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OK, are your photos “faked” or did they really look like that when you shot ‘em?
Yup, this is pretty much my most common question. Yes, they did look like what you see on the site. I use a variety of techniques – both in the camera and Photoshop – to produce a photo that looks like the scene that was in front of me at the time.
However, I think the biggest trick is that I simply wait for the right conditions to shoot.
For example, I try to be at a location during the time of year it looks its absolute best (for example, you can’t beat waterfalls in May and June – but they’re usually a little dry in August). Next, I photograph at the best time of day for a particular subject – usually early morning or late evening. Finally, I photograph under the best conditions. If I want clouds in the sky and it’s empty, I pass. So, for every photo you see on the site, there was probably a half dozen unsuccessful attempts that proceeded it.
Now, you say you use Photoshop – so you ARE faking it, aren’t you?
YES – I use Photoshop and I’m proud of it. However, I don’t use it to alter reality – only to nudge the image the camera captured back to what it was like at the time I clicked the shutter.
See, cameras don’t actually capture everything exactly as it was. After all, have you ever snapped a photo that was overexposed (way too light) or taken one that was way too dark? What about an image that was way off color? If you’ve ever experienced photos like those (and who hasn’t?) you know the camera simply doesn’t capture exactly what your eye sees. It never has.
My trick is to use the camera and then Photoshop to recreate what I actually saw when I was standing there at the scene. Sometimes very little help is needed from Photoshop, other times the photograph is much more technical in nature and requires more post processing effort.
On the other hand, I never use photoshop to “create” a composite photograph of a scene that never existed (for example, plopping a soaring eagle above an elk in a field or something).
So, what kind of camera do you use?
Good question – I use Nikon bodies and lenses, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter one little bit what I use. Folks get so caught up in the type of camera and lens, but pretty much every image on this site could have been taken with any current DSLR on the market. It’s all about timing and using post processing after the fact to make it look the way it was when you snapped the shutter.
How much time do you spend taking pictures each year?
It depends – ask my wife and she’ll tell you “Too much!”
I am generally out on at least 8-10 trips per year, many of them lasting 2+ weeks. It all depends on what’s on the photographic menu and how far I have to drive to get there. Make sure you’re on our free newsletter – many of those trips will be posted on the blog so you can follow along as I go (plus it’s a good way to find some pretty cool places to go on YOUR next trip).
Is there any way for me to upload my personal photos to the site?
I’m glad you like the site enough to want to add your own photos, but at this time it’s strictly for my personal work. I’m in regular contact with publishers, buyers, and clients who need to examine my work and I need a site just for that.
We have had this question pop up a few times however, so I might come up with something down the road (probably using a different site name) that allows people to upload their nature-related photos.