Tag Archives: photography

11 Tips for Photographing Spring

By Olympus Visionary Larry Price. (source: GetOlympus.com)
 


With spring officially upon us, it’s time to get the cameras out and explore the beauty of the changing season. Unlike the stark contrasts that winter landscapes present, burgeoning new life is more subtle and challenging to capture, particularly if you’re in a northern clime where spring comes slowly in fits and starts.

 
Whether you’re going for that perfect panorama of mountain dogwoods or a close-up of a single crocus struggling to bloom through the snow, a few tips can help you get the most from your spring photo shoots.

 
ASSEMBLE YOUR SPRING GEAR

For me, the shapes and splashes of color of the early spring flowers are irresistible, so I think about close ups of flowers and animals as they begin to come out into the warmth. Before you go out to shoot close up shots of flowers find out how close your camera will focus. To make sure you don’t get too close simply cut a piece of string to the close focus length and hold it at the front of your camera to the subject.

If you want to explore the abundance of animal life that emerges after the long, dark days of winter, you’ll need to use the long telephoto end of your zoom lens.

If your camera takes a flash, a small flash with an extension cord is good in case I need a touch of fill flash. But honestly, the flash usually stays in the bag. If you enjoy the vibrant look of fill-in flash with close-ups, a tiny handheld unit will often make the difference between getting the shot or not.

Since many of the point and shoot cameras are f 3.5 to f8 apertures a tripod will come in handy for sharper images as shutter speeds may be slower. Don’t forget to use the image stabilization of your camera to prevent camera blur. If I’m traveling by air, I’ll pack only a tiny tabletop tripod unit which adds minimal weight to my outfit.

OM-D E-M5 Mark II, M.Zuiko ED 8mm F1.8 FISHEYE PRO. F20, 1/125 sec, ISO 200

 
WORK THE LIGHT

For spring photography the light is especially important — and beguiling. With the lengthening days, you’ll have more magic hours in the morning and evening, as the sun lingers low on the horizon. In March and early April, the light is gentle light throughout most of the day, particularly in the northern latitudes. How you use this light is key. If you’re photographing blossoms, particularly the pale dogwoods or frothy lilacs, you’ll want to use backlight to illuminate the petals, rather than reflected light. In reflected light, your flowers will look flat and one-dimensional whereas with the right backlighting, the petals, young leaves and bursting buds will be bright and vibrant. You’ll also want to use a lens shade to avoid glare with a backlit subject. While light sculpts every photograph, during the spring it also makes a wonderful subject itself. Pay attention to the way the light moves. Watch the ebb and flow of exotic light against the surface of a pond or a rippling stream. In the desert southwest, a rising sun on a crystalline morning transforms red rock formations into otherworldly monuments.


F2.0, 1/180 sec, ISO 400

 
THINK NEW LIFE

The animals, like us, are throwing off their winter blues. Playful and frisky, squirrels are busy now from sunup to sundown. Chipmunks, moles and voles scurry from their winter bunkers. Watch quietly and you’ll see foxes and deer in the hours near sunrise or sunset. Break out the long lenses to focus on birds and mammals. They’re curious too and you’ll be surprised how approachable many urban animals are.

 
GET THE LOW DOWN

Put yourself at plant level on the ground to shoot crocuses bursting through black earth. Use the macro or close-up setting of your camera and you’ll see new and unique angles. A single green shoot becomes an obelisk, a cluster of daffodil leaves a dense forest. Think architecture and modern art. From this bug’s eye view, you’ll also see insects at work — always good subjects.


F4.5, 1/180 sec, ISO 200

 
LOOK UP

The shapes and forms of forest trees change subtly as new growth tints the branches and bud coats expand and burst. Take advantage of a blue sky or interesting cloud patterns to work in among the shapes the tree limbs present. Capture these scenes early though — once trees leaf out, these images are harder to find.

 
WALK IN THE RAIN

Use the reflections from a puddle of fresh water to accentuate color and texture. Get really close to capture tiny rain droplets clinging to new leaves, flowers and vines.


F4.0, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400

 
CONTROL THE CHAOS

The best springs are a riot of color, scents and sounds. A few years ago, we had a late spring in Ohio when everything bloomed at once — forsythia next to lilacs, roses in bud while the daffodils were still waiving their yellow heads. It was amazing. One of my amateur photographer friends went out with her digital camera to capture glorious streetscapes but came home disappointed. Her pictures were cluttered and flat, a common problem. In a park or arboretum surrounded by beauty, our eyes move from sky to blossom to ground while our other senses are registering the bird songs and perfume of the flowers. Our brain puts it all together and we perceive the brilliant bits as a whole. The camera is more discriminating. So, to bring that magnificent medium view to life, you’ll want to use foreground-background composition techniques. Put a big splash of color near the camera and then use receding color in the background to re-create the sensation your brain perceives in nature. Concentrate on crisp compositions with a specific focal point in the foreground, even when you’re going for the big picture.


f4.0, 1/400 sec, ISO 200

 
USE WIDE APERTURES

Always, always, simplify your background. I don’t use a tripod so much because I often shoot at a wide aperture with my Olympus macro lens. I can use a reasonable Exposure Index of 200 or 400 and still have a shutter speed that will allow me to shoot handheld. Enable your camera’s image stabilization mode and you’ll be set. Of course, for a once in a lifetime shot or if I’m in no particular hurry, I’ll use a tripod.

 
HOLD ON

If you don’t have a tripod or the light is too low to use a high shutter speed, experiment with using long shutter speeds hand held. You don’t always have to shoot with a high shutter speed to have sharp images. Consider also experimenting with motion blur in low light. With a little controlled movement, you can interject an element of mystery.


F11, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

 
PACK FOR THE ROAD

You’ll get your best shots on foot, so whatever you assemble, you’ll have to carry. I use a shoulder bag to carry one body and two lenses, my flash, cord and extra batteries. That’s it. If I can’t walk a mile in comfort with all my gear, I’ll remove items until I can.

 
DRESS FOR THE SEASON
And I don’t mean shorts and flip-flops. Early spring mornings and late evenings are still very cool if not downright cold. You’ll want to layer (I like polypro long johns under sturdy wind-resistant pants and a fleece top). You’ll also want waterproof boots or shoes for squishing through boggy patches or walking the streams.

And remember, spring is fleeting, so get going now to get those great pictures.


F4.0, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400

 
ABOUT LARRY C. PRICE

Blog: http://www.larrycprice.com/category/blog

Over his storied career, Larry has worked for some of North America’s largest newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Denver Post. He is currently at work on a longterm project about global pollution with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington, D.C.

David Loves His Nikon D7500

OPINION: the Nikon D7500
 
From time to time, we like to post about gear that has captured our attention. This time around, it’s the Nikon D7500 DSLR that has captured us.

Looking Glass Photo’s David Weitz owns the D7500, and he’s learned firsthand what makes this camera great. On his weekly photography outings, he has had a chance to shoot the camera in a variety of settings and conditions. Below, David shares his thoughts in a short Q&A as well as some of his fave photos captured with the D7500.
 

Let’s start with a little background. How did you get into photography and do you have a favorite subject to shoot?

“It started way back in 1988 or ’89. I had been given a Ricoh ME Super 35mm film camera with a zoom lens and I started shooting with it as a hobby. In ’89 I took a B&W film class at Berkeley High School and learned the basics of developing and printing B&W. From then on I approached photography as a hobby until I was hired by Adolf Gassers in 1997. From there, I was introduced to digital photography and my interest in it just took off. As to my favorite subject matter, I always seem to go back to macro photography and landscape and more recently, night photography.”

 

We’re psyched that you’ve been loving your Nikon D7500. How has the camera helped with your pursuit of photography?

“For me, the camera is just the right balance of weight for my hand, and is far more comfortable to carry around than my Pentax. Ergonomics is more important in a camera than many people realize. If one has a camera that is awkward to handle, is it really going to be used a lot?”

“In addition, the camera’s Autofocus speed far exceeds any camera that I have had previously. I am now far likelier to get the shot I want in focus. The camera is also far more usable at night than previous models that I have had. The reduced color noise and faster Autofocus allows for handheld photos without flash on well lit streets.”

 

What do you like most about the D7500?

“That’s easy. The ergonomics. It fits my hand like a glove.”

 

When helping people find their perfect camera, who do you feel the D7500 is best suited for?

“An advanced amateur or enthusiast who wants a camera model that offers a great degree of versatility. The camera can do most types of photography very well, from portrait, action or landscape, even when compared with cameras out there that are more specialized in those specific areas.”

 

Thank you for sharing some favorite shots that you captured with the D7500. Would you tell us a little bit about them?

“I love this one of a hippo playing with a giant beachball at the San Francisco Zoo. The opened jaws look quite alien to me.”

 

“Here’s another, this time with a stoplight reflecting off the wet cement at night during heavy rains. I took this shot under a tree, to minimize the amount of rain hitting the lens. Weather sealing, which the D7500 has, comes in real handy!”

 

“And finally, a closeup of a flower after it had rained. I always love doing macro photography right after wet weather.”

 
 

In what areas do you think the D7500 particularly excels?

The Focusing System: I captured this image of a crow in flight using the D7500’s 3D focusing. While the focus system is not the same as the D500 (the DX format flagship DSLR), it is still very impressive.”

 

The 14-bit RAW File Capability: This shot of ‘The Palace’ is an example of maximizing the D7500’s capability at ISO 51,200. A little work in Lightroom can get the noise down even in these conditions.”

 

Live View: This was a 30-second shot of the Palace of Fine Arts. I used a nine stop neutral filter and a tripod. Normally, focusing and composing the image would be a real challenge, as I would be unable to see through the filter. However, the live view mode can…and I could use the touch shutter to focus where I wanted to! Super handy for these long exposures that I love capturing.”

 
 

What accessories and/or gear do you recommend for this camera and why?

  • A circular polarizer is a must for any landscape photography. The resultant saturation and glare reduction are easily worth the price.
  • A Hoya neutral density filter, 9 stops. Perfect for motion blur capture with a tripod during the day.
  • The Peak Design Clutch. The perfect wrist strap for the D7500 for users who intend to walk around with the camera in hand for long periods of time.
  • A Crystal Shield screen protector- Don’t let your LCD screen get scratched up.

 

Below are more images that David shared with us, that he captured using his Nikon D7500. (click image to enlarge)
 

Basic Tips for Photographing the Moon

WORDS BY: NIKONUSA.COM
Click images to enlarge.
 

The moon, regardless of whether it’s a supermoon or just a plain ’ole full moon makes a great subject to capture because you know it’s going to be visible every month. So, if you don’t get a great shot, just try again.
 
The moon can be photographed using a DSLR camera and zoom or super-telephoto lens and even super-telephoto COOLPIX cameras. One tip for increasing the apparent focal length of your lens on an FX or Full Frame Nikon DSLR is to set the camera into DX Crop mode. This will add the 1.5x crop that using a DX format Nikon DSLR would have done, giving you extra reach.

By the way: if you’re thinking of getting a new Nikon DSLR or lens, let us know you saw this blog post. You’ll receive a free camera sensor cleaning when you make the purchase with us. That’s a $60 value!

 
EXPOSING FOR THE LIGHT OF THE FULL MOON
 
If you’re using any of the PSAM exposure modes, set the camera’s exposure manually or use program or shutter or aperture priority. You may want to underexpose the image to ensure that the detail of the craters on the moon’s surface aren’t blown out. Bracket exposures to find the ideal one for your taste. Using Spot metering will also help you get the correct exposure for the moon, which will be the brightest part of your image. Use a shutter speed of at least 1/15 second or faster since the moon actually moves pretty fast across the sky. Set the focus to infinity and if your choice of ISO allows it, set the aperture to f/11 or f/16.
 
Select COOLPIX cameras such as the Nikon P900 feature a Moon Scene Mode. Select it and the camera will optimize the settings, focusing at infinity, in the center of the frame. You may also want to use a tripod, and if you do, remember to set the VR to OFF in the setup menu. Don’t have a tripod? Brace yourself against a sturdy object or place the camera on a sturdy surface and use the Vari-angle LCD to compose the image.
 
WHAT ABOUT THE FOREGROUND LANDSCAPE
 
Photographing the moon along with the foreground landscape can be tricky because of the wide dynamic range. Exposing for the foreground might cause the moon to be overexposed, and exposing for the moon might cause the foreground to be too dark. In this case the optimum solution may be to create a multiple exposure or composite. If you’re using a wide-angle lens and the moon is a small element, it likely won’t cause the overall image to suffer if the moon is blown out with no visible details.
 
There are a few ways that you can add the moon to another image for a more interesting composition. One of those techniques is by using the Multiple Exposure function that is incorporated into select Nikon cameras. (Check your camera’s User’s Manual to see if your camera has this feature.) Some Nikon DSLRs offer Image Overlay in the camera, which is another way of compositing two images together.
 
Yet another technique is to photograph the moon and the landscape as separate images and combine them together using an image-editing program. Use the same focal length that you shoot the landscape with, when you photograph the moon, for the most realistic look in the final composite. It also makes the actual compositing easier to do.
 
Other ways to get creative: set the Picture Control in the camera to B&W since the moon against the black sky is pretty much a monochromatic image. When doing so, try adjusting the red filter in the monochrome setting, which will give you more of a punchier tonal difference or higher contrast between the blacks and whites.
 
Use some of the fun effects that are built-into the camera for a unique view. Shoot video as you zoom into your shot, or experiment with time lapse of the moon’s movement across the sky.
 
5 HELPFUL TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING THE MOON

  1. Select an aperture of f/11 or f/16.
  2. Use a shutter speed of at least 1/15 second or faster since the moon actually moves pretty fast across the sky.
  3. Set the focus to infinity.
  4. Use Spot metering to help you get the correct exposure for the moon, which will be the brightest part of your image.
  5. Set the camera’s exposure manually and underexpose the image to ensure detail of the craters on the moon’s surface. Want to use the camera set to programmed exposure? Just use the exposure compensation to underexpose the image for a correct exposure. Either way—bracket your exposures.

Taking a Great Sunset Photo

Words and photos by pro photographer & Olympus Visionary, Peter Baumgarten
. (source: getolympus.com)
Click images to enlarge.
 

I can’t resist a great sunrise or sunset. I’m a real sucker for those amazing colors at the bookends of the day. But the reality is that sunset shots are a dime a dozen. So how do you get yours to stand out from the rest of the crowd?

 
1. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE SUNSET

Gorgeous sunset colors are certainly appealing, but they are definitely not enough to maintain your viewer’s interest. Think of the sunset as the backdrop to your photograph. What you place in front of those colors is the important thing.

Good photographs don’t just happen. They are a combination of four things:

  • Planning
  • Composition
  • Camera Settings
  • Post-processing

2. THINK AHEAD

When you are ready to capture that amazing sunset, arrive early to the location you plan on shooting at. I usually try to get there at least an hour before the sun sets. This allows me ample time to:

  • Scout around for the ideal spot
  • Check out any points of interest I may want to include
  • Plan out a set of shots
  • Get my camera and tripod set up properly
  • Clean lenses and filters

 
3. AVOID DISTRACTIONS

One of the things that I love most about being a photographer is the power to control what other people see. As I compose my next shot I decide what to include in the frame and what to leave out. At times this is easier said than done, but if I can’t eliminate a distracting element I won’t take the shot. The worst distraction for me is power lines, but there can be many others – a parked car, people where you don’t want them, branches in the way, and the list goes on. Arriving early can give you the time to adjust your vantage point and hopefully eliminate these unwanted elements.

4. FRAMING YOUR SHOT

Including a natural frame in your image can add depth to the photograph and anchor your main subject. The examples below help illustrate ways of including a frame.

“GET CREATIVE. THE REFLECTION OF THE SUNRISE ON THIS WINDOW ADDS AN INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE AND A VERY DIFFERENT WAY TO FRAME THE SHOT.”

5. STEADY AS SHE GOES

Once the sun goes down it is time to pull out the tripod. You are now entering the territory of slower shutter speeds. My Olympus cameras have excellent image stabilization capabilities and can cope with being hand-held at speeds as slow as 1/2 second. I trust my camera to deliver good results hand held, but the real reason I use the tripod is to force me to slow down and focus on composition. That’s what really matters.

Of course some of the best colors occur 15 – 20 minutes after the sun has set when the sky has noticeably darkened. Now you might be using shutter speeds as slow as 30 seconds or a minute. There is no camera that can be hand-held for that length of time. I also use a shutter release cable or if you have a wireless camera you can trigger your shot using your smart phone. This helps to avoid camera shake when you take the shot and ensures better clarity.

“ONCE THE SUN GOES DOWN IT IS TIME TO PULL OUT THE TRIPOD.”

6. LET’S GET SPECIFIC

This is the equipment that I shoot with and the settings I typically use:

  • Olympus OMD E-M1 or E-M5 Mark II
  • Olympus M.12-40mm PRO lens
  • Aperture Priority Mode
  • RAW and jpeg file format
  • ISO 200 (a low ISO produces a cleaner image with less noise than a higher ISO setting)
  • Aperture f/8 to f/22 depending on how much depth of field I want
  • Shutter Speed – In Aperture Priority the camera chooses the shutter speed. Since I am using a tripod for most shots the actual shutter speed doesn’t matter much unless I need to freeze some action.

 
7. GO AUTO

If the settings I’ve mentioned in the above section make you break into a cold sweat, don’t worry about it. Every camera has a Sunset Scene Mode that will do all the thinking for you. When I purchased my first digital camera I regularly relied on this auto mode and got some great results. As a matter of fact if you are new to landscape photography generally, I urge you to focus on the composition and let the camera worry about the exposure. Just don’t use it as a crutch for too long. Push yourself to learn how to control the exposure.

8. GET IT IN FOCUS

Nothing is more disappointing than spending your evening shooting that amazing sunset, and then, upon uploading you discover that they are all out of focus. Follow these steps to help avoid that disappointment.

  • Focus on your point of interest. Usually it is fairly close to you.
  • Use a fairly small aperture (f/11 to f/18). Aperture helps control your depth of field (how much of your image is in focus).
  • Typically we want our landscape shots to be in focus throughout the image. A smaller aperture can help guarantee that.
  • Be warned however, smaller apertures mean longer shutter speeds, but more importantly can lead to diffraction of the light.
  • Use a tripod.
  • Use a shutter release cable, wireless Smartphone app (like OI.Share) or a 2-second time delay. As you press the shutter release there is a good chance that the camera will move slightly, even if it is solidly attached to a tripod.

 
9. TWEAK IT

I regularly get asked, “Do you Photoshop your work?” The short answer is “Yes.” The longer answer is: I use Adobe Lightroom more than Photoshop for adjusting an image. Typically I will only work with overall exposure by adjusting the ‘Curves’ in order to improve the overall contrast in the image. This helps brighten the colors of the sky.


 

ABOUT PETER BAUMGARTEN

Peter has been a dedicated Olympus shooter for over 30 years, and he has found a way to combine his passion for photography with his love of teaching to develop photography and graphic design courses at the high school level.
Web: http://www.creativeislandphoto.com
Blog:http://www.creativeislandphoto.com/blog Twitter:@creativeisland4
 

9 Tips for Memorable Vacation Photos

 
Words and photos by pro photographer & Olympus Visionary, Anne Day
. (source: getolympus.com)
Click images to enlarge.
 

TIP 1: THINK OF YOUR VACATION AS A STORY YOU WANT TO TELL

In addition to taking fun snapshots of your family, try to establish shots of where you are and what gives you a feeling for the place. I was on a vacation in France and when everyone went inside after a long day at the beach, I took a picture just to remember what the place felt like with nobody there. Nothing remained except the chairs and towels we had left there. I used the PEN E-PL1 with the M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R at ISO 200 with the pinhole art filter because I like the way it renders color.

TIP 2: DON’T BE AFRAID OF LOW LIGHT

I shot this picture using the PEN E-PL3, ISO 400, 1/8 sec, f/9 – with the on camera flash. Dark night and fire are difficult to photograph but I wanted to illuminate the girls’ faces a bit more than what the fire was allowing for. By using a slow shutter speed, I was also able to capture the boats and water in the background. The show shutter speed also captured the shadows of the flames on each of their faces. Overall, I like the naturalness and spontaneity of this image.

TIP 3: ISO AND SHUTTER SPEED ARE IMPORTANT

Fireworks pictures can be boring but if you shoot at a slow shutter speed you are able to capture some ambient light. An exploding firework in a black sky picture with nothing else in the photograph is not interesting. If you have foreground and some color in the sky, the photo opportunity gets more interesting and using a slow shutter speed is the best way to enhance the picture. In this case, it was so dark that I also needed an ISO of 1600. The slow shutter speed also enabled me to capture the wind blowing the sparks, which gave some movement to the image.

TIP 4: THE BEST PORTRAIT ISN’T ALWAYS A SMILEY ONE

I caught my neighbor on a summer afternoon in a pensive moment behind the screen door. I used the Pinhole filter on the OM-D E-M1, M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens, 1/80 at f/3.2 to let me concentrate on her face as opposed to the background.

TIP 5: SMILING PHOTOS CAN ALSO BE GOOD

I know I just said that a portrait doesn’t always have to include a smile, but sometimes it is what makes the picture. This little boy had just caught a crab and his smile tells the whole story. And somehow, the crab shape and his smile are the same! I shot this with the OM-D E-M1, M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens ISO 200, 1/250 second at f/5.6. I wanted to see the background but didn’t want it to be so sharp as to fight with the main subject.

TIP 6: EXTRAORDINARY PICTURES CAN BE MADE IN ORDINARY SITUATIONS

This scene is a place I have driven by dozens of times and honestly, it’s rarely interesting. But when a storm was blowing and the light was crazy, I illuminated just that part of the hill where the barn is. I shot this from my car. Take advantage of the amazing light you can get in a storm. This was shot with my OM-D EM-1, M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO, ISO 400, 1/80 sec., f/6.3.

TIP 7: CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAMERA

This picture was shot with the TOUGH TG-3, which is shockproof and waterproof. I was in the water with this girl and she came up from a dive. Because I had the TOUGH I was able to capture the image without any fear of getting the camera wet. I usually always have it with me there because there is no other way to capture the excitement and movement of being underwater.

TIP 8: TRY TO FIND THE MOON IN GOOD LIGHT

I tend to get bored by sunsets but every once in a while, I get a shot of the moon that I love. This was last summer’s super moon. If you expose for the moon your foreground will go dark. If you expose for the landscape then the moon will turn into a white hole. The OM-D E-M1 has a double exposure mode so you can take two shots and blend them together. Or, you can do what I did and take two separate images and blend them together later in your processing software. Either way, your moonscape is much nicer if both the landscape and the moon are properly exposed.

TIP 9: ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CAMERA WITH YOU

The best camera is the one in your hand when something amazing is happening. I captured this picture of my son on vacation at a lake as the light was perfect. Without a camera though, I would not have been able to capture the moment.

ABOUT ANNE DAY

Website: http://www.annedayphotography.com

Olympus Visionary Anne Day is a veteran photojournalist, portrait, wedding and architecture photographer and writer based in New York City and Connecticut, but she will tell you her favorite subjects are her family members. Her well-respected work has appeared in TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fortune, Vogue and other publications.