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Jim Zuckerman's Blog
Glacial ice
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Glacial ice

One of my favorite subjects to photograph in nature is blue glacial ice. I captured this remarkable formation in Patagonia on an overcast day. Diffused light is the ideal when photographing blue ice. It brings out the rich, saturated color. This is the opposite of what many photographers expect, but as soon as the sun comes out, contrast is increased and the depth of the deep blue color is compromised. What makes this image especially dramatic is the dark, moody background. That directs all of the attention on the beautiful shape and color of the iceberg. I shot this with a 100-400mm telephoto, and my settings were 1/800, f/8, 1600 ISO. 

HDR with people
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Glacial ice

I have an upcoming photo tour to Burma at the end of November, and I always love returning to this amazing country. The people are among the sweetest on the planet, and the photography, especially people photography, is fantastic. This picture from Bagan is interesting in that I took a chance and did a 3-frame HDR sequence in which I included the two young monks. That's risky because people can't stay perfectly still. Through my local guide, I asked the boys to be as still as possible, and it worked. I used a tripod and processed the bracketed exposures in Photoshop. This is completely natural light entering the temple, but I recognized how extreme the contrast was -- hence the need for ...

Outrageous color for Cuba
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Glacial ice

I've had a lot of fun going wild, so to speak, with my images from Cuba. The Carribean is known for super saturated colors, and with the old 50's cars, the crumbling colonial architecture, and the dazzling colors many of the women wear, dozens of photographs I took there seem to be the ideal starting point for artistic interpretation. This picture started out as a straight setup shot in which I arranged to have the two cars parked in front of this building and then hired a model to pose in various ways with the scene. I used two Topaz filters to create this look: Simply and Impression. For the ultra-intense colors, I played around in my favorite dialog box -- Image > adjustments > ...

Dante's Inferno
Monday, July 16, 2018
Glacial ice

Sometimes I preconceive a Photoshop composite, and other times I just play around with images until I like something. This one began with an inspiration from my friend and client, Robin Yong. Robin is a doctor from Singapore who comes to the Venetian carnival every year, and he arranged to have this incredible costumed model pose for my photo workshop in 2017. He took a wonderful shot from a low perspective, showing the beautiful ceiling of the room I use every year. I took a shot that was more straight-on, but I loved the idea of a fantastic ceiling as a background. So, here you see the ceiling of the Cathedral of Brixen (taken in northern Italy) as the background. Because the architecture ...

A mongoose striking a pose
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Glacial ice

My fifth and last nomination for the ‘Little Five’ is a mongoose. This is a common mongoose I captured in Kenya, and it’s the only time I was able to get a nice pose in good lighting. These small animals are famous for their bold and fearless attacks on poisonous snakes. They are quite capable of killing a king cobra and other deadly snakes. I took this picture in 1995 with a medium format film camera, the Mamiya RZ 67 II, along with a 500mm lens (equivalent to a 280mm lens in the full-frame digital format). I didn’t record the settings, but they probably were 1/250, f/8, and Fujichrome Provia 100. I read the light with a Sekonic L-358 handheld light meter. If you ...

The ferocious honey badger
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Glacial ice

My fourth nomination for the 'Little Five' in Africa is the honey badger. I've only seen one of these guys twice. This isn't a spectacular picture, but I was happy just to see and photograph a rarely seen animal. What is remarkable about this species is its ferocity. It can kill a lion by biting it in the groin and causing it to bleed to death. If a horse, cattle, or cape buffalo gets too close to its burrow, it will attack the much larger animal. Because of this, it has few natural enemies. It's also one of the few animals that uses tools. I would have liked to get lower to the ground when shooting this, but one of the frustrations on a safari is that the profile of the vehicles is higher ...

The little did-dik
Friday, July 13, 2018
Glacial ice

Dik-diks, another nomination for a member of the 'Little Five', are tiny African antelope. They are hard to photograph because they're very nervous and constantly moving. If you were eye-level with grass and had no claws and no fangs, and you were an easy meal for lots of predators, you’d be afraid of your own shadow, too! I’ve seen them on a number of occasions, but I was only able to get a decent shot once. I took this with a Canon 500mm f/4 telephoto along with a 2x teleconverter, giving me 1000mm of focal length. My settings were 1/320, f/9, and 400 ISO. I took this in 2007 when I was still using a Canon 5D Mark II, and back then noise was a much more serious consideration ...

Rock hyrax friends
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Glacial ice

Yesterday I posted a picture of a genet, and I said with tongue-in-cheek humor that my nomination for the ‘Little Five’ of African animals was, beside the genet, the dik-dik, rock hyrax, mongoose, and honeybadger. One of my followers asked me to post pictures of all of these creatures because she had never seen them, so here is a rock hyrax. Believe it or not, it is considered a distant relative of the elephant! It is not a rodent, although admittedly it looks like a large rat with fangs. In a photo like this with two prominent subjects, it’s essential to render both of them in focus. Had one of the animals been a bit soft, the photo -- in my opinion -- would have been a ...

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