Shutter Speed and Movement
Dec05

Shutter Speed and Movement

Your camera’s Shutter Priority (Tv) mode gives you control over whether a subject motion is sharp or blurred. When using telephoto lenses the old school rule is to use shutter speeds that are the equivalent of the reciprocal of the lens’s focal length is one place to start. When using a 300mm lens, 1/250th of a second makes a good starting point but I typically use 1/500th of a second to ensure sharpness. Unlike Program mode (the “P”...

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The Shadows Know
Nov17

The Shadows Know

For many photographers it’s really the shadows that make or break a photograph but sometimes the results may be a bit more shadowy than we might prefer. Lamont Cranston used mind control taught to him by monks in Lhasa, but we have lots of options starting with the highlight and shadow that’s available in the Olympus E-M1 mirrorless cameras. If there is no shadow control in your SLR, as with the Canon EOS 5D shows, but you can use the...

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Available Light Tips for Travel Photography
May31

Available Light Tips for Travel Photography

It doesn’t matter what you call it—available light, unavailable light, available darkness, or low light photography—often the most rewarding photographs are produced when working under challenging lighting conditions. Why? First, there’s the thrill of overcoming the ever-present technical obstacles that prevent you from producing a well-exposed image under challenging lighting conditions. Second, photographs made under lighting...

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Using Manual or Custom White Balance
Mar07

Using Manual or Custom White Balance

There will come a time when none of your camera’s preset white balance settings will work and that’s when you need to use the Manual option. Sure, it’s a little more labor intensive but after you try it once, you’ll be amazed how well it works under difficult and mixed lighting conditions such as indoor exhibits, conventions centers, and museums. Start by photographing a sheet of white paper under the lighting conditions you...

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Working with Backlighting for Outdoor Portraits

The ingredients for making great portraits are easy to find: You need a subject, a camera, and some light but like any good chef it’s how they’re prepared that goes into cooking up a delicious portrait. When talking about portraiture with amateur or aspiring pro photographers, they often tell me they want to do a better job but don’t have studios or expensive lighting equipment. Let’s not worry about where to make portraits because we...

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Looking For and Finding the Light
Jan10

Looking For and Finding the Light

Recently a reader wrote asking about “how I find the light.” The short answer is that you start by just looking but there’s more to it that that: Light has four major qualities: color, quality, quantity, and direction. As photographers seeking to master exposure, seeing that light is the key to mastering that art. Please notice that I said art because while there is the obvious technical or craft aspects of using camera controls...

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