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Nature Photograph Masterclass
March 24, 2010 3:47 AM   Subscribe

Want to take better nature photographs? BBC Wildlife Magazine has published a stack of their 'masterclass' features online.

Masterclasses are written by some of the best (that's a particularly good link) professional nature photographers in the world, with simple, practical advice that both serious hobbyist, and point-and-shooters can take advantage of.
posted by smoke (7 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

Or you can just set it up. [via]
posted by tellurian at 4:08 AM on March 24, 2010

These are well done. Of course, following rules like this aren't going to make you John Shaw or Art Wolfe, but it's a very good way to get started. I think every photographer develops a mental checklist like these, based on "the most common things I usually get wrong". It's all part of the process of getting to a place where you get good results consistently.

The other big part of that process is to spend time thinking about what worked (or not) in your photos. It's hard to get better if you don't bring some criticism to the process. The tough part is to walk the line between patting yourself on the back and beating yourself up.
posted by cisko at 5:54 AM on March 24, 2010

I'd like to see an intro on what camera equipment they used, too. I'm thinking that sometimes the best shot just can't be acquired without the expensive zoom lens, etc.
posted by misha at 6:06 AM on March 24, 2010

These are some good basic tips for things to try in photography, but the steps they offer here aren't enough to get photos like the ones they use as examples. No photo guide can cover everything, of course, but some people may follow these rules and wonder why their photos still don't look like the ones here.

For example, photo #2, 'Perfect Your Technique', talks about timing and being ready to capture a moment. This is true and very important. But part of the reason that photo works is because he used a flash shooting against the sun, lest his subjects become silhouettes. And in this other photo #2, 'Keep Stimulated', he talks about the importance of always looking for new things, but doesn't mention the tinted grad filter it looks like he used, and which is responsible for a lot of the fantasy feel.

So they're good tips, and worth reading, but the beginning photographer might feel a bit frustrated after trying them out.
posted by echo target at 6:21 AM on March 24, 2010

I'd like to see an intro on what camera equipment they used, too. I'm thinking that sometimes the best shot just can't be acquired without the expensive zoom lens, etc.

That's pretty much what the guide on photographing birds boils down to. At the end, after suggesting ways on how to shoot a bird, it pretty much tells you, "If you don't have a 500mm telephoto lens, don't even bother!"

Yeesh. It's extremely hard, but with a wimpy 300mm lens, I've managed to get a few decent shots of birds. I drool over the idea of having a larger lens, but they shouldn't make it seem like an insurmountable barrier.
posted by Atreides at 6:26 AM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

The first picture on the Underwater Shooting is amazing. It looks almost like a composite of rays flying across the desert with mountains in the background—which makes it even more stunning when you realize what it is.
posted by Brainy at 6:53 AM on March 24, 2010

These look good, thanks for sharing them. I'm not expecting to get the exact same shots, but it'd be nice to know how to get a little better at capturing the moment. And they're full of *very* pretty pictures to look at :)
posted by harriet vane at 8:17 AM on March 25, 2010

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