Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An Essential DSLR Accessory

If you are looking to upgrade to a DSLR or have recently purchased one, there is one accessory you will definitely want in your camera bag: A remote shutter release. Be it wired, or wireless - you will find a remote shutter release immensely useful.

Moving to a DSLR from a point and shoot brings with it additional learning opportunities and technical differences. One of them being a big increase is weight (especially with larger zoom lenses) and lens design which can be more sensitive to camera movement than a point and shoot would be in similar conditions.

Whatever the case, there will come a time when it will be advantageous and in your best interest (and your final result's best interest) to trigger the shutter remotely. I have a Promaster cable release for my D5100 and find it indispensable. Everything from working in a light tent for product photography, to shooting the moon and Lightning Photography - the cable release (or even a wireless release) makes tripod work much smoother and eliminates the possibility of camera shake.

A definite must have DSLR accessory for sure.



Friday, November 15, 2013

Feeding the Gulls

A Pacific Northwest beach will never be short of Seagulls. Love 'em or not, they are a fixture on many a beach and they can make for some fun photos, and even challenging ones.

One thing is for sure though, if you feed one you will get an ear full and many sets of hopeful eyes waiting for any little morsel that might come their way. In this first photo, I like how the closest gull appears to be posing, while each of the other birds are nearly perfectly aligned and staring us down hoping for a snack.

Seagulls Waiting for A Snack
Whatcha got for me?

Seagull in Flight
Seagull in flight
Getting the in flight shot was not the easiest shot to get while being fairly close to the birds and sporting an Ultra Compact camera. Of course, most scenarios involving fast moving and unpredictable animals are not the easiest with more limiting gear - but they are still fun to take and satisfying when they turn out well for sure.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Picking The Right Lens For The Occasion

If you are like myself and countless other photography enthusiasts, your budget likely only allows (or allowed) for a consumer DSLR and the kit lens(es) contained in the bundle. Most of those bundled sets include an 18-55mm and a telephoto in the 55--200+ range. Having the two different zoom ranges will necessitate making a choice when setting out for a photo session, that is if your plans include only bringing the camera and the single attached lens. If you are not going to bring the other lens to swap on site, you'll want to have the right one for the scenes you will be seeing and the photographs you will be able to take.

Such is the situation I ran into a while back when taking a quick trip to a local park. Stroller in the SUV, my baby boy and I would head off to our destination on the other end of town for a little walk. Not wanting to bring the entire camera bag, or deal with swapping lenses on a short trip, I had put my 55-300mm lens on the camera expecting and hoping for a chance to see some local wildlife to photograph. What I ended up with was no wildlife around and some interesting clouds and opportunities for wider angle scenic photos. But alas, my 18-55mm was safe at home in the camera bag and any local wildlife was a no show.

In a situation like this, I can definitely see the appeal of lenses such as the 18-200mm or Tamron's 18-270mm. But on the flip side, limiting yourself to one lens that doesn't cover such a broad range can help you focus your photography and be forced to be creative to get a memorable photo in the given situation.



Friday, November 8, 2013

Old Photograph, New Perspective

It can be very interesting on how things in life change, or rather how our perceptions about a particular object or concept can change as we move forward in life.

The same goes for our perceptions about a given photograph, or the subject matter of that particular photograph.  For illustration, the below photo was one I took in 2001 on a trip to Ketchikan, Alaska. I took the photo because the advertised prices for gasoline were the highest I had ever seen at this point in my life.  Now I look at this picture and wonder if gas will ever be that cheap again.

On the image quality front, the image quality of the Polaroid digital camera I used seemed to be acceptable at that time (at least for the price of the camera). Now low end camera's in phones produce higher quality results than that particular camera did.

Likewise, when I upgraded to a 3.2 megapixel Minolta digital camera the image quality blew away the cheap 1.X MP Polaroid. And again, the upgrade to an ultra-compact Canon SD950 and then to a Nikon D5100 - the older camera just didn't look so amazing any more.



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Bing Desktop

For my personal computer (which runs Ubuntu Linux), I always have photos of my family or artistic/scenic photos that I have taken as my wallpaper. At work on the other hand, I have discovered Microsoft's Bing Desktop for Windows on my Windows 7 desktop.

If you have a Windows based computer, enjoy having a good photo as your computer's background, and enjoy seeing different photographic works (who doesn't enjoy discovering new photos?), I would definitely recommend giving the Bing Desktop a shot. The program will change your computer's wallpaper everyday with the current Bing homepage wallpaper. Everything from wildlife photography to photos from the International Space Station - many fantastic  photos will grace your computer screen.

The program must autostart if you want the rotating desktop wallpaper, so if you don't want Bing's search program open all the time you will have to exit it out manually each day. A small extra step, but worth it to have a new photo everyday.