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PhotoTube Update

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Sorry for not posting much during February. I’ve been spending most of my time working on PhotoTube.info and I’m starting to see results. For one thing, it now contains over 800 instructional photography videos. Be sure to check it out. Here is a list of current categories and the number of videos in each category:

Review: Digital Landscape Photography

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Summary: I highly recommend Digital Landscape Photography by John and Barbara Gerlach. If you are at all interested in landscape photography, get this book! Digital Landscape Photography covers cameras, lenses, exposure, composition, HDR, and panoramas.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1. Landscapes are Everywhere
  • Chapter 2. Cameras and Accessories
  • Chapter 3. Choosing and Using Lenses
  • Chapter 4. Mastering Exposure
  • Chapter 5. Techniques for Sharp Images
  • Chapter 6. Light on the Landscape
  • Chapter 7. Composing Pleasing Images
  • Chapter 8. Special Subjects
  • Chapter 9. High Dynamic Range Images
  • Chapter 10. Panoramas

Review: The chapter on cameras and accessories emphasizes investing in a camera system not just the camera. The authors recommend Canon and Nikon cameras because both brands have an excellent selection of lenses and accessories. This is the same advice that I give my students. The book is filled with excellent tips such as how to use a back button to auto-focus rather than having the shutter button initiate the auto-focus function. 34 out of 36 customer reviews on Amazon, give Digital Landscape Photography 4 stars and above with 26 5 star reviews. This is an outstanding book that is clearly written and informative. Click to continue »

Review: The Digital Photography Book, Part 4

Friday, March 9th, 2012

The Digital Photography Book, Part 4Summary: The Digital Photography Book, Part 4 by Scott Kelby is a worthy addition to his series of digital photography books. It picks up where volume 3 left off and, like the other books in the series, contains many useful tips written in a non-technical, conversational style.

Scott Kelby, author of The Digital Photography Book(the best-selling digital photography book of all time), is back with another follow-up to his smash best-seller, with an entirely new book that picks up right where volume 3 left off. It’s even more of that “Ah ha, so that’ s how they do it,” straight-to-the-point, skip-the-techno-jargon stuff people can really use today, and that made volume 1 the world’s best-selling book on digital photography.

Click to continue »

Review: Photographically Speaking: A Deeper Look at Creating Stronger Images

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Summary: Buy Photographically Speaking: A Deeper Look at Creating Stronger Images (the Kindle version or the Printed Version) now! David duChemin has written a fantastic book that clearly examines what it takes to make photographs that communicate. If you are serious about photography, read this book!

Perhaps the steepest learning curve in photography is learning to see as the camera sees.

Review: David duChemin has his own way of talking about photographs. Rather than using standard vocabulary of art criticism, he prefers to talk about the Message, Elements, and Decisions.

The camera will create an illusion the moment we release the shutter; if we want a hand in creating that illusion, we need to understand it.

He states that first you have to see the 2-D image that the camera will make when you shoot a 3-D subject. By seeing and detecting the lines and shapes that the camera will record, you will be better able to control what the photograph will communicate. The Message is what you intend to say, the Elements are what is within the frame, and the Decisions are the choices made for aperture, speed, ISO, point of view, etc.

This is not a book for everyone. If you shoot intuitively and don’t want to think, this book isn’t for you. The book covers a lot of the same territory that I cover in my beginning lectures. My approach is that you need to learn as much as possible about your tool, the camera, to improve your skills. The process is probably going to be painful but it is the best way to improve your photography. In my mind, if you don’t know anything about how a camera works, you are using your lizard brain to take photographs. This is the part of our brain that we share with reptiles. Unfortunately,our lizard brains don’t want to take photographs. Mainly, our lizard brains want to eat and have sex. If you don’t believe me, next time you are confronted by an alligator, give him your camera and see what happens.

Photography Tip: Levels

Friday, November 11th, 2011

You may have noticed the bubble levels on your tripod and tripod head. Use them! Each serves a different important function. The following is a list of level and tripod related tips:

  • The level on your tripod itself is used to ensure that your tripod doesn’t fall over. If you are using your tripod on uneven ground and the legs are different lengths, the level can be used to center the center column of the tripod over the legs which centers the weight of your camera over the legs so that the tripod will be less likely to tip over. If the tripod is level, the center column will be perpendicular to the ground.
  • Another important tip for your tripod is to always have one leg toward the lowest ground. Let’s say that you have positioned your tripod on a hill with the camera pointed up the hill. One tripod leg should be toward you rather than two legs. The single leg toward you will be more stable and the tripod less likely to tip over. The tendancy is to always have two legs toward yourself so that it is easier to approach the camera. This is the time to not do that.
  • Add weight to your tripod. I know, you bought a carbon fiber tripod so that it would be light and easy to carry but, while shooting, you may need some extra weight to keep it from moving. Tripods often have a hook on or near the center column of the tripod. I have a backpack camera case that I hang under my tripod.
  • The bubble level on your tripod head is used to ensure that your camera itself is level.
  • If you shoot a lot of landscapes, you will want to invest in one more kind of level. It fits in the hotshoe of your camera and can be more accurate than the round levels attached to your tripod head. I use a hot shoe level to make sure that the horizon is level. There are times when I am taking long exposures at night and I can’t even see the horizon. I use the level to make sure the camera is level and I know the horizon will also be level in the photograph. I only need to illuminate the level to see it, not the subject. Works great and I highly recommend that you get one.
  • For panoramas, you can use the hotshoe level to ensure that your lens is parallel to the gound. That is what I do when I am using my Rokinon Fisheye Lens to take a 360×180 degree panorama. I mount the camera on a Panosaurus panoramic head and make sure the tripod is level, the head is level, and finally that the camera is level and the lens is parallel to the ground. If everything isn’t level, software such as Hugin will have difficulties stitching the shots together. Click here to read my article about using a Panosaurus panoramic head to shoot a 360×180 degree panorama.

How to Shoot 360×180 Degree Panoramas with a Panosaurus Panoramic Tripod Head

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Required Equipment: Panosaurus

17th Street Causeway BridgeShooting 360×180 degree panoramas usually requires a special tripod head. Trying to shoot this kind of panorama hand held would not be an easy task. Each picture has to overlap by 25-30% not to mention the likelihood of seeing parallax errors in the final image. Parallax errors occur when the camera rotates around a point other than the no parallax point of the lens. The bottom line is that the shots can’t line up properly if there are parallax errors. I have gotten great results with an inexpensive Panosaurus panoramic tripod head. Click here to read my review of the Panosaurus.

Software

To stitch the images together I rely on two programs. Hugin is free software and does a great job with a 360×180 panoramas shot with a fisheye lens such as the Rokinon 8mm Fisheye Lens. If you use an 18mm lens, then Serif PanoramaPlus X4 is a better choice. Each program has its strengths; what one can’t stitch together the other can. Click here to read my review of PanoramaPlus. Your camera may have come with software that can stitch together panoramas but don’t expect it to work with a 360×180 degree panorama. Click to continue »

Landscape Photography Tips and Tricks to Achieve Professional Results!

Friday, October 28th, 2011
My Take: This is a good article that starts with 10 tips for beginners and ends with 10 tips for the more advanced. The suggestion of focusing 1/3 of the way into a scene may or may not work — the aperture that you select and the length of your lens will determine depth of field. The desktop app for The Photographer’s Ephemeris is free but the iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is $8.99. Unlike PhotoBuddy, The Photographer’s Ephemeris includes the direction the sun and moon will be from your current location and even corrects the times for sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset according to your elevation.  To give a greater sense of depth, include something in the foreground, middle ground and background. For the advanced suggestions, I agree with exposing to the right but you should also turn on the “blinkies” so that you can easily see which areas are blown out. The author doesn’t mention the tip that I think is most important — experience everything. For instance, if you are going to take photos of the sunset, get there at least an hour before sunset and plan on staying about an hour after. Take photographs throughout the event. It is amazing the different colors that fleetingly appear. Amateurs say, “Oh, pretty.” Snap and they’re off to shoot something else. Professionals linger, enjoy the show, and capture everything.

10 Tips and Tricks for the Beginner

1. Shoot close to sunrise and sunset to achieve more balanced exposures. Shooting during the harsh daylight produces very contrasty light and is difficult to capture details in both the shadow and highlight areas. If it’s one thing you take away from this guide it should be this!

2. Compose an image to exclude more and include less; remove any element that does not add to the image. Simplicity is often the key!

3. Shoot in RAW format for maximum quality if any post production editing will be performed later. This is really a big deal! Click to continue »

Article source: http://ezinearticles.com/6627432

Gallery | Artwork for Sale

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Check out my new gallery where you can purchase framed reproductions of my artwork. Subscribers to the Trick Photography Ideas Newsletter receive a coupon code for 10% off all purchases in the Gallery. Click here to subscribe and receive your coupon code in your welcome email.

Artwork is printed, framed, or mounted by the following vendors:

  • Mpix Lab
    • Mpix is an online digital imaging lab for both the professional photographer and the advanced amateur.
    • Shipping To United States and Canada
  • Photobox
    • Based in the UK and with printing facilities located near London and Paris, Photobox is one of Europe’s largest photo printing destinations offering great value and quality of service.
    • Shipping Worldwide, except United States and Canada
  • fotoflot
    • With the fotoflot system you can showcase high-quality prints without glass eliminating reflections and glare. An innovative magnetic mounting system allows you to swap photos in seconds with images literally floating off the wall or desk.
    • Shipping Worldwide

Video: PhotoBuddy

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

PhotoBuddy is an iPhone/iPad app that is a Swiss army knife of photographic functions.

Night Photography Checklist

Monday, August 1st, 2011

When taking night photography you should take the following into consideration:

  • A tripod is mandatory. Long exposures require for your camera to be a steady as possible.
  • Bring a jacket. It is amazing how chilly it can feel immediately after sundown.
  • Bring a towel. Condensation can begin to occur immediately after sundown. The towel can be used to separate yourself or your equipment from a slightly wet surface.
  • Bring an umbrella. You’ll be glad you did if it starts to rain. The photoshoot may be over but at least your equipment won’t be ruined.
  • Bring a flashlight. A flashlight can be used to see the dials on your camera, illuminate your subject (light painting), or to assist in focus by illuminating the subject or by putting the flashlight in the scene at the point where you want to focus.
  • Bring spare batteries for your camera or fully charge your camera battery. Night shots are long exposures and, if you turn on the settings in your camera to reduce noise, the processing time for each photograph will be as long as the exposure. Click to continue »