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Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 21 of 21

Final Outdoor Photography Q&A


Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 21 of 21

Final Outdoor Photography Q&A


Lesson Info

Final Outdoor Photography Q&A

So from see fidel when you showed us the panorama of the hot air balloons you had very well evenly spaced how much were you like moving the camera as you were there? Okay the I'll go over how I did this again when I saw that balloon coming up I put on an interval timer that was set for ten seconds if the camera goes off every ten seconds it's going to move about the same distance unless it's accelerating or decelerating and there is a little bit of difference in time somebody could look at that and say I was going faster here slower here now I did move the camera and I put the balloon in again the camera is vertical I put the balloon in the middle of the frame and I just kept following it the whole time so it's an action sequence panorama with the action being very slow and the interval ometer is like the motor drive which is going off a ten frames per second except it's going off once every ten seconds. So it's this action sequence panorama that's going in slow motion going across all...

the way past me and that's why everything is perfectly spaced and yes the camera followed the balloon I had to keep the balloon in the center of the frame and just let the camera take its own picture each time it it was ten seconds hopefully that makes sense yes yes thank you for reviewing that. Ok this question is from k albert with regard to your hdl hdr panoramas controls again what is the order of processing so process all the bracketed shots first or the panorama stitching first the work flow is that you take each of the hd ours on you process them and and well actually I bring all the images into light room I'll optimize all the images I won't do much with exposure because I don't want to change what the exposure is because they're they're set the same all the images get the same sharpening or are ringing up the color or opening up the shadows a little bit so then I've got each one of these pictures for the panorama or for the macro shot or whatever that are put together. So now I have a single set of images that are compressed from those maybe those three and then I put it through the software that will put the panorama together so it's one step at a time when we did the macro with the combination of stacking and with everything we did it in piece by piece and I did each role and then now I had five rows of them and then I put two rows together and then I put the three rows together because the files get bigger and bigger and bigger while you're doing that the nice thing about doing the ones with the hdr is that each file? Once you put them together, they're now the same size as a single file once there, once they're put together it's like a building block and that's how the pieces piece by piece. Yeah, yeah. Um okay. So any questions in here? Yeah, please go ahead. When you put till extenders on every time you add when you're losing one tio f stops when you stack two plus two plus one point five and most are focuses won't focus but maybe what? Five point six they cut off. I think the number is like six point three or six. Point seven is the cut off for for the system, at least in the cannons. So we way consider f five point six for some cameras to be the last area that auto focus will work and with the pro cameras, f eight is the last area that they'll work. So if you go with intel extender, if you put the two x on the eight hundred, which is a five six to start with that makes it an f eleven. If you only put the one point four on it, it becomes an f eight and you could still have auto focus it's slower, believe me, it's slower out of focus so you have to be careful and knowing which camera and whether you can only go five six or whether you can go f eight, and if it goes over that that particular area, what you end up doing is you use manual focus, which we used to do all the time, and I've had to resort to the manual focus a lot of times when I was doing all the stuff with the eagles. The reason I had and was so important for me to have the camera ranger was that the auto focus would not work, but it was so critical that I could be focusing on the camera on the lens, and I could get all wait and get the eye of the bird because I was magnified on my ipad, and then I was dead on the money that I would get away from it, and I would be just fine, so focus wasn't an issue there, but keep in mind that when you put extenders on, you're going to slow down your auto focus could use live, you live you if you have a subject which is staying the first eagle that we showed on the nest, where I had the five hundred, eight hundred with the two x and the one point four and I used live you and I used the hood. Who'd been loop because of you and also you blow up the image up tio most cameras up to ten x on the five gs. Now you can go up to sixteen x and you find something in the image that has got good detail on it that you want to have in focus and then you with the loop on it. Now you touch up your focus and you're doing a magnified image on the back that's why the loop is so important if you don't have the time or the ability to use one of these cam rangers, we will use live you, but again, no action is going on here because you can't be using live you and following that. Now, if you're doing video, you're going to follow things, and you're gonna have the loop on the back of it that's why that seventy d was so important for those rafters was it was following it, and all I had to do is frame it in with my goodman loop. I was framing the subject that the auto focus was all happening inside the camera was really quite good the question back if you're shooting out of a helicopter, would would you use a gyro on that camera to do a panel if you're shooting like a, you know, over a beach scene and yes and no that's not a good answer lim limited let me clarify that if you're going to work with some longer lenses and uh I shot I shot some aerials with the five yes five gs are from a light airplane like I showed similar ones that I showed you today and I haven't I have a gyro and I put the gyro on there the combination of the giro and the image stabilization with the one hundred four hundred I was photographing skiers at four hundred millimeters from a moving airplane and their tax sharp so in that sense absolutely yes if you have a gyro I've had this giro for thirty some years and it's the works can't believe it but it works fine in general when I'm doing general aerial photography from like a helicopter there's still movement, so the image stabilization is a very good tool and quite often I haven't used the gyro when I'm shooting from a helicopter, but there are times if you don't want to go to a lower exposure uh a gentleman named la ferretti is doing some really wonderful aerial photographs at night with the with the new cameras and he's working a combination of gyro and image stabilization because now you're doing some really long exposures relative to working from helicopter because it still is vibration and everything else so the combination together is a really good choice but generally for general work from of fixed wing aircraft or something like that and most people don't have giro's the image stabilization within the lens. Now I chose the lens on this last shoot that I did that had image stabilization into it, and there was a sharper lens. I didn't use it because it didn't have it. The twenty four to seventy cannon mark to lens is a very, very sharp lens, but I decided not to use it because it doesn't have image stabilization. I have a twenty four to one o five, which is a kip lends itself on ellen's too good lands, but I use that one instead because it had image stabilization, so we sometimes make decisions based upon what these cameras have. I want to make big prints with it. Sorry, I want to make big, you know, big big print you want to make big prints, you have tohave incredibly sharp image and you have to have something like fifty megapixels or thirty six megapixels. Whatever your camera has, then the gyro is a really good choice because you have to have everything, the movement and the vibrations. And when you're doing the aerials, make absolutely sure that you're not leaning against any part of the aircraft with your upper body, your going to absorb most of the vibration with your rear end so and then the top is goingto be or don't the other thing that I would suggest if you doing aerials make sure that you don't get into the air stream that's coming past the airplane that's kind of hard when you're doing the one to four hundred but at the same time that will give you some vibration as well but I was blown away by the fact that four hundred millimeters of with aerials of skiers and I'm and I'm low in the I've never had good results at four hundred millimeters before but this is fifty megapixels and they were sharp big prints so speaking of of getting panoramas lots of interests there could you tell us again this is from spot on explaining that need the equipment need for someone new to shooting panorama as have a good tripod and the ball head just wondering if there's something else that I need you need a level you need to level the tripod and hopefully you have a bubble somewhere on the tripod or you get one of these accessories that I showed you that would level the tripod very quickly so level the tripod now the camera has to be level if you do not have that built in level you need to get one of those little to access levels that I showed you that with a green thing so you need those two things to be level that's basically the on ly tools you need initially to do I did a panorama is for years and years with onley those tools and if once you set up and you ready to do your panorama started one at one end of it look at your level on the top and if you have it'll level that's fine now move all the way where you're going to and look at the level and see if it's still level if it's not then you didn't level the tripod properly now the other problem is are you level going shooting downward or upward and there's no way that every time you're going to make it sure that the cameras level shooting out this way as well so in that case you just try not to go too high or too low because then you'll start getting some distortion here when you try to put it together but in general if you overlapped by twenty thirty percent that's not going to be an issue but shooting down or shooting up can give you a little bit of distortion thank you so another question that came in from markets fifty four have you ever thought about what you thought about investing in a drone to use with twenty were gopro's that we've been testing those out? I do have a drone a company had sent me a drum and I've been so busy the last two months that it's sitting in its sitting in my office and hasn't seen a moments uh flight time at this point, but it fascinates me I've always wanted to fly have done a lot of aerial photography and here's a way of doing close in aerial photography, so I think it's a great, great way of doing the photography, the new gopro's that give you four k, they still don't give you really good stills. I'm not sure how many megapixels they are. I think they're twelve or fourteen megapixels, something like that so the best ones are the ones that actually take a dslr up or ah marylise camera up that has, like eighteen megapixels of the bigger sensor or something like that if you want stills video that's, another story four k video out of a gopro is pretty darn good, so depending upon whether you want to shoot still so you want to shoot video is going to determine what kind of a drone you get. I work with my colleague and bend has one of the really good new ones from dj I that the landing gear goes up and you could do three hundred sixty degrees on it and all that kind of stuff except that it's in the shop at the moment. Well, markets fifty four, who asked that question, said george is gonna be hooked once he tried that, ok, you talked a little bit about doing manual white balance, right? On dso outdoor images is asking can you give us a short guide on how you figure out what white balance or colored temperature to use and whatever the scenario is well there's a couple of ways of doing it anything that you're doing outdoors I'll generally go to t the daylight and then I can make other changes when I get into photoshopped or light room or or the rocket verger because I'm shooting raw so that's not really a big problem in that but it just needs to stay the same and every one of the shots so on and you couldn't do that if you're doing raw images that's easy to do if you're wondering about if you're shooting indoor someplace and you've got all kinds of different colors of light or something going like that running the live view going alive you see what kind of color you're getting on the back of it this is this I'm telling you exactly what I just read from scott kelby in shutterbug magazine I think on the way here was that hey said if you have some light that you can't figure out what it should be goto you go to a live view when you make your changes there you'll actually see it if you can't find it in your different settings, go to the color temperature and then mess with your color temperature and when you get something that you like remember what it is you go off of live you and then lock it in on to your camera under emanuel live you you cannot you can also do your color balance off of ah great card or white card and do a custom white balance if that's another way of doing that generally, it hasn't been an issue if I'm outside, I do daylight. If I'm inside, I'll basically check to see what's there, I will sell them use automatic white balance because it will change if you're doing a panorama, it will change as you're going and you don't want that great point. Well, george, maybe one more final question for you. What is sort of the favorite thing that you have heard about or seen on the horizon that you're excited tio tryout as you obviously love playing with these new and innovative techniques to just have fun and get out there it arrived on saturday it's this it's this five d s are that I have behind me. I have a big forty four inch printer in my office that takes up quite a bit of space and the combination of this higher resolution and panorama as we were talking about doing a the panorama is with the my mind has gone blank, you completely pulled everything out of my by what was take a whole series of pictures get japan! I was wanting to say go pro, but it's a gig, a pan and it starts with a g so too do a panorama with a giga pan with fifty megapixels, and I don't know how many images on probably used less than I would normally do. I wouldn't go as much of telephoto, but I could just imagine the print we can do forty four inches, maybe twice, and so it could be close to eighty eight inches, and the amount of detail that can come out of that to me is very, very exciting and all within the spectrum of what's available today, what's available tomorrow, I'm thinking that, uh and I'm not sure I'm happy about this, but video is going to get to for work for k, we're going to go to eight k and we're going to be able to take frames off a video, so you just pointed at your subject and you take video and if it does, whatever it's going to do, you're going tohave frames that sixty frames for second and you're going to pick out whatever frame is the best action and so forth, it kind of takes away this this we feel good about the our ability, tio capture that exact moment and everything like that, some of that's going to go away. But I've seen very good images from four k right now, so there's more and more of that coming. But fifty megapixels is more than four k wonderful it's, all very exciting. We look forward tio seeing what more you d'oh ahs as things move forward. Well, I wanted to make sure that everybody knows how they can find you where they can seymour and follow what you continue to do. So your website is, george left out commons expect it will get you all right. We'll pull that up on the screen and look forward tio seeing like I said, more of what you have to come. Thank you so much for coming and being on creative lives, part of our coach, your photography month, such a pleasure to have you with us. Sixty years of photographing just a brain full of few images have big boxes of slides, and I still have to go through that haven't caught up with you. Oh, that what a wonderful, wonderful life!

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.