The Importance of Straightening The Horizon and Aligning Lines

Portrait Sample #2

One of the most common mistakes I see when reviewing images submitted by our readers, or when reviewing portfolio images during our workshops, is a rather simple case of crooked horizons or badly aligned lines. Although most photographers are very well aware of this one, for some reason many simply fail to see such problems in their images. Now it is one thing when an image is tilted intentionally to create an interesting composition, and totally different when the photographer is not paying attention to or is unaware of the surroundings and background elements that are part of their photographs. In this article, I will demonstrate examples of crooked horizons and badly aligned lines, how they can be easily fixed in post-processing software like Lightroom, and talk about the importance of lines in composition.

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Magnum Photographer René Burri Passed Away Today

René Burri

After a long battle with cancer, legendary Swiss photographer René Burri passed away today at the age of 81 in Zurich. If you are not familiar with René Burri’s work, he was the photographer that captured such famous people as Che Guevara, Pablo Picasso, Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon and make others. He covered wars and conflicts with his storytelling imagery and created some of the most iconic images in photography history. You can read more about René Burri on this Wikipedia article. He worked for Magnum since 1956 and you can see a lot of his work on this page at Magnum Photos.

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Save $600 on Nikon D750 and 24-120mm f/4G VR Bundle

Nikon D750 Front Left

It is not the holiday season yet and we are already getting those hard to resist deals. Today’s deal is for the newly announced Nikon D750 (read our extensive review), which you can get together with the Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G VR lens (see our review) for $2,996.95 at B&H Photo Video and other retailers. The D750 body only costs $2,299 and the lens goes for $1,299, so that’s an instant $600 discount on the bundle.

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Nikon D750 AF Performance with TCs + More Image Samples

Nikon D750 Sample Image (66)

I have been testing the autofocus capabilities of the Nikon D750 during this weekend with several lens and TC (teleconverter) combinations to see how well the camera will perform in terms of accuracy and AF reliability. The first lens that I tested out was the new Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E VR lens, which I used with and without teleconverters. I am planning to review this lens later this year, so I needed to get as many image samples as possible in different situations, with all three Nikon TCs. Like the 800mm f/5.6E VR monster, the 400mm f/2.8E VR is a stellar lens with amazing optics, but also with a very hefty price tag of $12K. So it is definitely not a lens for everyone! As expected, the lens performed amazingly well with top notch sharpness and microcontrast, stunning colors and super fast and accurate autofocus. However, the biggest surprise was how hand-holdable it has gotten compared to the previous version, thanks to fluorite elements and the much lighter build. Here is a photo of a wood duck that I captured hand-held:

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Recommended Nikon D750 Settings

Nikon D750 Front Buttons

Now that I have completed the Nikon D750 review, I thought it would be a good time to provide an article with the recommended settings for the camera. Just like other Nikon full-frame cameras, the D750 is an advanced camera with many different menus and settings. In this article, I want to provide some information on what I personally use and shortly explain what some of the important settings do. Please do keep in mind that while these work for me, it does not mean that everyone else should be shooting with exactly the same settings. The below information is provided as a guide for those that just want to get started with a basic understanding of the camera and its many features.

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Nikon D750 ISO Comparisons

Nikon D750

I apologize for not being able to post the ISO comparisons in the Nikon D750 review earlier today. Unfortunately, the comparisons took a long time, because I had to retest everything several times. My first copy of the D610 had strange exposure issues, making it hard to properly compare it with the D750, so I had to find another one. Just in case, I also got a D600, a D4 and a D4s from Tom Redd (thanks Tom!) to add to the comparison. Since the D4 produced very similar result as my Nikon Df, I did not bother with uploading D4 crops.

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Watchtower of Turkey

Watchtower of Turkey

Having toured across Turkey as a teenager, I have so many wonderful memories of this beautiful and historic country. I instantly fell in love and have since been wanting to go back and revisit this magical place. Earlier this week, one of our readers sent an absolutely stunning video called “Watchtower of Turkey”, filmed by Leonardo Dalessandri, who spent 20 days in Turkey traveling thousands of miles and capturing both stills and video. The resulting three and a half minute film is absolutely stunning and definitely worth watching. I decided to share this video with our readers and I hope you enjoy this masterpiece as much as I did.

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Top Photography Sins and Mistakes to Avoid

Dreamy Portrait

It seems that many photographers go through a certain cycle of mistakes and errors during their photography journeys and careers. Some of these mistakes and photography “sins” have become so predictable, that it is usually easy to identify one’s level simply by looking at their recent work. During my past workshops and one-on-one sessions, I have seen many images that could have been great, if it was not for one or more of the typical mistakes outlined below. I have personally made many of these mistakes in the past and some of them I am still guilty and ashamed of even today, although I continuously work hard on getting rid of them. The article below is not meant to offend or criticize anyone. Although it might sound a bit arrogant or snobby, that is certainly not the intent – in fact, most of the images presented below are mine.

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To The Ends of the Earth

To The Ends of the Earth

About a month ago, Canon Australia posted a short film titled “To The Ends of the Earth”, where adventure photographer and Canon Master Krystle Wright is shown taking pictures of rock climbers and divers in different conditions. I decided to share this video with our readers, because I found it to be beautiful and inspirational. I loved Krystle’s opening line “my biggest fear is regret”, because that’s exactly how I feel about many things in my life. Krystal lives and breathes photography and you can feel her deep connection with the craft in every second of the video, which is amazing. Very few of us can truly follow their passion and make it their way of life, so seeing someone not only achieve it, but also be very successful at it is truly inspirational for me personally. I hope you will enjoy the video as much as I did!

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Nikon 200-400mm With and Without Filters

Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G VR II

The Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G VR is a very versatile and sharp lens and those that own it or previously used it know that is a great choice for close action photography, such as photographing bears in Alaska. I recently saw a comment by a photographer, who claimed that the lens gets even sharper if its front protective filter is removed. Both the Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G VR and its newer VR II version have a removable front protective element, as well as a 52mm drop-in filter that most other super telephoto lenses have. While I was testing my 200-400mm f/4G VR in my Imatest lab, I decided to compare the performance of the lens with and without the front protective and the 52mm drop-in filter to see if the above claims were true or not. It turned out to be an interesting study. I apologize for the geeky nature of this article!

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