Guest post by Kristian Bogner — Nikon Ambassador
Evaluate Your Images
I encourage photographers to have a look at some of your images each evening when you are back in your room, either on computer or in your camera and see how you did and what you could improve on for the next day. Zoom in to your images, preferably to 100% zoom and see if your images are in focus, if there is any camera shake and see what worked and what didn’t. This simple step can make a big difference and help you take your photography to the next level.
While on board attend any photo workshops that are being offered to get pro insights throughout the trip and ask Adventure Canada photographers to help you if you have noticed any issues in your nightly evaluation or if you want more tips for capturing unique subjects and situations that you might encounter. They will be happy to help you get your own spectacular images to take home with you.
Shoot the Light
There are exceptions to this rule but generally early morning and late evening provide the lowest, warmest and most unique and pleasing lighting situations to photograph outdoors. On my last Adventure Canada trip I would get up really early and capture that blue light time and sunrise and also be on deck before, during and just after sunset. I then tried to have a quick nap throughout the day at some point if it was possible to stay caught up on sleep. If that is too extreme, then just pick the early morning or late evening to shoot and get on a routine that allows it.
Use a Sharp Focus
I judge a lot of photo contests and one of the things I love to see is nice sharp focus on whatever the main subject or focal point of the image is to be. Here are some tips to get great focus. First make sure your camera is set to AF-C (continuous) vs AF-S. This will ensure that when you have that whale sighting in your viewfinder and you press the shutter, the camera will fire without delay, even if it thinks the subject isn’t in focus. Next use a smaller selection of points and your joystick on the back of your camera to set where the camera is to focus. I personally use single point focus selection, but some of you may prefer a bit larger cluster of points or group point focus if you have that as an option. I set the focus point where in my image frame I want the subject to appear and precompose the image, then I just make sure that point is on the subject for razor sharp focus.
Level Out the Horizon
The other big thing I like to see in images is a nice level horizon line. Most new Nikon cameras have a feature called Virtual Horizon which shows you if the camera is level. I like to go into my custom button settings and set the extra Function button on the camera to toggle between exposure metering and virtual horizon. That way once my exposure is set I can have the camera viewfinder show me if the camera is level and then I can quickly adjust accordingly.
Maintain Your Camera
On any longer trip I recommend a bit of ongoing camera maintenance to ensure that your camera performs at full capability throughout. First, bring several soft or microfibre lens cleaning cloths to wipe your camera lens and screen. Fingerprints, water droplets and dirt on the lens can degrade your image. I always bring several of these and put a few in individual zip-lock bags just so they stay dry.
Next, I recommend an emergency sensor cleaning kit like Visible Dust swabs that fit your sensor and the Blue-capped cleaning solution. When on deck with the wind, etc., sometimes dust can get on your sensor during a lens change. If its a big piece of dust it could be on all of your images and having the ability to do a quick sensor cleaning in the field can be really useful.
Lastly Wipe Down your cameras and lenses at night with a towel and some fresh water just in case it got some ocean spray on it.
Keep the Passion!
A child-like enthusiasm wins every time! An Adventure Canada expedition is truly a spectacular opportunity to photograph. Stay positive about your photography, bring a zest and a child-like wonder and enthusiasm to each new day and let your passion for capturing the amazing nature around you guide and inspire your next photograph.
I hope you enjoyed these tips. Check out kristianbogner.com for more tips, instructional videos and workshops throughout the year. I will be on the Arctic Safari this year and have many exciting talks and more great tips to share throughout the trip. I can’t wait and hope to see you there!
Kristian Bogner is a third-generation pro photographer, speaker and ambassador for Nikon Canada, Broncolor, Lowepro and Manfrotto. His work has received numerous awards including 3-time Commercial Photographer of the Year for Canada with the Professional Photographers of Canada Association and 2015 Master Photographers International Commercial Photographer of the Year. Join him this summer aboard our Heart of the Arctic expedition!