Jim Zuckerman's Blog
Elevated viewpoints
Saturday, July 23, 2016 9:01AM
Elevated viewpoints

Elevated points of view tell a story.  Whether you are shooting landscapes, cityscapes, or a stage performance, shooting from a commanding position gives an overview of what you want to communicate.  In this case, I captured the Balinese kecak fire dance from a seat high up in the audience with a 100-400mm lens.  The telephoto allowed me to eliminate extraneous elements as well as create an establishing shot that included most of the performers.  At the same time, I was able to give a total sense of what was happening on stage.  Had I been shooting from floor level or from one of the seats in front, I'd have a depth of field issue plus the performers in the ...

Volcanic lakes of Flores Island
Friday, July 22, 2016 6:12AM
Elevated viewpoints

One of the places I included in this photo tour of Indonesia is Kelimutu on the island of Flores. It consists of three volcanic lakes that change color depending on biological and meteorological factors. You can't capture all three in one photo except from an airplane. Here you see two of them separated by a narrow rock wall. I shot this with a 14mm lens, and my settings were 1/40, f/22, 400 ISO, and aperture priority. Normally I prefer to take landscape shots at sunrise or sunset, but in this case the intense aquamarine color of the water shows up best when the sun is overhead. 

Komodo dragon
Thursday, July 21, 2016 8:00PM
Elevated viewpoints

One of the highlights of the Indonesian photo tour was photographing Komodo dragons, the largest lizards in the world and a direct link to the age of the dinosaurs. They live primarily on three islands in the Indonesian archipelago, and they are prehistoric and definitely intimidating. The giant reptiles are low to the ground, and to really convey their power I had to shoot from as low an angle as possible. I wanted to capture their flickering tongue as well as their musculature as they moved over the ground, and I did that with a 100-400mm lens to compress perspective (as well as to keep a safe distance). I shot at 10 frames per second to capture the tongue at full extension. This picture ...

Freezing action in Bali
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 4:43PM
Elevated viewpoints

One of the setups I do in Bali is to have a group of boys jump off a waterfall into a river. They have a great time and we get great pictures. What I love about what these kids do is the clowning -- the expressions, the antics, and the exuberance make the shot. I used a fast shutter speed -- 1/1250 -- to freeze the boys as well as the falling water. Because the vertical plane of the foreground waterfall was about 15 to 20 feet in front of the background, I used f/11 that gave me enough depth of field so both areas of the picture were in focus. My exposure mode was Manual and I used auto ISO. 

Long tailed macaque baby
Monday, July 18, 2016 5:17PM
Elevated viewpoints

In the Monkey Forest where I photographed the Balinese dancers from the previous post, there were -- obviously -- a lot of monkeys. They were all over the place, actually. Lots of mothers with very young babies. I wanted to fill the frame with one of the little faces, particularly as it was nursing, and I worked hard to get the picture you see here. The mothers were constantly moving, and the babies were constantly squirming so it was a real challenge. Eventually, my persistence paid off and I captured exactly what I wanted. I used a 100-400mm lens for this, and the settings were 1/640, f/8, and 2500 ISO. It was very dark under the thick jungle vegetation, and that's why I need such a high ...

Hand held HDR
Sunday, July 17, 2016 9:25AM
Elevated viewpoints

I'm in Bali now with my photo tour group, and one of the setups I do on this trip is pose two beautiful Balinese dancers at the bottom of a dramatic dragon staircease in a Hindu temple in the jungle. It's an amazing shot, and everyone had a great time. It's quite dark at the bottom, and together with the bright sky behind the dancers the contrast is quite extreme. Therefore, I used the HDR technique to try and capture as much detail as possible taking into consideration that the models can't hold perfectly still. Photoshop did an amazing job at aligning the three frames I took to create a very sharp composite without any ghosting. My exposures were in two f/stop increments, and my settings ...

Intimate portrait
Saturday, July 16, 2016 7:19AM
Elevated viewpoints

The orangutans in Borneo are curious and often come surprisingly close to humans. On one of the trails that was actually an elevated boardwalk above the muddy jungle floor, a mother orang was relaxing as her very young baby was climbing on her, exploring his world, and watching photographers point big lenses at him. I got down as low as I could to capture this intimate, eye-level portrait. It was surprising to see how calm the mother was as we photographed her baby. My settings were 1/160, f/7.1, and the ISO was high at 1000 because of the thick cloud cover that threatened rain. Even though the light level was low, the diffused light was far superior to a bright sun in terms of producing ...

Mother and baby
Friday, July 15, 2016 8:15AM
Elevated viewpoints

We encountered many mothers and baby orangutans in Borneo, and it was great to see their interaction. They are so human-like. I left my drive on high speed continuous so I could capture every nuance of their movements with 10 frames per second. The settings for this image were 1/160, f/7.1, and 400 ISO. I was using image stabilization, and the focal length was 400mm plus the 1.6x magnification factor for the Canon 7D Mark II which meant that the real focal length was 640mm. This mother and baby were very high in a tree. 

Photo Tours
Subscribe to blog