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The beauty and power of lightning has fascinated me since I was a kid. So it should probably not have been a surprise I would end up in Florida, the lightning capital of the United States. My home lies in an area that has received the distinction of being called “Lightning Alley”, with more strikes per square mile recorded annually in the corridor from Tampa to Titusville than anywhere else in the US, the second most world-wide!  

Despite having the possibility of lightning nearly any day of the year, it’s still a difficult thing to find and photograph successfully. It’s also an extremely dangerous thing to photograph, it’s by far the number one cause of weather related deaths in my neck of the woods. These tips and techniques will help keep you safe, while helping you get a crack at capturing those bolts out of the blue!

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I have a new article published today on Photofocus, titled “Wade Right In: A Nature Photographer’s Guide to Wading to Get the Best Shot”. Here’s a sneakpeek… ” …” Check out the rest of the article at this link: Wade

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I have a new article published today on Photofocus, titled “The Life Cycles Approach to Wildlife Photography – Part 2: Capturing the Complete Picture”. Here’s a sneakpeek… ” …” Check out the rest of the article at this link: The

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Every chance you have with a wild animal in front of your lens is an opportunity not just to capture split-second moments of action or behavior, but to also learn more about its life story. The things this creature does daily to survive and thrive in an often harsh world. As photographers, we are storytellers. By telling an animal’s tale through your photography, you reveal one of countless stories being played out as part of a greater whole within the place this animal calls home. Not just the story of an animal, but also a family, a species, an ecosystem, and a planet.

In this article, I’ll share tips on creating wildlife photography through capturing life cycles and histories, all those intimate moments that help define the lives of wild animals. Wildlife photography from a life cycles approach not only gives structure and purpose to your photography, but also adds to the broader knowledge about these creatures, necessary to understand and protect them. Every time you create a wildlife photo, you can help educate others about the general awesomeness that is nature, and the specific awesomeness that is this animal. Pretty cool when you think about it that way! (Have I mentioned I truly love what I do and this is one of the big reasons why! )

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Nature is extraordinarily complex and beautiful, it is easy to forget in our modern world just how powerful its forces are.  But, being a nature photographer presents constant, humbling reminders of this fact! A large part of what drives me is wanting to experience every facet of nature, then create and share images of these forces at work.  In doing so I am often going into potentially dangerous situations for me and my gear.  

In my part of the world, wildfires are a necessity to the health of our ecosystems. But, they are, to put it bluntly, scary as @#$%!  Dangerous, fast, and unpredictable, shooting them requires gear and techniques that let you react quickly to the situation to keep yourself out of harm’s way, and out-of-the-way of the responder’s managing the scene.  Here is how I capture images and video of one of nature’s most beautifully dangerous forces, wildfire.

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There are places that can be too difficult to stay with a camera and shoot, there are events that are too dangerous to be around when they occur, and there are animals that are too shy of humans to ever get near to photograph. This is when photographers turn to using Photo or Camera Traps, a way to capture these types of images or video from a distance by remote control.  

In part 1 of this series, I covered the fundamentals of creating a simple remote camera trap. Now that you have that skill in your proverbial photography toolbox, let’s talk about more advanced setups and how to use the Platypod to support multi-light nighttime photo traps and remote video capture.

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Go out into the great outdoors. Find a place that animals like to hang out when people aren’t around. Set up your camera to automatically a photo of them when they do show up. Leave it there. Come back tomorrow and see if you got any shots. Repeat it all over again until you get the shots you need. Welcome to Remote Camera Traps!

In previous articles I’ve shared the different ways I’ve used Platypods in my photography. Possibly one of the best uses I have found is in helping set up a successful remote camera trap. The Platypod adds flexibility to the placement of your camera and lighting equipment that can make your trapping endeavors much more likely to pay off with great images.

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Recently I came across a thread on social media proclaiming all cemetery shoots were disrespectful and should be prohibited.  Being a.) an artist and b.) someone who likes to debate everything, I was surprised by this stance.  I’m endlessly fascinated by the stories in these places, the history, and the artistry of the headstones and statues. So, personally, it had never occurred to me that photography in a cemetery would be a bad thing.  But, I understand how others might object, and I do have a personal set of guidelines to follow to make sure I am respecting the memory, families, and friends of those who are interred there.  

I know when Halloween approaches, the temptation to head to the nearest cemetery for a holiday themed photo shoot is very tempting.   This can be a very sensitive subject, and I certainly do not encourage people to seek out the nearest mausoleum for their photo shoot just because its October.  But, done with respect, photography in these places can be powerful, compelling, and artistic. Here are my “do’s and don’ts” of photographing cemeteries and other sacred places.

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Being an outdoor/adventure/”hike all over the place” type of photographer, I love any gear that can do more than one job, without weighing a ton.  When you have to backpack everything in, you learn to simplify and use as much multipurpose lightweight gear, as possible.
One trick I have learned is to turn my Oben travel tripod into a light stand for flashes or continuous lights.  At just a few pounds, it’s light enough to hike with, and serves double duty as either a camera or flash support. This versatility means it gets a place in my pack, instead of staying home with more specialized gear that won’t make the hike.

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Most photographers will tell you that a good tripod is one of the most important equipment investments you can make for your photography.  But, just owning one isn’t enough to give you better pictures.  You have to have the right one to fit your photography, as well as know how to use it properly.  

For as much time as we spend discussing and dissecting our settings, we often don’t think about the physical mechanics of how we take pictures.  Over the years of running photo workshops and pursuing my own photos, I have seen many mistakes and mishaps with tripods, some resulting in pretty serious damage to pricey gear.  These are some of the most common I’ve encountered (or accidentally committed), so you can avoid not only the pain of a missed shot, but worse, a toppled tripod and a crashed camera.  

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