We have a summer resident female rufous hummingbird that often visits the feeders and plants that we place for them on our deck. As their migratory season comes to an end, which sadly means we’re entering into the early throes of autumn here in the Pacific Northwest, I thought I might test out my Canon 7D with the 70-300mm that I’ve been using on assignment lately. I bitterly complained about the auto-focus when I first purchased the camera and, as usual, it was trial by fire. I knew that I needed to have a higher fps than my Canon 5D Mark II cameras, so I decided to go with the 7D. Now that I’ve been shooting it for a while, (and after reading a bit of the manual , I am now really loving the autofocus system and, although the camera is noisy at the higher ISO’s, it’s still pretty darn good. The other night we were out on the deck and the female rufous came by to check out the salvia and other flowers. She hung around long enough for me to get a few snaps. These were all made at iso 6400 shooting in aperture priority. I processed them in Adobe’s Lightroom using some capture sharpening and luminance noise reduction and I must say I’m impressed. The focus is tack sharp, the shutter speed was fast enough to stop most of the movement and the colors look beautiful. I do enjoy birdwatching and although it’s only a simple hobby that I do at home, it’s fun to use this as an opportunity to practice outside of assignment work. I hope you enjoy these little snapshots of the wee bird.
Archive for the ‘just for fun’ Category
Posted in birds, Canon, Canon 70-300 lens, Canon 7D, Canon Lens, just for fun, nature photographer, outdoors, photographer in Portland, photography, wildlife photographer, tagged bird, bird photography, Canon, Canon 7D, hummingbird, nature, outdoors, woods on August 21, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in assignment photography, editorial photographer, just for fun, nature photographer, photography, photojournalism, tagged editorial photographer, outdoors, photography, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography on March 6, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Okay ladies and gentlemen, we all know how to pack our camera gear kits. Cameras, lenses, cf cards, computers, hard drives, etc… That’s the easy part. Obviously, I could go on about the wonderful qualities of Think Tank’s waist belt with attachments, wax poetically about Gitzo’s carbon fiber tripod and monopod line, discuss the pros and cons of the Canon 5D Mark IIs and Canon 7Ds, discuss prime lenses, etc. We are photographers so we should know what we need when we head out on assignment. But for me, the question is, what to wear? Hah! This could turn many people off, which I completely understand. For the next few paragraphs I will address the challenges of being a city/adventure female photographer and how to negotiate sweating like a pig all day, then having to look decent to hit the finer restaurants at the top of the dinner hour – all with cameras and gear in hand. This isn’t about vanity, it’s about trying to look professional, even when the assignments demand a lot of physical work. Lately, I’ve been covering so many different latitudes that I’ve had to shop for quite the range of technical clothing so I hope that this helps you gals out there who have to negotiate similar terrain.
Most technical clothes make one look like one is about to climb a mountain, or something, which may be the case and perfectly appropriate. What happens after a sunrise shoot on the top of a mountain, hiking and horseback riding, but then you must head directly to Spago’s to photograph sunset food at the Four Seasons? What about working in 100 degree heat? And then there is the problem of shoes.
Thankfully, a handful of clothing manufacturers are beginning to have some tailored technical clothes for us women, and I’m not just talking Patagonia, (which I adore). Let’s face it – men can get away with a lot more when it comes to the appearance department. To wit: the shaven head look. Guys can still look handsome and well put together and have no hair. Add some jeans and a sloppy t-shirt and voila – said man looks like an ad in Esquire. I think that jeans and a sloppy t-shirt don’t fair so well at high end restaurants for us gals.
Here are some of my favorite clothing recommendations for working under varying conditions that are field tested!
Lolë pants: These flared capri style pants dry quickly and are SPF 35 or better. When I had to shoot in the Caribbean for Norwegian Cruise Lines in front of a litany of art directors, then proceed to sqat, lean over rails, stand on ladders, shoot in the fancy ship restaurants with dress codes, climb rock walls, etc… these were the perfect bottoms. They have a tie belt which I often leave off because I usually wear it with some sort of long-sleeved top. But it’s there if you need it to strap on a Leatherman.
Mountain Hardware Skirt: This is PERFECT for hiking and then hitting the bars. A comfortable, knee-length skirt that has 4 front pockets. Wear with a pair of tight, short bike/athletic shorts underneath and you’ve got the comfort of a skort without the skort and you don’t have to worry about unnecessary reveals when climbing ladders or squatting down. (Skorts are NOT foolproof when you’ve got several people looking up as you’re climbing a rock wall). Two of the pockets snap shut for pocket money and a couple of credit cards, which is convenient if someone walks off with your bag.
Royal Robbins Cargo Skirt: Love this for airport travel. Passport, wallet, and iPhone all snap/zip into the three pockets so going through security is a breeze. No more fumbling for identification/boarding pass which I put into… uh… which bag compartment??? Same thing with the bike shorts underneath. Doesn’t look too bad with leggings either. Plus the fabric is quick dry, so when you’re having a sip of water and hit unexpected turbulence at 35,000 feet, no fear. The skirt will be dry in 5 minutes or less. Same with sweating on the job. Dries quickly and is made from a comfortable, stretchy fabric so if you sweat under the weight of your backpack or waist pack, it will be dry in time to not look like you just peed on yourself. It’s also spf 50, so when I’m driving in hot sun, I can rely on this skirt for sun protection as well.
Patagonia Fly Fishing Long Sleeve shirt for Women: I bought three of these from Patagonia for a shoot in the Caribbean several years ago and although it was so hot the rubber from my Domke rubber grip camera strap melted onto the shirts, I didn’t get a stitch of sunburn thanks to the SPF protection. Since I was traveling from one country to the next in 72 hour increments, the zipper breast pocket was perfect for stashing the proper currency to pay the entry taxes for whatever country demanded a border fee. The side pockets were large enough for my passport as well, so I could go through security checkpoints without having to let go of my documents. Sweet. They are also tailored a bit in the waist so although the material is rip-stop, the top still has a feminine fit.
Stuff A Scarf In It: Wherever you go, a simple scarf can dress up even the most lame of outfits. I have a few, they weigh nothing, take up no space and can get crammed into the bottom of a bag all day and still look good in a pinch. I’ve got a skinny one that I picked up at The Express that’s perfect for either a quick up-do for the hair or a nice tie around the neck for the evening. Another is a long, golden brown that adds a touch of class for those pesky fancy restaurants. If I lose it, fine. You can find them just about everywhere. If you want to take it up a notch, any Pashmina scarf in a neutral color is a good thing to have around, particularly if you’re headed into anything involving religion. If you’re addicted to black, it can also be your color statement (!) for the evening.
Patagonia Scoop Neck Long Sleeve Capilene T-Shirt: These are indispensable in my book. They look good – try them on for fit first – and they: a) layer well; b) wick moisture; c) look good if you’ve got the right fit. I own six – three white and three black. They can be washed in the sink and are dry by morning. They are very utilitarian because of their simplicity and work well after sweating all day. The great part about the scoop neck style is that you can add a necklace – or the aforementioned scarf – and there. Done. The armpits dry quickly, which is nice after hiking and then heading into some over-air-conditioned restaurant/bar. Sadly, I’ve invested quite a bit in other fabrics that claim to have moisture wicking properties and I’ve found this top is the best. It’s also comfortable in hot climates. I go for the lightweight ones and use them for layering. They look good under the Fly-Fishing tops.
I shot a story across the country about Farmers’ Markets so I packed accordingly, not knowing that we’d be having dinner at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago. When we landed, the editor arranged for our 9pm reservation, and my assistant and I dashed down Michigan Ave., looking for a quick, appropriate outfit. We managed well, except in the shoe department. I only had my boots, and my assistant had hers. We both fit the restaurant dress code, ankles up, but as we were being served our champagne, I kept looking the hostess in the eye and thinking to myself, “don’t look down, don’t look down…” I felt a little silly having on steel toed shit-kickers with my cute dress. I don’t think they noticed and Sarah and I ended up having a meal of a lifetime. Since then, I can safely say that boots can look good in just about any situation. I like the Ariat Fat Baby boots for their wide toe bed, ankle and foot support, and I regularly get compliments on them. I have a Morton’s neuroma in my left foot, which can be painful in narrow shoes, so I’m always looking for footwear with a wide toe bed, which is a difficult task in women’s footwear. I had to throw the last pair away after a goat peed in them. (I was wearing them in the middle of a herd of goats, when one decided to relieve herself while I was dealing with the fact that my DSLR mirror had just detached itself and cracked inside the camera body. Oy.)
Crocs: Okay – we can dread these because they are, well a little ugly, even though they are very lightweight, comfortable and wildly utilitarian. Lately, the company has been stepping up in the fashion department but still maintaining the lightweight, waterproof glory that make them so appealing for travel and work. I just purchased two new pairs for an upcoming assignment in SE Asia and will cover a broad range of terrain. These certainly won’t work in the jungle, but will definitely be perfect for puddle-jumping through the cities and hitting the high-end restaurants.
The first pair I field tested (literally) on assignment in Hawaii last week. They were great – best part? I can rinse them in the sink at night and they look brand new. These are the unwashed version of a just-released Springi Flat. Great for walking on sand, in mud or on the sidewalk.
My second pair are the Wrapped Mary Janes. I find these quite comfortable and for the amount of city work I have to look forward to, plus I think these will be a great alternative shoe for visiting temples and other sacred sites. I’ll report back in a month on how these fared my assignments. (REPORT BACK FROM ASIA: Because of the heat and the amount of time I was standing, my feet swelled and these things wouldn’t budge. I’m now in the market for some leather flats that will spread along with my feet!)
Never underestimate a handy pair of cheap filp-flops in your bag somewhere so you’ve got something to wear to the loo if you happen to not have one close by, and recycle them when they get too gross. (I just had a shoot where I stayed in a luxury teepee, and the flip-flops were perfect for walking down to the moon-lit bathtubs and showers, not to mention the outdoor toilette!)
I will often take other technical shoes depending on where I’m headed and what activities I’m expected to perform.
I have a pair of Vibrams for rock climbing and warm-water work. The arch support is fantastic and for surfing on reef breaks, you still have the grip you need from your toes, but you won’t be impaled by a sea urchin. I’ve found that these are good if you’re not going to spend much time walking in sand or sandy soil as they tend to accumulate particulate which can be uncomfortable. They will attract attention so be forewarned.
For colder wading, I’ll put on a pair of 4 mil wetsuit socks under a pair of classic Crocks. This set-up works well for kayaking/wading in colder climates, like the inside passage in Alaska, and can easily be added to a wetsuit if necessary. Plus they dry well and the crocks weigh nothing. The shoes are bulky, but can be used to pack cables, small battery chargers, etc.. I’ll be taking this setup to the Galapagos in January.
Have any tips? Feel free to post or email me at susan(at)sseubert(dot)com
Posted in editorial photographer, Hawaii, just for fun, Travel, travel photographer, tagged editorial photographer, Hawaii, Maui, outdoors, travel photographer on November 21, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Greetings! Thanksgiving is upon us and the holiday season is beginning. I have much to be thankful for: a wonderful family, great clients, amazing assignments and the gift of spending several months a year in Maui. Our time in the islands is over for the time being and tomorrow we head back to the mainland. I will be heading to New Orleans, Napa and Baja over the next two months so stay tuned for more adventure stories. Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Aloha!
Posted in Canon 5D Mark II, D5 Mark ll, just for fun, multimedia, outdoors, photographer, photographer in Portland, photography, video, wildlife photographer, tagged 5D Mark ll, barred owl, barred owl video, bird photographer, nature, outdoors, travel photographer, wildlife, wildlife photography, woods on June 4, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Portland, Oregon is an amazing place to live for so many reasons: the food scene, the forward-thinking development, the great public transportation but for me, our home is the reason we have firmly planted roots here in the Pacific Northwest. Our house backs into the Marquam Green Space which is tangential to Forest Park, the largest in-city park in the United States. If you can figure the maps, it’s possible to walk out our back door and join up with the Pacific Crest Trail. The other great part is that literally steps, (with a little bush-whacking), from our back yard is the newly developed 4-T Trail: Trail, Tram, Trolly, Train. If you are a resident or visitor, this is one great urban hike and a fantastic way to tour the city for under 5 bucks. Last year we began the process of becoming certified for Backyard Habitat, a joint program between the Audubon Society and the Columbia Land trust. This program acts as a guide in transforming your property to a haven for urban flora and fauna. Since our property butts up against the Marquam Green Space, it made sense to get on board. We’ve removed the bulk of invasive plants and re-planted our back yard with native plant species. Now the battle with bindweed, holly and ivy begins! The great part is that we’ve already noticed an increase in the wildlife that visits us, including this Barred Owl who spent a good deal of time on a branch about 5 feet from my office window. You can hear us whispering to the owl as it sits nearby…
Here is how difficult it was to photograph the owl
In addition to the Barred Owls, we have regular avian visitors. Tonight, while sitting outside having dinner, I noted the following species: Black-Headed Grosbeak, Spotted Towhee, Rufous Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Black Capped Chickadee, Steller’s Jay, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Lesser Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Band-tailed Pigeon, House Finch, Red Shafted Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Song Sparrow, and to top it off, a mother/son pair of Hairy Woodpeckers. Below is our regular summer set-up for dinner. Bon appétit!
The video was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS USM L series lens and edited in iMovie. The stills were shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 24-105 IS USM L series lens and edited in Adobe’s Lightroom software.
Posted in Alaska, Canon 5D Mark II, editorial photographer, Expedition, just for fun, multimedia, National Gegoraphic, nature photographer, Travel, travel photographer, video, wildlife photographer, tagged 5D Mark ll, editorial photographer, National Geographic, outdoors, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography, video on May 30, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Last week I spent aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird where we traversed Alaska’s Inside Passage. The weather was constantly changing but it rained very little, much to my surprise and delight! I will be writing more about this National Geographic Expedition in the next few days, but I was so excited about this footage that I felt that the blogsphere would be a better place if I could share the joy of watching a pair of Dall’s porpoises bow riding on the last day of our journey. I was preparing for a slideshow presentation when I suddenly heard hoots of excitement coming from the front of the ship. A group of these cetaceans had decided to join us and bow ride for a good deal of time. For a while, there were as many as 5 in front of our ship, much to the delight of everyone on board. People took turns looking over the bow as the animals jumped and played in the water. I was fortunate enough to get some video footage of these amazing marine mammals. Their distinguishing marks were made visible as they turned on their sides and it was wonderful to witness their agility as they frolicked in front of the ship. I hope that the movie below transports you to Southeast Alaska for a moment and affords you a glimpse into what it’s like to be on board with National Geographic.
Posted in editorial photographer, Hawaii, just for fun, Maui, photographer in Portland, photography, Travel, travel photographer, tagged commercial photographer, editorial photographer, Maui, photography, Travel, travel photographer on January 19, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Aloha! Today I’m leaving Maui to return to Portland where an enormous pile of work awaits. I feel so fortunate to have spent the last two weeks in Maui watching Humpback whales frolicking in the near shore waters, Hawaiian Monk Seals swimming in the water and resting on the beach, surfing and enjoying many great meals at Japango, Saigon Seafood Restaurant and Star Noodle. I’m looking forward to returning to the chilly but verdant Pacific Northwest and hitting the ground running. I’m working on a new body of work for a show at the Froelick Gallery during the month of April, when Photolucida descends on the city. I’ve got bookings lining until I leave on the National Geographic Expedition to Baja late February. I’ll be back in Maui late April until late May, so stay tuned for more updates on the adventures in store for 2011!
Most of my blog posts are for announcements about publications and upcoming events that pertain to my business as an editorial or fine art photographer, but after taking some time off from work and spending that time surfing, I’ve had a few epiphanies about surfing as it relates to my career as a photographer. In September of 2007, my husband and I visited Waikiki and he insisted that I take a lesson. (he’s been surfing for 50 years!) On my first wave, I looked down and watched as the reef passed peacefully along below my board. It was the first time I felt the quiet of riding a wave, being pushed along by the power of the ocean and it was remarkable. I was hooked. The learning curve in surfing is steep and long and never ends. Since I grew up in Indiana, the notion of ever being able to swim in the ocean, much less surf, was at one point incomprehensible. But so was a career in travel photography. As I continue to pursue both, I find many similarities in their respective challenges and rewards. Surfing has given me strength – both physical and mental, as photography has. Being in the open ocean is exhilarating, but sometimes downright frightening and always challenging. Where are the waves breaking? How big are they? Can I make the drop in? Can I paddle over a growing swell? How do I get out into position? What’s the line-up like? Is there a long enough break in between sets to rest? If I wipe out, how deep is the water? If I tombstone, can I get my leash off in time? While I’m in the washing machine, how do I keep myself from panicking and hold my breath just a few moments longer before I pop up? And then there’s paddling – right now, for me, it’s the what I spend most of my time in the water doing. Paddling into position. Paddling over set waves that seem too big. Paddling hard to make a wave that I don’t make. Paddling hard for a wave that I drop into and have a smooth, long satisfying ride. All of these experiences and challenges mirror my career as a photographer, but if I want to make it at either, there’s one thing they both have in common: paddle harder. It’s not a stretch to say that the learning curve in the business of photography is steep and long, particularly in these rapidly changing times. I continue to push myself to learn the new technologies. I continue to market myself using all available means including email campaigns, direct mail pieces, and face-to-face visits to clients or prospective clients. It seems endless and exhausting at times, but when I land a fabulous job and get to go somewhere and continue following my childhood dream, all the work has paid off and I have that same feeling that I get in surfing – a lot of frenetic activity that sometimes seems endlessly challenging and fruitless, followed by that nice drop and the smooth ride. Then it’s paddle back out time.
Posted in Canon, Hawaii, humpback whale, just for fun, landscape photographer, Maui, maui photographer, nature photographer, outdoors, Stock Photography, Travel, travel photographer, tagged Canon, editorial photographer, Hawaii, island, Maui, outdoors, photography, tourism, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography on January 1, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Happy New Year to all! 2010 was certainly a fabulous year filled with many glorious adventures and it looks like 2011 will be a continuation of the same. On January 4th, I will be heading to Maui where we hope to spend time watching the humpback whales. One of the largest parts of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary is just steps from our home in Maui, viewable from Ka’anapali Beach. This time of year marks the beginning of the peak of the whale sighting season and you can often see them tail and fin slapping or breaching right from the beach. It’s not unusual to see them just at the drop off point, hanging just at the surface, their humps conspicuously sticking out from the ocean’s surface. If you have a good pair of binoculars, (I recommend the Canon Image Stabilizer Binoculars), then you can see a good distance. I’ve spent the better part of many days on the beach, under an umbrella, watching these gentle giants. It’s also great to view them on a kayak tour, from a stand-up paddle board, or in the comfort of one of the many whale watching boats. Aloha!
Posted in camera technical, cameras, Canon, Canon 5D, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon Lens, cat, D5 Mark ll, editorial photographer, just for fun, photographer in Portland, tagged 5D Mark ll, Canon, editorial photographer, magazine photography, photo, photography, technical on December 20, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
This year, I broke down and purchased a Canon 50mm 1.2 L series USM lens. It is spectacular for portrait work because of its amazing bokeh. There is a lot of chatter out there about the spectacular price difference between the 1.2 and the Canon 1.4. I also own a Canon 50mm 2.5 macro which is instrumental for me for shooting details of things from food to flowers but for portraits, the 1.2 can’t be beat. Here are two examples. One is a portrait of my husband, which I dropped into a film frame for effect – I’ve long been lugging around an analogue Hasselblad with a beautiful 80mm lens, which I’ve used for years as my primary portrait lens. It’s also fantastic combined with a few extension tubes. However, now that I’m moving into an almost exclusively digital workflow, I had to find a lens that I was happy enough with to leave my Hasselblad behind when going on assignment. Don’t get me wrong, I still love working with film, but the practical side of my business has forced my hand on this one. I’ve been taking the d65 wokrshop every other year to keep current on the latest digital workflow which has led me to adopt working almost exclusively in Adobe’s Lightroom. That software combined with the Canon 5D Mark II’s and lenses I work with give me a great way to process thousands of images in a relatively short period of time, without sacrificing any amount of quality. (This year’s processed tally is almost to 13,000 client delivered images). My digital library is now more organized than ever – I can find any image with just a few clicks of the mouse. I hope you find this information useful!
Posted in editorial photographer, Hawaii, just for fun, Maui, maui photographer, photographer, photographer in Portland, photography, tagged editorial photographer, island, Maui, outdoors, photography, tourism, Travel, travel photographer, travel photography on November 17, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Well, our time here in Maui is wrapping up with just 6 short days left to enjoy the sun, surf, sand and outdoor grilling. It’s been a marvelous time in the islands with small projects and lots of days off. The time spent in the water has been thrilling as I feel that I have made more progress in my ability to surf. It’s also been a great time to think. I had one of my best years ever in photography – landing great new clients and continuing wonderful relationships with my loyal customers. Cheers to all of you! I’m heading back to Portland, Oregon on November 23rd, where I’ll be based until January 4th, when I return to Maui for two short weeks to watch the humpback whales.
There are so many blog posts about how to improve one’s eye as a photographer, but precious few discuss taking time away from the camera. I feel this is equally important – particularly if one has been shooting continuously for several months, or years as the case may be. Sometimes shifting gears completely and seeing the world without the viewfinder or ground glass is a wonderful way to refresh. Over time, patterns develop which can end up leaving an eye stuck in a conventional rut, which sometimes becomes style or perhaps confused with the notion of formula. Taking a few steps back, in the form of not taking pictures, is a way to gain some distance from one’s work. I love looking at other photographers’ work during times like this: when I’m not researching a subject or forcing myself to renew my approach to image making. When I am able to gaze at the sea for hours, take a nap, read a book, then I can turn around, take a deep breath and paddle out for the next session. 2011 – here I come!