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Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 10 of 21



Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 10 of 21



Lesson Info


So what about video? You know, video is something that we all have, but we don't do much of and I'm the last time I was in botswana I shot video as well a stills and you have to do one or the other you can't be doing both at the same time, but it's kind of interesting and you listen these other cameras going off in the other vehicles around me and you've got to ask sometimes what are you shooting? I mean, it was all done and the cameras were still going but there's something about seeing the whole process and instead of that one with the the hippos got his mouth wide open that's a great shot but to see the whole thing and how they interacted with you to be is really quite interesting now the other thing is that we can shoot at sixty frames per second on most of your cameras and still get a pretty good video, so I shot it at sixty francs for second I'm playing it back at thirty so it makes it slow motion so all of a sudden you see here that all this action is going to be a lot slower an...

d a camera sound different too now I have a gopro that will run in two hundred and forty frames per second and that's really fun I took a lot of pictures of my my granddaughter jumping into a swimming pool and then because you could put it under water she carried around underwater and did things with it like that. But to watch a kid jump into a pool at two hundred forty frames per second is pretty cool, but doing this at sixty frames per second and bringing it down to thirty it's pretty good you'll see more and more cameras that will do one hundred twenty francs for second. It may not give you the full quality it'll give you like seventy to frame seventy two friends for second in the end but could be pretty good first seven hundred twenty uh resolution. So what are some of the things you need to do video? Well, number one, you need toe have a fluid head you cannot even any ball head or any head you have, you think? Well, it's, pretty smooth it's not smooth enough you'll see it as being jerky. You need a fluid head. There are some inexpensive, relatively inexpensive fluid heads out there. But the other thing is that you need to be able to see the lcd on the back of your camera and this is called a goodman loop and let's, go ahead and quickly put it on here. My wife has a less expensive version here of of these canon cameras it's called a seventy d and it actually has auto focus for video, and we'll see a couple of examples of that, but what this does is it blocks the available light that's coming around, and we're so you can't see what's going on so you can actually look at the back of the lcd and focus the camera so unfocused video is not worth anything now the seventy d that we're playing within those number of cameras now, I think nikon has camera now that will do auto auto focus on video as well, and some of these marylise cameras will do a pretty good job of it, and the point there is that you can actually look on the back of the camera captain area, and the focus goes to worry you tap it, so if you want to do is still set up, I could tap on him, the focus will be on him and then I can tap on her and the focus will move nice and smoothly over to her. So there, sorry, cameramen, you're going to lose your jobs, you know? But but it actually is helping us get some really good video and have them some rafting shots where the raft comes through here, I don't have timeto and I can't see the viewfinder well enough to really focus on the cameras doing it for me. Does a pretty nice job this also carry this with me all the time because I can look at the back of the camera to check images and I could blow them up and look at them on the back so these these loops and there's goodman is the letter of the least expensive one there's also big big ones out there that'll cost to three hundred dollars this one is under one hundred dollars and this is the unit that you're seeing here it's called the crane so let's look at that seventy video with auto focus this's close to where I live the river's kind of interesting at one point here and these rafting companies run these people through here I'm shooting at a one twenty fifth of a second per frame so every image that makes up the video is fairly fast normally we would she did about a sixteenth of a second now watch what happens when we take the sixty frames per second and we slow it down now remember it each frame is a one twenty fifth of a second so it isn't completely stopping the action and stuff that's going on but still pretty interesting you shoot it all at sixty frames per second then you slow it down when you're doing it later but I'm not doing any focusing on this camera whatsoever I'm keeping them in the center of the frame I'm looking through this loop on the back of the camera and I'm living I'm living the out of focus do it all this is the feature I wish they'd put in my this fancy camera behind me which is the five g s r I wish that they would have that feature in other cameras but so far there's only a couple of cameras and have us now we're going to shoot this and two thousandth of a second at sixty frames per second so every single frame it's it looks a little staccato because every frame is only taking up a very small part of the time now watch what happens here every single a bit of information is there they're getting wet big time again this comes under the heading of having fun I mean watch this kind of video and to be able to do this is just great fun so let's take it into the next step which is nature photography I took this over to the high desert museum where they fly these birds raptors back and forth and so I'm following him with this camera and it isn't perfect but it's so much better than anything we've done before look at all the heads that came into its still the autofocus state on and all the way through there you know, just trying now it saw the background and all of a sudden it comes back and it gets the bird again now all of this was shot at sixty frames per second and then slowed down so that the bird doesn't just go sit right past you that slowed now we can actually see how it flies I'm gonna be back over there doing this again tomorrow to harris hawks focus gets on him very quickly again it's not perfect nor am I and keeping them frame properly this guy is a little slower he's big any slow and the camera just loves this guy this guy will stay in focus every inch of the way and it's just sony and this is a you know about less than a thousand dollars camera this is the seventy one this is the show that they put on every day for the public and I just standing in amongst the crowd and just doing a video in this case I do a lot of stills in there as well this is a jeer falcon you can see here and notice the little antenna on the feet there they have telemetry on all of these birds so they take off they could go find them again these are all rehabbed birds so they cannot be released back into the wild a little seventy two three hundred zoom is what's on the camera very simple system so play with video it can be so much fun and it doesn't have to be this big expensive cameras and everything that video in nature has a great place and conducive very nice things. Do minimal to, ah, slow movement, minimal zooms. You don't be zooming back and forth, make people sick, you know you have to. I always say that if you, if you do a good job with your shows, that people will come and to your house and actually look at them. If you don't do a very good job, you're gonna have to have orders. If you're really lousy, you have to feed them dinner. I recommend that you use a tripod for most every all of video that you do with that panhead, and make sure that it's steady and have some editing software. You don't want to just be showing all of this video that goes on forever. You want to make your very short, quick capability here.

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.


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.


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.


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.