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Category Archives: Travel

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 .

Nature photographers and landscape artists need the patience of Job – and a reliable almanac.  We really only have a couple of hours a day (if that much) when the light is just right — the hour around dawn and the hour around sunset.  And that can reduce to a few moments if the right light is critical to your shot.

So, find out what those times will be for the date and place you’re in.  The Weather Bug app on your Android phone will tell you (for today, at least) and you can easily extrapolate out for the next few days if you need to.

The rest of the time —  go buy your wife a dress or something.

These two pairs of pictures illustrate the point.

Three minutes separated the first and second shot in each set.  The light goes from flat to golden and textured in just those three minutes.

_DSC3726 2 Hill town Fortress

_DSC3732 2 Hill town Fortress

In the second set, you can actually read the clock on the church tower.  6:34 was the magic moment!  6:29 was too early.

_DSC3735 Diana D'Alba dawn_1

_DSC3741 2 Diana D'Alba dawn_1

Smart landscape and scenic photographers (even portrait photographers, too) know that their actual working window is very brief – and they’d better be ready to rock and roll when that magic moment is at hand.

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 .

Tip of the Day — Story Telling Pictures (Part one of Many)

Stories are vital to good photographs.  Great shots either tell a story directly, or invite the viewer to make one up.

Here’s an example:

For fun, try making up a few stories suggested by this picture.  Here’s one to start:

John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi consider Obama’s latest offer in the Fiscal Cliff Drama.

In this case, the story is generated by the two contrasting expressions on the faces of the people in the shot.  One’s doubtful, the other is interested in and admiring the freshly-caught fish.  The different ways two people can look at the same fact create the story. The fish is a prize?  The fish maybe doesn’t smell so good?  The caption makes you think about what it all means in a humorous way.

Have at it — create a few stories from this picture, then go out and take your own “humorous conflict” photos.

If readers have tips to offer, please let me know.  Tips should deal with a single subject, be about 125 words or less, and have at least one photo that directly illustrates the point being made.

Want more tips?  Buy Explorations in Photography today!  Print version is $35.95, available here and as an e-book for $9.95 here



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