Wednesday, December 15, 2010
This is one of my favorite whitetail deer photographs taken during the rut about a month ago. The buck has a great set of antlers with a total of eight points and long tines. The morning had very dense fog which is still visible in the background. I had been watching the buck slowly approach in my direction as he had considerable interest in a couple of nearby does. Unfortunately for him, a ten point buck was tending the does and this guy decided to keep his distance. This proved fortunate for me, though, because he lingered in this spot for a couple of minutes. I took this photo as the sun began burning through the fog and cast a nice soft light on the deer. 1/400 at f5.6, ISO 1000, handheld with a 100-400mm lens with image stabilization.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
A special effect was added to this photograph of a drake mallard duck in crossing flight. The original photo is below. The treatment is similar to that on the boat images in the December 2 post.
Filters were added to the original photograph with the computer to give a black & white, 3D texture to the duck. Some color was then brought back to the speculum and the head.
We have six different duck images with this effect that are available through our gallery at the ImageKind Store. Many other original photographs of waterfowl in flight can also be seen there.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Special effects were added to these wooden boat photographs to create some interesting artwork. The boat is an antique, wooden Hackercraft runabout that I photographed in the summer. See the September 14 blog entry for more information on that shoot.
I applied some filters in Photoshop to create the effects and brought back some of the original color to portions of the boat and the flag. Seven different boat photos, of two different boats, have had this effect applied to them. The nautical gallery at our ImageKind Store is offering these images as prints with available custom framing.
Monday, November 29, 2010
A nice ten-point whitetail deer buck in the early morning fog. This photo was taken in mid-November during the rut. The bucks were relentless in their pursuit of does and more active than usual. Initially, I was upset with the fog because I didn't think there would be a chance for a pleasing image. The fog greatly reduces contrast as well as the available light. I spotted some nervous does in a meadow and got into position in time to see this buck come out of the woods to follow the does.
The light had just turned really sweet as the sun began to burn through the fog. It made all the difference for this image as the antlers and his face are lit very nicely. The tail adds another point of interest. The wooded background is nicely concealed by the fog so there is no clutter. In spite of the fog I was able to expose at a fairly low ISO of 800. 1/1250 at f5.6, 100-400mm lens at 400mm.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
An eight point whitetail deer buck in the woods during the rut. Long tines on the antlers and a swollen neck. He was cruising the woods recently while looking for does. In this photo he actually has spotted a couple does that were nearby. The lighting is tricky in the woods as most of it is in shadow with scattered patches of sunlight. I had been watching this buck as he approached and was fortunate to be in range when he stepped into a sunbeam and stopped. The darker woods behind him offer a nice contrast to his well-lit head.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
We just published "How to Photograph Alpine Ski Racing." This is an ebook that is focused specifically on capturing stunning images of downhill slalom and giant slalom skiers. Amateur photographers can see what is possible to achieve and learn how to do it. Numerous photographs that were taken at actual races are used throughout to illustrate the many helpful tips. These images were chosen from my many years of experience learning the best techniques. Locations, positioning, camera settings, composition and more are all discussed.
The book is available for purchase and immediate downloading in multiple e-reader formats. Go to the bookstore now!
Friday, October 29, 2010
I was very excited to get this photograph last week. This is a magnificent 10 point whitetail deer buck. The rut (mating season) is in the very early stages and he was showing some interest in nearby does. This section of woods still has quite a canopy of leaves so the light is uneven with a lot of deep shade. I had to be patient as the buck moved in this area until he stepped into a small sunbeam and turned his head. The polished antlers show very well.
The fur on the side of his body is covered with brown, sticky seeds. I suspected this as I watched him and later confirmed it when the image was enlarged on the computer. I have been into these seeds myself and they are a real nuisance!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Here is another image from the recent photo shoot of the three golden retriever puppies. They were about 7 weeks old at the time. All three puppies were loose in the yard at the same time and they usually went in different directions. It was challenging for the owner and his daughter to keep track of them but for me it was easier to get shots of each one individually.
We tied a lightweight toy to the line on a fishing pole. In this image the puppy is trying to grab the toy, which is just out of the frame and can't be seen. The puppy was in constant motion, spinning around and jumping. I was lying in the grass and couldn't move quickly. I had to try and get the shots during the fractions of seconds that the dog was facing my general direction. I shot many frames and finally got a nice one.
This shot is special because of the background. Notice that the puppy's head is framed between the trees and shows so well against the darker background. I could not have posed this; it's the advantage of having many images to choose from. Great fun! 70-200 lens at 100mm. f3.2 for shallow depth of field.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
"How to Photograph Marching Bands" is an ebook that was just published. It is focused specifically on capturing stunning images of marching bands. Amateur photographers can see what is possible to achieve and learn how to do it. Numerous photographs are used throughout to illustrate the many helpful tips. These images were chosen from my many years of experience learning the best techniques. Locations, positioning, camera settings, composition and more are all discussed.
The book is available for purchase and immediate downloading in multiple e-reader formats. Go to the bookstore!
Friday, October 8, 2010
Here is a golden retriever puppy dog at about 7 weeks old. I recently photographed a litter of three and had a great time doing it. This photo is quite deceiving because the three puppies were rarely still. I shot primarily while lying prone on the grass and frequently this left me vulnerable to being climbed upon. The owner and his daughter were indispensable. They chased the wandering puppies, gave them toys and pulled them from my back.
We photographed in the late afternoon and had nice light in much of the yard. I used the 70-200 lens at varying focal lengths and a wide aperture to keep the foreground and background blurry.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
We happened upon a couple of kiteboarders enjoying a windy afternoon on Lake St. Clair. The wind was too strong for good waterskiing so we motored in the direction of the kites to watch this sport instead. The kiteboarders were tacking back and forth in a predictable manner so we were able to keep the boat near enough to get some photographs. One of the boarders obliged us by doing some of his best stunts, as shown here, while very close to the boat.
This image was shot with the lens set at 80mm, although it has been slightly cropped at the top. I was trying to shoot fairly wide so as to include some of the lake and shore for perspective but I only got the tops of the trees on the shoreline. I also took some shots that were framed much tighter but most of the time we were facing the mid-afternoon sun. This sport would be fun to photograph again when the light isn't so harsh.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
This is from a recent shoot of an antique, wooden Gar Wood boat. The boat is a nicely restored 1936 28' triple-cockpit runabout and we were photographing it shortly after sunrise on Lake St. Clair. The intent was to photograph some high speed turns and the driver was following a course that would bring the boat away from the shoreline before turning sharply toward me. The plan worked well and we got nice shots of the boat in action with nothing but the lake on the horizon.
This particular shot was not really part of the plan. I was tracking the boat and waiting for it to get away from shore and closer to me when I noticed the stark contrast. The boat is brightly lit and shows well against the dark water and the dark trees. It turned out to be one of my favorite shots from the morning.
I was standing in the water and the waves prevented me from standing very still. I compensated with a relatively fast shutter speed. This was shot at 1/1000 at 5.6, ISO 400, lens at 400mm.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Here are two photographs of an antique, wooden boat at high speed. The boat is a 1930 30' triple-cockpit, Hackercraft runabout operating on Lake St. Clair, Michigan. This photo shoot was planned and coordinated closely with the driver. I was standing in water about 4 feet deep because I like the low angle.
The plan was to drive the boat on a path perpendicular to me, then make a sharp turn in my direction. I fired a series of shots during the maneuver to capture the entire turn but my original objective was to get this second image with the boat directly facing me. I got the shot but the overall impact was less than desired. I expected the front of the boat to stay more out of the water which would give a much greater sense of action. Racing hulls will respond that way. Instead, on this hull the bow actually digs in on a turn and the sense of speed is diminished. Nonetheless, its a pretty cool shot with the spray and the boat banking sharply.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
This horse and rider are jumping a fence during the recent Traders Point Horse Show in Zionsville, Indiana. I took many photos while I was there for a couple of days but this one stood out. Usually, the background is filled with distracting elements such as tents and people that are close to the rings where the horses are jumping. The background here is much cleaner than normal and the horse and girl stand out nicely. Also, the late afternoon sun is more flattering than during the middle of the day.
This image is an example of how several factors came together at the right time. I was only allowed to shoot from a couple of sides so it was fortunate that I could be looking toward the empty background. Behind me were tents and clutter. And it was fortunate that this rider had her class late in the day with the low sun behind me. These things are beyond my control but on this shot it worked out well.
Monday, August 30, 2010
I photographed this 2 year old girl a couple weeks ago and got a nice series of expressive shots. The setting was outside on a lawn and the sky was overcast. This gave us soft, even light. She was sitting on the grass and we had a toy next to her to keep her in one place. I shot some very nice images while lying down but usually had some part of the distant sky in the background. This made a small distraction but by sitting up I could get the background that was more uniform. The camera is still low enough to be almost at eye level.
I used the 70-200 lens at 150mm and the aperture was almost wide open to limit the depth of field.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
This is a Malibu Sunsetter VLX inboard ski boat in a high-speed turn. The driver and I were practicing a technique we want to use later this month when shooting some antique, wooden speedboats. The boat has to cross in front of the camera and the driver must turn very sharply. The image is taken during the turn when the boat is pointed directly at the camera.
This ski boat stays quite flat, even during a sharp, high-speed turn, so the image isn't as dramatic as I would like. But the boat is banking slightly, and there is air visible under the boat's left side, so one gets some sense of action. I expect the antique boats to bank more when doing this maneuver because of the different hull design. Stay tuned; we hope to try it again later this month.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I am totally amazed at this photograph. The bullet is visible in mid-air after being fired from the pistol. I drew an arrow on the image that points at the gold-colored bullet.
I photographed a day-long tactical pistol training course and took over 1000 photos. It was routine to get images with empty brass cartridge cases in the air as they were ejected. No motor drive needed. I would try to time the shutter release as close as I could to the gun being fired. In this photo the bullet has just exited the muzzle, the slide has moved to the rear and the empty case is visible but not yet ejected.
This image was shot at 1/2500 sec. and the bullet has a little motion blur that is visible when the photo is enlarged.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
This boat was racing in the Offshore Powerboat Association Racing Series on Lake St. Clair near Mt. Clemens, Michigan on Sunday. I was stationed on a 30' day cruiser idling along the outside perimeter of the course. The lake was choppy and it led to this shot of the race boat getting airborne. It also made photography very difficult as the boat was constantly pitching and rolling. Not only was it hard to hold the camera but I couldn't even keep my balance. I shot this at 1/4000, not as much to stop the boat action but to stop my serious camera movement.
I was able to get several nice shots of the boats crossing directly in front and they were close enough to fill the frame. I like this one, though, because there is so much bright white spray that contrasts with the water and boat. The image portrays more speed and action than the closer shots I got.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Here is a photograph of a waterskier carving a turn during open water skiing. If he were running a slalom course there would be a buoy in the water for him to turn around. I rode in the boat, kneeling on a seat near the stern.
I will often frame very tightly on the skier because I like close-ups. This is challenging with a medium-long lens because a boat running at 36 mph will have some bounce in the open water. For this shot I backed off a little and placed the skier in the upper right. This makes the rope come from the lower left, making a nice diagonal line that leads directly to the subject. I like this composition. And the skiers like seeing more of their spray than would be visible on a tight shot.
1/2000 at 5.6, ISO 200, lens at 140mm. Taken at 9:30 AM. I prefer a lower sun angle and softer light but we didn't get out early enough.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
This photograph of a horse and rider jumping a fence was recently taken at a horse show at the Kentucky Horse Park. There are several aspects that help make a nice image of a jumper. First, the timing here was at the peak of the action. I certainly don't claim to nail this all the time and I get pretty excited when I do. The front legs of the horse are still tucked fairly tightly and the rear legs are off the ground. Second, the face of the girl is visible and recognizable. Third, I was able to get close to the jump at ground level. The height of the horse and rider is accentuated when the camera is looking slightly upward. I can't always position myself in such a good spot as some of the spectator areas are slightly elevated. I have made some very nice images of the jumpers from other angles but this one is very dramatic.
300mm lens, 1/500 at 5.6. I usually try for a faster shutter speed as the action can be stopped more reliably but this one came out perfectly sharp.
Monday, June 28, 2010
I spent several days at a horse show in Lexington, Kentucky and got this photograph of the Rolex clock outside the stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. I was wandering the grounds shortly after sunrise one morning while waiting for the show to begin. I took a couple shots of the clock earlier but it was shaded by distant trees. It blended into the sky and the image was not anything special. When I returned about 10 minutes later the sun had just started to light the clock and really made the image pop. 6:58 AM and the light is sweet. Five minutes after this was taken the sun was already too harsh.
I was pretty lucky because I did not pre-plan this shot. Just happened to be in the spot at the right time.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
This is a young whitetail deer buck photographed in a field. His velvet antlers are just starting to sprout.
It was about 9:00 AM and the sun was already quite high so the light was harsh and direct. Most of the field is open meadow and the deer blend in very well. I usually pass on taking photos there. In this case, though, the buck was standing in front of denser woods. This provided enough contrast that the deer's head stood out very nicely.
I much prefer softer light but I kept the photo because this was a buck in velvet, and his antlers show well against the darker background.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
This photograph of a female whitetail deer was taken yesterday at the edge of a meadow. I had been watching her from deep shade and cover as she fed in the open but the scene did not look to be anything special. Plus, the sunlight was strong and harsh. When the doe moved closer to the shade I began to see photo opportunities.
The challenge, then, was getting a nice background. Most of the open meadow was too bright and the contrast with the shade was considerable. I waited and waited until finally the deer moved to a spot with dark trees in the background. Some sunlight filtering through the trees and hitting her face, her head and ears showing well against the dark green, ears perked. Nice.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Here are two more photographs from the high school varsity lacrosse game. These are part of a high-speed sequence taken when the action was close to me. It was nice that the players were facing me, which often was not the case. Players from both teams are in the photos and close to each other so there is a good sense of the intense competition.
100-400mm lens set at 330mm for the top photo and the red player is barely visible. I zoomed out slightly as the players rapidly approached. In the bottom photo the lens was at 310mm. Now we can see all of the red player and the ball is visible in the pocket of his stick.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I recently photographed a high school varsity lacrosse game and found it quite challenging. The action is fast and the players are up and down the field so much that it is difficult to keep up with them. This is one of my favorite images from the game for several reasons. First, the ball is very visible in the pocket as the player has just caught it. Second, the player is jumping and both feet are off the ground. Third, the player is isolated and clearly recognizable to his parents.
The net behind the player is somewhat objectionable but nothing could be done about that. Also, one could make the case that having some members of the opposing team in the frame would enhance the feeling of competition. Many of my other shots from the game do indeed have that aspect and I will post some of them, too. But I like this shot as more of an action portrait, so to speak. Shots like this can't be scripted during an actual game so I was pleased to come home with it.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This photograph of a bison cow and her calf was taken a few hours after my initial contact shown in the posting of May 6. The herd was in the same area of woods where I had earlier eluded them. The light was stronger and I wanted to take advantage of that. I noticed this cow with her calf standing somewhat apart from the others and was able to quickly get this shot. I intentionally placed the cow's head in the upper left of the frame because of where she is looking. As before, the bison started to approach us but we were again able to remove ourselves from the area. 350mm, 1/500 sec at f5.6, ISO 1250.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I found this bedded fallow deer while photographing on the same private ranch that has the bison. This deer was almost completely white. The coat looked somewhat mangy because it was in the process of transitioning from the winter coat to the summer version. The deer provides a stunning contrast with the dark colors of the trees and captures the viewers attention.
This was shot in the middle of the day with a slightly overcast sky so the light was very even and diffused.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I shot this photo of a bison herd on a private ranch near Cheboygan, Michigan. The herd numbered about a dozen animals when I spotted them about 100 yards away. I was content to get a group shot from that respectable distance but when they saw me they all started to walk toward me. I don't know what motivated them and they did not appear agitated. Nonetheless, I started slowly backtracking since many of these animals are as tall as a pickup truck and they were spread out in a line while coming at me. It felt like the hunter had become the hunted.
I took this photo while in retreat at about 60 yards as they kept closing the distance. I finally was able to take a route through a narrow corner of woods. The bison stopped there while I continued out the other side.
The time was 6:51 AM, slight overcast sky, ISO 5000, 400mm IS lens handheld, 1/320 at 5.6 on the Canon Mk IV body.
Monday, April 19, 2010
This is the same bmx rider as in the photograph in the previous post. Different ramp and angle. I moved much closer to the ramp, got more in front and crouched low. Lens set at 50mm here. The rider is getting more height than before but the angle really contributes to the sense of action. The bike came from camera-right and up the ramp, turned in 90 degrees in mid-air and came down on the ramp facing me. I started shooting as soon as he became airborne. This is the fourth frame in the sequence, at maximum height.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
This photo of a bicycle rider in mid-air was taken in a local skatepark. BMX with ramps and concrete. This boy made frequent jumps off the ramps and turned 90 degrees in the air to land on connecting ramps. I was able to get shots from multiple angles and distances. Also, some neat sequences with the motor drive running.
This was late afternoon so the sun was low enough that the shadows were not obnoxious but the light was still strong. 1/1000 @ f5.0, ISO 250, lens at 100mm.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Three flying Canada Geese descending with cupped wings and feet down. This photograph was taken in the same area as the ducks in the previous post. Unlike the ducks, however, the geese descend at a slower speed so it is much easier to track and maintain focus.
I was tracking the goose in the center and it looked like he would come right in for an awesome close-up. The two on the left came in from the side, almost colliding, and all three then landed far off to my right. I got some more frames as they descended but I really wanted the close, head-on shot. This was taken about an hour after sunrise so the light is low enough to give detail on the underside of the body.
400mm lens, ISO 400, 1/1250 at 5.6.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Three flying drake mallard ducks in a rapid descent with wings cupped. I spend many hours (days!) trying to get shots like this. These are coming in to a landing but the airspeed is still wicked fast. Also, they don't track in a straight line but, instead, will often bank quickly to one side or the other. These three are with a hen that already side-slipped out of my frame on the right side. Very difficult for the tracking focus to lock on and keep up with the rapidly changing distance. When the ducks get closer to the water they will slow their speed but they also start backpedaling with the wings so we don't see the wings cupped like this.
I hand-hold the camera and it moves a great deal when I'm shooting like this. With the lens at 400mm I compensate by using a fast shutter speed, usually 1/1250 sec. This image is nice and sharp. But the main problem is getting the focus to lock on.
Monday, March 15, 2010
A junior rider and her horse jumping a fence during an indoor horse show. I like the shot because the timing was good (not always the case). The lighting, though, was poor. Quite a few windows in the arena but still not enough ambient light for action. I suggested setting a couple of flashes on stands at one jump but management preferred that I use on-camera flash to enable shooting multiple jumps. That worked in the sense that I took many more photos but resulted in the awful reflections in both the horse's and rider's eyes, plus shadows behind them.
Friday, March 12, 2010
This photograph of a girl leaping over a wall was taken the same night as the prior post of the jumping dog. She was one of the volunteers setting the course for the horse show the next day and decided to try one of the jumps for herself. This shot was not planned. I noticed her starting to run and quickly pre-focused on the wall in front of her. It happened in about 2 seconds. No cropping either. I was using a 70-200 f2.8 zoom and it was previously set at 135mm. I didn't even have time to think about changing the focal length but it didn't matter. Nice tight shot.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
This dog is jumping over a wall in an indoor riding arena. This was taken the evening before I photographed a horse show and volunteers had just finished setting a course for the next day. The wooden wall is painted to look like bricks and is one of the fences that horses will jump during the show. Kids started playing with the beagle after their work was finished and I set up in front of the fence to capture the fun.
I had been shooting candids of the kids at a rapid pace and was using a simple on-camera flash for speed and mobility. I had another light and stand in the vehicle, along with radio triggers, and would have preferred to use that. It would have prevented the reflections in the dog's eyes. But this action was spur-of-the-moment and didn't last long so I was happy to get a couple of quick shots.
Camera exposure set manually to underexpose the background.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
This design uses photographs of jumpers taken last year at some horse shows. The intent is to portray an exhibit of photographs on gallery walls with the added surprise of a horse and rider jumping out of a picture. The floor, walls, sign and picture frames are computer-generated. There are two copies of the photo on the right to facilitate the distortion, masking and shadow effect.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I was watching these whitetail deer for quite awhile and slowly working closer to get within good camera range. Four deer were milling about in the same area but they weren't doing anything that might make a great photo. Once I was close enough, though, I stayed and watched for awhile longer. Patience was rewarded when these two looked in the same direction with their ears perked. I believe they were interested in the other two deer for some reason but the moment lasted only long enough for one photograph. This one shot made my entire morning worthwhile.
Friday, February 5, 2010
I found some whitetail deer yesterday in some open hardwoods. I spotted this one bedded behind a log and I could only see her ears. But I noticed her breath condensing in the cold air and decided to try for a shot of that. I maneuvered so she would be backlit and perhaps better show the breath. She stood when she noticed my approach and offered this shot before leaving. On the full size image the breath is apparent on both sides of her face. No wind and the temperature was in the mid to upper teens.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
I posted this photograph of a non-typical whitetail deer buck with a drop-tine antler on November 24, 2009. It was taken in the woods at the Troy Nature Center where I occasionally will hike. I just heard about the controversy surrounding the killing of a buck in December that may be the same deer as in this photo. Notice the very distinctive curved drop-tine off his right antler. An amateur photographer has posted many good photos of this buck and it appears to be the same animal that was killed by a person who claims he killed it while hunting. There is no hunting allowed in the Nature Center, obviously, so many people are wondering whether this animal was poached at night. This buck had been seen regularly by many visitors to the park up until December 21 or so. Then it disappeared and hasn't been seen since.
There is an article about this ongoing investigation in the February edition of WOODS-N-WATER NEWS that includes photos, plus some online forums such as Michigan Sportsman.
Friday, January 15, 2010
We have two new calendars featuring our photographs of whitetail deer. These have been added to the others at our Cafe Press product sales site. Our favorite images of deer are continually collected and then periodically assembled into calendars. The new ones feature some nice shots of fawns in addition to the does and bucks.
Copy and paste this address to view Vol. 2:
Copy and paste this address to view Vol. 3:
There are some duck calendars, too, in a different section of the store.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
We now have an account on the Flickr site. Flickr is hugely popular and most of you are probably already familiar with it. Great search capability. We will still maintain and update our sales-oriented site at Zenfolio but will now also be uploading content to Flickr as new images are created.
All of you are welcome to become a "contact" to receive notice of new photographs being posted. Use this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danteetorphotography/
The link is also in the column on the right side of this page. Hope to see you!
Friday, January 8, 2010
This photograph captures a mallard duck as he descends into a creek. The unusual lighting makes it special and I was pretty excited to get the shot. The late afternoon sun was very low. The creek bank opposite me is high so it was in deep shade. There was no bank where I was positioned and I could be near water level. A proper exposure on the duck's head leaves the creek bank very underexposed with hardly any detail except for some patches of snow. It's really neat that the head is lit and the white tips of the tail feathers show so nicely.
100 to 400mm lens set at about 325mm. The exposure is tricky but also the focus. A rapidly descending bird is hard enough to follow in a clear sky but this area has trees in addition to the creek bank. Most of my shots from that position were not usable at all because it was so difficult to maintain focus and properly expose.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
What luck! I had been shadowing this whitetail deer buck for a good part of the morning. I was getting some interesting shots but as I tried to get closer he saw me and left. I then found a group of does and was busy working towards them when the same buck came over a ridge following the doe trail. He was very close! And so intent on the does that he paid little attention to me as I remained motionless.
400mm lens at less than 25 yards. Open hardwoods in the winter so the light was pretty nice.