Nature and Photography Blog

Photo Safari

Using Depth of Field and Aperature Examples

bald eagle headshot

F4

Following up on last weeks tips.

For the above Bald Eagle Photo I opened up the lens using F4.

This allowed me to put the background out of focus. The simple blue sky allows you to concentrate on the eagle minus distractions.

So when you take a photo ask yourself how important is the background? Sometimes simple is the best for strong compositions.

Other times you may want a dramatic foreground to background all in focus.

Katahdin

F16

For this photo of Katahdin in Maine I used F16.

This allowed me to keep the branches in the foreground all the way to the Mountain in the Background in sharp focus.

Please consider joining us on a photo tour or workshop.

http://www.sphotography.com/tours.htm

 


Understanding Aperture, Fstops and Depth of Field

Alaska Sunset

Alaska Sunset

Learning Depth of Field is critical to great photography. Depth of field is the area in front of and behind your point of focus. Roughly 2/3 of depth of field extends behind the focus point and one third extends in front of it.

Most photographers use the program mode where the camera will select the depth of field for you. My goal on my instructional photo tours and workshops is to get people off program mode. How does the camera know how much of an area you want in focus? Don’t allow you camera to make this decision for you.

Magnification and aperture determine depth of field.

Magnification: Regardless of the aperture you select moving closer to your subject increases magnification and reduces the depth of field. Moving away from you subject increases depth of field since it reduces the magnification. Macro and close up photography for example requires more depth of field vs a wide angle landscape shot where you are standing farther away.

Aperture: is the size of the opening in the lens. When you press the shutter button a hole opens up which allows light to come in and hit your camera’s sensor. What aperture you set impacts the amount of light. The bigger the hole the more light comes in.

Shutter speed and aperture have an inverse relationship they work against each other.

Smaller hole = less light = more depth of field = less shutter speed.

Larger hole = More light = less depth of field = higher shutter speed.

Aperture is measured in F Stops. A photographer sets the F Stop to control the shutter speed and the depth of field.

The Common F Stops include

F 2.8, F4, F5.6, F8, F11, F16, F22 etc

I you change from one F stop to another it double of cuts in half the size of the opening in your lens. Keep in mind that a change in shutter speed from one stop to the next doubles or halves the amount of light that gets in also – this means if you increase one and decrease the other you let the same amount of light in.

Now you know where you hear the term opening up and closing down. It is referring to a change in the F stops which increases or decreases light.

SETTING YOUR F STOP

One thing that causes a lot of new photographers’ confusion is that large apertures (where lots of light gets through) are given f/stop smaller numbers and smaller apertures (where less light gets through) have larger f-stop numbers. So f/2.8 is in fact a much larger aperture than f/22. It seems the wrong way around when you first hear it..

The higher the number the more area is in focus. So F16 would have a lot more in focus than F4. This is the opposite of what you would think. The reason why is it is really fractions F4 is Really F ¼ and F16 is really F 1/16

Selecting an aperture is often based on two variables.

a.) what area you want in focus?

b.) Conditions in the field: low light and wind etc.

Sometimes you may want more area in focus but the more depth of field the less shutter speed you can get. So you may have to compromise. Lets say you are photographing a flower and want to use F16 which would keep a large area in focus. If the light is low or it is windy you can’t afford to lose to much shutter speed or you will lose sharpness and the photo will be blurred.

I plan on writing about shutter speed soon.

Please consider joining us on a photo tour or workshop.

http://www.sphotography.com/tours.htm


Weekly Photo Tips

 

Grizzly Bears and Cubs

Grizzly Bear and Cubs

Every week will be adding some new photography tips to our blog. I am going to target Wednesdays.

Please bookmark this page and check back often.

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Lightroom 4 Officially Released

Lightroom 4 Now Available!

March 5, 2012 9:00 PM By: Cari Gushiken

Lightroom 4 is now feature complete and final. Starting today

Lightroom 4 is available for just US$149 for the full version and US$79 for the upgrade.

If you’ve had a chance to check out Lightroom 4 Beta, you probably have played with the enhanced Develop module and all of its powerful new tools, like:

  • Adjustment controls that maximize dynamic range from cameras, recover exceptional shadow details and highlights.
  • Improved auto adjustments to dynamically set values for exposure and contrast
  • Additional local adjustment controls including Noise Reduction, Moire and White Balance
  • Presets that take advantage of new processing technology for speedy results
  • Soft proofing that helps photographers tune images in a destination color space to ensure content looks its best.
  • Ability to email images directly from Lightroom using an email account of your choice

After editing and adjusting images, the next step is to find a way to showcase them.  A professionally bound book with high quality paper is a great way to highlight your photographic work. Lightroom 4 has built in tools to create them with text controls and a variety of easy-to-use templates, as well as a direct link for publishing your photo book with Blurb.

The intuitive Map module lets you pin photos to locations and easily import your geotagged photos. Seeing your photos on a Map can sometimes help you evoke memories of incredible vacations and favorite photo shoots.  At the very least, the new Map module will make organizing your photos more easy and fun.

Now, native video support allows you to play, trim and extract frames from video clips shot on DSLRs, point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones. Video-specific presets and many standard Lightroom image adjustment controls can be applied to video clips, and adjusted videos can be exported as a H.264 file or published directly to Facebook or Flickr.


Florida Photo Tour Wildlife List Feb 2012

Alligator Photo Workshop Florida

American Alligator

WILDLIFE  CHECKLIST: FLORIDA PHOTO TOUR

REPTILES:  American Alligator, American Crocodile, Anole, Red Bellied Turtle

MAMMALS: West Indian Manatee,  Raccoon, Eastern Gray Squirrel, White Tailed Deer, Dolphin,Doberman Pinscher

 DUCKS: Whistling-Duck, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, 

PODICIPEDIDAE — GREBES:  Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe

CICONIIDAE — STORKS:  Wood Stork 

PHALACROCORACIDAE — CORMORANTS: Double-crested Cormorant 

 ANHINGIDAE — ANHINGAS & DARTERS: Anhinga B 

 PELECANIDAE — PELICANS: American White Pelican, Brown Pelican 

 ARDEIDAE — HERONS, BITTERNS & ALLIES: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, □ Tricolored Heron,  Reddish Egret, Cattle Egret,  Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, 

THRESKIORNITHIDAE — IBISES & SPOONBILLS: White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill 

 CATHARTIDAE — NEW WORLD VULTURES: Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture 

 PANDIONIDAE — OSPREYS: Osprey 

 ACCIPITRIDAE — HAWKS, KITES, & EAGLES: Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-shouldered Hawk 

 RALLIDAE — RAILS, GALLINULES & COOTS: Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, American Coot 

 ARAMIDAE — LIMPKINS: Limpkin 

 GRUIDAE — CRANES: Sandhill Crane 

 CHARADRIIDAE — LAPWINGS & PLOVERS:  Wilson’s Plover, Killdeer 

 RECURVIROSTRIDAE — STILTS:  Black-necked Stilt

 SCOLOPACIDAE — SANDPIPERS, PHALAROPES & ALLIES: Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Sanderling,  Semipalmated Sandpiper

 LARIDAE— GULLS, TERNS & SKIMMERS: Bonaparte’s Gull, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Least Tern, □ Caspian Tern   

COLUMBIDAE — PIGEONS & DOVES: White-winged Dove  

STRIGIDAE —OWLS: Great Horned Owl,  Burrowing Owl, Barred Owl  

PICIDAE — WOODPECKERS:  Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker  

 TYRANNIDAE — TYRANT FLYCATCHERS: Eastern Kingbird  

 LANIIDAE — SHRIKES: Loggerhead Shrike  

 CORVIDAE — CROWS & JAYS: Blue Jay, American Crow  

 MIMIDAE — MOCKINGBIRDS & THRASHERS:  Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird  

 PARULIDAE — WOOD-WARBLERS: Ovenbird,  Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped Warbler

 CARDINALIDAE — CARDINALS & ALLIES: Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting,  Painted Bunting   

ICTERIDAE — BLACKBIRDS: Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle 

 PASSERIDAE — OLD WORLD SPARROWS : House Sparrow


Wild Florida Photo Tour Results

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill in Florida

Wild Florida Photo Tour Results 2011.  

I just got back from Florida last week. It was a long but exciting trip. It started out on a bad note when the Patriots lost the Superbowl. Thankfully each day got better. 

I spent many weeks preparing for this trip even though I have photographed Florida for almost 20 years. It is important to keep up with the recent wildlife reports. I check the internet, call and email other photographers, birders, biologist etc. I also monitor the water levels and tide charts. 

I drove down a week early to scout out the area. I checked on some eagle, osprey and owl nests.  Some of my most photogenic nests were vacant this year but I had other ones planned out. 

The tip started off in Fort Myers. Participants flew into the Fort Myers Airport and took a shuttle to the hotel. This group was a lot of fun. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time.  

The wildlife on this trip put on quite the show.  

Some of the highlights were 

  • Roseate Spoonbills (multiple locations)
  • Manatees (Everglades National Park and Big Cypress Preserve) one 10 feet away
  • Alligators (multiple locations) including Baby Alligators
  • American Crocodile
  • Some of the herons, egrets, anhingas, wood stocks, vultures, and cormorants were so close they were able to get head shots.
  • Pelicans: Both White and Brown Pelican were photographed. Some nesting, perched, and diving for fish.
  • Bald eagles: (multiple locations)
  • Nesting Burrowing, Great Horned and Barred Owls.
  • Purple Gallinule (Multiple locations Everglades)
  • Limpkin: (multiple days and locations)
  • Osprey: perched, in flight, nesting (multiple locations)
  • Red Shoulder Hawk (multiple locations)
  • Black necked Stilt (multiple locations)
  • Loggerhead Shrike
  • Painted Bunting
  • Watching hundreds of birds return to their rookery at night
  • The beauty of the Everglades, Sanibel Island, Big Cypress Preserve
  • Burrowing Owls (multiple nests)
  • Great Horned Owls (two locations)
  • A great sunset in the Everglades
  • Reddish Egrets
  • Ospreys nest building at Sanibel Island
  • The vultures at Myakka
  • Robert was Here: Tropical Drinks

 

It was sad to drop people off at the airport after the tour was over. 

Thank you all for the memories and laughs. 

 You never know what you are going to see in Florida everyday is an adventure. 

 I can’t wait for next year. 


Smart Phone Photo Apps for the Photographer

 

SNOWY OWL

SNOWY OWL

Who would have thought that a cell phone can improve your nature photography. When you buy a smart phone there are several options. One major choice is the operating system. Widows Phone and Blackberry have a large presence but two operating systems dominate the market. iPhone and Goodle’s Android System. 

Both options have thousands of applications. I found that the iPhone has more than Android. You can look online and check the apps you may be interested in before you choice a phone.

Android:  https://market.android.com/                

Apple: http://itunes.apple.com/us/genre/ios/id36?mt=8

I ended up going with the Motorola Droid Razor. It is a 4.3 high resolution display which is bigger than the iphone screen. It is one of the thinnest 4G phones and it is one of the most durable. Nature Photographers are exposed to the elements so I needed a phone that could take a beating.  It is shielded with a KEVLAR® strong backplate. Suppress an onslaught of scratches and scrapes, reinforced by Corning® Gorilla® Glass. It is also splashproof.

There are thousand of apps available (hundreds just for photography).

Some of the apps I installed include:

Weather Channel:  Allows you to save multiple locations for a quick glace at the weather.

Email:  Nice to check emails from the road and keep up with office work.

Facebook: Nice to be able to add to my facebook page from the road.

Amazon Kindle: ability to download ebook with just a few clicks to your phone.

Nlist:  Allows you to create lists.  Some of the lists I made

a.) To Do list

b.)  Photography Gear

c.) Shopping Lists

d.) Presentation list (what I bring when I do a presentation)

e.) Packing Lists.

Never forgot important photo gear at home.

Quick Office:  To view and update Office Spreadsheet like Excel and Word.

Backpacker GPS: Record hiking trails, backpacking trips, and camping adventures. View maps, navigate with digital compass, take photos, and backtrack to the trailhead. GPS Trails Lite works in remote places

Aurora: Several apps are available to get the northern lights forecast

Google Earth: view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. Helps you plan out the best locations for wildlife and landscape photography.

Google Sky Map: Point your phone at the sky, and it will show the stars, planets, constellations, and more to help you identify the celestial objects in view.

Sun Surveyor:  Predicts Sun & Moon positions (azimuth, altitude, time) with its modules: 3D Compass, Map View, Camera View (Augmented Reality) and Details (Ephemeris). Useful for photo location scouting plan for every sunrise and sunset!

The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE):  a map-centric sun and moon calculator: see how the light will fall on the land, be it day or night, for almost anywhere on earth. It is nice for landscape, nature, travel and outdoor photographers, TPE’s map-based approach means you can search for any place name on the planet or position the map pin exactly where you want it.

Trip Advisor: Great App helps with you travel planning. I use it mostly for hotel reviews

AAA TripTik: Get maps, directions, AAA Approved lodging and dining info, gas prices and more. 

Gas Buddy: Search for Gas Prices by city, state, zip code, with listings for all cities in the USA and Canada.

Kayak: flight, hotel, car rental, and other trip searches. Like the website it goes through the data from hundreds of different travel sites, allowing you to compare options, prices etc.

Photo Manipulation:  There are also several apps for taking pictures with you cell phone then making almost instant changes to the photo like built in HDR etc. I have never used any of these apps.

Wildlife: there are several apps on bird, tree, wildflowers identification, tracking, bird and animal calls. I hope to address this in a future article.

There are many applications which can help improve your photography. It is amazing how technology can impact nature photography.


Best time of year to buy Camera Gear

CHINCOTEAGUE SUNRISE

SUNRISE CHINCOTEAGUE

There really is a best time to do just about anything and everything. That is especially true when buying camera gear.

So when is the best time to buy photo equipment?

Manufactures’ like to introduce their newest models in January and February. This coincides with some of the larger trade shows like including the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) convention.

As the new models arrive they need to discount the old models which are great for people who don’t need the latest technology. If you want the latest technology this is the exciting time of year but not necessary the best price. Presidents Day sales tend to mark the peak of the discount season for cameras.

There is a second round of announcements in September. This gear is usually hitting stores usually in November in the lead up to Christmas.

Consumer Reports Claims March and Oct to be the best time

For Software: Adobe updates Photoshop and Lightroom usually every 18 months


Extension Tubes for Nature Photography

GHOST CRAB

GHOST CRAB

I was photographing at the beautiful Cape Hanlopen State Park in Delaware. I decided to go on what I thought would be a 5 minute walk to the ocean. I ended up coming back 3 hours later. I was really thankful I brought my extension tubes since I didn’t have any macro lenses on me.  I ended up photographing ghost crabs, fence lizards, and a pray mantis.

One thing about camera gear is it is heavy. In my photo backpack I can’t fit everything. I love my 180mm Macro lens. It is my best option for macro photography. But when space is limited or I am traveling to a remote location I am sometimes unable to bring this lens with me.

One thing I always pack in my camera bag is my extension tubes. They are lightweight and take very little camera bag space. They are much cheaper and lighter than a macro lens.  

An extension tube is an important accessory for closeup photography. The hollow tube contains no optical elements; its sole purpose is to move the lens farther from the image sensor. This additional distance allows your lens to focus more closely, which in turn provides more magnification capability.

Extension tube can be added to almost any lens even zoom lenses. This will decrease the minimum focusing distance. They are available in multiple sizes. How much closer depends on the amount of extension and the magnification of your lens. You can also use it with a macro lens to get even closer. They can also be combined with tele converters etc.

Extension tubes do have some disadvantages. You will lose your ability to focus to affinity. Some tubes you will lose your autofocus so focus manually.

They are one the least expensive most versatile accessories you can buy for close up photography.  I recommend you buy some in multiple sizes.

Also remember extension tubes are not the same as a teleconverters.


Roseate Spoonbill Florida

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

I love photographing Florida I have been going there for several years.

The Roseate Spoonbills is one of my favorite birds. This species feeds in shallow fresh or coastal waters by swinging its bill from side to side as it steadily walks through the water, often in groups. The spoon-shaped bill allows it to sift easily through mud. It feeds on crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, newts and very small fish ignored by larger waders.

We still have space on on Florida Photo Tour.  

Fall Foliage Photos White Mountains NH

PHOTO WORKSHOP WHITE MOUNTAINS NH

WHITE MOUNTAINS NH FALL FOLIAGE

No matter how early or late the peak fall foliage is there is still many great pictures to take. Just walk or drive that extra mile. This year was one of my most challenging because of the record high temperatures which delayed the peak. We also had a lot of rainfall. I really got to thank my participants no one person complained and everyone made the best of the difficult conditions.


Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Virginia

Chinoteague Sunset Egrets

Chinoteaque Sunset Egrets


Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup


Fall Reflection White Mountains NH

Reflections

Fall Foliage Reflection Abstract


Dream Big

Dream Big Slonina Photography Tour

Dream Big


Shutter Speeds

Try using different shutter speeds to blur the water.  A slower shutter speed will give a blur that some photographers call the cotton candy effect. Try using multiple shutter speed setting for different effects because you never know which one you will like best.

FALL FOLIAGE RIVER

NEW HAMPSHIRE RIVER


Maple Leaf Forest Floor

MAPLE LEAF MOSS

When you are out photographing don’t forgot to look down at the forest floor.


Photographing Waterfalls

I love photographing waterfalls. You eyes can see a large range of lighting conditions including details in the shawdows on a bright day. Unfortunately your camera can’t see as much detail.

So if you exposure for the shawdows the other parts of the picture is washed out. If you exposure for the highlights it washes out details in the shawdows. So for photographing waterfalls overcast lighting is best.

It also allows you to use a slower shutter speed with gives the water that silky cotton candy effect. Since the shutter speed is so low its another reason to use a tripod.


Moose Country Photo Tour (Trip Report)

PITTSBURG, NH

SUNRISE FIRST CONNECTICUT LAKE

I just returned from leading my Moose Country Photo Workshop. It was a lot of pictures, laughs and most of all fun. The days were long with a 4:30am sunrise and a sun that set around 8:40pm.

Over the weekend we saw 12 moose, 4 white tailed deer, snowshoe hares, red fox, several species of birds, wildflowers. We also photographed Common Loons, a nesting Osprey and Common Mergansers.

Several of the local residents reported seeing less moose that usual this year. Some of the reasons include Tick Infestations, Late Spring, Heavy Snowfall, increased hunting pressure. We did manage to see 12 moose but we worked for it. I guess you can’t go wrong in the Northern Forest.

We also had two amazing sunrise shoots. The first one was at Lake Francis with the sun rising thru the morning fog and another at first Connecticut Lake. We also did a sidetrip to Rangeley where we photographed more Moose, Rangeley Lake, and Height of the Land. Other subjects included a waterfall which looked great with the recent rainfall.

We visited several locations throughout Northern New Hampshire and Maine. Many miles of both dirt and paved roads near the Canadian Border.

The participants in the group were wonderful people that I would definitely now call friends. You got to be a little crazy to get on location before the sun even rises and spend the weekend taking pictures deep in the heart of moose country. It is nice to know I am not the only crazy one.

Thank you for attending.

Next year’s trip will be June 15-18, 2012 and will include a platoon boat wildlife ride on Lake Umbagog.

Stay in touch.


Hunt’s Photo and Video

We are often asked where we get our photo gear. We buy our gear at Hunt’s Photo and Video. 

Please contact: Gary Farber (781) 462-2332   Email: digitalguygary@wbhunt.com 

Please mention John Slonina Photography.


New Hampshire Fall Tour

FALL FOLIAGE: NEW HAMPSHIRE SEPT 30-OCT 2 and or OCT 3-5
Join us as we travel to the beautiful White Mountains and Northern NH to photograph fall foliage. This is timed to see some of New England’s most beautiful places during the peak times. We will photograph mountains, rivers, waterfalls, wildlife, reflections, birch trees etc. The subject matter is endless at this wonderful time of year.

There is also a discount if you mention this website.

Please visit our website or contact us for more information

http://www.sphotography.com/tours.htm


Acadia National Park, Puffins Photo Tour and Workshops

Acadia Photo Tours and Workshops

Acadia Photo Tours and Workshops

Acadia National Park and the Puffins Photo Tour and Workshop 

http://www.sphotography.com/acadia-photo-tour/

June 11-15, 2014 (3 Spaces)

Join us on a photo tour to Acadia National Park and the Maine Coastline with professional photographer John Slonina. We will be visiting one of our favorite places to photograph. It is one of the most dramatic areas on the east coast. Experience the magic of the rock bound coast and soaring granite cliffs where the mountains meet the sea. We also will be taking a boat ride to an island to photograph Puffins, Razorbills, and Seals.

June is a great time to photograph this awesome area. Beautiful forests, mountain peaks, wildflowers, birds, lakes, streams, waterfalls, lighthouses, tide pools, carriage roads etc. We also will be on the lookout for park wildlife including seals, deer, beavers, eiders, and foxes. June has a lot less traffic then peak tourist season (July-September).

Be one of first people to see and photograph the rising sun in the country. Cadillac Mountain sweeping vistas has a view you will never forget. The days are paced to maximize photo opportunities and the schedule will be flexible to maximize getting the best light.

Day 1 Afternoon: We will meet at the hotel at 4pm for a quick meeting followed by a sunset shoot then dinner.

Day 2-4: We will travel to several different locations (depending on the lighting conditions) starting on location at sunrise. We will conclude with sunset. Each day will be a photographic adventure.

Since sunrise is 4:45am and Sunset around 8:20pm. There will be a long break in between morning and afternoon shoots. This would be a great time for a break, nap, etc. We will also have some classroom time to review and critique work, digital techniques, digital processing tips ect. John will be bringing a digital projector for presentations.

One day will be taking a boat trip to a remote island off the Maine coast to photograph puffins, lighthouses and seals. This is an incredible photo opportunity since you can actually land on the island and not have a distant boat view. This is all weather permitting.

From the blind on the island we will target puffins, razorbills, and terns. Some of the birds are just a few feet away. On the boat ride back we will look for seals. The Boat ride is included in the tour fee. On the ride back to Bar Harbor we will explore some hidden gems and quaint fishing harbors, lighthouses and seaside cliffs.

Day 5: Morning Photo Session Trip concludes late morning early afternoon.

http://www.sphotography.com/acadia-photo-tour-workshop-galleries/

http://www.sphotography.com/testimonials/

When:

June 11-15, 2014

Price:

$895 (this does not include hotel or food)

Deposit: $300

Please note: This trip always sells out.

So please register early.

PAYMENT:

Payment can be made by check to Slonina Photography.

We also accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.

If you prefer to use credit card you can call our office at (508) 736-1167 or use the online shopping cart.

Lodging:

A block of room is reserved under Slonina Photography with a discount rate for our participants.

Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and Conference Center (800)- 336-2463.

Estimated price $93 night with a incredible ocean view. The hotel is strategically located to prime sunrise/sunset locations. It is also close to downtown bar harbor.

http://www.barharbormainehotel.com/

Participants are not required to stay there. There a numerous lodging and camping options with different price ranges. We have hotel starting around $60

Please contact us for details.

For more info please visit

http://www.sphotography.com/photo-tours-and-workshops/

Cancellation:

If you cancel before 90 days of departure you will receive a full refund.

If you cancel within 90 days you will lose deposit amount.

Unless we are able to fill the spot. Then there will be a full refund.

Who should attend:

Anyone with a interest in photography from a beginner to professional photographer who has a love of being outdoors and nature.

Group size:

Our groups are small in size and are limited to 6 people. This group size allows for flexibility in our plans if interesting and unexpected photo opportunities present themselves. Also it will allow us to work with each participate to provide complete, informative, helpful lessons.

Fitness Level: This trip will involve some short flat walks. None of the hikes are long most of them within site of my tour van. So you do not have to be in great shape for this tour.

Goals:

The entire workshop is devoted to capturing the best nature images possible. John draws upon his decades of experience as a professional photographer to offer several methods to improve your nature photography. John will share numerous proven beginner thru advanced techniques.

On location, John will demonstrate how you can best use your equipment. We will do our best to help you get beautiful professional high dynamic quality images which will make gorgeous prints on your wall.

Before and after each workshop we will access each participants needs, interests and skills so we can teach techniques that will help each participant. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned pro we will help you grow as a photographer. At the end of the workshop you will be able to comfortably apply these tools and start your own unique style.

Some topics we cover

Time of Day:

Participating in a workshop is a great way to improve your photography. We believe in capturing the best light our workshops include sunrise and sunset shoots (weather permitting). Early morning and late afternoon has the best lighting for photography. Mid day sunny days is not as photogenic and more windy. Also early morning has some other advantages less traffic and people, wildlife is more active, and less wind.

What you will learn:

Our job is not only to help you create beautiful images and have fun but also teach skills and techniques you can use to take your photography to the next, higher level! Attendees will have a solid understanding of many basic and advanced principles related to nature photography.

Getting There:

Plane:

Bangor International Airport (BGR):  1 Hour Away

Bar Harbor Airport (BHB): 15 minutes

About Me:

John Slonina is a professional nature photographer who has been photographing the nature for over 25 years. He has been published in multiple books, magazines, and calendars.  He has a love of natural history as well. You will receive education not just in photo technique, but also in the natural world. Understanding the natural world not only increases your appreciation of nature but also helps you become a better nature photographer.

If you have any questions feel free to contact us.

John Slonina

Slonina Nature Photography


Great Gray Owl

The Watcher In the Woods

About this picture: Great Gray Owls are one of my favorite birds. When I photographed this bird it was perfectly parallel to the tree.  I then changed my locations to the side of the owl which was now totally blocked by the same tree.  What I was anticipating was the owl peaking around the tree and looking at me which he did.  This viewpoint gives you a sense of mystery since his face is partially blocked.

The Great Gray Owl is the largest owl in North America. The Great Gray Owl has a body length of about 24 – 33 inches, a wingspan of 4 1/2 – 5 feet, and weighs only 1 1/2 – 3 pounds, despite its large size. Great Gray lacks ear tufts and has a relatively large head and small eyes. Like other owls, the great gray owl has eyes that face forward. This gives it depth perception. Also, like other owls, one of its ear holes is higher than the other. This helps it identify the source of a sound, which is useful in finding prey.

 Great Gray Owls prefer dense forests interspersed with open meadows, clearings, or bogs. This owl lives in taiga, boreal, and mountainous forests of North America

The main food of this owl is small mammals, like voles, but it will also eat birds, amphibians, and insects. They hunt mainly during dusk and dawn (crepuscular) from a perch at the forest edge or in a clearing, but will also hunt at night (nocturnal) and occasionally during the daytime (diurnal). They have a keen sense of hearing and can dive in the snow and catch a rodent that was not even visible.

Even Though they are the largest of the North American Owls they are Great Horned and Snowy Owls are stronger and weigh more.


Black Bear Yawn