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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 »

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.

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

Video: PhotoBuddy

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

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

Fake Smoke

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

This is a great tutorial for creating fake smoke using a string and a Mag light.

I highly recommend Evan’s eBook Trick Photography and Special Effects.

Photoshoot at Vizcaya

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Vizcaya was built by agricultural industrialist James Deering in 1916. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens features a Main House, ten acres of formal gardens, and a rockland hammock (native forest).

I used the Panosaurus panoramic head and a Canon T1i to take all the examples in this post. Since I have also become obsessed with infrared, all of the photographs were taken with a Hoya 58mm RM-72 Infrared Filter.

Click on the thumbnail to see the full photograph.


Follow this link to find out more about taking panoramas and infared photographs.

Review: Hoodman 3.0 Hoodloupe

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Summary: OK, so I feel a little dorky having the Hoodloupe hanging around by neck but I don’t care because it makes it possible to see my LCD in the brightest sunlight. Click to continue »

Back Button Focusing*

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

If you find it frustrating that your camera focuses and sets the exposure when you slightly depress the shutter button, there is a solution. Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras can separate auto focus from the shutter button and use a button on the back of the camera instead. They don’t call it back button focusing but that phrase does a better job of describing the feature. You will find the setting buried in the custom commands. I first came across the setting when reading Digital Landscape Photography by John and Barbara Gerlach. I decided to give it a try and have kept the setting ever since.

*Digital Landscape Photography, John and Barbara Gerlach, Focal Press, ISBN 978-0-240-81093-5