Posts Tagged With: photo

Best of Antarctica

A person enjoying the view and Luigi Peak from Booth Island at Port Charcot in Antarctica.

A person enjoying the view and Luigi Peak from Booth Island at Port Charcot in Antarctica.

Antarctica is the land of superlatives; the coldest, windiest and driest place on earth. Exceptional beauty and abundant wildlife are other ways to describe this amazing continent. Tourist go to Antarctica to experience the iconic penguins but return for the magnificent ice; gigantic glaciers, tabular icebergs and frozen sea ice.

Ushuaia, Capital de las Malvinas at the southern tip of Argentina.

Ushuaia, Capital de las Malvinas at the southern tip of Argentina.

This lifetime expedition usually begins with a cultural stopover in Buenos Aires, Argentina where one can sample outstanding Malbec wines and their famous “carne” cuisine. This is also the last stop to feel the warm southern hemisphere summer and to soak up the colorful Argentinean flora. After a three-hour flight south over the Southern Andes, you arrive in Ushuaia. Located on the southern tip of Terra del Fuego Island, this resort town is accessible by air and sea. The majority of tourist access Antarctica through this scenic community perched between the mountains and the sea.

 

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Chinstrap penguins, Pygoscellis antarcticus at Baily Head on Deception Island in Antarctica.

Now the real adventure begins once we embarked on the National Geographic Explorer and headed down the calm Beagle Channel entering the notorious Drakes Passage. Up to 40,000 tourists visit Antarctica each summer season and the majority departs from Ushuaia by ship for a two-day 700-mile journey crossing the Drakes Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula. Each passage is a different experience depending on the wind and swell however the one constant is the open ocean with birds, lots of them. Cape petrels flying in harmonious formation, Wilson Storm-petrels bouncing off the surface feeding and of course the magnificent albatrosses; Black-browed, Grey-headed and Wandering.

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Glacial and sea ice in on the Graham Coast from Grandidier Channel in Antarctica.

Outside the dead of winter when the sea ice embraces the continent for up to 9 months, I have been lucky enough to see Antarctica in three seasons and get a greater appreciation of how resilient the endemic wildlife is to survive in these insane conditions. The weather also confirms why there are no indigenous people or local government. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 is the legal framework signed by 43 countries that has uniquely spared much of the continent for any type of development, military activity or resource extraction. In addition, the voluntary organization IAATO(International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) sets rules limiting number of guests at landing sights and environmental procedures to further protect the wildlife and to avoid introducing any invasive species.

Sunset on the Graham Coast from the Grandidier Channel in Antarctica.

Sunset on the Graham Coast from the Grandidier Channel in Antarctica.

Sometime during the early morning of the second day crossing the Drakes Passage, one of our guests enthusiastically shouts “iceberg” in the normally quite bridge. The first sighting of anything gets lots of attention and ice is no exception. Huge tabular icebergs calve off of gigantic Antarctic ice shelves and migrate large distances at the mercy of the wind and currents. Beautiful, blue and timeless, this ice is like nowhere else on earth. We have now crossed the Antarctic Convergence, the invisible line in the ocean where the air and water temperature drops to freezing and waters merge to create a strong current that brings rich nutrients to the surface. “Whale” was shouted next on the list of many first sightings. Blue, Humpback and Minke whales feeding is this productive zone.

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Leopard Seal, Hydrurga leptonyx on sea ice in Cierva Cove on on the Antarctic Peninsula in Antarctica.

First impressions certainly last a lifetime and making our first landing at Baily Head on Deception Island was quite impressive. Mother Nature limits this landing sight with dangerous waves on a steep beach but conditions were perfect for us on this particular day. The main prize on this stark black and white landscape was the colony of chinstrap penguins that spanned as far as the eyes could see. The first of the three brush-tailed penguins, the chinstrap fly out of the surf in numbers landing on the pebbly beach and start their long march back to their hilltop nests. Bellies filled with krill, this amazing creature commutes long distances on three-inch legs to feed their two chicks and relieving their partner from nesting duties that include fending off the aggressive Brown Skua trying to snag a chick. The sight, smell and sound of 100,000 nesting pair of chinstrap penguins are forever ingrained in my memory.

 

Three species of brush-tailed penguins; Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adélie

The other two penguins in the brush-tailed family are the Adelie and Gentoo penguins. Both have their quirky antics waddling large flightless bodies on land and their extraordinary hydrodynamic agility porpoising in the water to feed on krill and avoid predators. Watching these remarkable birds gains your respect for their perpetual rock stealing from their neighbor’s nests and their resilience protecting their chicks from a constant barrage of aerial predators. One of my most amazing wildlife encounters to date was witnessing a pod of small type B Killer Whales hunting Gentoo penguins in Gerlache Strait. Under the ship’s bow, five Killer Whales pursued an agile penguin that could turn much quicker successively getting away this time, albeit exhausted.

 

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Gerlache Killer Whales small type B chasing a Gentoo penguin in Gerlache Strait in Antarctica.

Other Antarctic highlights including motoring through the towering icy walls of the scenic Lemaire Channel that narrows to less than a mile wide. Experiencing the sea in Crystal Sound and Grandidier Channel starting to freeze into “grease” ice during the glowing 11pm sunset as the full moon raised over water also tops the list. Antarctica never fails to deliver a lifetime experience every day. Standing in gale force freezing wind in blizzard conditions really puts life into the epic adventures that the early explorers felt like Sir Ernest Shackleton, Roland Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott. They made history and brought back real life stories from the place of superlatives; coldest, windiest and driest place on earth.

 

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National Geographic Explorer cruising through the Lemaire Channel in Antarctica.

My role on these expeditions as the National Geographic Expert is pretty straight forward; “to enhance the travelers’ appreciation and understanding of the destination.” I am honored to work with exceptional staff that I constantly learn valuable life lessons from shared experiences. Even though photography is an integral aspect of this “appreciation,” sometime silently observing wildlife with guests is just as rewarding. The National Geographic Global Guest Perspective Speaker also enhances everyone’s experience and are the most inspiring people I have ever met including Peter Hillary, Dr. Joe Macinnis, Eric Larsen, Wade Davis, Andrew Clarke and Eva Aariak. These exceptional people have added so much to the places we visit and to my life.

 

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Zodiac with tourists enjoying the icebergs near Booth Island at Port Charcot in Antarctica.

I want to thank all of the Lindblad Staff that I have been so fortunate to work with in some of the finest destination on earth. Your knowledge and patience are unsurpassed. A special thank you to National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions for providing me with such an incredible lifetime opportunity.

 

Sunset on the Graham Coast from the Grandidier Channel in Antarctica.

Sunset on the Graham Coast from the Grandidier Channel in Antarctica.

Safe travels. Rich Reid.

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Gentoo penguin on Booth Island off the northwest coast of Kiev Peninsula in Graham Land, Antarctica

 

 

Categories: Adventure, Antarctica, iPhone, Lindblad Expeditions, National Geographic, Natural World, Photography Techniques, Travel, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

KNOT WHAT YOU THINK – ode to trees

REID FAMILY

REID FAMILY

My family likes trees and recently we explored the twisted ancient pine forests in California’s Eastern Sierra Mountains. During our day-hikes to some of the Mammoth Lakes and then camping in the steep canyons of Whitney Portal, we found some magnificent trees that are worthy of sharing. What made our adventurous hikes entertaining was the discovery theme of “knot what you think.”  In photographic terms; juxtaposition perception having fun with our iPhone cameras with the craziest trees we could find. Knot What You Think…ode to trees. The Reid Family.

P.S. no trees were injuring during the filming of this event ; )

 

 

KNOT WHAT YOU THINK.

KNOT WHAT YOU THINK. Juxtiposition in a tree circle at Mammoth Lakes.

KNOT WHAT YOU THINK. Juxtaposition in a tree circle at Mammoth Lakes.

KNOT REAL.                                                                                                               KNOT RIGHT.

KNOT REAL. Juxtiposition in a tree circle at Mammoth Lakes.

KNOT REAL. Juxtaposition in a tree circle at Mammoth Lakes.

KNOT RIGHT. Hanging from a giant stump in Mammoth Lakes, California.

KNOT RIGHT. Hanging from a giant stump in Mammoth Lakes, California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 DREAD KNOTS

DREAD KNOTS. Root system at McCloud Lake at Mammoth Lakes, California.

DREAD KNOTS. Root system at McCloud Lake at Mammoth Lakes, California.

 

WHY KNOTS.                                                                               SQUARE KNOT.

WHY KNOTS. Y shaped trees at Whitney Portal Campground near Lone Pine, California.

WHY KNOTS. Y shaped trees at Whitney Portal Campground near Lone Pine, California.

SQUARE KNOT. Crazy extended tree at Lake Mary in Mammoth Lakes, California.

SQUARE KNOT. Crazy extended tree at Lake Mary in Mammoth Lakes, California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KNOT SAFE.

KNOT SAFE. Walking the log at McCloud Lake at Mammoth Lakes, California.

KNOT SAFE. Walking the log at McCloud Lake at Mammoth Lakes, California.

 DO KNOT DISTURB

DO KNOT DISTURB. Camping at Coldwater Creek at Mammoth Lakes, California.

DO KNOT DISTURB. Camping at Coldwater Creek at Mammoth Lakes, California.

 

KNOT ONE OF US.                                                                                             KNOT MARRIED.

KNOT ONE OF US. Pinecone wedge in a pine tree at Mammoth Lakes, California.

KNOT ONE OF US. Pine cone wedge in a pine tree at Mammoth Lakes, California.

KNOT MARRIED. Twisted logs at McCloud Lake in Mammoth Lakes, California.

KNOT MARRIED. Twisted logs at McCloud Lake in Mammoth Lakes, California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 KNOT FOR SALE

KNOT FOR SALE.  Juxiposed stuffie big bear at Mammoth Lakes, California.

KNOT FOR SALE. Juxtaposed stuffed big bear at Mammoth Lakes, California.

and finally to the crazy July weather and rain optimism…..

HAIL YES

HAIL YES. Hail at the Whitney Portal Campground in July.

HAIL YES. Hail at the Whitney Portal Campground in July.

 

Categories: Adventure, iPhone, Natural World, Panorama, Photography Techniques, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands

Remnant ice split from the massive b-17b tabular iceberg grounded off South Georgia in "Iceberg Alley."

Remnant ice split from the massive b-17b tabular iceberg grounded off South Georgia in “Iceberg Alley.”

On Assignment with National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions with Rich Reid.

Black-browed albatross taking off from the Beagle Channel between Chile and Argentina.

Black-browed albatross, Thalassarche Melanophris taking off from the Beagle Channel between Chile and Argentina.

Like the albatross, our ship plied through the Southern Ocean guided by wind and currents. Certainly not as graceful as these magnificent birds but making forward progress through the icy waters. Everyday something exceptional happened whether we were surrounded by endless views of king penguins or whale watching crossing the Drakes Passage.

Big waves and high winds in the Scotia Sea offshore from South Georgia.

Big waves and high winds in the Scotia Sea offshore from South Georgia.

What really made my endless summer so special was experiencing the contrast of Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland Islands twice this past winter in two seasons in opposite directions on two different ships. The weather extremes were noteworthy with a cold southern spring and a stormy autumn plus the record heat and drought that I experienced this winter in California. A fascinating history tidbit was retracing Sir Ernest Shackleton’s epic open-boat journey on the centennial and gaining a whole new respect for his courage and tenacity.

Gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua at Neko Harbor on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua at Neko Harbor on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Antarctica is the definition of remote and quintessentially beautiful. Every shade of blue and white filled the landscape that’s palette and silence is broken by colonies of Gentoo penguins and calving ice. The ancient tabular icebergs are the most spectacular designs found in nature forming gravity-defying arches and translucent blue faces. An abundance of micro marinelife in these frigid waters support an entire ecosystem from whales to penguins that gather in large numbers in the Southern Ocean.

Antarctic fur seals and the National Geographic Orion at Godthul Bay on South Georgia.

Antarctic fur seals, Arctocephalus gazella and the National Geographic Orion at Godthul Bay on South Georgia.

Both the National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion are excellent ships and perfect platforms for exploring such remote locations. Both ships handled the two-day ocean crossings well and we accessed land in our Zodiacs for daily adventures of hiking and wildlife viewing. Perfect home away from homes with so many new friendships developed on these expeditions.

Bull southern elephant seal, Mirounga leonina at Saint Andrews Bay on South Georgia.

Bull southern elephant seal, Mirounga leonina at Saint Andrews Bay on South Georgia.

Antarctica provided the ice-extravaganza while South Georgia just plain overwhelms you with wildlife. Spring offered the thrill of aggressive male Antarctica sea lions and enormous southern elephant seals battling for beach master ranking while the king penguins gathered in unimaginable numbers performing comical acts like court jesters. The fall wildlife consisted of tens to hundreds of thousands of rambunctious penguin chicks getting ready to fledge and the feisty sea lion pups snarl while practicing their jousting. Adding to the allure of this magical island are the backdrops behind these expansive beaches of towering peaks and active glaciers that Sir Shackleton and two of his men heroically crossed in 1916 to save his stranded crew back in Antarctica.

King penguin colony at Gold Harbor on South Georgia.

King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus colony at Gold Harbor on South Georgia.

The Falkland Islands are conveniently located about halfway between South Georgia and Ushuaia, Argentina. This group of islands has an interesting modern history of conflict with its nearest neighbor and the recent exploration for resources. Nevertheless, the islands are beautiful and the critical breeding grounds for so many sea birds including the rockhopper and Magellanic penguins plus several species of albatross.

Pair of Black-browed albatross preening on New Island in the Falkland Islands.

Pair of Black-browed albatross, Thalassarche melanophris preening on New Island in the Falkland Islands.

As we entered into the shallower waters near South America on our return trip to Ushuaia, the ocean teemed with wildlife as large flocks of birds fed on bait fish and the Peale’s dolphins played in our ship’s bow wake. Having seen the southern ocean twice this past “summer” has been an absolute privilege and looking forward to my return to Antarctica for two trips with National Geographic Expeditions in January 2016. Please consider joining me on one of these incredible Photo Expeditions to my favorite place on earth.

The Adventure Continues…

Pair of humpback whale flukes in Gerlache Strait, Antarctica.

Pair of humpback whales,  Megaptera novaeangliae fluking in Gerlache Strait, Antarctica.

Southern giant petrel eying gentoo penguin chicks at Gold Harbor on South Georgia.

Southern giant petrel, Macronectes giganteus eying gentoo penguin chicks, Pygoscelis papua at Gold Harbor on South Georgia.

Antarctic fur seal pups at Stromness Whaling Station on South Georgia.

Antarctic fur seal pups, Arctocephalus gazella at Stromness Whaling Station on South Georgia.

Giant Leopard Seal in the waters around Prion Island in South Georgia.

Giant leopard seal, Hydrurga leptonyx  in the waters around Prion Island in South Georgia.

King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus portrait at Saint Andrews Bay on South Georgia.

King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus portrait at Saint Andrews Bay on South Georgia.

Categories: Adventure, Antarctica, Lindblad Expeditions, National Geographic, Natural World, Travel, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Surf Art Photos

Grandstand and crowd at the Rincon Classic surf competition in Carpinteria, California on January 25, 2015.

Grandstand and crowd at the Rincon Classic surf competition in Carpinteria, California on January 25, 2015.

The final day of the Rincon Classic surf competition was greeted with perfect waves on a balmy January day with plenty of tanned skin exposed to the Southern California sun. It was a hot afternoon while talented surfers worked their magic on clear blue waves.

 

Pro Semi Final at the Rincon Classic surf competition in Carpinteria, California on January 25, 2015.

Pro Semi Final at the Rincon Classic surf competition in Carpinteria, California on January 25, 2015.

Bright backlit mid day sun reflecting off the ocean is one of the more challenging lighting for photography. One solution is turning your “classic” stop action scene into a “Surf Art Photo.” Using a combination of filters and a tripod can create magic time exposure images with the right equipment.

King of the Queen Final at the Rincon Classic surf competition in Carpinteria, California on January 25, 2015.

King of the Queen Final at the Rincon Classic surf competition in Carpinteria, California on January 25, 2015.

First is a sturdy tripod placed on a rock well about high tide and the steady stream of spectators. Next are two stacked filters; 4 stop neutral density and a circular polarizer mounted on my 80-400mm Nikon lens. I set my ISO to 100 and varied my shutter speed from between 1/160 second to .6 (or 3/5) second. The best exposure mode was aperture priority which I varied from f/5.6 to f/40 and relied on continuous auto focus for sharpness. Most of the 900 images where shot at 400mm.

Gremlin Finals at the Rincon Classic surf competition in Carpinteria, California on January 25, 2015.

Gremlin Finals at the Rincon Classic surf competition in Carpinteria, California on January 25, 2015.

Panning the camera to follow the surfer at slow shutter speed requires lots of luck blended with a tai chi motion. About a dozen serendipitous moments happened on Sunday when everything came together to create that magical image. The selected aperture creates the correct exposure while panning the camera on a talented surfer on a uncrowded perfect wave. The bright sun created the specular highlights on the backlit water and made the waves a transparent blue.

Longboard Final at the Rincon Classic in Carpinteria, California on January 25, 2015.

Longboard Final at the Rincon Classic in Carpinteria, California on January 25, 2015.

What a magical day in Southern California at the Rincon Classic.

January 25, 2015

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Top Ten 2014 iPhone Panorama – tips and techniques

In October, I upgraded my iPhone from a 4s to a 6 and proceeded to snap 5,500 images in its first month. My $99 iPhone 4s has captured over 11,000 assets in its two loyal years and now has been proudly handed down to my daughter. These phones have survived punishing weather while traveling the globe entertaining guests while working on assignment for National Geographic aboard Lindblad Expedition ships. I think of the paradigm shifts in the photography industry in my last 30 years and have to admit that the smartphone has been the greatest advancement, even more than film to digital.

The following top ten panorama photos were taken on my iPhones during 2014 and each image is accompanied with a photography tip and technique. The smartphone has changed the way we process our visuals as we share countless photos uploaded to social media. It has also changed the way we teach photography which is evident by the responses I have received from satisfied guests. Being able to do a live iPhone photo demonstration in front of 100 guests is evolutionary and certainly a wonderful device for connecting people across all photographic abilities.

Panorama of sand dunes and the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, California.

Panorama of sand dunes and the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, California.

#10 Pacific Coast Highway Sand Dune
10/18/14, 1:15pm
Panorama of person climbing a 400 foot sand dune above the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, California.

Symmetry and Simplicity – Look for a simple composition with equal proportions on either side of the image.

Panorama of the London Undergroud train at an empty station in London, England.

Panorama of the London Underground train at an empty station in London, England.

#9 London Underground
10/22/14, 4:20pm
Panorama of a train in the London Underground or Tube at an empty station in London, England.

Distortion – Take advantage of the known barrel distortion to give your image a spherical look. Much like a cropped fisheye lens where the magnification decreases with distance from the optical center.

 

Panorama of the shipwrecked sealing vessel, the Protector III In front of the Barnard House on New Island in the Falkland Islands.

Panorama of the shipwrecked sealing vessel, the Protector III In front of the Barnard House on New Island in the Falkland Islands.

#8 New Island
11/12/14, 8:35am
Panorama of the shipwrecked sealing vessel, the Protector III in front of the Barnard House on New Island in the Falkland Islands.

Landscapes – Selecting the correct proportion and creating visual anchors are important.  Establish your height/width ratio and beginning/end of your image by doing a test pan. The camera crops approximately 10 percent from all sides so give yourself some additional room.

Vertical panorama of Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

Vertical panorama of Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

#7 Multnomah Falls
10/14/14, 3:06pm
Vertical panorama of the Multnomah Falls, combined 620-foot waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

Vertical – Turning your camera horizontally in your hand and panning vertically can benefit certain subjects like waterfalls and forests. The camera will not realign when turned so ignore the arrow which is designed only for horizontal photos.

Panorama of the sunset on Mondos Beach near Ventura, California.

Panorama of the sunset on Mondos Beach near Ventura, California.

#6 Mondos Beach
1/2/14, 4:44pm
Panorama of the sun reflecting of a beach house at low tide on Mondos Beach near Ventura, California.

Reflections – Double your visual assets with reflections from windows or water. By relocating your camera left or right ever so slightly, you can capture reflections during key lighting situations.

Panorama of 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' art installation of red ceramic roses at the Tower of London, England.

Panorama of ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ art installation of red ceramic roses at the Tower of London, England.

#5 Tower of London
10/24/14, 3:08pm
Panorama of ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ art installation of red ceramic roses at the Tower of London, England.

Right to left panning can save your image. Your camera defaults to left to right panning motion but by selecting the right side of your image, you can pan from right to left. With this image, I started from the right and panned slowly left while waiting for people to move out of the frame.

Panorama of the National Geographic Sea Bird bow in Gut Bay on South Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska.

Panorama of the National Geographic Sea Bird bow in Gut Bay on South Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska.

#4 Gut Bay
6/11/14, 6:29am
Panorama of the National Geographic Sea Bird bow in Gut Bay on South Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska.

Asymmetry – Offsetting your subject to the left or right side of the frame leads the viewers eyes into visual thirds or rules of thirds. Dividing your subjects into vertical thirds also helps create a compelling composition.

Panorama of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in London, England.

Panorama of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in London, England.

#3 National Gallery
10/20/14, 12:26pm
Panorama of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery facade in London, England.

Motion – If you include people, its advised to inspect all faces and appendages before posting online or end up on “panos gone wrong.”  For crowds look for distant people while panning quickly and for close ups pan slowly and have your subject still. See double exposure for another fun trick.

Panorama of a king penguin colony and the Allardyce Range at Saint Andrews Bay, South Georgia Island.

Panorama of a king penguin colony and the Allardyce Range at Saint Andrews Bay, South Georgia Island.

#2 Saint Andrews Bay
11/19/14, 5:20am
Panorama of a king penguin colony and the Allardyce Range at Saint Andrews Bay on South Georgia Island.

Wildlife – Many variable to consider when working close up with wildlife. Foremost is not disturbing the animals so be patient. When an opportunity arises, use your subject as a visual anchor and include the background for impact.

Stunning panoramic sunset in the Lemaire Channel, Antarctica.

Stunning panoramic sunset in the Lemaire Channel, Antarctica.

#1 Lemaire Channel
11/25/14, 10:59pm
Panoramic sunset in the Lemaire Channel, Antarctica.

Exposure – Locking the exposure and focus is the most useful feature on the camera. Panorama often cover a wide range of exposure to the sun so find an average within your composition, many times in the center. Hold your finger on your screen over this average exposure until a yellow box plus AE/AF LOCK appears. Return to your original left or right position and pan with the exposure and focus locked on your selected spot. Works amazing!

Categories: Adventure, Alaska, England, iPhone, Lindblad Expeditions, London, National Geographic, Panorama, Photography Techniques, Travel, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London, A Panorama Paradise

London, A Panorama Paradise

Pano of the Waterhouse Building at the Natural History Museum in London, UK.

Panorama of the Waterhouse Building at the Natural History Museum in London, UK.

Attending the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards was our main objective for visiting London however, so much more was discovered and explored with my family. The award ceremony was held at the Natural History Museum, a world famous architectural gem. London is a panorama photographer paradise with subject on each corner.

Pano of the Darwin Center and courtyard at the Natural History Museum in London, UK.

Panorama of the Darwin Center and courtyard at the Natural History Museum in London, UK.

Public transportation is one of the most fascinating aspect of the bustling metropolis of over 8 million inhabitants and just as many tourist. Just to think you walk down a set of underground steps, jump on a train and pop up in another culturally diverse parts of this cosmopolitan city all for a pound thirty.

Panorama of The Underground in London, UK.

Panorama of The Underground in London, UK.

Panorama of Camden High Street at Camden Town in London, UK.

Panorama of Camden High Street at Camden Town in London, UK.

The art scene is outstanding and would take a lifetime to soak it in properly. The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, 888,246 ceramic poppies art installation was very moving representing the British military fatalities during World War 1. The National Gallery was equally impressive with its grand halls and huge installations.

Panorama of red ceramic rose art installation in the moat of The Tower of London, UK.

Panorama of red ceramic rose art installation in the moat of The Tower of London, UK.

Panorama of the Interior of the National Gallery in London, UK.

Panorama of the Interior of the National Gallery in London, UK.

People, people and more people. If you like people watching, London is it! So many different cultures and languages visiting the museums, watching street performers or riding one of the many forms of transportation. London is constantly on the move. The front seat of a double-decker bus felt like an urban zipline, while conversely I found myself ducking under each bridge from the upper ferry deck on the Thames.

Panorama from a double decker bus of the Parliment on Great George Street in London, UK.

Panorama from a double decker bus of the Parliament on Great George Street in London, UK.

Panorama from a river boat on the Thames of the Big Ben and Parliment in London, UK.

Panorama from a river boat on the Thames of the Big Ben and Parliament in London, UK.

Around each corner or under each bridge, another fantastic panoramic photograph opportunity arises. All just for a brief glimpses before your bus rockets off or some moving object “photobombs” your masterpiece. Sometime its a split second and proper panning techniques and exposure are critical.

Panorama of Contortionist Yogi Laser performing for a crowd in Trafalgar Square in London, UK.

Panorama of Contortionist Yogi Laser performing for a crowd in Trafalgar Square in London, UK.

Panorama of Vespe seats at an eatery in Camden Lock in London, UK.

Panorama of Vespe seats at an eatery in Camden Lock in London, UK.

Connecting with good friends and exploring new places halfway around the world is always a bonding experience. And meeting so many great photographers and complete strangers made London a memorable journey.

Double exposure of world traveler, Richard Villa at Hyde Park in London, UK.

Double exposure of world traveler, Richard Villa at Hyde Park in London, UK.

My many iPhone Panorama photo tips would be:  patience. Wait between cars and  people moving too close. Switch panning directions from right to left if the timing makes more sense. Symmetry and side subjects to anchor your composition seems to work best given the camera’s natural distortion to bend the sides and bow the center. Lock focus and exposure on the center of your frame and pan smoothly. Have fun!

Panorama of Nelson's Column and the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in London, UK.

Panorama of Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in London, UK.

Panorama from a boat on the Thames River of the Tower Bridge and Shard in London, UK.

Panorama from a boat on the Thames River of the Tower Bridge and Shard in London, UK.

All images take on an iPhone 4s in London, England.
© Rich Reid Photography

Categories: England, iPhone, London, Panorama, Photography Techniques, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Suggestions to Become a National Geographic Photographer

Each week, I receive emails from high school students researching career week to professional photographers requesting suggestions on how I got involved as a National Geographic photographer. The two simple answers are with dedicated persistence to the art and lots of honest hard work.

Looking back at my 25 years as a freelance photographer in the adventure travel industry and producing several assignments for National Geographic, here are 12 valuable lessons I would like to share:

Photography should be your obsession and not a hobby. Perhaps my best visual training was printing millions of marginal photos while managing a 1-hour lab. Develop your own unique style through visual immersion.

Working as a college newspaper and yearbook photo editor introduced me to the business end of the industry managing budgets and assigning projects. You will need business sense to survive as a professional photographer. The reality is 80% of my time is dedicated to business and the other 20% is travel and producing work.

• Communication is key! Always follow up with clients and keep your promises. Your word is the most powerful tool in this industry so keep a viable database and contact your clients regularly. Formal emails and phone calls are still the preferred communication even in this crazy “mobile” world.

As cliché as it sounds; pursue your passion and the money will follow. Success rates will rely on two variables; time and money. My two passions that I have consistently pursued have been wildlife conservation and adventure travel. Early in my career, I partnered with non-profits and travel companies that shared my passions then and now.

• Knowledge is power and ignorance is not an option. Becoming passionate about your subjects and your research will show in your production. Being open-minded and conscious about sensitive subjects and peoples’ values while filming is mandatory as a journalist.

• Value your work. If you don’t, then nobody will. One of the biggest mistakes starting out is selling yourself short in this industry of rejections. Free is not an option, even “for credit and exposure” as been repeatedly quoted over the years. Remind the editor that “Income minus Expenses equal Profit.”

Respect is everything.  The environment and wildlife do not have voices so you need to stick to your ethics and behave like a photographer. Respect other “artists” intellectual property because we are a small group of professionals working together in a volatile industry.

• Honesty is the best policy. Its a small world out there so emit positive vibes and never deceive. Truthful captioning in this digital world is more important than ever.

Joining a professional organization will help you share ideas with like minded people, network with potential clients and give you power in number to create positive legislation for our industry. Personally, I joined NANPA from the very beginning because they share my visions and ethics as a “nature photographer.” Another bonus is affordable business insurance.

• Being both mentally and physically flexible are important. Physically stay fit since camera equipment does not get any lighter and assignments seem to get more demanding. Mentally you need to be competent to constantly alter your workflow due to industry change in software technology and client requests. Examples would be the paramount change from film to digital and more recently the increase demand for assignment video.

Buy the equipment you need not want. This is a tough one with so many options and great incentives with new cameras. As a professional, I always buy two of the same camera bodies and usually the best lenses I can afford. Last year’s DSLR models are more reasonably priced and the hardware more stable. If you wait for a least one firmware update before purchasing a camera, you’ll avoid being a beta tester. About every two years, I upgrade to newer camera models.

Give back more than you receive. This is perhaps the most ethereal but also the most important topic mentioned. Whether its mentoring a photography student or donating your time to a non-profit, giving back to the industry will ensure its future and viability for many generations.

So the reality of being a freelance photographer are days of monotonous office time, hours of software troubleshooting, fixing broken equipment, constant self-promotion and an unpredictable P&L. There are also no vacation pay, sick days, medical plans and matching contributions. Days often begins at 5am and end around 9pm.

So why do I do this? Its the best job ever!

If your passion is to work with all types of people from all walks of life in all corners of the globe under unpredictable conditions with a scant reality of the outcome….then this is a job for you.

Now that we got the basics covered; be the most honest creative photographer you can and be sure to share your experiences with someone who will appreciate your work. Go Create!

Rich Reid on assignment for The Nature Conservancy in Moody Forest near Baxley, Georgia.

Rich Reid on assignment for The Nature Conservancy in Moody Forest near Baxley, Georgia.

Categories: Adventure, Photography Techniques, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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