Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Ten Non-Photography Things That Make the Freelance Life Easier for Photographers - Fstoppers

Fstoppers
After almost eight years of the freelance life, there are some things that I wish I had gotten sooner to make my life easier. Little things that might seem inconsequential at first but have a big impact on my well-being as a photographer. Here are 10 ...



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Twelve Lifestyle Photography Tips to Get That Candid Look - Fstoppers

Lifestyle photography means different things to different types of photographers. Some might say photojournalism is the truest form of lifestyle photography. A portrait or wedding photographer would describe it as putting their subjects in real life ...



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Eight tips for photographing your first hot air balloon festival

This article was originally published on Elliot Nahm's website, and is being republished in full here on DPReview with express permission from Elliot.

Ah, you've just received your first camera over the holiday season, and you're itching to use it. Or, perhaps you're just looking for something new to photograph this year. Well, allow me to make a suggestion: You should go photograph a hot air balloon festival!

Why hot air balloons? I personally enjoy their vibrant colors against the sky; it's a pleasure for me to meet the pilots, and their crew; and, last but certainly not least, it's fun to fly in them!

Some of you may be surprised that these festivals have already been happening in the winter. It should come as no surprise, though, that the number of events ramp up as the weather gets warmer. Check out www.hotairballoon.com for information of any events near you.

To be frank, I'm no master of photography, and there are bigger names photographing hot air balloons. However, these tips should still help make your first hot air balloon festival a more photographically enjoyable experience.

Note: these tips apply more for festivals based in the United States. I understand that other countries do some things differently, but many of the tips should still apply.

More days, better chances

I'm going to start with the most important tip of all. Try attending as many days as possible for the best chances of getting great photos. Hot air balloon festivals typically happen for at least two days, usually over a weekend. Larger events can span the entire week. Understandably, this can be difficult to budget time for, but the time isn't just for photos, it's also to account for weather.

To many peoples' dismay, hot air balloons cannot just fly whenever. High winds, rain, smoke, etc. can all prevent mass ascensions (many balloons flying together), and balloon glows (balloons glowing at night) from occurring. Balloon festivals play it very safe, and generally do not fly if winds are above 8 miles per hour (12.9 kph). You may be at an event that only flies once out of their allotted days.

I personally was at the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival & Fair this year when high winds canceled all six flights. Weather happens, and the more days you have, the better your chances of a successful day.

Get close

This tip is in almost every type of photography guide out there, and it still applies to balloons. Get close! I've seen so many people stand way out on the edge of the field using their cameras at the widest focal length possible. Then they pull out their smartphones, and take the same picture. C'mon, folks, you've already put so much money into a camera, why use it in the same pedestrian way as you would with your smartphone?

Get onto that field and get closer to the action.

Photograph the pilots, and the crew. Capture the detail in the balloon fabric. Witness the shadows from inside of the balloons. Do something more than just being an observer. Wide shots from the edge of the field have their place, but recognize that many other people already have that angle covered.

While being up close, be courteous, and follow pilot and crew instructions. I will list some DO NOTs that you need to heed:

  • Do not step on the balloon fabric. Just play it safe, and don't touch the balloon.
  • Do not smoke by the balloons. There have been many cases of carelessly tossed cigarettes burning holes into the fabric.
  • Do not bring pets near the balloons. There have been many cases of claws tearing the fabric.
  • Do not stand on, or cross, laying ropes. Always go around.
  • Do not peek inside of the balloon without asking crew and pilot permission first. You may be getting in the way.
  • Do not get in the way of the crew.
  • Do not stand right behind the basket when the pilot starts shooting flames. You will get crushed.
  • Do not be in the flight path during take off. Flight directors, or crew, will try to clear the area—follow their instructions.

I empathize that a list of DO NOTs doesn't give much credence that this is a fun subject to photograph. This is all about safety though, and we should all take safety seriously.

Note: some festivals actually fence observers off from the field. In that case, you need to start planning, and the next tips can help with that.

Find a prominent feature

Is there a body of water, or some cliffs near the launch field? If so, you want to keep an eye on balloons approaching those areas. Many pilots aim for these features, and you can get some of the best shots at these locations.

At bodies of water, balloonists like to perform a "splash-and-dash" in which the pilot will touch the basket to the surface of the water, and just float there. This provides a great chance for you to get a reflection of the balloon on the water.

For cliffs, pilots like to hang around them, and just go up and down them. If a balloon has a seated pilot instead of a basket, you may find the pilot "running" along the face of the cliff. Pilots also like to fly close to the tree line, or land onto hay stacks to flex their skills. So you may find an amusing moment even if there are no significant land features.

Larger balloon festivals have flight directors. These people give the pilots the "okay" before taking off. You'll often find these flight directors wearing a uniform that stands out. Taking a photo of them can provide great contrast to the balloons.

Attend the pilot meeting

As a photographer, understanding the conditions the pilots are flying in can help for planning where you want to be. During this meeting, someone will release the "pibal" (pronounced 'pie-ball'; short for pilot balloon). It's just a typical party balloon, but it's a great indicator for how the winds above are behaving.

If, for example, the winds are blowing south, take a note of what's down there and find a place where you want to be. This information is especially useful if you plan on taking photos away from the launch field. If the mass ascension is canceled... well... go enjoy your breakfast at the nearby Denny's before everyone else floods it.

The pilot meeting is also a good place to find the opportunity to crew for a balloon which is conveniently the next tip.

Crew for a balloon, and get free flights

Volunteer to crew for a balloon, and you may just have a chance to get a free flight out of it. Commercial flights can cost anywhere from $180 USD to $450 USD, so if you can fly for free, you had better take that opportunity. Understand, though, that crewing does not always guarantee a flight. Sometimes the pilot will already have paying passengers, and you may never fly. Still, your chances are pretty decent, and a chance to fly for free is definitely better than none.

While crewing, consider having your camera on a sling so that you can use both hands freely to do your duties. If you spot a moment, take a quick snap of it, and continue your crewing. While pilots are grateful for the help, they won't sign you on again if you don't do what is asked of you.

Another incentive for crewing is free food. Many festivals cater a few meals for pilots and crew. Pilots often have tailgate parties as well. If you earn your pilot's trust, you'll likely be invited to these. Saving money is always good, right?

Fly!!!

Whether you pay for a flight or you get it for free by crewing, flying is always a great place to be for taking pictures. Flying in a hot air balloon is quite the different experience in contrast to helicopters or fixed wing aircraft. Because the balloon moves with the wind, you too are moving with the wind, so you don't really feel it at all. Some passengers find it to be a very odd sensation.

It is tempting to go wide with your shots, just don't go too wide. In my opinion, making balloons super tiny just doesn't look too good. Wide angle lens distortion is heavily pronounced on the balloons on the edges, and sometimes the simple lens profile fix isn't enough to correct it. If the pilot allows for it, bring a telephoto lens as well when you go up.

Note: weight is an issue for ballooning. Sometimes pilots won't accept a camera bag, or second lens on board to keep things as light as possible. Also, having extra objects in the basket can be a hazard.

Attend the balloon glow

Although I greatly prefer the mass ascensions, balloon glows are still necessary to having the full experience. You may find photographing the balloon glows more difficult however.

Wide aperture glass is highly recommended, and higher ISO is required. You can attempt to use a long shutter time but, if there's any breeze, you will have blurry balloons. I personally don't like to cranking up the ISO so, I get close to the light sources (the balloon burners), and use ISO 1600 or less. I also greatly prefer the colors of the balloons during the day than the glow.

And go again...

If you ever want the best photos of anything, you must keep revisiting it. Sometimes we can get lucky with getting a grand slam of a photo on the first try. Between you, and I though, that rarely happens. If you enjoyed your first balloon festival, go to another one, and another one, and then the same festival again the near year.

Check out www.hotairballoon.com for finding out festival information around the world. It's by far the best resource I've come across, and I believe that you too will find it useful.

Whew, what a read, right? Since you've made it to the end, congratulations, I guess. For more examples of balloon photos, you can check out my portfolio, Instagram, and my other blog posts. I hope that you find these tips useful, and take fantastic photos at your first balloon festival!

Elliot Nahm is a Denver, CO-based photographer whose ambition is to be able to travel the world, camera in tow. His two great photographic passions are hot air balloons, and the outdoors. You can see more from Elliot on his website, Instagram, and YouTube channel.



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This ultimate showdown puts together the Sony A7RIII vs Nikon D850 vs Canon 5D Mark IV

These seem to be the three hottest cameras right now, the Sony A7RIII, the Nikon D850 and the Canon 5D Mark IV. And this video from Dan and Sally Watson puts all three well and truly through their paces. They compare just about every feature they could against each other and tested a variety of […]

The post This ultimate showdown puts together the Sony A7RIII vs Nikon D850 vs Canon 5D Mark IV appeared first on DIY Photography.



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This ultimate showdown puts together the Sony A7RIII vs Nikon D850 vs Canon 5D Mark IV

These seem to be the three hottest cameras right now, the Sony A7RIII, the Nikon D850 and the Canon 5D Mark IV. And this video from Dan and Sally Watson puts all three well and truly through their paces. They compare just about every feature they could against each other and tested a variety of […]

The post This ultimate showdown puts together the Sony A7RIII vs Nikon D850 vs Canon 5D Mark IV appeared first on DIY Photography.



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OSU Museum of Art Presents Impressionist to Modernist: Milestones in Early Photography - Stillwater News Press

Through a selection of more than 70 rare, vintage prints, Impressionist to Modernist: Milestones in Early Photography will offer visitors a closer look at a pivotal period in the development of photography. The exhibition celebrates an intrepid group ...



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Harness: Photography is picture perfect for Chris Gooden - Daily Racing Form

“I love being able to make art,” Gooden said. “And I'm a really tech-nerdy geek guy, so I love equipment. “Both sides go together and make me love my job.” Gooden is in his 16th year as the fulltime track photographer at The Meadows in western ...



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Breathe: An Epic 8K Storm Time-Lapse Film in Black-and-White

Mike Olbinski is one of the best in the business at combining time-lapse photography with storm-chasing, and his latest work is yet another jaw-dropping fusion of those two things. Titled Breathe, the 4-minute short-film captures the beauty and fury of thunderstorms in black-and-white 8K.

Olbinski, a wedding photographer based in Scottsdale, Arizona, created the film using storm imagery he shot in 2017 from spring storms in the central plains to monsoon season in the southwest.

“Some are favorites, some are just ones I knew would be amazing in monochrome and others I used because they fit the music so well,” Olbinski writes. “I also went with a wider aspect ratio on these films to give it more of a cinematic feel.

“I used two Canon 5DSR’s along with a Canon 11-24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 135mm and Sigma Art 50mm. Manfrotto tripods. The final product was edited in Lightroom with LR Timelapse, After Effects and Premiere Pro.”

Here are a handful of the gorgeous still frames that went into this film:

You can find more of Olbinski’s work on his website, Facebook, and Vimeo.



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Ex-Nat Geo Photo Editor Patrick Witty Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Another prominent figure in the photography industry is being accused of sexual misconduct. Several women are claiming that photographer and photo editor Patrick Witty sexually harassed them in a variety of ways.

The accusations were first reported in an exclusive story published by Vox, which investigated the circumstances surrounding Witty’s departure from his position as Deputy Director of Photography at National Geographic.

“In November 2017, several women at National Geographic pressured the magazine’s human resources department to investigate [Witty] for allegedly abusing his power in the industry for years to get away with predatory sexual behavior toward female colleagues, freelance photographers, and peers in the field,” Vox reports. But Nat Geo had already been investigating Witty for a month after there were anonymous murmurings of inappropriate behavior.

Witty quietly and abruptly stepped down from his position in December 2017, and no reason was given by Witty or the magazine about the departure. Witty announced his move on social media at the time:

At the time he left, Witty was a prominent photojournalist and editor with notable jobs and achievements on his resume. Here’s a short bio written by Nat Geo in March 2016 when he was hired:

Patrick was most recently the director of photography at WIRED […] Prior to joining WIRED, Patrick was the international picture editor at TIME where he edited global visual coverage that won numerous awards and recognition from organizations including the World Press Photo of the Year, Pictures of the Year International, the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Society of Professional Design. […] Previously, Patrick was the international picture editor at The New York Times and was a member of the foreign staff awarded the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting in 2009. […] His editorial work has appeared in publications including TIME, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Stern and GEO.

Vox reports that accusations made against Witty include “unwanted touching, kissing, and other advances at a variety of professional events during and prior to Witty’s employment at National Geographic.” Witty is also accused of inappropriate behavior while serving as a coach at the exclusive and prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop in 2015.

Several of the unnamed accusers are freelance photographers and editors whose careers could be heavily influenced by Witty’s prominent positions.

“Multiple women say that Witty wielded this exact power over them when they rebuffed his advances, alleging that he threatened them with professional retaliation. Others said he put them in a position that damaged their credibility on the spot,” Vox reports.

While other prominent photographers (including Terry Richardson, Bruce Weber, and Mario Testino) have been blacklisted by the industry in light of accusations, National Geographic reportedly kept the matter quiet and allowed Witty to leave without making any public announcements regarding its investigation.

We reached out to Witty for comment, and denies engaging “in any behavior that amounts to sexual aggression.” Witty says that he did not intend to ever be hurtful towards women and that he now realizes that his perception of a situation “may not always align” with someone else’s. Here’s a full statement Witty provided PetaPixel through his attorney:

I’m deeply sorry that some of my past behavior has been hurtful to women.

I was raised by six powerful women—five older sisters and my mother, now 86—who taught me to respect women and to fight for women. I’ve advocated and championed women’s advancement as photographers and editors my entire career.

With firm conviction, I deny that I’ve ever engaged in any behavior that amounts to sexual aggression. I also strongly deny ever insinuating that I would give someone professional help—or withhold it—on condition of sexual favors or romantic interest. I’ve never been accused of wrongdoing of any kind in the workplace, so I was shocked and dismayed when I first learned of the accusations against me.

But I’ve also come to realize that my perception of a situation and someone else’s may not always align. In many otherwise innocent interactions I may have underestimated the power of my position. What I’m hearing makes me think about the impact of my behavior on others in a whole new way, as it should. I am saddened to think that I in any way have contributed to or reinforced the imbalance of power between men and women in my industry.

We as a society are in the midst of a stark and imperative reckoning—long overdue—about the reprehensible ways men have behaved toward women all across our culture, as well as in particular industries like photojournalism, to which I have devoted my heart and soul for the past 25 years. This new dialogue is enlightening to me, as a man undergoing a much-needed awakening, and as a father who wants to do better by his own son in the hope that he’ll know, and help to shape, a culture of respect and equality for all. I wholeheartedly embrace and support this movement.

Witty has since gone dark. This his Twitter has been deleted, his Instagram account is now to private, and his website only has a single entry.



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Zion National Park clarifies controversial tripod restrictions

Photo by Jeremy Bishop

A few weeks ago, Zion National Park published its 2018 Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) for photography workshops, and found in its "Unauthorized Use" section on public use obstruction was a troubling note: The use of tripods on trails is prohibited by permittees or clients (monopods are authorized).

Restricting such a vital piece of gear would be fatal to most photography workshops operating in the park, and operators were quick to criticize the decision.

Speaking anonymously to DPReview, one photography workshop operator and permit holder explained how such a restriction would impact their workshop, saying, "I will be forced to cease all commercial workshops in Zion National Park ... [by] enforcing this rule, they are essentially saying that they don't want commercial photography workshops in their park."

In light of the criticism, Zion National Park officials reassessed the tripod restriction and have since issued a clarification to workshop operators via an email sent Monday. In the email, officials said that "misleading information" had been spread earlier this month on social media about the matter, and that commercial photography workshops aren't entirely banned from using tripods.

Rather, according to a copy of the email published by Fstoppers, commercial photography workshop participants are allowed to use tripods on road-side pullouts and in other designated park areas. Tripod usage is restricted on park trails, however, due to the size of these groups and the potential safety issues, trail congestion, and environmental effects they pose.

The email states, in part:

Large groups concentrated in one place can result in trampling of vegetation, soil erosion, widening of formal trails, and impact other visitors' experience of the natural views and soundscapes along these trails.

In order to reduce roadway safety concerns for all photographers on the Canyon Junction Road Bridge, the use of tripods on the Pa'rus Trail will soon be added to the 2018 conditions of use for Commercial Photography Workshops. Otherwise, the conditions of use for commercial photography workshops are unchanged from 2017.

Per the 2018 Zion National Park CUA, photography workshops may have up to 12 participants, plus up to two instructors, allowing for up to 14 individuals total per group.



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This Award-Winning Wildlife Photographer is Only 13 Years Old

Josiah Launstein is a Canadian wildlife photographer who has won multiple prestigious awards… and he’s only 13 years old. Launstein first got behind the lens at the age of 5, following in the footsteps of his father and sister, who are also avid wildlife photographers. This 3-minute video profile by CBC Arts offers a window into his life and work.

Launstein first started taking pictures using his dad’s camera, and all of the photos featured in the video were shot using an entry-level DSLR, the Nikon D3400.

The exact moment that Launstein caught the photography bug was in 2012 when he captured a shot of a bald eagle swooping down, looking for fish. Upon returning home, he spotted that the focus was on the tail instead of the head of the bird. Disappointed, Josiah took this as motivation to continue striving for the perfect shot.

His talented eye and beautiful photos soon caught the attention of the Canadian public, and the recognition brought photo sales, which allowed Launstein to save up and buy his own second-hand equipment. Now armed with a D7100 and 200-500mm f/5.6 lens, Josiah has continued to capture incredible images of his local wildlife.

Launstein now has an impressive string of awards to his name. He has just won a top prize at Outdoor Photographer of the Year for the second time, and has even had photos awarded in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition by the Natural History Museum in London in three separate competitions.

This photo of a Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep won Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2017. This image was awarded as a Finalist in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 competition for the 11-14 years category.

“My best advice to anyone getting into photography would be to photograph what you love,” says the young photographer. “It shows in the pictures. Always go out and take your camera.”

You can find more of Josiah’s work on his family’s website.

(via CBC Arts via Fstoppers)



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How to Shoot Macro Snowflake Photos at Home

This is my account of how I’ve fallen in love with snowflake photography… I’ve spent the better part of my life photographing nature’s smallest details. My early years of shooting botanicals eventually evolved into my current obsession with macro insect and spider photography. I’ve spent that same time running from the cold.

I’m what some may call a “fair weather” photographer. A “warm season” photographer. A “give me 95°F and 80% humidity and I’ll still be out chasing bugs” kind of photographer. I am definitely not a winter photographer. Besides, other than the occasional snow fleas, there aren’t exactly tons of insects and spiders out braving Ohio’s winters.

For years, friends and family encouraged me to try my hand at photographing snowflakes. And for years, the idea intrigued me but I couldn’t get past the mental image of me fumbling around with my camera and frozen fingers. Until now.

Last summer, I discovered a piece of camera equipment that changed my photography. I’ve been shooting macro with the reverse lens technique for many years, but using a 50+-year-old lens with a manual aperture ring has its limitations. My camera couldn’t communicate with my lens and, though I use my camera in manual, shooting with a stopped down aperture resulted in not always being able to see my subject clearly at ƒ/11 (my macro sweet spot) – it was too dark.

Someone recommended I look into a particular reverse lens adapter and let me tell you, it was a game-changer. Though I didn’t get the exact model recommended (it was $500+), I did find an alternative for around $100. Enter the Vello Macrofier Reverse Mount Adapter. Finally, I could see what I was shooting clearly in my viewfinder! Summer 2017 was my best year yet for macro insect and spider photography. I found and photographed more “new-to-me” bugs than ever before. Then came the cold weather.

Like every year before, I wallowed in sadness as Ohio’s winter chill overcame my beautiful local arboretum. Ice, snow, and frosty wind kept me huddled inside my warm home, my camera buried away in a cabinet. Until one day, I got the overwhelming urge to go outside and photograph snowflakes. I have no idea what evil spirit possessed me to go outside in single-digit temperatures, but I did, but not before crafting a makeshift “snowflake studio” from a plastic food storage container and a piece of glass from a small picture frame. I completed the studio by crumpling pieces of colored construction paper and placing them inside the container, under the glass plate. I tossed my “studio” on my front porch for ten minutes to cool down before bundling up and stepping outside.

My Equipment, Technique, and Process

My “snowflake studio” was made from a small plastic food storage container with a small glass plate taped to the top. I placed colored construction paper in the container to create a pastel background. It’s not very glamorous, but it’s what I had available and it works amazingly well.

I use the Vello Macrofier Reverse Mount Adapter to reverse mount my Canon EF-S 24mm ƒ/2.8 lens to my Canon 70D. The Vello adaptor retains electrical connectivity between my camera and lens, allowing me to look through the viewfinder with a completely open aperture, resulting in a bright and clear view of my subject.

I use my camera’s built-in flash for lighting. I pair the flash with the Graslon Spark flash diffuser to diffuse the harsh light. I’ve placed two sheets of polystyrene in the Graslon Spark for additional diffusion.

I tend to shoot with the following settings: ISO 200, ƒ/11, 1/250. Shooting at ƒ/11 provides just enough depth to get clear snowflake shots.

Here are the results!

Along the way, I’ve learned some helpful hints:

1. It’s important to set your glass plate outside 10-15 minutes before you intend to shoot to allow the glass to cool enough so the snowflakes don’t immediately melt when hitting the plate

2. Depending on the rate of snowfall, your glass plate will need to be cleaned often. I started cleaning my glass by unceremoniously wiping it on my pants. This technique worked quite well to clean the plate, but it warmed the glass enough to immediately melt all the snowflakes that landed on it for about a minute. You’ll need to let the glass cool down again, and by that time, you may need to clean it again resulting in a never-ending cycle of cleaning melted snow off your plate. I found using a clean paper towel worked better since it didn’t warm the glass as much, but the issue with this technique is that, because it doesn’t warm the glass, it smears snow across the glass plate, resulting in frozen smears all over the glass. Vigorous rubbing (but not too vigorous, because come on, it’s still glass) seemed to do the trick to remove all snow while keeping the glass cool enough to continue shooting quickly.

3. Many of your shots will end up with “snowflake debris” around your primary subject. You can easily remove these pieces of debris through the lasso and content-aware fill tools in Photoshop. I used the clone tool to remove additional dust spots, imperfections in the glass, and debris left from the paper towel.

4. I suggest playing around with different colors and textures of paper you use for your snowflake studio backdrop (or other materials you’d like to try). I have developed a style of bright and pastel backgrounds in my shots (even for insects and spiders, when possible), so I’ve chosen to retain that style, despite others’ suggestions to use a black background. Get creative and don’t be afraid to try something new!

5. Depending on outside temperatures, I recommend investing in a warm pair of gloves that allow enough mobility to operate your camera. I’ve used hand warmers in my gloves and they are awkward and don’t keep my fingers super warm. I’m still looking for the perfect solution.

6. Like my insect and spider photography, I shoot snowflakes handheld (I hate using a tripod). I hold my camera in my right hand and my “snowflake studio” in my left hand. I balance the weight of my camera on my left wrist while shooting. This provides the stability I need for sharp shots. Yes, it seems awkward, but it works!

7. With the constant cleaning, my glass plate eventually fell off the plastic container to which it was taped (luckily, it didn’t break). I continued shooting by placing the container with colored construction paper on my porch and holding the glass plate at varying heights over the container. I liked this better than holding the entire container with the glass plate attached. It was easier to maneuver the setup and easier to clean. Again, try different techniques until you find something that works and feels comfortable.

You’ll notice the vastly different shapes and sizes of snowflakes. I’m not a meteorologist so I can’t speak to the science of snowflake formation, but I’ve noticed some distinct differences in snowflake shapes and sizes depending on the outside temperature. In warmer temperatures (25-30°F), the snowflakes are more geometrical with refined edges.

In cooler temperatures (



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Aperture Versus Shutter Priority – Which Shooting Mode to Use and When

I too was once a beginner and I completely understand that how difficult it is to move into using Manual Mode directly from shooting Automatic. Thankfully camera manufacturers have also thoughtfully provided us with Aperture and Shutter Priority modes. These two camera shooting modes are possibly the best ways you can understand the nature and role of aperture and shutter speed.

Aperture and Shutter Priority are semi-automatic, or we can call them semi-manual camera modes. These two modes can help you get away from the fully automatic modes (P, Auto) and at the same time get you a step closer to using Manual Mode.

What is Aperture Priority Mode?

The Aperture Priority shooting mode allows you to take control of the aperture, whereas the shutter speed and ISO (if you are set on Auto-ISO) are still controlled by your camera. This means that you can adjust the amount of light entering into the camera through the lens. So using Aperture Priority you can set the aperture value as per your need and control the depth of field.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which Shooting Mode to Use and When

Unlike the automatic modes, this mode gives you the freedom to adjust the aperture value and set the amount of blur effect that you want in your photo.

When should you use the Aperture Priority Mode?

As we discussed, Aperture Priority mode allows you to control the aperture value, which ultimately affects the depth of field. This shooting mode is ideal if you wish to adjust the depth of field as per your desire, whereas leaving the shutter speed and ISO value selection up to the camera.

Situation 1: Portraits

While taking portrait or close-up shots, I am sure you would want to keep the subject in focus and blur out the background by choosing a large aperture (small aperture value). Using Aperture Priority Mode you can manually choose the required aperture value such as f/1.8 or f/2.8 to achieve a shallow depth of field.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which Shooting Mode to Use and When

Situation 2: Landscapes

While shooting landscapes or cityscapes, you might want to have both the foreground and the background very much in focus. This is only possible if you manually choose a small aperture (high aperture value). Aperture Priority Mode gives you the freedom to select desired aperture value such as f/16 or f/22 to get deep depth of field, while your camera takes care of the shutter speed and ISO value.

Situation 3: Low lighting

Suppose you are in a dim lighting condition and your photos are coming out underexposed. By increasing the size of the aperture opening (selecting a smaller aperture value like f/1.8), you can allow more light into the camera and capture a better-exposed photo. Read: 6 Tips for Getting Consistent Results Shooting in Low Light

Situation 4: Midday bright sunlight

If you are shooting in broad daylight and are getting overexposed photos while shooting in automatic mode, you can close the aperture opening. This means that by using a higher aperture number (like f/16), you can minimize the amount of light entering the camera through the lens.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which Shooting Mode to Use and When

What is Shutter Priority Mode?

As the name suggests, Shutter Priority mode allows you to take charge of the shutter speed. Just to brainstorm, shutter speed is the duration for which the camera shutter remains open for the light to enter the camera and ht the sensor. The slower the shutter speed is set on the camera, the more the light is received by the image sensor. Similarly, the faster the shutter speed the less light would hit the image sensor.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which shooting Mode to Use and When

While you are shooting in Shutter Priority mode, you have the freedom to adjust the shutter speed as per your requirement while the camera chooses the aperture and ISO value on its own.

When should you use Shutter Priority Mode?

As we just discussed, if you want to take full control of the shutter speed and experiment with your camera then this is the ideal camera mode. Let’s look at two situations when you are most likely to shoot in Shutter Priority mode.

Situation 1: Freeze a moving subject

If you want to freeze a fast moving bird, animal, or car in your photo, using Shutter Priority mode will allow you to do so by setting a fast shutter speed. A shutter speed of anything faster than 1/500th of a second is considered ideal for freezing an object, but this may vary depending on the speed of the subject. Your camera will judge the required aperture and ISO values as per the available light.

Situation 2: Showing movement

If you are out and planning to capture star trails, light trails, or blue hour photos, you would have to select a slow shutter speed so that the subject’s movement is well captured in the single photo. To capture long exposure photos, you must carry a tripod along to avoid any kind of shake.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which shooting Mode to Use and When

Situation 3: Dim lighting

If you are in dim lighting conditions you might get underexposed photos while shooting in automatic mode. By simply reducing the shutter speed (e.g. from 1/200th to 1/50th), you can allow more light into the camera and capture a well-exposed photo.

Note: Watch out for the shutter speed going too slow as to introduce camera shake into your image;

Situation 4: Broad daylight

Let’s suppose you are shooting in broad daylight and your camera is capturing overexposed photos while shooting in automatic mode. Here you can increase the shutter speed. This means that by using a faster shutter speed (e.g. from 1/200thh 1/1000th), you can minimize the amount of light entering the camera sensor.

Aperture Versus Shutter Priority - Which shooting Mode to Use and When

Conclusion

Using Aperture and Shutter Priority camera modes enables you to get familiar with how the lens’s aperture and the camera shutter works. These modes ensure that you get well-exposed photos with your desired selection of aperture value or shutter speed, unlike automatic mode (where the camera makes all the choices for you).

So if your utmost priority is to manually choose the desired aperture value in order to get a particular depth of field, then you must shoot in Aperture Priority Mode. Otherwise, if your priority is to choose a specific shutter speed to capture something creative with the available light (freeze or blur motion), then you must go with Shutter Priority camera mode.

The post Aperture Versus Shutter Priority – Which Shooting Mode to Use and When by Kunal Malhotra appeared first on Digital Photography School.



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Getting into photography in Fort Collins - Rocky Mountain Collegian

During the day, Old Town tells a quaint story of the city's rich history and roots. At night it tells a different story, illuminated, buzzing with life. Even Colorado State University's campus has its own stories of tradition, growth and achievement ...



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See every Godox X system studio strobe in this side-by-side comparison

People make a big deal about the AD600 (now AD600 Pro) and AD200 strobes when it comes to Godox. They offer a lot of power in a nice easily portable package. But they offer so many more strobes than just these two. While those mentioned above, along with the AD360II are fantastic for shooters looking […]

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See every Godox X system studio strobe in this side-by-side comparison

People make a big deal about the AD600 (now AD600 Pro) and AD200 strobes when it comes to Godox. They offer a lot of power in a nice easily portable package. But they offer so many more strobes than just these two. While those mentioned above, along with the AD360II are fantastic for shooters looking […]

The post See every Godox X system studio strobe in this side-by-side comparison appeared first on DIY Photography.



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3 Bad Habits You Need to Break to Improve Your Photography

Teaching our photography workshops over the years, my wife and I have come to recognize there are three things many people do habitually which do not help the advancement of their photography experience. Here are three bad habits for you to break in order to improve your photography.

Man who works making gold leaf in Mandalay, Myanmar - 3 Bad Habits to Break to Improve Your Photography

1. Don’t always stand when you take photos

Most beginner photographers do this. They stand at their full height to take a photo. It’s very natural to stand upright and take photos, but it is incredibly limiting. Sure, you see the world from a standing position most of the time, but it’s not always, (or even often,) the most interesting point of view from which to photograph something.

Climbing up on a chair or lying down on the ground will often give you a far more interesting perspective. Getting low or getting up high will afford you a different view of your subject which may be far more interesting because it is not how your subject is typically seen.

Parents and young daughter working in a field in Myanmar - 3 Bad Habits to Break to Improve Your Photography

Squat down to make eye contact with your smaller subjects.

Look around you for opportunities

I am always looking around for opportunities to get above my subject to make photographs. But you don’t have to go to extremes. Just squatting down or even bending your waist slightly and you will see your subject differently than when you’re standing upright – as will the viewers of your images (that is the key to standing out from the pack).

Snacks on a blue table in Myanmar. - 3 Bad Habits to Break to Improve Your Photography

Getting up higher, above your subject can create a more interesting photo.

Think about it each time you go to make a new photo. Consider getting lower or higher up than your subject. If you can, make a series of photos at each position and compare them all later on your computer. If you do this, pretty soon it will become a new habit.

men sitting having breakfast in a market in Myanmar - 3 Bad Habits to Break to Improve Your Photography

A lower perspective and using the man’s arm in the foreground created this interesting portrait.

2. Research and understand your subject

Starting to photograph something new and not knowing anything much about your subject is limiting. If you don’t have some understanding of what you are creating photos of they will be more likely to look like anyone else’s photos of the same subject. Getting to know and understand your subject, even a little, before you take any photos will help improve your photography.

I am often surprised when we begin a day photography workshop here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, how little our customers know about the location. We don’t spend a lot of time teaching about the history or the economy. But some essentials about culture and way of life are so beneficial to help people have some understanding of what they are photographing.

For example, knowing that it’s okay to politely photograph monks, knowing a few phrases in the local language, knowing which direction the traffic moves on the road, etc. These are all simple things that can help you have a richer photography experience if you know about them in advance.

Young novice monks in a morning market in Mandalay, Myanmar - 3 Bad Habits to Break to Improve Your Photography

Monks in a morning market in Myanmar.

Connect with people

Getting to know a person before you photograph them will help you relate to one another and certainly alter the type of images you will make compared to having no communication with them beforehand. Photographing someone you already know is often easier, unless they are adverse to having their picture taken. But when you meet a stranger and want to photograph them it’s often best to connect with them first, even on some level (a smile can work too).

Happy market vendor in Mandaly, Myanmar. - 3 Bad Habits to Break to Improve Your Photography

It does not often take much to encourage a smile.

A smile and saying “Hello”, (preferably in their language) are the best icebreakers most of the time. Often when I am photographing in the streets or markets I will just smile, say hello, and nod at my camera. If the person smiles back I go ahead and make a few pictures. I will then show them the back of my camera so they can see their photos. If I get a favorable response I will turn the camera around and continue to make some more photos.

When I find a person who enjoys the interaction and the experience I will spend more time. This relationship is valuable. Taking the time to relate to and get to know your subject even a little, will help you to make more creative photographs of them because they will be more relaxed and happy that you are showing an interest in them.

A quick internet search on anything you are want to photograph will provide you with more reading than you’re willing to do in a single sitting. You don’t have to go overboard with it, but do spend some time finding the essential information about your chosen subject so you are more informed and more interested in the location and/or person.

blue yellow and green painted boat on the water. 3 Bad Habits to Break to Improve Your Photography

3. Use Manual Mode

Learning to use Manual Mode consistently when you are photographing will help your photography more than anything. Having your camera set to any of the Automatic or semi-automatic modes means your camera is in control of the exposure.

Photography is so much about light. The word “photography” literally means drawing with light. If you have no light you cannot make a photograph. The more you can appreciate and understand light, the better you can learn to control the exposure settings on your camera, and the more you will develop as a photographer.

Worker in a field in Myanmar - 3 Bad Habits to Break to Improve Your Photography

Learn to master your camera

I know there are a lot of hard-core photographers who prefer using auto modes, but it’s really not that difficult to learn to master your camera in Manual Mode and gain the maximum amount of control and creativity with your exposures.

Your camera is incredibly intelligent and capable of making even exposures in many situations. But your camera is not creative. You are!

Kayan long neck woman cooking outdoors in Myanmar - 3 Bad Habits to Break to Improve Your Photography

Taking the time to study a little about how cameras function to capture an image will help you to control your camera more precisely. It doesn’t matter that much which camera you study as they have not essentially changed how they make an exposure since they were first invented.

Practicing in Manual Mode, (and not cutting corners and slipping back into an auto mode,) will help you build your confidence and speed every time you come to make photographs.

Kayan long neck woman in a house in Myanmar - 3 Bad Habits to Break to Improve Your Photography

Conclusion

Stepping out of your comfort zones and breaking some (bad) habits will help you to develop your style and you will come to enjoy your photography experience more and more.

Move around, look for alternative locations to make your photos. Learn about your subject. The more interested you are and the more knowledge you have will enhance your experience and you will therefore also produce more interesting photographs. Take the time and practice in Manual Mode. You may be frustrated at first because it is more difficult, but the results you will achieve will be well worth your effort.

The post 3 Bad Habits You Need to Break to Improve Your Photography by Kevin Landwer-Johan appeared first on Digital Photography School.



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Five creative tips for using a cheap smoke machine in your videos

Smoke can be useful in all sorts of ways in your photo and video work. Jordy Vandeput and Yannick Theunissenof Cinecom.net share five creative ideas to use a cheap smoke machine and add all sorts of smoke effects to your videos. You can use smoke bombs for your shots (either buy them or make them), […]

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Hidden Children: American Child Labour in Colour

“There is work that profits children, and there is work that brings profit only to employers.  The object of employing children is not to train them, but to get high profits from their work” – Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940) Lewis Wickes Hine was an American sociologist and photographer, whose work was instrumental in changing child labour […]

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Hidden Children: American Child Labour in Colour

“There is work that profits children, and there is work that brings profit only to employers.  The object of employing children is not to train them, but to get high profits from their work” – Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940) Lewis Wickes Hine was an American sociologist and photographer, whose work was instrumental in changing child labour […]

The post Hidden Children: American Child Labour in Colour appeared first on DIY Photography.



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How to photograph seascapes

Photographing the sea and the waves can be both challenging and fun. People often ask me what are ‘the right settings’ to shoot moving water so I decided to write a little guide on it. There are many options depending on what look you’re going for. By using some examples of my own I’ll explain […]

The post How to photograph seascapes appeared first on DIY Photography.



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How to photograph seascapes

Photographing the sea and the waves can be both challenging and fun. People often ask me what are ‘the right settings’ to shoot moving water so I decided to write a little guide on it. There are many options depending on what look you’re going for. By using some examples of my own I’ll explain […]

The post How to photograph seascapes appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Fujifilm’s new X-A5 adds 4K video and speedy phase detect autofocus

It feels like only yesterday I was playing with Fuji’s shiny new X-A3 entry-level mirrorless camera. Of course, it wasn’t yesterday, it was almost a year and a half ago at Photokina. While the X-A3 was a pretty decent camera to introduce the Fuji X system, it wasn’t perfect. Now it’s received a few updates […]

The post Fujifilm’s new X-A5 adds 4K video and speedy phase detect autofocus appeared first on DIY Photography.



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This is the first GoPro ever – and it’s a 35mm film camera

Do you remember the first GoPro ever? It wasn’t a tiny digital camera that shoots both 12MP photos and 4K videos. It was a 35mm film camera and it was a size of an average disposable camera. Derald of Thirty Five Studio bought one in perfectly good condition and he took it for a test ride. […]

The post This is the first GoPro ever – and it’s a 35mm film camera appeared first on DIY Photography.



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This is the first GoPro ever – and it’s a 35mm film camera

Do you remember the first GoPro ever? It wasn’t a tiny digital camera that shoots both 12MP photos and 4K videos. It was a 35mm film camera and it was a size of an average disposable camera. Derald of Thirty Five Studio bought one in perfectly good condition and he took it for a test ride. […]

The post This is the first GoPro ever – and it’s a 35mm film camera appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Zion National Park will allow tripods on some trails after all

Earlier this month, we reported Zion National Park’s decisions to ban tripods from all trails for photography workshops. This caused reactions and even some confusion among photographers. But, Zion National Park has now responded to their concerns. Some trails will allow tripods for photography workshops after all. As FStoppers writes, some workshop operators had seen […]

The post Zion National Park will allow tripods on some trails after all appeared first on DIY Photography.



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Zion National Park will allow tripods on some trails after all

Earlier this month, we reported Zion National Park’s decisions to ban tripods from all trails for photography workshops. This caused reactions and even some confusion among photographers. But, Zion National Park has now responded to their concerns. Some trails will allow tripods for photography workshops after all. As FStoppers writes, some workshop operators had seen […]

The post Zion National Park will allow tripods on some trails after all appeared first on DIY Photography.



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How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

Aurora HDR 2018 has plenty of tricks up its sleeve, and one of those is versatility. It’s not a one-trick pony when it comes to creating your HDR look. The range of different tools really allows you to create a huge variety of looks really easily. Part of that is knowing what your available tools do. The other part is just playing around and exploring your own creative side!

In this article, you’ll see five different looks in HDR and how you can recreate them – but on top of that, you’ll also get them in preset form to use yourself. You’ll also get to see some of the new Lens and Transform options inside Aurora HDR 2018.

Plug it in

Aurora HDR 2018 doesn’t have a way to manage files, but can easily be used from other applications including Lightroom. In fact, you’ll even be able to process the files using Aurora’s built-in HDR processor, so you’re not trying to combine three already rendered files. To run Aurora HDR 2018 from inside Lightroom, you’ll need to run the standalone version first. From the Edit menu on PC or the Aurora HDR Menu on Mac, choose the Install Plugins.. menu item.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

From the dialog that appears, choose the host applications that you want to use.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

Back in Lightroom, once you’ve selected the bracketed exposures you want to edit, go to the File menu and from the Plug-In Extras menu, choose Transfer to Aurora HDR 2018.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

Getting Started in Aurora

Aurora HDR 2018 will load up with your selected bracketed sequence. I’ve chosen these photos specifically because they have lens distortion and a crooked horizon, which you’ll see how to correct shortly.

Once the files have loaded, you can set about working with alignment and ghosting settings. You’ll see the sequence and the bracketing interval in the photos. To align the photos if you’re not on a tripod, click Alignment. To access the other settings, click the cog you see on the bottom left (see below).

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

If you’ve got photos with moving objects in them, such as waves, trees in the wind or moving people, turn Ghost Reduction on. Choose your preferred reference image, and how strong you want the reduction to be. Color Denoise helps remove noise but increases the time your HDR takes to render. Finally, turn on Chromatic Aberration Removal to automatically get rid of color fringing on your photo.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

Lens and Perspective Corrections

In the Filters header, you’ll see two icons. The first is for Perspective corrections or Transform (including rotation) and the second for Lens corrections.

The little odd looking shape is for Perspective and the round one is Lens Corrections.

You can fix rotation here (or using Crop as well) by clicking the Perspective icon. Rotation of 24 and Scale of 50 correct this image nicely.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

Transform sliders correcting perspective.

Your penultimate step before going to the individual HDR looks is to fix the bow in the horizon caused by the wide-angle lens. A setting of 18 looks good for this photo. It also reveals that 24 was too much in the previous step, which you can always fix by going back to Perspective correction. 19 looked better zoomed in.

Lens Correction fixing distortion caused by wide lenses.

As the photo is a little underexposed, boosting the Exposure before going to create your looks is probably a good idea. While you may need to change this for each look, an additional stop is a good start here.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

#1 Photo-Realistic

For your first look, something photo-realistic is the best approach. You’re not trying to get anything gritty, or super desaturated, or over saturated here. We’ll get to that later.

For this look, use HDR Basic, Color, and HDR Denoise. In HDR Basic, smooth out the dynamic range by reducing Highlights and increasing Shadows. Smart Tone of 44 also helps it along. HDR Enhance (formerly Clarity) brings up some nice detail, 50 is looking well here. Your aim is to get the best looking photo you can before tweaking the look – this will be true of all looks.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

The color is a little flat so in the Color panel, you can boost both Saturation and Vibrance to +20. Color contrast, which controls the contrast between the primary and secondary colors looks good around 20 as well. You’re not aiming for extremes here, just to get a good looking photo.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

You’ve probably noticed the noise in the clouds at this point. This is where HDR Noise comes in. Setting this to around 25 softens up the noise.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

And that makes your first look, a photorealistic HDR photo.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

#2 Gritty HDR

With the basic look out of the way, it’s time for the more surrealistic to take over.

Start by using the History Panel to reset everything to your original starting point AFTER increasing the Exposure +1 and applying your Perspective and Lens Corrections. The History Panel records every action you take in Aurora HDR in chronological order, so simply select the last action after the ones you’d like to save, then begin the next edits. The History Panel will begin recording any edits from there leading to your Gritty HDR look!

Now it’s pretty flat and bleak, so you’re going to take it even further in that direction.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

Set your HDR Enhance to +100 to get the bleak and gritty ball rolling. Smart Tone of -50 darkens the photo as well, and a hint of Vibrance (+15) gives color to the sky, while leaving the rest of the photo muted.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

To complete your gritty look, go to the HDR Structure panel. In the top section, set Amount to 25 to begin to increase detail in the photo. Increasing Softness (+80) makes the detail more realistic, while Boost accentuates it (+75). The latter two sliders might seem at odds, but a quick play shows they complement each other rather than compete.

HDR Microstructure boosts micro contrast, while Softness makes it more realistic. By increasing Amount to 71 and Softness to 28, you’ll get even more detail. You may even like the noise that this processing adds to the photo. I think it’s a big part of the look.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018 - gritty HDR look

And now you have your classic gritty HDR look!

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018

#3 Warm Ethereal

At the opposite end of the spectrum is a soft and ethereal look. There are two different variations you can have on this, and they depend on using Image Radiance or Glow (and combinations of each). So with a reset to your basic corrected photo, let’s begin again!

A good beginning would be for a warmer look, so set your Temperature in HDR Basic to 10. While Image Radiance does have a Warmth slider, Temperature is much more effective. This look is all about Image Radiance. Set your Amount to 75 to really give the image a glow. Smoothness affects the softness of the image, and in this case, you’ll probably agree, it’s a little too soft, so set it to -50.

Overall at this point, the photo is too bright, so a reduction in Brightness to -76 helps. Darkening Shadows also helps. Finally, for Image Radiance, an addition of +61 Vividness to boost the saturation, while Warmth just adds another hint of yellow tones in a more controllable way than with Temperature.

How to Make 5 Different Looks using Aurora HDR 2018



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