Digital Nature Photography by Jon Cox

By Jon Cox

Electronic Nature images is the definitive how-to e-book on photographing nature with a camera. Focusing totally on the paintings of taking the image within the field—rather than simply manipulating the picture after it's been shot—this entire advisor is geared to the character photographer who's quite new to the area of electronic cameras.

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If they shot negatives or slides, they would most likely send the film away to a lab for processing and prints. With the advent of the digital camera, even beginning photographers can be in charge of the entire photographic process just as professional photographers have been for over a hundred years. As a digital nature photographer, you capture the scene, download your shot, adjust for quality, and print out the photograph. Seeing your image through the entire photographic process is gratifying—and very possible with today’s digital technology.

Since tiff and raw file formats are uncompressed, they use up a lot of memory on your digital media. If you shoot using a jpeg file format, the image will be compressed, allowing more images to be stored on the memory card. Many digital cameras allow you to select the quality of compression. For example, 1:4 compression (the compressed image is 1/4 the original size) has a much higher quality than 1:16 compression (the compressed image is 1/16 the original size). I see little difference between shooting the highest quality jpeg format and shooting an uncompressed tiff or raw image.

Since the angle I needed wasn’t suitable for tripod use and I was choosing a high f-stop to obtain high depth of field, I used a nearby black walnut tree to help me steady the camera. I took the shot my meter suggested, then underexposed and overexposed to increase the probability of capturing the image. I prefer the underexposed image (bottom left). You can’t always trust your camera to give you correct exposure. Having a camera with manual settings puts the creativity in your hands, allowing you to capture what you imagine.

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