with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Category Archives: Basic Nature Photography

Welcome to our online basic nature photography book called “How To? What For?” We look forward to sharing our love and passion for nature photography with you so you can enjoy all the magic and wonder nature photography can bring into you life.

We ask that you take your time to explore this new interest and not just run out with a camera into the wilderness. Study and learn about the techniques within these pages and start small, your backyard or neighborhood garden or vacant lot. There is a wonder of nature to be found and much of it is closer than you image. Even if you live in a busy city, buy a bunch of flowers from a flower shop and set up a small practice studio in your living room, playing with the light from a nearby window, your flash, or even the light in your house. Experiment and practice and you will find a new sense of wonder as the natural world is slowly exposed to you.

As you pour through these pages, you will be inundated with all the how tos and what fors about nature photography. We will do our very best to make it simple and fun, but it can get complicated, especially when we get to the math problems. We’ve included a lot of exercises at the end of each section and chapter to help you put into practice what we’ve just shown you. There are photographic examples and lots of commentary to help you learn all you can about nature photography.

These notes are meant to cover much of the detail taught in our live program. Many aspects of nature photography are covered in depth and others are covered only lightly. We highly recommend reviewing the book lists in the Appendix to learn more about specific areas of interest. Foremost, we recommend the first book purchase you make be John Shaw’s Nature Photography Field Guide. We offer it for sale in our online bookstore. We also recommend you take time during your studies to peruse our book recommendations on nature, nature photography, and travel to further enhance your studies.

When you have completed this educational series, take time to visit the rest of our website for more information. Our Learning Zone is stuffed with tips, techniques, and tricks for nature photographers.

What You Need to Know

The following are a few things you need to know to help you get started with your personal Basic Nature Photography course by Brent and Lorelle VanFossen:
Any camera will work: It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have, SLR, point-and-shoot, or digital. The techniques described herein are basically the same. Even if your camera can’t control the exposure, you still need to be aware of how it works and when to recognize quality light, and decent light, when you find it. Other than that, everything applies no matter what camera you have.
Exercise the Exercises: There are exercises at the end of each section. We recommend you put what you learn into practice as soon as you finish the chapter before moving on. You don’t have to, but you will learn more if you do.
Workbook is printable: We’ve left the images in black and white to allow the pages to be printed quickly and easily, using less colored ink, so you can take this with you into the field.

Photography Patterns: Putting the Spin on Tulips

I love patterns and shapes, inherent in nature as well as manipulated. A favorite manipulation is to spin the camera at a slow shutter speed when photographing flowers, specifically brightly colored flowers like tulips, creating fascinating whirls of light and color. In this series, I was working with tulips from La Conner, Washington, and the […]

Over and Under Exposure Digital Photography Tips

Photoshop Tutorials by Jennifer Apple offer tips and techniques for using Adobe Photoshop for adjusting overexposed and underexposed images, along with many other tips and techniques for using Photoshop with your photographs such as resizing images without blur and tips for beginners to help get you started using Photoshop. I’ll be looking for more websites […]

Basic Nature Photography – Introduction

Welcome to our online basic nature photography book called “How To? What For?” We hope you enjoy all the magic and wonder nature photography can bring into your life. We ask that you take your time to explore this new interest and not just run out with a camera into the wilderness. Study and learn […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 1 – Creating Stunning Images

Learning how to take a good picture – and the difference between a good one and an excellent one – is a critical part of photography. And it is really simple: Get your subject out of the center That’s it. No complicated mathematical equation here. Get it out of the center. It’s that simple. Most […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 2 – Light Makes All the Difference

Writing with light. This is the translation of the word “photography” from Greek. Light literally writes across the film during exposure. Light is the soul of photography. It is critical to capturing the color, form and expression of a subject on film. The artistic language of photography uses expressions representative of color and light. We […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 2 – Light Effects

Many different effects can be made with light. The challenge is not only learning to “see the light” but learning how to expose for the light in your camera. Learning to use the light accordingly and create these dramatic effects adds not only sparkle and excitement but also drama to your images. Sunset/Sunrise Tips The […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 3 – Light, Eyes, and Film

Film sees the world differently than our eyes do. One of the challenges of photography is learning what those differences are so we can successfully put our vision on film. The human eye sees millions of colors and color variations at the same time. The eye sees all shades of white: off-white, cream, egg, ecru, […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 4 – The Camera Body

Camera bodies were originally made from metals, typically aluminum. Today’s cameras have hard plastic bodies and will actually take a lot of abuse. Most modern cameras have a molded hand grip which often stores the batteries. This allows for a more comfortable grip on the camera. In the class, we refer to the “ideal” camera […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 4 – Lens Types

There are a variety of lens types for photographers to use: fixed, zoom, macro, and combinations of fixed and zoom lens with macro capabilities. Let’s examine the differences among them. Fixed focal length lenses Most true macro lenses are of fixed focal length, that is, they don’t zoom. Macro lenses are the most highly corrected […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 4 – Equipment – Tripods, Camera Bags, and Film

We have heard every excuse known to humans why tripods are a pain in the #%$&. Most of these excuses came out of our own mouths. We hate them. So much, we have come to love to hate them. Especially when we know that the bigger and the heavier, the better. But we complain with […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 5 – Equipment In The Field

Taking your equipment out in the field means not only carrying it, all of it, with you, but learning how to use it while out exploring and photographing in all types of weather and locations. Working in a rain forest is a bit different than working in desert conditions. We can’t cover all of the […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 6 – Exposure

What does a properly exposed photograph look like? By properly exposed, we mean that the photo you get back looks the way you imagined that it would. If you want a blue sky, the sky comes out the right shade of blue. If your goal was a silhouette but your photo shows all the details […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 7 – Photographic Designs in Nature

This is the section in which we explore the design elements of nature photography, maximizing our creative nature through the camera. There are no limits to a creative mind behind a camera. It is up to you as to how creative you want to become in your work. Our job is to teach the basics […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 8 – Nature Photography Tips and Advice

We’ve put together a collection of articles to help you with your photography, whether it be taking it to the next level to start selling your work, or simply expanding your creativity. For more articles and information on nature photography, visit our web site at www.cameraontheroad.com. It hosts more than 500 articles on nature photography, […]

Basic Nature Photography Chapter 9 – Appendix: Apertures Explained

    1 1 * 1.4 = 1.4 1.4 * 1.4 = 2 2 * 1.4 = 2.8 2.8 * 1.4 = 4 4 * 1.4 = 5.6 5.6 * 1.4 = 8 8 * 1.4 = 11 11 * 1.4 = 16 16 * 1.4 = 22 22 * 1.4 = 32 Did you […]