Take creative control…

and see what’s in your camera!

DSC_2468-2Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.

JunichiroTanizaki

You don’t need to travel to exotic locations or buy expensive lighting to create unique photos but you do need to learn what your camera has to offer.

When’s the last time you scrolled through the menu in your camera to see what it can do?

When’s the last time you tried some of those features?

I can’t relate to the mindset of having a camera, setting it to auto, and then taking pictures. If that’s all you’re going to do you might be better served just pulling out your phone and using that to take the picture. I recently loaded the Lightroom ap onto my ipad and when I use that to take a photo I first jump into LR and click on the camera from there. Try it, you’ll see the difference!

Phones, ipads, and tablets have come a long way in the last while and can take some very nice photos especially for sharing on social media where the file size doesn’t matter. Try to blow those up though and you will run into some issues.

A good jumping off point from auto is to start using your scene settings. Match them to the conditions that you’re shooting in and then look at the settings that the camera chose. You will soon start to see what kind of settings are required for different conditions.

From there it’s a quick leap to going fully manual and taking creative control.

A feature of many of the Nikons in the DSLR line-up is the ability to do double exposure and then if the two shots that I want can’t be coordinated at the same time…in camera image overlay.

While you can create these types of shots in photoshop I like the challenge of combining them right in the camera.

Today’s shot was an image overlay. The secret to them is to visualize your lights and darks and plan where you want them to fall. They can be a lot of fun and really change the mood of a photo. I did a head shot outside and for my second image used the rainbow reflections that showed up when the sun hit my wood stove glass door. Beautiful, soft out of focus images can also be perfect for these types of shots.

What’s in your camera? What will you try today?

 

Heads up…

literally!

lunar eclipse
lunar eclipse and blood moon

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

Plato

Last October I got up in the early hours of the morning to photograph the total lunar eclipse and this one was going to be pretty special as it would culminate in a blood moon. A lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes through the Earth’s dark inner shadow.

The Nikon D 7000 has an image overlay feature in it that I was anxious to utilize to capture the whole process in one RAW image. I knew that I would have to visualize where each moon was going to line up so that they could be spaced across the image. Why not just use photoshop? Simply put…I like a challenge.

The set up involved a tripod and I also like to use a remote trigger to eliminate movement. What I found was that I did have to keep repositioning and refocusing the camera as the moon was dropping fairly rapidly between each phase. I also needed to adjust exposure times for each phase as the light changed dramatically. This was the final image from my camera after combining these five separate images using image overlay. I was pretty happy with the end result and only had to tweak highlights and blacks and remove a little chromatic aberration in Lightroom.

Before sunrise on April 4th there will occur the shortest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century…it will all take place in less than five minutes. I hope that today’s post will inspire you to get out and shoot the moon. Fingers crossed for clear skies and I’ll be right there with you!

For more information on all things sky check out Earthsky.org.