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Landscape Tip #8

15th February 2010

One technique for turning an ordinary landscape into a more interesting landscape is to use the ground or ground covering as a way to emphasize distance.

Getting Down (to business)

This beautiful historic building, adorned with bright gold trim sits in the center of Brussels. This photo shows the structure’s intricate detail.

To add a different twist, I placed the camera close to the ground so that the cobblestones become part of an added perspective.

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Action Tip #3

11th January 2010

There’s beauty at 30,000 feet and 600 miles per hour. Here’s how I’ve been able to capture some of this beauty when I’m flying way up high.

Up, Up and Away Suggestions

  1. Ask for a window seat on left side of the aircraft. Approaches to landing are most often made with left hand turns.
  2. Turn the camera’s flash off.
  3. When the light is dim, set the ISO to 800 or higher.
  4. Avoid shots when the sun is shining directly at the plane’s windows.
  5. Rest the camera lens gently against the window.
  6. For takeoffs and landings, you’ll need to use a shutter speed of 1/250 or faster.

    At cruise, you’ll be able to use a shutter speed of 1/125.

On an early morning flight we passed over the Rockies. The snow capped peaks make for a great contrast to the dark mountain base.

Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft passes through the lower layer of clouds on the way to open skies. The sun is starting to peak through the upper layer.

Here’s another attractive formation in the Rockies. I was lucky to have the warm color of the morning sunrise shed its even light on the mountains.

There’s beauty closer to the earth too. Here’s a shot of a picturesque river on approach to the Munich Airport.

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Travel Photography Tip #1

20th December 2009

Since my job often requires me to be on the road quite often, I’ve learned to travel light using only carry-on luggage. However, traveling light doesn’t mean that I leave the camera behind. In fact, I always travel with a camera just in case that great photo opportunity pops up.

Traveling Light

It’s a buyer’s market with such a wide variety of high quality, reasonably priced digital cameras available. For everyday use, I bought a compact camera with a high optical zoom lens. Perfect for travel, it’s small and fits in my coat pocket so is always near at hand.

On a recent trip, I spotted this iconic sign as I was driving. Knowing that I had a camera in my coat pocket, I stopped the car, pulled out the camera and shot using its no flash mode. Without the camera, the sign would remain only a faint memory.

It was still dark when we landed at the airport in Denver. It’s a beautiful sight with the terminal decorated as lighted mountain peaks. The small camera in my coat pocket was conveniently at hand allowing me to shoot this photo from my window seat.

Hungry, I searched for lunch and found a 50’s style restaurant. However, it was pouring rain as I ran from my car and found this old fashion gasoline pump at the entrance. Luckily, my camera was in my pocket and still dry .

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Landscape Tip #7

16th November 2009

Sometimes you may have a difficult time deciding how best to capture your scene. Fortunately with digital, shooting that extra picture is nearly free. So go ahead – press that shutter button.

The Long and Short of It

Out in the wilderness with beauty all around, it’s sometimes hard to decide on how best to take that photo.

What is going to look better – horizontal or vertical? Well don’t fret, just go ahead and try both ways and then make your decision afterwards.

I prefer the vertical because it emphasizes the depth of the scene.

But since there is no right or wrong, you decide.

Tech Tip #1

07th November 2009

For the most part, we’ve stayed away from the “techie” stuff so far. We’re going to stray slightly to explain how more pixels can come in handy.

When Pixels Count

Although I was using a 400mm lens, I was unable to get any closer to this bald eagle. He was sitting on a small branch in a pine tree 200 feet away and 50 feet off the ground.

This photo shows the full frame. It has a resolution of 5600 x 3700 pixels.

To keep the eagle from remaining a speck on my print, I tightly cropped the image. This yields an 870 x 1300 pixel image. Had my original image had fewer pixels, the cropped image would have lost detail.

Landscape Tip #6

24th October 2009

Picture taking is often quite spontaneous but you can turn it into something that is more planned. To capture that perfect shot, you may want to take a few minutes to find the best view.

Take a Short Walk

What a view! I jumped out of the car and snapped the gorgeous Grand Tetons from the road at the Jackson Lake Dam. My initial thought was that here’s a view that can’t miss. However, a quick in-camera review revealed the orange floats in the foreground.

For this photo, I just walked twenty feet to the left and snapped. The objectionable orange floats had disappeared and a sliver of beach appeared in the viewfinder to yield what I found to be a more interesting shot. What do you think?

General Shooting Tip #1

17th October 2009

When you’re busy snapping away taking pictures of those unforgettable sites, do you sometimes forget the name of that unforgettable view? Here’s a way to help you keep track of things.

Where Am I?

On my recent visit to Yellowstone, I saw this picturesque hot water pool. It was located in a huge geyser basin with many other such pretty views making it difficult for me to recall them all.

My solution was to take a snapshot of the sign describing the site. Even though I don’t intend to print a picture of the sign, I now can recall the Emerald Spring. In this case, I also have some background info about the pool.

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Using Flash Tip #1

29th September 2009

Most cameras have a built-in flash for shooting indoors or in low-light areas. Sometimes photos taken with flash may look overly contrasty or harsh since you’re using a tiny, single light source. To soften the light, you can cover the flash with a handkerchief or facial tissue. The result is a more rounded look, especially on faces.

Soften The Light

This photo was taken with flash. Notice that the right side of the face shows a lot of contrast the photo appear harsh.

For this shot, I covered the flash with a facial tissue. I wrapped the tissue around the flash with a rubber band. The result is a softer light.

the facial tissue acts as simple flash diffuser

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Shooting Stills Tip #1

17th August 2009

Many of us have a craving for food and drink. Sometimes I like to photograph a memorable dinner. Here’s a simple tip that can help make your food shots shine.

Lighten Up

When photographing food, the texture and details may become obscured when the lighting isn’t perfect. Here the light was coming from the back (backlit) which makes the meat appear quite dark.

Here, I’ve popped up the camera’s flash to bring out the food details. When using the flash to provide fill light, you may want to adjust the camera exposure so that the flash does not overexpose the food.

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Landscape Tip #5

11th August 2009

When the fluffy clouds appear overhead I often think it’s time to grab the camera. There’s something magical about capturing these soft tufts of cotton. It’s easy to capture those puff balls.

Dial Back

Here I framed the large cloud formation using the lovely hanging willow branches. Although the clouds show up with lots of detail, I’d like to see a more dramatic effect.

To add impact, I simply decreased the exposure slightly. You can do this easily by adjusting the camera’s exposure compensation by -1 stop. For an even more dramatic effect, you can reduce the exposure by – 2 stops.

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