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Articles written by Rex Jones

It's Worth Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

It's Worth Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

I think we all tend to figure out, one way or another, what works specifically for us as individual photographers. There are some styles that I simply don't shoot, some subjects that simply don't interest me, and elements that I simply would not put together for a shoot. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have many times found myself in a creative rut. You know, that mental state where you can think through the mechanics of most your shoots and it's just not as interesting as it has been in the past?

Three Ingredients for Great Landscape Photos

Three Ingredients for Great Landscape Photos

I realized a while back that I watch a lot of YouTube videos. Sure, I'll kill some time while laughing at something completely idiotic, but most of my time on the website is looking for my next lesson in photography. For me, photography is something that I don't think I will ever stop learning, and it's one of the things I like most about it. I love the fact that there is always something else for me to learn, something new for me to try, and countless of other photographers from whom I can learn.

Photographing Infants and Toddlers: Working With Short Attention Spans

Photographing Infants and Toddlers: Working With Short Attention Spans

Some time earlier this year, I had this idea to try and find my own approach to portraiture solely for children. It was a multi-faceted idea which came to me pretty much at random. I was reviewing some of my recent portrait work when I realized that I had only ever worked with a couple of children as my subjects throughout my entire running career as a photographer. I figured out a long time ago that family portraits really just weren't something I was interested in, but that didn't really have anything to do with my actual choice of subjects. Just because I didn't want to shoot family portraits didn't necessarily mean that I couldn't work with kids.

Videos of U.S. Atmospheric Nuclear Tests Are Declassified and Released to Public

Videos of U.S. Atmospheric Nuclear Tests Are Declassified and Released to Public

For a long time cameras have been used to document history both in still images and in motion pictures. Some of these pictures have been around and publicly available for a long time, others are only available to the individuals who actually own the footage, still there are others that have been kept classified and completely unavailable to anyone without the right security clearance. This has been the case for many videos of the nuclear tests conducted by the United States, until now. The researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have just released 62 of these nuclear test videos that are newly declassified.

Shooting in Winter: My Go-To Gear List and Other Suggestions

Shooting in Winter: My Go-To Gear List and Other Suggestions

Personally, I love shooting in winter, I love the challenge to find and create good compositions while my extremities are slowly going numb, and I love the freedom to go and shoot more beautiful scenery while it is devoid of most tourists and travelers. Over the years, my choice of locations has gotten more aggressive in comparison to my earlier ventures out into the cold. I want to go further, I want to hike deeper, and I simply want more ice and snow in my shots. Chasing after some of these views has resulted in the need for more planning, better timing, and investments in higher quality gear.

How to Process Drone Photos in Lightroom

How to Process Drone Photos in Lightroom

Chances are that many of you are familiar with the works of Michael Shainblum. Not only was he Fstoppers' Photographer of the Month earlier this year in September, but he also garnered quite a bit of acclaim for his iconic shot of the solar eclipse in August this year. Aside from being an impressively accomplished landscape photographer, Shainblum is a skilled photography mentor. I've been a fan of his work for years now, and to this date, his tutorial covering post processing for star photography is one of the most enlightening courses I've ever purchased.

Beating the Winter Doldrums: Creating Beautiful Winter Images Without Any Snow

Beating the Winter Doldrums: Creating Beautiful Winter Images Without Any Snow

Creating landscape images in wintertime is always a unique challenge filled with its own obstacles and rewards. Chasing after that one composition that you've been dying to capture, trying to get out and capture that crisp winter scene before any of the snow becomes filled with the footprints of other photographers and adventures, and simply having the opportunity to see familiar views in a completely different season is something that many photographers look forward to.

Art Rangers: A New Way to Support the Preservation of National Parks

Art Rangers: A New Way to Support the Preservation of National Parks

The national parks system in the United States has provided enjoyment of the outdoors for millions upon millions of people since August 25, 1916 when the National Parks Service was founded. For over 100 years now we have had access to some of the most incredible hikes and views to be found on the planet. As is similar to any well used item, the parks often fall into disrepair and need to be maintained and upgraded with continued use. The Art Rangers has stepped up to help the National Park Foundation in generating funds to help with the costs of maintenance for the parks.

Combine Photos and Create Collages in Photoshop with Layer Masks

Combine Photos and Create Collages in Photoshop with Layer Masks

Utilizing layer masks within Photoshop isn't going to be anything new to some of you but if you are one who is somewhat unfamiliar with using masks in your work then this quick tutorial by Colin Smith, with photoshopCAFE, is just for you. Layer masks are best known for hiding or revealing sections of an image in a non-destructive manner. This could be compared to an eraser tool that can be reversed at any time without having to resort to your history panel. Even though the history panel in Photoshop CC now lets you set the controls to record up to 1000 history states, by using layer masks you don't have to undo all of your work in a sequential order in order to go back and modify the layer that you are masking.

Marketing on Facebook Just Got Smarter

Marketing on Facebook Just Got Smarter

According to a news update by Facebook, there are more than 1.2 billion people who are connected via Facebook to a small business in another country. In an age where digital products and online services are easier to create and sell, it naturally makes sense to open up target markets across borders. Last year Facebook introduced cross-border solutions in order to help business connect to the ever increasing mobile market through the social media platform. Facebook just recently updated the marketing options available for businesses who use the platform to market to customers online. There are four new market targeting options, within the Facebook Business module that allow you to connect with new customers who live in areas that would previously have been more difficult to identify.

Sony Releases Imaging Edge: Software to Support Sophisticated Creative Work

Sony Releases Imaging Edge: Software to Support Sophisticated Creative Work

Sony just released their new software suite, Imaging Edge, which is the combination of three applications. The three different programs come bundled together in a single installer which is available for both Windows and Apple computers which you can download here. The software set features several functions and controls that aren't exactly new to the world of photography but are designed in a way to help streamline workflows for photographers. In addition, just as was outlined in Sony's original announcement, Imaging Edge is designed to maximize the capabilities of the Pixel Shift Multi Shooting technology.

Know Your Rights: Basics of Photographic Copyrights

Know Your Rights: Basics of Photographic Copyrights

At this point I have lost track how many times I have been given inaccurate counsel from other well-meaning people, such as, "Make sure you copyright that so nobody can steal it," or "If you put it online then you give up your rights and it becomes public property." Such advice will only ever come from people who don't actually understand copyright laws. When it comes to copyright issues and navigating them, the only advice worth following is advice that can be backed up by law. If you receive advice that can't be backed up by legitimate copyright law then the advice is simply someone's opinion.

Sharpening in Lightroom: Make the Most Out of the Detail Panel

Sharpening in Lightroom: Make the Most Out of the Detail Panel

Adobe Lightroom was a pretty slick piece of software to begin with, but over the past several updates it has become an incredibly powerful tool for photographers. Of all the different controls and tools available within the software, the Detail panel has become one of my favorites. If you use Adobe Camera Raw or Adobe Photoshop, you can find the same set of controls that we're talking about today which of course is within Lightroom. Adobe has been streamlining their systems for a long enough time now that handling raw files, although from a cataloging perspective is quite different, is almost identical between Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop.

Working With Kids: The Challenges and Rewards

Working With Kids: The Challenges and Rewards

As a photographer, working with children can be incredibly challenging at times, but it can also be just as much fun. I have found that there is no real secret behind taking great shots of kids, but rather it comes down to how you navigate interacting with each child while on the shoot. The range of personalities that kids will display is incredibly diverse, this means that it is unlikely that you will be able to interact with any given child the same way that you did with another. This also means that it will be really easy to capture very unique shots on every single shoot.

Why You Should Consider Giving Film a Chance

Why You Should Consider Giving Film a Chance

I still try to learn, as much as I can, as often as I can, especially in the world of photography. No matter how much more experience I manage to gain or how many people I get lucky enough to work with, I think I will always still feel like a beginner who is just learning the craft. I was fortunate enough to begin my adventures into photography with a great darkroom class. My experience behind the camera quite literally started with black and white film and using enlargers to bring my images to life.

Tips for Shooting Landscapes in Tourist-Heavy Locations

Tips for Shooting Landscapes in Tourist-Heavy Locations

What do you do if that one location you want to photograph on your trip just happens to be one that hundreds if not thousands of other people also want to photograph? It can be a tricky situation to navigate. Sometimes it can be straight up frustrating. After too many instances where I found myself just being irritated, I found a few different ways to approach my shots of popular destinations that allowed me to capture what I wanted without having to feel like I was fighting crowds just for my shot.

Yes, You Should Still Be Studying the Work of Ansel Adams

Yes, You Should Still Be Studying the Work of Ansel Adams

There is a good reason that Ansel Adams' name has stood the test of time through the years. As one of the photographers in history who gets studied the most, Adams' work continues to be used as an example to photography classes and studies around the world. One of the reasons why he is still revered around the world is because of how carefully his images were crafted and how difficult they are to recreate. Digital and printed recreations of his images just don't quite have quite the depth and quality that his original prints do.

Instagram Hits 800 Million, Launches New Controls for Safety and Filtering

Instagram Hits 800 Million, Launches New Controls for Safety and Filtering

Instagram just recently announced that they have grown past 800 million users with 500 million people using the popular social media app every day. This week the company updated the app's ability to take more control of the commenting on your posts. In the June update, Instagram created a filter to block offensive comments in English, and that filter has just been expanded to include the languages of Arabic, French, German, and Portuguese. Instagram is in the process of improving the filter over time to allow the general experience of sharing to improve simultaneously.

Make the Most of Autumn Colors This Fall

Make the Most of Autumn Colors This Fall

That's right, it's just about every photographer's favorite time of year. The last thing that anyone wants is to have the season come and go without having had the chance to capture as much of it as we can. Whether you shoot landscapes, or portraits, or even if you don't take pictures at all but still want to have the chance to make the most of the autumn colors then here are some tips that might help.

Use Color Contrast in Photoshop for More Depth and Richness in Portraits

Use Color Contrast in Photoshop for More Depth and Richness in Portraits

There are so many different ways to process your photographs. Some people will spend hours on a single image, others will spend a few seconds, and the rest of us fall somewhere in between those ranges. For the most part I think we all strive to get as much as we can in-camera through the time we spend metering subjects, dialing in exposure settings, and controlling our lighting whenever possible. Post-processing is just another part of that creative process where we harness the capabilities of the image created in the negative and use our own preferential techniques to create the final image.