Capturing the Moment: 5 Photos to Take on Mother’s Day

Mother's Day Photos

The author’s family, Mother’s Day 1980

By Vanessa Mallory Kotz

 

Mother’s Day is this weekend, and it’s a perfect opportunity to take family photos that will last for a lifetime of memories. Whether you are a mom or love someone who is a mom, take the time to record the moment, and then get back to celebrating your favorite ladies. Here’s a list of five shots to plan for during the special day.

 

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5 Tips for Bird Photography

Bird Photography

Pinterest

By Vanessa Mallory Kotz

 

Part of the joy of spring is the sound of bird song and the bright flash of a colorful wing or the surprise of red on a robin’s breast. Yesterday, I had to run an errand at a government building, one of those things we all dread but must do. As I was about to enter, I saw a duckling on the sidewalk. The awkward juvenile was no longer yellow and tiny, but the little guy/gal was still fluffy and vulnerable. It waddled back and forth and in small circles, quacking anxiously. A man, who clearly worked there, barred it from entering the door in a little dance with the creature.

 

“I think Mom and Dad went to the lake and lost count,” he said as I stopped to watch, feeling an intensely maternal concern for the bird. “I’ve been watching them for a week, and the mother duck is very protective.” We were joined by another woman, and our trio of concerned citizens cooed and clucked over its plight. Eventually, the man sashayed the duckling toward the bushes and safety. For a moment I had forgotten my grim errand. I also forgot to take a picture. What a missed opportunity! I was close enough to see the details of the webbing on its little flippers and the gleam in its worried eyes. So, I wondered, if I had the chance again, how could I best capture the moment on camera?

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5 Tips for Taking Photos in the Rain

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Cherry blossoms in spring rain from Pinterest. Photo by Kujio Tomisha

By Vanessa Mallory Kotz

 

As spring finally starts to show its lovely face here in the Mid-Atlantic, people are coming out of their apartments and houses with joyful expressions and lighter outerwear. Dog walkers have an extra pep in their step. Children tiptoe through the tulips and their parents take dozens of photos of the cherry blossoms right as they are about to fade. The last few days, however, it has rained. A lot. Staring out the window at the overcast skies and thinking of all those tourists at the Tidal Basin makes me wonder—what is the best way to take photos in the rain? I scoured the Internet for tips from the pros. Here are five of the best.


 

 

 

 

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1. Protect your gear
Look for shelter (a store awning, parking garage or porch. Also, carry an umbrella and a raincoat. “Not necessarily for yourself — nobody cares if the photographer gets wet. I mean a raincoat made specifically for cameras. These are available from a number of manufacturers in a variety of shapes and sizes, capable of covering not just the lens and camera but an attached flash as well. You can find a decent one for not a lot of money. If you’re more of the DIY type, you can use a plastic bag — preferably a clear one.” –Jason D. Little for Light Stalking 



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2. Pay attention to reflections
“One of the great things about reflections is that they tend to help lighten up an image –especially if it’s night, and you have a light source, such as streetlamps, that are reflecting off of the water. While most people think of crystal-clear water when reflections come to mind, ripples at the surface can add some unique texture to your composition, and the result will be more abstract than a mirrored image.” –Christina Harman for Loaded Landscapes 


 

 

 

 

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3. Be patient
“As many landscape photographers will testify, a great time to shoot is immediately after the rain stops. Rain enhances colors, and as the sun emerges you’ll see some great opportunities, possibly even a rainbow.” –Staff Writer for Amateur Photographer

 



4. How to shoot from your car
It you are trying to get a picture during a downpour, trust nature photographer Art Wolfe. Park at an angle that will keep the weather out of your open window. It also helps to know the behaviors of your subjects, which for one shot were a herd of Impalas in Kenya. ‘“The rain was so heavy,” he says, “that the animals stopped and stood facing away from it. The impala just stopped moving, because, in that type of rain, they assume that the rainstorm will be over in 20 minutes. It’s not worth moving during that time into uncertain territory when they have marginal visibility. There could be lions waiting for them. They just waited out the rain, and I was able to position myself and get that shot.”’ –Jack Crager for Popular Photography


 

 

 

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5. Be on the lookout for joy or misery
“Rain transforms people. We react to rain with a gamut of emotions, from the sullen dread of rain-drenched commuters to the wondrous joy of children. Capture those emotions and you’ll have a great rain picture.” –Jim Richardson for National Geographic

 

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5 Pet Photography Photo Tips

If you’re a pet owner, chances are that you take lots and lots of photos of your pexels photo 416160 300x200 - 5 Pet Photography Photo Tipsfurry family member.

 

But, as all pet owners know, these creatures are unpredictable, which can make it hard to get the best picture.  So here are some suggestions to help you get the best possible photo of your pet! 

 

dog2 225x300 - 5 Pet Photography Photo TipsGo where the light is best. Try not to take photos of your pet in dark rooms or when it’s very overcast outside. Bright, diffused, light is the best for a flattering pet portrait. So before you take out your camera, look at your subject’s environment and figure out where the best light is — then move to that spot.  


Try to get their personality.  Ask yourself what is unique about your pet and try to capture their one-of-a-kind character on camera. Take pictures of your pet when they are in their preferred spot, or when they’re enjoying a much-loved pastime — whether that’s snoozing on the couch or catching a ball.


Keep things quiet. There is no quicker way to confuse a dog or startle a cat than to repeat loud commands at them. Try communicating with animals nonverbally: Use hand signals, or point to invite them where you’d like them to sit. If you do need to say ’sit’, say it quietly and calmly, and only once or twice.

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Photographing the Northern Lights without The Expensive Gear

Do you dream of taking a National Geographic-worthy photograph of the Northern Lights? We talked with Lance at the Travel Addicts about how to do it!

photograph the northern lights

For the purposes of this article, we assume that you are in a place where you can see the Northern (or Southern) lights and that it is night time when you are trying to take the photograph. If these are your circumstances, then there is a reasonable chance you will get a picture of the Northern Lights!  

 

First and foremost: Lance says that any decent camera will be enough for a great picture of the Northern Lights. It doesn’t matter if you use a point-and-shoot camera or the one on your smartphone: In this day and age anyone can take a decent Northern Lights photo.

 

He also says that there are only two pieces of equipment that are absolutely necessary: A camera and a tripod.  

 

“There is no way to get a decent Northern Lights photo without a tripod,” says Lance. He explains that it doesn’t need to be a fancy or expensive one; it just needs to be something that keeps the camera from moving when you’re taking the picture. (Check out this one here!)

 

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