Canon has extended the DSLR instant rebates from the previous period and they've even added the Rebel T6s / T6i to the eligible bodies list. In another welcomed move, Canon added mail-in rebates for select lenses and flashes.
This rebate period is scheduled to run from May 3 through May 30. Remember, rebate periods are the best time to pick up new gear; don't miss the opportunity to bolster your kit and save some serious cash while doing so.
It was not the exposure. With a solid cloud cover, I was able to lock in a manual exposure for perfect results on every shot. In this case, I chose a 1/1000 shutter speed (the bird was moving a lot and quickly), an f/5.6 aperture (to isolate the bird using shallow depth of field) and ISO 160 to bring the brightest whites up to near RGB 255,255,255.
The challenge was not the tight framing of the bird. I was able to slowly belly-crawl close to the small flock of terns. So close that I only needed a 234mm focal length in front of the 7D II's APS-C sensor. I should have used a slightly wider angle still as I added a small amount of canvas on the left in post, providing additional breathing room for the wing.
The challenge was also not the low shooting position. Using the NatureScapes Skimmer Ground Pod II, I was able to push the camera forward as I crawled in the sand. Shooting from on the ground gave me a clean background (only sky) and the remaining land in the frame is primarily a blur of texture.
The big challenge? Timing the shutter release in conjunction with using the proper AF tactics to get this specific composition with the head included in focus. The sandwich tern cleaning process involved a wide array of moves, few of which I was able to predict and all of them fast. The head was constantly moving in what seemed like all directions and fast framing adjustment with a properly-selected AF point proved very challenging. A narrower aperture would have reduced the AF task, but the result would have been more ground in focus for a different look.
One aspect of this image that I like is the complete separation of the head from the body. Many of the preening positions did not have this attribute (and many had a completely hidden head). I also like the balance. While I don't often place my subject in the center of the frame, I felt that centered worked best in this case. The wing and tail balance the bird over the dark, eye-catching legs. The head extended to the right caused me to want the legs shifted just left of center to get what I felt was the right overall balance. My shooting position was low enough that only the legs intersected the color of the sand. The small amount of feather pulling through the bill is the bonus feature. I'll credit the 7D II's short shutter lag for enabling that timing.
This sandwich tern was on the gulf shores of Captiva Island, just north of Blind Pass. This location in southwest Florida is ideal for expanding one's bird photography portfolio.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, 500px and Facebook. Also, if reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
Corom Thompson and Santosh Balasubramanian, Engineers in Information Management and Machine Learning at Microsoft, used the software giant's newly released Face detection API to develop a web page which attempts to guess the age and gender of the people shown in user-submitted photos.
By Microsoft's estimation, the photography business must have taken its toll on me – I was actually less than two weeks shy of 32 when the image above was taken.
"Tamron Tailgate Tour Unofficial Field Guide" Series Captures Photo "Odd Couple" On a Cross-Country Photo Journey
Commack, NY - April , 2015: Tamron USA announced today their first foray into "phototainment" with Season 1 of a video series designed to entertain while teaching valuable photo tips for all levels of photographers. Launched in conjunction with year two of their national Tailgate Tour to promote photography, the six-episode series captures the adventures of two photo road warriors as they make their way across the country, capturing some of the most beautiful photo vistas in the United States. The series features photographer and filmmaker André Costantini, and portrait and landscape photographer Ken Hubbard.
In a lesson taken from some current successful binge series, all six episodes of the "Tamron Tailgate Tour Unofficial Field Guide" season will premiere on May 1st on YouTube.com/tamronvids. The episode descriptions are as follows:
Episode 1: André and Ken explore the Dunes in Death Valley, talk turkey and catch a sunset in Ken's favorite park.
Episode 2: André and Ken take the van to the Racetrack on an unpaved road to witness the unexplainable.
Episode 3: André and Ken battle the elements and a cactus in search of great images around Zion.
Episode 4: André and Ken shoot the sunrise at Horseshoe Bend, discuss proper free fall techniques and harass each other at Antelope Canyon.
Episode 5: André and Ken take a trip to "Monkey Lake" and photograph the Milky Way at the Red Toadstools.
Episode 6: André and Ken experience a life changing event at the Grand Canyon.
"André and Ken are like Tamron's photo 'odd couple'. They have a long history together as friends, pro photographers and photo educators, and their banter tends to showcase their brotherly love/hate relationship, which adds to the fun of the series," said Stacie Errera, Chief Marketing Officer of Tamron USA. "The Tamron Tailgate Tour covered over 32,000 miles last year, and in addition to all of the camera store stops, they were able to capture amazing images across the country. While showcasing their photographic talents, they passed the time with a lot of laughs and a few insults, and we thought it would be fun to capture their adventures in an educationally-based web series."
"While Ken and I aren't exactly the iconic TV Odd Couple, I guess we bring our own brand of honesty that I think photo enthusiasts will appreciate," said André. "It's a no-holds-barred expose that captures maybe one too many hours together in a van." Planning for continuing the series into 2017 is already underway.
Season 1 is being released in conjunction with this year's Tamron Tailgate Tour, which will offer a seminar in camera stores across the country called "The Field Guide to Inspired Photography: See It, Capture It, Work It." The 2-hour evening course will be available for $25 in over 75 cities.
The Tamron Tailgate Tour works with local camera retailers to deliver a unique learning experience. The Tamron equipped van will pull into the parking lot and set up for a full day of education. Details and dates for the Tailgate Tour, including dates and times for the seminar, can be found at tamron-usa.com/tailgate/.