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Northwestern Garter Snake (Thamnophis ordinoides)

Thamnophis ordinoides is a small snake, usually only having a body length of 14 to 36 inches when fully grown. The Northwestern Garter Snake ranges more in body coloring that any other garter snakes. Its color can vary from almost black to olive with most snakes having a dark stripe down their backs. Most Northwestern snakes will also have a bright stripe down their sides that also range in color from white to yellow. You can positively identify them from other garter snakes by looking for a pale upper lip.

Northwestern Garter Snake
Northwestern Garter Snake from Vancouver Island

Night Photography (Long exposer photography)

Night photographyMost photographers’ call it quits after the sun goes down, missing out on some incredible photography prospects.

What is night photography? Well, it’s basically the technique of capturing photographs at low light over a long exposure of time. Photographs of city cityscapes at night, car tail light streaks, fireworks and the full moon are all examples of night photography. Just like any other genre of photography, it is very diverse.

Night photography can use either natural light, artificial light of a combination of both. Exposure times can be as little as 1-2 seconds or take multiple hours.

Equipment Needed for Night Photography

You’ll need a camera capable of long exposures: Your camera should be able to stay open for at least 2-3 seconds to do even basic high-light night photography. The longer your cameras shutter is able to stay open, means the more light it can gather. Preferably, you want a camera that can stay open for at least 30 seconds, which will let you capture most low light events.

The good news is that most modern digital cameras will let you keep the stutter open in manual mode for the 30 seconds you’ll need. Some higher end point and shoot cameras and all DSLR cameras will also give you a BULB feature, which lets you keep the camera shutter open as long as you want.

Winter Photography Tips

For most amateur and professional photographers alike, winter is the most difficult season for photography. The white snows and grey skies of winter make exposing a photograph correctly difficult. The weather can be hard on batteries, especially with today’s digital cameras. Above all, winters gloom and cold can make it hard to find inspiration to get outside with a camera. Don’t be discouraged, winter can provide some incredible photography opportunities!

Winter Photography Ideas:

Black and White Winter Photography

The bright whites and heavy blacks of winter lends itself to black and white photography nicely. Don’t fight with trying to get a good color photo if is not possible. You’ll be surprised how well some scenes that look crummy in color, look incredible in black & white. Most of today’s higher end cameras shoot only in color only. You convert the photograph to Black & White using image editing software. To help you get an idea of what the color photograph is going to look like in black and white, most cameras a live view option that can be set to monochrome. Make sure to use this option if your camera has it, as it can greatly help setting up your B&W shots.

A quick tip to help your Black/White photos is to remember that most good B&W pictures include at least some PURE Black and White. What I mean by this, is just don’t take shots consisting only grey scale elements, make sure to include the high contrast pure blacks and whites.

Winter Black and White Photography

Amazing Time Lapse Night Montage

This is incredible time lapse montage done by Mike Floresplus.

Timelapse Montage from Mike Flores on Vimeo.

You can visit Mikes Vimeo page to read more about the dolly system he uses to get that awesome panning movement happening.

Quick Outdoor Photography Tips

Outdoor PhotographyTip #1- Get a good Digital Camera: Digital SLRs (dSLR) are at the top end of the digital camera world.  You will want a camera that has a manual function, one that can override automatic.  You should also be able to set specific shutter speeds and aperture values.

Tip #2- Protect Your Camera:  From the outdoor elements: dust, sand, water.   Watch temperature changes. You know how glasses fog up when you come indoors on a cold winter's day?  That's what happens to your lens when you change temperature.

Tip #3- Lens: you will want your lens to cover at least 28mm while on wide angle and up to 300mm on the telephoto extreme.  For outdoor photography, you will probably want to purchase a wide angle zoom and a telephoto zoom.

Tip #4- Tripod: Having a tripod is a huge advance.  If you don't buy one, your pictures will turn out fuzzy.

Tip #5- Accessories: You may want some of the following accessories: a remote for taking pictures, polarizing filter, UV Filter, carrying case, rechargeable batteries, extra memory cards.

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