Posts Tagged ‘Jim Heid’

Exploring your photographic themes: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Ben shoots a bike

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Whether you call yourself a photo enthusiast or a pro, whether you shoot with a phone or with film, you probably have themes that crop up frequently in your photography. By intent or by accident, certain subjects or themes surface in your photos—whether dogs or rivers or carefully crafted coffee drinks.

Or bicycles. Ben Long likes bikes, and he finds himself photographing them frequently. As he describes in this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer, he hasn’t yet photographed The Perfect Bicycle shot, but he keeps practicing. And that’s what it’s all about. Maybe one day he’ll find a perfect bike in a perfect setting with perfect light, but in the meantime, he’s refining his eye and building a library of thematic shots—photographic studies of the lines and shapes of bicycles.

Should you bother using a lens shade? The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Ben Long demonstrates a lens shade

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The lowly lens shade might just be the least glamorous piece of gear in your camera bag. It’s that plastic ring that attaches to your lens and helps guard against flare—those bright circles that appear when your camera is pointed near the sun or another bright light source.

Most new lenses include shades. So why does Ben Long confess to rarely using them—indeed, to having a “completely irrational fear” of the things? That’s the subject of this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer.

Advice for wildlife photo safaris: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, October 24th, 2013

safari photo

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This week on The Practicing Photographer, Ben Long goes where the buffalo roam: to a wildlife reserve in Oklahoma, where he encounters a herd of American buffalo. It isn’t exactly a wildlife safari, but it is a good chance for Ben to talk about the opportunities and limitations of an actual big-game photo safari in an exotic location.

Wildlife photo safaris are hugely popular in locations ranging from Alaska to Kenya to Antarctica. They’re a great way to see exotic critters in their natural habitats. And if you go on a guided safari, you’ll have someone along who’s adept at spotting interesting animals and can share insights on their behavior.

In search of photo opportunities: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Ben Long on the road

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Any time of year is a good time of year for a road trip, especially one without a specific destination. Pack some camera gear, get in the car, and keep your eyes open.

That’s what Ben Long did in this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer, and he struck gold—or, more accurately, black and white. As he and a lynda.com crew drove down a two-lane road in rural Oklahoma, Ben noticed a small stand of fire-damaged trees whose trunks had dramatic patterns of black and white.

Time to pull over and remove the lens cap.

The Romance of Polaroid Photography: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, September 19th, 2013
Peeling a Polaroid photo

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These days, the phrase “instant photography” is almost redundant. A photo appears on the screen of your camera (or phone) a moment after you shoot it. And in a lot of cases, the photo can appear on the Internet a moment or two after that.

But it wasn’t always this way. For decades, the phrase “instant photography” meant “Polaroid.” If you didn’t want to wait for film to be developed, you used Polaroid cameras and films, which enabled you hold a finished print in your hand within a minute or two after shooting.

Amateurs loved Polaroid for that very reason: no taking film to the corner drugstore and then waiting. Professional photographers used Polaroid to make test shots. And some, including Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, and William Wegman, used Polaroids to create enduring works of art.

Fix exposure problems in a batch of photos: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, September 12th, 2013
ben

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In last week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer, we joined Ben Long at a wildlife preserve, where he photographed buffalo and prairie dogs—and shared some wildlife photography tips along the way.  This week, it’s back to the buffalo—but this time, they’re on Ben’s computer screen. Something went wrong during Ben’s wildlife shoot: A lot of his photos were slightly overexposed and washed out. Camera light meters aren’t perfect, and when they don’t read a scene accurately, exposure problems result.

Fortunately, Adobe Photoshop—and other imaging programs, such as Lightroom, Aperture, and iPhoto—can often fix exposure problems. And if you shoot using your camera’s raw mode, you have that much more adjustment flexibility. That’s because raw mode saves every bit of data that your camera’s sensor recorded. By comparison, when you shoot in JPEG mode, your camera’s internal software—in its zeal to create a compact image file—throws away roughly one-third of the information that the sensor recorded.

Paying attention while shooting wildlife: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Ben Long explores wildlife photography.

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In this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer, Ben Long discusses a fun and challenging photographic subject: wildlife. Whether it’s the birds in your backyard or the buffalo in a nature reserve, wildlife presents an array of photographic challenges—starting with the fact that you don’t have a lot of control over your subject.

This lack of control can lead to an interesting phenomenon: forgetting how to be a photographer. As Ben explains, when you do see an interesting critter, maybe one you haven’t seen before at close range, it’s easy to get so caught up in the experience you neglect those aspects of photography you’ve spent so much time learning—like the need to really work a shot, to move around and experiment with different compositions, focal lengths, and exposure settings.

The Pros and Cons of Tripods: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Friday, August 30th, 2013
The pros and cons of tripods

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Do you need a tripod? If you’re Ben Long, you need a few of them. In this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer, Ben admits to being a tripod fan: he owns three along with a couple of different tripod heads and a monopod.

And yet he admits to employing this arsenal of stabilization only occasionally: for macro work, for low-light scenes, and for product photography. As Ben points out, the high-ISO capabilities of today’s cameras, combined with the vibration-reduction features found in most lenses, make carrying around a tripod less essential than it used to be. A tripod remains a big help when you’re shooting with slow shutter speeds—keeping you in crisp focus when there’s little light in a scene, or when you’re shooting at a small aperture setting to increase depth of field (sharpness from front to back).