Wednesday, December 6, 2017

3 Easy Ways to Correct Color Casting From ND Filters

There are a lot of optically decent ND filters out there that still suffer from color cast (or shift), but there a few very quick and easy ways to fix them in post.  Here is a video I tutorial I made to show you how to do it.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

My Favorite Photography Accessories

Gear can be expensive and overwhelming...and I often say that creativity and experiences are more important than gear.  This is totally true, but with that being said, there are a few little things-photography accessories-that I always take with me, and that help increase my efficacy, functionality, and creativity.

So let's get right to it:  (I made a VIDEO of this if you'd rather watch than read.  It's also embedded at the end of this post).

1). The Rocket Blower - Living in New Mexico, and travelling to and shooting in all kinds of intense places around the globe, I need this.  I mean, every photographer needs this...but I REALLY need it. Any kind of air blower will do.  There are a variety of types and brands out there, but they all do the same thing: blow dust and debris off your gear.

2). The Camera Strap - This is not just a regular strap.  The best things about this strap is that it's way more comfortable and padded, and it has clippy things that let you quickly and easily detach the strap for those times when you need to put it on a tripod or other support equipment, or for when you just don't want a strap.  The other reason I like this one is because it's plain.  I travel a LOT, and often to or through some very sketchy places where having a nice shiny Canon strap that has bright red and white stripes and the name of my camera body on it is begging for a robbery in some places.  So the subtlety and lower profile of the strap is nice.  

3). The PocketPod - I always seem to find use for a little tripod, whether it's because I'm travelling super light and don't want to carry a big one, or I need to mount some lights, audio gear, phone, monitor, or something else, or if I need a makeshift handle for a vlogging setup.  I use this Benro one a lot, but I also like the Joby Gorilla Pods too. You never know when you'll find an unexpected waterfall or awesome night scene or long exposure scenario where you wish you had a tripod! 

4). ND Filters for your Smartphone - These things are super cheap, and very handy to have.  Like I mentioned above, you never know when you might stumble upon a cool waterfall or perfect long exposure scene, and you might not have your big boy camera with you, but if you have these little filters and a pocket tripod and your phone, then you're all set! Mobile photography is getting better every year with all these new phones with better and better cameras coming out, so why not use them!  The best camera is the one you have on you.

5). Circular Polarizer - If you can only have one filter for your dslr or mirror-less camera, make it a circular polarizer!  These things are super handy, and unlike other types of filters, a CP's effects can't all be emulated in post editing.  A CP will help cut through glare from reflecting surfaces such as water and glass, and it will also help boost your saturation a bit (this part can obviously be done in post, but the glare reduction can't). If you can have 2 filters, then I definitely recommend a proper ND Filter. These will help you get that silky smooth water or clouds, as well as let you shoot wide open in bright light to get that beautiful shallow depth of field. I suggest at least getting a 3 stop, which is the one I listed, but if you want really long exposures, you'll need a 10 stop filter or higher.

6). Lume Cubes - These are probably the coolest little lights I've ever had.  I use them for so much more than photography.  They pack a whopping 1500 lumens, which given their size, is quite impressive.  They are waterproof, which opens up all kinds of creative doors, and have a bunch of their own available accessories, such as filters, diffusers, gels, magnetic cages, and more, and they're usb rechargeable! 

7). The Pulse Camera Controller - My most FAVORITE accessory of all time! This thing is beyond fantastic.  It is a Bluetooth controller, intervalometer, and trigger.  The app that controls it is great, and its features are wonderful.  With the Pulse, you can do timelapses, environmental selfies, HDR, long exposures, and more. This will open up the possibilities for unleashing your creativity to a whole new level!  It also makes things a lot easier when you want to do things like take a picture of yourself or a group photo with you in it, and not have to find someone else to do it for you. It's just a wonderful device to have all around.  That being said, any remote trigger and/or intervalometer will work, but they won't all do everything this does, and not all wrapped in one device. 

Thanks for checking out my blog, and be sure to follow my on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook for more!  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Alpine Labs Pulse Review: The Best Camera Controller For Canon and Nikon Cameras

So I've had my Alpine Labs Pulse for about 9 months now, and after using it with 4 different cameras, and in just about every timelapse and adventure photo shoot I've done in that time, I have enough confidence to say that this is the Best camera controller I've ever seen. 

I think most people will think of this as mainly an intervalometer, which it is, but it also does a lot more than that. The Pulse has some other great features that I've really enjoyed using, such as the HDR mode, self-trigger, and especially the long exposure mode. So I finally went out and did a proper review of it, where I go over all of its main features, a couple of very small downsides, and show you how I use it to up my creativity.  Check out the video here, and don't forget to like, comment, and SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel for more reviews like this, tutorials, adventure vlogs, and more!

Monday, November 13, 2017

3 Fundamental Tips To Improve Your Smartphone Photography

The most common mistake I see people make concerning photography these days is not treating their smartphone cameras like an ACTUAL camera.  They do this because it's built into a phone, and it's easy to forget that it is a real camera, and now days you can do much more with it than just take snapshots and selfies.  Remember, the best camera is the one you have on you, and lets be real, we all have phones on us pretty much ALL the time.  So best thing you can do is to remember that you probably have a decent camera in your pocket, and treat it like a real camera.  That means think about things for a second.  Just take a little extra time to make an image and not just take a picture.

 Here are the 3 super, ultra, most fundamental tips to help you get better images from your smartphone!  These tips/rules definitely apply to more than just that though, they are the basics for any kind of visual art, be it photography, videography, painting, drawing, etc. These will help you improve no matter what visual art you're creating, but smartphone photography is a great place to start!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shooting Lightning With a Smartphone! Plus I compare the Galaxy Note 8 to my Canon 1D X mk II

I am really enjoying the advancements of the smartphones and their camera capabilities lately, especially since getting my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.  While it's not going to replace my DSLRs any time soon, it is impressive what this thing is capable of, especially now that you can shoot in RAW and have full manual controls over the camera.  My favorite being the ability to do long exposures.  So decided to test it out, and to compare it to my best dslr, just for fun.  To do that I happened upon a conveniently located thunderstorm near my house and went out to try to capture some lightning.  Here's the video, and the results, which I will say was not quite what I expected, and in some ways, exactly as I expected.

Thanks for checking out this post and the video, and make sure to like it and subscribe to my channel for more content like this. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Shooting Waterfalls With a Smartphone!

Yes, you CAN get those beautifully smooth long exposure waterfall images with a smartphone!

The tools we have these days are getting better and better.  One such tool that's often overlooked is the smartphone.  They say the best camera is the one you have on you, and I couldn't agree more.  For a long time it wasn't even possible to get shots like this with a phone, but now it's finally becoming the norm to have phone cameras with manual controls, and with that comes a whole new world of possibilities.  In this video I show you how to get the most out of those manual controls and how to get awesome, silky smooth waterfall images, with just a little bit of thought, a small tripod, and some very inexpensive filters.  

Don't forget to head over to My YouTube Channel and subscribe for more videos like this!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Photographing The Lunar Eclipse

I normally like to plan things in advance whenever possible, especially when it comes to photographing astronomical events; however, this one almost slipped by my radar completely. Thankfully I saw it online that afternoon and had just enough time to do some quick research about the details before heading out.  Armed with some hastily acquired knowledge, I grabbed my gear and jumped in the car.  Luckily I knew where the moon would be rising and that there was a great look-out spot on the southwest side of Silver City-the perfect moonrise-viewing point, and easily accessible, since I only had about 30 minutes before it was due to rise.

Once I got there and got the cameras and tripods all setup, I used my phone to double check where on the horizon the moon would be rising and then got the cameras in the right spot.  For this I used a couple of apps.  Sun Surveyor, and The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE).  These are both super handy apps for helping you plan your shoot, be it for the moon, sun, milky way, or just landscapes in general.

When shooting the moon, you typically have to use a pretty fast shutter speed to get the moon both exposed right and nice and sharp-since it is a moving object after all.  But this being an eclipse, made it a little different.  Since the eclipse made the moon a little less bright, it made it possible to include some foreground interest via the mountains over which it was rising.  It also became possible to get this in one single expose, without the moon being over-exposed or the landscape being under-exposed.  For the shot above, I was at 400mm at f/5.6, 1/50 sec, ISO 320. That is still a pretty slow shutter, especially at 400mm, but the tripod, mirror lockup, and a delayed timer helped in minimizing camera shake.  Taking the hood off your lens when in these conditions helps a lot too, because if it's even just the slightest bit windy, the hood can act like a sail and start catching wind and causing the lens to move during shooting.  

For this shot, I knew I wanted to include the feature on the right, which is called the Kneeling Nun, and is a local legend. So I wanted to show that with the moon. I had to shoot wider for this shot, and also since the moon was already completely up and the eclipse was starting to pass, the moon was now much brighter than before.  So now I had to do multiple exposures, one for the landscape and one for the moon, and blend them together in Photoshop. The foreground image I shot at f/5.0, 1/13 sec, ISO 160, and the moon I shot at f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO 100.

I also did a timelapse of the moonrise, and put it in the vlog I did.  So here's the link for that:

For the timelapse I shot it using the same settings as the first image I posted above.