Why Shooting Landscapes and Nature is Better at f/11 or Less

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Shot at 8mm, f/5.6 on an APS-C camera. The focal point was about 1/3 of the way into the frame at a point about 30 feet from the camera on the green grass where it meets the road.

Almost everything you will read will tell you that to have a great looking landscape shot it has to be sharp from front to back, and you have to shoot at f/16 or f/22 to get that.

Not true.

That is not how it works in the real world with your eyes, and it is not how a camera or lens should be used either. I’ll break this down and destroy this myth. Continue reading

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Camera Lens Filter Effects You Can’t Get From Post-Processing

Software can do a lot to post-process your photos, but it can’t do everything. Sometimes, you just have to use a filter on your camera to achieve certain photos. Here are what filters you will absolutely have to have on hand in order to get those shots! (click to tweet) Continue reading

Using a Cable Release and Intervalometer with the Tripod

When doing time lapse work using a cable release or intervalometer (like the PClix XT) with my camera on my tripod, there is a simple thing I do to minimize vibrations that might blur my shots. I’m sure you’ve run into the problem before where even with mirror lockup on, you sometimes get some blur. Of course you don’t notice it until later because its nearly impossible to see on the camera’s built-in screen. Continue reading

Black Rapid RS-7 (Curve) Camera Strap

The Black Rapid RS-7 camera strap is by far the most useful accessory that I have for outdoor photography! I used it most recently for trips to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and it proved to be invaluable. I’ve been using it for over a year now and I can definitely say that I would not be without it.

The main thing it does for me is that it keeps my camera at my side, with the lens facing backward and along side of me. This means as I climb through the woods and through brush, the lens is protected. Plus, I don’t feel a large weight bounding off of my chest as I had with the factory strap hanging around my neck. This strap goes over the shoulder and across the body, holding the camera at waist level. Since this is where your arms naturally hang down and your hands are at waist level, you can easily grab the camera and swing it up to take a shot – never missing a shot again by fumbling for your camera.

I looked at other straps before choosing the Black Rapid brand, but the others did not measure up. I also looked at holsters and belt clips for my camera as I thought these would put the camera at my side for quick use. It turns out that these do not work so well because I’m generally driving to a location to shoot and I want to keep my camera on me so I can get out and get to the shooting part with minimal preparation. The holster systems do not work because when sitting, the camera is either grinding into your seat or leg or both. Either way it puts undue stress on the camera itself. A strap is better. Continue reading

Scouting Shots

Before setting out to shoot some photos, it is always a good idea to scout¹ out some locations that may produce great shots. The idea here is to go and find those spots where a great photo could be taken, so that you can set up and be ready to go when conditions are right and the photo is there for the taking! It is very similar to what good hunters do when they are preparing to hunt their prey.

“But where?”  I’m glad you asked. Here’s some ideas “where” and more importantly here’s “how,” “why”, and “when!” Continue reading

How to Photograph Flowing Water

Click to ViewWhat’s the correct way to photograph flowing water (waterfalls, streams, oceans, etc.)? It turns out there is no correct way – it depends on who you are and what you like!

In my photographs, I like to show what it would look like if I were actually right there looking at it. I want realism. I like that. So I usually shoot water so I can see almost every drop and ripple – a snapshot in time just as if I were there. But, that’s me.

The overwhelming majority of people like to see water as a blurred, fuzziness without drops or ripples. I’ve heard it termed “silky” or “flowing.”

No problem, I’ll show you how to do both:

Continue reading

Photographing Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons

Here’s what I learned about photography from my recent trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons!

I went there on vacation in mid-September, and it was the perfect time with the crowds gone and the elk running all over the place. The foliage was still green in low lands, but turning in the high lands where it had just frosted.

Before leaving, I was really wondering what gear to take to get the types of shots I wanted. So, I took everything I had. But here are the items that I really used, so maybe you won’t have to take so much stuff. Continue reading

What is your steadiness limit?

Who wants to use a tripod all the time? Sure it gets you blur-free shots, but how awkward carrying the thing around. Some places don’t even let you bring one (certain parks, monuments, busy areas, etc.). But how do you know if you’re going to get blur (camera shake) if you’re hand-holding your camera? You have to know your “steadiness limit.” Here’s how. Continue reading