Backyard Bird Photography With A Super-Telephoto Zoom

This is a syndicated blog post from Digital Photo Magazine. It is being republished here with permission.

I don’t know much about birds, but I know lots of them inhabit my yard. I hear a woodpecker on occasion, and I can identify a blue jay and a cardinal when I see them, but that’s about the limit of my avian expertise. So, when I rented a super-telephoto zoom lens to get a better glimpse of the birds in my backyard, I was amazed by the world of detail it opened up to me. Who knew the basic beige birds I glimpsed from a distance were actually beautiful and nuanced with heretofore-unseen patterns and colors in their feathers. No matter where you live, here are some tips for photographing birds with a super-telephoto zoom in your own backyard.

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Pro Tip: Put Something in Front of Your Lens for Instantly More Interesting Photos

Bored with your photos? Try this easy pro tip to change the way you see and frame scenes and get instantly more interesting snaps!

Once in a while, we feel the need to shake up our routine, styles, and techniques to improve our photography. If you feel your work could use something new and different, you might want to try out this quick pro tip. It’s so easy that you probably haven’t thought of it before!

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A Quick Visual Reference of How Much Light a Full Frame Sensor Absorbs Vs an APS-C Sensor

Full frame sensors are great when it comes to the editing process later on.

While testing out the Rokinon 50mm f1.4 AF for the Sony a7r III and the Fujifilm X-H1, I was shooting with f1.4 lenses on both cameras. When exposing scenes at ISO 6400 and shooting wide open at f1.4 with similar metering, I came across something that I found was pretty crazy. To verify it, I showed it to a buddy of mine who works for a pretty famous camera store. When he saw it himself, he was pretty shocked. I knew for years that full frame sensors tend to absorb more light per pixel and have better color overall–but I’ve never had a visual difference otherwise until recently.

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Equipping The Outdoor Studio Portrait Photographer

This is a syndicated blog post from Digital Photo Pro Magazine. It is being republished here with permission.

There are lots of reasons to make portraits outdoors. First and foremost, you avoid the expense and space requirements of setting up a studio. And since most studios are equipped with artificial lighting and modifiers, there’s a lot of gear to buy, too. Outdoors, however, you’re given the gift of one of the most powerful and beautiful light sources around: the sun. And with the simplest tools—a white card as a reflector, for instance—you can learn to manipulate sunlight to gain studio-style lighting control outdoors.

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Here’s Why Astrophotography in Creepy Abandoned Spots Can Be Worth It

That abandoned gas station or crumbling old house way out of town could be one of the best spots for astrophotography if you want to get some cool star trail or Milky Way snaps.

So, you’ve finally decided to do some astrophotography and nail one of those gorgeous star trail and Milky Way photos. If you did your homework, you already know one crucial element in this kind of photography: location, location, location. You’ll need a spot far enough from the city so there’s no light pollution that could cloud your long exposure. Somewhere with an interesting foreground would also be great. For photographer Brendan van Son, it was a creepy ghost town. The results, however, were worth the scare!

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Auto Masking in Lightroom Could Be Saving You a Ton of Post-Processing Time!

Manually masking in Photoshop and Lightroom can be a real drag, but Auto Masking can save you time

If you have ever wanted to get more advanced with your post-processing, but hated the idea of trying to mask out specific sections of your images in Lightroom, then you are not alone. Manually masking, and doing a good job, can take a tone of time. If you are needing to process a lot of images in a short period of time, then you simply don’t have the time to spend on that sort of work. Thankfully, the team at Adobe recognized this limitation and developed a powerful, but often overlooked tool to help make the process go a lot smoother: Auto Mask. Continue reading…

This is Why Portrait Photographers Need to Look Up to Portrait Subjects

This is a syndicated blog post from Digital Photo Magazine. It and the contents here are being used with permission.

I’ve been studying the work of master portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz lately and something finally caught my eye. Not about her pictures, which are consistently great for going on five decades now, but about her process. No, it’s not about how she typically uses a single light source balanced with the ambient light. And no, it’s not about how her crew works in chorus to coordinate key light and fill with flags and generally freeing the master to worry solely about connecting with her subjects. In fact, the simple little thing that struck me—that motivated me to write this very piece—was something surprisingly small. In several behind-the-scenes videos and photos of Leibovitz at work, I’ve noticed that the photographer is often sitting on an apple box.

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Master Photographer William Klein Tells the Story Behind the Photos on His Contact Sheet

If you’ve ever wondered about what’s in William Klein’s contact prints, here’s a tour from the master photographer himself

Before photographers could preview their works through computer thumbnails, they had contact sheets. A single sheet of thumbnail-sized photos was an important reference for photographers, allowing them to look at a shoot or a potential material for a series in its entirety. It was also after studying the contact print that a photographer selects the photos to be printed and published for everyone to see. In a short episode of a film collection titled Contacts, American-born French photographer William Klein dissects one of his contact sheets and gives fascinating narrations of the story behind some of his interesting images.

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