When photographing landscapes and including a bright source of light like the Sun, we often end up getting quite a bit of ghosting and flare in images. Although seeing lens flare is quite normal in both images and video (in fact, videographers and movie makers often purposefully add ghosting and flare to their footage to make the scene look more natural), sometimes the effect can heavily harm images. Since every lens reacts differently to bright sources of light, with some having special coatings and optical optimizations in place to reduce such effects, the effect of ghosting and flare and its damage are not something that can be easily predicted – there are too many variables involved, like focal length, optical design, coating, light source angle and even dust within the lens. So what do you do when you have a beautiful sunrise / sunset moment and you want to capture it with the sun in the frame without traces of ghosting / flare? I have been using a “finger the sun” technique for many years and today I want to explain how this technique works and how you can use it to create stunning, dramatic landscape images.
In my photography classes I often get asked, “What is a long exposure?” Many beginning photographers want me to give them a definitive shutter speed with my explanation. However, long exposures are not only subject driven, they are largely based on the artistic vision you have for your photograph. Panning, light painting and night photography all make use of long exposures. However, these techniques are subjects of a future article. Today I would like to discuss “really” long exposures, exposures in excess of several minutes. These types of exposures create surreal, dreamlike images. They use neutral density filters (think sunglasses for your lens) to extend exposure times far in excess of what could be achieved by simply decreasing ISO and stopping down your aperture.
Street photography is one of the most feared and uncertain types of photography, in which almost nothing is in your control and almost everything is based on luck, persistence and the ability to see and capture the moment. A lot of new photographers who like street photography for its classy/candid look and feel typically get nervous to actually do it, as it demands a lot of time & devotion, ability to interact with strangers and sometimes even ability to handle stress if things go wrong.
When it comes to photographing wildlife, I’m nowhere near the lofty eminence of John Sherman or Tom Redd (both of whom I had the privilege of meeting in Colorado earlier this month), but I’ll make use of any opportunity I can. Photographing the grey seals on the Norfolk coast was an annual autumnal pilgrimage for me but the last couple of years I was remiss in not making the journey.
I am currently in the beautiful San Juan Mountains of Colorado, getting ready to conduct my annual Colorado Fall Workshops. Although some of the areas have not turned in their full fall color glory yet, it is just a matter of days at this point to witness the stunning transformation of the scenery before winter rolls its cold in. A breathtaking visual spectacle; something I love indulging myself in, together with some of the most amazing people from all over the world – our readers who will be arriving later this week to join the workshops. As I was trying to catch up with work earlier today, I realized that I was about 30 minutes away from sunset. I looked outside and was disappointed to see a bunch of thick clouds covering the sky. At first, I thought I would just stay and work, but then the thought of potentially losing a sunset opportunity crossed my mind, so I grabbed the Sony A7R II (which I am currently testing) and off I went to quickly get to the first overlook of the glorious Mt Sneffels.
We don’t really get much choice here in the rain capital of the Universe (well, ok, it’s not quite Cherrapunji but it feels like it sometimes). But rather than avoiding the wet and water one can see it as … wait for it … yep, an opportunity to do some shooting.
A landscape photographer’s goal, especially in the most dramatic and massive locations, is to demonstrate the size and scope of the landscape in a photo. However, it is quite difficult to translate the three-dimensional world into a flat rectangle — certain aspects of a scene, including the scale of the landscape, can get lost along the way. In this article, I’ll go over some common ways to put the size of a scene into perspective.
If you have read any of my previous articles, then you would know I have two Nikkor super telephoto lenses and I often use them in wildlife photography. I also often mention that reach is important in wildlife photography and getting highly detailed and crisp images. Two of the super telephoto lenses I have are the 600mm f/4 prime and the 800mm f/5.6 prime and they are amazing lenses that give me amazing reach for wildlife, but this reach can also be a problem when multiple eyes are involved (ie: several animals in same frame).
Lets take a look at a nightmare photo to get with a 600mm lens at optimal distance requiring minimal cropping:
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.
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!