Close Up Photography in Nature (2014)
CUSTOM MACRO ACCESSORIES
Kirk Enterprises www.kirkphoto.com
We have used the equipment of this innovative company for decades. They offer L-brackets, custom quick-release plates for cameras and lenses that have tripod collars, a wonderful focusing rail for high magnification photography, flash brackets, ball heads, and many other accessories.
Wimberley is famous for the Wimberley Gimbal Tripod Head that revolutionized how big lenses are used today. They also make many accessories that are useful for close-up photographers, including the indispensable plant-clamp (Plamp). In our opinion, all close-up photographers need at least two Plamps with them at all times. No other device has made capturing excellent close-up images easier than the Plamp.
Really Right Stuff www.reallyrightstuff.com
Although we have no personal experience with their equipment, many of our workshop clients do and it is rated quite highly among the photographic community. They make their own tripods and heads, along with many other accessories, including a focusing rail that moves forward and backward and side-to-side for precise framing.
This company specializes in making light modifiers for improving the light. We continue to use their popular 22 inch 5-in-1 MultiDisc that includes a diffuser and four colored reflecting surfaces.
Gerlach Nature Photography Workshops www.gerlachnaturephoto.com
Our business web site describes our various field workshops and indoor seminars in detail. Many of our most popular instructional photography articles are posted here. We do send out an E-newsletter from time to time. Subscribe to our free newsletter on the web site.
Please visit our Facebook page at Gerlach Nature Photography Workshops. We post a new image every day that includes photo tips to explain how we did it. Facebook is the best way for us to share our new images and the cutting-edge photographic ideas that come to us.
Charles Cramer www.Charlescramer.com
Charles teaches a superb workshop using Photoshop to produce exhibition quality prints. Barbara attends his workshop at least once every two years to learn the latest techniques. This is an intensive class that requires the student to be familiar with Photoshop and to run through a detailed instructional program ahead of time to prepare for this exceptional class with this master printer.
PHOTO STACKING SOFTWARE
Helicon Focus www.heliconsoft.com
This software program is designed by Danylo Kozub and specializes in combining sets of images where the focus has been varied from image to image. Using stacking software is the best way to obtain maximum sharpness in a subject where it is not possible to align the focusing plane with the plane of the subject. Contact Danylo directly at email@example.com
Zerene Stacker www.zerenesystems.com
This superb software program by Rik Littlefield is excellent at stacking large sets of images. We use this one and Helicon Focus ourselves and teach their use in our field workshops. Like Helicon Focus, it is highly recommended. Go to both web sites to view the tutorials!
The first three books describe the shooting workflow we have developed over forty years of full-time nature photography. Of course, our workshop clients have a lot to do with the shooting system we use because they often ask crucial questions that lead us to a whole new way of taking photographs.
Gerlach, John & Barbara, Digital Nature Photography—The Art and the Science. Focal Press, 2006.
Gerlach, John & Barbara, Digital Landscape Photography.Focal Press, 2010.
Gerlach, John & Barbara, Digital Wildlife Photography. Focal Press, 2013.
Other quality close-up photography books:
Davies, Adrian, Close-up and Macro Photography. Focal Press, 2010.
There are numerous web sites that offer outstanding information on photography. Listed below are some of the most popular. These web sites are especially good for asking specific questions about close-up photography techniques.
Nature Photographers Network: www.naturephotographers.net
Luminous Landscape: www.luminous-landscape.com
Nature Photographer www.naturephotographermag.com
I have been a regular columnist for this colorful magazine since its inception. This magazine is especially good at showcasing lots of incredible images and features many helpful articles on nature photography.
Outdoor Photographer www.outdoorphotographer.com
This fine outdoor photography magazine has been published since the mid-1980s. It excels at describing the new equipment and software that becomes available each year and includes many instructional photo articles and images.
Popular Photography www.PopPhoto.com
This is a popular general photography magazine that offers detailed equipment and software reviews, along with teaching articles. Sometimes helpful close-up articles are included.
They offer sets of extension tubes for Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony Alpha. These tubes preserve autofocus and automatic metering.
Gitzo Tripods www.gitzo.com
We have used photo bags from these companies for years. Both companies offer a large selection of well-designed bags to accommodate anything you might wish to put into them.
CAMERA AND FLASH RADIO TRIGGERS
The PocketWizard Plus III transceiver is terrific for firing your camera remotely by using radio signals. They are also suitable for firing a Remote flash. In each case, two units are necessary. One is set to be the transmitter and the other is set to the receiver mode.
A small greenhouse is ideal for shooting close-up and high magnification macro images because it is easy to control the light and stop all subject motion that can be caused by the slightest air movement. For studio flower photography and for focus stacking applications where the subject must be completely still from one image to the next, a greenhouse works incredibly well. We bought a “cute” one—according to Barb—and had it delivered to our Idaho home in 2012. This 9 × 12 foot greenhouse, which we use as a photo studio, has proven to be an extremely valuable addition to our property and business. We should have one installed years ago! All close-up photographers, and especially those who enjoy flower photography should consider getting one. With the use of a small greenhouse, it is possible to shoot superb close-up images anytime during the day and the weather doesn’t matter.
There are many styles, sizes, and makes of greenhouses that fit all budgets. A good place to discover what is available is to search for greenhouses on the Internet. Another excellent source of information is the thirty-six-page The Greenhouse Catalog. Contact: www.GreenhouseCatalog.com