One of the toughest personal self-searching processes a photographer will go through is defining their style. Many of us will latch on to a composition or a color palette, sometimes by accident, that isn't really defining but is a part of our learning process as photographers. Eventually we learn what we like or value in a photograph and as we create, this becomes our style. But, can you define your style and explain it to someone else or even yourself?
Articles written by JT Blenker
For landscape photographers, a tripod is essential tool for creating those amazing photos showing the movement of rivers and streams. When the dynamic range of a composition is in the double digits, a sturdy tripod will help to blend bracketed images in post. Also, for those who want to create incredibly large panoramas or nighttime imagery, the tool kit begins with an excellent tripod. Zion National Park has become even more restrictive for 2018 and removed the ability for photographers in workshops from using any tripods on any trails within the park.
Rokinon is adding to their line up once again with a new lens design that may delight many photographers.The Rokinon AF 14mm f/2.8 lens looks to be designed in the new style the lens family has adopted the past year. This new lens added to the lineup will hopefully impress not only the daytime shooters, but also the nighttime astrophotographers that have leaned on Rokinon lenses for Milky Way and wide-angle night sky imagery over the past few years.
Today Panasonic announced at CES 2018 the new Lumix GH5S, a video focused camera that should be a boon for the prosumer hobbyists and professionals alike. Panasonic has changed several aspects of the camera to give an edge to the photographer and filmmaker that will enable them to step above the current Panasonic Lumix GH5 in usability and creativity. If you’ve been wanting even more out of your Lumix line of cameras, this may be the tool for you.
Thomas Heaton has released his final YouTube video of his trip to Namibia, and it ended on a fantastic note. It shows what landscape photography can be, that for many it's not just creating imagery, but a personal way of learning who they are. The tidbits in the video really are just that extra sprinkle of education on top of some life lessons for those who take their cameras to far off destinations. It’s one reason why I and many others enjoy Heaton’s videos so much.
As photographers, our friends, relatives, and significant others sometimes despair at trying to find what may appeal to us and be within their holiday budgets. We may casually let them know that we are super excited about this new gadget that will "really" improve our photography if we only had that one newfangled gizmo. Whether it’s a brand new piece of kit or something that’s been in our bags sitting from a few years ago, we still need to learn what that "new" tool can do.
This week will have one of the most amazing astronomical events of the year (besides that continent-crossing solar eclipse this past August). The Geminid meteor shower is streaking across the sky this week on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. If you didn't know or maybe just forgot, it's time to make plans to get to a dark sky area for a once a year celestial show that many astronomers call the best meteor shower of the year.
When shooting the Milky Way and nightscapes, there are several ways to get cleaner images with less perceivable noise and other techniques to increase dynamic range. Ian Norman from Lonely Speck has been putting out tutorials for shooting at night for a few years now, and his newest video goes into addressing ISO noise by mixing two different techniques to create a better resolving and cleaner final composition.
Nightscape and wide-angle astro photographers have a number of choices for lenses and gear that they didn't have before and NatureTTL has put together a quick rundown of 3 of the most popular lenses for astrophotography; the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art, the Rokinon SP14mm f/2.4, and the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC.
Thomas Heaton created a new set of videos last week about one of my favorite topics and shooting styles: landscape panoramas. I love photographing night skies and landscapes this way and the technique overall is very simple yet can give fantastic results. The best time to start learning how to shoot panoramas is during the day and Heaton takes us through his photography of a great autumn scene and explains what, why, and how he is capturing the images before he goes into his post processing.
Getting great light in an event setting whether inside or outside is a tough shoot. You have to understand exposure, people are moving sometimes erratically, ambient light is moving over your subjects randomly, and you still have to create sellable imagery. I photograph several nightclubs in Dallas, TX regularly and the imagery I’m creating is their marketing for new patrons. What I have to show is an inviting and fun environment whether it’s packed or not and where people will want to spend their weekday and weekend nights, and let’s be honest, their hard earned money. This lighting isn’t tough to do, but takes some thought to execute as you move throughout a room or outdoor area.
If you’ve been photographing a short time, you may just now be looking into a tripod to add to your kit. You may have purchased a tripod early on and are now realizing that the plastic tripod from the big box store wasn't the most positive choice for taking images and now you’re looking at tripods that don’t break the bank. Usually we are looking at tripods out of absolute necessity and are thinking that they are mostly all the same, which like most things, is simply not true. Tripods have a multitude of features depending on what your needs are, and for those looking at investing into a new tripod should watch this breakdown video from Joe Edelman on choosing a tripod that fits your needs.
When using a camera on a race track it's best to be cautious, and in this case really lucky. What looks like a back woods rally circuit, there are a multitude of onlookers and spectators for the day's racing. We see the number 50 car becomes airborne on a ramped corner in the beginning of the video, and while attempting to hold the line over compensates for the turn and careens toward a camera man pitched at the end of the inside of the turn.
Twice a year Professional Photographers of America hosts a learning opportunity for any photographer, whether they are a PPA member of not. PPA calls these Super One Days and they are available throughout the country and held by local photographers that give their time and expertise to a diversified set of subjects in many local communities. The options for classes range from different aspects of the business of photography, to shooting many different types of imagery, to post-processing, and even creating with prints and products in mind. The diversity of options available and that it’s many times a local photographer offering a class makes these educational opportunities worthwhile.
Thomas Heaton put out a new YouTube video a few days ago that many photographers, especially those who hike out to destinations, will have a lot of interest in. Heaton is downsizing not only the amount of equipment for his next landscape photography adventure, but he’s also trying out Canon’s APS-C mirrorless system that’s on loan from Canon. As we see in the video, he does have some reservations about using the M5 system over the 5D Mark IV and specifically going from the L-series glass to the less robust lenses with the Canon M5.
This coming week will be busy for me as I travel across Virginia to several VPPA guilds and talk about a huge passion of mine with astrophotography. I will also tell them what made me a photographer and who made me a photographer is them. It’s one of the very first things I state when I start my talks and it needs to be said. Other photographers are the reason I’m a photographer today.
On September 14, 2017 the Royal Observatory Greenwich announced the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards. The Guardian writes of the awards, "Awe-inspiring views of the Universe were celebrated at the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 awards ceremony, held at the Royal Greenwich Observatory." The competition inspired entries from all over the globe and this is the first year entries included images of the furthest planet in our solar system and asteroids streaking through the images. Of the over 3,800 entries competing in the 9 categories an overall winner has been chosen and the images simply speak for themselves.