Jim Zuckerman's Blog
A new bird species for me
Friday, April 28, 2017
A new bird species for me

On the hike yesterday, I spotted a male and female Magellanic woodpecker busy at work on a tree trunk. I concentrated on the male because of its beautiful head. Every few moments, the morning sun caught those red feathers, and that's what I wanted to capture. In order for the image to work, of course, the woodpecker's head had to be turned to the side. I shot this with a 100-400mm Canon lens along with a 1.4x teleconverter, giving me 640mm of focal length. My settings were 1/400, f/10 (this is enough depth of field so the bird and the surrounding bark were sharp), and I used 1250 ISO. The original background behind the tree was a busy mess of tangled out of focus branches plus an ...

Sunrise in Patagonia
Thursday, April 27, 2017
A new bird species for me

My photo tour and I hiked to a beautiful glacial lagoon at the base of Cerro Torre, one of the dramatic peaks of the Southern Andes here in the Patagonia region of Argentina. We met a photographer who had been camping there, and in four days he had seen nothing but clouds. The mountains were totally obscured. In addition, he had experienced high winds and rain. This morning we were extremely lucky because we had great color, beautiful clouds, and no wind for about a half hour. I used blue ice that had calved from a distant glacier as my dominant foreground. Just as the great lighting disappeared, the wind kicked up and the calm lagoon suddenly had white caps. The change in such a short time ...

Calving glacier
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
A new bird species for me

 

12-panel Panorama
Monday, April 24, 2017
A new bird species for me

One of the most beautiful glaciers in the world is the Perito Moreno Glacier in southern Argentina. It is unusual in that it's very clean, meaning there isn't the typical topping of dirt and debris that make so many other glaciers look dirty. There are several dramatic viewpoints from which you can take commanding views of the ice field. This glacier is in equilibrium -- meaning it is neither receding nor growing. It calves large chunks of ice constantly, and beside capturing a beautiful landscape shot my photo tour participants and I spent several hours trying to catch the falling ice and the accompanying monster splashes. I'll post one of those pictures next time I have a decent Internet ...

Iceberg in Patagonia
Sunday, April 23, 2017
A new bird species for me

I’m southern Argentina now to begin a photo tour to one of the great landscape destinations in the world -- Patagonia. Some of my group arrived today while others arrived yesterday, so the early arrivals and I went on a boat trip to see some of the nearby glaciers. Fortunately we had a rainy day, and I say that because the intense deep blue color of glacial ice photographs best in overcast light. Bright sun, essentially, makes good glacier photography impossible. The rain wasn’t a factor in the photography other than forcing me to be diligent in keeping the lens clean and free of rain drops. I shot on aperture priority at f/8 with a 100-400mm lens, and in post-processing I ...

Mosaic art
Thursday, April 20, 2017
A new bird species for me

There is amazing software available that can transform a collection of photos into a mosaic consisting of those photos. The program I’ve been using is Photomosaic, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. It’s only $29. I will be explaining how to use this software in the June, 2017 issue of my free monthly eMagazine, Photo Insights, but the steps are very simply and intuitive. For this shot, the background image is a bronze statue of a dragon I photographed on a bridge in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The folder that contained the various European images to be combined into the mosaic had 100 different shots. It is endlessly intriguing what the digital revolution has brought to ...

Noise reduction
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
A new bird species for me

This picture of roseate spoonbills that I photographed in Tampa Bay, Florida represents an experiment. I took this picture with my first serious digital camera -- the Canon 1Ds Mark II -purchased in 2005. Compared to today's cameras, it was quite noisy. I shot this using 250 ISO, yet on my computer monitor it looked like the noise I get at about 4000 ISO with my latest digital camera, the 1Dx Mark II. So, I applied what I consider to be the best noise reducing software, Neat Image, and the noise completely disappeared. If you have images you like taken with older digital cameras that have too much noise, try this software. It's extremely impressive. The other settings I used for this shot ...

Wild flowers in bloom
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
A new bird species for me

There is a large bloom in California now where many of the areas famous for wildflowers are full of color. When I lived there, this would happen every few years and it was amazing to shoot. I took the picture you see here with film using a Mamiya RZ 67 medium format film camera and a 350mm lens (equivalent to about a 180mm in a full frame digital camera). My lens aperture would have been either f/32 or f/45 – probably the latter for maximum depth of field -- and Fujichrome Velvia 100 film. When I shot medium format, I used to pay approximately one dollar per picture in film and developing! Imagine that. The location for this image is Gorman, California about one hour north of Los ...

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