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Video: HDR & IR Photographs

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

I uploaded an HD video compilation of some of my high dynamic range (HDR) and infrared (IR) photographs. I created the music using Sony Acid. Hope you enjoy.


Use the following links to find out more about HDR and IR:

Forced Perspective

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Forced Perspective

Forced Perspective

Creating a photograph like to one on the right doesn’t require Photoshop. All you need are two willing participants, a bright environment, and a small aperture. The image is from Jill Harness’ mental_floss website. The real secret is the small aperture. Try f/16 as a starting point. The reason why you need a small aperture is because you want both of your participants to be in sharp focus. A small aperture has a larger depth of field and enhances the illusion.

Do a Google serch for “forced perspective” and you can find many examples.

Follow this link to find out more about trick photography.

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 »

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.

Photography Tricks: Use Sunglasses as a Polarizing Filter

Monday, June 27th, 2011
My Take: Great tip for point and shoot cameras plus the article contains a link to a viable portfolio website for photographers.

Next to a fully charged battery and a huge memory card, a polarizing filter is the digital photographer’s best friend. It reduces unsightly glare, deepens the richness of skies, and improves overall color saturation. The problem for most shooters on the go is that they don’t always have their full kit of accessories with them. And many point-and-shoot cameras don’t even provide a way to attach an external filter, even if you wanted to. Click to continue »

Portrait Photography – Tricks to Get Children to Sit Still for Their Pictures

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
My Take: Now I know why I avoid taking pictures of children.

Family portraits are something that parents want to have done before their kids grow up and go to college. These special pictures can be used for many things, including greeting cards during the holidays, souvenirs for other family members, and family pictures to frame up on the wall or to make your place feel more like home.

When giving family pictures as a gift, consider including a picture frame as well. You can book an appointment with a professional photographer to take these pictures, but you can also do it yourself, especially if you have some photography experience. Sometimes, it will be challenging to get your kids to sit still, particularly if you are taking many pictures as they sometimes become bored and restless. Getting your kids to sit still for the pictures is a pretty tough trick sometimes, but you don’t have to be a professional photographer to accomplish this task. Click to continue »

Portrait Photography Tips: How To Set The Mood And Get The Best Candid Shots

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
My Take: Here are some good basic tips for taking portraits.

Are you looking for portrait photography tips so that you can improve your picture taking skills?

At first thought, portrait photography would seem easy, yet the results are often disappointing.

Many of our pictures often include people, and whether you are photographing a model, taking a family photo, or capturing some candid shots while on vacation, you have probably discovered that great photography is a little more than just pointing a camera and pushing a button. Click to continue »

Basic Digital Photography: Tips For Easily Getting The Most From Your Camera

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
My Take: Repeat this mantra after me, “Aperture, Speed, ISO.” Mia Rose does a good job of explaining all three.

Although technology is constantly advancing, the principles of basic digital photography stay the same, and knowing these fundamentals will help you improve your skills so you will be more satisfied with your photos.

Photographs help us capture moments and freeze them in time. Memories are built on them, scrapbooks are filled with them, and our walls are covered with them. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the perfect photo can express emotion, convey a thought, and tell an amazing story. Click to continue »

Review of Digital Photography Success

Monday, June 13th, 2011
My Take: Add Composition to the Aperture, Speed, ISO mantra.

Have you wanted to create pictures that National Geographic would think are high quality?  Have you just purchased a digital SLR, but have no idea how to use it to take great photographs?  Do you want to achieve digital photography success?  From a review of Digital Photography Success, we can see author Amy Renfrey has created eBooks and a monthly e-magazine to help you create eye-popping photographs.

Why listen to Amy?  She went from beginning amateur to professional in a week.  Too good to be true?  Not at all.  She learned that light is the most important aspect in photography.  Not the camera.  Not the flash.  Not the lens.  But the light that the photography needs to make beautiful pictures. Click to continue »