The exposure compensation scale on your camera is one of the keys to mastering exposures, getting better images, and ending up with professional quality colors. This means taking your camera off of full auto mode and taking control of your own exposures.
This has to be one of the best kept photographic secrets: The more accurate your exposures are, the better your colors will be. Why? If your exposures are off, the colors in your photograph will shift in different directions. You can correct the exposure in post processing, but you can’t correct the color shifts. Since the colors shift in different directions, if you try to correct one color (as you will see below), the other colors will get even worse.
You have heard it said a lot, and maybe said it yourself: “This picture doesn’t do the scene justice.” That is often true and for several reasons. One is that digital cameras do not capture reality. No matter how fancy or expensive, digital cameras simply do not capture what your eyes see. That is also true with film cameras. All color photographic films have different color characteristics. Some have better reds, others have better greens or blues. Some are more saturated and others less saturated. But none of them are totally color realistic. So why don’t digital cameras give you realistic images and what can you do about it?
Originally posted December 16, 2015. Revised and re-posted January 18, 2022.
Your camera is in love with middle gray. The quicker you learn how to deal with this infatuation, the better your photos will look, including all of your color photos.
Martin Luther King’s “Other America” speech should be as well known and well listened to as his other more famous speeches. People need to learn what life is like in the “other America” King describes in powerful and compelling words.
This is the audio (with still photos) of the entire, powerful, prophetic speech MLK made to a packed church in Memphis, Tennessee, on 3 April 1968, just a day before he was assassinated.
This is the final and famous highlight from the powerful, prophetic speech MLK made to a packed church in Memphis, Tennessee, on 3 April 1968, just a day before he was assassinated.
Martin Luther King, I have a dream, the full speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial August 28, 1963.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. This is a 5 minute highlight from the end of the speech which was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial August 28, 1963. A video of the whole 17 minute speech is here.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15, 1929. He was a Baptist minister and a prominent civil rights advocate. King was the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize when it awarded to him in 1964. He was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
One of his most famous speeches was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial August 28, 1963. Often referred to as the “I have a dream” speech, it is one of the most significant and powerful speeches of the 20th century. A portion of the speech follows. Links to the full speech and an audio file are at the end of this post.
It’s winter! Go out and play in the snow. Or photograph someone else playing in the snow.
Joseph Wachira, a keeper at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, says goodbye to Sudan before he died in 2018. Sudan was the last male Northern White Rhino in existence. He became, for a while, one of the most beloved animals on the planet. Weighing 2,000 pounds, he was as docile as a Golden Retriever. People came from all over the word to see him, to touch him. Then they would return to their cars and cry. He is survived by Najin and Fatu, his daughter and granddaughter, the last female Northern White Rhinos.
With the right software, you can make quick improvements in your images. There are some lighting situations where it is almost impossible, and certainly not practical, to get the correct white balance setting in the camera. This bobcat photo is an example. The best, fastest, and simplest solution is to get the right while balance setting after the fact using software like Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). A few minutes work with ACR can make a big difference in the look of your photos.
Vincent van Gogh lived a tortured life. He suffered from poor health and struggled with depression. He spent occasional periods of time in psychiatric hospitals. In an angry confrontation that ended his friendship with artist Paul Guaguin, he famously severed part of his own left ear with a razor. He ultimately took his own life with a gun shot wound to the chest at the age of 37. During his life he was considered a madman and a failure. Appreciation for his art did not happen until after his death. He is one of my favorite artists. Don McLean wrote this beautiful and haunting reflection on his life. Paintings by Van Gogh were added by “wysty67”, the creator this video.
It was my happy privilege to do winter portraits of Beth Presler who is a superb violinist. This article has suggestions for photographing any musician on a cold, snowy winter day.
If there are cold enough temperatures and plenty of snow cover on the ground, the northern United States has a winter invasion of Snowy Owls. These are magnificent creatures and well worth your photographic time and attention. This series is filled with tips on how to find and photograph snowy owls.
When I am traveling with my highly trained and high paid photographic assistant it is his job to remove trash barrels when they are in the way, cut down trees that spoil my view, run out into the meadow and scare off the cow elk that are in front of the bull elk I want to photograph, rip boards off of old barns that don’t look quite distressed enough, pull on the whiskers of a sleeping cougar to wake it up, and cut down utility lines that are obstructing a clear view of my subject. But he wasn’t with me on this trip due to sitting in jail over a minor incident in Yosemite. So I had a challenge on my hands that I had to solve myself.
I am kidding, of course. The prior paragraph was inspired by really crazy things a few photographers do but shouldn’t be doing.
A simple change of background can turn a disappointing wildlife photo into a great one. Professional wildlife photographers think about backgrounds all the time and do everything they can to improve the background. Less experienced wildlife photographers are so excited to find an interesting creature that they give the background precious little thought.
What is a Snowy Owl expedition really like? This article is your chance to find out. Join me for a two day photo safari! I give you tips and photo suggestions along the way, and you get to see how I prepare, plan, and adapt on a photo trip. I tell you what went right and what went wrong so this is also about what to do when things don’t go according to plan.
I grew up in Colorado where strange weather can strand you in any month of the year. Even though it is rare, I’ve seen blizzards in the Colorado high country in July. So I learned to carry some safety essentials when doing winter photography in remote locations. You never know when you might be stranded for several hours, a whole day, or longer, until the blizzard abates and someone can come find you. This is what I carry in my car when I hit the road in the winter and pretty much any time I am going to be in the High Rockies. I include a few winter travel tips, too.
It is difficult enough to create a beautiful nude image under normal circumstances, much less in the cold and snow. You need to bring some significant skills and experience to the task. So does your model.
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 (or anybody else) 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 for accurate exposures on bright, snowy winter days. It will often lead you astray and you will have seriously blown out highlights. There are much more accurate ways to meter in the winter.
The “snow exposure latitude” for every camera is different. You won’t find it in your camera’s manual but it is easy to determine with a do-it-yourself test. Why does it matter? If you don’t know the snow exposure latitude for your camera and how to apply it to your images, the color and quality of your winter photos will suffer.
Cold and snow can cause a lot of damage to your camera gear. Something as simple as shooting outside and taking your camera inside your house or car can cause hidden damage that won’t show up until days or weeks later. The simple steps in this article could save you hundreds of dollars in repair bills.
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).