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Monthly Archives: January 2013

If you remember your high school English class, you may remember a term called “metonomy.”  It means letting a part of a thing stand for the whole thing:  hands for farm workers, for example.

In photography, enormous vistas rarely make great photos:  too much useless stuff and nothing to fix the eye upo.  So it’s time to try metnonomy by letting a small sample stand for the whole thing.

This works because it concentrates our vision, gives us something concrete to look at, and mayt engage our imagination in different ways.

The shots below were all taken at the same location, a large horse-shoe shaped arc of rock ledge.  By looking at concentrated chunks of this scene one captures a range of images which suggest the variety of the whole.

I call this collection “icy delights.”  Sometimes thinking small is good.

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Want more tips?  To buy Explorations in Photography as a print version for $35.95, go here.  To buy it as an e-book for $9.95, follow this link .

My Nikon D800e has been back at the Mother Ship for a tune-up.  In desperation I borrowed my wife’s point-and-shoot, with no viewfinder, no aperture mode, but I did have manual flash as an option.  I felt like a heroin user on methadone.

Still, persistence paid, as these shots from the Hamilton OH Ice Festival suggest.  You CAN get decent shots with a cheap camera but you sure to have to work for them.

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Most of the time teeny amounts of camera shake don’t matter very much.  This is heresy, but it’s true for most close-up shots.  Camera shake is more critical for very sharp, very high resolution cameras like the D800e, because when you shake, it shows.

Where camera shake is absolutely critical is when you plan on making very large (or tightly cropped) prints of far distant objects, maybe in lousy light.

In these circumstances, even a hint of movement may ruin a shot, and you’ll never know it til you look at it at 100% size or start enlarging it.

Some ways to reduce camera shake:

  1. Use a tripod.  Duh.  But that isn’t enough.
  2. Use faster shutter speeds. Get them through higher ISO, not wider apertures (not an absolute rule; this depends on circumstances).
  3. Use the self-timer and put in 3 seconds delay between shutter press and actual shot.  This lets the camera settle down.
  4. Use a remote shutter control and shutter pre-up.
  5. Focus on a specific point.  Do not trust your camera’s infinity setting. (Relates to sharpness, not camera shake, but hey, it’s a freebie)
  6. Do not touch any part of the tripod during the exposure
  7. Do not walk around during the exposure.  Do not even shift your weight!
  8. In any sort of breeze, hang a weight from the tripod to help stabilize it.  Your camera bag will do for this; carry an S hook with you.


Below is a picture of Yellowstone Falls, shot from Inspiration Point.  Great photo?  Yes, up to 16×20, but at full size you can see the traces of camera shake.

22 megapixel medium format PhaseOne / Mamiya 645, tripod mount.  Not good enough!


CF013315Yellowstone falls_1

CF013315yellowstone falls viewing point


Want more tips?  To buy Explorations in Photography as a print version for $35.95, go here.  To buy it as an e-book for $9.95, follow this link .


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