This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 19mm f/4E PC, also known as PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED, a special purpose wide-angle lens designed for architecture, cityscape and landscape photography. “PC” stands for “Perspective Control”, but I will refer to this type of lens as “tilt-shift” in this article. Architecture and cityscape photographers often work with straight lines and tilt-shift lenses give the ability to avoid the convergence of vertical lines by shifting the lens upwards or downwards. Landscape photographers often want to keep everything in focus, especially when dealing with close foreground objects. Stopping down to very small apertures results in diffraction, which impedes sharpness. Tilt-shift lenses offer an alternative to stopping down by tilting the plane of focus, putting both closest and furthest objects in focus. Focus stacking in post-processing software is another way to achieve maximum focus without stopping down excessively, however, the technique also has its pros and cons, making tilt-shift lenses unique in their own ways. The ability to apply selective focus on a particular part of the image via lens tilting allows distant subjects to appear “miniaturized”, although this effect can be reproduced in image editing software, as well.
Have you ever visited a historic landmark or any other beautiful space only to be told that photography is not allowed? It seems that most, if not all, photographers have encountered this situation. In this brief article I will talk about various types of photography policies that you may encounter and how to deal with them. This article will provide practical advise, not a definition of your rights as a photographer. Please understand that my experiences are not a replacement for a lawyer’s, and that my knowledge mostly pertains to locations in the United States.
Another year is over and it is that time of the new year when many of us go back and assess our personal successes and failures of the past year. While 2016 was surely an eventful year, we should be grateful to be alive and well, as many were not as fortunate. We have seen a number of both positive and negative changes that affected the world we live in today and how we will be living it in the future. But let’s not focus on the bad – after-all, keeping positive attitude and encouraging healthy, proactive thinking always leads to more fruitful results, especially in the long run. 2016 was a very busy year in the world of photography as well – a lot of new cameras, lenses and gadgets were announced. Nikon finally revealed the long-awaited Nikon D500 and D5 DSLRs, while Canon updated two of its high-end DSLRs with the Canon 5D Mark IV and the 1 DX Mark II. Pentax finally brought us the amazing full-frame K-1. Fuji, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Sigma have all been keeping busy as well, but the two that definitely stole the show last year were Fuji and Hasselblad, releasing “budget” interchangeable lens medium format mirrorless cameras – the Hasselblad X1D-50c and the Fujifilm GFX 50S, both under the $10K price tag. And when it comes to lenses, we have seen a slew of different lenses for all kinds of needs from all manufacturers, with so many great third party options. I have been barely able to keep up with all these announcements and although I have done my best to produce as many reviews as I possibly can, all the travel and projects I have been involved with ate up the bulk of my time, shifting my priorities significantly. I am grateful for all these opportunities, but above all, I am incredibly thankful for the amazing and patient community of readers and followers of this very site, which has been steadily growing year after year. But enough of this mumbo jumbo, let’s take a look at some of my most favorite photos from 2016!
Light, shapes, lines, forms — the foundations of photography. No matter what subjects you shoot, you’ll end up working with these features for every photo that you take. Architectural photography, though, takes it to another level, with its perfect geometrical lines and shapes that are hard to find anywhere else in the world. In this article, I will cover everything from indoor architectural photography to outdoor “urban landscapes” and cityscapes, including some tips and tricks that I use all the time in my own photos.
A quick note: Apologies that we have not posted an article this past week. Nasim and I have been in New Zealand since the beginning of December, and it has not been possible to publish anything without a reliable Internet connection. Our articles may still be sporadic until we get home at the end of December, so we appreciate your patience. For now, we have published our backlogged articles from recent days. Hopefully, the photos we bring back from this trip will be worth it!
A couple of weeks ago I wrote the article “Four Simple Tips for Better Composition”. In that article, I discussed in-camera techniques for keeping your horizons level and verticals vertical. However, even if you are careful, this is not always possible. This is especially true when trying to take pictures of tall buildings. I received several great comments mentioning that Photoshop’s powerful “Transform” tool can be used to correct the keystoning issues that arise in such a situation. I thought it would be a good idea to follow that last article up with one on post-processing methods for perspective corrections. I will go over a couple of ways to quickly fix horizons in Lightroom and how to easily improve/correct keystoning in Lightroom. I will also go over some more advanced techniques for perspective correction using Photoshop, for when the Lightroom methods don’t quite make the grade. The combination of good in-camera image creation and post-processing perspective corrections should allow you to create images that reflect how are eyes see and our brains perceive the world around us.
Have you ever wondered why you are instantly drawn to some photographs, but not to others? Or why some of your images lack that wow factor that you see in other’s. It may be related to how you compose your pictures. How a photograph is composed has a huge impact on how long we look at it. The longer our brain is allowed to wander through an image, the more likely we are to like it. Photographs that are not composed well do not have staying power, and are quickly discarded by our brain. In this article I want to discuss four very basic compositional tips. I won’t be talking about the “rule of thirds” or “leading lines”, but rather four pointers you should consider before you take a picture. These tips will save you a lot of post processing time, and will allow you to create much stronger images.
Incredibly, the first domes date back to people living in the Mediterranean region 4,000 years BC. Since then, artists have created a fascinating variety of them all over the world. Still today, they are an essential part of modern architecture, as shown for example by Calatrava’s spectacular glass dome of the library of the Institute of Law in Zurich, Switzerland.
In this review, I will talk about my experience and impressions with using perhaps the finest tripod head I have seen to date, the Arca-Swiss C1 Cube. Targeted specifically at macro, architecture and landscape photographers that need ultra high precision, with the ability to handle large and heavy cameras, the “Cube” is a very specialized, high-end tool. It has been on the market for a few years and went through several changes. The version I tested is the most current model and this particular review is for the Flip-Lock quick release type head – the one that had the most problems (more on this below). As of today, Arca-Swiss manufactures two types of the Cube: one with the the “Flip-Lock” clamp and one with a “Classic” screw-knob clamp, both of which are capable of securely attaching Arca-Swiss compatible plates, rails and other accessories.
This is an in-depth review of the Linhof 3D Micro Leveling Head with dovetail track, a high-end precision geared tripod head specifically designed for handling medium to large format cameras and other specialized rails for macro and architectural photography. Fitted with an Arca-Swiss compatible screw-knob clamp, this specific version is designed to fit any kind of Arca-Swiss plate or rail (there is also another version of the same head, but with a quick-release “Quickfix” adapter that can be mounted directly to a camera).
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 24mm f/3.5D PC-E, a special purpose wide-angle “Perspective Control” lens designed for architectural, commercial and nature photography, also known as PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED. The Nikon 24mm f/3.5D PC-E is a very specialized wide-angle lens specifically targeted at three groups of photographers – architecture photographers, landscape photographers and macro/product photographers. Architectural photographers often work with a lot of straight, often converging lines both indoors and outdoors and the “Perspective Control” or “Tilt-Shift” lenses (from this point on I will refer to them only as “tilt-shift”) give the ability to avoid the convergence of parallel lines by shifting the lens upwards or downwards. Landscape photographers need to be able to get everything in focus – from the closest foreground object to distant landscapes. While proper lens and camera techniques, along with good post-processing skills can help in getting sharp images for both foreground and background objects, normal lenses have certain limits landscape photographers have to work around with.