Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography


Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography


Lesson Info

Photographing Butterflies

It's talk about butterflies a few little extra tricks to do a good job with butterflies one is to have a little bit of a telephoto lens because they won't allow you to get too close the other is it's always good to have a flash on the top of your camera so that you don't have to worry about where the lights coming from if you're always having to worry about the sun being behind you or something like that then you have a problem because the sun is not going to be there or you go into a butterfly a theory there's one up by bouchard gardens there's one up there and you'll find him and other places occasionally infected and ben two years ago the museum of natural history or the high desert museum actually put in a butterfly garden for the winter or enclosure and they had all these butterflies lying around we actually got some very nice beautiful butterfly shots within that but as you go around the country there's a lot of butterfly avery's uh one of the best is in florida another one is in...

georgia one up by niagara falls there's they're all over the place but that's what these two pictures were taken of and I've got flash on the camera I've got enough ambient light in the background where I use the slow shutter speed but the flash took care of the movement and I'm you're gonna have to hand hold because they won't allow you in there with tripods so you need to have flash in order to bring your own light to do something like this this is in the wild it's a columbine in the sierra nevada mountains and came next to the campsite there was a little stream by the campsite and haywood comeback he or she would come back and nectar on these particular columbine's and I was ready for it I set up the camera system the next time they came by I nailed him I did a project in mexico in the seventies these air all kota chrome's and I've been there three times way were trying to get the monarch area they're protected it was in an area that was being logged and I was there with a with a biologist named lincoln brower and these air a series of pictures and this is the reason for showing you these is to talk about nature photography versus natural history photography we've all gone now to nature photography because we're looking for that one beautiful photograph instead of spending the time and getting a life history on something, we end up looking for that one beauty shot because if we get it published they're only gonna publish the one beauty shot they're not going to publish the whole sequence back in those days national geographic all national geographic still does it france launching actually went back to the same spot here and did a lot of the same areas that I did I was the second person to photograph this national geographic was the first one these areas of monarch butterflies hadn't really been discovered I mean the local people knew they were there the mariposa who has always been there and but the biologist didn't know they existed there was estimated one hundred million monarch butterflies in just one of these areas now they're in danger because of weather conditions whether changes because of within the united states where they move up into the air during the later part of the year what happens is that we've taken all offense rose out and we now farm all the way to the fence lines we do gmo corn and that will cause a problem with some with the butterflies so we have all kinds of problems I just want to point out here this is this is where we give you a test at the end in the life history of a monarch butterfly the mail catches the female in mid air they tumbled down into under the ground they copulate you can see them coupled here and then he flies off up and back up into the trees and they stay couples like that for quite some time she then has the eggs she will she will find milkweed way need the milkweed and again as we go through the midwest and areas now, the milkweed is being somewhat eradicated. We have also, uh, round up and things like that that kill a lot of these what they consider to be weeds, but milkweed is needed for the monarchs. They lay their eggs on the milkweed, the it hatches your first in star of the caterpillar, and the caterpillar gets bigger as it eats the milkweed. It gets bigger until it goes into a crystalline, and it hatches out from I don't know the word hatches is the correct word or not, but we'll have three or four generations of this during this year, and then was as we come to the fall who's ever alive at that point in time has to fly all the way back down to mexico to these mo high mountains at ten thousand feet, and stay there over winter and, uh, next in the spring of march or so they start moving back out into the looking for more milkweed and and mating in that kind of a thing so that's the whole history, this is the crystal of itself, this I actually shot in a studio, but you can see the crystalline turns into the the caterpillar turns into a crystal in and then out comes the butterfly a couple weeks later and it's all crumpled up it its abdomen is huge. It pumps the liquids and its abdomen out into the veins of its wing. It hardens. And now you have a butterfly that can fly. There will be a test if you could imagine sitting down in the middle of something like this. And looking above you. We talked about this as we first started this morning. Is you look at this and you cannot believe what is in front of you. And you ask yourself, how do I capture this? How do I bring this back to show other people which is my job? And why was there? And it's it's overpowering and in some, in some instances, I could remember taking this photograph right here in one of these branches. Crashed to the ground, broke off and crashed to the ground from the weight of the butterflies. And imagine how many butterflies it takes to be enough weight to crash a limb off of a tree. It's it's pretty amazing. The biology that was going on there were orioles that would come into here and they would taste test. They would actually do it. A little snippet on a wing. And if the butterfly heady milkweed that was poisonous they wouldn't take it there's a few species of milkweed in the united states that is not poisonous and what would happen was they would then say this is a good one and as you see, the oriole here would fly off and eat the butterfly but fortunately most of them and eaten milkweed most milkweed is poisonous and they wouldn't eat them but we were able to document that this is projected flash and the oldest method this's a kodachrome image the the projected flash was a parabolic reflector that would shoot the light out we would gain about two stops of light with it with a big battery pack and everything so things of changed dramatically over the years so you can't see the trees for the monarch butterflies this last one over here is actually eucalyptus, which is the butterflies on the west of the rocky mountains move into california toe over winter and everything east of the rockies travels down into the high mountains of mexico about one hundred, one hundred fifty miles from mexico city and that's where we were photographing these over here this is an oil mel tree or the pine trees that are up there and these other ones are eucalyptus and those were the ones that would be in california can't see the tree for the butterflies so nature photography as I started to say at the beginning, here is the beauty shot we all try to get the most beautiful shot and it's just natural that we would try to do that the natural history photography that we used to do and where I came into this and I have a background of three years of wildlife biology before I go ended up getting a degree in photography was you had to get the life history you had to tell the story. And now we have to tell the story with one picture or two pictures that would most of that will put in a in an article, and in the past we tried to show the whole thing. So it's changed it's just everything changes in some way or another so let's dwell into even closer and closer into these butterflies. This is the madagascan sunset moth that I bought from this agent from this company that sends butterflies out in months, and I wanted to get a very good shot. I wanted to test out a tw some point, I'd like to photograph the whole butterfly, but I wanted to just take this cross section because that looked like a very interesting area. And I have here this base or you could buy this on the internet, this little rig here where you have an x and a y axis, when if I haven't x and y axis, I could shoot a panorama goto another row shoot another panorama should another roll into another panorama and each picture in the panorama is going to be stacked ended up and you come up with one thousand four hundred thirty eight photographs. It gets a little crazy again. My wife was told do not come into my office do not give me a phone call anything because if I lose track of where I am, I'm in trouble and I did it piece by piece I did one row at a time so each one of these there's eighty positions on here then each one of these is a picture it's stacked another picture that stacked another picture of exactly when I got to the end I moved the x or the y axis across and I went back and there's an overlap here and there's an overlap there and that's why it adds up to so many so many photographs. This is just one photograph from this area right here in that butterfly wing that's just one of the stacked images so you can take this as far as you want to take it. You know you could be crazy if you want to be crazy, but the whole idea here was I wanted to show mike my long term reason for doing this is to take a whole butterfly opened up and to do this kind of information you make a very, very large print so that you have this butterfly on the wall and you walk up to it and you could count the scales on it if he wanted to it just brings you that much closer it's one thing to see one particular image on the butterfly it's a whole another thing to see ah whole butterfly in the same light of information so here it is this that one section after all of us put together with all of the problems and actually I'm didn't make any mistakes there's no soft spots or areas out of focus within it but it's only one's very small part of the butterfly we have a lot more to go to get the whole thing you'll find that these projects will take hold of the like the poppy project that I mentioned of the saw those poppy pictures and I did a book on the poppies it took me fifteen years and it's april into may of each year in some years there were no pictures and other years there were fantastic pictures so nature photography khun do really wonderful things for you it makes you see the world in so much closer way and brings you and sucks you into a project and in my case somebody will give me an assignment and it will take me into another world that I never I dreamt that I would ever be involved with

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.