Intro by Skip Cohen
The fun of this industry has nothing to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Daniel Cox and I met thanks to Panasonic. He's a Luminary, an artist, a writer, guide and educator. Spend just a few minutes with Daniel and no matter what the subject, if it's somehow related to imaging, you're going to learn something.
He and Tanya spend a great deal of time on the road helping people experience one adventure after another, traveling all over the world. He's shared a number of posts here at SCU, but I thought it would be great to also share the short video above, which will give you a little more background.
While his passion is wildlife photography, I'm not sure there's anything Daniel can't photograph. And, like the tours he and Tanya offer through their company Natural Exposures, he never compromises on the quality of any image.
In this special guest post, Daniel shares some terrific advice, while shooting with a LUMIX ZS100. To get to know Daniel better, click on any image below to connect to his website.
You'll also find more about Daniel and the other members of the Luminary team with a stop by Panasonic's LUMIX Lounge.
by Daniel J. Cox
Camera: Lumix ZS100, Lens: 250mm, ISO 200
One of the most important elements in photography is light. It comes in many forms but what most are talking about when they discuss light relates to a strong directional light source in some form or another.
As a wildlife photographer I often shoot in all kinds of light since animals and nature keep on living whether they’re in good light or not. Much of what I do is record their lives and what may be happening is often as important, possibly more, than whether the subject happens to be in a beautiful shaft of light or simply illuminated by natures soft box, overcast skies. Being a documentarian of the natural world is my first job but I’m always striving to shoot beautiful images as an artist as well.
The absolute ultimate is when I get to combine art and nature together and I thought I would share with you a situation I recently captured first as a documentarian and then as an artist.
The first thing I tell my students about light is this “forget the age old adage from the mid 1800’s where Kodak told all photographers to put the sun behind their back.” In those days that was necessary since film was rated at ISO 8 and lenses were no faster than F/8 or less. In other words you needed a lot of light, blasting directly on to your subject to get any image at all.
Today we’re regularly shooting ISO 200, 400, 800 and even higher with optics of F/2.8 or wider. We have equipment with lots of ability to drink that light in, allowing us to shoot high enough shutter speeds that stop almost any action or camera movement. That being the case I suggest to all that will listen, “make sure you’re light is coming from 45 degrees either side or even directly behind your subject.”
What I call side light and back light is the key to making a two dimensional object, which is a digital chip or piece of film, feel like it has three dimensions. Directional lightning gives the viewer the feeling of being able to wrap their fingers around the image, the ability to almost touch the subject on that two dimensional object which may be a computer screen or printed page. It’s the best way to turn a photograph in to a sculpture that has form and depth.
The two photos I’ve included as examples show my subject, a sandhill crane, standing at the edge of a shallow pond. One image was shot while the sun was behind a very thick cloud, which as I mentioned above is like draping the sun with a great big soft box. It’s a great lighting technique for lots of subjects in the studio and it also works in nature. This image shows a serene scene of one of my favorite birds standing quietly, fishing.
The second photo was shot after waiting for the very low, late evening sun to appear from behind a bank of thick clouds. When the sun dipped below the clouds it was blasting in from the right and it had that beautiful golden tone we all love.
The closer the sun is to edge of the horizon, the warmer the color is we see due to what is known as scattering. Scattering happens when the evening light has to pass through thicker atmosphere or air which helps scatter molecules, the most easily scattered being violet and blue, away from our eyes. The longest wave lengths are warm in color such as orange and red and are more effective at cutting through the atmosphere without getting scattered. It’s the thick atmosphere the gives us the golden hour photographers so dearly love.
Take the beautiful color of the Golden Hour and make sure it’s lighting your subject either directly from the right, left or behind and your image takes on the feeling of three dimensions.
Images copyright Daniel J. Cox. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
The most fun about being in the photography industry has absolutely nothing to do with imaging but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Rob Knight is one of those friends I met through Panasonic. He's a LUMIX Luminary, making up one of the most diverse groups of artists in photography.
Rob's been leading photo tours in Costa Rica for seven years and is about to make a huge change. I'm sharing his post below as he describes a remarkable new direction - he's changing to smaller tours, allowing him to give more personal attention to each person on the trip. In addition, traveling on each trip with a selection of LUMIX cameras will give each traveler an opportunity to learn fist-hand what all the buzz is about!
If you've met Rob or know his reputation, then you know he loves to teach and share. Photography is so much more than just a career choice. For Rob, it's about his passion for the environment, Costa Rica, people and capturing spectacular images.
Check out the guest post from Rob below as he describes the new direction for his next tour, coming up in September. And, if you'd like to see more of Rob's work as well as the rest of the Luminary team, swing by the Lumix Lounge.
Regarding this next trip - I can't make it, but a week with Rob in Costa Rica just got added to my own bucket list!
by Rob Knight
I’m trying something new this year in Costa Rica, and I would love to share it with you. I’ll tell you the NEW part, and you can read on if this sounds interesting.
My usual Costa Rica Photo Adventure Photo Workshop has between 12 and 17 photographers. We have a LOT of fun, and I love taking bigger groups to Costa Rica. But this time I want to offer something smaller and perhaps create a more personal experience.
I am limiting the workshop group to 6 photographers so I can truly share my experience with each guest. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, please read on…
I’ve been leading photography tours and workshops in Costa Rica for seven years. Many of the “great ideas” I had when I started have fallen by the way-side to make room for the excursions and experiences that I share with my guests today. I’ve learned that experience is the important part of travel. This may seem obvious, but when you’re organizing a photo workshop you have to consider everything from lodging to transportation to actually teaching photography!
I have to cater to people of all ages and fitness levels. I have to offer photography opportunities that are fun and interesting to photographers of all skill levels. I am proud of the photography workshop I present to my large groups. I think it has a nice balance of activities, and it is fun and challenging to my guests.
I’ve been to Costa Rica twice this year to work on different projects, and I noticed a few things I liked about traveling in smaller groups.
I especially like the flexibility and the ability to change plans with a moment’s notice. Whether it’s where we’re going, what we’re shooting, or what we’re going to eat; it is much easier to make those game-time decisions with a smaller group. different opportunities present themselves with smaller groups as well. For example, I can organize a horse ride through the rainforest to a private waterfall for a smaller group, but that would be nearly impossible (and much more stressful) for a group of 17 folks. There are places I like to go that just don’t have room for a big group.
In short, I want to lead a photo workshop that works like me taking a small group of friends to my favorite places. Instead of a big bus, I’ll drive us around (I will miss our driver Cesar though). I’ve set up what I consider the trip of a lifetime, but if we see something we want to shoot along the way, we’ll stop and check it out.
This format will also make me more available to help with processing your photos, camera settings, or whatever YOU are interested in working on. I will have time for one-on-one sessions with each guest that are just not possible with a larger group.
The good news is: the tuition will stay the same! I am not charging my regular workshop price for this private photo workshop experience. I will pick you up at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica on Sunday, September 11, and I will take care of everything through September 17. That includes transportation, lodging, meals, excursions, guides, etc, etc… I will also have LUMIX mirrorless cameras and lenses for you to borrow.
I’m excited about this new Costa Rica Photo Adventure! Let me introduce you to my friends in Costa Rica, and show you around this beautiful country. Thanks to LUMIX USA for supporting this unique photo experience. Please visit robknightphotography.com to find out more and grab one of the last few spots!
I got an email this morning from Kristen Jensen, a member of Panasonic's Luminary team. Along with some outstanding ideas on defining your brand, she shared the video below. It was created for one of her clients, Susan Leone, a realtor in the area. The video was captured on a LUMIX GH4 by Kristen, and it reminded me how important it is to diversify in your business as a photographer.
The lines between videographer and photographer are getting more and more blurry every day. Technology has played a huge role as new cameras, especially in the LUMIX family, allow the artist to switch easily from still images to video with just the push of a button.
Then there's the world of hybrid technology. Suzette Allen, who will be joining me next week at Marathon's MAP Getaway workshop, has made it a prime focus of her business. Suzette is another Panasonic Luminary with a diverse skill set. She's been a leader in hybrid presentations/education, and for many of us is considered the Queen of Hybrid! Check out her YouTube channel, which is constantly growing, currently holding 160 videos, most of which are "how-to" pieces to help you boost your skill set.
As photographers, if you're not offering clients more than just still images, you're missing a substantial opportunity to grow your business. For example, offering clients a slideshow combining still images and video is a no-brainer. Think about the potential for creating holiday cards for all your clients this fall. Even something as simple as a baby announcement stands out from the crowd when Suzette's creativity starts to shine!
As a professional, you've got to make your work different from your competitors, as well as Uncle Harry! Understanding video and adding this skill to your repertoire adds a new dimension to the services you can offer a client and your ability to make 2016 one of your strongest years yet.
Check out more of Kristen and Suzette's work in the LUMIX Lounge along with the rest of the Luminary team. They're an incredibly diverse group of artists and educators - always willing to help you raise the bar on your skill set.
Welcome to Luminary Corner. Besides being a recognized member of the professional photographic community, each post author is a member of Panasonic's LUMIX Luminary team.