Why I am not switching yet.

“Mirrorless” is all the talk. Everyone, it seems, “is going mirrorless”.

But not me, and not many other photographers either: not quite yet.

Canon 1D Mark IV camera

Canon 1D Mark IV camera

Why not switch to the latest technology?

Well, while mirrorless offers advantages, like

  • Preview information (eg histogram) through viewfinder.
  • Post-shot view.
  • Smaller, lighter! Especially if you get the new lenses.

…there are also good reasons for pros to hesitate and hold off. Here’s a few:

  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.Why mess with something that is proven to work?
  • Mirrorless is unproven. Looks good, but it’s new. Why risk it?
  • Battery life. Not as good, not nearly as good as the pro DSLRs
  • Dust. The sensor is exposed and every lens change introduces dust.
  • New lenses needed—and that’s a major investment. Or you use adapters and invest in those, and forego the “smaller” advantage. Adapters are always iffy anyway: another point of failure.

As you see, there are good reasons to not mess with something that ain’t broken.

 

 

Tips for landscapes.

Valley of fire, NV

I’ll give you a few landscape tips for beginners, today.

    1. Use the right lens. I recommend either the ultra wide lens (10-20 on a crop camera, 16-35 on a full frame camera), to show perspective and depth; or a telephoto lens, to bring backgrounds closer.
    2. Use a low ISO, like 100 or 200.
    3. Use a high f-number, like 11 or 16. Especially important if you use the telephoto lens above.
    4. If you can, use a tripod. The two settings above may well require it.
    5. Focus one third into your scene. That gives you the best sharp focus range.
    6. Just in case, carry a polarizer and an ND filter. The polarizer for removing reflections or to emphasize some blue skies, and the ND filter for slow shots of waterfalls or water surfaces.
    7. Consider shooting some panoramas. For those, use manual setting, so that all pictures are exposed equally. Avoid foreground objects. Turn the camera while on the tripod, overlapping successive images by, say, 30%.
    8. Don’t pack too much. Weight doubles hourly when carried!
    9. shoot at the best time of day. Often, that means 5pm or 5am, the “golden hour”.
    10. Consider bringing a flash. More than you’d expect, you’ll want to light up your foreground.
    11. Keep the image simple. Pay attention to detail.
    12. Look for attention points in the foreground, middle ground, or background. Like frames, reflections, s-curves, juxtapositions, etc.
    13. Prepare. Enter location coordinates, found on google, into your gps.
    14. take one iPhone picture so that you have the coordinates, and then copy them in Lightroom from that iPhone picture to your other photos. Unless, of course, your camera already has a gps built in.

These fifteen rules should get you going! For a little more detail, see my Landscape Photography book on http://Learning.photography .


Come to my April 27 workshop in Toronto, if you want flash techniques that work. See the previous post.

One flash

Today, I taught a Hamilton workshop. From that workshop, one photo that illustrates how you can take a photo with just one flash. Here’s student Paul.

This kind of chiaroscuro lighting is simple and very effective. And you don’t need much. One off camera flash.

Many more workshops coming up, starting with one in Toronto in under a month, where I’ll be teaching exactly that.

See here for details. Early bird pricing only until April 1!

"Flash Techniques for Quick Creative Success" – Toronto, April 27 2019

 

Back in Ontario…

…from the Caribbean.

And the first thing I did is set all my cameras to the correct time. Which was easy, because they were already set to the correct time, since I came from the Caribbean. But for those of you who did not:  set all your cameras to the correct time now!

And here’s a few pics from last week. More, and some advice, to follow in the next days. Stay tuned!

 

Sunny? Sixteen!

You have heard me talk about the “Sunny Sixteen” rule before. This is a very useful rule of thumb that allows you to shoot without using your camera’s light meter. The rule is:

If your shutter speed is set to 1/ISO (e.g. 125 ISO at 1/125th sec, 200 ISO at 1/200 sec, or 400 ISO at 1/400 sec, etc), then on a fully sunny day at noon, f/16 will give you the right exposure.

Like this, at f/16:

And if it is not sunny?

f/16 Sunny Distinct
f/11 Slight Overcast Soft around edges
f/8 Overcast Barely visible
f/5.6 Heavy Overcast No shadows
f/4 Open Shade/Sunset No shadows

(Source: Wikipedia)

This rule is a rule of thumb, so feel free to vary – I often expose two thirds of a stop higher – but since the sun is always the same brightness, it holds well. And it is nice to be able to expose without light meters, if only in order to be able to check your camera.

Bonus question: how do you expose the moon?

Answer: f/16. The moon at noon (there, so any time here, including night) is as bright as the earth at noon- they are the same distance from the sun!