31 2016 May

Selecting a Great Digital Camera.

Lumix ZS40When I look through the viewer of my digital camera a new world opens up to me, with limitless possibilities! A spectacular view along the roadside just begs me to stop for a moment and allow my camera to take in the beautiful views right there at my lens tip.

A walk down Main Street becomes an adventure into the past or future, when viewed through my camera. Everyday passersby become extraordinary subjects, imparting their stories through pictures and videos.

Skateboarding with camera attached catches all my actions and the reactions of those I pass along the way. From surprise to accolades, all is compressed into the digital world for me to enjoy at my leisure and to share with those around me.

These are the moments that I receive as my reward for doing my homework, when I selected my digital camera. I listed what was important to me, researched the cameras that would best do that for me, held the prospective camera in my hands to get its feel, balance, and controls, and bought that camera with confidence at the best price I could find.

I love my digital camera! And, in return, it takes great pictures and videos for me!

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

30 2016 May

Choosing the Best Camera Tripod.

Happy Memorial Day!

Dolica PX570TToday many of you will be enjoying the day with friends and family. Don’t forget to take your camera tripod along, as this is the perfect type of gathering to get those family portraits that you’ve been thinking about.

A good compact folding tripod is a great item to tuck into the trunk, so it’s always available for these occasions. The folding type doesn’t take up as much room. A pan head will also make those fine adjustments quick and easy.

And don’t forget to take notes on each photo so that you have a record of who was in it. You’ll be really glad you did, as the years pass. If you print your photos out, you can just jot your notes on the back of them. Or, you can add notes directly to background areas in the photo. There are several applications available for this, but Photo Gallery is great for this and it’s free.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

28 2016 May

A Macro Lens Brings You to a New World

4 macro lens beetle 5-4Taking pictures is always a joy. You never know what you’ll find. There are days when I take pictures of professional models, and days when I take pictures of wildlife. But ever since I got my new lens, I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of bugs. The lens I got helps me see really up close. It doesn’t skimp on any details, that’s for sure. Just look at this picture of a beetle. You can see all of the indents on the body, and it’s super detailed.

That’s why I think the macro lens is the most fun lens out there. You get to see a glimpse into a micro world where bugs reign supreme. Instead of seeing a dot in a photo, you actually get to see the whole creature itself. And although people may think of bugs as everyday things, they look so different when you use a macro lens. They’re almost like a different creature when you observe them up close.

Not to mention, you can see plants really up close, too. Every little bit of the leaves are seen when you take a picture with a macro. You can see each individual dot that looks like groupings of plant cells. I don’t actually know what they are, but they’re really cool! Everything looks different and more magical with a macro.

27 2016 May

How to select a lens filter for your DSLR?

Hoya 58mm Fog FilterI find that it’s fun to try different lens filters on my camera when shooting outdoors. Besides helping to make my subject stand out when shooting into the sun, I can create many different and unique effects with each type of filter, and by mixing them, I get very unusual results.

It does require some trial and error, but that is part of the fun! I find that circular filters are best, because just a slight twist will change the perspective with some filters. With rectangular filters, I’m limited to just ninty degree shifts.

I also find that I need to use a lens filter adapter on occasion, because I cannot always find a particular type of lens filter in the right thread to attach it to my lens. I always carry my lens filters and adapters with me in my camera bag, as I never know when I am going to need them.

I buy lens filter sets when they are on sale. This gives me access to most commonly used degrees of filtering. Then I mix it up with individually purchased filters when stacking to get the varying degrees of filtering between those included in the set.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

26 2016 May

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

Canon EOS Rebel T5 BundleSo why did I choose a digital camera for action video over a camcorder? There are pros and cons to consider when choosing one over the other.

In my case, I reasoned that I would be using my camera’s video capabilities mostly for the viewing of family video clips at sporting events and family gatherings. So I really don’t need the professional audio and video options available in camcorders. I also wanted to use the same camera for good quality stills, so that I don’t need to carry two cameras around with me. So I felt that a good DSLR with high quality video capabilities and reasonably good sound, with a microphone input, would serve me best.

If you are a professional videographer or hope to develop your hobby into one, your choice will probably be different than mine. For you, a huge array of camcorders await you with audio and video features that will definitely WOW the enthusiast and professional, alike. However, a good quality camcorder does sport a very high price as well. So consider your options carefully.

While it is true that I do occasionally need the features of a professional level camcorder to, for example, create a high quality video clip for my website, I have found that it is much more reasonable for me to rent one on those rare occasions for only that purpose, if it is necessary.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

25 2016 May

Selecting the Perfect Camera Lens.

A fisheye camera lens is a type of ultra wide-angle lens that typically offers a 180 degree field of view. It can be used to create amazing image expressions that cannot be seen with the human eye, such as exaggerated perspective and distortion. They typically sport a minimum shooting distance and large depth of field to allow close up photography that covers the objects and people surrounding your main subject. These lenses are typically supplied with a gelatin filter holder, allowing the use of gelatin filters to customize the effects created. They will have a very wide aperture (2.8-3.5 is common) and short focal length (8-15 mm is common).

A diagonal fisheye lens is widely considered to be the best choice by professionals and enthusiasts, alike. While your subject appears normal in the frame, the background is deliberately exaggerated and distorted by the filters to create the desired effects. Flare is a common side effect with this type of lens, so look for some type of flare reduction in the lens.

I find that the best results will be obtained with a fisheye lens that is specifically designed for the camera that will be used, so I look at the manufacturer’s fisheye lenses first. Some third party lens manufacturers (for example, Sigma) also produce very good fisheyes for specific named cameras (for Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc.)

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

24 2016 May

Selecting a Great Digital Camera.

Canon Rebel T5What features are most important to look for when selecting a new digital camera? As some of you have probably already guessed, on my list the “most important” feature is image sensor size. Shop for the largest image sensor you can possibly afford. The size of your image sensor, all other features being equal, defines the image quality that your digital camera is capable of producing.

After sensor size, other features will be defined by the way(s) you intend to use your digital camera. As mentioned before, this requires some soul searching. For me, the next most important feature is a tie between auto-focus features and anti-vibration. If I were planning to use a tripod most of the time, I would place the latter farther down the list. But I find myself using my tripod in my studio at home most of the time. My composition outside is typically on the spur of the moment and free-hand. Thus, while I like having good manual focus tools at my disposal, excellent auto-focus and anti-vibration features are near the top of my list.

Then I look at the aperture of the camera and lenses provided with the basic camera kit. Typically I look for a wide range to be provided for both features and a large selection of lenses to be available from the manufacturer for a DSLR or Mirrorless camera body.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!


23 2016 May

Choosing the Best Camera Tripod.

A question was recently received on the website that I would like to address here, as others may need to hear this too. When shooting critters close to the ground, is it better to use a full-size camera tripod with a reversible center column to get your camera close to the ground? Or, would it be better to choose a mini-tripod for these shots?

At face level, the answer might seem to be a matter of convenience. But those of you who have been following my blog for awhile may recall a previous article where I discussed the features (and drawbacks) of mini-tripods, in general.

While I would prefer the convenience of traveling with a light and compact mini-tripod and like the flexibility they provide, most mini-tripods are designed for very light-weight camera+lens packages. So the first question I would ask is, “How heavy is your camera and lens that you will use?” If you spend a lot of time composing from this perspective, it may be best to shell out a little more for a mini-tripod that will support the weight of your equipment.

For most, myself included, a limited amount of time is spent rendering this type of photography. While it is true that extending the center column downward on a full-sized tripod allows it to wobble as much as when it is extended upward, by adding your camera weight to the bottom of the column you are also increasing the camera’s stability.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

20 2016 May

I Have the Best Compact Digital Camera

3 compact digital camera 5-4When you get up there in your years, it seems like the days start to fly past you. There are times when I have a hard time remembering them, too. So to remedy that fact, I like taking pictures of those special memories I want to recall. I take pictures of my children, their children, and even their pets. I also take pictures of places I go to, just in case I want to go to them again. Photos are really great visual aids.

So whenever I go somewhere, I always make sure to bring my camera with me. Since it’s really compact, it fits into my coat pocket with ease. Sometimes I forget it’s even there, which sometimes gives me a scare when I need to wash my coats! But overall, being compact is a good thing. I don’t like feeling bogged down by a huge camera in my coat pocket. I think this is the best compact digital camera out there.

On days when I feel like relaxing, I like going through the pictures on my digital camera. It really helps me reminisce and remember all of the different points in my life. It’s important to have those kinds of memories.

19 2016 May

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

We’re heading to the lake this weekend; skiing and boogyboarding lies dead ahead! I’m bringing along my digital camera for action video to catch all the action on the water.

Olympus Tough TG4My camera’s advanced features like RAW Capture and wide-angle zoom lens create incredible images on the water, while built-in WiFi and fast GPS help me to find, shoot, and share our adventures like never before. And because it’s waterproof to depths of 50ft/15m, even if I should drop it while battling the waves I should still be able to recover my pictures and keep on shooting. It’s robust construction is crushproof to 220lbf/100kgf, shockproof to 7ft/2.1m, and dustproof.

I can shoot in RAW for the highest resolution capture and maximum creative control. With the sophisticated 16 Megapixel BSI CMOS Sensor and the TruePic VII Image Processor, I can shoot the smallest details and the brightest colors of every exciting moment.

Outdoor photography is all about action! My camera is equipped with multiple options for capturing epic skiing and boarding, including 1080p HD video, High-Speed Movie (for slow- motion playback), interval shooting, and Time Lapse Movie, which automatically combines individual images – taken at preset intervals – into a short film.

And I’ll be sure to take along extra SDHC cards, so I can save all the action to share when we get home.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!