Episode 18 Show Notes: Nature and Wildlife Photography ft. Robert O'Toole

Peggy Farren 2017-01-07

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Here are the show notes for episode 18 of The Understand Photography Show:

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Show Notes for Episode 18: Nature and Wildlife Photography ft. Robert O'Toole

Robert now uses all zoom lenses. He uses and recommends the following equipment for wildlife photography:

For travel photography:
- A wide-angle zoom art lens: 24-105mm Sigma
- A fast telephoto zoom lens: 120-300mm F2.8 Sigma
- A sport lens, which changed everything for him as it eliminated the need to carry a 500 and 600 prime lens: 150-600mm Sigma

For macro photography:
- 105mm macro Sigma or 150mm macro Sigma, which have (chromatic calibration) to correct for color fringing.

Robert especially enjoys macro workshops because with macro photography, at botanical gardens for example, there are always great subjects and you can control the light.

He recommends shooting in manual; if you are in trouble and need to catch up, or if a shot is too important, then set the shutter speed based on the amount of blur you want, then set the aperture, then aim at a middle tone, and then set the ISO to get the meter to zero. Aside from shooting in manual, he recommends Auto ISO -- and suggests to never use Aperture Priority, because you will surrender control of depth of field and shutter speed.

"The bears are really interesting; they're always up to mischief." - Robert O'Toole

"You need to understand how to use exposure compensation in manual mode with Auto ISO." - Robert O'Toole

Setup tip: Before going over to get a shot, set everything up! Look at the LCD display or hit the Info button on the back. Look for a blinking + or - sign; if it's blinking, you have exposure compensation setup.

How to keep your gear safe: Robert uses an F-Stop Bag, which is an internal compartment padded blocks. He recommends buying a normal roller/bag (his is from REI) and he can places the compartments right inside. This keeps your gear bag lowkey and invisible so that you aren't advertising that you have camera equipment! It also has prevented him from having his equipment taken by airport staff. If they do want to check the roller bag, he says you can unzip and pull out the compartment, so they check in the roller bag and you can keep the unit with your equipment!

How to keep your gear protected from snow and ice: He also has an F-Stop Backpack. It's flipped so that you enter from the side with the straps. When he puts a rain cover on it, it's imprevious, and by the end of the trip his bag is still clean and untouched.

Wear the right gear: Be sure to protect your body, too! Robert recommends insluated boots, multiple layered gloves, lots of layers of clothing. His mid-layer has a balcalava to easily cover his head to keep warm or keep bugs out!

Top Mistakes in Wildlife Photography:

  1. Concentrating too much on equipment and getting all the new camera bodies.
  2. Going on a tour thinking that the instructor will show you where all the good shots are.
  3. Explicitly copying an instructor's style so that everyone's photos look the same.
  4. Getting too involved in setting for different subjects.

Robert's Top Tips:

  1. The most important thing is a photographer's knowledge.
    1. Learn your camera.
    2. Learn some good techniques.
    3. Spend money to learn photography (such as The Four Weeks to Proficiency in Photography!).
    4. Go on trips, workshops, and tours.
    5. Invest in good glass.
  2. Look up a tour instructor's work. If your work is better, don't go on the trip! If you appreciate their work and want to learn a technique or style from them, then go!
  3. Develop your own style. Go on multiple workshops, learn from multiple photographers and instructors, and pick up what works best for you and the look you want to achieve. Use the best tips and techniques to create your own unique style.
  4. Learn your camera - before you go on a trip! At a minimum, know how to make sharp pictures, if the camera is back focusing or front focusing, and how to setup your specific technique.

Contact Robert:
Close-Up Photography

Robert's Facebook page
Robert O'Toole Photography Tours

Join us next week as we interview Jim Robellard! Click below to view his work!

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About Peggy

Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, instructor, writer and speaker.

With over 17 years as a full-time professional photographer, Peggy offers photography training through her training center, “Understand Photography”.

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