Photos of the Week: 3/28/2019! Places to stay if you love animals!


Where to Stay if You Love Animals
If your idea of the perfect vacation includes the company of majestic beasts or exotic species, you should choose your destination and your hotel accordingly. These hotels, lodges, and resorts make it easy to enjoy the company of some of the rarest and most spectacular animal species in the world. 
Photo compliments of Walt Disney World

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in Orlando, Florida
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge lets you “step into the heart of Africa” without leaving the U.S. This property boasts 4 lush savannahs with roaming zebras, giraffes, gazelles, kudu, and flamingos. In between trips to Disney parks, you can learn about these exotic animals during fun programs led by animal scientists. 
Photo by: Lauren Bowman

Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas
There are many reasons to book a stay at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, including its gorgeous beaches, on-site casino, and award-winning waterpark. Animal lovers will also love the property’s expansive aquariums, which are home to sea turtles, sharks, jellyfish, six-foot Moray eels, and plenty of other unique sea life.
Photo by: Nassau Paradise Island

Occidental Grand Xcaret in Riviera Maya, Mexico
Occidental Grand Xcaret is a family-friendly all-inclusive resort that sits next door to one of Mexico’s best eco-parks — Xcaret. This park boasts nightly shows and entertainment, authentic Mexican food, underground rivers, a butterfly pavilion, an aviary with many species of birds, and a coral reef aquarium teeming with tropical fish.
Photo by: Barcelo Hotel group

Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort in Costa Rica
Set along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, the Los Suenos Marriott is home to many unique animals including giant iguanas, macaws, and monkeys. Most of these animals live in the wild on the resort’s award-winning golf course, La Iguana Golf Club. 
Photo by: Marriott International

Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya
This exclusive boutique hotel in Nairobi, Kenya sits on 12 acres of private land set among 140 acres of indigenous forest that hosts a herd of wild giraffes. These tall and gentle creatures are known for visiting the property at any time of day or night with the hope of getting a treat.
Photo by Getty Images

Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York
If your idea of a vacation involves spending time with rescued animals, add the Farm Sanctuary in the Finger Lakes district of New York to your agenda. This sanctuary is home to numerous cows, goats, sheep, pigs, and horses that were saved from deplorable conditions or death. You can book a tiny home or cabin and get to know these animals better. 
Photo by: Brandtbolding / istock / Getty images Plus

Grand Wailea in Maui, Hawaii
Maui’s Grand Wailea Resort may be a luxury property at its core, but it offers a unique opportunity for travelers who love humpback whales. Maui’s “whale season,” which runs from December 15th to May 15th each year, brings hundreds of whales directly to the shores of the Grand Wailea. This makes it easy to catch a glimpse or watch frolicking whales all day long — no whale watching excursion required.
Photo by: 2019 Hilton

Renaissance Aruba Resort in Aruba
Love flamingos more than any other animal? Book a stay at the Renaissance Aruba Resort to gain access to its private island — Renaissance Island. This island paradise is home to a handful of wild pink flamingos that will entertain you all day long. You can even buy food on-site and feed them yourself.
Photo by: Renaissance Aruba resort

Robert’s Grove Beach Resort in Belize
The tiny country of Belize is known as one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world, and Robert’s Grove Beach Resort lets you get in on the action. This property boasts 72 rooms, suites, and villas, and three outdoor pools. You also get access to a full-service marina and a PADI 5-star dive shop, along with the opportunity to see tropical fish, stingrays, nurse and reef sharks, and other wildlife.
Photo by: Tomasz Dutkiewicz / istock / Getty images plus

Red Mountain Resort in Utah
With proximity to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Snow Canyon State Park, Utah’s Red Mountain Resort is ideal for travelers who love hiking, biking, and getting close to nature. Animals you may see in the wild include deer, bighorn sheep, elk, bird, rabbits, wild foxes, bats, and more.  
Photo by: lightphoto / istock / Getty images plus

Conrad Rangali Island in the Maldives
While the Maldives is mostly known for its luxury resorts, this region of the world is also popular for animal lovers. Visitors to Conrad Rangali Island in the Maldives can snorkel with whales, stingrays, and dozens of species of tropical fish. They can also relish in the company of sea life in an undersea hotel room or in the world’s most luxurious underwater eatery, Ithaa Undersea Restaurant.
Photo by: 2019 Hilton

Makanyane Safari Lodge in South Africa
The Makanyane Safari Lodge is located on 1,800 hectares of private land in South Africa and an absolute haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Guests who stay in the property’s luxury suites may encounter any number of the “Big Five” game — lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants, and buffalo — along with wild birds and other small animals.
Photo by: AOosthuizen /istock/ Getty images plus

State Game Lodge in South Dakota
The State Game Lodge is the largest resort in Custer State Park, which is home to abundant wildlife including American Bison, elk, mountain goats, antelope, mule deer, coyotes, and more. Book a trip to this South Dakota lodge for a week of camping, fishing, and wildlife tours led by knowledgeable guides. 
Photo by: Tonda / istock / Getty images plus

Westin Princeville Resort in Kauai, Hawaii
The north shore of Kauai is known for its spectacular Napali Coast views and luxury resorts, but you’ll also find wild animals everywhere you turn. The Westin Princeville is home to most of the island’s struggling Nene population, which is the endangered state bird of Hawaii. Whales can be seen frolicking in local waters during winter months, and wild albatrosses with wingspans of up to 11 feet nest nearby.
Photo by: maximkabb / istock / Getty images Plus

Four Seasons Resort in Bora Bora
As you plan your animal-themed trip, don’t forget to include Bora Bora on your list. This far-flung luxury destination is home to numerous resorts with plenty of wildlife. The Four Seasons Bora Bora boasts its own coral reef project and an interior lagoon that is teeming with tropical fish. You can also book a boat excursion to swim with reef sharks and stingrays in some of the clearest water in the world.
Photo by: MaRabelo / istock / Getty images plus

This presentation was originally presented on MSN and by:

This is blog # 945



Spring is here, and the first thing you will usually want to take photos of, are all the new beautiful flowers blooming. Here are some tips on how to do successful flower photography:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell

Short of ideas and inspiration when you want to go out and shoot some photographs? If you have a garden, then step outside your door and into a world of inspiration. There is just so much to shoot—and right on your doorstep. Here are some great keys to having fun as you learn digital photography in your backyard.

Photo by Property#1; ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/125-second exposure.

I have always enjoyed shooting in my garden, as there are so many different subjects and ideas. But of course, flowers are most times the winners; with their amazing colors, it’s always time for photos. Let’s take a look at some ideas.


Don’t just stand in front of a beautiful flower bed and press the shutter button expecting amazing images. It doesn’t happen like that. Besides the fact that most amateur photographers do this, it just doesn’t make a great image. Think before you shoot. Move around and use your feet this time instead of your head. If there is an obstruction, move it or climb over it. It’s your job to get the shot. Once you see what your images look like from different angles, you’ll be hooked for life.


If you haven’t already taken photos while on your stomach or on your back, then swallow your pride and try it out. Of course if you are in your own garden then it’s no problem. Getting down low allows you to explore an angle that is seldom used. How many people do you see lying down in public on their stomachs or backs? If you could see the great photos that result from these embarrassing positions, you’d be doing it all the time. I still get a little shy when shooting like this in public, though.

“Rain drops on the petal” captured by Pavlina Jane


Get up nice and high by climbing a tree or raising your hand above your head and shooting. By doing this, your perspective changes totally. You can shoot like this zoomed in or using a wide angle. Either way will result in a unique image. Just standing on a chair or a short ladder will add a new dimension to your garden photography. A quick tip here—always maintain your self-awareness and know where you are at all times. You don’t want to step back off a chair or ladder.


Don’t be afraid to clean up a little or do a bit of spring cleaning in the area where you’re shooting. Tidy up the leaves on the ground and remove any dead foliage. This clutter is not necessary in the image, and you probably would’ve cleaned it anyway if you were doing the gardening. There’s nothing worse than an out of place brown leaf in a colorful photo. You can even use a little garden wire to support a flower so that it stays in the right place against your background.

Photo by Thomas Tolkien; ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/2000-second exposure.


Often when we are doing flower photography we forget that by getting close up the depth of field gets shallower and we need longer shutter speeds to let in enough light. Hand holding at a slow shutter speed means more vibration and a blurry image. A tripod allows you to slow down the shutter speed and get zero movement from your hand

Flower photography in the garden is very rewarding. Be prepared to experiment and break the rules. Who knows, you might come up with some stunning shots. If after the first time you don’t succeed, keep trying. Practice make perfect, as the old adage goes. Happy shooting!

About the Author:
Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years and has written three books on photography. He has produced 
21 Steps to Perfect Photos: a program of learner-based training using outcomes based education.

Here are a few more flower photos for your entertainment:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell

Spring will often have a few snow flurries. That makes for great photos too.

This is blog #944


If you are old enough to have used a film camera, you know why people needed lens filters in order to accomplish visual effects in their images.  Back in the film days, you had limited control over white balance or ISO. Once you selected your film from the available film stock, and put it in your camera, you were stuck with a roll (24 or 36 exposures) of single ISO negative or slide film that was probably daylight balanced. In order to not waste money, you did everything you could to carefully mete out your images and make the most of them.

Most film was daylight balanced so getting it right in-camera was critical

Back in the day

To help you make great images in the film days, you needed certain filters to help fix your white balance, and neutral density (ND) filters to allow you to slow your shutter speeds down. That was then, this is now. With the advent of digital cameras and the high-powered abilities of most image editing software, you can accomplish digitally much of the work that filters used to do.  Is there still a place in modern digital photography for optical lens filters?

The answer is yes, but only for a few specific types of filters. In fact, you may find it difficult to get many filters in your local camera store that would have been readily available in the film camera days.  Most bricks and mortar camera stores carry few filters. The more unusual filters might be found in the bargain bin section, next to the books on how to use your new Canon 5D mark 1 (hint: that is an old digital camera).

Some filters have to be really large to accommodate wide angle lenses

Types of Optical Lens Filters

I find that optical lens filters break down into six general types: UV/skylight filters, color modifiers, special effects, specialty filters, ND filters (including graduated), and circular polarizers. Most optical filters can be replaced by digital processes, either in the camera itself or in post-production. Some optical filters are really big and all take up space in your bag.

Ultraviolet (UV) or Skylight filters

Let’s consider UV or skylight filters. Film stock was often sensitive to UV light so it was important to protect your film by using a filter so that UV light wouldn’t make the images hazy.  Modern digital cameras are not susceptible to UV light interfering with their sensors as there are already UV and IR filters built into the cameras (we will discuss the importance of this later). Today, UV or skylight filters serve a completely different purpose: many photographers use them to protect the front element of their lenses.

A UV or Skylight Filter will protect your lens front element

UV/Skylight filters as lens protection

As an aside, there are two schools of thought regarding UV or skylight filters. Some argue that putting a cheap filter in front of a really expensive lens significantly degrades the optical properties of your lens and that most good quality lenses have great coatings and are quite robust.  Alternatively, others would prefer to replace a $100 filter than replace a $2000 lens. While I agree you should never use cheap filters, I do tend to think that if you use good filters they do protect your investment in much more expensive lenses. I have replaced lots of filters that were shattered from an impact. In all of those cases, the front lens elements were protected from contact by the filter. I am not sure that would have occurred without the sacrificial filters.

Regardless, since these UV/skylight filters don’t cause any significant changes to your image, they really are only useful for physical lens protection.

A warming filter to adjust white balance

Color filters

Color filters were another common filter used with film cameras for simple color correction. Back in the film days, the film stock was mostly daylight balanced so if your images were taken in non-daylight conditions, you would need to use a color filter to correct your white balance. Although film processors had some ability to adjust the white balance in the lab, back then – today too, for that matter – it was always easier when you got things right in camera. Color filters are still available but are more of a novelty item, used for a specific effect, often in concert with gelled flashes and strobes. They are also still used for film cameras, instant cameras, and for specific applications like underwater photography.

Special effects filters

Once upon a time, there were lots of special effects filters that would produce in-camera special effects like grids, streaks, and starbursts. These all still work on digital cameras, however, most of these effects can be digitally produced, reducing the need for the optical filter. Many film shooters will take their images and then scan them to edit them, so the extra effort and cost of using special effects filters seem unnecessary. They are also difficult to find.

Rectangular Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Neutral Density Filters – Graduated

The next filter type to consider is the neutral density filters, commonly used by landscape photographers (both film and digital). These divide into two groups: graduated neutral density filters and overall neutral density filters. Acting like sunglasses for your camera, graduated neutral density filters are all neutral colored – they should impart little color change – and darken only part of the image. Graduated filters help deal with the dynamic range of your sensors, particularly when shooting into scenes that are very bright and very dark in the same view. Most modern digital cameras have a dynamic range of about 10 – 14 stops whereas your eyes are more like 20 stops. Keep in mind that this is not really a fair comparison because our eyes work quite differently from camera sensors. Graduated neutral density filters can usually be applied in post-processing. Although, if the dynamic range is really huge, it often means you can take one image rather than multiple images that need to be composited (this is what HDR images really are).

The left shows the image normally processed with the right having a digital neutral density filter

Neutral Density Filters – Non-Graduated

neutral density filter (non-graduated) is the first optical filter type that does things that cannot be easily duplicated, either in camera or in post-production. At least not all of its functions. While it is certainly possible to darken your images digitally in post, a non-graduated neutral density filter allows you to take images that your camera would not allow you to take in full sunlight. In full sun, it may be so bright that you may not be able to stop your lens down and slow your shutter down sufficiently to get motion to blur. Non-graduated neutral density filters allow you to slow your shutter speed down in the field when conditions are bright. You will be able to take images of moving subjects in bright locales and blur the motion to create interesting effects.  For example, waterfalls are often shot using a non-graduated neutral density filter. Neutral density filters are often measured in stops to indicate the number of stops you can slow things down. At the extreme end of the non-graduated neutral density filters are the specialty filters used for photographing solar eclipses. Without these strong filters, the sun can permanently damage camera sensors.

Neutral Density Filters on the front element of the lens

Smooth water motion with a non-graduated neutral density filter for longer exposures

Specialty filters

The second optical filter type that cannot be duplicated in post-processing or in-camera are specialty filters related to UV and IR light.  By default, cameras have filters on their sensors that cut UV and IR light out so that only visible light is recorded. However, it is possible to get these filters removed (you have to send your camera body away) to allow you to shoot UV-only, full spectrum (which includes UV, visible and IR), or IR-only images. Once this is done, your modified camera is generally limited to that particular use, but the images it produces can be quite interesting. By using specialty filters on a modified camera body that allows for full spectrum, you can control what portion of the spectrum is visible in your images. There are cut filters that allow full spectrum sensors to only see UV, visible light or IR spectrum. These filters cannot be duplicated in post-processing.

Slight neutral density cast for a circular polarizer

Circular Polarizers

The final optical filter type that cannot be duplicated in post-processing is a circular polarizer.  There are actually two types of polarizers, linear and circular. They both cut the same light out but circular polarizers can rotate an allow you to find the optimal orientation whereas linear polarizers are fixed (you should only use circular polarizers unless you know what you are doing). Circular polarizers do two things: cut down reflections and increase contrast. Some also act as a weak neutral density filter. When light hits a metallic or watery surface, the reflected light tends to be polarized (all the light is vibrating in the same direction). The circular polarizer lets you filter out this polarized light. You do this by turning the filter.  The change can be quite dramatic, and it cannot be achieved in any practical sense through post-processing. In addition, because there is always some polarized light in the atmosphere, the filter will make the colors in your images punchier. This is a secondary feature of polarizers but adds to their use. Colors just pop more.  Different brands and types alter how much this occurs. In general, you can’t go wrong using a circular polarizer, particularly for landscape photography.

Circular Polarizers help control reflections


Many filters that were used with film cameras are not really required anymore because of the ability to control white balance and ISO. Other filters created effects that can easily be duplicated using image editing software like Photoshop. Despite this there are a few filter types that cannot be replaced by processes applied in post, thus they remain vital tools in your photographer’s toolbox.

The post Have Digital Filters Replaced the Need for Physical Lens Filters? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mark C Hughes.

This is blog #943