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Archive for March, 2014

How to Photograph the Moon

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How to Photograph the Moon

OK, raise your hand if this has happened to you. You’re sitting around on your deck or maybe you’re inside doing something, and suddenly you notice through the trees or through your front window that the moon has just come up, and it’s HUGE. The scenery around the moon is picturesque–maybe it’s beautiful trees still lit by the last light from the sunset. Or maybe it’s the skyline of the city where you live. Wow, you think, that would make an awesome picture. You grab your DSLR and go outside to find the perfect vantage point. You frame your shot, take the picture, and viola! A tiny, featureless, glowing ball of overexposed light. Frustrated, you spot meter the moon and adjust your camera’s settings. Now you have a shot where you can actually see a couple of craters, but everything around the moon is pitch black.
Obviously, there’s a secret or two to getting great shots of the moon. I’m going to tell you what they are.
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Outstanding shots of the moon

Outstanding shots of the moon

Moon photography is one of those things that doesn’t always work out the way you’d hoped it would. In fact, unless you are well versed in the art of moon photography, it probably hardly ever works out the way you’d hoped. But take heart, it is possible to get a great moon shot with just a tripod and a 200mm or longer lens. To include the scenery, however, you may also need to be understand the art of Photoshopping–you’ll need to combine two shots (one of the moon and one of the landscape) to get a final image that is well exposed for both parts of the scene.
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Cloudy Day? Perfect for photography!

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Cloudy Day? Perfect for photography!

Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t take photos on overcast days. Sure, cloudy days have their challenges, but they don’t call them “nature’s softbox” for nothing. Just follow a few simple tips and your cloudy day photographs will prove to those naysayers that overcast conditions really are perfect for photography.
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Outstanding Shots of Overcast Skies

Outstanding Shots of Overcast Skies

Clouds not only create a beautiful, soft, even light, they also add drama to the sky. Shooting a cloudy sky at sunrise or sunset can almost not fail to create a compelling image. If you find yourself in a beautiful setting on a cloudy day, stick around until sunset and grab a few magic hour shots of the skies as the sun goes down. That’s what these photographers did, and look at how amazing their results were.
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How to capture photos in foggy or misty conditions

How to capture photos in foggy or misty conditions

Fog. It’s eerily beautiful, potentially dangerous and can transform almost any setting into something either ominous, or quiet, moody and introspective. It’s also notoriously difficult to photograph. Have you ever tried? This is one of those situations where you feel certain your photos are just going to take themselves. The landscape is bathed in this amazing gray mist, there’s beauty everywhere, but for some reason your photos fail to recreate what your eyes see. Why?

The answer, as it so often and redundantly is in photography, is light.
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Outstanding Shots of Fog and Mist

Outstanding Shots of Fog and Mist

Foggy scenes are ethereally beautiful and seem like they ought to just take themselves. But fog is tricky–it can sap contrast and color, which may result in images that look flat and dimensionless. Don’t give up though–try putting something in the foreground, or try focusing on those beautiful foggy day light rays. And check out this list of outstanding foggy day images to see what really works for these challenging shoots.
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April Photography Dash Starts on Tuesday 1st April

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April Photography Dash Starts on Tuesday 1st April

Have you registered for the April Photography Dash yet?

The April Photography Dash follows on from my wildly popular February and March Photography Dashes. In the March Dash, over 700 participants together photographed and shared over 6,000 spectacular images during the month. At the same time as learning heaps about their camera.

The March dash is just completing, and participants are currently uploading images that celebrate their participation in the March Dash. Some have started seeing the world in a new way; others now see patterns everywhere; and yet others are no longer scared of manual mode!

I have opened the Celebrate the Dash area up to the public, so you too can watch the celebrations in progress. Take a look, and read through the breakthroughs some participants have had. I recommend you come back to this page over the next few days as it will update live when new images are posted.

Take your own photography skills to new heights, have loads of fun, and have the opportunity to share your creations with fellow photographers from all around the world with the April Photography Dash

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Breaking the Rules: Break The Small Aperture Rule

Breaking the Rules: Break The Small Aperture Rule

The fundamental rules of photography have great wisdom to offer. Landscapes require great depth of field. Portraits require less depth of field. You should always follow the rule of thirds, except when it’s ok not to. You can’t use fast shutter speeds at night and you can’t use slow shutter speeds during the day.

But you and I both know that just about every one of those fundamental wisdoms can sometimes be ignored. All you really need to know is when and how. That’s why I’m bringing you this series on breaking the rules.
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Taking Your First Night Photos

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Taking Your First Night Photos

We all lead busy lives. The world is likely dark when you get up and has already settled back into darkness by the time you get home. Not exactly great for getting your camera out and taking some shots. Have you ever considered getting out at night to take photos? Night photography can be intimidating but don’t be afraid of the dark! Read on to learn how to take your first night photographs. Night, night baby!
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What Type of Photographer Are You?

What Type of Photographer Are You?

People, places, things… every photographer has their subject of choice. You may love being outside or cringe at the very thought of nature. You may know studio lighting in and out, or you wouldn’t know a soft box if it hit you in the head. Photographers are as diverse as the things they photograph. We all have our likes and dislikes, our niche so to speak. It is time for a little self analysis. (If you have no sense of humor, stop now.)

What type of photographer are you? I will throw out a disclaimer that the list below is not all inclusive. Judging from my Facebook news feed there should probably be a category dedicated to selfies taken in workout clothes, but that one didn’t make the cut this year. Read on with tongue in cheek to find your type!
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Taking Captivating Photos in the Rain

Filed in Tips, Water by 8 Comments
Taking Captivating Photos in the Rain

Let’s say you’re headed out to the beach to take some photos of the surf. You check out the weather forecast on your smart phone and learn that torrential downpours are expected for most of the afternoon. Do you A) stay inside and play Mahjong all afternoon or B) reschedule your trip, then play Mahjong all afternoon or C) pack up your camera and rain guard and go anyway?

If you avoided answer C, then you need some tips on rain photography. Because most hobbyists will answer A or B (or some variation thereof), and most have no idea how many great shots they’re missing.
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Outstanding Photos of Rain

Outstanding Photos of Rain

Don’t run away from the rain! Rainy days are great opportunities to find unique perspectives on otherwise ordinary scenes. Look for unusual reflections in puddles or on water-covered surfaces and try to capture raindrops as they fall. And find the emotion in your potential subjects–some people love the rain, and other people are made downright miserable by it. Just remember to keep your camera protected from the water and keep shooting no matter how hard that rain is coming down.
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Break the Focus Rule

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Break the Focus Rule

Ah, the focus rule. That’s the one that you learned first. You probably learned it the first time you picked up a camera, even if it was just a point and shoot that didn’t actually give you the ability to control the focus. You remember, your mom looked at your pictures and said, “Oh, that’s so cute, shame it isn’t in focus”.

It really is the first thing we learn as photographers: focus, shoot.

But like every other so-called “rule” of photography, it isn’t completely unbreakable. Sometimes an out-of-focus photograph can be better than an in-focus shot of the same subject. But when?
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9 Tips for Lifestyle Photography

9 Tips for Lifestyle Photography

Often times, the photographs we feel the most connected to are simple. They freeze time, a moment as it is, instead of the contrived editorial work of fashion shoots and perfume ads. Babies sitting on a shiny hardwood floor, kids in an intense game of flag football, this season’s first snowfall. These photos are so easy to connect with because they are honest portrayals of life. This is called lifestyle photography. Lifestyle photography is a genre of photography which serves the purpose of documenting life honestly and artistically by capturing authentic, usually candid moments as they happen. What that actually translates to in regards to actual photographs depends on you the photographer and your artistic vision.
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A Guide to Extension Tubes

Filed in Lens, Tips by 1 Comment
A Guide to Extension Tubes

If you are anything like me, you often find yourself marveling at the beauty of macro photography. Dew drops on flower petals, butterfly wings and the inner workings of a pocket watch up close create a sense of wonder that can’t be found elsewhere. You’ve also probably lamented at the cost of a dedicated macro lens and have a hard time justifying the cost. Good news, there is an alternative called an extension tube.

An extension tube is a component that fits between your lens and your camera body. It looks like a lens, except its missing one typically important component, the glass. Don’t worry, it’s not a mistake. These hollow tubes, made of plastic or metal, are created for the purpose of moving your lens farther away from the internal sensor located inside your camera body. Doing this allows you to get closer to whatever you are photographing, increasing the magnification.
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