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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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.
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.
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.
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.
We have been working hard during the past couple of weeks on completely redesigning Photography Life and we are happy to announce the new and shiny look that hopefully our readers will appreciate. Over the past few months, we have been gathering feedback from our readers, friends and our team, with the goal to completely revamp the feel of the site, and address some of the design problems of the past. Being a photography site, our number one concern was image size – we just did not want to be limited to showing small images to our readers anymore. So the first thing we did was increase images shown in the site by 50%! In addition, from now on, we will be posting images at much higher 2048 pixel long resolution in our in-depth articles and reviews. For example, most images in our Nikon D810 review and Fuji X-T1 review have very high resolution, which dramatically increases the viewing experience, especially on high-resolution monitors. With the growing popularity of 4K monitors, we will be doubling the resolution of provided images in the future as well.
Been a tough time around my way, bad rotator cuff injury has had me out of action for a while and continues to plague me. Especially as it is my left arm that I hand hold my cameras with. I also haven’t had much time to write articles, but I figured its time to get off my butt and put a new article together. As I always say in my articles, what I do works for me, read and absorb what is good for you and discard what doesn’t work. At the end of the day you need to find your own way to success, so here it goes.
Since I published my Nikon D810 review, a number of our readers requested me to provide an article with the recommended settings for the camera. The Nikon D810 is an advanced camera and comes 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 struggle with the camera and just want to get started with a basic understanding of the camera and its many features.
After buying the Nikon D4s and Nikkor 800mm earlier this year I thought I was cured. I made it for months without a single sip of Nikon Rumors. Then I had a relapse. Thank goodness the only news was Nikon was releasing the D810, a camera I clearly had no need for as I like shooting wildlife, not lens charts. But one sip led to another and before I knew it I was on The Photo Website That Dare Not Speak Its Name. The pundit there gushed about the D810’s specs, then declared that nobody really needs a DSLR with such ridiculously high resolution unless they shoot for Arizona Highways. Whew, I just saved 3300 bucks. But hang on a second, I do shoot for Arizona Highways. Oh crap. I needed to check out the D810 to see how it performs in practical situations in the field. While I was at it I’d try my best to compare the 36 MP Nikon D810 side-by-side to the 16 MP Nikon D4s and 24 MP Nikon D600, other Nikon full frame offerings.
In response to requests from comments on my earlier “Sideline Photography Tips“, this article will address shooting High School sports. I have specialized in sports photography for years, shooting almost every High School sport played in Florida. Please note, I am semi-retired, and though I do sell some photos, I don’t make a living at this. These tips are for people looking to shot sports for themselves, their family and friends (and maybe the occasional sale).