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 Thursday, June 13, 2013
This site supports my family, but my family also supports this site. Brittany, my 13 year old, frequently provides support through subjects she raises or finds. This time, it was an at-least 54" (1.4m) black rat snake that she carried home.
 
Black rat snakes are somewhat common here. They are non-venomous and usually docile after a short initial fright. This one, however, was anything but docile. It was out to get anything near it.
 
And of course, an angry snake provides a more dramatic picture than a friendly one. So, with the new Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Ext 1.4x Lens begging for subjects, Brittany and I had a short photo session with the snake.
 
The first photos (just snapshots) were of course of Brittany holding the snake – for the memory – and to freak out her friends. I grabbed the handy Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and with a Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS STM Kit Lens for these shots.
 
Brittany Holding Black Snake.jpg
 
Having held the snake for a good period of time, Brittany was ready to photograph the snake herself. She goes everywhere with a Rebel T3i and a Tamron 18-270mm VC Lens in a Think Tank Photo Digital Holster 20 over her shoulder. But, she needed a second hand to operate the camera with – and didn't want her snake to escape before getting the shot. We quickly moved on to more serious photogrpahy - snake portrait photos to be specific.
 
I usually have specific shots I am looking for at any given time. For this session, I was looking at the 200-400's maximum magnification and AF accuracy at minimum focus distance. Both proved to be quite good.
 
Black Snake
 
This snake was not about to pose in a more-woodsy environment, so we shot right in the front yard. Groomed front yard grass is not ideal for nature subject backgrounds, but getting down very low (only my hand between the grass and the lens plate), using a long focal length (560mm, f/5.6) and moving in close allowed the background and foreground to be completely blurred. This position gave a nice perspective of the always-ready-to-strike snake. It was not too hard to focus the snake's attention on us (and it was incredibly fixated on the dog), so I was able to position myself in relation to a nice background.
 
Brittany behind Black Snake
 
The highlight of this shoot was the snake moving toward Brittany and suddenly striking her front lens element. Brittany squealed. I laughed (knowing that she was not at risk as her hands were farther back from her extended long lens – I was closely monitoring). The snake eventually calmed down. And we let it crawl away.
 
Coiled Black Snake
 
One photography-related snake characteristic I like is their curves. Snakes naturally create the curves that photographers are frequently searching for. Note also that longer focal lengths allow you to stay farther away from dangerous situations.
 
Now, the next time your kid brings home a snake, you know what to do.
Post Date: 6/13/2013 12:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Aerial Photograph
Just added to the Photography Tips section of the site is a page about Helicopter Aerial Photography.
 
If you ever get the opportunity to photograph from a helicopter, the insights and experience shared on this page should be helpful to you. You may also find this page motivating your next photo trip.
Post Date: 3/13/2013 9:31:02 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, January 21, 2013
I added a new page to the Photography Tips section of the site:
 
Rock Concert Shooting Tips and Musings
Post Date: 1/21/2013 10:17:26 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens was among the pile of gear I hauled up to Northern Maine two weeks ago. I'm sharing a sample picture of Rocky Brook Falls in Northern Maine taken with this lens along with some information about the capture of this photo.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 8/22/2012 3:17:22 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, August 20, 2012
About a week ago, I had the privilege of shooting in the Deboullie Mountain area in the northern tip of Maine. I will post many of the pictures captured on this trip as I get time, but have posted a Canon EOS 1D X-capture of the Milky Way and Perseids Meteor Shower with more-than-usual detail included about how the image was created.
Post Date: 8/20/2012 4:27:51 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, December 07, 2011
AWeber Communications has produced an Email Marketing Guide for Photographers - it is available for free download here.
Post Date: 12/7/2011 2:39:24 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, December 06, 2011
I want to share some thoughts about Backing Up When on the Road with you.
 
Hopefully you can find a new idea for improving your own travel backup plan.
Post Date: 12/6/2011 12:03:51 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, November 23, 2011
John Reilly (neuroanatomist) is back with his AF Microadjustment Tips.
Post Date: 11/23/2011 9:22:56 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, November 22, 2011
John Reilly (neuroanatomist, from the forums) presents: Canon EOS DSLR Autofocus Explained
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/22/2011 10:36:51 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, November 14, 2011
Brush up on your studio portrait lighting techniques:
 
Post Date: 11/14/2011 9:12:40 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Sunday, October 16, 2011
From the forums: Cameras, Humidity and Condensation by Tony Drew.
Post Date: 10/16/2011 8:55:43 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, October 14, 2011
Late last night, while preparing to backup my work from the day, I inadvertently deleted file folders from the source drive instead of the destination drive. Make no mistake - this was a stupid move - done in a tired state of mind. But stupid happens. :)
 
I had a backup from the previous night, but ... restoring from that backup would would mean that a long day of work was completely lost. As thoughts of the movie "Groundhog Day" were going through my mind, I turned to Piriform Recuva File Recovery software (for Windows).
 
I loaded the free version of Recuva, selected my undelete-from drive, created a filename filter (*.jpg|*.cr2 in this case) and the software went to work. I was presented a list of the filter-matching files able to be restored. I selected the files I wanted restored (click on the first, shift-click on the last and press the space bar), selected the restore-to drive (never the same as the undelete-from drive) and Recuva restored 100% of my just-deleted files. As I had not written any more files to this drive, Recuva was able to completely restore my day's work.
 
File recovery software should be part of any serious photographer's kit. Piriform Recuva is one such application. SanDisk and Lexar typically ship photo-specific recovery software with their pro-grade memory cards. And I know that many more options are available - with some being more feature-filled than others.
 
The free version of Recuva includes a filename filter feature that was important to me for this recovery as I needed recover about 1,100 files out of the 106,000 files able to be restored from the drive. I keep the Recuva setup program and the Lexar and SanDisk equivalents on my always-with-me external drive for installation whenever needed.
Post Date: 10/14/2011 10:36:39 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Ready for some bird photography? Next up in the forum-sourced photography tips: Backyard Bird Photography Setup Tips by Joel Eade.
Post Date: 10/12/2011 10:47:35 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, October 06, 2011
Bob Williams has been lining up some reference forum posts for the site's Photography Tips section.
 
First up is Bob's own Hummingbird Photography Tips.
Post Date: 10/6/2011 10:24:57 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I added a new article to the Photography Tips section: Counterfeit Camera Accessories Warning
 
You'll love the email I included.
Post Date: 6/21/2011 10:44:03 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, December 10, 2010
Your hard drive is going to fail. It is not a question of "if" it will fail, but "when" it is going to happen. If your drive failed right now, what would you lose?
 
This topic is especially hot to me as I'm dealing with a partially failed SSD drive right now (bad block). While this problem has cost me a LOT of time this week (my most precious resource), I have not lost any data or files.
 
I talk briefly about my backup strategy on my Digital Workflow page. There are many good ways to store copies of your data (including some online services), but the device I use most (and the device that saved me this time) is the Western Digital 1TB My Passport Essential SE Portable USB 2.0 Hard Drive (B&H).
 
I have 10 of these in my current backup rotation (along with many additional small capacity drives). They are very small (easy to take off site) and have given me no problems to date. The autorun software is a pain, but there are fixes available for this. I just turned off autorun.
 
This is the second primary drive failure I have experienced in less than two years. Backup what you care about!
Post Date: 12/10/2010 1:04:22 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, October 14, 2010
I've used tripods unconventionally for video support, but here is a great HDSLR tripod application I have not tried to date:
 
Categories: HDSLR, Photography Tips
Post Date: 10/14/2010 11:20:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, July 26, 2010
I added a Packing for a Landscape Photography Trip page to the tips section of the site.
 
Posting the American Southwest Photo Gallery generated some interest in what gear I took with me, so I'm sharing this along with the American Southest Grand Tour itinerary I followed.
Post Date: 7/26/2010 11:55:30 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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