High Speed Photography

Comesebo Patagonico / Patagonian Sierra Finch / Phrygilus patagonicus

My second time through this amazing High Speed Photography course by talented photographer and friend Mariano Diez Peña.  Understanding the technical details is the first step, but then it all comes to creativity and timing – mostly timing.

Left: Comesebo Patagonico / Patagonian Sierra Finch / Phrygilus patagonicus  /   Right: Black-chinned siskin / Cabecitanegra austral / Sporagra barbata

Black-chinned siskins are quite temperamental.  When they are in the scene you sure get an interesting discussion.

Comesebo Patagonico / Patagonian Sierra Finch / Phrygilus patagonicus

As I said before, it’s all about timing, but there is a “luck” factor that weighs in too – a few mili-seconds later would have caught this little one with a totally different wing position.

Comesebo Patagonico / Patagonian Sierra Finch / Phrygilus patagonicus

Now, while this photo was taking the same day of the course, it isn’t the same “high speed” technique – instead it’s a normal lighting shot, with a pretty high ISO.  I like it a lot too.

White-throated treerunner / Picolezna patagónico / Pygarrhichas albogularis

Same thing with this beautiful White-throated treerunner, meaning – no high-speed but normal light in a rainy environment.

Last, but not least, was this hummingbird shot that I’m sharing next.  I was waiting for my turn on some gear, but the turn never came and I had to make it work with the resources I had at hand…  It did came out very nice too, look:

Green-backed firecrown / Picaflor rubí / Sephanoides sephaniodes

Thank you Marian for such an incredible opportunity to learn, practice and enjoy!

Vultur Gryphus – Andean Condor

When you’re up there on the rocks and you can hear the wind on his wings, it is just breathtaking,

As we decided which part of the group would stay and which part would go up the rocks (that was only a 30 minute hike, but a little steep)  I thought I’d leave my large backpack and just bring my camera with a wide angle lens and my 100-400 in a smaller bag.

The view on our way up was just fantastic.  We had no idea that once up there on the top we would have two Andean Condors so close to us.

Photo Mariano Diez Peña

They were flying around us, meters away from us!  Some times lower than we were, and some times just at our height.

This one I must admit, I realized that the bus was there only when I got home and saw the photos in the computer – I love the proportion and the perspective of this photo.

Fun and full enjoyment, that is for sure!

Photo Mariano Diez Peña

A 393 foot view

As I feel more confortable flying the Mavic, I’m starting to pay more attention to the photographic aspects.  What a perspective!

This is “Los Moscos” lake, about 1 hour drive from Bariloche.

Until today, I was always looking for a flat surface to use as take-off / landing spot for the drone… but after seeing some youtube’s on how to do this by hand, decided I would give it a try – Glad to report it worked ok!  (it was not that difficult after all).

Here are a few others from that same day at “Los Moscos” – such a beautiful place, and indeed a very interesting perspective!

Tyto Alba

Look at this buddy…  It may be easy to see in other places, but not here.  We went for a photo-walk yesterday with a friend and even though it started with a light rain, it turned out to be a great day!

Tyto Alba (Barn Owl or Lechuza de Campanario in Spanish) 1/40 sec at f/ 7.1, ISO 10,000 – 255mm.

Glad my friend suggested we get closer to some steep rock formations. We went up close to the rocks, and he spotted Tyto in a rather dark part of a cave.

Tyto Alba (Barn Owl or Lechuza de Campanario in Spanish) 1/160 sec at f/8.0, ISO 3,200 – 560mm

Here’s where a mono-pod, image stabilization and a somewhat decent high-iso response helps you out a ton – clearly not good for print, but good enough to keep a nice record of this little one, and maybe share on Instagram & Google+ 😉

We came up towards him very slowly… slow enough to be able to get this second photo before he flew away to another cave in the same rock formation:

Tyto Alba (Barn Owl or Lechuza de Campanario in Spanish) 1/25 sec at f/7.1, ISO 8,000 – 255mm

After taking these photos, which had already paid for the entire photowalk, we did a good trek, without finding any other photo-worthy subjects… Furthermore, we had to stop and rain-cover our backpacks…

As the weather got better, and we reached the rocks and caves on the opposite side of where Tyto was found, we stopped for a while to enjoy the view and a nice cup of tea. At that point, I took “Pepito” for a spin – (That is the name a gave to my drone – “Drone Pepito”) – Not only I enjoy flying it so much, but I’m really amazed at the photographic perspective you can get out of it (I will share some of those shots in a separate post and link it here afterwards).

We had to get back home early, so on our way back, we decided to go back up again to the same rocks where we spotted Tyto in the morning, and there he was again, in the same cave/crack where he flew in the morning once he decided he didn’t want to be “that” close to us…

And this last photo shows the context and the proportion of this buddy in its surroundings…  It sure gives you quite a perspective.

Tyto Alba (Barn Owl or Lechuza de Campanario in Spanish) 1/160 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1,250 – 140mm

Photo walk to Pilcaniyeu

This past Sunday, May 14th 2017, we drove about 1 hour away from Bariloche on a windy and partially cloudy day.

Shared this amazing walk with my wife and a photographer friend.  Aren’t we lucky to live in such a beautiful world?

Our first photo-worthy encounter was with a group of 20 condors that were feeding about thirty yards away from us.  No great photos really but the experience when you see so many of these incredible birds together is just overwhelming.

Then we stopped by some low rock formations.  Got slowly close to the rocks and spotted these little ones. This one in particular was completely asleep, probably just taking a nap.  It didn’t hear us until we were quite close.

Southern viscacha (Lagidium viscacia) or Chinchillón in Spanish.

Below are a few more photos I saved from this beautiful day in the field – I hope you enjoy them too!

Trying out some Low Key Photography Concepts

This little guy has been my preferred photography model since day one.  

The concept I heard in the Photography course I’m taking on Wednesdays is quite interesting – I had seen “Low Key” and “Hight Key” pictures before and wondered how were they done?

  • My super tiny Model
  • A nice stone I was going to use as a background
  • A headlamp as Light 1
  • An iPod as Light 2
  • A blue cleaning cloth as Tone 1
  • And a yellowish cloth as Tone 2 

The one above is the photo that I like the most, but I did try a few other combinations too – see below.

Light 1 was a strong one that I had to cover a bit so it would only hit the Model partially from behind.

Light 2 was the iPod covered with the blue cloth just painting the background rock with the first tone.  Look at the other options I got by painting with the yellowish cloth covering the 2nd light. One with no painting at all, one with a very under-exposed shot, and a black & white version too.