Additional Lighting: Light Painting, Flash and Ambient

 

Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

 

Lesson Info

Additional Lighting: Light Painting, Flash and Ambient

And these air some techniques that we've developed over the years I did workshops and mona lake in the sierra nevada mountains for thirty some years, and every wednesday morning we would go down to mona lake and we would end up doing the sunrise. As the sunrise was coming up, we would take pictures of the silhouettes, the the two for formations down here in the water would would be kind of interesting to look at, and then we'd have this color of the sun's not up yet. We're doing long thirty second exposures, and then one year I was walking through costco and I saw this big pyramid of boxes, and they were big flashlights, and they had ten million candlepower and they were twenty nine, ninety nine, and there isn't a male in here that can walk past that and say, wow, that's ten million and its twenty nine, ninety nine I gotta have that you put it in the basket, so I did that. I took it with me, and the next year when we were out there during that thirty second exposure, we painted it with...

light, and this is, you know, like a quarter mile away, and we're sitting there painting it was like, during that thirty second exposure. And then we did a few more of those things we could do the sunrise this is another different probably a different year even we got a different color going on here and then sunset as well. You need that thirty second exposure you need the time to to even out the light and do it. But the next year I was walking through before the next workshop costco again and there was this another pyramid and it was fifteen million candlepower and I've only got ten million. Now in this fifty million, maybe we should twenty nine, ninety nine still. So we got another one. So now my assistant was painting and I was painting at the same time we could do sunrises, we could do sunsets. Now you're looking for things to paint without getting in trouble. So here there here's another example this's son, right it's on set again we're just painting these areas. We've got a whole class out here and we tell him one when to start their exposures we paint like crazy and at the end of thirty seconds we have it. And because it's digital we look on the back of the cameras, the lcds and we can see whether we did a good job or not and then I found out this last the last time I did the workshop that if you kept your camera in the same position and did it several times, you could actually put several those images together to make sure that you had it evenly painted so you could paint for five times as long as you don't move anything and then put those together with your blend modes and photo shop and it's even better, and I didn't know it was years before I figured that one out every year we find out something a little bit better, so there it is. I haven't seen him in a big in a big pyramid lately, but take a look now they call it lumens and I don't know a looming from a candle, so who knows? You know this big and they're twenty nine, ninety nine go ahead and buy it because it's going to be the right one. Elektronik flash extra extra light to use this was taken last week. This is off the deck of my house and bend and I have this rufus hummingbird, which is kind of if you had a hummingbird feeders out, you know that they want to take over the area and they'll land someplace and then watch for the next time bird to come in and they'll just knock him out of the area and he kept landing on top of this little fir tree, so I went up I had an eight hundred millimeter lens that cannon had sent to me to use for another project, and I put it to ex converter on it that's sixteen hundred millimeters, I put this I'm going to show you this projected flash this is a flash which sits right here on your hot shoe. This is a lens that's on here and it's called a friend ellen's it's a it's an actual lens and it actually magnifies you can see here that my hand gets bigger and everything on it has a focal length and it hasn't about an eight inch focal length, so we've got it set on here, and what it does is it focuses the light that comes out of your flash, so the flashes going toe open up and have a really big area, and even when you have a little zoom inside the flash, it helps a little bit. When you put this on, it narrows it down to about a three hundred millimeter lens area and you now gained three stops of light, so you're not you're not getting more like you're just using it more efficiently, so I had this bird sitting out there and he's quite a ways out remember this is six hundred millimeters, so all I have to do is figure out an exposure which will give me the combination of the sky behind them and the flash this on him and when those two are combined properly, I can't quite stop his wings because we have ah daylight exposure on dh we do have a uh a flash exposure of both going on at the same time so by looking at the back of your lcd you can see right away this is the beauty the beauty of digital you can see your results you can see whether this is going to work or not work you can blow it up tio in on the five dsr that I'm five yes that I'm shooting this with I could blow it up sixteen times I can see whether the gorgeous feathers are sharp or not sure so you know immediately whether you've gotten the picture the way you want it or not so this better be more that we have upon the top of their combination with this big telephoto lens and the bird cooperating coming and going you know, I spent a number of hours waiting for him the land on the right spot if you can control the bird you I guess you've you've gone one step further than I have in photography, so this is the better beamer this is that lens it's had a focal length, the flash shoots into it column I culminate culminates it makes it much more concentrated and you gained three stops of like and for for around forty dollars or so, this is a great tool that we can use it in a lot of different areas. I know of rodeo photographers who use this to shoot rodeos often the disc. And so it has many different uses now, here's a little bit more of a close up. This is I have a five hundred millimeter lens, I put it to exxon that's a thousand millimeters. And when you consider that that I did, the seventy mark to the angle of view is equivalent of a sixteen hundred millimeter lens again. And then I put an extension to bonnets that would focus closer. The bird lands on the feeder and he's sitting right there, but probably about the same distance is maybe even a little closer than I can. And I are here. And I'm just shooting his head. And with this flash thrown into it, he flashes that gorgeous at us and we get this kind of a shot. So and this is off of the back deck. I mean, this is this is that shooting from home? I mean there's all these things that we can do without having to travel to another continent. Well, here's, another continent and the unlike these air bad eared foxes in botswana. And as the light gets lower and lower, we get this nice soft light we can keep taking pictures until it gets too dark and then our eyes so would be too high and basically gets black and it gets dark and the colleagues that were with me didn't bring flash with him. They didn't have the projected flash and this folds down very small and you can use it. So when it got dark, I continued to shoot, even even though yeah, you can tell it's flash there's a little bit of a shadow and things like this, but I can continue to shoot and the animals continue to do the things after after it gets dark. So having a flash in my bag is something that I always always have and I always that pulls up that better be more folds up very small. We could put it in the in the bag and aiken pull it out in any time that I need it. We'll see some other examples such as this this is a leopard now it's like almost one hundred degrees and ninety percent humidity. So you know where the leopard is going to be he's going to be in the shade if I expose for him, this is going to be blown out in a big way, so instead I sent my exposure for this my flash, which is tl very easy to do. We now have a balance between the sky behind him and enough light on him yeah there is a little bit of a shadow right here but it still looks pretty natural and again you have the lcd on the back of your cameras today that tell you the results when we were shooting film you know it was a week before and if I was in botswana it would be two weeks before I would see the results could make lots of mistakes and not correct them and have to go back again maybe to get it right so here we have these wonderful tools that allow this all to happen here's an overall example again exposures for the sky the flash is basically a t t l coming in to match whatever the sky exposure was very easy to do sometimes the flash is your only source you don't have something to match two or something like that just a few examples aquariums of there's the light falls off very very quickly keep in mind if you're going to go photograph in an aquarium two things to remember one is don't let the camera see where the light goes in because you have a big flash picture in the middle of your picture s o they need to be off to the side on going through the glass at a different place than with the lenses going looking through in that sense of flowers once you get beyond about one x magnification you have to bring your own light source at one actually lose two stops of light of three x you lose four stops of life so at that point you know you need to bring your own flash of the flash is going to be your only light source and we have some examples of that I'll show you here in a few moments this hummingbird is sitting on a nest and it's nice deep shade but I want to get a cz much detail in her as possible you can see the two little highlights in her eye it's a little macro flash system with two flashes and we called her are our lady of the week because two years in a row she she nested in about three feet off the ground in the same a group of weeds both years she let us come up take pictures over once the babies hatched we could go up and take peaches the babies then move out of the way and should come right back in and or feed them or whatever it was she was just wonderful certain birds of that way other birds you can't get anywhere where they could even see you and they will come anywhere near the nest and you never get photographs uh you always have to consider the the safety of the the animal is the utmost importance your picture isn't that important so let's talk about macron with these little flashes were still talking about flash and these little flashes and I have I have an example I've got a combination of stuff here but these air to small flashes the brains and the batteries air up here and there on the top of the unit and they'll recycle fairly fast you can move these in if you're going to be at high magnification, you have to bring them in very close if you're gonna be out a little bit further like with one eighty macro, you're going to bring them out to that point. This is a one extra five x this is ah lens, which is exclusive the cannon with nikon you'd have to come up with some other methods to get the higher magnification but that's a five x and that's it one exit will not focus to infinity now I've done one more thing to it that we'll talk about here in a short time I put a two x telly extender now no more normally you'd think about well, we're going to put this on a five hundred we're going to put this on an eight hundred millimeter lens but it works beautifully for macron I get ten x now instead of instead of it five x it doubles it now if I put this is a five d s are so this is a full frame camera if I put a camera that has either a one point five or one point six magnification factor this would now become of sixteen x so that's a lot of magnification now we're going to talk also this rig I have underneath it here is a stack shot and we're going to talk about that a few moments and when we when I bring that up I'll bring it out and show it to you but this is what's allows you to get unlimited depth of field at high magnification something that I wanted to do for years and years and was completely impossible to do so these air just straight shots when you just have that on the macro lens with the two twin flashes it's the point and shoot camera you set it for one x and you go find things you said it for f sixteen at one x and it's just finding subjects it becomes finding something worthwhile taking you don't have to think about exposure you don't have to think about anything except getting a good photograph orchids the center parts of them part design elements color all that kind of stuff and this isn't one x and with the little flashes anywhere between one and five x this is a little piece of coral uh my eye doctor when I was in colorado springs was fitting me with the glasses and he says he knew I was a photographer make sure the pictures of my coral I grow coral in my recordings at home and he gets out his iphone and he shows me the pictures on his iphone and they were iphone pictures too, and they were awful, but the coral was beautiful, so I said, well, hey, if you will, I'll show you how to do this if I can go ahead and photograph your coral. So I brought this equipment with these two flashes in the in the higher magnification, and this is a little tiny piece of coral that we've now blown up very large and look at the colors and details on these here's a few more examples of it, and I'm right up against the glass working in somebody's home aquarium is a wonderful place. You don't have to worry about anybody else's, lights going off for reflections or anything like that. It's a lot of fun, and we've we've done a stacking on here. This is a long distance between here and there at more than one x, so we're going to talk about how to do a series of images just get everything sharp. This is three images where I've shot here and then here and maybe one towards the background, and then I put those together to give us the depth of field throughout, so we've got flowers where we could take a complete design of the center the center of the flower and shoot a whole bunch of pictures if you took one picture and you've got this close into a gerber daisy you would not have all of it and focus on the petals of the flower come out towards you as well so that takes a lot of a lot of images and when you start going at this magnification you can't really stop the lens way down because we get something called the fraction so when we get past one x we have to start moving down into like f eight five six four and that gives us less and less step the field and again less step the field because of the magnification so this is twenty nine images stacked and using the stack the stack shot system here that we're going to talk about here and we've got some time to take some questions and this is a good place to stop for a moment let's see if there's any in our studio audience grabber mike if not we'll go to the interwebs all right let's go to the interwebs making since you can grab that might ok so we have questions that go back I know leader we're going toe look into a little more of the how but covering sort of the what you can do with all of these now but a question that had come in from photo maker with some votes was do you always have to shoot from left to right in sequential rose for a panel to be stitched together properly? It's a really good question uh, no, you don't have to but if you do it the same way every time you're going to make less mistakes, I always shoot from left to right now we start start in the upper right I'm sorry upper left you should have seen me in the in the military marching troops march him into a wall so we're starting up here in the upper left and I do the sky first because the clouds are moving if you start going if you went in, you can actually go in columns if you want to and what happens though is that you get back up to the sky and get back up to the sky and the time now is taking much longer. The clouds are moving and all of a sudden the clouds are not going to be where you want them to be, so I do it the same way every time I always start from the left and I go to the right um the software itself it doesn't care it will find the images and find those parts you can shoot here they're back and forth if you wanted to and it would find them and it would find matching areas within each of those images where you really run into trouble is if you take this by yourself and you don't have the software that would come from gig a pan or there's another software giga panel which is out of france you're going to shoot the sky and there's nothing in the sky that you know you have this in this they're the same that they could it confined to things to put together in the software so these other software is like the giga pants offer which you can buy separately just takes whatever position it was and in that case you have to be in exactly that position from left to right and it finds a way to put it together great thank you. Did you have a question? Yeah, please go ahead, george before when you were talking about taking a siri's of photos, you talked about using manual exposure oftentimes around here and in many other places you don't have constant lighting, so are there ever times when it makes sense to instead of having manual exposure to have fixed settings for something like auto bracketing like minus two zero plus two and that way, if the sun goes behind the cloud, you still get equivalent exposures or is that just asking for trouble? Well, if you have clouds the sun's coming and going, coming and going your ass, you're gonna have trouble because there's really no way to match you can if you're really good and photo shop you can lighten things and dark and things that the contrasts are going to be a little different and everything so it is really quite critical that the light stays the same from the start to the end end of your of your panorama in many cases I waited and waited and waited for either the clouds to cover the sun completely for at least a few moments or to have full sun for a few moments because if if a cloud moves across and it changes it's not going to match its not going to go together properly you could you could do some of the soldier you you try and match the natural lighting that would be that would be the best day even if you did an hdr and each of those positions they still would look slightly different from each other and you would have to do a lot of work and photoshopped if it's just maybe one image at the end or something like that you might get away with it but that's one of the things it's like windy days doing flowers and you you want them to stop moving well you should either early in the morning or you shoot later in the day when things calm down or you start taking pictures with long exposures that lets them look like they're moving but no panorama as you've gotta have consistent like just to continue on that lighting question, this question had come from george lene hau maney stops over under for your exposures when you are doing the series of h e r generally speaking that's another good question it varies and if I'm in a scene that is very contrast I'll probably do five shots and in one stop increments so that I have a lot of information in each one of them and that will give me like three two in one, you know, depending part of maybe it'll end up being six shots, but the whole ideas I'll do a lot more photographs in general if it's a pretty easy shot I'll just do three I'll do one stop over or two stops over and then on the money and one or two stops under again depending upon the subject itself. One of the things that's happened is our cameras are getting so much better in the latest generation of cameras allows us to open up the shadows and bring back the highlights better than we've ever had it before. This's the called the dynamic range of your camera and it's a big question, you know is this new camera good and dynamic range or is it not? And you know his nikon better than cannon or is olympus better or whose ever better sony uh so we do less and less of the hdr than we have in the past simply because the cameras are getting better, but you can beat an image will talk about hdr in this in this next segment and you just can't beat it when you have all the information in the shadow without having to, you know, extract it out and open up the things and that's when you start getting noise in the shadows, so it varies with the answer is varies with the subject. Thank you. I noticed on your panels you shot him horizontally, yes deserve her time, it's advantage to shoot it vertically and adamantly a look closer. Actually, some of those that you saw were actually shot vertically, not horizontally, and in some cases may be the ones that we've shown it so far, but usually I will shoot a vertical siri's of shots because I want the number of pixels from top to bottom to be as many as possible. I don't care if I have to shoot more shots, I just get more pixels and I get a better quality image. So most of the time I was shoot verticals to make my horizontal and I will shoot horizontal cz to make my vertical because I want to get as much information, I want a biggest file as possible when I'm done to make the big as print possible now if it's something that's happening very quickly or if I'm using the giga pan the gig a pen you have to shoot horizontal cz because that's just the way it's the machinery is set up so in that particular case I will always shoot the horizontal or if there's balloons coming up and shooting a handheld panorama and things are moving in front of me and I got to get through it as quickly as like as quickly as I can I wish your horizontal tze george when you do handhold panoramas, do you kind of pan this way or do you try to keep it a straightest possible when you're doing a handheld panorama? One of the things that you need to remember is that you should be rotating around a single axis so if you start going over here and then you end up over here like this, the chances of things going together properly are a little bit less but if you are kind of you going to stay in one position you shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot you try to rotate if you're on a tripod, you are rotating around the center of the lens and that will make things go together much, much better if you're doing a wide angle lens, you actually have to be in the nodal point of the lens, which is an area within the lens the light comes in the lens, the image flips upside down and comes on to the sensor. That point where it flips is the nodal point in with him if you're rotating on that point and with a wide angle lens, you can get away with a very wide angle panorama and they'll go together, but if you don't, if you go from the back of the camera and you've got a really wide angle lens, uh you're panorama, we'll go together. Well, we're not getting that deep end of this we could maybe do a class where it would be all very much and out putting this all together and you we'll explain what a nodal point is an art and all those other things, but try to stay within within a rotation around the base of the camera trick hand held her hand, holy tio easily find another point on the panel I don't worry about nodal points on panorama is unless it's a really wide angle lens and that I was doing that I wouldn't do it hand held the the main the main thing is that again that that you just stay stay within that when I say wide angle anything maybe wider than twenty eight millimeters or so at that point, you should probably the for sure on a tripod ends and center the middle of the lens on that rotation point right we have a lot more questions coming in from the internet so we'll take some of those let's say so let's talk about your your action spano's do you let the software match those individual shots when you have those the animals in there or in the sequence or do you mask to stitch the shops together in an action sequence panorama very seldom will the software handle that so you have to use layer masks and I would I would reference been wilmore's classes here at creative live to learn how to use of layer masks because there's so important in this kind of photography if we were doing a full class on panorama as we could we could walk you through the process of doing doing that in the notes that you would get from here there is a reference to an article that I wrote on how to do this in outdoor photographer magazine on a particular issue it's on the internet so you can actually get that procedure on how to how to do the layer masks but that is a very, very important tool very cool thank you and even though we're not going to go into that in depth this is from what duncan do you perform lens corrections before stacking your panoramas and whether it's light room a photo shop or what have you so are you needing to correct the lens you could make any corrections you want to an image, as long as if you're stacking or doing a panorama, as long as you make this exact same correction to every image in there, and I always bring all of my images for a panorama or a stacking, I bring it in the light room. I optimized the image to the best I can. If it's. If it's an hdr, I won't change much in the way of exposure so forth, but I might do a little bit with sharpness. I might do a little bit of other stuff with it. I then we'll put those images together and then put the panorama or the hdr together. But they all have to be the same and that's, very easy to do in light room and in photo shop, in or even in elements, as long as you do them as a group.

Class Description

It takes some serious skill to capture the magnificence of the great outdoors in a single still photograph. Find out how the pros do it in Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography with George Lepp.

George is one of North America’s best known outdoor and nature photographers. He is a leader in the rapidly advancing field of outdoor photography and digital imaging and in this class he’ll share innovative techniques for shooting outdoors. You’ll learn how to:


  • Create dramatic panoramas – from start to finish
  • Shoot with macro lenses
  • Achieve extended depth of field
  • Portray action like lighting strikes
  • Work with tele-extenders and HD video
  • Produce cinemagraphs

George will discuss the techniques behind some of his best-known photographs, sharing the secrets behind his celebrated images from Namibia, Chile, and more. You’ll learn about lighting, shooting, and editing high-quality images of wildlife, flowers, snowflakes, and landscapes.

If you want to create truly stunning images that capture the depth and complexity of a landscape, join George Lepp for Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography.

Reviews

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George really prepared a lot of information for his class. It is true, he does have a lot of expensive equipment and we may not be able to do some of the things he does with a smaller budget, but it is good incentive for us to plan for the future. He seemed to share new information constantly and stay focused and I was able to take a lot of notes. He talked about many kinds of equipment as well as software and websites he uses. I am pretty impressed that he is so up to date with recent technology. He especially loves macro/micro and stacking hundreds of images for minute focus on really large enlargements (for example, over 600 photos for one butterfly wing). That can get boring if you are not interested in doing that. I can take those tips and apply them to landscape photography though. I think it is more helpful for someone already doing outdoor photography and looking for new inspiration or new techniques as opposed to someone new to photography in general.