Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rocky Mountain National Park Babies

I think this years record snowfall and snow melt, along with daily rain showers made quite an impact on the vegetation available to the grazing wildlife of Rocky Mountain National Park. I have never seen so many healthy happy babies in the years I have been going there.  Love the babies and seeing so many was one of the best parts of my trip this year.
This fawn and its mother walked right in front of us.  The mother quickly ran off and left the fawn staring at us for a few seconds before following its mothers cue

Took this in the early evening when a large herd came down for the evening to graze.  These little ones had a lot of energy bottled up after a day of napping and I was glad to watch them unleash their energy.

Watched this pair from the road for awhile as they ate.  After a few minutes, they decided to move on and came toward us.  Mom stopped and gave us a stare as to say excuse us we are coming that way, so we moved on and let them by.  Its their home, we are just visitors ;-)

A large evening thunderstorm was headed our way when we came across a group of elk cows and calves. They were extremely vocal and it was amazing to listen on how they communicated.  My daughter recorded them and I am trying to figure out how to load on here.  Not sure if they were gathering in a tight group in anticipation of the storms on the way.

This one was extremely curious of us and showed no fear. We seem to notice many of the elk and moose ignoring people this year,  We witnessed the Timber Creek Campground as it was "invaded" by a group of elk and walked around campsites and giving the campers a close-up view and some great stories to tell their friends.

TWINS!!!! Absolutely adorable and quite the attraction as their mother ate.  They were in the horse pasture at Winding River Resort, so the line across the photo is the fence.  Also heard a great conversation from a couple of campers. Female camper; the mom looks a little thin
Male camper; she has twins
Female camper; I had twins and was never that thin
Male camper; She has to search and work for her food, the hardest thing you had to do was peel potatoes.

Watching his fans

Sorry had to include another...those eyes!

More playtime photos

I took 1000's of photos on this trip and if you want to take the time to look at them please feel free.  The ones posted on this site are available for purchase and will be adding more soon.

Getting ready for vacation and wanting  to learn on improving your photography skills contact me for photography lessons.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vacation Time: What camera should you buy? Part II

In the Part I five basic points were suggested in considering a camera to purchase for your vacation. Price, camera size. brand, ease of use and your subject matter. Price and brand were covered pretty much as needs to be. Just a few things to touch on.
Taken With a Sony a350

As with the price, if you think you might use your new camera in more situations after your vacation, then you might want to budget more. Do have children in you near future, nieces, nephews, yours, friends? Have you recently retired, looking for a new hobby or are you planning on traveling more in the future? Photography can be addicting. Don’t forget to budget for batteries, memory cards and camera case.

Taken with a Canon 5D MKII
A little more on camera size. Think about the nature of your vacation. Are you doing a lot of sight-seeing, shopping, camping, hiking or taking a cruise? Are you going to be in high populated areas, large crowds? Are you going to want to keep up with a large camera case? If you really want to capture your memories, you should be more willing want lug it around. Never fails when you don’t bring it, there is always a perfect photo op that you just missed.
Taken With Panasonic DMC-FZ7
Are you technically challenged, never read the manual and toss it aside or do read it cover to cover. This is where ease of use needs to be brought up. A good hint for the finding the technicality of a camera is to look at the manual before you buy. How many pages and will you read them. The thicker the manual than more frustrating it may be for someone who in a non-manual reader. Most stores won’t let you open up the box just to see the manual. But if they have a display camera, they should have a manual. If not locate the manual on-line. The more the technical a camera, in most cases the higher the price. In my opinion, if you are going to only going to shoot on auto, opt for the less expensive point and shoot rather than the DSLR.

Taken with a Sony a350
Next point to keep in mind if what will be the majority of you subject matter. Scenery, architecture, indoor, low light situation, action or even underwater. Will you be in damp or wet areas or dry and dusty. There are plenty of cameras that are marketed for certain types of situations and there are plenty that work in most. Some of the features on cameras will increase the price of the camera, so it is a feature you won’t need or want you may want to look at a few more cameras. Once again I want to remind you to check the photography restrictions on the places you want to visit.

I would  be glad you help you find a good camera to fit your needs and once you get your camera, be sure to sign up for photography lessons. If you decide that it is too much hassle to take photos, bring me along as your own personal vacation photographer and photojournalist (wink wink).

Check out these articles on popular vacation spots for photography

The attached photos were taken with:
Canon 5D Mark II  This is a great camera, but is expensive and large. Unless you are very serious about photography it alot to keep up with while on vacation.
Panasonic DMC-FZ7  Have had this camera for 6 years and it has held up great.  It is now my daughter's camera and she really enjoyes it.  Not recommended for low light.  Has a high zoom capapilites, but as with any digital zoom you loose image quality.
Sony a350 Had a lot of fun with this DSLR, was pretty easy to carry around too.

Other camera's linked on this page are just to show examples, not recommending or saying they are inferior to other similiar prodeucts.
Camera reviews DP Review 

Camera retailers
BH Photo
Don't forget to get plenty of memory for the extend of your vaction if you are unable to upload images to another source until you return home.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vacation Time: What camera should you buy? Part I

It is getting close for summer vacations and I know last year I was asked by many on what type of camera they should buy. There are 100’s even 1000’s of models of cameras so there is one to fit your needs. If you do your homework you shouldn’t be disappointed in the one you buy. If  buy the 1st one you see on sale, you might me unsatisfied.

Here is a good checklist to develop a starting point.



Ease of use

Subject matter

Price is always the first thing I ask, it gives a great starting point on where they should look. I do encourage everyone to spend just a little more than they budgeted for. Cut your vacation budget somewhere else and opt for a higher quality camera. That expensive dinner will be with you for only so long. The photos you take will last a lifetime. Of course you can always take a photo of your dinner with a camera.

Size of the camera and accessories is the next question. Do you want something that will fit in your pocket or purse or are you willing to carry a full camera bag/backpack? It also brings up another thing to consider, is the place you are going; what is the danger of theft. You don’t want to make yourself a target, as some areas see you as someone with money if you have a big expensive camera. Plus the camera itself is a target.

Brand of the cameras you are familiar with or may currently own is another question. If you already own brand X and it is highly rated, I suggest you stay with it. The reason being is you may already own accessories that will work with your current brand. Also many of the settings, button, knobs and so forth may be similar making it easier for you to use and understand.

Ease of use is important to know in case you have a good understanding of camera functions and settings or you are one of those who leave it on “Auto” all the time. Leaving it on Auto is perfectly fine; I think a majority of people do. If you are an “auto” person and I am sure not going to have you spend the extra money for a camera that has all the bells and whistles.

Knowing Subject matter is important to know what features you will need. Are you planning on taking a lot of indoor photos with low light and no flash is allowed or a bunch of landscapes. Are you the type that takes only scenery photos or do you put your friends and family in the photo too?

Warning: Do your research on where you are visiting and if they allow photos at certain venues. Don’t spend tons on a camera/lens that can take good low light photos just to find out they do not allow cameras in the building.

Coming soon: Vacation Time: What camera should you buy? Part II

Want to improve your photography, sign up for photography lessons

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wanted: Senior Reps for Class of 2012

Now is the time to sign up to be a Senior Rep for Terri Cage Photography for the all upcoming Seniors!

What is a Senior Rep?  They are an outgoing, super energetic with an upbeat attitude who loves to be in front of the camera. You will have your senior photo session done early in their senior year, preferably before their senior year starts.
We do a 2 hours session at no charge with as many fashion changes as you wish at a location of your choice or one of my favorites. You may bring a  props parents or your 2 or 4 legged friend.

What you have to do? As a Terri Cage Photography, you represent me and the images I have taken of you.  Show them to your friends, handout my cards and be excited about your photos.

What's in it for you? Besides getting your free session you will also get a free 4 x 6 "look book" with at least 20 watermarked images to show to your friends.  A free on-line gallery of your photos to choose your favorites from, Don't worry the watermark won't take away from your photos.  You will get at least 10 digital images with a watermark to post on Facebook. Great discounts on images or prints. Plus commissions and possible bonuses for everyone you refer that has photos done with Terri Cage Photography.

How do you sign up?  Send an e-mail to tcage1@earthlink,net with the following information:
Name,  school, and why you want to be a Senior Rep and what makes you stand out

Be sure to to put TCP 2012 REP in the subject line in case your e-mail goes to my spam folder.
Hurry and sign-up, reps are limited to 2 per school.  Any schools in Denton, Collin, Cooke, Wise, Tarrant, Parker, Grayson are eligible, surrounding counties will be considered.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lightning Photos: How'd I Do That?

Taking lightning photos is actually easy.  Unless you have super human lightning fast reflexes (no pun intended) it is almost impossible to catch a lightning strike by just point and shooting.
Here is what you need:
-A camera that you can set the shutter for a long exposure, Using the manual setting is good, one that has a Bulb setting is better.
-A tripod is a must!  Don't have a tripod, grab a bag of dried beans and find a solid surface.  Place your beans on the surface and then place your camera on the beans.
-If you have a remote for your camera, use it.
-A safe place- keep in mind your tripod is probably made out of metal so you are a good target if standing in an open field
My equipment for these photos
Canon 5D Mark II, Tamaron f2/8 24-70mm, Manfrotto tripod
Camera settings:
Shutter was set at 30 seconds, I could not find my remote, or I would of used the Bulb setting.  For those unfamiliar with the bulb setting, as long as you hold the shutter release button down, your shutter remains open.  Holding the button down with your hand for a long period of time will cause camera shake.
Since I was not using a remote I also set the camera timer for a 2 second delay, or else when I removed my hand after hitting the shutter button it was also cause camera shake.
ISO was set at 200, Since the shutter is open for such a long time, you are letting in alot of light.
Apeture was set at f/11
I use white balance on sunny, as I like the purple color I get.  If you want it redder changed it to cloudy.
I took these within a ten minute time period, one downfall of using the 30 second shutter setting vs the bulb setting is everytime the 30 second was over and the shutter closed  a perfect bolt of lightning covered the sky- Murphy;s Law I guess.  Since I was not able to use the bulb setting, in the last photo I combined some of the photos in Photoshop, just to see what it would look like- did this very quickly and it is not a very good photoshop example

For my safety, I set up on my back porch, which gave me cover and a good wind block. Wind can cause camera shake if your tripod isn't steady enough.
 Always consider your safety first.  

Want to learn more on photography, be sure to sign up for lessons.  Your vaction is just aound the corner- WOW your friends and create great memories with great photos!        

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blur the Background; How’d I do that?

Tips for beginners

Several of you have asked how I blur out the background in some of my photos. It’s a great way to make your subject standout for the background. I could get really technical, but will keep it simple.

Blurring the background is all about controlling your Depth of Field by using the aperture on your camera. If your camera has an aperture priority mode, this is the easiest way to achieve this. For cameras that do not have aperture priority, try using the portrait mode. Check you owner’s manual for the actual location, but the aperture mode is usually indicated by an Av, and portrait mode is usually a headshot profile silhouette.

The aperture is like the pupil of your eye and can increase and decrease in size. The size is indicated by f-stops. The smaller the f-stop the larger the aperture and the larger the f-stop the smaller the aperture. Confusing right, but there is a mathematical reason for that, but we won’t go in to that. The smallest aperture that most point and shoot cameras or cameras that come with kit lenses is f/3.5 which should work. If you want to improve the blur (or bokeh) you can find lenses that are as small as f/1.2 , but they can be quite pricey. To start out, you can get a nice f/1.8  for a very good price. The aperture also controls the amount of light that enters the camera, same as you pupil does in your eye.

Since I am trying to keep this simple, I will get back to how to blur the background. You must make the increase the aperture size. Unless you know how to put your camera on manual and adjust the shutter speed to concur with the aperture you have selective, I recommend using the aperture priority and let your camera’s internal light meter choose the shutter speed. Most of the time it gets it right, sometimes you may have to make some exposure adjustments to perfect it. The amount or quality of blurring can also depend on your camera’s sensor size, how close you are to the subject and lens.

Below are some samples of the same subject. The first set is done with a 50mm prime lens and the 2nd set is done with a 70-200mm lens set at 200mm. Even though the 70-200mm lens is large and heavy, it is my favorite and use it a majority of the time. I took the 2 side photos with it.
Photos taken with 50mm lens
At f/1.8 the front boot is in focus the back boot, starts to loose focus.  I was ~5 ft away from the boot, the back wall is ~20 feet fromt he boots
At f/4 the back boot is almost in focus, the back wall still remains out of focus

At f/8 both boots are in focus and background is starting come into focus and looking cluttered

At f/22 almost everything is in focus and now you have a snapshot. Leaving you camera on auto would probably give the same results.

Photos taken with 70-200mm at 200mm

A telephoto lens helps blurr the background even more. At f/2.8 at 200mm background is very blurred

Even at f/32 at 200mm the backgroud is still slightly blurred

Want to learn more, be sure to sign up for photography lessons and learn to create your own great portraits.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Photo Memory Books

Attached is a proof sample done through a YouTube Still has some tweaking and perfecting to

Can;t decide what photo to buy? Sometimes you want so many and prints can get costly. My suggestion; chose the one "hang over the mantle" print and get a large size print and then get the rest to go in a photobook.

Why get a photo book?

1. Prints and digital images can get costly, not to mention the frames you need to display them in. How many of you still have prints in envelopes that you haven't bought a frame for.
2. You can carry it easily to show to friends and family. I know you can do that with digital images, but this is much more personal not to mention impressive!
3. Much easier to dust than all those picture frames!
4. Add older photos to make a story and uses I can make a photo book out of your vacation photos. You must be the image owner or have permission,
5. They make great gifts for parents, grandparents and friends.
6. Unlimited ideas! Coffee table decor, graduation, weddings, baby's 1st year, special occasions, guest or sign-in tables. Horse trainer and breeders display one at your stalling area.
7. Come in many different styles and price ranges. Styles range from image wrapped soft covered to a rich feel leather bound. See price page for sizes and styles.