Now Available: Foundations of Photography, HDR

As amazing as current digital camera technology is, it can’t compare with those two squishy orbs in the front of your head. In addition to great autofocus, exceptional white balance, and amazing low light capabilities, your eyes also have tremendous dynamic range (that is, an ability to perceive an extremely wide range of dark to light). In fact, your eyes probably have almost twice the dynamic range as the digital camera you’re currently using.

Read more »

All Photos Are Manipulated

Unlike film photographers, most of whom would never have considered carrying a darkroom with them, (though there are some that do) as digital shooters we expect to have a little post-production capability in the field, if for no other reason than to offload media. While I normally travel with a Macbook Air, or a netbook Hackintosh, for this trip, I decided to try to make due with only an iPad, for a few different reasons.

The whole story of what I did, and how it worked is detailed right here.

Foundations of Photography: Black and White

In an effort to make the world less colorful, I recently produced a course on black and white photography for Lynda.com. That course is now live and, thanks to the incredibly talented Lynda.com crew, it looks great! They did a fantastic job of crafting evocative noirish sets using only light and shadow, all of which serve to reinforce the fundamental vocabulary of black and white shooting. Covering shooting, post-production, aesthetics, and how to “see” black and white images, the course is available for immediate viewing here.

Foundations of Photography: Lenses

Many of the creative options available to a photographer hinge on an in-depth understanding of lenses. Foundations of Photography: Lenses, will give you that in-depth understanding, as you learn how to choose lenses and take full advantage of their creative options. This 2.5 hour course covers fundamental concepts that apply to any camera, such as focal length and camera position, and shows how to evaluate and shop for DSLR lenses. The second half of the course focuses on shooting techniques: controlling autofocus, working with different focal lengths, and managing distortion and flare. You’ll also learn about filters, cleaning, maintenance, and more. You can find it all right here on the Lynda.com web site.

Foundations of Photography: Exposure

If you’re new to photography, or have been shooting for a while but still don’t feel comfortable with the fundamental theories of exposure, then you’ll want to check out my new Lynda.com course Foundations of Photography: Exposure. This three-and-a-half hour video training course works you through every fundamental aspect of exposure theory. You’ll learn what the exposure controls on your camera are for, and how to use them. In addition to learning how exposure control can help you solve problems, you’ll learn how to use exposure control to expand your creative palette. Shot on location in Southern California, this all “live-action” course was a lot of fun to make, (especially when the horses and mules got involved) and should get you a deep understanding of some of the fundamental concepts that you have to know to move beyond the auto modes on your camera.

Icelandic Horse Roundup

My friend, photographer Paul Taggart has been on assignment in Iceland, shooting the historic annual round-up of horses. Each year, traditional herdsmen round up thousands of highland horses for the winter. Paul and photographer Lindsay Blatt have spent the last few weeks, living with the herdsmen and following them across the Icelandic landscape. You can see some of the fruits of their labor at the Herd In Iceland site. (You can also follow the project on Facebook and Twitter.)

Shooting People with Paul Mobley

Last October, I had the good fortune of assisting photographer Paul Mobley at a 4-day workshop in Oklahoma. Paul’s got a new website up, that is well worth checking out. He’ll also be teaching a workshop in Santa Fe in March. If you have any interest in portraits, shooting strangers, or any other types of people shooting, this is a great opportunity. You can check out more of Paul’s work here.

Learning Exposure the Old-Fashioned Way

The automatic features on today’s digital cameras greatly improve your chances of getting a good exposure in just about any situation. However, because these features provide an ever-present crutch, they can preclude an in-depth learning of basic exposure theory. It used to be that, when you didn’t have a light meter and only had manual exposure, you had to know your exposure theory inside and out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to extoll the virtues of a “simpler timer” but the sink-or-swim reality of a meterless, manual camera forced a photographer to learn a lot of technical concepts. While those concepts aren’t required to get good shots nowadays, understanding them can help out – even with a fully automatic camera – when you find yourself in a situation that confuses your camera, or if you’re finding situations where the auto features of your camera aren’t delivering the type of images you see in your head.

Read more »

Panasonic DMC-GF1

Panasonic’s DMC-GF1 marks the company’s first release of a compact Micro Four Thirds camera, and a direct competitor to Olympus’ E-P1. Offering SLR quality and power in a package that’s close to point-and-shoot size, the GF1 (and Olympus’ E-P1) defines an entirely new class of camera. Bridging the market between high-end point-and-shoots, and SLRs, the camera will appeal to beginning shooters who want to expand their capabilities, and high-end shooters who want a second camera that’s easy to carry. Read my Panasonic GF1 Review.

Notes from PMA ‚2008

PMA is not a typical photography trade show. Because it’s geared for photo dealers and studio photographers, there are lots of vendors hawking goods that the typical photographer doesn’t need. Laser etching machines, photo printing kiosks, industrial-grade large format printers, and other exotica, abound at PMA. However, many of the usual suspects attend PMA—Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Fuji and all the other major camera vendors—as well as many accessory and software vendors. This year’s PMA included a couple of important announcements, and a stroll through the maze of camera booths revealed some great new technologies.

Read more »