Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Paying attention while shooting wildlife: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Ben Long explores wildlife photography.

Watch The Practicing Photographer at lynda.com.


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.

Shooting macros with your phone: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
Using the Easy-Macro lens band

Watch The Practicing Photographer at lynda.com.

 

Cell phone cameras are compact and convenient, and they deliver better image quality than ever.

But what phone cameras aren’t is versatile. For example, their tiny, fixed-focal-length lenses usually can’t focus very close. Several companies have come out with close-up attachments that let you shoot macro photos with a phone. But most have two disadvantages. They can be on the pricey side—$60 and up is a lot to pay for a tiny lens that you may not use all that often. And they tend to be designed for a specific model of phone. If you switch brands or upgrade—or if your family mixes and matches models and brands—you’re out of luck.

Creating a “tiny world” effect: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, August 15th, 2013

tiny world example

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Sometimes the world seems so small. With some clever shooting and Adobe Photoshop techniques, you can make it seem even smaller. I’m referring to what’s often called the “tiny world” or “tiny planet” effect, and Ben Long explores it in this week’s two-part installment of The Practicing Photographer.

Resist the urge to zoom: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Resist zooming and explore fixed lenses.

Explore The Practicing Photographer at lynda.com.


The zoom lens was patented in 1902, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that zoom lenses became increasingly popular on the 35 mm cameras of that era. The zooms of the ’70s were expensive and often lacked the sharpness and contrast of fixed focal length, or prime, lenses.

Today, thanks to advancements in optical design, zoom lenses are common and often inexpensive. Indeed, the “kit lens” that comes with a typical digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera includes a zoom. And the images from a high-quality zoom can stack up against photos taken with a prime lens any day.

The Practicing Photographer: Is a mirrorless camera in your future?

Published by | Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Digital SLRs are versatile and deliver great image quality, but are big and heavy. Point-and-shoot cameras are compact, but their image quality and versatility are often lacking.

Welcome to an episode of “Goldilocks Buys a Camera”—isn’t there an option that’s just right?

For a growing number of photographers, the answer is a mirrorless camera. This up-and-coming category sits between point-and-shoots and digital SLRs, and Ben Long talks about it in this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer.

pract photog week 10 mirrorless screen shot

Working with reflections: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Friday, July 19th, 2013

Reflections are something you often don’t want in photography. If you’re shooting through a window, for example, you might attach a polarizing filter to your lens to reduce the glare and reflections of the world behind you (see Chapter 2 in Foundations of Photography: Specialized Lenses).

At other times, though, reflections can add a striking element to a photo. And that’s the subject of this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer, wherein Ben Long reflects on the value of reflections.

Give yourself a year-long assignment: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Freedom can be overwhelming. When you’re free to photograph anything you want, whenever you want, it’s easy to end up not photographing much of anything at all.  Psychologists use terms like choice overload to describe the paralysis that can accompany a world of unlimited options.

In this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer, Ben Long offers one solution to the overload: Give yourself a year-long assignment. Choose a time interval: daily, weekly, monthly. Choose a scope: your city, your street, your chair. And choose a subject: an object, a color, an emotion, an event.

pract photog week 9 screen shot

Shooting without a memory card: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Friday, July 5th, 2013

It’s the classic movie depiction of writer’s block: a frustrated writer sits at a typewriter, occasionally tearing a page out, crumpling it, and throwing it into an overflowing wastebasket. Every writer has been there—and now and then, every photographer experiences its equivalent. You go out with your camera and just can’t seem to shoot anything that feels fresh or original. Your inner photo editor reminds you that you shot a similar photo last year. Or saw a similar shot in a book. Or on a website. It’s enough to make you want to crumple a sheet of photo paper and throw it in a wastebasket.

In this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer, Ben Long shares your pain and suggests a remedy: spend an afternoon shooting without a memory card in your camera. Go through the mechanics of photography—compose, adjust metering, zoom, or change lenses—but without using any digital film to record the results.

Practicing Photographer - Shooting without a memory card

Crazy? Maybe. But it’s an exercise worth trying. As Ben points out, it’s easy to overthink your photography—to obsess so much on the need to Make Great Art that you affect your ability to see photographically.