Five Ways Summer Intensive Transformed Me. And My Life.
March 6, 2017  Author:   (2)

It took me 56 years and a forced layoff from my job to jump into photography with both feet and sign up for RMSP’s Summer Intensive (SI) back in 2009 – and it changed my life. No, I did not become a pro. I did not become famous or make a lot of money from […]

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Shooting Birds and Bugs … Texas Style
January 13, 2017  Author:   (0)

I spent the week following Christmas shooting wildlife at and around South Padre Island (SPI) at the southern tip of Texas. The draw for me was the anticipated warmth (70-85 degrees), the SPI Birding and Nature Center on the island and Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge about 45 minutes away on the mainland. Last year […]

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Life Amongst the Leaves
November 21, 2016  Author:   (0)

Fall clouds and record rainfall don’t usually bode well for bug photography, but this year was an exception. Amidst the turning leaves and decaying vines there was life still eking out its survival. I took some chances between (and sometimes in) the rain showers and was rewarded with a few of my best opportunities of […]

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The Best Photo is the Next Photo
September 19, 2016  Author:  

Ever produced a perfect image? Not me. By that measure I’ve failed miserably. But I’ve had a great time pursuing one knowing full well that I will never get there, that there is always something to reach for, something else to learn no matter how gratifying an image is at the time. A couple of […]

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When One Door Closes, Another Opens
August 1, 2016  Author:  

When One Door Closes, Another Opens (or substitute your own cliché here) Have you ever planned a shoot only to have things go wrong or fall apart? It happened to me – twice – on what has become my own annual two-day dragonfly fest near Las Vegas. Funny thing, though, the turn of events stretched […]

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Eyes of a Damselfly – Guest Article by Steve Russell
July 1, 2016  Author:  

One thing that was drilled into me at RMSP’s Summer Intensive seven years ago was how supremely important the eyes are when photographing a subject. Of course, at the time this fundamental tenet was applied to portraiture and images of people, but the same rule applies to bugs in the macro world, and damselflies are […]

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Photographing Florida Wildlife: Three Can’t-miss Locations to Hone Your Skills – Guest Article by Steve Russell
March 31, 2016  Author:  

Okay, so you are a nature/wildlife sort of person and you took an RMSP workshop and/or thrived in Summer Intensive. You have a pretty good handle on the manual adjustments of your camera but are looking for a place other than a zoo to practice your skills and creativity when shooting wildlife. Boy, do I […]

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California Dreamin’ with a Canon 100-400mm II Lens – Guest Article by Steve Russell
March 3, 2016  Author:   (1)

This is neither a paid product endorsement nor a comparison between Canon’s 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and other telephoto lenses with similar focal ranges, such as Tamron’s and Sigma’s 150-600mm and Nikon’s 80-400mm lenses. This is, however, a firsthand testament as to the versatility of Canon’s version, which I happen to own. And […]

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The Birds of the Bosque – Guest Article by Steve Russell
January 25, 2016  Author:  

According to Wikipedia a bosque (“boss-key”) is an area of green vegetation near water sources in arid or semi-arid climates (think “oasis”). The most notable bosque in North America is a 200-mile stretch along the Rio Grande River in New Mexico. Not coincidentally, it is a common stop-over for sandhill cranes and snow geese in […]

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Personalized Cards and Gifts – Guest Post by Steve Russell
December 15, 2015  Author:  

‘Tis the season in my part of the world, weather wise, to do less shooting and more with the images I’ve already shot this year. It’s become a tradition for me to create a holiday e-card that I can send out to friends and family (and now, to everyone who reads this blog). Despite all […]

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Just in Time for Halloween: Spider Art – Guest Article by Steve Russell
October 16, 2015  Author:  

This is that creepy time of year when spiders take center stage in the live subject macro world – they’re everywhere, displacing more palatable and photography-friendly bugs like cute little butterflies and lady bugs. But aside from the considerable creep-factor – which virtually precludes their images from ever winning photography contests – spiders make pretty […]

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The Dragonflies of Las Vegas – Guest Article by Steve Russell
August 11, 2015  Author:  

It’s dragonflies – NOT gambling, NOT Penn and Teller or Celine Dion, NOT the mega-casinos – that put on the best show in Las Vegas. That’s right, dragonflies. A little online research before heading to a conference recently turned up the City of Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve just southeast of Sin City and it’s full […]

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A Second Season of Shooting Dragonflies in Natural Light: Three New Lessons Learned – Guest Article by Steve Russell
July 20, 2015  Author:  

Dragonflies have survived since prehistoric times with their extraordinary hunting prowess and prolific procreation (I highly recommend the excellent You Tube video, “Sky Hunters,” to drive home just how remarkable they are). But as a macro photographer I am drawn to them because of their vast array of colors, their always-surprising behaviors, and the fact […]

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From Larva to Lunch: The Brief Life of a Dragonfly Caught on Camera – Guest Article by Steve Russell
June 9, 2015  Author:  

  Nature can be cruel. After living three years in the muck of a marsh and finally crawling out and miraculously exploding out of its larval exoskeleton in the course of an hour, the life of the brown-eyed dragonfly I had been photographing up close was cut short by the beak of a bird. From […]

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Subject, Light, Background: When it All Comes Together – Guest Article by Steve Russell
April 13, 2015  Author:   (2)

National Geographic photographer, Adam Jones, simplified the elements of a good wildlife photograph for me in a presentation last year: subject, light and background. Light that is soft, warm, low (as in the sun low to the horizon), front- or side-light; a subject that is compelling, crisply focused, well-exposed, with catch-light in the eye(s), and […]

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