4 Tips To Take Unique Photos

First of all, my email list has grown to over 10,000 subscribers now. So, welcome if you are new!

It's been a while. Things have been hectic. I haven't picked up my camera since last November except for one day when my friends Henrik and Don came for a reunion where we went to look for barn owls. 

I'm deeply concerned about the coronavirus and have been watching news all the time. It's so difficult to tell what's true or not.

Anyways, 3 things in this post.
1. 4 tips to take unique photos

These days everyone owns a nice camera. If you go to any popular National Parks or famous wildlife/bird hotspots, you find yourself standing next to 50 other photographers pointing at the same direction.

If everyone are taking the exact same photos, what's the point? I've written a post before about one important question you should always ask yourself.

If you are like me, you see photography as an art form for self expression.

Wouldn't it be cool if you take a photo in such a creative way that you know no one else has that photo, and when someone sees this photo, they know its taken by you and you only.

Here, I will share with you 4 quick tips so you can be different.

I) Go against the Rule of Thirds

Canon 1DX Mark II, 600mm f/4 III, 1.4x teleconverter, f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 1600

Most of the time, the Rule-of-thirds works, but when you don't follow it, you may create something unique.

Try to compose in a way that the subject goes all the way to the 4 corners and see if it works.

II) Backlighting

You all know I love backlighting because it creates abstraction (everything turn golden, the grass, the fur, everything, so it instantly creates mystery) and adds mood (with a nice rim light around the animal).

One thing though, if you decide to try backlighting, you better be the first one to get to the right spot because you will be hated by the other 50 photographers standing next to you who all plan to photograph the animal with direct sunlight on the animal/bird. Try to find a place to hide so they (the humans) can't see you.

Nikon D850, Nikon 400mm f/2.8, f/2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 125

Nikon D850, Nikon 600mm f/4, 2x teleconverter, f/8, 1/800s, ISO 800

III) Black and White

If your photos have nice form, meaning it has some interesting texture, lines, curves and shape, then removing the color components may help the viewers to focus on the beauty of the form. 

Canon 1DX Mark II, Canon 600mm f/4, 1.4x teleconverter, f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 1600

Canon 1DX, 600mm f/4, f/5.6, 1/1250s, ISO 800

For some reason, rhinos always look good in B&W because of their “armor” 

Nikon D850, 600mm f/4, 2x teleconverter, f/8, 1/1250s, ISO 800

Canon 1DX Mark II, 70-200 2.8, f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 800

IV) Smaller in frame

This is the most mis-understood concept. I saw many photographers tried to do that but it's very difficult to do it well. It's hard to find an environment that is in harmony with the animal. 

Nikon D850, 70-200 2.8, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 100

So yes, this is it. Give these four tips a try next time and let me know how it goes.

2: New purchases
Jacket: I had been wearing my Mountain Hardwear jacket and loved it but I guess I messed it up by not following the instructions to wash it. It's no longer warm. I finally purchased the Arcteryx Cerium LT after trying different ones in REI for a whole month. Oh my god, I can't believe how light weight and warm it is. It's not cheap but I highly recommend it. 
Peloton: Don't laugh, yes I purchased a Peloton. Ever since I injured my back 4 years ago with two herniated discs in my lower back, I was so fortunate that I healed after trying acupuncture.

Since then, I have been taking my health seriously. I went for a healthy diet (low carb, yogurt and all those), and would do exercise everyday and I have lost 35 pounds in 2 years.

However, while running uphill for an hour near the super windy Patagonia last April to look for pumas, and sprinting on deep snow for two miles with heavy lenses last Oct for a red fox in falling snow, I realized that I'm still way out of shape.

Lately I found out that the best way to lose body fat is by going for HIIT cardio exercise after intermittent fasting. I usually don't eat after 7pm these days, and I would like to do cardio when I wake at 6 or 7am.

Getting dressed and driving to the gym for cardio in early morning isn't easy…

Anyways, it's all excuse. I just want to try new things. If you also own a Peloton let me know and let's be exercise buddies. It's been so much fun after owning it for a few weeks, sweating like crazy for 30-45 mins each time and I love those Live classes. But boy those classes are tough!

3) Facebook Live Masterclass

I've been working on a webinar on wildlife photography and it will be broadcasted live at my exclusive Facebook Group: Award-Winning Wildlife Photographers within the next two weeks. Anyone in the group can join at no cost. If you are interested, go to the link and request approval to join, and stay tuned.

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