I’m excited about this one as I have been working on it for awhile and it is finally done and ready for release. If you are not familiar with ecourses, they are lessons on a particular topic ( in this case digital photography) that you get periodically by email.
My new Digital Photography Ecourse consists of 12 lessons and takes you from the beginning to the end of basic digital photography. By the end of the course, you will know your way around your camera and how to take stunning photographs.
The learning platform I use is a little different in that I not only use text in the lesson, but also visuals aids such as charts, graphs and videos. This accommodates a wider group of people being we all learn in different ways and by using different means.
In each lesson there is also an assignment, so you have an opportunity to put into practice what you just learned in the lesson. And my ecourse also includes 30 minutes each month of personal one-on-one coaching and/or photo critiquing, depending on the lesson.
I can only take up to 200 subscribers, so if you are interested in taking this course, I would sign up now as I expect it to sell out quickly. The cost is $9.95 per month, but you can test-drive the first lesson for 50% off – $4.98. My gift to you for signing up for this course. If you find it is not for you , you can cancel at any time.
One question I get asked a lot is about lens hood. This seems to be one accessory that confuses many new photographers. So in this post, I’m going to reveal the truth behind lens hoods. In particular, we are going to talk about:
A lens hood has two main purposes:
If you can cut out prevent the light from coming into you lens at angles that create flare, you will also have deeper and more saturated colors as the stray light prevents deep color saturation. While you may already have a clear or UV filter screwed onto the front of you lens already, and that is good, a lens hood give you an extra measure of protections.
Basically, you do not want to use a lens hood if you are:
Sometimes, lens flares or ghosting in images is desirable in certain creative instances. In those situations, take your lens hood off and work at the correct angle to the light source to create the effect you desire.
If you are trying to shoot somewhat incognito, take off your lens hood. All they really do in that situation is draw attention to you by making your lens look longer than what it really is.
Many times when you are using your camera on-board flash, a lens hood can cast a shadow onto your subject, so generally speaking when shooting with a built-in flash, take off your lens hood. Your lens hood may or may not cast a shadow when using an external flash mounted on your hot shoe. You can do a couple of test shots to see if it interferes or not.
Lens hoods either extend over the front of your lens or they are turned around and extend over the barrel of your lens. Of course you will want to have the reversed for storage and travel, but it is a good idea to have them in place over the front of you lens when you have your camera out of the bag. Not only do you have the lens hood in the proper position for catching those quick shots, but it gives the front of your lens some added protection against bumps and banging into things. Also when you have your lens hood in the “shooting” position, leave your lens cap of as the lens hood will provides just as good of protection.
There are basically two types or styles of lens hood and each type is made for a particular type of lens. The petal style, which has the sides cut out of it is for use with wide angle zoom lens. The sides are cut-out to prevent vignetting due to the wide angle of view.
The second style is the tube style. It look like a long tube and is meant to be used on telephoto zoom lens where the angle of view is much less, so you don’t have a vignetting issue.
If you loose a lens hood or your lens never came with one, you have two choices – either buy a lens hood from the manufacturer of your lens, or by a third-party aftermarket.
For example, you could buy a Canon lens hood to fit their EF-S 17-85mm or 18-135mm lens for $23.95. Or you could buy a Vello lens hood to fit the same lenses for $16.95. Another example, the lens hood from Canon for their Ef-70-200 Lens costs $39.95, but you can get on that will do the same job from Vello for $11.95.
Lens hood are not complicated so for me a third-party one will do the same thing for less money than the one from the OEM.
You would think that very little happens in the winter to gladden the heart of a photographer – but depending on where you are, you couldn’t be more wrong. For those of you in areas that get snow in the winter, you are coming into a wonderful season of opportunity.
Winter is a wild and tempestuous season. Winter storms bring dramatic skies – cloud formations that are dark and menacing – and if you include some photographs of just the sky, you can save them to use later by adding them into other pictures to give more drama and impact or to use them as backgrounds.
If you live near the sea, or by a stretch of coastline, winter winds can whip the sea into a frenzy of crashing waves that throw dramatic shapes of foam and spray into the air, or that come hurtling over rocks and the waterfront, pitching the full force of their energy into a watery display.
Winter is also a great time for capturing sunrises and sunsets, because you don’t have to get out of bed at o-dark-thirty to get to in position to shoot the sunrise. Winter sunrises and sunsets can be very spectacular a day or two after a storm or bout of bad weather. Storms throws a lot of dust and debris up into the atmosphere and it is this debris that causes some amazing and spectacular colors to be produced.
Snow is way too obvious unless you think of it as a BACKGROUND and NOT a subject. Look to see what interesting shapes are framed against the whiteness, such as leafless trees and the long afternoon shadows of a fence line.
Wildlife, isolated against a plain backdrop, are much easier to photograph. Whether capturing images in the wild or tempting them into your garden with food and then photograph from the comfort of your home, use the snow as a contrast to their normal great camouflage of the other three seasons.
When you are at a loss for things to photograph, try thinking outside the box and plan ahead. Make yourself a seasonal calendar now of the ideas for new subjects and techniques you want to try this winter. The seasonal changes mean certain subjects are only around at certain times of year, so by planning for them now while still early in the winter season, you can be ready to take your opportunities as they come around.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced in digital photography is trying to capture action shots of youths participating in sports. Not only do you have to contend with various lighting issues and stopping action, but finding an optimal location to shoot from can be problematic, especially with indoor sports.
The article below written by Rick Berk and published on Digital Photography School.com has some great tips on how you can get great youth sports shots.
One of the most popular subjects people photograph is their children. Everyone is always showing off photos of their little ones. And when those little ones grow bigger, we photograph their activities. One of the more challenging children’s activities to photograph is youth sports.
With a few exceptions, sports tend to take place on large fields, where a photographer will have limited ability to get close to his subject. Couple that fact with a lack of control over lighting, and sports of any level can be a challenge to photograph.
The biggest issue most beginners seem to have with sports is stopping action. Motion blur, caused by using too slow a shutter speed, frustrates many new sports photographers. The bottom line here is very simple: a minimum shutter speed of 1/500 is needed to freeze action. The longer the lens, the faster the shutter speed needs to be. So while 1/500 is the minimum, if your focal length is 600mm, you will need a shutter speed of at least 1/640. Faster is better.
Using a faster shutter speed ensures stopping the motion of the ball as it hits the bat.
The next issue to contend with is the backgrounds. Youth sporting events take place in . . .
You can read the rest or the article at: http://digital-photography-school.com/catching-the-action-photographing-youth-sports#ixzz2C1U0Dj8K. Enjoy!
Mother Nature is getting ready again to present us with her annual fall display of color. Every year, she magically transforms the various shades of green leaves into an explosion of muted reds, yellows, oranges and browns. To capture fall color, apply these tips and techniques when out shooting fall color
Fall compositions vary from mist-filled vistas, to single trees, to close-ups of leaves lying on the forest floor. For single tree shots, use a rock outcropping, lake, or stream as a background. On clear days, include some sky, but not more than the upper one third of the scene. During a bright sunny day, the reflection of fall color in still water adds much to a photo. Water makes either a good background or foreground, however if you are shooting a quiet pond with a fall color reflection, use a fast enough shutter speed to stop any slight movement of the water.
For a different look of slow-moving water reflection shots, use a slow enough shutter speed so the colors will blend and form a French impressionist-painting type photo. This look can be very impressive. Use a slow shutter speed between 1/15 to 2 full seconds. This takes some experimentation, because the correct shutter speed depends on how fast the water is moving. The slower the water – the slower the shutter speed. Also, here it is best to bracket one stop on either side of your first shutter speed setting. When shooting at shutter speeds in this range, using a tripod is essential.
For closeups of the forest floor, point the camera straight down. Even if the lighting is not dim, use a tripod. It allows you to focus on the composition without having to worry about holding the camera, especially in the awkward pointing-down position.
The best two types of light are diffused, caused by mid-day high cirrus clouds, and the soft golden light found both just after sunrise and again just before sunset. Diffused light produces an even, shadowless light. Without shadows, the colors are pure and vibrant. Now is the time to focus on individual trees and leaf closeups. Colors are especially vibrant right after a rain.
To capture the rich earth tones, use the early morning and/or late afternoon golden light. The light during these times complements the earth’s muted tones. This golden light occurs between sunrise and 1 1/2 to 2 hours after and again for about that same amount of time before sunset and up to sunset. With this kind of light, focus on clumps of trees and landscape shots and look for backlit leaves.
When shooting in golden light, maximize the use of that polarizer. This filter works best when your camera is approximately 90 degrees to the direction of the sun. In this light, the sky is blue and a polarizer increases the blue color of the sky while accurately recording the vivid colors of autumn. Using a polarizing filter removes unwanted reflections from the leaf surfaces.
If you are shooting in open shade, you will most likely have to adjust your white balance setting to either a cloudy or shade setting. This adds some warmth to your photos and eliminates the bluish cast that can show up when shooting in the shade.
Prepare yourself now for Nature’s upcoming color display. Applying the tips and techniques in this article will result in bold, vibrant fall color photos. The show doesn’t last long, so be sure to maximize your time shooting.
I ran across this article on wildlife photography and I wanted to share it with you. For only starting out taking photos in 2009, this writer has accomplished his photography skills well. While it helps to have “worthy” subjects to photograph, his photography principles can be applied to whatever you photography – even the lowly squirrel. Enjoy the read!
Ever since digital SLR technology has become more readily available, more and more people have become photography enthusiasts, and more and more photography enthusiasts have started venturing into a genre previously reserved for only a select few…Wildlife Photography. It seems that this field, in conjunction with Landscape Photography, has really seen a huge growth spurt in these last few years…at least as it pertains to the amount of people practicing them as serious hobbyists or budding professionals. This is especially true in my native country of South Africa, where it’s long been many a family’s tradition to visit legendary self-drive safari locations such as the Kruger National Park. Having neighbouring countries like Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe also doesn’t affect this trend negatively!
Yet, spend some time on your favourite online photography forum (at least those that allow the posting of photos) or on other sites like Facebook, Google+ or Flickr where photo-sharing is common…and you might notice that not every photo taken of a wild animal really speaks to you. I’m not sure whether many folks just snap away and hope the image comes out half-decent, or whether many just think that they’re doing their subjects justice when the truth cannot be further from it. Let me say outright that no offence is intended and I also take photos that fall into these categories – in fact I do it on every photographic trip that I undertake. Yet, it’s stepping beyond that and getting that rare image that ticks all the right boxes that we all need to strive for, and to be prepared when the opportunity comes along to capture it.
In today’s article, I will attempt to provide you with some easy-to-apply tips or advice for improving your Wildlife Photography. Some of them might seem like common sense, and you’ve probably read a similar list of “how-to’s” elsewhere, but remember that common sense is not so common at all these days and that everyone has their own take on things, however similar they may be. I do think I will cover a few points that are not just based on pure technical skill – photography is after all an art-form, and sometimes we need to be freed up to put down the vision we have in our mind’s eye rather than stick to conventions and norms.
Here is a quick overview of the points I will cover in this post:
These are the points I try to cover when . . .
Read the rest of this article and enjoy the photographs at: http://digital-photography-school.com/10-tips-for-improving-your-wildlife-photography#ixzz21YRtRYPI.