The 21st century is also known as “the era of smartphones”. Smartphones evolved rapidly in this decade and became a huge success, and so did cell phone photography. Today’s smartphones are well-equipped and loaded with features and specifications, from fast processors to high resolutions displays. And these smartphones are also quite powerful when it comes to photography, featuring wonderful built-in cameras. Despite having tiny sensors, most smartphones are integrated with small and compact lenses capable of delivering crisp images that can directly compete with many point and shoot cameras in terms of image quality.
Many times in my travels I’ve happened upon a beautiful scene spread wide before me with a huge dynamic range that just begged to be photographed. It would require HDR to capture the range but also need to be stitched together as a panorama. I’d set up my tripod, snap the sequences, then get home and say “Verm, it’s time you give HDR another try.” Which would last about two minutes until the first bracketed set of shots made it into Photoshop HDR Pro and gave me a result that looked like someone painted a coat of gray primer over it.
Macro, Landscapes and Seascapes are my favorite genres in photography, but as I don’t travel much, I tend to shoot more macro in my backyard. Last time, I wrote an article on high magnification macro photography on a budget, where I pointed out the fact that I use the reverse lens technique in order to achieve high magnification macro shots. The technique really works great if you give it a try and the good news is that you do not need expensive gear to yield beautiful macro shots – a cheap kit lens will do wonders!
Firstly, a couple of apologies. One to Nasim for not contributing much lately; my only excuse is that I have been ridiculously busy on this side of the pond. Another to the readers if this subject has been covered before. But Nasim’s excellent posting about Jordan inspired me to consider something he alluded to, about people potentially in the way of the composition, particularly if time is of the essence and you can’t wait for the place to be suitably vacant.
If we’re lucky from time to time we get the opportunity to capture an interesting bit of nature playing out before our eyes. I had one such opportunity on Saturday afternoon when I was able to photograph a blackbird chasing a hawk in flight. I was sitting at my kitchen table having just returned from Grimsby harbour after trying to photograph some terns in flight with my Nikon 1 setup. It was a very dull, grey, overcast day so I cut my session short and had returned home.
Most people who enjoy taking images of birds will attest to the fact that it can be especially challenging to photograph hummingbirds. These little ‘pocket rockets’ dart around constantly and very seldom stay in one place long enough for us to find them in our viewfinders, let alone actually get an image. If you’re like me even being able to capture a decent image of a hummingbird on a feeder with its wings spread is an uncommon feat.
As part of the field work for my review of the Nikon 1 V3 I took some images of birds in flight under rather harsh winter conditions earlier this year. While I did have some success with the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens I wasn’t satisfied that I had given the lens a good test with this subject matter as my goal for the article was more to demonstrate the capability of the V3. I really wanted to try photographing some cormorants but by the time I purchased my copy of the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 in late 2014 most of the cormorants had already migrated south so I missed a good testing opportunity last year.
One of the biggest challenges that many photographers face is yielding sharp photos when hand-holding a camera. Many end up with blurry images without understanding the source of the problem, which is usually camera shake. Unfortunately, camera shake can come from a variety of different sources – from basic improper hand-holding techniques to mirror and shutter-induced vibrations that can be truly challenging and sometimes even impossible to deal with. While I will go over the latter topics in a separate article, I would like to talk about the most common cause of camera shake: lower-than-acceptable shutter speed when hand-holding the camera. I will introduce and explain the reciprocal rule, which can help in greatly increasing the chances of getting sharp photos when you do not have a tripod around.
With the introduction of lenses like the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 VC, more people than ever before are using long telephoto zoom lenses. Sometimes they are disappointed with their initial results when using these lenses hand-held, especially at slower shutter speeds. This short article provides some tips that can help improve hand-holding technique.
You have to forgive me; I have been off in my own little world trying to work two jobs so to speak. The most important job is the one that pays the bills and that’s managing my wife’s dental practice, somehow while doing that I am getting ready to attempt some serious selling of my photos at fairs and shows. Wish me luck. I have said it before, a writer I am not, however Photography Life has helped me many times, so I want to give back to the community. Let’s see where this long overdue article leads!