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Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 11 of 21

Cinemagraphs for Outdoor Photography


Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 11 of 21

Cinemagraphs for Outdoor Photography


Lesson Info

Cinemagraphs for Outdoor Photography

I don't know how many of you have heard of cinema graphs, but what a cinema graph is it's a still image that has an element in it that moves and it's essentially you take a video clip and you can do this with your iphone or whatever I mean it's a it's a video clip you know your your smartphone so notice that the people are walking around up the top that the water is only running in one spot and when it goes into the water, it disappears. This is if the water's frozen and that's a cinema graph it's kind of fun so here's a little segment for you you start to realize that nothing's going by on the other ages now the roads not going anywhere but the outer edges it just great fun. Um this was done with a piece of software called flicks als oh, in here, it's much easier to photograph water that doesn't move goto bouchard gardens by victoria um my colleague jerrold belene in there and he's just stands there in the water does the moving so this is the software that makes it all happen? It's ca...

lled flexible dot com and it has like a mask and what I've done is here on that gator I just took the area this area continues to move and everything that's in the mask is now frozen and you take that this is a video clip that's down below. You have only a certain length of time now you khun this is software isn't that cheap, but at the same time you can sometimes find it on sale for its quite inexpensive. But you can do this and photoshopped or in after what is it aftereffect? Was it after aftereffect? You can also do it in there there's all kinds of tutorials online. Just remember the name cinema graph and it's a whole if you go online in and you and you, there are web sites that just have one of these after another where there's a picture of a model and she'd be sitting there and her coffee will be steaming but nothing else will be moving or the window of curtains will be moving with the wind, but nothing else moves in the picture it's quite interesting to do that, but what the one with the car is the one that I like the bones I'm going to do a little bit more work on that. I have some ideas to make that even crazier than this, so we have time for a few questions sounds good, george, and let us know if you have any in the studio audience some of these questions go back to the beginning of this segment, so let's see you were talking about cross polarization group, and the question was, are there particular shutter speeds that are needed when you're using when you're doing that technique? No, because you're having to throw in a lot of flash simply because you're losing five stops of light, so if you're on a tripod and so forth, you couldn't do a long exposure when I did the big paintings and I had a big four by five u camera and two huge flashes, I would have to flash the flashes like three times in order to get enough light to light up this big painting to get rid of those reflections, so the exposure is whatever it takes to get a good image so there's nothing in particular that is important here other than getting a good image getting a good exposure, I thought I saw a hand over there. Okay, so this question was about the order of the tele converters or extensions? Does it matter if the one point four x is closest to the camera or the two x? Is there a particular way that you have to add those on there's a particular way that they will fit one will fit into the other? And I cannot remember when I'm there I what when it doesn't work that's not the right way he flipped him over now it does work if you have that twelve millimeter extension tube that you put in between the two you can go either direction, but no, it doesn't make any difference. You've got a five hundred millimeter lens, you put it to exxon, it that makes it a thousand then you put the one point four on and makes it fourteen hundred. If you go the other direction, you still end up with the fourteen hundred at the end, so it really doesn't make any difference it's how they fit and that the version twos of the cannon converters will make like I said, version one will not version three will not, but version to will, and if you mix and match them, you're just going to have to keep one of those twelve million or tubes around in order to figure out where which place you have to put them, but it will work. I have a question about the size of your image files when you're doing the focus decking, um, it's a two questions really is how do you manage the huge files on your computer and backups? And do you keep the original files once you've created the stacked image? Or do you get rid of those? Ok, the good thing about stacking is when you're done it's the size of one image. Because it all compresses back down and becomes one image while you're working with that, you may have a whole bunch of images. I did a number of big stacking images when I was testing this five gs five years, our camera and the fifty megapixels each and twenty, thirty pictures, I ended up going to jay pegs at some point when you're working with roz, you have sixteen bit files there, twice the size that you would normally have. There were four hundred megabytes each and yes, that becomes a big factor, but I put them together on my laptop, so obviously it's not too difficult to do when I'm working on them in my office like that thousand images, I do it in segments, I'll do this image and then I'll add maybe that image to it, and I'll do it piece by piece until it bills and try to keep from trying to put everything through all of the same time that becomes very, very difficult. I save everything on external drives, I use the apple that little trash can mac pro, so there are no hard drives built into it, so everything is on hard drives. I buy my hard drives from costco, which are sea gates and lately, five terabytes for like, one hundred thirty some dollars I have thirty six terabytes of drives at the moment and then thirty six terabytes of backup drives and thirty six terabytes of drives at the bank in the vault. So the fact that they're this space getting cheaper and cheaper, it means I don't worry too much about how big the files are the computer can pretty much handling a normal computer could do most everything we're talking about here that one thousand four hundred four thousand images or one thousand four hundred images that gets a little crazy. And now that I'm working on now that I'm working with this fifty megapixel camera, things move a little slower, but at the same time, it's, you just have to have a little patience. I can remember when an eighteen megabyte file from a cd rahm that kodak would make took forty five minutes to load. I still remember that happening. Uh uh, that was only eighteen megabytes. Thanks for question. Oh, go ahead from mike. Yeah, george. Before, when you were showing the images using stacked tell the extenders. You know, the two and the one point four and all that you mentioned a number of techniques that you use to get sharp images, I noticed you. Didn't mention image stabilization on the lens? Does it ever get to the point where that's useful because usually you would turn that off when you have a camera on a tripod? But when you're getting, you know, thirty two hundred millimeters or something like that in the wind blows does turning on image stabilization help at all? Or does it complicate the problem? It can that that's that's a good, good thought and at some points it's a good idea? Because if there's any wind or anything like that, I mean, either you can't work at all or if you put image stabilization, you will see sometimes that if there's a movement in that tripod that it works fine, there are some lenses that if you lock it down and you put on image stabilization, the machine gets of the lens starts to get confused and it starts to move the back element around and it's a ziff there was movement, so most often I'll turn that off. Now if you're working on the tribe by any and you have to touch the tripod to the camera and you're working with the tele converter, maybe one tell a converter or something like that I would leave it on because there is movement that's happening there and image stabilization is not dependent upon what f stop you're using, whereas auto focus is so there are times when it makes sense. And there times when you better not if you're using one of the older lenses. Most likely, that image stabilization is not a good idea. If you're locked down on a tripod, many of the new lenses, it doesn't matter.

Class Description


  • Create a variety of dramatic panoramas.

  • Capture rapid movements, such as the flapping of a bird’s wings.

  • Take close-up shots that depict the beauty and vibrant colors of flowers.

  • Capture images of snowflakes using specialized equipment and intricate techniques.

  • Photograph and take videos of lightning storms.

  • Use various types of additional lighting, including electronic flashes.


Are you a major gearhead who loves hearing about the latest and greatest photography equipment on the market today? Do you want to learn some amazing techniques that will take your outdoor photography game to the next level?

If you want to shoot like a pro and get an inside look at how one of the greatest outdoor photographers around makes his magic, then this is the course for you. Celebrated photographer George Lepp shares some of his best-known photographs and describes the techniques and equipment needed to capture images of wild animals, beautiful flowers, and awesome landscapes.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Paint with high-powered flashlights during long exposures.

  • Use special techniques and post-processing software programs to extend your depth of field.

  • Take macro photography shots using special lenses and extension tubes.

  • Utilize tele extenders and other tools to get high-magnification shots.

  • Use HDR to get natural looking contrast control.

  • Perform time-lapse photography with movement and panning.

  • Discover a variety of DSLR video shooting techniques.

Experienced photographers interested in exploring the intricacies of outdoor photography will love hearing George’s thrilling stories about his great outdoor and travel photography shoots all over the world like Africa and his close calls with wild animals. By the end of this course, you’ll be inspired to challenge yourself and experiment with these truly incredible techniques.


  • Experienced photographers who want to learn about cutting-edge equipment and innovative techniques for outdoor photography.

  • Photographers looking to be inspired by one of the greats and wanting to hear about his personal experiences.

  • Those who are new to outdoor photography and want an inside look at what it’s like to be a professional in the field.


George D. Lepp is one of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers. His passions for natural beauty, technical precision, cutting-edge technology, and environmental responsibility are revealed in his beautiful and compelling photographic images. He is also widely recognized for his unique dedication to sharing his photographic and biological knowledge with other photographers through his seminars, writing, and inventions. George Lepp is a leader in the rapidly advancing field of outdoor photography and digital imaging. 

Lepp’s images have appeared in some of the world’s most widely viewed venues and on the covers of many books and magazines, including Natural History, Car and Driver, PC Photo, and Outdoor Photographer; at prestigious galleries and museums throughout the United States; and at the corporate headquarters of Canon USA, Eastman Kodak, and Epson America. He was chosen by Canon USA as one of the first members of its Explorers of Light program, which features the industry’s most influential photographers. He is known both for his sweeping panoramas that capture the magnificence of exotic locations and his stunning high-magnification macro renditions of subjects such as snowflakes and butterfly wings. His stock and assignment photography is represented by Getty, Corbis, and Photo Researchers. 

Lepp is regularly read in popular photographic magazines; he has contributed for thirty years as a field editor and columnist to Outdoor Photographer Magazine and more recently has published technical articles in Europe’s c’t Digital Photography Magazine. He is the author of many books, including Wildlife Photography: Stories from the Field, Golden Poppies of California, and Beyond the Basics I and II: Innovative Techniques for Outdoor and Nature Photography, as well as hundreds of articles on photography. He has taught at Photoshop World, Santa Fe Workshops, Palm Beach Workshops, and founded the Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging. Lepp is a founding board member and a fellow of the North American Nature Photographers Association and winner of many awards for his work, including Photo Media’s Photography Person of the Year and the prestigious Progress Award, the highest given by the Photographic Society of America. 

First trained in wildlife and wildlands management, George Lepp later earned a BPA and honorary MS in Professional Photography from Brooks Institute. Contact him through his web site, www.GeorgeLepp.com.


  1. Class Overview

    Get an overview of what you’ll learn in this course on creative outdoor photography, including how to do panoramas, extending your depth of field, and time-lapse photography.

  2. Types of Panorama for Outdoor Photography

    There are many different panorama techniques, from composite to hand-held to multi-camera. You’ll learn about all of them and the basic techniques for creating them right here.

  3. Gigapan and Action Pano for Outdoor Photography

    Learn to take a Gigapan panorama and get extremely big and detailed shots.

  4. Additional Lighting: Light Painting, Flash and Ambient

    George discusses options for additional outdoor photography lighting, including electronic flashes, the Better Beamer Flash Extender, and using high-powered flashlights to paint with light during long exposures.

  5. Extended Depth of Field

    Sometimes it’s important to have objects in the foreground, middle ground, and background all in sharp focus. Learn about various software programs and techniques to achieve extended depth of field photography.

  6. Macro Photography Techniques

    Learn about macro photography techniques, lenses, and extension tubes.

  7. Tele-extenders and Outdoor Photography

    Learn about using tele-extenders and other tools to get high-magnification shots of things such as a butterfly’s wings.

  8. HDR as a Tool

    High dynamic range (HDR) allows you to take multiple exposures at once and achieve natural looking contrast control within your final image. George offers a variety of HDR photography tips.

  9. Time-lapse Outdoor Photography

    Learn how to shoot time lapse photography with movement and panning.

  10. DSLR HD Video

    Learn about DSLR video shooting techniques and the essential equipment you’ll need.

  11. Cinemagraphs for Outdoor Photography

    George talks about the cinemagraph for outdoor photography, which is a still image with an element that moves.

  12. Photographing Birds

    Digital photography allows you to take incredible shots of birds and their movements. Get some bird photography tips and learn about shutter speeds and the equipment you’ll need to take your best images.

  13. Photographing Mammals

    George discusses wildlife photography techniques and his experiences shooting mammals, including speedy cheetahs, angry elephants, and hungry hippos.

  14. Photographing Birds and Mammals Q & A

    George offers some wildlife photography critiques and answers questions about his wildlife photography, including using a flash when taking pictures of birds and mammals.

  15. Macro Photography and Flowers

    George shares his flower photography techniques and confirms how he took glorious shots at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland.

  16. Photographing Butterflies

    Get some photo tips for photographing butterflies, including the importance of having a telephoto lens and a flash.

  17. Photographing Snowflakes

    Get the scoop on what you’ll need for snowflake macro photography, including special lighting, a copy stand, an adjustable base, and really cold equipment.

  18. Photographing Landscapes

    George offers some landscape photography tips for beginners and talks about some of his favorite places and landscape images.

  19. Photographing Lightning

    Learn how to photograph lightning and how to take video of lightning storms.

  20. HDR Landscapes and Time Lapse

    Learn about HDR landscape photography—compiling a series of pictures to capture various levels of light.

  21. Final Outdoor Photography Q&A

    Students get a chance to ask some final questions of George about outdoor photography ideas, including things such as panoramas, extenders, and white balance.



I watched the entire class, and found it to be a very negative experience - in contrast to all of my other experiences with Creative Live, which had been very good. The problem with this class was the instructor. Mr. Lepp, rather than giving us practical, useful information, and techniques for approaching the subject of Outdoor Photography, instead used his time to show off his seemingly endless array of incredibly expensive and cutting edge gadgetry. For the first half hour or so, Mr. Lepp seemed pleasant and interesting, but it quickly became apparent that this class was NOT about anything relating to the art of outdoor photography. Instead, it was basically a seminar highlighting exotic equipment for the 1%. I have well over $25,000 of photographic equipment, but the arena in which Mr. Lepp plays begins somewhere around the $100,000 mark, and then requires a staggering ongoing budget for chartering helicopters, hiring guides, and constant upgrades to remain on the bleeding edge of gadgetry and accessories. From his gyroscopic mounts to his 40" printer, Mr. Lepp has it ALL and continues to spend, spend, spend. I admire his deep pockets, but I would have appreciated some real insight and technique and useful knowledge on actually getting great shots. (And I must say... Mr. Lepp's work... did not impress me to the degree that other teachers on CreativeLive have.) I believe those giving positive reviews here were more or less wowed by the sheer magnitude of his extensive, well-funded travels and his off-handed way of revealing the endless contraptions and combinations of gear he uses. The passion here is clearly about the gadgetry, and NOT about finding an original and creative voice in the arena of outdoor photography.

R. Hetrick

Amazing class! I particularly loved the macro and how to correctly take panoramic photos sections. George was not only a great teacher but he was super funny too. Would be happy to take any of his future classes.


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.