Photography Tips for Panning {tracking a moving subject}

Hi friends! I forgot to share with you my most recent article I wrote for the New York Institute of Photography. It’s all about tracking a moving subject, or Panning! It’s tricky, I still struggle with it, but I’ve got tips on how to get started.  If you “pin for later” I’d love for you to pin it here, and help me spread the word!

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Check it out HERE!

Thank you for stopping by my little spot on the web! If you enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to my future posts via RSS, Facebook, and if you are looking to improve your photography, see my beginner books HERE.

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Photo & Imaging Shanghai 2014 to be Held at Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention …

SHANGHAI, June 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Inaugurated in 1998, the 16th China & Shanghai International Photographic Equipment & Digital Imaging Exhibition (Photo & Imaging Shanghai 2014) will be hosted by CCPIT, Shanghai Sub-council, and the Shanghai Photographers’ Association, and organized by Shanghai International Exhibition Service Co., Ltd. After 16 years of development and growth, Photo & Imaging Shanghai has become one of the largest and most influential events of the photography and imaging industries across the Asia-Pacific region.

Since its inception 16 years ago, Photo & Imaging Shanghai has received wide attention and strong support from a number of stakeholders, including the Shanghai Photographers’ Association as well as their 30 counterparts across China, Beijing Wukesong Photographic Equipment Mall, Shanghai Starlight Photographic Equipment Mall, Wuhan Wedding Photography Outfits Mall, Nanjing Dongding Photographic Equipment and Wedding Dresses Mall, Hangzhou Photographic Equipment Mall, and Shangdong Greenbelt Photographic Equipment Mall. In line with a strategy that emphasizes marketization, specialization, and brand-building, and Photo & Imaging, Shanghai has continually remained an innovator in the development of and changes in the photographic equipment industry in a move to help exhibitors expand sales channels and transform themselves, as well as facilitate promotional campaigns for new and emerging players, with the aim of building a trade and commerce platform for every participant.

Old hands get together to showcase a variety of new products

Themed “Boundless Photography and Infinite Dream,” the 17,000 square-foot Photo & Imaging Shanghai 2014 will house 200 exhibitors from both within and outside of China. Leading players, among them Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Epson, Kodak, Toshiba, Datacolor, Lucky, Benro, DJI, Western Digital, Weifeng, Kingjue, Yexiaozi, Jiaxinyue, Jinbei, Shenniu, Jufude U2, Great Wall, and Creativity, will attend the event where they plan to unveil new brand concepts along with new products and technologies in a move to satisfy user demand for interactive elements and to make the show more exciting for visitors. Exhibits cover the entire spectrum of photographic equipment including image input and output as well related accessories.

A diversified program including the exhibition itself, events and conferences

Leading industry players will take advantage of Photo & Imaging Shanghai 2014’s influential role and key position in the industry chain to host a variety of workshops and technology seminars to promote its corporate brand value and keep attendees up to date on the latest industry development trends. The hosts of the 2014 event will join hands with leading brands including Fujifilm, Nikon, and Sony to hold several specific technology seminars and photography try-outs, including the Epson Microscopy Exhibition, Fujifilm 3D Photography Exhibition, Sony 4K digital photography Products Industry Solutions Seminar, Nikon Photography Products Solutions, and Canon Starts from EOS. The diversified program provides a real opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their products and get closer to their users to better meet their demands.

Several registration options are offered to make it as easy as possible to register

The hosts of Photo & Imaging Shanghai 2014 has worked out several options for visitors who wish to register in advance of the event, facilitating entry upon arrival and avoiding the possible long on-site registration lines that could form.

Online pre-registration on the official website: to quickly access an electronic name tag and avoid a long line
Pre-registration via QQ: 800036328 to access one-to-one pre-registration services from customer service personnel and obtain a visit confirmation letter
Official Wechat microcode: scan to receive updated news about Photo & Imaging Shanghai 2014 and book for a free visit
Pre-registration via mobile phone: iPhone via the App Store or Android-based phones via Google and Android Marketplace and search Photo & Imaging Shanghai 2014 to get a free downloadable app for online pre-registration free of chargePhoto & Imaging Shanghai 2014 is sure to be your doorway to more industry insights and more business opportunities. 

Photo & Imaging Shanghai 2014 – What You Need To Know:


3 and 4 July (Thursday-Friday): 09:00-17:00 Professional Day 5 July (Saturday): 09:00-17:00 Public Day 6 July (Sunday): 09:00-14:00 Public Day

Venue: Hall 1, Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center (1099, Guozhan Road, Pudong New District)

How to get to the event:

Hongqiao International Airport / Hongqiao Railway Station –> Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention CenterTake subway Line 2 to People’s Square, and then change to Subway Line 7 or 8 to Yaohua Road Station, Exit 4
Shanghai South Railway Station –> Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention CenterTake subway Line 1 to Changshu Road Stop and then change to Subway Line 7 to Yaohua Road Station, Exit 4
Shanghai Railway Station –> Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention CenterTake subway Line 1 to People’s Square, and then change to Subway Line 8 to Yaohua Road Station, Exit 4
Pudong International Airport –> Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention CenterTake maglev railway to Longyang Road Station/Take subway Line 2 to Longyang Road Station and then change to Subway Line 7 to Yaohua Road Station, Exit 4
Other convenient transportation options: Exit 3 on Subway Line 8 or Bus No.787, No. 815, No. 610 and No. 786. Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center is close to Lupu Bridge, Nanpu Bridge and Dapu Road Tunnel.For more information, please visit the official website or Wechat.

Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention CenterAddress: 2503, 841 Yan An Zhong Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai 200040, China Tel: 021-62792828, Fax: 021-63866972QQ for marketing: 800036328, Wechat: interphoto
SOURCE Shanghai International Exhibition Co. Ltd.

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Canon Launches Digital Photo Professional 4.0

Canon has announced the upcoming launch of Digital Photo Professional (DPP) 4.0. The latest version of DPP – available for download at the end of this mont – has been updated with a number of new features and enhancements, These include faster, real-time adjustments, better integration with EOS Utility, movie playback support, improved raw file workflow, enhanced highlight recovery, and much more. A new colour adjustment palette allows hue, saturation and luminance adjustment for eight individual colour gamuts, enabling the user to adjust one specific colour in isolation without affecting the image as a whole. For those photographers with dual monitors, DPP now allows a secondary monitor to be used as the preview window on the primary display. Do note that DPP 4.0 will be compatible only with 64-bit operating systems.

Canon Press Release

Digital Photo Professional 4.0 launched

Canon has launched Digital Photo Professional (DPP) 4.0, the first sweeping overhaul of Canon’s RAW processing software since its launch. The latest version of DPP – available for download at the end of June – has been updated with a raft of key changes to satisfy the most demanding of digital photographers.

Canon software engineers – having the unique advantage of being able to directly harness the power of the Canon sensors, DIGIC processors and lenses – have made the all-new Digital Photo Professional 4.0 a much faster, more dynamic, linear and feature-packed image editing software solution, thanks to the ability to fully utilise 64-bit architecture. The latest version of DPP has been designed and developed from the ground up, tailored to the workflows of professional and high-end amateurs to help them realise the key EOS System concepts of speed, ease of use and high image quality.

New, improved Canon algorithms have been optimised to make the most of the wealth of information delivered by the camera sensors, while productivity has been increased thanks to improved speed of RAW image display and developing that makes real-time image adjustment a reality.


Faster, real-time adjustments.Improved RAW file workflow.Better, more approachable user interfaces.Compatible with 64-bit native environments.Colour adjustments for specific colour gamuts.Improved highlight recovery provides expanded tonality.Improved shadow recovery function.Support for movie playback.Auto Lighting Optimizer can be applied to JPEG images.Better integration with EOS Utility.

The all-new Digital Photo Professional has been re-engineered to give the most discerning photographers a far more comprehensive set of tools and functionalities to get the most from their images.


A new colour adjustment palette allows hue, saturation and luminance adjustment for eight individual colour gamuts, enabling the user to adjust one specific colour in isolation without affecting the image as a whole. This is particularly useful when adjusting background tones in portraits, where there might previously have been a risk of giving a colour cast to skin tones, for example.

The all-new DPP 4.0 features faster real-time processing and offers a secondary image window, which can be used as a magnifier for detailed inspection of chosen areas of an image.


Canon software developers have re-engineered the processing algorithms to increase the freedom in tonal rendering. By adjusting highlights, it is now possible to reproduce tones such as those in clouds and peoples’ faces that would previously have appeared washed out.


For those photographers with dual monitors, DPP 4.0 allows a secondary monitor to be used as the preview window on the primary display. While the main monitor can be used to perform delicate adjustments, a secondary image window for images can be used as a magnifier for closer inspection of part of an image.


With the launch of DDP 4.0 comes an updated EOS Utility 3 and the two pieces of software now offer better integration. The introduction of EOS Utility 3 makes it is possible to trigger the camera direct from the DPP tool palette as well as access to all the rest of the EOS Utility remote shooting functions without the need to start a separate application, thus enabling a more streamlined and integrated workflow.


At launch, DPP 4.0 is compatible with Canon’s current range of full-frame dslrs, including the EOS-1D X, EOS-1D C, EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 6D. For other models, an update of DPP 3.14 will be released.

Please note: DPP 4.0 will be compatible only with 64-bit OS, such as Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, plus Mac OS X 10.8 and 10.9.


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Four essential tips for shooting better video

With virtually every camera and smartphone being able to shoot HD video, most of us are going to want to try our hand at shooting and editing a video. While these tips won’t help you shoot the next OK GO video, they will get you well on your way to getting a better finished product for your YouTube channel.
Tripod – Bigger is Better
Probably my biggest pet peeve and the number one factor that will make your video hard to watch is shaky footage. Your camera may come with a cute little hand strap, or may be able to fit inside your pocket, but please try to use a tripod whenever possible.
Tripods, or “sticks” as they are sometimes referred to in the business, come in many shapes and sizes but the general rule of thumb is: you get what you pay for. The bigger the better when it comes to tripods – the more expensive ones are going to be solid as a rock, giving you rock steady footage.
When buying a tripod for video you’ll want to look for one with fluid head, which is basically a tripod head that moves in two directions; pan (left to right) and tilt (up an down). The head is actually filled with fluid to give you silky smooth shots.
Sound Advice
Getting great sound is almost as important to video as getting amazing footage. The little mic built into the front of your camera just ain’t going to cut it. A lot of cameras have a jack for an external mic, or have an option to add a mic to the hotshoe. This is definitely a great investment.
If you do a lot of interviews with people you might even consider a little lavalier mic to hook on their shirt, which gives you great sound and if you don’t buy the wireless versions, are not very expensive.
Once you have a better mic, the key is to get as close as you can (you know, without getting to “paparazzi” on your friends and family). If you get up close you will get more of the sound of the person and less of the other noise in the room.

Know Your Camera
Today’s cameras are packed with cool little features from night shooting, to time lapse options. Most of us rarely take the time to move beyond the basic controls of turn it off and on. For example one of the most overlooked features is setting your white balance.
White balance corrects different colour casts given from various light sources (ie household light bulbs make everyone look orange). Auto white balance is the default but you can also change the setting to give your footage a different look, or boost the colours in a sunset for example. Have fun and play around with the features, just remember to turn them back to normal when your finished, so all your people don’t look like Soylent Green.

Editing (tell a story)
Probably the biggest mistake most of make is to let the camera roll from one angle and capture hours of footage. One of the biggest things you can do to make people say “wow, that was great!” when watching your video, instead of falling into a deep slumber, is taking the time to edit your video before sharing it with others.
We all have basic video editors built into our computers for free (e.g. iMovie for Mac) and a lot of cameras come with editing software, so there is no excuse not to edit your work. Try to steer away from the crazy transitions that these programs offer and stick to straight cuts or simple cross fades between clips.
What helps when editing is to be sure to shoot lots of footage at different angles and try to tell a story. If you are covering your kids’ hockey game for example, grab a few shots of them packing up the gear, getting in the car, lacing up the skates as well as the usual game footage.

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Top Mobile Photographers Share Their Tips for Creating Stunning Images with a Phone

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Mobile photography has gone from a convenient novelty of sorts to a full-fledged art form in its own right. And in the video above, some of the best photographers in this burgeoning form share insights into their art and tips on how to make the most of the camera in your pocket..
The video was put together by SGNL, and in it, Founder of the Mobile Photography Awards Daniel Burman and a number of other award-winning mobile photographers offer insights, show off their incredibly impressive work and share tips on how to make the most of your own mobile photography.

In just over three minutes, the video makes a great case for smartphone photography as, at the very least, a great starting point. As Burman says, most of the ‘hard work’ a camera does is already handled by your phone automatically, forcing you to focus on “light, composition and focus.” Not such a bad idea for a beginner.
Check out the video to hear from these photographers for yourself, and prepared to be amazed at some of the work they show off. Keep in mind, all of it was captured and edited using ONLY the little computer in your pocket.
(via ISO 1200)

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8 Tips for Responsible Nature Photography

I’ve been spending a lot of my time lately on portraits, food, and event photography, so I got pretty excited recently when testing a new camera bag forced me to lace up the boots and hit the trails. The new Loka UL from F-stop Gear is a pretty awesome bag, but this article isn’t really about the bag. It’s about the overall nature photography experience. It’s one thing to be the master of your surroundings in the studio, but it’s quite another when your photographic adventure takes you off the beaten path into the trails, woods, mountains, or waters of Mother Nature’s studio. Being a responsible photographer on those journeys is about so much more than just getting The Shot. While I believe we all have a responsibility to our art, we can’t let ourselves lose sight of our responsibility to the environment and the world around us.
Take Only Photos, Leave Only Footprints.
I can’t claim authorship of this nature photography philosophy, but I agree with and embrace it wholeheartedly.  While I’ve heard other hikers and photographers take it even further with a “leave no trace” philosophy, I’m not going to lose sleep over leaving my footprints behind. Either way, though, it’s a noble approach to maintaining and protecting our environment without neglecting the art– or even the business if you’re out there on assignment. I’ve seen photographers break off branches that were in their way. I’ve seen others leave their trash behind rather than pack it up and take it with them. Let’s be clear on something. I’m not trying to be some sort of preachy environmentalist, but let’s face it– you wouldn’t leave your trash in my studio if you borrowed it, so why would you leave it behind at the water’s edge just because you happen to be outside and far from home?

Watch Your Step.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to be aware of your surroundings, both in terms of your own personal safety, as well as that of any wildlife whose path you may cross. No shot is worth injury or worse. I just finished reading an article about yet another photographer being killed while shooting on railroad tracks. Just because something looks abandoned doesn’t mean it is, regardless of how far you had to hike to get there. It doesn’t matter if you’re hiking a quiet path ten minutes from your house, exploring mountain ranges on the other side of the world, or stalking exotic wildlife from what you think is a safe distance with a lens as long as your arm– be vigilant and aware of where you walk and where you shoot. Contrary to popular belief, getting the shot is not your top priority. Coming home in one piece is.
There is something else to keep in mind regarding watching your step. Don’t forget that depending on where you are, you could easily be intruding on another creature’s home. Trampling through it with reckless abandon is a surefire way to leave more than just your footprints behind. It may not seem like much, but destroying or damaging another creature’s habitat–regardless of intent– is just plain irresponsible.
Don’t Get Lost in the Viewfinder (Or the LCD).
Call this one a corollary to watching your step. Both the viewfinder and LCD can be a bit hypnotic. How many times have you shifted position for a better angle without taking the camera away from your face? Or continued walking while looking down at your camera’s LCD? Yeah– me too. All the time. But this can prove to be extremely unsafe, depending on which of nature’s remote outposts you find yourself photographing.

Warning Signs Are There for a Reason.
Call me a hypocrite if you must. I confess to ignoring more than my fair share of “No Trespassing” signs. The shot below was taken in an abandoned prison which sits on property literally surrounded with them. Oh yeah– it also backs up to the Atlanta Police Department’s S.W.A.T. training facility. That “pop-pop-pop-pop-pop” that kept getting closer and closer? That turned out to be the sound of a live fire exercise. Not every “No Trespassing” sign should be construed as a dare. More often than not, the smart move is to read and heed.
Similarly, most established hiking trails will have signs at the trail head– and occasionally along the way– with rules, regulations, and safety reminders. Pay attention and take them seriously. They were put there by people with a whole lot more experience and knowledge of the area than you. Again– read and heed, my friend. Read and heed.

Respect the Wildlife.
Remember that you are, quite literally, on their turf. I don’t know about you, but I get pretty damn grumpy when someone messes with my routine. The bottom line? Don’t mess with theirs. Just like you and me, a big part of an animal’s daily to-do list involves finding food. But whereas you and I have options for when our days fly off the tracks, the local fauna might not be as fortunate. And speaking of eating…
Do Not Feed the Animals!
You may think you’re doing something nice. It may help you get the shot. But it also has the potential for causing major problems down the road for the next hiker or photographer who decides to keep their food for themselves. The easier you make if for animals to get food without having to find it for themselves, the more they may come to expect or rely on people for their food. The more they come to rely on it, the more pissed off they are going to be at the person who denies them.

Do Your Research.
You only do yourself a disservice by not learning as much about your destination as you can before embarking on any wildlife or nature photography journey. The information is easily and readily available. Being prepared will in no way interfere with the wonder and surprise you’re sure to experience. If anything, proper preparation will only enhance it. Remember that your gear will have to include more than just photography-related items. You can’t just figure this stuff out along the way.
Leave the Camera in the Bag Some of the Time.
Enjoy the moment. Take it all in. Experience the amazing things you are sure to see not just through a lens, but with your own eyes as well.
All photos are Copyright Guyer Photography, all rights reserved.

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Preserving cultural history — one ink stroke at a time

For Bruce Zuckerman, a picture is worth a lot more than a thousand words. As an authority on ancient Semitic and biblical texts, he can tell you how a letter worn off the surface of parchment — or even the leg of a letter — can change the meaning of an entire passage and our understanding of history along with it.
As a doctoral student in the 1970s, nothing was more frustrating to him than a fuzzy photo of a hard to read inscription. That’s when he had a revelation: You can’t expect scholars to produce research-quality images or photographers to know what features of an ancient language to highlight during image documentation. But what if you could combine their skills?
Our whole philosophy has been to empower scholars to use technology effectively. If scholars control the technology, they do better work.
Bruce Zuckerman

“If you have this disconnect between the person doing the documentation and the person doing the analysis, it’s a real problem,” said Zuckerman, professor of religion and linguistics at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “You have to know what you’re looking for.”
Delicate, ancient texts
For the past 30 years, Zuckerman and his team of researchers have dedicated themselves to preserving cultural history. As director of USC’s West Semitic Research Project, he and his team have documented delicate, ancient texts and objects and distributed their images to thousands of scholars around the world.
Zuckerman has pioneered the use of digital photography to reveal the ancient past. One technique he and the project team has excelled in is Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), which can capture a world of microscopic detail, producing images that are literally clearer than anything seen by the human eye. RTI photography can highlight the hair follicles left on an animal hide used as parchment or the way ink is pooled in minute spikes in the folds of its skin. Zuckerman can use it to see each ink stroke a scribe made — and even show you the mistakes they corrected.
These are more than just photos. The data-rich images can preserve what a text looks like lit from a multitude of angles. Scholars in 44 countries regularly log on to Inscriptifact, an archival database where thousands of these interactive digital objects can be accessed. There, researchers can move the lighting around in real time with a click of their mouse, snapping shapes and letters into sharp and dynamic relief.
Placing scholarship at the forefront
The West Semitic Research Project has recently taken a new step: a grant program for training academics with RTI kits customized for fieldwork.
The kits include color and infrared cameras, high-resolution lenses, and an array of lighting and other supporting equipment. Funded largely by the Institute for Museum and Library Services’ Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, these grants take imaging technology out of the university lab to far-flung destinations, including developing nations where preservation of cultural heritage artifacts is often a race against time.
One of the key prerequisites for the program is that the images are made accessible online for further scholarship, either through Inscriptifact or a database of the grantee’s choosing.
“We really put scholarship at the forefront,” Zuckerman said. “Our whole philosophy has been to empower scholars to use technology effectively. The biggest mistake they can make is to abdicate control to the technologists instead of doing it themselves. If scholars control the technology, they do better work.
And there’s the rub …
Arlo Griffiths, a philologist and historian with France’s Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient, is one of 15 academics to have taken advantage of the RTI training program so far. Griffiths directs EFEO’s Jakarta Center, where he studies ancient languages and cultures in Southeast Asia. While RTI specialists have found their way into major Western museums, they’re still uncommon; in places like Myanmar, Griffiths said, the technology is nonexistent.
Studying historical artifacts in a developing nation is trickier than in the west, he said. Sometimes, artifacts are encased in cement on the ground or housed in a small shack — not the ideal setting for studying fine details in the evolution of a language. Ordinarily, Griffiths uses a paper rubbing to copy the text and study it later in his office. Using an RTI kit, he can now light an artifact from different angles and later, at his computer, see all kinds of details that weren’t readily apparent in the field.
Monuments to civilization
Sunkyung Kim, a USC professor studying Buddhist art in Korea and China, has also seen the power of Zuckerman’s RTI work. She recently collaborated with him and Yongmin Kim and Sangdeuk Yoon at the National Museum of Seoul, thanks to a grant facilitated by USC Trustee Y.H. Cho. This international team used an RTI kit to photograph inscriptions on 8th-century statues, the Maitreya Bodhisattva and Amitabha Buddha of Gamsansa Temple.
“When you think of the masterpieces of Korean Buddhist art, these always come up,” Kim said. “They occupy a really crucial position in terms of sociopolitical and religious history.”
For Zuckerman, contributing to global scholarship provides more than personal satisfaction. There’s a responsibility in holding on to humanity’s past. The work of ancient scribes are monuments to civilization, Zuckerman said, capturing parts of the human story for future generations.
He sees his work with RTI technology as the 21st-century version of the same effort.
“We’ve photographed Dead Sea Scrolls even as they slowly deteriorate before our eyes,” Zuckerman said. “The Dead Sea Scrolls were themselves at the end of a long tradition. We are an extension of that tradition as we help our colleagues reclaim the common heritage that is our ancient past.”

More stories about: Archaeology, Digital Media, History, Religion

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4 Tips for Taking Better Photographs of Trees

A Post By: Gavin Hardcastle

Can’t see the wood for the trees? I’ve often struggled with the challenge of photographing trees in a way that captures the imagination and takes the viewer on a journey. I’ve learned that for me, there are two very effective ways to consider and photograph trees. Try asking yourself these two questions:
Which tree is the leading actor?
Which tree/trees are the supporting actors?
I have to thank my mother for this interesting perspective. As a boy I was dragged to many a theatrical play and so I tend to look at my images as a stage on which there are certain characters that play out a scene. There’s always a lead character, some supporting roles and some cool props. Understanding the hierarchy of your characters will really help to improve your compositions in general.

1 – When a single tree grabs your attention
Decide who is the lead and make that your most important subject. With the image above, it’s pretty obvious who the lead character is in this scene. That huge knotted cedar tree is my leading actor, so I place him centre stage and place all other trees around him.
Using an aperture of f/22 means that my entire image (stage if you will) is in focus and the only reason I can get away with this is because my central character is so obvious that I don’t need to accentuate his presence with shallow depth of field.
Here’s another example of a very obvious leading actor in my scene. It’s pretty much ALL one tree with the supporting actors being a sun flare, the shadows on the foreground and the Koi Carp gliding through the pond in the background. Again, I used a very narrow aperture of f/16 to ensure maximum focus throughout the image.

2 – When trees play supporting roles
Let’s face it, not all trees are A-list actors, but they don’t need to be. You can use trees to frame another, more interesting character, in your image. When you’ve found an interesting subject such as a waterfall, lake reflection or sea stack, take a look around and see if there are any trees that would make a nice frame or leading line that directs the eye towards your main subject. If there are, place them in your foreground.
In the image below, I used the trees and shrubs to create a frame for my sea stack. I used an aperture of f/8 to create a subtle bokeh effect in the foreground shrubs because I wanted to draw the viewer’s eye towards the central sea stack.

Here’s another example of where the tree was used as a supporting actor in my scene. Once again the tree creates a frame, and although we don’t see the entire tree, the image would be nothing without it.

3 – When NOT to include people for scale

How big do you think that tree above is? Well, let’s just say that only a toddler would be able to stand under the canopy.
There’s often a temptation for photographers to get a person to stand in their tree photograph for scale. That’s a great idea if your tree is massive, it really emphasizes the immense size of your subject. For smaller trees such as the maple shown above, it would have been a disaster to include a person for scale because that tree is tiny. In fact, it’s so small that I was laying prone on the ground in order to get the shot.
4 – When to use shallow depth of field
Sometimes it’ll be really obvious that in order to accentuate and bring attention to a certain tree or feature of a tree, you can use a wide open aperture like f/2.8 to create shallow depth of field. This is a creative decision, there’s no right or wrong, only what works for your vision. I rarely use shallow depth of field in my landscape photography, but occasionally I’ll want to bring attention to a certain feature of a tree like this guy below.

Whether you shoot huge landscapes or intimate nature scenes, using these four tips should improve that way that you photograph trees. Try them out and capture your own beautiful tree photographs.
PS: looking for some inspiration? Check out these 21 amazing Tree Images!

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Don’t Know What to Shoot? These 4 Photography Exercises Will Keep You Motivated

A Post By: Anne McKinnell

Whether you’re just getting into photography, or if you’ve been at it for years; you can keep yourself rejuvenated, and keep the creative juices flowing by always trying new things.
If you’re feeling uninspired photographically, that’s a sign that you need to shake things up by trying something completely different, or at least something that isn’t your usual style. You might be surprised at how small exercises can boost your creativity while teaching you new techniques and solidifying old principles in your mind.
Who knows, you might even discover a new passion!
To give your brain a little kick in the butt, challenge yourself to try some of these photography exercises. Even if they aren’t new to you, going out shooting with a new purpose feels refreshing and may lead to something completely new.
Fire Wave at The Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, taken from a high perspective on an opposite hilltop
1. Change your perspective
Photographers often get in the habit of shooting at eye-level which tends to make photos repetitive and somewhat common. We know this, and so we take the odd shot on our knees or even occasionally lying on the ground.
But is this really enough? Aren’t there other vantage points?
Challenge yourself to go out shooting and never shoot from eye-level for a whole day. Instead, find a new vantage point any time you take a picture. Get yourself up high above your subject, and crouch and shoot from a low angle. But that’s just the beginning. Ideally, you should try shooting your subject from a variety of angles.
Take one shot from below and one from above. Then, take one even lower, and one even higher, if possible. Then, step back a bit. Then step forward. Move to your right, and move to your left. Taking the same picture from many positions adds variety and will help you understand it better. Plus, you may discover a way of seeing something that you didn’t expect.
If you resolve to do this with every picture you take, you’ll begin to really understand the subtle effect that perspective has on an image, which points of view work for which subjects, and how this can inform your shooting style from here on out.
Another perspective on Fire Wave, this time taken up close, from a low angle.
2. Create a story
Rather than trying to capture your subject in one single image, try doing a series instead. Create what LIFE Magazine coined a “photo essay” – a series of images surrounding a single subject or group of subjects, each of which pinpoints a different aspect of its nature. This can be as simple as zooming in on its finer details, or photographing it in different contexts. This method of doing things defines the subject not only by how it appears in a single moment, but also by the way it changes (and the way it stays the same) over several moments. It also helps to craft your visual storytelling abilities.
Choose one subject and cover it completely, the way a journalist would. Do this either by photographing every aspect of it you can think of, photographing it through the course of a day, or by revisiting it over and over throughout a week. Include shots at different distances and using different focal lengths – include some close-up details and some wide compositions – and whittle all the shots down to around ten final images, making sure that no two photos are alike. When you have your picks, try to organize them in an order that tells a coherent story, whether it’s narrated or implied.
These three photos are from Terlingua, a ghost town in Texas.
3. Shoot in Black and White
For a whole day, turn your camera to Black and White mode and don’t take it off. Of course, you can convert your RAW images to black and white after-the-fact in post-processing, but as an exercise, try shooting them in Black and White.
At first the limitation may seem frustrating, but Black and White photography requires a completely different way of seeing the world in terms of shape, form, and contrast, rather than through the common visual cues that you’re used to. Composing your photos in this way will invariably improve your compositions in colour photography, too. You can play with contrast settings in-camera or in post-processing to perfect the highlight to shadow ratio which defines a good monochrome image.
Bandon Beach, Oregon.
4. Make manual long exposures
For this exercise, you’re going to take full advantage of digital photography’s instant feedback, and use it to play with making manual long exposures.
With your dslr mounted firmly on a tripod, set the ISO to 100, set the aperture to the smallest opening (the largest f number like f/22 for example), and set the shutter speed to Bulb mode. When the camera is to Bulb mode, the shutter will stay open for as long as the shutter button is held down, but it’s a better idea to attach a wired remote shutter release to prevent camera shake.
Once you have your composition and your focus set, press and hold the button on the remote to hold the shutter open for a few counted seconds. Just guess how many seconds will be required based on the light level. Then, check your results. If the image is too bright, try again, but count half as many seconds. If the image is too dark, count twice as many seconds – or more, if necessary. Do this over and over again, in different scenarios and lighting situations. This practice will hone your ability to read the levels of light present at any given time.
You’ll get the most interesting results if there is a certain amount of movement in your frame, such as drifting clouds in the sky, crowds of people, or running water. The longer your exposure is, the more blurred that movement will appear to the point where water may seem like nothing more than mist, and people will disappear from the image altogether. If you have a solid neutral density filter your exposures can be even longer, creating more extreme effects.
Folly Beach Pier, Charleston, South Carolina – 2 second exposure.
Folly Beach Pier, Charleston, South Carolina – 30 second exposure.
Don’t wait until you start feeling uninspired to try these exercises! Keep your photography energized and creative by trying something new on a regular basis. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be your “thing”, it’s fun and you’re bound to learn something.

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[unable to retrieve full-text content]From simple compact models up to full-featured digital SLRs, here’s a look at the top cameras we’ve tested recently. | See more about digital cameras, …

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