Esther Beaton

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flash photography

Making great people photos

mixed lighting opposite colours

There are so many factors that go into good “people” shots. People photos for geographic magazines are a bit different from standard portraits. Sometimes they are raw photojournalism, but usually they fall into a genre called “environmental portraiture”. I’ve done this for so long now that I’ve come to really love it. The essential elements …

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Ambient “lighting” is easy

Sometimes you don’t have to work at creating a background because you are blessed with the colours of nature. Or you’re just smart enough to go out at sunrise or sunset. Both of these pictures are pre-dawn. The colour in the sky at this time is called “afterglow” and I especially like this twilight time …

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Rembrandt artist

Rather than using colour, as in the previous post, to get rid of a busy or dull background, you can accomplish it with exposure control alone. This artist worked in her garage and the best angle of her using her jewellery press had some old storage units behind her. The easiest thing was to turn …

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A Visit to AWC and the Challenges of Mammal Photography

Wayne Lawler, staff photographer for Australian Wildlife Conservancy, photographing Boodies and Woylies at night with several flash units, Yookamurra Sanctuary, South Australia

I love the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. I love all conservation groups but the AWC has an astounding success rate. Not only are they re-establishing populations of highly threatened species, they are achieving the job at discount rates. They run a mean, tight ship as far as admin spending goes. Income goes almost entirely to field …

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Think the Reciprocal Rule is safe? It fails with high resolution cameras

Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) on nest among casuarina trees, Lake Tuggerah, Central Coast, New South Wales

The reciprocal rule is handy to know when you are hand-holding your camera, especially with a long lens attached. It states “always use a shutter speed whose reciprocal is faster than the focal length of the lens”. So if you’re hand-holding a 500 mm lens, you have to use a shutter speed of 1/500 or faster. …

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Take Advantage of the Rain – Do Bird Photography!

Red Wattlebird, capturing a Brown Katydid insect which feeds on pollen, in Callistemon bush, National Botanic Gardens, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

I had business in Canberra a few months ago and I grabbed a couple spare hours to do some bird photography. I chose the bird-abundant National Botanic Gardens. But alas it was late in the day, dark and raining. But knowing how I could push my ISO into the “danger zone” and still be able …

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A Powerful Story (or The One That Got Away)

Powerful Owl

As a nature and wildlife photographer I’m outdoors a lot and I often get into scrapes. They make entertaining stories to share on blogs and elsewhere. One time, however, it was my photographic subject that got into one – or almost. I was walking home one cool August night, in the quiet seaside village of …

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