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Moon Watch: February 2013

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

February will have many opportunities to shoot the moon. On February 25, the moon will rise at the beginning of the blue hour and it will rise at the end of the blue hour on February 26.

Location: Miami, FL (All Times EST)
Sun Moon
Date/Phase Rise Set Rise Set
Feb 24/99% 6:48 AM 6:20 PM 5:29 PM 5:43 AM
Feb 25/Full 6:47 AM 6:20 PM 6:25 PM 6:21 AM
Feb 26/99% 6:46 AM 6:21 PM 7:22 PM 6:58 AM

View my posts How to Shoot the Moon, Night Photography, Night Photography Tricks Revealed, and Video: How to Shoot the Moon.

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:

PhotoTube: Tutorials and Videos for Photographers

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

PhotoTube.info is a website dedicated to photography videos containing tips for producing HDR, infrared, landscape, portrait, flash, macro, night, and product photographs. It is a relatively new website but already contains hundreds of instructional videos. Here is a list of some of the most viewed videos:

  • phototubeDSLR Tips: Night Photography
  • Strobist Preliminaries
  • DSLR Tips: How to blur backgrounds on portraits
  • DSLR Tips: How to blur water for a dreamy effect
  • Merge to HDR in Photoshop
  • Long Exposure Turorial
  • DSLR Tips: Using polarizing filters
  • Secrets of Amazing HDR Photography
  • Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark
  • HDR Photography
  • Strobist Softbox Technique Tutorial
  • In-Camera HDR Using Multiple Exposure
  • Photoshop Tutorial: Creating an HDR Image from a Single RAW File
  • Canon T2i 550D HDR Tutorial
  • Shooting the Moon
  • Landscape Photography Tips: Creative Composition
  • 20 Essential Things for Landscape Photography

It is easy to see which videos have been Recently Added, Most Viewed, and Top Rated as well as many categories. PhotoTube is definitely worth checking out! Oh, by the way, it is completely free!

Moon Watch: December 2012

Monday, November 26th, 2012

December will have many opportunities to shoot the moon. On December 28, the moon will rise during the blue hour.

Location: Miami, FL (All Times EST)
Sun Moon
Date/Phase Rise Set Rise Set
Dec 26/97% 7:06 AM 5:37 PM 4:26 PM 5:31 AM
Dec 27/100% 7:06 AM 5:38 PM 5:16 PM 6:19 AM
Dec 28/Full 7:07 AM 5:38 PM 6:08 PM 7:05 AM
Dec 29/98% 7:07 AM 5:39 PM 7:01 PM 7:49 AM

View my posts How to Shoot the Moon, Night Photography, Night Photography Tricks Revealed, and Video: How to Shoot the Moon.

Video: How to Shoot Fireworks

Saturday, June 30th, 2012
Other than your camera, the most important piece of equipment is a tripod. The exposures required for fireworks are too long to handhold your camera. I found an excellent video for how to shoot fireworks on YouTube from phototips.biz.

Basic Settings for a DSLR

  • Manual Mode
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Shutter speed: 1 second to start
  • ISO: 400
  • Focus: Turn off auto focus and manually focus on infinity

I agree with the video’s suggestion to just change the speed if you need to adjust the exposure. Increase the shutter speed if your shots are too bright or slow down the shutter speed if your shots are too dark.

Even if you don’t have a DSLR, you can still take photographs of fireworks. If you have a compact digital camera that doesn’t have Manual mode, look for a Scene (SCN) mode for Fireworks. As with a DSLR, it is manditory that you use a tripod.

Feel free to post links to your fireworks photographs in comments.

Videos: Steel Wool Light Painting

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Warning! Even though burning steel wool creates spectacular effects, it is dangerous and you need to take safety precautions for yourself and everything around you!!

The first video does a great job of giving you a brief rundown of how to take photographs of burning steel wool but I highly recommend that you also view the second video before trying out the technique. The second video goes into much greater depth about the process and the reasons for needing to be safe.

Click to continue »

Review: Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark is a amazing book that has many examples of fantastic night photographs as well as step-by-step instructions for how to get the same kind of results.


Click to continue »

Review: Crafting Reality: Painting with Light

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Captain America and 3-D BoyCrafting Reality: Painting with Light is an inspiring eBook by Eric Curry. The photographs in the eBook look like HDR images but they are created in quite a different way. Small sections of the subject are illuminated from different directions then merged together with Photoshop. Eric goes into detail about how to take the photographs and the settings to use in Photoshop.

Throughout his eBook, Eric emphasizes that you should think and plan your shots.

So often during my public presentations and coaching new photographers I advise them to think in terms of “concepts.” Do not just go out into the environment and photograph neat stuff you happen to see, but take the next step and envision an idea first, then try to create that vision you see in your mind’s eye.

This is good advice and Eric spends a lot of time telling you how to plan a photoshoot. He tells you what he does and why as well as which equipment he uses. Crafting Reality: Painting with Light is an extremely thorough how-to book and I highly recommend it.

You can find more videos about painting with light at Eric’s YouTube Channel and on his website American Pride and Passion.

Moon Watch: May 2012

Friday, April 20th, 2012

There will be four opportunities to shoot the moon in May. On May 5 the moon will rise before the beginning of the blue hour and on May 6 the moon will rise at the end. The blue hour is the time immediately after the sun sets and the sky turns a deep blue. The moon will officially become full Saturday (May 5) at 11:35 p.m. EDT. Because this month’s full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee, its closest approach to Earth, it will also be the year’s biggest.

Location: Miami, FL (All Times EST)
Sun Moon
Date/Phase Rise Set Rise Set
May 4/97% 6:41 AM 7:54 PM 6:33 PM 5:13 AM
May 5/Full 6:40 AM 7:55 PM 7:42 PM 6:00 AM
May 6/100% 6:39 AM 7:56 PM 8:51 PM 6:53 AM
May 7/97% 6:39 AM 7:56 PM 9:57 PM 7:52 AM

Read my posts How to Shoot the Moon, Night Photography, and Night Photography Tricks Revealed.

Night Photography

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Nighttime is one of my favorite times to take photographs. There is always the element of surprise! Long exposures make it possible for your camera to record something that you can’t even see. Click on the thumbnails to see the larger versions in a lightbox.

17th Street Causeway BridgeThe only caveat for shooting at night is that most of the automated features of your camera will not work and you really need to use your camera in Manual mode and understand the relationship between ISO, speed, and aperture. When I’m taking photos at night, I try to take two of the three settings out of the equation. Since it is difficult to focus at night, the first thing I do is to stop down my lens to a small aperture such as f/8, f/11, or f/16. This increases the depth of field so that focus is not so critical, i.e. the greater the depth of field, the more of the subject will be in focus. Next I set the ISO at the optimum of my camera. Since I have a Canon camera, I set the ISO to 100. If you have a Nikon, set the ISO to 200 instead. The reason for using the camera’s optimum ISO is to reduce noise. Long exposures are inherently noisy so it is important to do as much as possible to reduce noise. Sometimes you will have to increase the ISO to get the shot. The duration of the shot is the main thing that you will use to get the exposure. Increase or decrease the shutter speed until you get the correct exposure. Click to continue »