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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Hand-Holding the Camera and Sharpness

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This happens: I get back to the computer and find that the shot I took is not sharp. I was shaking while taking the photo. Arrrrgh! But why? I’ll tell you my problems so you can avoid them yourself.

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Increase Detail With Focus Magic

Focus Magic is a piece of software that sharpens and de-blurs photos in a special way through use of sophisticated algorithms. Besides using it to repair photos that have blur or focus issues, I also sometimes use it as a final-pass item that punches up the sharpness. It’s another of my “secret weapons.” 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

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

Camera Focusing Modes

I couldn’t write it better…so I won’t. Here’s a link to a great article on focusing modes.

This is one item that has tripped me up more than once. There’s nothing worse than going for a shot and having it ruined by bad focus. More than once I’ve been perplexed by my camera and why it won’t focus on what I want it to focus on!

Focusing Modes | Understanding Autofocus Modes.

via Focusing Modes | Understanding Autofocus Modes.

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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Film Grain – Is It Cool?

Film Grain?

I’ve seen plenty of high-end photos with film grain visible in them. If you get right up to them and look, you can see it. I saw it in a Peter Lik photo when I was in on of his galleries in Waikiki and I thought “how could the great Peter Lik allow film grain in his photos?” But I realized shortly after, that great photographers do have film grain in their photos — usually because they shot on film!

So is it cool to have film grain in your photos? The answer is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. But, generally yes.

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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