Macro Photography Checklist:

  • Take your time and double check focus as your depth of field will be very shallow.
  • Watch that exposure time to avoid camera shake, try and keep above 1/100. Adjust ISO and then Aperture if needed.
  • The center of your lens represents its sharpest area, so be sure to compose the shot with that in mind.
  • Aberrations are minimized when using mid-range aperture, think f/6.3-11.
  • If insects or reptiles are your subject, think early morning so you can catch them while they are docile.
  • Consider prime lenses over zoom for the best quality shot.
  • Remember the white/silver reflector for redirecting light for the shoot.
  • Close up filters can be used in combination, but each filter adds a layer of degradation to the image.

If you are having trouble with the focus try this tip:

Set lens to manual focus, then adjust to its minimum focus distance and finally move the camera back and forth until sharp focus is achieved.

Filter Tips:

  • A clean filter is a good filter. Dirt can easily damage delicate filter coatings and create flare in images.
  • When it comes to filters the fewer the better. Stacking filters will start to degrade the image quality of your photo, so remember to remove your UV before adding another.
  • Avoid using lens apertures less than f/11 with graduated ND filters to hide where the ND area ends.

Solid and graduated ND filters can be used together. You can also use either or both with polarizing filters.

Yellow Birdhouse

Yellow Birdhouse

This past weekend we explored the Palisades neighborhood of the Washington DC area and I came across this little guy just waiting for his picture to be taken.

Examining Vintage Photographs – A Great Pastime

Restored: 190 PZ - Luzern and Pilatus
Restored: 190 PZ – Luzern and Pilatus
Original: 190 PZ - Luzern and Pilatus
Original: 190 PZ – Luzern and Pilatus

I recently purchased some glass negatives off of eBay, for some photos shot in Europe in the very early 1900’s. I tried my hand at restoring this one. I find looking at old photos fascinating and will certainly take some time to restore a few of the other slides. Stay tuned for some more of the images to be posted. (Top: Restored, Bottom: Original)

Do you enjoy looking at old photographs?

Time on Maple

Time on Maple - Photography Time

Recently I was looking at some of my photo projects from college and came across one dealing with time. It was an idea that I was very interested in, but as with most things never fully explored after class. So I re-edited one of the images to see if it still held the same interest it once did. In short, the answer is Yes!

The image is composed of four trips to the same house to capture different times of the day and the interactions the house had with the world around it.

What are your thoughts on Photography and Time?

How to Take Photos of Fireworks

Photography Tips

In honor of Independence Day, I am going to throw out a few tips on how to capture fireworks.

Using your Smartphone:

  • First and most importantly, Turn Off Your Flash!
  • Secondly, you are going to want to get close to the action.

Phone cameras aren’t that great to begin with, but once you start using the zoom whatever quality you might have had disappears quickly. Another reason to get close to the action is to keep the camera’s small sensor focused on capturing the firework, not the whole night sky that would lead to dull colors and noise in your photo.

If you are in the iPhone crowd, look for these apps to help you capture a good photo: LongExpoSlow Shutter!Slow Shutter Cam, and Slow Shutter Camera+.

If Android is your flavor of choice look for Camera FV-5.

*If you want to take it one step further, some phone cases have a mount for tripods, and this will certainly improve your final result.

DSLR’s or Cameras with Manual Options:

Today’s modern Point & Shoot’s, Compact System and DSLR mostly all have a Fireworks mode somewhere in the scene selection menu. If you camera happens not to have that option or you choose to man the helm personally here are a few things to do.

  • It almost goes without saying, Put Your Camera on a Tripod. (this is a significant step no matter how you plan to capture the fireworks)
  • If you have a flash, you are going to want to turn it off.
  • If your approach is to extend the shutter speed to capture more movement, you are going to want to close down your f/stop or aperture to 8 or even 16.
  • If you are trying to capture a split second of the show, you will want to open your aperture up to 5.6 or above.
  • Another good rule of thumb is to set your ISO as low as possible to help keep your colors bright and vivid and your night sky free of noise.

Fine Tuning:

If you have the option, you want to switch to manual focus and then set it to infinity and leave it alone. Next if you can get your camera on a tripod, you will want to turn any image stabilization off.

Playing with shutter speed will have the biggest effect on your photos. I have had better luck capturing photos using a faster shutter speed, somewhere between a half second and a full second. Experimentation is they key to this one, much like with all photography, to find out what works for you. It is also said that slower shutter speeds bring out better colors in fireworks photos. *Remember if you go to the longer exposure stop down your aperture.

However, you choose to capture your fireworks photos, have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment.

What are some tips or tricks you know of that will help capture fireworks photos?