting in some rain recently my Canon 580EX (version 1) strobe quit working properly. Canon repaired it, but the cost of fixing it could have been fairy easily avoided. (Yes, the rainsleeves were in my bag) :-(

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