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Showing posts from July, 2012


Photo challenges are a kick in the pants

For many of us who are photo hobbyists, too often the camera sits gathering dust until the urge to shoot compels us to grab it from it's secluded corner. When we do take it out for some photo fun we regale in the activity and do an inner happy dance when a photo comes out satisfyingly good. Why? Because we know that these supper great shots don't come too often. The reason for this is because we do not exercise our photographic eye enough. We don't flex our creative side often enough to the point where consistently good photographs are routinely created. Unfortunately it is because ' life ' interferes. Work, family, bills, kids, lawns, cars, and so on... One of the hardest things to do for many is to become disciplined enough to shoot consistently. This may mean simply taking a few minutes each day to grab the camera, step outside and grab a few frames of what's happening around you. Or it can be to try a new technique down in your cellar studio. Whatev

White balance makes a big difference

"The bane of any photographer is light." What? "But without light we can't take pictures" , you say. That is true, we need light to create our images but if you have been taking pictures long enough you know that light can be very frustrating. Too harsh, too dark, too contrasty, too this and too that. Then there is the problem of color temperature. Incandescent, halogen and tungsten bulbs tend to be very yellow in color. Not very flattering to someone's skin tone. Fluorescent lighting tends to add green hues and now we have LED lights that are all over the color spectrum. To complicate matters even more, sometimes we have to shoot with several kinds of light all mixed together. So I say again, the bane of any photographer is light. The solution to this is custom or preset white balance. This can either be done before shooting in camera or after shooting in post production. Which method you choose is dependent on your work habits and personal p

Flash free-for-all meetup serves great lessons

In the past, if I wanted to present a new technique or concept that I wasn't too sure of I would head out with my camera to iron out the wrinkles. I would then have the confidence when presenting information that I knew what the heck I was talking about. But as I have pointed out so many times, it's more fun shooting with others than by yourself. So for the latest workshop I decided to try a different approach. Instead of learning the technique ahead of time, we would learn the technique together . Let me tell you, we had a blast. Although this post isn't about what we did I do want to share a few words about how we did it.

FE Lock for better exposures

I have posted several articles on exposure triangle, getting proper exposure, metering, and so on. Today's article will focus on a camera function that can greatly help you set your exposure out in the field during those high contrast days. That function is your camera's exposure lock or FE Lock. I first have to preface this by mentioning that not all cameras have this feature. Before you tell me your camera doesn't have this feature do yourself a favor. Look in your manual for "exposure lock" to make sure (just in case). Some cameras also allow you to customize button assignment. Typically the button is placed somewhere near the shutter release and is marked with an asterisk (*).

Thoughts on memory cards

Today's digital camera technology is remarkable. Gone are the days when  you load in a roll of film, grab 24 or 36 exposures and send it out for processing. That's one of the things I don't miss about film. As a youngster, money was tight and blowing through rolls of film was a luxury not a necessity. It would take me a few weeks to finish of a roll of 36 exposures then another week or so to get the film to the photo lab to get it processed. By the time the prints came back I had forgotten what the lighting situations were, what my setting were and what technique I was practicing. One trick I was taught to do was to keep a small notebook for recording all that information. Ask me if I followed that advice. Nope, I struggled without it. Today's cameras use digital media cards, or as I like to call them, the never-ending roll of film. Solid state memory storage devices that are reliable and nearly indestructible. As technology gets better, they also get cheaper.

Joe Klamar, what's the fuss?

From the, "what the..?" department If you don't know who Joe Klamar is you probably don't follow current photo news (or don't care to). So before we even get into this post here are a few links to follow to catch you up on the latest hot photo topic. "Bad Olympic photos: How terrible shots went viral" by Heather Murphy "A Few Words About Joe Klamar’s Viral (and “Obviously Terrible”) Olympic Portraits" by Michael Shaw  To get an idea of what a typical 'media day' shooting scene is like for these photographers read this article. You'll get a sense of the pressure these photographers are under. "Photographing over 100 Olympic athletes in three days " by Vernon Bryant Finally, here are a number of photos taken from the same event Joe Klamar was hired to shoot. The slide show also contains the work of other photographers who were under the same pressure and the same shooting constraints as Joe. As you look


I'll be a monkey's uncle

What did one chimpanzee say to the other chimpanzee? "Ooh, ooh, aah, aah!" What did one photographer say while looking at his photos on the back of his camera? "Ooh, ooh, aah, aah!" And that's how we came by the term 'chimping'.

I see dumb people...

If you are the type of photographer that likes to keep up with what's happening in the world of photography then most likely you subscribe or at least visit a variety of web sites and blogs. I know I have my favorite blogs I visit on a regular basis and my inbox is constantly bombarded with newsletters and updates. It's nice having a finger on the industry pulse. I was recently reading some comments on B&H regarding Canon's newest lens offering; the 40mm 2.8 pancake lens with STM auto-focusing technology. However, this isn't an article about the lens or the advancement in technology or even the incorporation of film technology into still photography. It is an observation on the mentality of the consumer comments regarding the lens. In particular the lack of intelligence portrayed in some of the post by what should be informed consumers.

5 tips for capturing fireworks

July is upon us and the next few week ends will be spent with family and friends at various picnics and pool sides. If you are like me, I become the honorary official family photographer. I really don't mind as it gives me something to do. Since the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday this year most celebrations will be held on this coming weekend. Towns and cities all across Connecticut will be hosting their celebrations including some rather spectacular fireworks. That's less than a week away so I thought I'd share some tips on how to get some of those spectacular firework shots. They're not as difficult as you might think. Here are five tips to help you get those fabulous decorative bursts of fire.