Thursday, October 9, 2014

Carry you camera manuals the easy way


A couple years ago I posted an article about dusting off your camera's instruction manual in order to pick up a few tips and tricks about your camera's abilities. If it's been a while and you haven't opened up that manual to brush up on some camera functions, I suggest reading up on that post and following the advise.

But I'm not here to discuss what you should or shouldn't do with your camera knowledge. I know you're a smart person and don't need me to tell you to read your manual! I will, however, share a useful tip in how to keep that instruction manual handy for when you really need it. Like at one of my workshops when I ask you to set your camera in a specific way and you can't quite remember how to do it. Don't worry, it happens to many of us. Specially me, who has 'senior moments' more and more often. So what's this tip I mentioned? Read on...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Understanding Angle of Incidence


One of the hardest concepts for beginners is understanding light and how it behaves. As I've said many times before, we can not see light, just the effect of light. Once you start thinking of light in terms of particles of energy then it starts becoming easier to understand. Specially since light behaves in very predictable ways.

This article discusses angle of incidence. A fundamental concept that appears in many areas of photography. Getting a grasp of this concept will open up a whole new realm of possibilities for you as you move forward in your career or hobby.

An incidence is simply an occurrence, an action that takes place at a specific point. In our case this incidence is the point at which a particle of light strikes a surface. The law of physics states that whenever an object strikes another object there will be an equal but opposite reaction. Because we are talking about a particle of light, when that particle hits a surface it deflects off that surface in a very predictable way. Let's take our first example, a highly reflective surface.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Useful tips for tracking batteries and memory cards


Batteries and memory cards. These are two essentials we as photographers need extras of. There is no worse feeling than being out on location to find that your camera or flash has run out of juice or you are out of memory. Sure, you can always carefully delete unwanted images to make more room on a crowded card, but that is a hassle and you might just miss the important shots while you are fumbling with your camera. If it's power you are lacking, well, there's no recovering from that. So the lesson here is to carry extra batteries and memory cards. Always.

While having extras of these will save your tail in a pinch, it presents a problem on how to keep track of their usage. It does you no good to swap out a dead battery for another dead battery, or a full memory card for another full card. Here is a simple tip that I have learned along the way that can help you keep track of both batteries and memory cards. This is a top secret, professional tip. Are you ready? The answer is direction.

When to use HDR


Recently I was in a conversation about exposure ranges and methods of extending them through the use of processing software, either through expanding on the RAW file or by tone mapping, otherwise known as high dynamic range or HDR photography. One of the question that came up that I'd like to answer here is, "how do you know when to use HDR?"

If you are unfamiliar with high dynamic range photography the image above is one example. In essence, high dynamic range utilizes a series of images captured of the same scene but with different exposures. It allows software to assemble, or tone map, a resulting image that contains an exposure range greater than the camera can handle with a single exposure. Let's take a look at what I mean.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

DIY tabletop foam core bounce card holders


Working with tabletop photography presents its own set of challenges. It seems that the smaller the product the smaller the light modifiers seem to get. Specially when you are looking to highlight just a small, specific area of the product. Then there are the multitude of reflective and refractive surfaces that can cause any sane person to pull their hair out. When you start crowding all this onto a small table you have to be careful not to cause a domino effect of destruction.

When dealing with bounce cards (a favorite solution for a great many issues) the problem becomes how to support the cards without taking up a lot of valuable table real estate. One solution I found is the use of a simple DIY holder made from discarded 2x4 pine studs. You can see them in use in this photo (circled red) holding up some black and white foam core bounce cards.