Digital Photo Academy

Learn How To Use Your Digital Camera

Flowers – Wilderness, Trekking, Travel Environments

Digital Photo Academy and LivinginHD present a free monthly series of photography webinars on Your host, John Bentham answers many questions live during the webinars. Additional questions, answers and tips are posted here on where you can also view the archived webinars.

Taking care of your equipment in the field is very important. You can’t shoot if the camera gets soaked in a monsoon. However shooting during that monsoon could produce some interesting photographs. It’s a risk you may want to consider. A better bet is shooting beautiful soft, dew dropped and poignant flower photos in a light rain or mist, conditions much more manageable, pleasant for the photographer and will probably produce better results. However when you shoot in less than ideal conditions you often must make sacrifices. If you are forced to shoot at a much higher ISO to gain a higher shutter speed to counter the movement of the flowers in the wind you have fix-it alternatives. NIK Software offers great noise reduction software which reduces color and Hi ISO noise. It’s very easy to use and can mean the difference between a useable shot and one you would previously have not bothered to capture. In those situations go ahead and bump up the ISP, shoot it anyway, you may be surprised what the software will save. Take a look at the great black and white shot below by Jarvis Grant a DPA photographer and Instructor in Washington DC. Jarvis has captured a stunning, rich, moody and poetic photo of leaves and raindrops in shooting conditions that would have forced many fair weather shooters indoors. If when you capture images such as this the light is a little flat or missing some contrast and shadows you can always easily add a little contrast and film contrast effect with Silver Efex Pro the great Black and white software from NIK.


Photo by Jarvis Grant, DPA Photographer, Instructor in Washington DC

Humidity in tropical and hot locations: In the Caribbean, India, Asia, Central & South America this is a real problem. Humidity will affect cameras, lenses, film, everything. If you hotel room, airplane or car is air-conditioned and you then take the cameras outside you will have a lot of condensation on the cameras, lenses and viewfinder etc. This is because the camera is colder than the outside air and the moisture in the air condenses on the cold surface. If you wipe it off it will just form again. You can’t really do anything until the camera and lens has warmed up to the ambient temp outside. This takes about 20 minutes. Make sure you warm the equipment before you need to shoot. It helps if you don’t keep your AC really cold. In the tropics you also risk the more serious problem of moisture inside the lens, between the elements. This will happen after prolonged exposure to humidity. At this point you risk fungus growing inside the lens. This is difficult and costly to remove since the lens must be completely taken apart. You should keep the equipment in Zip-Lock bags with moisture absorbing silica gel packs. Additionally after I return from the tropics I seal all the equipment in a plastic bin, like a large airtight Tupperware container, with numerous packets of silica for a week or so to dry out any residual moisture.


Photo by Ken Dejarlais, Seattle Photographer and DPA Instructor

Not unlike the Jarvis Grant photo Ken Dejarlais’ rainy evergreen shot is an example of shooting in less than ideal conditions, with less than ideal light and managing to salvage a great photo with a little application of software, in this case a punching up of the saturation, contrast and structure using NIK Viveza 2.

Rain, Moisture, Dust, Sand: Watch out for sudden rainstorms in the tropics. It can be a beautiful sunny day and suddenly start to pour torrential rain. A small collapsible umbrella in the camera bag is a great idea, also carry large plastic bags to shove the whole camera bag into. These are also good for keeping out sand on the beach or in desert environments. It’s amazing how sand can work it’s way in. Following a desert shoot in Morocco I found sand inside a closed Zip-Lock bag that was inside a zippered camera bag. Be very careful with the sensor on a digital camera with regard to sand and dust. It is best to keep a lens on a camera body rather than changing it in the field if at all possible. This is another reason to have a 2nd camera body. When you keep two focal lengths on two separate bodies you don’t risk exposing the camera sensors in a dusty environments.


Photo by Frank Veronsky, DPA Instructor, Photographer in New Jersey and New York

Frank Veronsky lives in the woods and is regularly trekking through it to find good photography subjects for his Found in The Wood Series. Frank is careful to keep his equipment dry and dust free whenever possible. He’s also got a keen eye for recognizing subjects. What may look like an ordinary scene to most people Frank knows he can make look interesting and in many cases eerie, beautiful and otherworldly buy his choice of equipment. The photo above was shot with a Lensbaby lens and optic which Frank then further modified using NIK Silver Efex Pro software to look like an exotic location. The combination of Lensbaby and NIK seems to be a hallmark for Veronsky, one I’m happy to more samples of.

Batteries: When flying, batteries will be affected by the extreme cold in the baggage hold. Carry them onboard if possible, or charge and warm them upon arrival if there is time prior to the shoot. The same applies when shooting outside in the cold. Batteries should be put inside a coat during down time. Warm sets of batteries can be cycled with cold ones while shooting outdoors. Keep a set in your pocket and cycle them with those in the camera during the shoot every 15 minutes or so. The same will apply to the cameras themselves and especially to a light meter. Try to keep equipment warm. LCD screens in cameras sometimes freeze in extreme cold. With any Digital camera you should buy a spare battery or batteries. Digital cameras draw a lot of battery power. Some models offer an AA battery adapter in addition to the standard rechargeable battery which along with AA batteries will function as a 2nd back up. If you are traveling internationally make sure you have all the proper voltage chargers and adapters.

Webinar Submission Specs: All DPA students can submit photographs for inclusion in the Digital Photo Academy, LiHD Webinar, Online Photo Class Series. If you would like to submit your photographs for an upcoming webinar, read the following. Each webinar has a specific theme or topic. You can see the date and topic of the next webinar at, Tip of the Day, Online Photo Class. Note that webinars are edited and formatted days in advance, thus please submit your photos at least a week in advance of the webinar, late submissions can not be added. Photographs are chosen, and edited, for their applicability to the webinar theme, artistic and technical merit, and content length. If your photograph is NOT chosen, it will be archived and may appear in a more appropriate future webinar.

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