How to Paint with Light at Night.

Joshua Trees at Night by Bill Campbell.

Photography derives its name from the “painting with light”. But the term light painting has come to mean using external sources of light (flashlight, candle, etc) to paint in light on a subject at night. The method I use in Light Painting requires a flashlight and some way to color the light. Continue Reading

Week 10 – Series Wrap-Up.

Kennebunk, Maine. Kayaking the Mousam River.

Well, we’ve made it through ten weeks of outdoor photography tips together. I really appreciate all of you who have taken the time to watch this series, submit photos, and send me e-mails. I have had a lot of fun and even learned a few things myself! This week’s video encourages you to “participate in the landscape” to make better pictures, and hopefully it will give you another dose of inspiration to get you out there and have fun with your camera. Continue Reading

Using an iPhone for Location Scouting

iPhone for Scouting by Bill Campbell

I have always carried my phone with me when shooting, Especially when hiking. I really don’t want to be one of those people who call 911 when I run out of water or get lost, but if something bad happens when I am alone, I will use it to facilitate a rescue. I have been looking at the PLB (Personal Locator Beacons) and the Satellite Messengers (SPOT is one but I am holding out for the InReach by Delorme, which is currently only for Android phones.. Really? With all the iPhones out there?). Continue Reading

Weather and Lightning Safety Outdoors

Foggy morning by Bill Campbell.

I’m writing this for all those outdoor photographers out there who want more information about weather and safety while we are out shooting. But much of this applies to anyone who ventures outside during possible inclement weather. As outdoor photographers (this might even include portrait or wedding or commercial photographers when they are outside), we always want to know what to expect. In my previous blog I talked about iPhone apps, which give us Sun position, moon position, tide charts and more. These are important, but what’s the weather going to be? Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Three at Sea by MariAnne MacGregor

Three at Sea by MariAnne MacGregor

In last week’s tip, “Shoot Sharp,” I espoused the virtues of using a tripod for landscape photography in order to keep your images as sharp as possible. I had a hard time choosing a photo this week because there were several beautiful submissions and they all looked pretty sharp to me – so great job everyone! In the end, I chose “Three at Sea” by MariAnne MacGregor because I’m a sucker for coastal sunrises and I was really struck by the strange scene of standing dead trees being inundated by morning surf. It is beautiful and a little ominous all at the same time. 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

Spring Flower Tips – Lenses and composition

When we talk about composition, we usually talk about “Rule of Thirds” and foreground/ background, diagonal lines, leading lines, repeating elements and so forth. Have you ever considered the composition effect that changing lenses would have on how your subject relates to its surroundings? Continue Reading

Spring Flower shooting tips- Multiple Exposure

Spring has come to the Smokies extremely early this year. I am hearing from friends around the country that they are experiencing an early spring also. Some teaching tips for spring wildflowers from today’s shoot.

Consider using multiple exposure to achieve a dreamy look to go along with your images. Flowers images look good when using this technique. Ok, here’s the How to for Multiple Exposure ( Canon people, don’t feel left out, the new Canon EOS- 1D X now does in camera ME). These instructions are for the Nikon D4 but are similar to other Nikon dSLRs. 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 8 – Shoot Sharp.

Use a tripod to eliminate unsharp photos due to camera movement.

In this week’s video I discuss how to create sharp images, whether you are hand holding your camera or using a tripod. This may not be the most exciting topic, but it is pretty darn important if you ever want to display your images as anything but a low-res Facebook photo or a 4″ x 6″ print. Continue Reading