Squash Bee Image For Penn State Agricultural

The History of Penn State's Nittany Lion Logo

Great news, my image of a Squash Bee (taken 2014 in Lafayette, Sussex County NJ) has been selected for inclusion in a Penn State Agricultural brochure on pollination.

It is important to accurately label and identify your nature photography subjects because you never know who is looking! My image was found on my old Flickr site.

Blue-faced Meadowhawk in NJ

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Blue-faced Meadowhawk
Cox Hall Creek WMA, Cape May County NJ
September 2014
Visit Cox Hall Creek (now part of Cape Island WMA) https://ebird.org/hotspot/L350765?yr=cur&m=&rank=mrec

Ring-necked Snake in Rockaway NJ

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Ring-necked Snake
Rockaway Township NJ, 06/2014
Taken on a rainy morning about 5 years ago, it seemed that this small snake was out hunting insects.
More info on Ring-necked Snakes – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring-necked_snake

Wildlife Filming Equipment

Wildlife Filming Equipment

Tamron 150-600mm VC Telephoto Lens
Canon EOS 60D
Rode VideoMic GO microphone (just purchased from Unique Photo in Fairfield NJ)

Equipment used for shot:
Canon EOS 7D DSLR Camera.
Tamron 90mm VC Macro Lens.
Cowboy Studio Fluorescent Light + Window Light

Macro flash and video LED setup

Macro flash and video LED setup

Canon 7D + Tamron 180mm SP Macro lens. A straight flash bracket is attached to the camera body, my Canon Speedlite 270exII is mounted on top of a Giottos mini ballhead. The Speedlite head is covered by my homemade diffuser (actually a plastic coffee “tin”), and today I glued a cold shoe mount on top of the diffuser to mount a Manfrotto ML120 Pocket-12 LED Light for shooting macro videos at night.

Lies brand t-shirt photoshoot

DRB Photo Gear

Dave Blinders Strobes, Camera, and Lens

I did a quick inpromptu photoshoot last night in Northern New Jersey for my friend Joe who runs his own small skateboarding T-shirt business in his spare time. Knowing in advance that I’d be working in close confines, I thought one Alien Bees AB800 Strobe with a stripbox style box, a Canon 580exII with Opteka grid, my Canon 60D dslr, and Tamron 18-270mm VC lens would allow me plenty of diversity and lighting and composing options.

rimlighting portraiture by drb

Joe in rim lighting

Tamron 18-270mm VC, Canon 60D, and gridded 580ExII off-camera to subject’s left

girls holding skateboard

Korynne and Carmela holding skateboard deck

Tamron 18-270mm, Canon 60D, and AB800 w/ stripbox angled slightly from camera right

man in skate tee

Joe wearing his own branded T-shirt

Tamron 18-270mm Lens, Canon 60D, Gridded Canon 580exII Speedlight angled from slightly above subject

girl in skateboard t-shirt

Korynne in navy blue Lies T-shirt

Tamron 18-270mm VC, Canon 60D, AB800 strobe slightly above and right of subject

man in skateboarding t-shirt

Joe wearing one of his designs in white

Tamron 18-270mm VC Lens, Canon 60D, Gridded 580exII Speedlight aimed towards subject’s chest, AB800 on minimum power from subject’s right

girl in skateboard t-shirt

Carmela wearing black Lies t-shirt

Tamron 18-270mm Lens, Canon 60D, AB800 in stripbox slightly above and right of subject

girl in skateboard tank top

Korynne wearing blue Lies tank top

Tamron 18-270mm VC Lens, Canon 60D, 580exII Speedlight w/ Opteka Grid coming in from camera left

If you have any questions about the equipment, techniques, clothing line, or contacting the models please leave your information in the comments section or contact me via facebook.

Self-Critique on a photo I took today


From a VERY quick walk in this frigid weather.

Instinctively, I critique all of my photos on a technical and compositional basis when I review them.

Sometimes I notice things I couldn’t see through the viewfinder. In this particular shot, the small brown blur towards to the top left is an “error” in my opinion. It’s probably a distant dead leaf, and I feel it detracts a bit from the photo.

I would have removed it physically if I had noticed through the viewfinder. However, I do not like to alter my nature shots in post-processing, and I prefer not to crop. I do my best to present the scene as it was. I did though, move the feather from a pricker bush on the ground, to an elevated and isolated branch to make the shot. It blew away seconds later and I’m lucky I got a shot at all.

I did shoot a few frames at an aperture of F/4 also (presented shot is F/2.8).  The increased aperture brought nice detail into the feather, however I did not like the background elements that starting coming into focus.

Minimalism in Nature

Went for a walk in one of my favorite nature areas in New Jersey yesterday morning, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation in Jefferson.  Optimistically, I had a wildlife lens mounted, and my macro flash unit also ready to go for smaller critters.  However, no opportunities like that materialized for me.

I noticed a bare sapling near the mostly frozen stream’s edge, and originally thought I’d isolate the entire sapling against the simple background.  I shot a few broader frames, but felt they all lacked any prominent shapes or visual guidance.  I zoomed in a bit with my zoom lens and also my tripod to see how this small single branch with a nice diagonal orientation and prominent juttings could possibly fill the frame.

I liked the frame, but the remaining problem was one unsightly rock just barely jutting from the ice’s surface.  Next step was locating a leaf in decent shape, and using a stick to push it into position to mask the rock.  Little did I know, the now juxtaposed leaf would become my favorite part of the shot.  A polarizing filter was also necessary to remove glare, especially since a small layer of melt water was sitting on top of the ice and reflecting sunlight and the surrounding trees.

New Jersey Nature Photo

Branch, Ice, and Leaf

Tamron 18-270mm VC lens @ f/16, 1/20s, ISO 200 on a tripod mounted Canon 50D.  Mirror lock-up and camera timer used to maximize sharpness.