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Urban Wildlife Photography

Alberta Photography & Videography EXPERTS – Eyemmersive Solutions
Urban Wildlife Photography
In this post we will discuss urban wildlife photography in North America and provide some useful tips for capturing great photos!

Animals Found in North American Urban Settings

Black Bear - Urban Wildlife PhotographyThere is nothing more satisfying than taking amazing photographs of the natural beauty surrounding us in North America! Cities and urban areas here are brimming with all sorts of wildlife just waiting to be discovered, and thanks to today's high-tech devices, you have the ability to take great photos at any moment.  Depending in which part of the continent you’re planning on capturing your photos, there are numerous photogenic critters to behold, some of which include playful raccoons and chipmunks, various big cats, including the elusive mountain lion, foxes, deer, different breeds of bears such as the majestic black bear, and a wide range of birds including big birds such as the bald eagle and smaller ones with more exotic backgrounds such as parrots.
 
Due to increasing urbanization, many creatures are needing to adapt to their changing environment and are beginning to inhabit more and more uncommon urban areas.  Whether taking pictures of the beautifully colored parrots perched on rooftops or a sly red fox weaving its way through crowded back alleys, North American cities are filled with everything ideal for urban wildlife photography.
 

What Equipment Should I Use?

Urban wildlife photographer using smartphone cameraYou don’t need an expensive camera for wildlife photography! A point-and-shoot camera or your smartphone’s camera can work, and their compact size makes them convenient to carry around.  Imagine catching sight of a rare animal and being able to pull out your smartphone to snap a picture of it.  If you are more eager about getting that perfect shot, then a dedicated camera with interchangeable lenses will increase your chances! DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras or mirrorless cameras combined with large zoom lenses allow you to take photos of far-away animals such as birds perched on rooftops.  Moreover, lenses with wider apertures (opening for capturing light) allow you to capture better photos at night time without the need for longer exposure times, which can result in blurry photos if a tripod is not used and if your animal subjects move too fast.


Helpful Urban Wildlife Photography Tips

Quaker Parrots - Urban Wildlife PhotographyVisiting local city parks will increase your chances of finding a larger variety of subjects to photograph as animals feel more at home in green spaces.  You can also look at park websites, if available, which typically list the type of wildlife you are likely to encounter while visiting those parks.  A wild animal’s survival instincts can make it unpredictable in the urban setting, even in parks, and thus it usually won’t stay in one place for too long.  Fast shutter speeds are, therefore, a must when photographing wildlife.  Furthermore, having an extendible monopod can further help in preventing blurry photos as it will aid in stabilizing your camera regardless of which type of camera you plan on using.

One Last Tip

Remember to have fun! Photographing wildlife, even in an urban setting, can be very rewarding as it will allow you to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us no matter where we are!

Urban wildlife photographer using point-and-shoot camera






The Top Reasons for Hiring a Professional Photographer or Videographer

Alberta Photography & Videography EXPERTS – Eyemmersive Solutions
Published by in Photography and Videography ·
Tags: professionalphotographerphotographyvideographervideographyprofessionalphotographerprofessionalphotographersprofessionalvideographervideographersproprophotographerprophotographersprovideographerprovideographersportraitportraitsportraitphotographerportraitphotographylandscapelandscapeslandscapephotographerlandscapephotographerslandscapephotographyweddingweddingsweddingphotographerweddingphotographersweddingphotographyweddingvideographerweddingvideographersweddingvideographyproductproductsproductphotographerproductphotographersproductphotographyeventeventseventphotographereventphotographerseventphotographyeventvideographereventvideographerseventvideographycorporatecorporatephotographercorporatephotographerscorporatephotographycorporatevideographercorporatevideographerscorporatevideographyrealestaterealestatephotographerrealestatephotographersrealestatephotographyrealestatevideographerrealestatevideographersrealestatevideographyphotophotosimageimagesvideovideosscenescenesframeframesvideoframevideoframesvideoframingphotographyframingcameracamerasvideocamvideocamerasDSLRDSLRspointandshootpointandshootcamerapointandshootcamerasamateurediteditingphotoeditorphotoeditingvideoeditorvideoeditingcolorgradingcolourgradingwhitebalancewhitebalancelightlightingphotographylightinglightingtechniquelightingtechniquesphotographylightingtechniquesvideographylightingtechniquesfocalpointfocusmanualfocusmanualfocusingfocuspointoutoffocusoutoffocusblurrydepthoffieldsharpnessimagesharpnessphotosharpnessvideosharpnessapertureirisshutterspeedISOgaincinematography3D3DphotographyvirtualrealityvirtualrealityphotographervirtualrealityphotographersvirtualrealityphotographyvirtualrealityvideographervirtualrealityvideographersvirtualrealityvideographyVRVRphotographyVRphotographerVRphotographersVRvideographerVRvideographersVRvideographyexposurephotographyexposureunderexposureoverexposurecontinuouslightcontinuouslightscontinuouslightingflashflashesstrobestrobesnaturallightnaturallightingnaturallightingtechniquenaturallightingtechniquesshadowshadowscameralenscameralenseswideanglewideanglelenswideanglelensesfisheyefisheyelensfisheyelenseslensfilterlensfiltersHDRHighDynamicRangeimagingreflectorreflectorsphotographyreflectorphotographyreflectorsvideographyreflectorvideographyreflectorscinematiccinematographycolortemperaturecolortemperaturesbluetintbluishtintyellowtintyellowishtintgoodphotographergoodphotographersgoodphotographygoodvideographergoodvideographersgoodvideographytopphotographertopphotographerstopvideographertopvideographersexpertphotographerexpertphotographersexpertvideographerexpertvideographersAlbertaphotographerAlbertaphotographersAlbertavideographerAlbertavideographersCochranephotographerCochranephotographersCalgaryphotographerCalgaryphotographersAirdriephotographerAirdriephotographersChestermerephotographerChestermerephotographersOkotoksphotographerOkotoksphotographersStrathmorephotographerStrathmorephotographersCochranevideographerCochranevideographersCalgaryvideographerCalgaryvideographersAirdrievideographerAirdrievideographersChestermerevideographerChestermerevideographersOkotoksvideographerOkotoksvideographersStrathmorevideographerStrathmorevideographers
The Top Reasons for Hiring a Professional Photographer or Videographer
In this article we will look at the top reasons why hiring a professional photographer or videographer will make a world of difference.
 
Use of lighting

Professional videographers / photographers using various lighting techniquesLighting is very important in photography and videography! This is especially true in real estate and wedding photography / videography.  A camera does not see light and shadows the way humans do.  In circumstances where there are extreme contrasts in lighting and shadows, cameras have the potential to “overexpose” the bright parts of the scene being captured such as those with lighter shades of gray, any parts with white color, sunshine, and indoor lighting sources, thus making them too bright in the resulting image or frame of video. Similarly, cameras can “underexpose” any dark parts such as dark shades of color and any shadows produced by objects that will be present in the captured results, thus making them too dark to be viewed. In either scenario, parts of the captured scene can be lost.  For example, in wedding photography and videography, a bride’s dress may become so bright that it gets lost in the photo or video, and the groom’s black (or any other dark-colored) suit could become so dark that it loses its details in the resulting photo or video.  Aside from being knowledgeable in the use of lens filters that can help reduce overexposure, professional photographers and videographers are good at fine-tuning cameras in order to find the right balance between showing the bright parts of the scene and the darker parts of it.  This can be done by using the right combination of ISO (the camera’s sensitivity to light) a.k.a. gain on video cameras, shutter speed (the speed at which the camera’s shutter or “eyelid” is held open), and aperture (how wide the camera lens is open) a.k.a. iris on video cameras.  These camera settings define how “bright” the photos or videos become by changing the amount of light captured and the camera’s sensitivity to this light.  Correct use of these settings allows the professionals to highlight the most important parts of the photo or video.  Furthermore, if required, a professional photographer or videographer is knowledgeable in using various techniques to expose the whole scene similar to the way our human eyes allow us to perceive different lighting conditions.  For example, he or she can combine multiple photos or video frames exposed at different degrees or intensities into one photo or frame of video that shows all the bright and dark parts perfectly; this technique is known as High Dynamic Range imaging (HDR), which has recently become popular in the newer television screens on the market.  Additionally, a professional photographer or videographer knows how to properly use artificial lighting such as flashes and continuous lighting, and he / she also knows how to guide light to different parts of the scene by using reflectors.  Furthermore, professionals are experienced in manipulating lighting digitally in editing software to produce near perfect results.
 
 
Framing, focal point, depth of field, and sharpness in photos and videos

Professional Photographer framing photo
The focal point refers to the part of the photo or video frame that draws the viewers attention to itself; this is sometimes compared to “centre of interest” in fine arts, which can make artwork unique.  Aside from the use of proper framing (what can be seen and where) in photos and videos, the depth of field can be used to change the focal point.  Depth of field refers to parts of photos and video frames that are “sharp” and in focus.  The pros know which combinations of camera lenses, camera settings i.e. aperture, manual focusing, and distance from the subject of the photo or video are needed to produce the desired results.  For example, in product photography, you want to frame the product using the appropriate angle, height, and distance in order to represent it as true to life as possible.  Furthermore, the entire parts of the product that are in the frame need to be in focus and sharp to show them off, and conversely, in order to replicate the depth of the product in traditional, 2D photography, the depth of field should be adjusted accordingly.  In 3D photography, including virtual reality photography, various techniques and technologies can be used to replicate depth in the subjects; this merits another article on its own.  In portrait photography, the person(s) or other subjects such as pets need to be in focus, while the background and any unnecessary objects in the foreground should be out of focus.  In landscape photography and landscape scenes in videos, various wide-angle lenses (and sometimes fisheye lenses) are typically used to frame i.e. “squeeze in” as much of the scene as possible.  Moreover, wide depths of field are usually used in scenic images and videos to show everything in as much focus as possible.
 
 
White balance and color representation

Scale symbolizing white balance in professional photography / videography In modern photography and videography, true-to-life color representation of the subject(s) is very important.  Conversely, in fine art photography, the aim is to capture what the artist sees through the use of a camera, which is just another tool in his or her toolbox.  Similar to fine art photography, most cinematic and any mood-altering videos and photos use the process of color grading to alter and enhance the colors of the photos and video footage.  In this article, we will focus on the former.  Cameras use white balance to produce different “color temperatures” i.e. cold (bluish tint) and warm (yellowish tint) temperatures.  Cold temperatures are used to give the image or video a sombre feeling, and warmer temperatures are used to portray warm, happy moods.  The aim of true-to-life photography is to find the correct color balance in order to accurately show any white parts of the image as pure white, hence the term "white balance" has been adopted by the industry.  Professional photographers and videographers are knowledgeable in using the correct lighting temperatures whether the light source is produced artificially or naturally, and sometimes both.  The camera settings are adjusted accordingly and, often, artificial lighting such as flashes, continuous lights, video lights, etc. are used to “drown out” light produced at any undesired temperatures in order to achieve the correct white balance in the photos and videos.
 
 
Capturing perfect photos and video footage at the right time!

Professional wedding photographer photo
Aside from any formal schooling and training, professional photographers and videographers have a lot of experience in capturing photos and videos, and they rarely make any major mistakes.  Therefore, it is important to hire professionals to shoot photos and videos of events, since once a specific event such as a corporate party or a wedding is over, one cannot simply reshoot the original event, if unrecoverable mistakes have been made.  Time and time again, we hear stories of couples who are very unhappy with the quality of their wedding photos and video by taking a risk and asking an “uncle” with a professional camera or an amateur photographer / videographer to shoot the event.  Simply having a better camera does not produce better photos and videos; skill and experience are a must! Again, although it is possible to retake some pictures such as bride and groom pictures, it is infeasible and mostly impossible to recreate the real wedding or any other event once the original event is over.  Furthermore, having to hire a professional photographer or videographer to recreate any photos or videos will require the requestor to pay for the additional investment on top of any sum of money that was paid to the original amateur photographer or videographer!



Virtual reality photography is the next big thing!

Alberta Photography & Videography EXPERTS – Eyemmersive Solutions
Published by in Virtual Reality ·
Tags: photographyphotographerphotographersvideographyvideographervideographerstechnology360degree360degreesVRvirtualrealityCochraneCalgary
 
 
In this article we look at how virtual reality photography in 360-degree photos and 360-degree videos is the next big thing!
 

A Brief History of Photography

photography cameras
The world is ever changing in every aspect, and new technologies keep on replacing old technologies on an almost daily basis.  
The photography industry is no different, and it all started with very basic cameras that produced blurry black and white photos to more refined versions that allowed better images to be produced, and eventually to portable cameras.  The next shift in photography’s evolution came with the introduction of color cameras that produced washed-out photos, but they were in color nonetheless! Film technology improved more and more and in addition to producing rich, vibrant color photos, photographers had the choice of many films to choose from, each with its own type of grain effect.  The first electronic camera came from Kodak in 1975, but it was cumbersome and not user-friendly.  It took more than a decade for the first digital single-lens reflex camera, more commonly knows as a DSLR camera, to emerge with Nikon’s help in 1986, and it took around another 2 decades for digital cameras to outrun print photography in consumer adoption as digital cameras became more portable and higher in image quality.


Emergence of Virtual Reality

A person looking at virtual reality, 360-degree photos and videos
With huge advancements in computer processing capabilities, more virtual reality devices are coming on to the market day-by-day.  The photography industry saw this as an opportunity to take digital photography to the next level in realism with the birth of 360-degree cameras.  The 360-degree content produced by these cameras immerses the viewer in the photograph or video by allowing him or her to look around in any direction from a single standing position.  Virtual reality photography takes this feeling of realism to a higher level by adding the element of depth into the pictures and videos thus making them
3-dimensional (3D) as well.
 

How 360-Degree Photos and videos are Produced and Viewed

A camera for recording virtual reality, 360-degree photos and videos
360-degree photography requires multi-lens cameras, with each lens facing in a different direction, to produce two or more images or videos.  The resulting images or videos are then stitched together in the camera or by using a computer program to form a single 360-degree photo or video.  The final photos and videos can then be viewed on a multitude of devices including, but not limited to, computers, smartphones, tablets, and virtual reality headsets.  Viewers can use a computer mouse or their finger on a touchscreen as eyes to move the images or videos and view them in all directions.  Inexpensive virtual reality headsets can also be purchased, which require a smartphone such as an iPhone or any other Android phone to be put inside the headset; thus, the headsets can use a phone’s processing power and screen to allow the viewer to have a similar experience to using the higher-end virtual reality headsets and yet remain inexpensive.
 

Uses of virtual Reality and 360-Degree Photos / Images

360-degree photographs and videos give us an opportunity to view entire rooms, large spaces, and landscapes in a single shot as opposed to images produced by pure digital cameras, which limit the viewer to view only the one point of focus at a single time; this is the main reason why
360-degree photography is being adopted and
How virtual reality, 360-degree photos and videos can be viewed
embraced across the world at such a fast rate! Imagine viewing what a business has to offer without spending the time and effort of actually going there in person.  Imagine looking at virtual tours of real estate properties or popular tourist destinations right from your chair or couch! And, finally, imagine being able to re-experience and share the special moments in your lives such as weddings or a baby’s first steps, and feeling like you are actually there at that exact moment when the photo or video was captured! Greeting Card companies such as Hallmark and online social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr have already embraced 360-degree photos and videos thus making it easy for you to share your 360-degree content with your audience.  With the climbing number of big companies adopting the technology, it is evident that virtual reality is here to stay!



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