DSLR Video Tips

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’ve been shooting video in addition to still photos for about 3 years now. I was always curious about shooting video, but I never wanted to invest in a second set of gear. Once Canon started building video capability into their digital SLR’s I decided to take the plunge because I could use all of my existing lenses, and I figured there wouldn’t be much of a learning to curve to shoot video with cameras that already felt familiar. Continue Reading

Week 9 – Filters.

A polarizer reduces glare on reflective surfaces, saturating colors and adding contrast.

Over the course of this video series, I’ve mentioned a few filters from time to time and promised to discuss them in more detail in a later video. Well, here it is! In the video, I talk about the three filters I regularly use (and they’re the only filters I use): Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Gray Whale Cove by Vivienne Shen.

Gray Whale Cove by Vivienne Shen

Last week’s video discussed how to capture motion in your photos by either stopping the action or letting it blur. For my critique I’ve chosen a beautiful blurred motion shot posted by Vivienne Shen. This shot of sunset in Gray Whale Cove in Montara, CA, works well for several reasons. Right off the bat, Vivienne captured the scene in beautiful light and got a great exposure. Not easy to do in a scene like this, and she helped her cause by using a reverse graduated neutral density filter, which basically let her darken the exposure more on the horizon than in the sky higher up, while leaving the foreground alone. The thin clouds on the horizon also helped to tone down the sun a bit and kept lens flare at bay. For a shutter speed, she used 0.4 seconds, which was slow enough to blur the surf near the camera nicely. A faster shutter speed would have resulted in less blur, which would have had a different feel. A slower shutter speed would have resulted in more blur, and less definition in the surf. A much slower shutter speed would have flattened out the waves in the middle ground, which I think are an important compositional element as they are, and would have lost impact if flattened out.

Two elements give this image more interest than your typical sunset photo. First is the ethereal look of the sunset light reflecting off of the water and rocks in the foreground. Second, the curves in the blurred surf in the foreground act as a nice “anchor” that leads your eye towards the sunset itself. This combined with the horizon in the top third of the frame and the wide angle perspective, gives the image good visual depth. All in all, a great shot – thanks for sharing Vivienne!

You can see more of Vivienne’s photography on her Flickr stream.

If you have any thoughts on Vivienne’s photo or my critique, please post them in the comments section below.

For having her photo selected, Vivienne will be receiving a copy of The AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography. For a chance to win your own copy, check out this week’s assignment, Shoot Sharp, and post your photos to our Flickr Group. I’ll be choosing a photo from this week’s assignment next Wednesday.

Cheers!

-Jerry

P.S. Here’s a look at what’s currently in the Flickr Group:

Week 7 – Capturing Motion.

Use a fast shutter speed to stop action.

Last week I talked about varying your aperture to create different effects through depth of field. In a static landscape scene where nothing is moving, you can set your aperture, then use whatever shutter speed gives you a proper exposure (assuming you are using a tripod if your shutter speed is less than around 1/125 second.) However, when part of the scene is moving, your shutter speed becomes just as important as your aperture in determining the final look of your image. Do you stop the action, or let it blur? Continue Reading

To Blur or Not To Blur: Shooting Outdoor Adventures

Sometimes images do well in the market if they convey a sense of motion and action. As photographers we are storytellers and our images need to convey that story. If you are into photographing action subjects like skiing, mountain biking, running, water sports, or any moving subject, you can enhance an image and story by emphasizing that movement. There are essentially two ways to show motion: you move the camera with the subject or you move the subject while the camera is still.You might think that freezing a moving subject in place tells a better story and it will in some cases like a skier in the air or any subject better displayed as ‘frozen’ in place. Continue Reading