Video for Nature Photographers

I don't know how you feel, but I was never crazy about traditional video and nature work. I had worked professionally with video back in the 1980s and early 1990s and did only a little nature work with some of the cameras I was working with. Standard definition video just did not do it for nature.

With HD, this has changed a lot. When we got our first HD television set, I was so excited to see wonderful nature presented in high definition. Nature finally looked good on video.

I started shooting nature with HD video with some camcorders a few years ago, but the cameras did not match the experience of shooting with a digital SLR. So when DSLRs came out with HD video built-in, I was very excited. These cameras offer three really great features for nature photographers interested in shooting video -- full interchangeable lenses, excellent wide-angle video, excellent macro capabilities, superb video quality and a small camera/lens package. None of those things were readily available with video camcorders.

This video was shot with the 7D, Canon 50mm macro, Canon 10-22mm wide-angle zoom, plus the use of a Canon 500D achromatic close up lens on the 10-22 for wide-angle close ups.

Audio can be a problem with DSLRs. Don't use the in-camera mic -- they are all pretty much worthless. I used a Sennheiser MKE-400 shotgun mic which I would not hesitate to recommend. I like it a lot. A friend had a Rhodes mike and I did not like the results as well as my Sennheiser.

This video really points out how cool video can be. Look at these bees -- brown against brown! Not very photogenic for the single image. But put these bees in motion with sound, and they literally come alive.

About Rob Sheppard

I am proud of the work I have done as a photographer, author, naturalist and nature photographer, editor and videographer. I love the natural world, and that can be a native bee in my native plants garden as much as a visit to a national park. I am a husband of a beautiful and smart wife, a father to my outstanding son and daughter, and one who lived in Minnesota most of my life, but now loves the variety and very long growing season of Southern California. I have written and photographed a lot of books and magazine articles but what is most important to me about them is knowing that I have helped people become better photographers and gain a better connection to nature. I work to help people connect with photography and nature through speaking and as a workshop leader, too. All of this has gained me a Fellow award with the North American Nature Photography Association. Many people knew me as the long-time editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine and I am still connected with them as a contributing editor. A short list of some of the books I have done: Landscape Photography: From Snapshot to Great Shot, Magic of Digital Landscape Photography, The Magic of Digital Nature Photography, National Geographic Field Guide to Digital Photography, The Power of Black-and-White in Nature Photography and Reports from the Field (an iBook). My website is at www.robsheppardphoto.com; my blogs are at www.natureandphotography.com and www.mirrorlessnature.com.
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3 Responses to Video for Nature Photographers

  1. Jan says:

    Great video! I hope you will be adding many more of these in the future.

    I think it would be great to offer a series of these nature related videos.

  2. Josh says:

    Is there a resource for me to learn the technical stuff about DLSR video? Such as aperture, speed, focus?

    • Rob Sheppard says:

      This is new enough that there are just some new things coming out. The first books I have seen are a bit too related to video professionals. A friend of mine, Michael Guncheon, and I have a book coming on on video for photographers that will be out in January, and we are both very proud of it. We feel it does speak to photographers. Also, I will be doing a video program for Lynda.com later this year that should be available early next year.

      Rob

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