Along with normal how-to articles and essays, I’ve always liked reading and writing very technical, nitty-gritty articles about photography — sometimes, articles on topics that rarely come up while actually taking pictures. In fact, I usually don’t even use my own sharpest aperture charts in the field, as useful as they are, since I don’t like carrying around charts. So, then, does all that technical stuff matter? Is it even worth talking about in the first place? These questions are very important to ask, since most people don’t want waste their time on topics that are unnecessary for their photography — do these articles actually help? There are no easy answers, but a recent trip I took to Death Valley makes a compelling argument for why some of this highly-technical information really does matter.
Love it or hate it, Adobe Lightroom has become one of the most popular post-processing and image management tools on the market. With its simple and intuitive interface, it is easy to learn and our team at Photography Life has provided many in-depth articles on using specific Lightroom features over the years. However, one of the biggest frustrations with Lightroom can be its poor performance, which can be especially disappointing when using the software on an older computer. In this article, we will go over a number of different techniques and settings in order to optimize Lightroom’s overall performance.
A few years ago, after a request, I started to photograph stage shows. Generally I would classify myself more as a landscape and wildlife photographer, but I was intrigued and certainly up for the challenge technically. My brief was pretty straightforward – no flash, to confine myself to a discreet location by the stage and photograph the main performance of a private school’s annual dance. Firstly, this was a pretty special private school with a great auditorium, professional level choreography and lighting and really high level production values. The performances are sometimes astonishing and the dancers often go on to professional careers.
This short article summarizes some of the feedback that I have received from seniors who have downsized their gear, or are thinking about doing so. The desire to downsize camera gear is not restricted to seniors! Some of the actions that seniors are taking may make sense for other photographers as well. It has been quite surprising to witness the number of comments and contacts that have occurred since my senior-related article, Senior Perspectives on Photography. I’d like to thank all of the readers who have contacted me and shared their personal experiences! Not only has it been an enjoyable experience to hear from all of you, but very enlightening as well. One of the common topics that these more ‘mature’ photographers wanted to discuss with me was their decision to downsize their gear. There was certainly a range of approaches that people have used to better align their gear with their photographic interests and their need for smaller, lighter camera gear.
In this in-depth Wildlife Photography Tutorial, we put together some of the best material we have published to date on photographing wildlife. Most of the information comes from myself (Robert Andersen), but a few extra tips are shared by other talented PL team members like Tom Redd. Instead of creating separate articles on each topic, we thought it would be a good idea to compile everything into a single piece, so that our readers could get the best out of it and have a chance to follow the material in a logical progression. This tutorial is a work in progress and we will be adding more sections in the future, so make sure to bookmark it in your browser!
Fujifilm has just announced yet another set of “Kaizen” firmware updates that will soon be available for the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji X-Pro2 cameras. This is a major firmware upgrade release consisting of a total of 33 (!) updates and new features, which is very exciting. It is nice to be able to go back to a camera and discover new things you can do with it – almost creates a feeling of owning something entirely new. After seeing the announcement (the details of which are provided at the end of the article), I thought about other camera manufacturers and what they could learn from Fuji.
When Tamron introduced the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 VC a few years ago it really shook things up (Model A011, but hereafter I’ll call it the G1 for simplicity). Priced just over a grand, the G1 offered people the chance to get into wildlife photography without dumping five figures into a supertelephoto prime lens. Not only was it inexpensive, it was surprisingly sharp as well; much sharper than many of us expected a lens in that price range to be. Sigma followed up a few months later with not one, but two 150-600mm zooms, then Nikon joined the fray a year later with its Nikon 200-500mm zoom.
One of the areas within the camera that rarely ever gets touched, is the camera software, also known as “firmware”. Most modern electronic gadgets provide the ability to update their firmware by downloading fixes and updates through manufacturers’ websites and applying those updates on the devices. The firmware updates not only provide important fixes for identified bugs, but also provide brand new features that were absent when the device was shipped from the manufacturer. This ability to be able to update and run the latest version of firmware has become a standard among DLSR manufacturers, allowing end users to run the latest and greatest firmware on their cameras.
Over the past few months I’ve been getting more and more emails from people doing some investigation of smaller sensor, mirrorless camera systems like Micro 4/3 and Nikon 1. Quite a few of them are like me in that they are seniors, or soon-to-be seniors, with an interest in bird photography. Most are looking for a smaller, lighter system that they can use for extended periods of time, rather than having to lug heavy DSLR bodies and lenses around.
In my last article on photographing winter landscapes article, I tried to list a few useful tips for capturing the beauty of a winter landscape. Since I promised to elaborate more on my post-processing technique later on, I would like to do that in this article. To get the unique look of some photos, I use a “negative clarity” method that emulates the very well-known Orton effect. For the classical Orton effect, Adobe Photoshop or any other software with layer functionality is needed. How can we achieve something similar in Lightroom that does not require working with layers? Please keep in mind that what I will describe here is not a complete post-processing workflow. The negative clarity method that I developed for myself is rather the finishing step in the editing process, which can give a distinctive atmosphere to your image. So how does it work?