(Editor's note: Tim Grey returns with another guest post. This one answers why the blades that form the aperture in a lens makes a difference.) There are many reasons to choose one lens over another, both when making a new purchase and when choosing which lens to use for a particular photo. But have you ever stopped to consider how many blades there are in the aperture assembly of a given lens? You might be surprised at the impact the structure of the lens aperture can have on your photos. Aperture Basics The lens aperture is designed to … [Read more...] about Why Do the Number of Aperture Blades in a Lens Matter?
Human eyes are incredible for viewing the world and seeing into shadows and highlights all at the same time. The basis of HDR photography is making several exposures at varying brightnesses and combining them in a powerful software app like Photomatix so we can view a photograph the same way we view the real world--into the shadows and highlights at the same time. We call it “bracketing” or “shooting for HDR” or “shooting brackets.” Every interchangeable-lens camera I’ve seen for sale in the last seven years offers automatic bracketing, but … [Read more...] about HDR 101: Shooting Brackets
Any small light source in your photograph can potentially become a starburst, and finding creative ways to use them in your pictures is fun. These tips will help you build a formula for making starbursts anytime you want. 1. Appropriate Aperture The most common tip for making starbursts is to use a very small aperture, like f/22 or f/16. While this is generally true, it's not a hard rule. Depending on your camera and lens combinations, you can get starbursts at much wider apertures, as well. I know that with a few of my lenses I can get … [Read more...] about Four Tips for Starbursts
This new Twist 60 lens from Lensbaby has my full attention right now. There are always new lenses boasting extreme sharpness or wide apertures or super telephoto, but Lensbaby steps aside from the sharper-faster-longer race and makes tools that actually help me be more creative. In short, it's a marvelous hunk of metal and glass, it's affordably priced, and I think you'll love it too. Keep reading for the reasons why. Petzval for the 21st Century Petzval was a scientist in the 1800's who created a new lens design, and it made big … [Read more...] about Lens Review: Lensbaby Twist 60
Landscape photography brings its own rewards. Being in a beautiful place at a tranquil time of day is therapeutic. Add good company, and it doesn't really matter if you make any good pictures because the experience alone was worthwhile. For instance, I visited my parents, recently, and my dad and I awoke early to photograph the moon setting over one of our favorite places, Garden of the Gods. Due to a small cloud that wouldn't move, the moonset was a bust, but I exercised a few tips I've learned to make the most of the experience anyway, and … [Read more...] about Shooting Landscapes? Go the Extra Mile
Using HDR in the image below allowed me to reveal the details of the machinery as well as the colors of the sky. I shot the image using 14-24mm lens at f/11. Editors Note: This post builds upon Levi's earlier post on Starbursts. When you include the sun in you composition, you have framed a scene with a very high dynamic range--shadows facing you and full sunso HDR software is ideal for making a picture revealing the whole scene. The sunrise through the trees and the Canyonlands sunset above are both HDR composites. If not, they would both … [Read more...] about Combining Starbursts and HDR
When I started making pictures, my day job took me all over the world and I ended up with lots of time to go out shooting in various countries. This was mostly at nighttime and mostly in cities, like this bike I found tethered to a post in Dubai. As I walked the streets with my camera and tripod I learned one cool technique that added pop to my pictures: starbursts. Whenever I show these pictures, people always ask if I used a lens filter or photoshop to make the rays shooting from the lights, and the answer is, "No." This is done one hundred … [Read more...] about Wanna Add Pop to your Pictures? Try a Starburst
Here's a quick-tip for a fun and easy photography effect: The next time you are shooting into the sun or have any kind of visible bare-bulb light in your frame, try cranking your aperture way down so it is very small (which would be a larger number, like f/16 or f/22). This will greatly reduce the amount of light hitting your sensor so you will need a longer shutter-speed, and depending on the shot you are trying to get you might need a tripod ... or you can hand-hold your camera and go for a silhouette effect like in the image above. The … [Read more...] about Starburst Effect