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The Best Editing Practices for Fossil Photos

Dinosaurs, Photography

Using an automatic photo editor to quickly take care of your fossil photos is great because it means you don’t have to put in much effort and the editor does all the work for you. But sometimes you just have to take the reins and make your editor act the way you want it to. When that happens, you need to be aware of the changes you should be focusing on making to your photos rather than getting confused in the plethora of tools at your disposal.  

Why You Need to be Careful 

First of all, let’s understand why this is important. Fossils are a physical remnant of nature. They are what help us understand this world and our own lives. To misrepresent them in any way is to misrepresent the history of the world. That is why you need to be very careful when documenting fossils in photographs. You can’t get creative with your photos like you would with other kinds of photography because you’re documenting something and not creating art.  

So, with that out of the way, let’s go over some important aspects of your images that you should be focusing on while editing: 

Exposure and Contrast 

The exposure of such photos has to be spot on for them to provide as much visual detail as possible. The first thing you should look at when opening a fossil image in an editor, therefore, is the exposure. If you shoot in RAW, which you should, you can easily adjust the exposure, brightness, and highlights of your photo without affecting the image quality negatively.  

Contrast is also an important factor. The photos have to be accurately portrayed and a balanced contrast is crucial for that. If you have too much contrast, the photo will start looking like a poster and if you have too little contrast then it will look like a vintage photo with soft details. 

Color and White Balance 

If you are taking your fossil photos in color, then it has to be realistic. You can’t just make the image more saturated because it looks better. Try to bring your photo as close to the real thing as possible. Use a color accurate screen to make your edits on too, because a display with poor color calibration will trick your eyes.  

White balance also plays a big role in how images come out. Try to set the white balance for each new space you’re shooting in to have a uniform look overall. Again, if you shoot in RAW, then you can adjust this completely in an editor.  

Noise and Sharpness 

Noise can creep into your photos at high ISO ranges, but always remember that if you have to choose between a slow shutter speed or a high ISO, go for the high ISO if the shutter speed will make your image go blurry. A noisy photo is always better than a blurry one because noise can be controlled to an extent in an editor. So, if you have ended up with a noisy photo, make sure you use noise reduction but be careful not to overdo it at all. A lot of beginners like to push the noise reduction slider to the extreme but while it does reduce noise, it also makes the fine details disappear.  

The same is the case with sharpness. A fossil should look crisp and sharp in your photos so nailing the focus during shooting is important. Don’t over-sharpen your photo later on because that just ends up making it look artificial with artifacts making a mess of your photo.  

 

With these simple suggestions, you can take much better photos of fossils. Image editors are an important part of today’s photography, but while they are amazing at all the control they provide, they can also be trickier to use than you may think. For that reason, you should follow these tips, practice your editing skills, and then apply them to finalize your photos. 

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Don’t Miss Focus on Fossils

Dinosaurs, Photography

It might seem like the simplest, most basic part of photography, but it’s shocking how many people don’t give it the attention it deserves. It doesn’t matter how properly you set up your studio to photograph fossils, it doesn’t matter how good the light is, and it doesn’t matter if you use the best HDR software to take photos outdoors.

None of it matters if you miss focus on your subject.

Make Sure You Get Focus

Once you have set up your subject and your shot, you need to make sure that your subject is in tack sharp focus. This matters more in something like fossil photography because you want to capture as much detail and realism as possible in the photo. If you miss focus, the fossil will look more like a piece of rock than anything else.

So in order to make sure you have the focus at the right point, follow these tips:

  • Move the focus point manually to the point you want to focus on. If you use a ‘wide’ setting for focusing, the camera might lock focus on some corner of the subject, making everything in the center a little blurry and unclear.
  • Use a narrow aperture to ensure that you don’t have a shallow depth of field. That way, much more of the subject’s depth will be in focus even if you focus on one part of it.
  • Focus manually if your camera can’t lock focus for some reason. If you have a mirrorless camera, you can make use of focus assist features to zoom into the frame and fine tune the focus exactly where it’s needed.
  • Use a tripod to reduce the chances of camera shake while pressing the shutter. Especially if you’re using a narrow aperture, you will need to lower the shutter speed which can introduce blurriness even if you had perfect focus to start with.

So the next time you need to document any fossils, either in a studio or outdoors, remember to pay special attention to where your camera focuses.

 

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Take Stunning Photos of Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs, Photography

Dinosaurs would have been fascinating animals if they still existed. Although, we probably wouldn’t be able to write this blog if they did. Anyway, the point is that these were massive, powerful, majestic animals that died. All they left were fossils; signs of their existence that we humans have been able to use to build full-scale models in our museums.

If you are as fascinated by dinosaurs as we are, you probably love to take photos of their skeletons at museums. We have some tips to make sure that your photos turn out great.

  • Use a Wide Lens

Dinosaur skeletons are big, museums are small, and people in these museums are aplenty. So you can’t always get the full skeleton in your frame with just any lens. That is why we suggest you use a wide angle lens that ensures you get the whole animal in your shot.

  • Shoot Low

Taking your camera lower to take a shot instead of from eye level will further enhance the scale and height of the dinosaur. Try different angles and perspectives to see what works best. Be creative with your framing and you might end up with a great-looking image.

  • Be Creative

Use creative effects to make your photograph unique. If the skeleton is placed outdoors, try HDR photography. This will ensure that your photo is well exposed and the sky doesn’t completely take over the photo. To learn more about HDR photography, head on to www.aurorahdr.com.

You can also take monochrome images for that feeling of ‘timelessness’. Taking a long exposure photo can also produce great results where the people moving around can be shown in blurs of color while the majestic skeleton looms over them.

Whatever kind of photograph you take, just make sure you do justice to the presence of these amazing creature that once ruled the earth.

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A Brief History of the Flying Reptiles

Dinosaurs, History

While commonly known as Pterodactyls, winged reptiles from the age of the dinosaurs are actually called pterosaurs. So far, scientists have been able to identify at least 130 different kinds of pterosaurs. The pterosaurs did live among dinosaurs, and many people do consider them to belong to the same species. However, these were not dinosaurs as such.

Pterosaurs were first discovered in 1784 by Cosimo Collini, an Italian scientist. In 1801, Georges Cuvier put forth the theory that these animals could fly, and the term Pterodactyl was coined for the first pterosaur that was discovered.

The Flight of Pterosaurs

These animals were originally thought to have been cold-blooded. This meant that they were more likely to have glided their way across the world rather than flying actively. Later, it was discovered that some varieties actually had furry coats which suggested that they were actually warm-blooded.

In a study in 2010, it was revealed that these animals had very powerful muscles for flying. These muscles also allowed to walk on all fours, unlike smaller birds. They propelled themselves into the air with the use of these muscles and then stayed airborne, reaching speeds over 100 kilometers per hour.

The Anatomy of Pterosaurs

While the physical characteristics of different animals of this kind varied, pterosaurs usually had long necks. Some of them had pelican-like pouches in their necks as well. Their skulls were long and their teeth were like sharp needles.

One of the most characteristic features of a Pterosaur’s anatomy was the crest on their head. However, there were many different kinds of crests amongst the different species. Some had bony crests that were big and strong while others had very fleshy ones. Some even had crests consisting of membranous structures. The purpose of these crests is still unknown, but scientists have proposed that they may have been used for regulating heat or to help with maneuvering during flight.

 

Pterosaurs were really interesting animals that went extinct along with the dinosaurs a long time ago. Learning about these animals, discovering new things about them is very important for our understanding of the word and the nature that existed before us. While we still don’t know everything there is to know about these magnificent animals, there is a lot being uncovered slowly but surely.

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Follow these Tips to Photograph Fossils

History, Photography

What’s better for a photographer who loves history to get their hands on some prehistoric fossils? Fossils are amazing. They hold within themselves stories that are countless years old. They tell us about things we could never otherwise even imagine. So when it comes to taking photos of these prehistoric fossils, it needs to be done right.

  • Use a Black Background

You can’t just place a fossil somewhere random and start taking photos. You have to be careful with it. Bring it to your studio, create a black background, and then shoot. A black backdrop is important because it will not affect the actual colors or tones of the fossil and will let the details come through in the photos.

  • Check your White Balance

A lot of photographer forget to take care of their camera’s white balance when shooting something like a fossil. In order to record the fossil as close to its actual form as possible, your white balance needs to be very precise. If you don’t know how to set the white balance on your camera, just shoot in RAW (which you should be doing anyway) so you can alter this later on.

  • Soft Flash Helps

Many fossils have colors and minerals in them. A soft flash will go a long way in bringing these details out. Be careful not to use flash directly on the fossil as this will likely wash out all details and ruin the colors. Use a diffuser and make the light softer and experiment with what works best. These kind of little tweaks will help you a lot in taking realistic photos prehistoric fossils.

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Ever Wondered Why Prehistoric Animals Were So Big?

Dinosaurs, History

If you’ve ever had the chance to visit some of the best dinosaur museums in the U.S., chances are you’ve seen a huge skeletal dinosaur roaring in the central lobby. These massive animals once probably once thrived right where these museums stand today. Ironic right? Anyway, have you ever wondered why and how these animals, and so many others from the prehistoric era, got so big? Let’s find out.

(By the way, if you ever want to photograph these majestic skeletons, you can use the HDR functionality of your camera to produce some really detailed images, or visit this website to learn how to make HDR photos manually.)

Generally Accepted Explanations

Not before long, there were two simple explanations that hoped to answer this question. One of these stated that the larger sizes of the animals were due to environmental factors, like a higher rate of oxygen in the air and larger land masses. Another widely accepted theory, known as Cope’s Rule, stated that these animals had evolved such long periods of time that they grew bigger and bigger. This Rule basically said that animals keep growing larger the longer they evolve. So when the dinosaurs perished, newer and smaller animals took their place.

Other theories suggested that the herbivorous dinosaurs evolved to be so large because the flora of that time was extremely tough, so a larger frame was needed to involve more bacteria in the longer digestive tract to break down the food. Bulky bodies would also have been an asset to the dinosaurs in colder climates, so that can also be a reason for their larger sizes.

Recent Theories Differ

After recent studies of various fossils, it has been found that dinosaurs of different sizes coexisted, and many species actually grew smaller as time passed, not larger. After these evidences put the previous theories in doubt, scientists came up with a newer idea that related to the bone and lung structure of the large prehistoric animals.

This new theory suggest that large animals, like the Supersaurus that might have weighed as much as 45 tons, had bones with pockets of air inside them. These air pockets helped them from collapsing as their sizes grew over time. Another factor that contributed to their larger sizes was the efficiency of their respiratory systems.

Our Own Massive Animal

However, when we take into account the might blue whale, it puts even the Supersaurus to shame. The whale is between 89 and 98 feet long, weighing around 150 tons. It’s the largest animal that has ever lived on this planet, which is a very clear indication of the fact that such massive animals were not only confined to the prehistoric times. The whale can get so heavy without collapsing because of the buoyancy that helps it in the water.

 

No one really knows why exactly the prehistoric animals got so big, but whatever the answer is, you cannot help but get awestruck by the presence and size of these animals every time you visit a museum that showcases their history and anatomy.

 

 

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Cave Paintings by Prehistoric Men – Why Did They Do It?

Cave Paintings
Cave Paintings by Prehistoric Men – Why Did They Do It?

You must have seen so many cave arts whenever you have travelled around a cave, or might have heard about them or read about them – but have you ever wondered why did they do it? What made them feel so artistic about their lives that they felt like making paintings in the wall and then left all of us wondering the reasons behind the art or what do those paintings even mean?

Although historians and anthropologists and others tried a lot to take out one simple answer for the same, we still do not have an exact reason why did they come up with those cave arts. While some say that this was their way to depict their lifestyle, or convey their message to the other generations, some others say that this was their way to communicate or to keep a track of their own way while they have been traveling.

However, although no one is still yet sure, and all of these are just hypothetic arguments, here are the top two theories –

  • They just wanted to draw – You know, just like they wanted to draw something, some of the artistic minds felt like drawing so they did the drawings. But then again, this could be just another hypothetic argument but since new discoveries have come out, it doesn’t make any more sense because turns out, people actually have invested lots more time and effort on this art. Just a mere way of spending the spare time cannot be this fruitful!
  • They wanted to make a prehistoric encyclopedia – If you look at those cave arts, you could actually see that their whole life has been depicted on those arts. They wanted to preserve all the information – the animals they used to see for the first time – the things they invent or discover – about the changing weather or about the new place they have just moved into – they wanted to keep everything as a book. This is another hypothetic theory the experts want to believe.

The cave arts by the prehistoric people have been amazingly captured in various photographs by various professional photographers. These are indeed very beautiful worth saving for!

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