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Special Live Chats on AOL


George D Lepp

Photography and Digital Imaging

May 5, 1999

Moderator: Davinder Khanna

George Lepp has been a working professional photographer specializing in illustrative and outdoor photographic subjects. Considerable time is also spent lecturing, teaching and consulting throughout the United States on both photographic and digital imaging subjects. Mr. Lepp's stock photography is represented worldwide by Tony Stone Images, Corbis, Photo Researchers and Natural Selection.

Visit Mr. Lepp's excellent web site which not only contains information on outdoor & nature photography but also equipment reviews and digital imaging tips. Lepp and Associates 

Mr. Lepp is a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara. The first three years were spent with the University of California, Davis Campus, as supervisor of Illustration Services. George worked as a commercial photographer and continued to develop his natural history photography. 

The lectures, seminars, and workshops on nature and outdoor photography and digital imaging are given throughout the U.S. and Canada and are sponsored by companies like Canon, Kodak, and Outdoor Photographer Magazine. Some past locations for workshops have been Alaska; Antarctica; California’s Central Coast; Churchill, Manitoba, Canada (polar bears); Mono Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California; Olympic National Park, Washington; and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

George Lepp’s writings are included in each issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine, where he is the Field Editor and has the column Tech Tips. In addition, George is Field Editor for the new publication PCPhoto. His own publication, The Natural Image, is a quarterly journal that covers both equipment and techniques for nature photography.


GSTDKhanna: Hello everyone, thanks for joining us tonight. I am pleased to welcome you to our chat series "Parks & People Live." The topic of tonight's chat is "Nature Photography & Digital Imaging." 

We are honored to have with us George Lepp (GDLepp) as our guest. George has a wealth of experience in wildlife and nature photography, national parks, and digital imaging. George will share his expertise and will answer your questions.

Before we begin, I would like to thank Arlie from George Lepp's side and GSTDPaint, GSTDCarol, and Ada Piro for their assistance in making this event possible.

So, let us welcome our guest, George Lepp, and begin our session.

GDLepp: It's a pleasure to be here.

Slidetaker: I have a 2-parter. I hear you have a new book out?

GDLepp: The book is Beyond the Basics II. A continuation of Beyond the Basics.

Slidetaker: What's the address of your web site?

We cover tests and general information on nature and digital photography.

GSTDKhanna: George, do you enjoy photographing national parks? What's your favorite national park?

GDLepp: My favorite national park is Denali, in Alaska.

SuzyDuke: I'm going to Denali in July. Could you recommend a particular area of the park that I can't miss?

GDLepp: Suzy, the wildflowers along the road are quite good that time of the year. 

BETHEREF8: Do you still feel that Sony Trinitron monitor is the industry standard and do you favor Mac or PC for first time computer purchase?

GDLepp: I'm using a 21" Sony at this very moment. We work completely on PCs. Both PC and Mac work great. I favor PC because more software is available for photography.

Msmont321: George, did you receive any formal training in Photography?

GDLepp: I have a degree from Brooks Inst. (BA) in Santa Barbara, CA

IcePucks: I'm going to Bryce and Zion tomorrow for 4 days. Any "special" tips for the area?

GDLepp: Start early and end late. The early morning light seems to be the best.

Fstop1269: I am quite concerned about traveling the airlines with film. Any suggestions?

GDLepp: Be sure to carry film on your person. Don't worry about hand check xrays. Its the luggage scanners that will ruin your film.

GSTDKhanna: From John: Any info on using photographic paper as a print medium for inkjet printers?

GDLepp: I have not used photo paper, I generally stick with ink jet papers because they are forumulated correctly. I also use watercolor papers.

TheSnoozer: Do you see the increasing use of digital manipulation (such as cloning, or Photoshop rubber stamp tool) becoming a problem in the future in that images will be manufactured instead of taken in camera? 

GDLepp: Image manipulation comes in many forms. I don't care for manipulation. that changes the truth of the image. I try to use manipultion to improve an image. 
On the digital manufacturing of images-we have more license to change content. I hope photographers will mark those images that are not true to the original scene.

JaneH25871: Do you have any suggestions for photographing from a small boat?

GDLepp: From a small boat the most important thing is to keep things dry and don't use a lens over 300mm for hand holding. Image stabilization is a help if you have Canon.

Slidetaker: Do you believe the manipulation of photos digitally without being labeled as such is wrong? 

GDLepp: I do believe that if the content has changed the image should be labeled as such. I am most interested in improving traditional photography through digital means.

BFVietzke: Is there any late breaking news on the EOS-3? Its problems?

GDLepp: It is obvious some people have had exposure problems. I personally have not. Those that have can get a quick fix by sending the camera in to Canon.

JaneH25871: Do you have a favorite inkjet/paper combination for archival permanence of prints.

GDLepp: I use Epson materials when archive is not foremost. I print on watercolor paper with Lysonic inks from England.

Trailimage: Which would you recommend for macro - 300mm with extension, or a fixed maco 180 or 200 lens

GDLepp: For ease in the field caring a extension tube for the 300mm will work fine. For best quality the 180 or 200 macro gives the most sharpness. It's your choice.

DrHAW: Please tell us more about Lysonic inks.

GDLepp: The LYsonic inks are available from Bulldog (go to my website), and are available for Epson EX & 3000 printers.

Krilt: Do you think nature photography will ever attain the same respect as other art mediums? Why is there no "Lens Work" of nature photo mags.?

GDLepp: Art is a definition that different people assign to it. To many, photography is an art. I'm not into these definitions. I just hope people enjoy the work.

Fstop1269: When using an extender and an extension tube, which one should be put onto the body first, or does it not matter

GDLepp: Put the extender on first and the extension tube next for the most magnification.

BraveH3: Mr Lepp, have you filmed some of your beautiful wildlife in Africa?

GDLepp: I leave in August for my first trip to Africa. We will spend several weeks in S. Africa.

RF101WALTZ: I have a Nikon "Nikkormat" with 35mm/55mm/300mm lenses (purchased in 1969) I have loved the camera system but need to replace. Recommendation?

GDLepp: In the Nikon system you're best camera for the price is the new F100. You will probably want to start changing to autofocus as finances permit. You will find many new tools in the AF system.

BETHEREF8: I have been a NANPA member for 4 years. Do you see them lowering fees in the near future?

GDLepp: It is expense to run an organization of this size. I don't expect fees to come down but I do expect more advantages for being a member.

LonedoveV: How and when did you get started in photography?

GDLepp: I started photo as a youngster in grammar school. Have continued with ever since. My first professional job was as supervision at UCDavis in CA. After 3 years there I went on my own.

Mesmont321: What is your opinion of the new Kodak E100VS vs Velvia?

GDLepp: I feel that VS is a great alternative to Velvia. It has the advantage of 100ISO and it has neutral grays and middle tones. It also is almost as saturated.

TheSnoozer: Just had a comment to a question above - most magazines I have read concentrate on the "cloning is cool" aspect. Thanks for your insight above on "improvements in context" instead of "this is just cool to do".

Slidetaker: What's your favorite park and why?

GDLepp: Denali is my favorite park because of the colors in fall (end of August) & the wildness of the area with very few people within the animals' environment. We will be leading a group there next August thru Camp Denali. Check our website.

Fstop1269: Where in South Africa will you be photographing?

GDLepp: We will start at Kruger, spend time in Namimbia, & end at Namauqualand looking for wildflowers.

BETHEREF8: Is the ALPS printer superior to Epson in your opinion?

GDLepp: I like the Epson because of its speed and that it is an inkjet. The Alps has some advantages in longavity and a little more resolution but it is very slow and is dyesub. 

Trailimage: George, I'm looking for a great wildflower location in July - what's my best bet?

GDLepp: Your best bet is the high mountains of the rockies in the hanging valleys, Yankee Boy Basin in CO near Ouray is a favorite.

Krilt: Is there a textbook or "coffee table" book you find great? Do you admire any artists, photo or otherwise.

GDLepp: Tom Mangelson's Images of Nature is one of the best. I like his use of animals in the environment.

Photomn1: Do you shoot mostly with slide or negative film, and which digital camera do you recommend for photographers?

GDLepp: I shoot exclusively with slide film for my clients, but am testing new Kodak negative films for better digital reproduction. The two digital cameras I am using and like are the CanonPro70 and the KodakDC260.

BFVietzke: What would your choice of Canon lenses be to photograph around Camp Denali? (There for 5 days in July)

GDLepp: Wide angle for landscape as well as super telephoto to bring in distant wildlife. Almost any lens can be used in some form. I've used them all there.

Slidetaker: Can the quality of a digital print equal or exceed a regular print?

GDLepp: Using laser technology and photographic paper we now have prints that far exceed past methods in all forms.

DrHAW: You feel that mirror lockup is important; Nikon seems to feel otherwise (except for the F-5). Can we do anything except "practice avoidance" for the speeds that seem critical?

GDLepp: I feel that mirror lock up is very important. I'm testing the new Nikon camera to see if Nikon has really solved the problem. Check with the Natural Image journal next month for the answer. Avoidance is your best bet at speeds around 1/15th sec w/telephoto lenses.

Fstop1269: Be sure you spend some time in Oliphants camp. The elephants are great in and around that area. I have been there

RGBbyMMG: Two doves made a nest in my patio, how to "shoot' the babies without scaring them? :-)

GDLepp: It's best to wait until they are being fed. You need to use a blind or a remote release on the camera if you want the adult as well. If not, don't get too close to scare the young out of the nest as they become larger and able to fly.

LonedoveV: What is your preference in software photo programs...i.e. Adobe, etc.?

GDLepp: All of my serious work is done with Photoshop. Some photographers use other programs but Photoshop is the most powerful.

JArnold975: I am not a digital camera fan. For amateurs, how much do you need to spend to get a quality digital camera?

GDLepp: The KodakDC260 is less than$800 and will give good 8x10prints. It is the best for $$ out there.

Slidetaker: What is the best time to visit Denali or Yellowstone for the average tourist?

GDLepp: The best time to visit Denali is the last two weeks of August, first week of Sept., and for Yellowstone it is Jan & Feb - at least for me. Summer is over crowded in both areas. I like the winter scenes on the road across the top of Yellowstone and the numerous changes at wildlife.

GSTDKhanna: Well folks, the scheduled time with our guest is coming to an end. We will get a couple of questions or comments now.

Endinavowl: What do you think of Minolta 9, and do you think Minolta can compete with Nikon and Cannon?

GDLepp: The Minolta 9 is an improvement, but it does not have the backing and the tools offered in the Canon & Nikon systems. Extensive systems from Canon & Nikon, even the lower models, I think, are a better value. Just my opinion.

BETHEREF8: In your opinion, what is the best slide scanner (affordable)...what about Nikon Coolscan?

GDLepp: A new inexpensive slide scanner from HP is available for under $400, and the new Canon 2710F is an excellent value at $700 with good resolution & image quality The best available overall is the new Polaroid4000 with high resolution and a price just over $2000. Bether-The Coolscna is a good scanner, but I like the higher resolution of the Polaroid.

Krilt: Do you have a particular preference for a "keep-it-on-the-camera-always" lens? I use a 20-35 in that vein.

GDLepp: My "normal" lens is a 28-135 image stabilisation lens from Canon.

GSTDKhanna: Our sincere thanks to George Lepp for giving us his valuable time tonight. Hope we will have another opportunity to interact with him online. Thanks to Arlie Lepp for her help in this effort.

GDLepp: Our pleasure.

GSTDKhanna: Good night every one!  Remember, the Keyword on AOL is PARKS. 


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