The full seventeen minute speech is here.
The most important and difficult step in night photography is to focus on infinity. If you have tried to focus on the stars at night you have already learned that it is an impossible task for the autofocus system and just about impossible for you. You just can’t see clearly enough through the viewfinder in the dark of night to manually focus on the stars. Fortunately, there are some ways to get the job done.
It’s that time of year. I downloaded a bunch of holiday photos and it’s also time to check on my overall backup plan.
You would think a windchill of 4° Fahrenheit (-16°C) would be too cold for a photo shoot, but not with some models. We booked this January shoot weeks in advance so we knew it would be cold, but we had no idea how cold until the day arrived. Here’s the story behind this image and how to work with a model when it is so cold.
The Sunny f16 rule is really useful on bright sunny days in the spring, summer, and fall, but you can’t rely on it on bright, snowy winter days. It will often lead you astray. There are much more accurate ways to meter in the winter.
You can photograph the night sky year around, but winter brings an added bonus: SNOW! When you don’t have the benefit of moonlight, most of the year land forms a dark to black silhouetted skyline against the night sky. In winter you have the possibility of including the highly reflective snow. You can see both in this photo. Any place not covered with snow is very dark to black. Having reflective snow is why winter is the favorite time of year for a lot of photographers to go out and photograph the night sky.
Just like metering daytime winter scenes, the key to metering evening winter scenes is knowing what to meter and deciding how much exposure compensation to use.
Most wildlife are medium to dark in tone, making them a challenge to meter properly in the bright, white tones of winter. If you trust one of your camera’s automatic exposure modes, the odds are good you won’t get the best exposure. If you switch over to manual exposure and make the right decisions, you can get great exposures and better quality photos (more about that later).
Metering dark toned wildlife in the snow is a major exposure challenge. It is usually best to avoid large “burned out” areas (washed out, featureless white) in a nature or landscape photograph, but with properly exposed snow, the wildlife can be so dark as to lose all texture. On other hand, metering for the wildlife can burn out the snow. So what do you do?
The white snow in a winter scene can and often does fool a camera meter into underexposing a portrait, so here are the steps to take to get the right exposure. I throw in a few portrait suggestions too.
Metering for scenes with a lot of snow can be tricky since the bright snow fools the camera meter. I see a lot of winter photos with gray snow, which means the camera meter did exactly what it was designed to do and the camera owner didn’t know how to use exposure compensation. The solution is quite simple provided you know what to do.
Out of 2,290,225 photographs by 91 photographers, National Geographic picked the 52 best images of the year.
CamRanger provides wireless image transfer from your Camera to your laptop or smartphone. CamRanger also give you wireless control of your camera with your smart phone or laptop.
Article posted Dec. 28, 2016. Updated Dec. 29, 2016.
Snow glistens in the last light of dusk.
Distant clouds glow with the fading light from the sun, long since set.
The photo abilities of smart phones have improved dramatically in the last few years, especially in low light situations. Just point your camera phone at the lights and click the shutter. Exposure can be a bit iffy. If the photo looks too light or too dark and your phone will allow you to alter the exposure, take advantage of that feature.
Ah yes, “The Big Thrill of Montana”. Except for one, teeny, tiny detail. Do you know what is wrong with this Facebook post by Travel and Leisure?
Looking for an extra special gift for a photographer? Sign them for a total immersion nature photography workshop in Ohio, Michigan, or Colorado in 2017. Workshops are one day to four days in length and cost $90 to $400. Send no money now. This is a no risk gift.
I get lots of photo questions this time of year, and many of them begin with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from photographers or someone shopping for a photographer.
Here is my list of “best of the best” of articles recommending the best photo gear, software, books, DVDs, calendars, online photo labs, and a whole lot more.
Posted Nov. 19, 2016. Re-posted Dec. 17, 2016 and updated Dec. 28, 2016.
Sometimes when I see an interesting photo online I am curious what information is included in the photo’s metadata. Some photos get posted and re-posted by people other than the photographer so you don’t know who took the photo, or where, or with what equipment. If that information isn’t posted with the photo, I check the metadata to look for it.
So your hard drive crashes or is damaged in some other way. Where should you send it? The choice is important. If you don’t send it to one of the first rate data-recovery services (expensive as they are), a cut rate company could mess up your drive and make it impossible for a first rate company to retrieve your data.
The GPS system is increasingly important to photography. It will help you figure out where you took some of your more obscure photos, and more and more photo editors want GPS information for the photos they publish. The GPS system inside your smart phone can put your family at risk. A GPS communicator could save your life. This series will help you learn the ins and outs of GPS, plus keep you and your family safe.
Updated and reposted Dec. 29, 2016.
When using studio flash units, usually the best way to check your exposures is to use an incident light meter which is capable of metering flash exposures. But what if you don’t have an incident flash meter? Or what if you have a subject that absorbs a lot of light? Or a subject that reflects a lot more light than your typical photographic subject? You can double check your exposure settings by using the histogram on your camera. FYI: Do not trust the LCD image on the back of your camera to judge your exposures.
I finally found an excellent series of photography lessons on video to complement my book, Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, and it is by Joel Sartore, a first class photographer who does a lot of work for National Geographic. He does stunning photography in amazing situations all over the world. You can see some of his work in the galleries at his web site.
Photography DVDs can inspire your photography, give you new ideas, and teach you new skills and techniques. These are my favorites.
There are a ton of photography magazines out there and it seems like there are new ones every time I go to my favorite newsstand. But some are clearly better, more accurate, more useful, and with better images. The magazines that follow are, from my point of view, the best of the best photo magazines.
Two essential and challenging Photoshop skills are Masking and Compositing. Fortunately for all of us out in Photoshop land, Katrin Eismann (along with Sean Duggan and James Porto) have written a masterful book on developing these skills, Photoshop Masking & Compositing (2nd edition).