Monday, January 30, 2012

#BirdsOfPreySunday Highlights January 30

A little selection of the shots posted for yesterday #BirdsOfPreySunday.
Enjoy the view and thanks everybody for partecipating!

"A Red Kite manoeuvres in mid-air whilst maintaining eye contact with its destination" by +AnnMarie Jones (see on G+)

"A peregrine falcon strikes a mourning dove in mid air" +Andreas Kanon (see on G+)


"Short-eared Owl" by +Jay Taylor (see on G+)


"Red-Tailed Hawk" by +David Petryk (see on G+)


"A Cooper's Hawk eyes our backyard birdfeeders one morning - took the songbirds about a week before they would return to our feeders. I used to have a boss who had a stare like that! lol!" by +Nick Moore (see on G+)


"Golden eagle" by +Gemma Costa (see on G+)


"Great Horned Owl in Flight - photographed at the Free Flight show at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. If you're ever down that way, it will be worth your while to go!" by +Marianne Skov Jensen (see on G+)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wildlife Photography by Uwe Skrzypczak: a "must have" book

Book cover
Last summer I made a beautiful trip to Kenya: being on safari in Samburu NP, Lake Nakuru NP and Masai Mara NR was for sure the best photographic experience for me and boosted my love for wildlife photography!

When I came back, I could enjoy the rise of photographers on Google+. Browsing trough posts, I found some beautiful photos of the Serengeti / Mara Ecosystem by +Uwe Skrzypczak. I immediately added him to my circle and started following his work: he is a Wildlife Conservationist, an amazing photographer and a book writer! You can find more info about his work on his website

One day he posted the description of his book "Wildlife Photography: On Safari with your DSLR: Equipment, Techniques, Workflow" and it looked like the book I needed to improve my wildlife photo skills.

The first thing I did when I got the book was to browse all the amazing photos and I noticed that every single shot had its own description with camera, lens, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and auto-focus settings!
Thunderstorms in the Serengeti © Uwe Skrzypczak

The book is divided into 9 chapters: the first five are dedicated to Equipment, Shooting Techniques, Image Composition, Planning Your Trip and The Light in East Africa. This is the most technical part of the book and covers arguments related to general wildlife, not only African wildlife.

I found a lot of useful tips in these chapters, but the main things I've learned are:

- If you know the places and the behaviour of the subjects you'll have better chances to shoot better photos;

- Always check the camera light histogram and not only the image preview of the camera live viewer, in order to understand if the photo was correctly exposed.

Chapters 6 through 9 describe the main regions of the Serengeti/Mara Ecosystem, the behaviour and the migratory trends of the animals that live there! I really enjoyed this part. Reading it made me want to come back to the Masai Mara, where I've been in august, and going also to the The Ngorongoro Crater, The Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti, that will be new to me, to observe the places and the animals again with a better knowledge!
On the track of the wildebeest...or a short look back to paradise ... © 2011 Uwe Skrzypczak
My favorite chapter of the book was the last: That Elusive Cover Picture, or Camping in the Rain at the Mara River, in wich Uwe tells his adventures when he tried to take a cover photo of a male lion called "Pavarotti"! It's priceless!

You can find the english version of the book on Amazon for about 25 $! Totally woth it!

This is the book's promotinal video:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Easily backup Aperture Library with a Vault

Based on my personal experience, I don't trust hard disks anymore, so in order to avoid any loss of data, I try to keep everything safely backed up.
As I use a Mac to organize and edit my photos, I'll try to explain how I easily back up my entire Aperture Library, using an Aperture feature called Vault.
A Vault allows you to incrementally back up, not only your master images, but all the work you’ve done in Aperture: such as projects, keywords,  ratings and especially image adjustments.

Creating a Vault is very easy: just go to the File menu and select Vault -> Add Vault...

Now comes the most difficult task: choose a suitable location for your Vault:
- Please don't put it in you local hard drive, because if it will broke up, you'll loose both the Aperture Library and the Vault :)
- Choose a location on an external hard drive, but don't keep il togheter with your Mac. I leave to your imagination what happen if you keep your laptop and your external hard drive in the same bag... and you lost the bag!
- You can also choose a remote location, such as a shared folder on another computer.

Once you have chosen your safest location, a new Vault will appear on the bottom of the Library tab. A red circular icon will appear next to the new Vault: you can use it to synchronize your vault with your Library.
When the Vault will be fully up to date, the button will turn to black.

WARNING: Updating vaults cannot be canceled and it prevents you from working in
Aperture. So prepare yourself to a break :)

If you need to restore your Aperture Library from a Vault,  just go again to the File menu and select Vault -> Restore Library...  and follow some easy steps!

Hope these few tips are helpful and remember to synchronize your Vault once in a while :)