I spent this past weekend in Houston attending the NANPA roadshow. The event was a great success. Presentations by Sean Fitzgerald, Michele Westmoreland, and Roy Toft were informative and entertaining. The challenge I now find myself facing is the desire to tell you something about the experience without boring you to tears with a step-by-step account of the entire weekend. Instead, I have selected out one key point/new concept/technique from each of the presentations I attended.
Shooting with Flash – Roy Toft
Ironically, my take home point from this presentation had nothing to do with flash. In response to an exposure questions, Roy indicated that he often shoots using the camera’s Tv mode (shutter priority). This surprised me as most wildlife photographers I know prefer Av mode (aperture priority) over Tv (we tend to be a little obsessive about depth of field). As Roy elaborated, he indicated that he was a recent convert to the Tv mode (coming from Av) and the reason for his shift is the new Auto ISO feature on newer digital cameras. By permitting the camera to fluctuate its ISO setting, the photographer can select a specific shutter speed and know that the camera will not be limited by the largest aperture (if the aperture becomes limiting, the ISO changes). I am really looking forward to trying out this approach as my school’s basketball season starts up next month.
Digital workflow 1 – Sean Fitzgerald
Sean’s knowledge of digital is impressive and I took away a lot of information from this presentation. Of greatest use, however, was the information about keywording, especially his recommendation to check out Controlled Vocabulary, a website which sells hierarchical keyword systems. Sean’s demonstration of the use of hierarchical keywords made me a believer and I plan on checking out the site in more detail ASAP.
People in Nature – Michele Westmoreland
While Michele is most well known for her underwater work, she is also an outstanding people photographer who travels the world capturing images of indigenous people in remote locations (such as New Guinea). From this presentation I took away the importance of capturing the entire story. Too often nature photographers (me included) shy away from including people in images. More often then not, however, people are a part of the story and failing to include them leaves holes in the story that is being told. It also has the nice benefit of making images more marketable.
Telling a Conservation Story Visually – Michele Westmoreland
Again, the importance of story was a focal point of Michele’s talk. Actually, it was THE focal point of her talk. After learning about her conservation project and the years of work that went into its completion (or near completion as it isn’t finished yet), I have become motivated to explore my own area and look for a conservation story to tell. Who knows where this little idea might lead.
Finding a Different Angle – Michele Westmoreland
Reinforcing many concepts I have played with over the years, Michele’s message was to play. Don’t be satisfied with the first shot and don’t keep taking the same shot. Try different things. This is something I constantly preach to my students and it is nice hearing others make the same recommendation.
Advanced Techniques – Sean Fitzgerald
I need to play more with smart objects and see how they can be incorporated into my workflow (or if they should be).