Posts Tagged With: photographer

Galapagos Photo Expedition – June 2013

Its been two months since my Galapagos adventure aboard the National Geographic Endeavour and tomorrow I am off to Alaska with National Geographic Expeditions experiencing a much different wildlife among its amazing islands with wonderful guests and crew.

The Galapagos Islands are a land like no other and my two weeks spent with an incredible photo team and knowledgeable guides were truly memorable.   On land the animals are all perfect specimens of evolution and in the water the wildlife approach humans with no fear. This place is magical.

Each week was a well planned itinerary maximizing out time visiting different islands and observing a gamut of wildlife. Some of the more remarkable underwater encounters included  swimming with the green sea turtle at Punta Vicente Roca on Fernandina Island and the playful Galapagos sea lions at most of our snorkeling destinations.

Galapagos land iguana, Conolophus subsristatus introduced on North Seymour Island in the Galapagos Islands National Park and Marine Reserve, Ecuador. Reintroduced back to an extinct population on neighboring Baltra Island.

Galapagos land iguana, Conolophus subsristatus introduced on North Seymour Island in the Galapagos Islands National Park and Marine Reserve, Ecuador. Reintroduced back to an extinct population on neighboring Baltra Island.

The iconic land animals include the large colorful Land Iguanas and the highlight of spending time with the Santa Cruz Galapagos tortoise in their natural setting in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.

Please join me for the next Galapagos Photo Expedition on October 25 and November 1, 2013.

Special thanks to National Geographic and Lindbland Expeditions.

Galapagos Photo Portfolio

iPhone Panorama Portfolio – Seeing Double

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Categories: Adventure, iPhone, National Geographic, Natural World, Time-lapse Techniques, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seeing DOUBLE – Galapagos

Photographer on Bartolome Island panorama in Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.

Photographer on Bartolome Island panorama in Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.

This past two weeks I spent working for National Geographic and Lindblad onboard the Endeavour in the Galapagos Islands enhancing our guests photo expedition. The wildlife encounters were epic and our local Ecuadorean guides were fantastic. I was warned before the trip on the excessive amount of footage I would capture but had no idea of the volume.

Puerto Ayora panorama on Santa Cruz Island on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

Puerto Ayora panorama on Santa Cruz Island on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

Up at 5am most mornings and onshore by 6am due to darkness and National Park rules. On land, we stepped into a world like no other;  animals without fear that have evolved into endemic species, stark landscapes that were formed by lava eons ago and incredible guides that truly know and love this place.

Champagne toast on the bow of the National Geographic Endeavour panorama in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

Champagne toast on the bow of the National Geographic Endeavour panorama in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

Of course I brought my quiver of multimedia tools to capture this environment; two DSLRs for still images, video and time-lapse and a GoPro for underwater footage and quirky time-lapses. Even with the gamut of tools; I found it frustrating not being able to capture the true sense of this place due to the vast landscapes. The solution…… my iPhone.

Cerro Brujo panorama on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.

Cerro Brujo panorama on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.

The panorama feature under Camera options was the best tool for the job and added a whole new level of creativity and FUN. The results were instantaneous and often hilarious.

A couple on Bartolome Island panorama in Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.

A couple on Bartolome Island panorama in Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.

It’s quite simple, you find a landscape that requires you to swivel your head 180˚ and then select the panorama feature under Camera Options on your iPhone (4s & 5). Find some willing guests to anchor the sides of your panorama while you slowly pan vertically left or right. About midway, you have the guests run to the other side and anchor that side of the photo for a “double exposures” panorama. Wa La…..it appears instantly as a jpg in your Photos and everyone gets a good laugh. Repeat again and again for continual laughter.

Photographer on Genovesa Island panorama in Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.

Photographer on Genovesa Island panorama in Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.

Five tips for shooting iPhone panoramas:

• Anchor the sides with a subject either people or an object.
• Portraits work best approximately fifteen feet away.
• Pan horizontally smooth and slow with the daylight at your back.
• You can stop the panorama at anytime by touching the camera button.
• Try shorter panoramas to change the height and width perspective.

Categories: Adventure, iPhone, National Geographic, Natural World, Photography Techniques, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Prescribed Fire Time-lapse Assignment

Time-lapse camera in Moody Forest.

Time-lapse camera in Moody Forest.

Time-lapse camera in Moody Forest.

Time-lapse camera in Moody Forest.

What a crazy assignment covering a prescribed fire for The Nature Conservancy.  Moody Forest Natural Area is managed by TNC and Georgia DNR and covers over 4,000 acres of mixed hardwood, Longleaf pine forest and tupelo swamps along the Altamaha River near Baxley, Georgia.

Annual prescribed fire is one management technique that The Nature Conservancy uses to protect endangered wildlife and a rare old growth forest. Spring is the opportune time to burn much of the non-native undergrowth in the Longleaf Pine forest.

Much preparation went into pulling off a long term time-lapse video assignment of forest regrowth after a prescribed burn. To achieve my three month objective, I had to build a camera housing and create a visual script of before, during and after the fire. Challenges were met each day; software limitations, hardware problems, battery issues all while working long days in the field.

Equipment used were 3 Nikon D7000 DSLR cameras, a Wingscape 8mp camera, several Nikkor lenses, two tripods and a custom pelican case housing. All the equipment survived direct fire and only the custom hood melted. The design and construction phases of the housing were entertaining however the transportation and installation not as fun.

A total of 275 GB of media was captured including RAW time-lapse and still images plus HD video for the project. The editor and I are pleased with the initial results of 40 images, 2-minutes of HD time-lapse and RAW video footage documenting the burn. Many thanks go out to Chuck Martin, Erick Brown and their fire crew for keeping me safe and providing an incredible opportunity to document fire in a positive form. Stay tuned for the final video!

Time-lapse camera during a prescribed fire in Moody Forest.

Time-lapse camera during a prescribed fire in Moody Forest.

Chuck Martin of The Nature Conservancy, Georgia.

Chuck Martin of The Nature Conservancy, Georgia.

Time-lapse camera during a prescribed fire in Moody Forest.

Time-lapse camera during a prescribed fire in Moody Forest.

Melted time-lapse camera after a prescribed burn.

Melted time-lapse camera after a prescribed fire.

Full moon frame grab from the time-lapse tree camera.

Full moon frame grab from the time-lapse tree camera after the prescribed fire.

Categories: Adventure, Natural World, Photography Techniques, The Nature Conservancy, Time-lapse Techniques | 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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