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Gaurav Mittal | Blog

01

Sep

Romancing over candlelight dinner at Bharatpur

1/800 sec F/8.0 ISO 800, Canon 5D Mark III, 600mm +2x

1/800 sec F/8.0 ISO 800, Canon 5D Mark III, 600mm +2x

It is no secret that images created in the early morning or late afternoon light also known as the “golden hour”produce pleasing results. It is critical to be present at the right location and have the composition and the exposure setup because the light is ever changing and you get just a few seconds or maybe a minute to capture that magical moment.

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30

Aug

Learn flash use in bird photography and expand your photographic horizon

In a recent interview, I was asked the question, what are some of the challenges you face in bird photography? I though for a while as to how to sum it all up in the best possible way and here is what I said, “wildlife photography in general is a very challenging form of photography. Elements of nature such as weather; lighting conditions and a cooperative subject are not in a photographer’s hand. Many a times, regardless of all the preparations we make, even if one of these elements is missing then the photographic opportunities are lost. Read more…

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23

Jun

Bird photography tips: Flash setup for birds

I have often been asked about the flash setup I use for bird photography, this is a question that is often followed by remarks such as, “it seems cumbersome”, “what is the right setup?” “It seems like a lot of work to setup” and so on. The purpose of this quick post is to introduce you to the basic setup for flash photography on birds and show you the various photographic tools that are necessary to execute proper flash use. This post is not about how to use flash as I have written a beginners introduction on flash use on my blog. I assure you that by the end of the post you will know all the setup requirements and you will realize that it is neither time consuming to setup once you get to know your gear nor as cumbersome to carry. While giving Bird photography tips, I often talk about the importance of fill flash, being prepared with the right tools and setup will provide you with successful results consistently. Read more…

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17

Jan

Bird Photography trip – Fifteen hours in Bharatpur

I’m finally back and blogging again after a long break. I would have hoped to start of the first blog of the New Year with an exciting story about my first bird photography trip of the year, a trip to Keoladeo National Park in Bhratpur, land of birds. You would probably be scrolling down by now to quickly have a look at my new images from KNP before settling into reading this post. Well, this post is neither very exciting nor filled with images of the colorful birds, as you would have expected.

Do stay with me on this as this may be worth your while.  Barely fifteen hours after I arrived in Bharatpur, I was already on my way back to Delhi. The car ride was emotional for me, the unfortunate streak now extended to six. Six is the number of consecutive photography trips that I have failed to either start or finish in the last four months. Read more…

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23

Oct

Bird Photography Trip – Paradise Galapagos.

Frankly speaking, I was not sure weather I was nervous or excited for this bird photography trip to Galapagos. It has never come up in a conversation, at least not that I can recall that I don’t know how to swim or that I don’t care to be on cruises. I remember well, my only cruise was that on a giant ship with ten restaurants, and I was seasick the whole time and couldn’t splurge on the daily giant buffets. I was a kid then and imagine my dilemma! Today, I’m a bird photographer and I travel the world for my love of birds. In July I traveled to the Galapagos on the seventy-eight foot long boat named Samba, visiting fourteen Islands in fourteen days and making over fourteen landings in small zodiacs. The fear of water was always there, but I had to step out of my comfort zone and get over that fear. For there was paradise on the other side of it.

A single blog article cannot to justice to the beauty of the Galapagos Islands which in my opinion is a paradise for bird photography trips. In this article I have put together images I felt compelled to share with bird photography enthusiasts, with each image their are some bird photography tips and my thought process behind them. I suggest that as you read along do click on each image to see a larger version. Read more…

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30

Jun

Bird Photography Tip: Be smart, Sharpen like a Pro

An important bird photography tip about sharpening images like professional photographers is to not overdo it. Most experienced bird photographers will tell you is that an image fails to make an impact not just because of lack of technical perfection, drama, emotion or the story telling but simply because the image was over sharpened, looked crunchy with appearance of sharpening artifacts. When I look through images, I’m able to tell the effort a photographer made in making that image. That photographer reminds me of a long distance runner who ran a great big distance only to go bust just before the finish line. You did all that hard work to make that image but just fell short in post processing and that too at the very end. Read more…

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13

Jun

Bird Photography Tips: Use that flash!

The verdict is in. The weatherman says that the monsoon will hit Delhi by the end of June. Soon we will all be able to get respite from this suffocating heat. The birds too have been busy trying to beat the heat by crowding the big birdbath that I have in my back yard, it’s like a swimming pool filled with rowdy kids splashing away! Read more…

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26

May

Bird Photography Tips: Keeping it real in post processing

As I look through many online galleries and portfolios, it is just incredible how much talent is out there in nature & wildlife photography. Images after images I’m left astounded and left wondering, “How did they do that”? The perfect shot that I would be so glad to have in my portfolio is an envy to look at.

Sadly, with the growth of digital photography and the advent of software’s like Photoshop, a lot of image manipulation is being done and to a level of perfection which is downright scary. Now, every time I look at an image, I’m wondering more about it’s authenticity then it’s sheer beauty, was an object removed? Was something added? Words like “cloning” and “cleanup” have become part of a photographer’s armor of tools. This is sad because I may be questioning a photographer who might have worked very hard to make those images. Moreover, many authentic images posted on various social media sites receive heavy criticism for being “too perfect” often referred to as being “Photoshopped”. Part of the problem is that many photographers simply don’t post details about the images they present, far from describing the situations and conditions the images were made in even the basic exposure details are missing. Due to these situations it becomes hard to judge what is real and what isn’t. Add to this that many wildlife photographers are using Photoshop for more then the basic corrections, adding or removing from the scene what was or wasn’t there. The world of digital photography has grown murkier and effecting every genre today. Read more…

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27

Apr

Nature & Wildlife photography – Shoot with a purpose.

Like most nature & photography enthusiasts, shooting birds in flight is my passion, a craft very close to my heart. When I first started bird photography, like most nature & wildlife photography newbies it was an instant reaction to shoot a bird flying by. My reaction would be, “Wow look at that bird in flight, I have to get that shot”, and then my trigger-happy finger would fire away the camera like a machine gun! A lot has changed since I started out, for one; I started to question the need for shots that all very much looked alike and second, what did I wanted my audience to learn from my images? Whether you are into bird photography or any type of nature & wildlife photography, one thing is certain; you need to shoot with a purpose. Your images should have an impact and tell a story. While this may sound simple enough, but without planning and proper execution, the purpose will remain oblivious and the story will be confusing. I decided to write this post and share my thoughts on what it takes to make story-telling images. Read more…

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18

Mar

Bird Photography for Beginners

March 18, 2012

I am intrigued –and delighted- by the enthusiasm of beginner bird lovers who spend days on end preparing for a “trip” to do Bird Photography in the wild. They get books, read the latest articles, and make intricate preparations before they venture out. And there I am, dying to tell them a thing or two that would save them a lot of frustration. Naturally, I always leave them to it, for fear of dampening their enthusiasm.

What I would tell them though has nothing to do with the intricacies of photography and everything to do with bird-watching. You see, birds are birds, whether on the slopes of Kangchenjunga, or on that pine tree behind the house. And before venturing out with a backpack full of lenses and accessories, it is important to acquire basic knowledge of bird behavior, as well as basic knowledge of Bird Photography. Doesn’t it make sense that the hit-and-miss nature of the learning process be undertaken from one’s porch rather than from an exotic destination? Read more…

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