Think About When Buying Camera Bags

When you start shopping for camera bags, the first thing you will notice is how many of them you have to choose from. It can be downright overwhelming, but the more you look the more you will see that you can narrow your options just by size and shape and type. There are going to be some bags that just aren’t attractive to your sense of style.

A shoulder bag is one of the most common types of camera bags on the market today. These are those bags that are attached to strap and then worn on the shoulder. This is a great type of bag if you want to be able to access your equipment relatively quickly because it’s all right there where you can reach in just a moments notice. If you have a larger camera, you may find that a shoulder bag gets big and bulky pretty quickly, so you need to determine whether or not this is right for you and the type of photography you are involved in and how much you will be moving.

Camera backpacks are also very popular. These are backpacks that are developed with the camera in mind so that there is plenty of padding to protect your camera no matter where you go. This is a great option if you have a larger SLR camera or something of the sort, because you won’t have to worry about a bulky bag swinging and hanging form your shoulder. You won’t be able to access your camera quite as quickly, but if you’re not in an urban setting, you may not need to have quick access to the camera, making this an ideal bag for you.

When shopping for camera bags, you might want to look into lens bags. These are bags that are meant specifically for the extra lenses that you may purchase for your camera. If you don’t have extra lenses, you obviously won’t need to make this purchase, but if you do have extra lenses you may find that these bags are just what you need to protect your investments while also ensuring that you can keep all of your photography components organized.

Shooting Winter Landscapes

  • Wear the right clothes: It’s very important to wrap up warm when out shooting winter images. The winter season brings the toughest elements, so if you are planning to spend a few days out and about always be well prepared.
  • Watch the weather: It’s very important to know what the weather is going to be like. You don’t want to travel for a couple of hours and then hear a weather report that tells you that: the weather is wet for the next few days. During the winter months the weather can dramatically change in a matter of hours. It’s always advisable to let someone know where you are going and which route you’re planning to take. If you do get injured or ever caught in a storm someone may be able to help.
  • Carry only what you need: Carry only the essentials. You don’t need to upload your camera bag with every piece of equipment you own. If you are going to be out taking pictures all day you are much better off going as light as possible. Carrying a light load will also help preserve energy. You could be climbing icy rocks or crossing snow filled hills; a warm flask would serve you a lot better than a third camera.
  • Look for detail: Snow, ice and frost bring out texture and atmosphere in most subjects. The early frosty morning is an ideal time for close-up photography. The frosty morning also brings out patterns in our landscapes. Take care where you place your camera: if you are taking pictures early in the morning try placing it at oblique angles to the sun – this will give your images strong shadows. This will also add mood to your landscape images. Once you have found the perfect spot pay extra attention to foreground interest as this will add depth to your image.
  • Expose carefully: Snow and ice are extremely difficult to expose properly. Snow usually confuses your cameras metering system or your hand held light meter. When you take a light reading from snow you will automatically get an underexposed image. The meter will record the snow as grey.

Wildlife Scouting Cameras

After a couple of years of using the camera I was very disappointed. The camera worked fine and we had many pictures of deer, but they were the same does and spike bucks that I was seeing during the day. Something must be wrong; I knew that there had to be big bucks stalking the hillsides at night. After all, everyone always said “you know there is a big one in there somewhere”.

After many rolls of film and an equal number of anxious trips to retrieve developed pictures, I came to realize that there simply were not any mystical trophy bucks roaming our property.

This scouting camera was the proof that I needed to convince myself that the problem was not nocturnal deer but it was actually a deer management problem.

In the eight years since that initial camera purchase I have gotten pictures of bucks that I had not seen, but this wasn’t until after I had implemented a quality deer management plan on our property. One thing is certain, if mature bucks are not on your property you will not get a picture of them and you will definitely not see them.

You can use your scouting camera pictures to get approximate buck to doe ratios simply by observing the ratios that are in the pictures. Also it is easier to estimate the quality of the bucks on your property once you have a picture that you can study. You will also get pictures of the other wildlife that make their homes on your property.

With a scouting camera you can practically perform 24 hour scouting, especially with the new digital scouting cameras. For those of us who work it is difficult to spend a lot of time scouting, but the camera can be your eyes.

A scouting camera cannot find bucks that are not there but they do a real good job of letting you know what is.

Where do you put your scouting camera? This is one of the fun parts of having a scouting camera. Deciding where to put the camera is just like deciding where to hunt.

The easiest way to get pictures of whitetail deer is to have something that attracts them. If you do this, a camera can take a lot of pictures in a short period of time. Be careful of your delay settings on your camera or you could get a lot of pictures of the same deer.

It is interesting to put the camera up at various places such as: well used trails, scrapes, rubs, food plots and minerals licks. I’m sure that you can think of a few places where you would like to know how much deer activity takes place.

Most scouting cameras have the ability to place the date and time on the photograph. This can be very helpful in determining the time of day the deer show up at your particular hotspot. I use it to let me know what time I have to be in the woods in the mornings so that I don’t have to get out of bed any earlier than I have to.

There are a few things that will help ensure that you will not be disappointed with your scouting camera.

Try not to place the camera where it is facing into either the rising or setting sun.

Clear weeds away from the front of the camera so that you do not get pictures of weeds swaying in the breeze.

Do not set your camera up too close or far away from where you expect the deer to travel. A camera set up on a tree within 3 feet of the trail is too close whereas most flashes cannot reach much beyond 30 feet or less.

Fresh batteries! It is very disappointing to find out that you didn’t get many pictures because your batteries have died. Rechargeable batteries are gaining popularity lately; I’m having good success using them with my digital scouting camera.

I advise buying a scouting camera that has a locking device. It would be too easy for someone to walk away with your camera if it is not locked.

I am using a digital scouting camera for the first time this year and highly recommend them. There are many advantages to the digital camera, in particular the capability of viewing your pictures right away.

The exciting part is seeing a picture of a nice buck that you didn’t know was on your property. These pictures help you get out of bed on those cold mornings and make you stay in your stand longer when you get bored. Get yourself a scouting camera and have fun with it.

Identify Landscape Photo Art

In my opinion, landscape photo art means creating a visual metaphor for a concept you have in mind, for a feeling within yourself. People often think that taking a landscape photo is a simple matter and that anyone can do it. But having a camera with you on a trip on the mountain and taking photos from time to time so that you’ll remember you’ve been there, has nothing to do with landscape photo art.

History indicates that it’s very difficult to become an “artist” in landscape photography. Besides the natural talent, you also need good equipment, much work and a lot of patience. Landscape photo art is not about taking photos, it’s about making them.

Good landscape photo equipment is quite expensive. If you can’t afford buying all the proper components from the beginning, you have to prioritize your budget into the lenses, as they are the essential equipment element in landscape photo art. You need prime lenses (with fixed focal length) and high quality zooms. The camera body must have internal meter and manual setting capability, for choosing the aperture and shutter speed. There is no need to mention that it is impossible to make a quality landscape photo without using a good tripod with a ball head. However, a good photographer can take excellent photos with any camera, the good equipment will only make photos even better, while a marginal photographer will not be able to take any good photos no matter how expensive the equipment might be.

Once you get the proper equipment, as a beginner in the landscape photo art, you can start thinking about what places you want to photograph, what kind of light suits your idea best, what kind of weather you want, and many other details.

For instance, if you want to photograph a mountain landscape, you must have in your mind the message you want to portray, the feeling that you want to share with those who will look at your photo. If you’re taking the photo on a bright summer day, people who the photo are much more likely to experience a pleasant feeling, or even strongly desire to go there. If you photograph the same landscape on a rainy or foggy day, the feelings you suggest are different but can sometimes lead to greater artistic license.

In order to transform “just taking photos” into landscape photo art, you also need to work a lot and to invest passion in what you’re doing. For instance, if you want to capture a sunrise in a specific location, you have to wake up before the sunrise and go there. Time becomes a consideration. Then you have to wait until the sky changes. It is at that moment when nature seems to wake up from its sleep and it this moment will last for less than a second perhaps. You have to capture that moment in your photograph to please and impress. Of course, it is possible not to get the result you hoped for from the first attempt, and then you have to check the weather forecast and get back the next day and try it again. And maybe the next day, instead of a sunrise, you will only see clouds and rain and you will have to return some other time. The idea is that you need a lot of patience and perseverance in landscape photo art.

A simple photograph may have the power of saving or destroying a place. Imagine you manage a great photo of the most beautiful and wild landscape you’ve ever seen. When people see your photograph, they may also want to go there to take pictures or just visit the location, this can eventually destroy wilderness and make it just a common landscape. Sometimes you should only share the image and keep the geographic details to yourself in landscape photo art – many professionals practice exactly that.

Glamour Photography

Glamour Photography is not that Much Different from Traditional

Have you ever been to a seminar about how lighting affects photography? You might imagine some exotic lighting solutions to get amazing improvements in glamour photography. When you take a closer look you will see the lighting can come from a very make-shift lighting source. There are guidelines but not rules. With only a few modifications to the traditional lighting techniques, you can create amazing results

Background to Use for Glamour Photography

You can set up a background or use nature for your glamour photography. The background can be attached to a pole that works as a stand. This makes the background mobile.

Start Today Creating Your Own Glamour Photography

By knowing the rules first, the experience gained will give you a more creative eye. If the rule is not getting the artistic result you want, veer slightly from the rule. This is what most artists in any medium do. They begin from the foundation of rules and veer from them until gradually they have created their own unique methods.

Benefits of Disposable Cameras

Disposable cameras are called “single-use” or “one-time” cameras. You can get both digital and film disposable cameras. They’re available almost everywhere, from your local camera store to the grocery store. These cameras take all the work, worry and fuss out of picture taking and leave pure enjoyment. The photo quality is often quite good, and the point-and-shoot nature of almost all disposable cameras mean that you can capture those moments that are missed as you fiddle with all the buttons and wires and the 100+ pages of detailed instructions in your expensive camera’s owner’s manual. Additionally, when you point a little plastic camera at someone, the reaction you get will likely be very different; people are disarmed, more casual and open.

There are a wide variety of Disposable Cameras on the market — and many uses for them, too. Most models come with a rear monitor to view images. They are fully automatic, including the flash (if they have one), usually have a self-timer, and occasionally have an image-delete function. Prices for a camera with the capability for 25 or 27 pictures range from $9 to $19. These prices may or may not include processing, which adds around $10. You can get cheaper prices if you buy in wholesale in quantity or buy without a flash. They can be as inexpensive as $2.00 each!

Most models will yield an image of sufficient quality that it can be blown up to an 8 X 10 inch print, but not all. Some models that are under $10 create overexposed flash images when used with the camera’s short flash range (only 4 feet to 8 feet). Another drawback with some of the cheaper models especially is that the viewfinder can be difficult to see through. Typically, even the more expensive versions make you wait between flashes, limiting how many pictures you can take in a given period of time.

Many disposable cameras have a rear monitor that lets you delete the image you just took. However, on most of these, you cannot scroll through the photos you have taken, or use the screen to frame a photo. On some of the less expensive models, the delete function is useless because there is no rear monitor to see what you are deleting.

Both the film disposable camera and the digital disposable camera are convenient and fun, but if you are looking for professional results or a variety of options, stick with the higher end film or digital cameras. And if you shoot photos on a regular basis, it’s cheaper in the long run to purchase a regular, non-disposable camera even if you pay to process the prints.

However, having the option to take a disposable camera with you on a family vacation, work party or wedding can be great. Sometimes you don’t want to take an expensive camera on a trip for fear it will be stolen, you’ll leave it behind, or it might get broken — an alternative solution comes in the form of the less expensive but perfectly serviceable disposable camera. You get the photos you want without the worry you don’t need.

Macro Photography

A practical way for defining macro photography is by the strength of the lens, or how nearby it can focus. For true macro photography, you’ll want to have a lens that focuses down to a 1:1 range. For example,for 35mm film,your camera has to have the ability to focus on an area at least as small as 24×36mm ,because this is the size of the image on the film.After having the film developed,the picture of the subject on the negative or slide will be exactly the same size as the subject photographed.

What makes macro photography seductive is the level of detail that you see, sometimes for the first time – familiar objects become unusual and abstract and unusual objects become even more interesting.

There are many applications for macro photography: flowers,plants,butterflies, minerals,snowflakes… Your own backyard, a local garden,beach or forest can provide you with hours of fun with macro photography.

Of course macro photography isn’t always centred on the natural world. Collectors use macro photography to record coins,stamps and other collectibles that are very small.Some people use macro photography for documenting their possessions for insurance purposes or to illustrate their auction listings online.

Working with macro photography can be a whole new visual event for even the most advanced photographers.Every day can yield another subject and an endless supply of captivating images.The possibilities of macro photography are limited only by your imagination.

If you are interested in macro photography, then by all means consider purchasing a dedicated macro lens.SLR digital cameras with interchangeable lenses are ideal for macro photography.If you’re primarily interested in outdoor photography, consider a 180mm or 200mm macro lens.

Alternatively you can use extension tubes,reversing rings, or close-up diopter lens.

An extension tube is placed between the camera body and the lens. There is no glass in the tube – its purpose is to move the lens farther from the film (or digital sensor) so that magnification can be bigger.

Reversing ring is attached on the front of a lens and makes it possible to attach the lens in reverse.

Close-up diopter lens are placed in front of the camera’s main lens. These screw-in or slip-on attachments provide close focusing at very low cost.However,the quality of the pictures is variable.

Shooting Interiors

  • Use a wide angle lens. Shooting wide can make the room look great, especially when in Hong Kong, the size of the property is most likely less than 100 sq. meters. In a confined space, sitting tight into one corner while you try to get the other three corners in just looks wrong. You shouldn’t shoot all three walls into one picture. Showing the highlights of the interior design features is important. About the lens, anything in the 16-24mm range on full frame (or the APS-C equivalent which equates to 10-16mm approx. on some less expensive camera) is great. I often use 17mm full frame for my wide interior work.Tip 3: Sufficient indoor and natural lighting are both important. Light up the room. If there is good natural light coming through the windows, use that as well. Adjust the overall feeling of the lighting to a balanced and optimized level.
  • Find the best angle. Take time to explore different angles to shoot from. Decorate the room with small artistic items, plants or anything you like to add a bit of creativity. We can’t all afford a tilt-shift lens to keep perspective in check, so it’s a really good idea to shoot with the camera at or slightly above mid-room height. This means you can keep the camera aimed out straight to keep the walls vertical. While the perspective distortion you get can be corrected in post-production, it’s much easier to get it right in camera. This is another reason to use a tripod as well.
  • Use post-processing software, e.g. Photoshop or Lightroom. You should bring the Highlights down and open up the Shadows. Next bring the Blacks down to ensure that the contrast lost from opening up the Shadows doesn’t impact the image too much.

Guide to Hand Coloring

“This is beautiful”, she praised, “What color lab to you use?”
I avoided her question, answering, “That’s medium oil, not natural color”. Well, if she had a magnifying glass, she would have used it.

There are several problems inherent in trying to turn a black and white photograph into color. The color added to a normal image will look too dark and will also diminish the clarity of the highlights. White and cool colors are easy to produce on a black and white image, but warm colors appear subdued. The former problem is solved by printing the image two tones lighter than normal, but retaining the full spectrum of tones. If the latter problem is a concern, partial toning is recommended. In this process, the areas that will be cool colors is masked off with a waterproof removable medium, allowing only the to-be-warm areas to tone brown (sepia). The same effect can be done digitally.

A lightly textured surface is preferred like Ektalure G or Canvas, however, any luster surfaced paper will do. If an inkjet paper is used, use a heavy weight (90 lb.) matte surfaced paper. A protective coat of matte lacquer will be needed for color oil application. Apply Marshall’s Oils Flesh 2 to the lighter areas of the face and Flesh 3 to the shadow areas. Work from the center of the area using a ball of long fiber cotton. Blend and wipe until an even coat covers the skin. Lightly rub out the highlights with a fresh ball of cotton. Do not get any oil color on the other areas. If you do, go over the line, use extender to clean off the error. Clean out the eyes with extender on a cotton tipped stick and apply the eye color. Add a small dot of cheek to the corner of the eye and a little blue to the whites. A light coating of black suffices for the pupil. Clean out the highlights.

Apply cheek color using a patting motion. Delicately blend the color without removing the under layer of flesh. Apply lip color with a pint of cotton on a stick in a heavy layer. Wipe down with fresh cotton starting from the corner of the mouth toward the center. Use a pointed fresh cotton stick with extender to clean out the highlights. A soft ended stick without extender creates the nose highlights and a cotton ball the forehead, cheeks and chin.

Next, color the hair using blends of Verona Brown, Ochre, and Flesh2. The darker the hair, the more Verona Brow, the blonder the hair, use more ochre. Clean out the highlights only about 80%.

Add color to the background, blending carefully into the hair and overlapping into the clothing areas. Clean out and rub dry the areas of clothing that received some background color. Color the clothing last. If rich color is indicated, use the intense variety of Marshall’s Oils. Work quickly to achieve an even coat, wiping out the lighter areas with fresh cotton balls.

Taking Panoramic Landscapes

Panoramas have a reputation of being hard to take. There are dedicated panorama cameras available but unless you’ve got at least a thousand dollars to spare, you probably can’t afford one! But you can take panoramas with any kind of camera.

All a panorama is, is a sequence of images where you turn slightly for each different frame. In the old days, before PCs and the likes of Photoshop were around, you’d take your prints (there wasn’t much point in shooting panoramas on slide film, for obvious reasons), lay them out on a table and position them over each other where they overlapped. A bit of sticky tape held them together. [As a side note, this technique was used by NASA to build up mosaic pictures of the planets and satellites their spaceprobes visited, up till the late ’70s/early 80s when computers were introduced to make the process less laborious].

Now that PCs and image manipulation packages are easy to come by, high-quality panoramas can now be created by anyone. If you’re shooting slide or negative film, you will need to have your images scanned before you do anything else.

DIY Panoramas

The idea behind taking panoramas with SLR cameras is that the camera is rotated around its nodal point during each successive exposure. What’s the Nodal Point? It’s the point inside your camera where the light rays converge and flip over. It’s different for different focal lengths (on zoom lenses) and for different prime lenses (fixed focal length lenses like a standard 50mm lens). It’s important to rotate about this point to eliminate image mismatches due to changes in parallax. Parallax is the apparent shift of an object against a background due to a change in observer position.

Just to be clear, the Nodal Point is not the same as the film/sensor plane. Generally, for most SLR cameras and lenses, the Nodal Point is located somewhere towards the center of the lens barrel and lies in front of the image/sensor plane.

The Problem With Parallax

Parallax is easily demonstrated by a simple experiment. Hold up your finger about 1 foot in front of your face and alternately open and close your left and right eyes. You’ll notice that your finger shifts left and right with respect to the background depending on which eye is open. Try another experiment: With your finger still raised, close one eye and turn your head from side to side. Notice how your finger moves with respect to the background. This relative movement is due to the fact that you’re not rotating your head around your eye’s nodal point, which is somewhere in the center of your eyeball. Instead, you’re rotating about your spine which is several inches to the rear and off to one side. It is this relative side-to-side motion that we try to eliminate when setting up a camera for panoramas. [If you want to read up more about parallax, Wikipedia have a good explanatory article.]

Now, if you consider a camera held up to your face – it will suffer even greater parallax errors as it’s farther from your spine (the point of rotation of your head) than your eye. It’s surprisingly common for people to take panoramas in this fashion and then find the individual pictures don’t match up.

So use a tripod and rotate the camera on the tripod. The parallax errors will be significantly smaller but there will still be some error involved. However, the images will match up better than with the head rotation method.

Mechanical Contraptions

What perfectionists strive for is to have the camera rotate about the nodal point. There are brackets and contraptions available that will let you offset your camera from the tripod’s axis of rotation and with a little experimentation and trial and error, you can position your camera so that its nodal point is directly over the axis of rotation of the bracket. Getting this spot-on means your images should line up perfectly.

A few months ago I bought such a bracket – the Kaidan Kiwi. This comes in two halves which produce an L-shaped bracket. Its instruction manual explains how to set it up and find the nodal point for your camera and lens. However, you have to get your tripod perfectly level before using it, otherwise you end up with a curved panorama rather than a straight one.

I’ve had good success using this bracket, but it is large and heavy and certainly a bit too cumbersome to be carrying on long walks or while away on vacation.

AutoStitch To The Rescue

Then I recently came across a free bit of software called AutoStitch. Written by a couple of students at the University of Columbia, this takes all of the heartache out of creating panoramas. All you do is select the size of the final image and tell it what images you want it to stitch. It then goes off and produces your panorama.

It really is that simple. Unless successive images are radically different in exposure (i.e. one image to too light or dark compared to another), it seamlessly blends them. It performs all the warping of the images necessary to get them to align (other software I’ve used can cause ghosting in the overlap areas where it hasn’t quite aligned the images). It also aligns multiple rows of images rather than just a single strip.

Even better, it doesn’t require you to set up your camera to rotate about its nodal point. When I was in Crete last year, I tried shooting a few panoramas with my Canon EOS 300D held up to my eye (I didn’t have a tripod with me). When I got home, I tried stitching the pictures together using various bits of software (including software dedicated to stitching images together) and didn’t get satisfactory results. I knew, though, that it was because I’d swivelled the camera about my spine. But I tried these images with AutoStitch and they came out perfectly. See for yourself here.

I went walking up the Wicklow mountains in Ireland no too long ago and up to a high point called Djouce which offers a view over the rolling hills south of Dublin. As an experiment, I shot 8 frames while rotating my head about the scene (camera to eye as per normal). I wanted to see if the Crete photos were a fluke as the panoramas from there were composed of, at most, 3 frames each (sometimes 2).