Nikon D750

An in-depth Nikon D750 review with image samples, ISO tests, detailed real-life analysis and comparisons to other DSLRs

Images of Greece 3

Like many couples, my wife and I talked about going to Greece for many years. Fortunately for us the stars aligned this fall and we […]

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 […]

Nikon D810

An in-depth Nikon D810 review with sample images, high ISO tests and detailed real-life analysis

What is a Decentered Lens?

Decentered Lens

A decentered lens contains one or more optical lens elements that are either moved or tilted from the principal axis of the lens. Such shifting or tilting of lens elements can potentially lead to blurring / softness of parts of the image due to divergence of light rays. While very slight decentering of optical elements can be observed in many lenses, especially on superzooms, severe decentering and tilting can render the whole image blurry, with the lens unable to achieve good sharpness across the frame.

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Post-processing Difficult Images

Working with difficult files Image 1

I recently spent a lot of time working with some quite challenging files to prepare my recent article “Photographing aircraft in flight with the Tamron 150-600mm”, and a Photography Life reader asked if I could share some of the details of the processing that I do with difficult files.

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Photographing Aircraft in Flight with the Tamron 150-600mm Lens

Photographing aircraft with Tamron 150-600mm (2)

On Labour Day weekend, I had the opportunity to go to the International Air Show at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto and photograph various aircraft in flight. I arranged for use of a new Tamron 150-600mm VC lens (see our detailed review) and used it with my Nikon D800. This article provides some thoughts on how that combination performed, as well as sharing some of the techniques I used to capture the images in this article.

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How to Make Autofocus Work in Extremely Low Light

Autofocus in Low Light

Have you ever been in a situation where light conditions were so poor that your camera would completely refuse to autofocus, with the lens constantly going back and forth “hunting” for focus? I am sure you have, since it is a very common problem. Sometimes you want to photograph your loved one in candle light, or snap a shot of your child blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Or perhaps, you are dealing with a DJ that decides to turn off all lights on the wedding dance floor, killing your chances of getting any shots in focus, even when you are fully prepared with flashes to light up your subjects. That’s exactly what happened to me and Lola last weekend when we were shooting a wedding. Lola came up to me and asked if there was anything she could do to make autofocus work again and I thought of an old trick that really does work when dealing with such situations.

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Zeiss Loxia Lenses Introduced

Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2 and 50mm f2

In a recent announcement, Zeiss introduced its new line of full-frame compatible lenses for mirrorless cameras. So far, with only one full-frame system available (not counting Leica M), the Loxia line is best suited to the Sony A7 and A7r, and consists of two prime lenses – the Loxia 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/2. It is interesting to note this line of lenses holds far more in common with ZM (that Zeiss for Leica M) than it does with the other recent lineup for mirrorless cameras, Touit.

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Photographing American High School Football

American High School Football (5)

Almost every American High School has a football team, and it is perhaps the major sport for all such schools. Homecoming is almost invariably scheduled for a week when the team has a home game. As such, this sport, perhaps more than any other, serves as a great opportunity for taking pictures. I normally shoot Football with two cameras: one with a zoom lens for the action shots, and one with a shorter fixed lens for the sideline shots. For cameras I used to use a D3S (action shots) and a D800E (candid shots), however I have replaced the D3S with a D810.

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Photographing High School Volleyball

Volleyball (1)

After the heat of summer, when students return to school in the United States, Volleyball is one of the sports played in the Fall season. It moves from being an outside sport, to an inside one. This is unfortunate, at least from a photographic point of view, since most High School gyms are poorly lit. However, even in these conditions, with some practice and the right equipment, you can still get good pictures.

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Dahle 554 Professional Rotary Cutter Review

Dahle 554 Professional Rotary Cutter

In the past we have been using a self-sealing cutting mat, Olfa knife, and a steel edge safety ruler to do all of our custom trimming of posters and prints. Fortunately the vast majority of our work has not required any custom trimming since we design all of our standard posters around 17” (43.18 cm) roll paper, and posters come off our printer trimmed to size and ready to ship.

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Tomahawk Gimbal Attachment Review

Tomahawk Front View with Camera

Years ago after I purchased my first larger lens, a 300 f/2.8, I used it on a tripod with a ball head but it didn’t take me long to realize that this set up was less than ideal. If you shoot frequently with longer telephoto lenses, a gimbal head belongs in your kit. Shooting with a gimbal mount allows more freedom and mobility with the camera/lens than a ball head and it gives your arms a rest from hefting the load. On the other hand, for the price of all the gear you have purchased, you do at least get a free upper body workout. When using a ball head to support a large lens/camera combo, the weight sets on a pedestal on top of the ball head lending itself to having the ball loosen a bit and the lens flopping over. A gimbal allows you to move the gear right to left and up and down all while balanced so as to require minimal effort to maneuver the system as you track your subject. Gimbals can be either side mount or low swing arm/cradle type systems. The side mount gimbals tend to minimize materials and thus size and weight, while the low swing arm/cradle system tends to be larger and heavier with the advantage of being a bit easier to mount and balance. There are also full gimbal heads which will pan both vertically and horizontally and there are gimbal attachments that only tilt in the vertical dimension while relying on a ball head for horizontal panning.

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The Matter of Obsolescence

Leaves

Let me show you what an old man can do. I’m not talking about myself, of course; rather that’s what my 8-year-old DSLR said to me before I went walking in Epping Forest yesterday. Given the rate of change of digital technology, 8 years may as well be 28 years. And most consumers are conditioned into thinking that only the newest and latest gear can deliver the best shots, and anything old is obsolete. But just because something is old doesn’t meant it’s not useful.

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