Using Extension Tubes in Strong Wind

As photographers we often try to anticipate the weather when planning to capture specific images. Sometimes Mother Nature cooperates, and sometimes not. I was out today using some extension tubes to capture a few images of insects and flowers. Ideally I would have preferred a nice calm day, rather than the strong winds I faced today.

[Read more…]

Technicolor Black and White

Recently I returned to one of my enduring passions: shooting film. I’m Italian and I recently moved to California. In Italy, it’s really hard to find a good lab to develop film and it’s even more difficult to find rolls of film of the brands I like. Here in the US, I felt reborn with new joy: everything is so much easier when it comes to shooting film. All over the world shooting film is getting more popular, it’s in fashion again, and it’s even possible to find photographers returning to analog, ditching digital for paid jobs. In Italy, the business of photography completely revolves around shooting digital: almost no one thinks about film anymore. So for me, it was amazing to take my four 120 rolls to the lab to discover they could be processed only after the order for the previous customer was finished… the lab told me a well-known company with a blue logo based in the Bay area had just delivered a big batch of 70 rolls for processing! I was kind of sad when I discovered my batch was delayed by 48 hours (beyond the usual 24 hours needed for developing, printing the contact sheet and scanning everything in high resolution), but I finally received my processed rolls and you can see some results in the images of this article.

[Read more…]

How to Fix Lens Distortion

Lens distortion is a common issue we photographers deal with on a daily basis. It can be split into two groups – distortion by perspective and distortion by optics. Be it one or the other, it often causes unnatural-looking deformation of photos we take. As a result, we end up searching for ways to address distortion issues in the field, or afterwards in post-production. Usually lenses with longer focal lengths produce less distorted results than wide-angle lenses. And as you might already know, distortion is much more noticeable closer to the edges of the frame than in the middle. If you shoot landscapes or cityscapes at wider focal lengths and you have straight vertical elements near the corners of the frame, distortion might significantly bend and skew those elements, making them look very strange. There are several ways you can address such problems, so let’s talk about those now.

[Read more…]

Seeing Your Photos with a New Eye

The more you edit a particular photo, the more likely your eye is to grow weary of the changes that you make. Personally, after spending a few hours editing a single image, I begin to lose my ability to tell a good edit from a bad one – presenting a clear problem for making more edits. To some degree, this is even true after a two- or three-hour break; the photo is still too familiar to see with a fresh eye. In this quick article, I will cover a couple ways to look at your photos from a different perspective, including my personal favorite tip in photography.

[Read more…]

Wildlife Photography Tips – Putting It All Together

There are some basic aspects of photography that one would have to strive to master no matter what type of photography you do – and these are light, composition, content, timing, camera settings, presentation. There is plenty of information on these subjects that is well written and very useful.  In this article I wanted to bring attention to some less thought of elements of my photography (mainly wildlife) that I find are extremely important, and why they are important to me. These same topics also happen to be items that were heavily commented on by readers in my past articles on PL.

[Read more…]

Advanced Post-Processing Tips: Three-Step Sharpening

Sharpening remains a particularly confusing topic among photographers, especially given the tremendous number of post-processing options available. Some post-processing software has so many options that it is hard to know where to start; others do not let you use optimal methods in the first place. If you are trying to use the best sharpening settings – including the lowest possible levels of noise and other artifacts – the ideal method is three-step sharpening.

[Read more…]

How Was This Picture Made #9: The Answer

We had quite a few of our readers engage in our last “How Was This Picture Made #9” article for the image of the Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Mosque that I posted from my trip to Istanbul, Turkey. While some of the readers did a great job at giving a description of my shooting environment and even correctly guessed the location, the camera and the lens I used for the shot, none of the readers correctly identified the specific challenges I faced when photographing the scene. And to be honest, it would have been nearly impossible to identify those challenges by just looking at the photo, since it is the final, processed version. Let’s go through all the steps that will reveal everything I did to capture and process this image.

[Read more…]

What is Lens Compression and How to Use It In Your Photos

Have you ever heard someone say that a telephoto lens “compresses” the background or “flattens” an image? What exactly does this mean? The perceived distance between your subject and the rest of the scene is dependent on two things: where you stand relative to your subject to take the photo and the focal length of the lens you choose. In this short article, I want to discuss this type of perspective distortion, and how to use it to compose exciting photographs.

[Read more…]