Best Photography Sites for Photographers

Here is my personal collection of what I consider some of (but not all of) the best sites for a photographer to use: Continue reading

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How to Shoot Better Photos More Quickly

When you see a great shot or say to yourself “that would make a great photo,” you want to be able to actually take that photo – right now. You don’t want to fumble around with your camera and lenses. Here’s a simple, simple way to take shots more quickly. (And, you’ll get better results.)

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Creating Photos With Realism

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Have you seen the photo that looks so real it almost comes off of the page or draws you into it? Have you seen one that gives you the sense of actually being there? Does it seem like you are there where the photographer was and now seeing it with your own eyes?

If you have, you’ve probably seen a photo that has one or more of the following qualities that make it look realistic. Continue reading

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

Review: The Sigma 8-16 mm Lens is Excellent for Landscapes

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Sigma’s 8-16 mm f/4.5-5.6 lens is the widest rectilinear lens made for APS-C sized cameras. This is the 35 mm equivalent of 12-24 mm. If sweeping landscape shots and front-interest images with tremendous depth are your things, then you’re going to love this lens.

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Review: Why the Hoya HRT CIR-PL Circular Polarizer is a Winner

Hoya HRT CIR-PL UV box

The Hoya HRT CIR-PL UV filter is a winner in my opinion. It has both the polarization and UV protection, but most importantly it does not cut down on the light reaching your camera sensor as much as many of the others. Together with its low cost, I think this is the filter every photographer should own.

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Meaningless Labels on Photographers

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I’ve been reading a lot of camera and lens reviews lately, and they all label the users as one thing or another: Pro, Semi-Pro, Enthusiast, Novice, Casual User, Hobbyist, Amateur. I’m here to tell you; that’s all a bunch of nonsense. I stop reading when I see them labeling me or my equipment as one of these. I think you should too. Here’s why: Continue reading

Review: Comparing Circular Polarizing Filters – Hoya HRT CIR-PL UV vs. Singh-Ray LB Warming CP

Hoya HRT CIR-PL UV filter

Hoya HRT CIR-PL UV filter

Singh-Ray LB Warming Circular Polarizing filter

Singh-Ray LB Warming Circular Polarizing filter

Comparing Circular Polarizers

I have two circular polarizing filters in my camera bag that seem to perform about the same…but do they? I did a simple test with my camera to find out. Here’s how they compare:

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Easy Night Sky Photography

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How to Take Great Night Photos

What a lot of people don’t know is that it is relatively inexpensive and easy to take great night photos. The Milky Way, stars, and Moon are all within your reach. You can get some extremely cool-looking photos of them without a lot of effort. Here’s how…
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Maximum Lens Sharpness – The “Sweet Spot”

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What is a lens’s “sweet spot?”

Everybody wants sharp and focused photos. You can get good sharpness near to far in a photo by hyperfocal focusing, but what are the limits of sharpness of your lens? At what aperture (f-stop value) will you get the sharpest photos? This is also known as the “sweet spot” of the lens. Here is a simple test you can do to find out where your lens is sharpest. But first, some basic rules…

General Rules for Lenses

The rules are about the same for every lens. Here are the general ones: Continue reading

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

GoPro Hero Camera Lens Corrections in Lightroom

GoPro Hero cameras are fantastic as movie cameras and also for taking still photos. The Hero 3 is the latest version and has options for 12 Megapixel Wide Angle, Medium Angle, or Narrow. The wide angle is by far the best for getting all of a scene in view, but the distortion around the edges is difficult to compensate and all objects appear curved toward the edges. Here is my formula for getting lens corrections in Lightroom for this camera. Continue reading

Toning Down Photos

Sometimes a photo will have just too much of a particular color (color cast) or overall too much color such as from a polarizing filter. The Singh-Ray LB Color Combo filter sometimes does this to my photos and I have to “tone them down” in Lightroom. Here’s what I do to achieve more pleasing color in these types of images: Continue reading

Preventing Motion Blur

I hate having to correct for motion blur in post processing. It’s easy enough to do with programs like Focus Magic, but it frustrates me because it could all have been avoided if I’d have just set-up my camera correctly! Motion blur happens when the camera is moving and the shot is taken, but there are some simple rules I have that can help.

The rules I use are as follows: Continue reading

A Chromatic Aberration Eraser in Lightroom

Chromatic aberration (purple fringe or other color anomalies around bright to dark transitions) is an annoying thing in photos and can easily sneak into one of your’s!

You can see it in the photo I have here around the dark legs of this structure. It is the magenta lining on the left and the aqua on the right of each of the legs. Click on the photo to see it larger if needed.

You may miss it the first time looking at the photo because you’re interested in the composition or overall color, sharpness, etc. (as you should be). But, looking closely, you will find it in almost all of the photos you take.  It is sometimes an aqua, magenta, blue, or yellow lining of darker objects on lighter backgrounds. In older cameras, it was purple, giving it the nickname of “purple fringe.” Fortunately, in Lightroom, there are two or three ways to get rid of this annoying item.

Here are the three ways that I get rid of chromatic aberration using Lightroom: 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:

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Video: Using a Lens Cover

Using a Lens Cover is my latest video showing how a lens cover works and how it can prevent damage to a camera lens.

Using those little spring-loaded lens caps that come with most camera lenses just don’t work when using screw-on filters. They don’t fit. The better bet is with lens covers and this video will show you the kind that I use and even a tip on how to use them!

P.S.: I learned how to shoot good video using the book “How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro.” I highly recommend it! 

Video: A Basic Trick With the Circular Polarizer

Maybe you already do this simple thing, but in this short video I show you my trick and how it can save you some considerable cost and damage to your polarizing filter!

P.S.: I learned how to shoot good video using the book “How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro.” I highly recommend it!