Photo Tips and Stories (Page 19) RSS Feed for Photo Tips and Stories

 Wednesday, August 23, 2017

by Sean Setters

Bryan has mentioned it several times, but it bears repeating. Getting your significant other flowers is not only a great way to foster goodwill in your relationship, but it also means you have an interesting subject (or subjects) for photographic purposes.

During a recent visit to the ophthalmologist for a checkup, I struck up a conversation with another visitor who worked at a local florist wholesaler, which immediately piqued my interest for the reasons listed above. Fast-forward a few days and there were a dozen Peruvian Lilies (Alstroemeria) ready for admiring on a coffee table.

With such interesting looking flowers available for photographing, I decided to create a focus stack image highlighting one of the flower's anthers and anther caps.

Typically speaking, I would have used the Canon EOS 7D Mark II + W-E1 Wi-Fi Adapter and DSLR Controller app to easily capture the incrementally focused images. Unfortunately, since updating the 7D II's firmware to version 1.1.2, DSLR Controller will no longer communicate with the W-E1.

Without a convenient programmable solution, I decided to use a tripod mounted 5D Mark III and EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM while adjusting focus manually for the 20 images used for the focus stack. For lighting, I used a 16 x 16" collapsible soft box with a 580EX Speedlite flash camera right and another 580EX flash camera left (low) with a full CTO gel fired through a snoot. The second 580EX flash opened up the shadows on the left side of the image and the gel provided a warm light that contrasted well with the cooler tones of the petals. The two flashes were triggered via third-party radio triggers.

Exposure settings were f/4.5, 1/160 sec, ISO 100. The focus stack was compiled in Helicon Focus 6 with finishing adjustments made in Photoshop CC.

Some may question why I would create a focus stacked image instead of using a very narrow aperture to gain the depth of field (DOF) required, but there were very good reasons to use focus stacking in this situation. The following are some benefits to focus stacking compared to using a very narrow aperture for this type of image.

  • The wider aperture provides a much sharper falloff in focus before and after the desired DOF is achieved (the benefit being more of a personal preference/artistic taste in this case).
  • The wider aperture, still being stopped down from the lens' widest aperture, allows for the sharpest result possible while avoiding the softening effects of surpassing the camera's diffraction limited aperture (DLA).
  • The wider aperture allowed for the use of lower power lights – in this case, Speedlites – and/or faster recycling times at ISO 100.

A larger version of the image can be found on my Flickr photostream.

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Post Date: 8/23/2017 9:51:14 AM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, August 22, 2017

With about 1300 miles under his belt (and counting), Bryan has still not arrived home from his eclipse adventure. Thankfully, the distance I traveled to see the total eclipse – as well as the traffic I faced – was significantly less.

With a forecast of partly cloudy with a 15% chance of rain at 2:00pm ET, I decided to brave the slightly concerning weather conditions and head to Santee, SC around 9:30am from Savannah, GA. The trip typically takes about 1 hr 45 min, but... it took significantly longer because of traffic.

Not surprisingly, Santee – with a population of less than a thousand people and relatively close to the "dead center" zone – was a bit stretched as far as resources were concerned, but the crowd of people I joined in the Civic Center parking lot were all amiable and generous with conversation and supplies (several were giving away extra pairs of solar eclipse glasses to anyone that needed them).

Thankfully, the clouds dissapated as the eclipse started and never proved to be an issue. I got to see the total eclise in all its glory, and its something I won't likely forget.

With the longest lens I had topping out at 300mm, I didn't necessarily focus all of my attention photographing the event (especially totality). Instead, I sat and enjoyed the company of other totality-seekers and simply snapped a photo every now and then of the progress of the partial eclipse. As totality began, I removed the solar filter and set my camera – a tripod mounted Canon 7D Mark II – to capture bracketed exposures in burst mode so that I could enjoy the eclipse while the camera took care of the rest. In post processing, I combined a few partial eclipse images with a total eclipse exposure bracket to get what you see above.

So how was your eclipse experience? And what was your favorite image from the event? Did you do anything unique? Share your stories and images in the comments.

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Post Date: 8/22/2017 8:56:44 AM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Saturday, August 19, 2017

Baltimore's Inner Harbor is a target-rich environment and this location became a daytrip destination for giving the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens a workout.
 
I found the art sculpture in front of the Maryland Science Center entertaining and made it my focus as the sun set. I wanted the art sculpture to be framed against the sky, providing a colorful, clean background. I also wanted the city skyline framed above the brick walkway below and the bricks would provide a solid base for the overall image.
 
Those wants meant a position between the science center and the art sculpture was required. That I wanted the art sculpture rendered large relative to the other subjects in the composition meant that a close perspective was required and that meant it was a perfect subject for the 14mm lens I was evaluating. With the wide 14mm focal length on a full frame body, I was able to set up on the science center side of the art sculpture, keeping the science center's roofline just outside of the frame.
 
The time-of-day took care of giving me the right light and colors for this single-exposure capture. With some layers adjustments applied, I didn't need to incorporate the additional exposure-bracketed images I captured.
 
The image quality delivered by the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens is very impressive, even when mounted on an ultra-high resolution Canon EOS 5Ds R camera.


A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.

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Post Date: 8/19/2017 8:00:00 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, August 11, 2017

Sigma has discounted their telephoto zooms, but... with many solar filters now out of stock, a telephoto zoom without a solar filter (or some type of solar protection) will do you no good for the upcoming eclipse.

However, all is not lost. Amazon still has some Thousand Oaks Solar Filter Sheets that you can use to fashion your own lens filter.

If you already own a square filter holder, you can sandwich a square piece of film between two piece of stiff cardboard with a holes cut out that match the size of the end of your lens. Otherwise, if you don't own a square filter holder, you can make a cardboard filter holder that slides onto the end of your lens that is held in place by gaffers tape or a rubber band.

If you go the DIY approach, safety first! Be sure to guard against light leaks and ensure that your filter will stay in place throughout the event.

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Post Date: 8/11/2017 11:53:05 AM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, August 7, 2017

We shared last week that the United States Postal Service has released a special edition stamp featuring a solar eclipse. Unique for a USPS stamp is that it is heat sensitive, revealing a full moon when the heat of a finger is applied to the moon's silhouette.

While the opportunity for photographing a spectacular solar eclipse is coming very soon (August 21), the details shown in the heated stamp's moon will not be available to photograph at that time – the back-lit moon will be totally black. However, tonight's full moon, the last before the upcoming total solar eclipse, provides a great opportunity (weather permitting of course) to capture the image needed to composite into your later-captured solar eclipse images (including even partial solar eclipse images). Compositing the full moon into your solar eclipse images should be relatively easy in post processing, and this strategy provides a great way to differentiate your work from that of other photographers, especially considering that this will likely be the most photographed total solar eclipse in history.

Compositing options include full opacity or at a reduced opacity to mimic the moon's details being very slightly perceptible in the shadowed area within the corona (think of it as a high dynamic range total solar eclipse image). Another option is to create animated GIFs.

Photographing the moon is also great for gaining experience with your solar eclipse gear setup (sans solar ND filter). Testing now means that there is still time to order or rent alternative gear for the big show.

If you don't have the opportunity to photograph tonight's full moon, don't fret – there will be more opportunities coming. Your next chance to capture a full moon image will be September 6, 2017.

Related Articles:

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Post Date: 8/7/2017 8:20:45 AM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, August 3, 2017

by Sean Setters

I recently shared my experience making a DIY Automotive Photography Boom Rig and I thought I'd share another example image created using the same setup. My goal in creating the image above was to capture a moving vehicle during the daytime without over exposing the sky. The best method I could come up with was to use a location that blocked out most (if not all) of the sky in the frame.

The first location that came to my mind was a parking garage. However, parking garages are generally busy during the day, offer little wiggle room for maneuvering in the aisles and require a [minimal] fee to use them. The second location that came to mind was the nearby Wormsloe Historic Site which features a long avenue flanked by live oaks whose branches are filled with Spanish moss. As I already have an annual pass to Georgia's Historic Sites, and the avenue was wide enough to provide plenty of room for boom rig testing, I decided on the latter option.

To get an idea of how dense the tree canopy is, here's a shot of the avenue (with early morning fog) that I took in late 2016:

Wormsloe Historic Site Morning Fog

After arriving at the location and setting up the boom rig, I set my Canon EOS 7D Mark II (fitted with the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM + 4-stop ND filter) to interval mode at f/11, 0.8 sec, ISO 125 and drove down the dirt/gravel avenue at 10 mph (16.1 kph) for roughly 3/8 mile (0.6 km) before parking along a small side road. At that point, I removed the camera from the rig and previewed the images.

Every single image was blurry. I had underestimated just how bumpy the dirt/gravel road was.

Unfortunately, I needed to keep the shutter speed open as long as possible to capture a significantly blurred background at such slow driving speeds. However, driving faster would decrease the interval between bumps in the road. I settled on increasing the shutter speed by 1/3 stop (to 0.6 sec) for my next attempt. I backed out of the side road onto the main avenue, turned my wheels toward the park's entrance and drove back to the parking lot. With the only available spot, I had to swing the wheel pretty hard to park in the open space after passing a sign that marked the beginning of the avenue. It was a shot captured during my turn into the empty parking space that provided the sharpest results while also recording enough movement to significantly blur the background, with every other shot from the second attempt too blurry for practical use.

In post processing, I limited the area used by Photoshop when determining how to fill in areas using "Content Aware Fill", and the technique worked very well for removing the boom rig as well as the boom rig's shadow on the ground.

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Post Date: 8/3/2017 10:47:29 AM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Approximately once every 18 months (on average) a total solar eclipse is visible from some place on the Earth’s surface. However, the average duration between solar eclipses that are visible from any specific location on earth is roughly 375 years. If you live in the U.S. and miss the upcoming opportunity on August 21, 2017 to see the total solar eclipse, you won't have another opportunity until April 8, 2024 when the path goes from Texas to Maine. And if you miss that one, your next two chances will occur in August 2044 and 2045.

In other words, the upcoming total solar eclipse is so rare that you have few opportunities in your lifetime to see (and photograph) the event in North America. Don't wait! Prepare for the solar eclipse today.

Here's a list of suggested gear for photographing the event:

As to which telephoto lens you should choose, that depends on how large you want the sun to be in your frame. Generally speaking, the longer the focal length, the better. Below you can see how the sun will appear at various full-frame focal lengths.

Sun at Various Full-Frame Focal Lengths.gif

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • During totality, you won't be photographing the sun, you'll be photoraphing the sun's corona, so the area of the frame taken up by the sun's corona will be larger than what is shown above.
  • With APS-C sensor cameras, you need to multiply your lens's focal length by 1.6 to get the full-frame equivalent focal length.

There are several great options in regards to long focal length lenses, including the following 400mm+ lenses:

** Budget consideration with an MSRP less than $1,500.00 USD.

Of course, the benefits of having a long focal length telephoto lens in your kit extend far beyond the August 21 event.

Total Solar Eclipse Resources

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Post Date: 8/2/2017 10:00:26 AM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Saturday, July 29, 2017

This little green heron was hunting for early morning breakfast in a relatively thick-growth area over shallow, duckweed-covered water. While the bird was not at all concerned about my presence, I was struggling to acquire a clear view of it, and finding a good body angle along with a pleasing background aligned within such an opening was especially challenging. When the bird hopped up onto this dead limb and walked to the end of it, pausing to determine its next move, I at least had a few seconds with a relatively still bird.
 
And at that moment, I had two of those three goals met. The heron was horizontal to the camera and the background was distant with good color. The foreground obstructions were the remaining issue.
 
I shifted my position enough to get a clear view of the bird's head, focused and held the shutter release down for a short burst (always photograph birds in high speed burst mode as you, minimally, never know when a nictitating membrane is going to come across the eye). When reviewing the result, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens faded the foreground obstructions into a "dreamy" look. Note that calling any kind of photo effect "dreamy" always put a positive spin on an effect that might otherwise be used to downgrade an image, but ... I do like how this one turned out with this photo having a unique appearance.
 
The lighting conditions for this shoot were ranging from direct early morning sunlight to full shade. I was using Manual exposure mode with the aperture set to wide open (f/4) and ISO set to Auto, allowing the camera to adjust to the lighting conditions as needed with me adjusting the exposure composition as lighting situations required. While shooting, I could quickly adjust the shutter speed by simply rolling the top dial. When the bird was about to strike at prey or otherwise move, I quickly selected a fast shutter speed (such as 1/1600 or higher).
 
Of course, when the subject was in full shade, as seen here, 1/1600 meant a very high ISO and that of course means higher noise level in the image. When the bird paused at the end of this dead limb, I quickly rolled the shutter speed down to 1/400 with ISO 2000 being camera-selected. Full frame ISO 2000 looks great. And, that is my little green heron story for today.


A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px.

 
Camera and Lens Settings
600mm  f/4.0  1/400s
ISO 2000
8688 x 5792px
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Post Date: 7/29/2017 8:46:19 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, July 27, 2017

by Sean Setters

A few months ago, I reviewed the RigWheels RigMount X4 Magnetic Camera Platform, a device that allowed me to safely and securely mount a DSLR to the hood (or just about any other metal part) of a car for capturing dynamic, in-motion automotive imagery. While RigMount platform works perfectly as designed, I became interested in other tools used for similar automotive photography, specifically boom rigs.

It didn't take me long to realize that a specially designed car boom rig can be a significant investment. Therefore, I made it my goal to create a DIY version that met the following requirements:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Compact enough for transport
  • Strong enough to provides sufficient safety to camera gear
  • Rigid enough to allow for slow shutter speed use (creating a sharp vehicle)
  • Relatively economical

The "relatively economical" portion is just that – relative. As I had several of the components that I would later employ in my boom setup, the investment cost for me was less than it may be for you, if you don't currently have any of the components conveniently at hand.

Before I go on, let me be absolutely clear – use of a car boom rig involves a certain amount of risk. In other words, you could damage your camera if a suction cup fails, you could damage the car's paint job with a high-strength suction cup and you could easily injure yourself or someone else if they were to get clipped by the boom during a moving photo capture. Proceed with caution; we are not responsible for property damage or injury which may occur as a result of using the gear or techniques described below.

With that out of the way, listed below is the kit I assembled which sufficiently met my requirements above:

(2) Qadira Premium Quality Heavy Duty Aluminum Suction Cup Plate
(5) Impact Super Clamp (1) Arca-style Clamp
(2) Arca-style Plate
(1) Ball Head
(1) 96" Heavy Duty Closet Pole
(1) Manfrotto 022 Counter Balance Weight - 15 lbs

Of the components listed above, I already had the ball head, Arca-style clamps/plates, Manfrotto counter balance weight and two super clamps, making the total investment in new gear relatively reasonable. However, even at full cost for all of the components listed above, you'll likely be spending significantly less compared to a specially designed car photography boom rig setup.

Here's a closer look at the components that make up the portion of the rig that holds the camera:

Mounting the Camera to the Boom Pole.gif

Because I loathe having to screw ball heads onto surfaces over and over again, I've installed a quick-release plate onto one particular ball head so that I can quickly be swap the head between various rigs. With a clamp installed on a super clamp, affixing or removing the ball head takes all of 2 seconds.

Note that one of the Arca-style plates listed above is installed on the camera, with the other (as previously mentioned) installed on the base of the ball head. Typically speaking, I have a battery-grip and an L-bracket installed on my DSLRs. However, wanting to reduce the overall weight hanging on the end of the boom, I opted for exchanging the battery grip and L-bracket for a traditional Arca-style plate.

Here's basically what the setup looked like in use (taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5):

Car Photography Boom Setup

And yes, being roughly 13 years old now, the paint is peeling on the right side of the windshield and the paint on the bumper seems to have faded at a much faster rate. Just after taking the picture above, I disassembled the setup and then recreated it on the passenger side to avoid capturing the peeling paint on the driver's side. I adjusted the front bumper's color in post-processing.

Notes on the DIY Boom Rig

I originally purchased the 96" (8') regular duty closet pole at Home Depot after trying to stress it in store (propping it against a sturdy shelf and pushing on the middle of it) to see if it would flex. A quick test seemed to indicate the regular duty (less expensive, lighter) would work. However, after assembling the components for a test run, I realized that the regular duty pole flexed/bounced a bit too much. Therefore, I bought the heavy duty version instead.

When it comes to booms, 8' (2.44m) isn't necessarily all that long. In fact, a longer pole would likely provide more flexibility in positioning with increased rigidity being required for similar performance. However, as my pole isn't sectional (it doesn't break down), getting anything larger would have required a different vehicle to get my boom to the shooting location. As it was, I was still required to drive to the location with my passenger-side window down with the pole sticking out several inches (I forgot to close the window when capturing the shot atop this post).

Something to keep in mind in regards to boom poles, as the market for car rig photography is relatively small, I don't think anyone is designing boom poles specifically for the purpose. As such, even companies that are selling car boom rig kits are sourcing their boom materials from other companies who design them for other industries. As such, poles designed for windsurfing masts or other similar products could also be used. In fact, you may even be able to purchase your boom pole directly from a tubing manufacturer, with a wide range of materials and specifications to suit the purpose.

When affixed properly to flat portions of your vehicle, the aluminum suction cup holders in the setup above worked quite well in my limited experience (3-4 test runs). Depending on the shape of your vehicle, though, finding flat enough areas for optimal suction can be challenging without articulation between the two handle-connected suction cups. An even more versatile (and more professional-looking) solution would be to use Avenger F1000 Pump Cups, high-power 6" suction cups with a baby swivel pin. Using the Avenger F1000s would require a smaller flat working area and would eliminate two of the super clamps needed in my particular setup. Another benefit of the F1000s is that there is visual confirmation of proper suction, as a red line will appear on the pump when suction is at a critical level (requiring a few more pumps).

Be sure to clean your hood of dirt and debris to ensure the best possible connection between your suction cups and the car. Years ago, a photographer friend of mine who used to do these kinds of shots warned me that strong suction cups can damage a car's paint job, so he typically used paint protection film under the suction cups to protect the car's paint job.

Also note that suction cup mounted car rigs should not be used in colder weather, as suction cups will lose suction very quickly at lower temperatures.

Also pictured in the setup shot above are the Canon EOS 7D Mark II (set to intervalometer mode) and Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye lens used to create the final image, with settings of f/5.6, 1s, ISO 160. For the location, I chose to shoot at a large shopping plaza near midnight to ensure I had an expansive open area (parking lot) with almost no obstacles aside from the easily avoidable light poles.

An important thing to keep in mind when creating your in-motion car images while using a boom rig is that you will likely want to remove the boom rig in post-processing. That means that you may wish to be careful how you position the camera and rig so that hard-to-recreate elements of the car are not blocked by the suction cups or boom pole. To keep post-processing requirements to a minimum, I purposefully positioned the camera so that the suction cups could be seen just above the edge of the car. If the camera had been higher, the suction cups would have blocked a portion of the hood scoop which would have been difficult to recreate in post-processing. If you are an expert in Photoshop, you'll likely have more leway in positioning the camera.

Post-Processing

In post, I applied some distortion correction to remove much of the fisheye look while leaving some of the lens' distortion intact, as well as minor color corrections (including adjusting the color of the bumper) before tackling the boom removal. Here's a before/after shot showing the removal of the boom.

Car Photography Boom Before After.gif

After working with the image, I decided that I wanted less tilt and a looser framing. I decided to give Photoshop CC's Content Aware Crop a try to see how well it generated extra space around a significant portion of the edges. I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

Tips and Final Thoughts

If I were going to be offering this type of photography to potential clients, I would probably change a few things about my setup and image-capturing procedure. For one, I'd likely use two Avenger F1000 Pump Cups with Baby Swivel Pins for easier positioning of the rig and the visible indicator of proper suction provided by the red line on the pump. I actually own one of those pumps from a project I did years ago, and upon testing it yesterday, it took about 10 seconds to affix to my hood and about 5 minutes of forceful pulling to remove it.

Also, instead of having the client actually drive the car with the boom rig installed, I think a better idea would be to push the car and simply use a longer shutter speed for a similar effect. That will reduce vibrations induced by the engine as well as lessen the chance impacting obstacles with the boom with avoidance being even easier at ultra-slow speeds. Of course, those pushing the car would need to remain in an area blocked from view by the car.

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Post Date: 7/27/2017 7:46:58 AM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Saturday, July 22, 2017

On August 21st, 2017, over much of North America, the moon is going to cover the big fireball, creating a spectacular sight (weather conditions permitting of course). Start preparing now – photographing the sun is not difficult and likely is affordable to you.
 
Read through the Solar Eclipse Photography Tips posts and don't miss the Meade Glass White Light Solar Filter review to learn how this image was created.
 
This image is moderately cropped from a 1200mm full frame capture.


A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px.

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Post Date: 7/22/2017 7:00:00 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, July 20, 2017

by Sean Setters

As I mentioned earlier this week, I recently renovated an old workshop to serve as my new photography studio. Above you can see a 360-degree view of the studio. Note that the middle of the panorama shows the back wall of the studio while the edges show the curtain-covered french doors opposite the back wall.

Below are some organizational tools and techniques I used for optimizing the space.

Black Light Portrait July 2017

Always Available 12' Background Support Crossbar

If you look closely at the panorama atop this post, you'll notice a 12' 4-section background support bar held up by the side walls. I purchased the support bar several years ago and it has served me well for larger backdrop needs. I had originally intended on hanging hooks from the rafters to hang the background support, but upon measuring the space, I realized that wasn't necessary. The walls of the studio are slightly less than 12' (3.66m), so it was relatively easy to add a couple of nails to the top of the walls to keep the background pole in place, while still being able to take the pole down when it's needed for on-location work.

Having the 12' background support semi-permanently installed has the benefits of freeing up storage space that would otherwise have been required for the collapsed set of poles while reducing setup time when the background support bar is actually needed.

For the shot above, I used (6) black lights to photograph Alexis in front of an 84x52" tapestry.



Snowboard Rack for Lightstands

Surfboard/Snowboard Rack for Light Stands/Tripods/Monopods

Want a great way store your light stands, tripods and monopods? Get a surfboard/snowboard rack! With 16" arms and a support rating of 100 lbs. (45.4kg), the surfboard rack can store a lot of gear neatly and efficiently.

Just how much lighting and photography gear can you support with a surfboard/snowboard rack? Well, right now, mine is holding:

(9) Light stands (of various sizes and weights)
(2) 40" Extension Arms
(2) Monopods (1 alloy, 1 carbon fiber)
(1) Avenger D600 Mini Boom
(1) Alloy Tripod
(1) Manfrotto 173B Mini Boom Arm

The above gear totals approximately 93 lbs (42.2kg).



Pegboard Organizer for Photography Gear

Pegboard for Misc. Supplies

I tried to make use of previously installed organizational items when possible, and the pegboard installed by the previous owner worked great for storing miscellaneous items such as the following:

A pegboard hooks variety pack was all I needed to transform this otherwise unutilized area behind my post-processing computer's monitors into a convenient storage solution for often-used gear.



Bungee Straps Securing Shelf

Ball Bungees Keep Gear In Check

After placing a few soft boxes/octa boxes on one shelf and umbrellas on another, I quickly realized I needed something to contain the items while leaving them quickly accessible. My solution was to wrap a ball bungee around the top portion of shelf section and a no-damage hair elastic band to the bottom portion of the shelf. With the two fitted together, the gear stays in place yet can be accessed very easily.

Parting Thoughts

Optimizing your gear storage will help you get the most out of your studio space, whether it's a small room, a garage or a large commercial workspace. By utilizing techniques similar to the ones outlined above, you can maximize floor space while simultaneously allowing for quick access to often-needed tools and supplies.

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Post Date: 7/20/2017 12:40:41 PM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, July 18, 2017

by Sean Setters

I just moved into a new house in Savannah and, unfortunately, this one didn't have a large extra bedroom with high ceilings to use as my studio/office space. Fortunately, it did have a detached building that served as the previous owner's workshop.

The floor space available inside the workshop is 17' 5" x 11' 2.5" x 10' 5". The ceiling is 10' 5" at its apex but angles down to create walls which are roughly 7' high. As far as photography studios are concerned, this area is adequate for many needs but few would consider it spacious (especially with the gear that would eventually fill it).

After cleaning out the shop, washing the walls, installing insulation in the ceiling and fixing a minor electrical issue, it was time to decide on what color to paint the walls. Traditionally speaking, white is a good option. But I decided that the traditional option wasn't right for this space.

My previous studio was very slightly larger than this one. And even in that space, controlling light spill could prove problematic. That's because of the numerous nearby bright (yellow) colored walls for the light to bounce off of. Aside from the wall color making color balancing a pain (an x-rite ColorChecker Passport helped), limiting fill light in the space required using black [negative fill] cards for certain shoots.

So while white walls would have helped me avoid color balance issues, it would have compounded my previously-experienced light spill issues in a small (but larger than this) space. After thinking it over, I went to Home Depot and asked the associates in the paint department to mix me "middle gray," or specifically, 18% gray. Apparently, that's not a color that's found in their system. The next day I took a gray card to Home Depot and asked for a color match.

The above photo was taken just after the studio was painted. There's substantially less useable space now that my studio gear is all in place.

For this relatively small space, the benefits of having 18% gray walls include:

  • Less light is reflected compared to white walls, helping to limit light spill for better overall control.
  • For the light that does bounce off the walls, color influence is negligible.
  • A gray background is great for classic portraiture.
  • When gelling the background with flash, gray tends to work better because gelled flashes firing at white walls tend to get washed out relatively easily if any of your ungelled main light contaminates the background.

Unfortunately, there's only one small section of the room where the wall is actually bare and useable for background purposes, and that particular section is located on one of the longer sides of the room (shown above, left side between two power outlets), leaving a relatively small working space that is more appropriate for headshots or head-and-shoulder portraits as opposed to full length portraits. I can of course shoot longways in the studio with many other background options available. Below is recent head-and-shoulders shot I made in the new studio that was used by the subject's parents for a modeling call.

Head and Shoulders Modeling Image

So far, I'm pretty happy with how the studio turned out. I'll be making another post later this week about some of my organizational techniques utilized for the space.

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Post Date: 7/18/2017 7:30:24 AM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, July 17, 2017

The pronghorn is a beautifully-colored animal and this sharp-looking buck gave me a glance perfectly timed with a brilliantly-colored background.
 
I shared the pronghorn chase story (with me being chased most of the time) before, but got around to processing another favorite from that experience. I won't tell you the same story twice, but head over to that page if you do not remember reading the story and strategy before.
 
The 5D Mark IV is a great general purpose camera and wildlife photography is just one of many excellent uses for this model.
 
Do you have your fall photography plans in place?


A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.

 
Camera and Lens Settings
600mm  f/4.0  1/1000s
ISO 320
5088 x 3392px
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Posted to: Canon News, Sony News   Category: Photo Tips and Stories
Post Date: 7/17/2017 8:27:00 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
 Sunday, June 25, 2017

Catchlights in a subject's eyes are usually desirable in a photograph. A bright reflection in the eye creates a sparkle that brings the subject to life. While this applies to human subjects, it also applies to wildlife subjects.
 
This mother black bear (I know that she is a mother because she stashed her 2 cubs high up in a huge hemlock tree 100 yards/m or so behind her) was hunting for food in the woods in Shenandoah National Park. The woods were quite dark due to a heavy tree canopy, but there was a small clearing in the direction the bear was headed. I moved ahead of her and positioned for what I envisioned being the ideal situation that could develop ... and the bear was unusually cooperative.
 
The clearing of course had an opening with sky visible. Sky, especially the sun if the sky is clear, is bright and can create the desired catchlights. However, the angle on the eyes still must be correct to get that reflection.
 
A key point here is that bears generally walk with their head hanging down low and a downward viewing angle on animals' eyes seldom results in a catchlight. This is another good reason to get level with (or even below) your animal subjects, increasing the likelihood of catchlight reflections being created.
 
The other issue created by the head-down walking is the that bear's head falls below most of the beautifully-rich-green plant life in this area. While a bear back showing above the green plants may be interesting, visible eyes are usually required to pass for a keeper image for most serious bear photographers.
 
So, in order to see the eyes in this location, I needed the bear to look up. In a case where I couldn't have planned things any better, this bear hit the clearing, stopped and looked around.
 
This was a randomly moving animal. Though it was not moving fast, it was moving most of the time and its was a bit unpredictable, including making 180° direction changes at times. I had the camera in M (Manual) mode, but was using the camera's autoexposure system via the Auto ISO setting. With these settings, I could simply roll the top dial to get the shutter speed I thought I needed at any moment.
 
If the bear stopped walking (though even then it was always moving its head from side to side), I immediately took insurance shots at confidently-fast shutter speeds and then quickly began shooting bursts at longer exposures in attempt to get some even higher-grade images without motion blur (the longer shutter speeds resulted in lower ISO settings for lower noise). The 1/250 setting used for this image is not close to stressing the capabilities of this image stabilized lens at 560mm on a monopod (used over a tripod for setup speed), but the bear was still moving some. Fortunately, the 1D X II image quality is extremely good at the auto-selected ISO setting of 2500 used here. When the bear began moving, I quickly rolled the top dial to get an action-stopping shutter speed again.
 
The vibrant green foliage in Shenandoah National Park works very well for wildlife images. The wet bear hints at the recent weather conditions. There had been dense fog and a considerable amount of rain and as the 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 2500 camera settings hint, this image was captured under heavy cloud cover.
 
Though this bear appears to be lit by flash, no flash was used. The lighting is all natural ambient light. The bear's position in the opening meant that just enough cloudy sky was visible to brighten the scene and create a nice sparkle in the bear's eyes.
 
So, those are some lessons from a momma black bear. Hopefully you found something said here to be applicable to your own photography!


A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px.

 
Camera and Lens Settings
560mm  f/5.6  1/250s
ISO 2500
5262 x 3508px
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Posted to: Canon News, Sony News   Category: Photo Tips and Stories
Post Date: 6/25/2017 12:00:00 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, June 19, 2017

Have you ever wondered what kinds of Lightroom adjustments were made to an image you found online? Now, there may be an easy way to find out.

Assuming that the JPEG image in question was saved with all EXIF information intact, a website called Pixel Peeper can display the camera and lens used, exposure settings and exactly what types of adjustments were made to that specific image in Lightroom.

I loaded a few images into the tool and it seemed to work as advertised. Give it a try and see what you think. [Sean]

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Posted to: Canon News, Sony News   Category: Photo Tips and Stories
Post Date: 6/19/2017 12:00:58 PM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, June 13, 2017

by Sean Setters

Several years ago when I was first exploring the wonderful world of off-camera flash, radio triggering options were very limited with rudimentary capabilities. It's amazing how much the radio triggering market has changed since then.

Now, in addition to the basic triggers of ye olden days, we have radio triggers that can remotely adjust the power levels of compatible flashes or even adjust power levels automatically via TTL technology. In other words, there has never been a better time to explore what radio-triggered off-camera flashes can do for your photography.

If your current flashes support radio triggering – like the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT – then you don't need anything else. However, if your flashes or studio strobes don't feature radio triggering, or if you need to incorporate non-radio enabled flashes into your radio flash setup, then radio flash triggers will be worth looking into. And on that note, there are a few things to consider when arriving at your preferred choice of radio trigger.

Type of Connection

First, it's important to understand how these radio triggers connect to our shoe mount flashes (and possibly studio strobes). Radio triggers primarily connect to compatible flashes in one of two ways, either by a cable connection or via a hot shoe (and most of those triggers featuring a hot shoe can also trigger via a cable connection).

The most common type of sync port found on shoe-mount flashes is a PC terminal. These sync ports have been an industry standard for decades, but... they are not my personal favorite type of connection. First of all, PC cables are not very robust (easily damaged) and they sometimes disconnect from the socket when a flash is handled with the cord attached (though locking PC compatible ports mitigate this issue).

Impact Sync Cord Male Mini 3.5mm to Male PC 1ft


A select few flashes feature a 3.5mm (1/8") miniphone sync port, which is very convenient as it's the same sync port that's featured on almost every radio trigger with inexpensive 3.5mm male to 3.5mm male cables being easy to find.

A far simpler solution, however, for triggering a shoe-mount flash is to use the flash's mounting foot. Many newer radio triggers feature a built-in hot shoe that your off-camera shoe-mount flash simply slides into. In my opinion, this is the best triggering solution as it eliminates the need for cables which can easily be lost, damaged or simply not long enough (or inconveniently too long) for a specific application.

Transmitter/Receiver or Transceiver

In addition to the type of connection a radio trigger features, it's important to understand whether a specific triggering system is built on separate transmitters and receivers or if a single device can act as both, i.e. is a transceiver. In regards to the separate transmitter/receiver systems (such as Vello FreeWave LR, Radiopopper Nano), a significant pitfall is that is that a single transmitter failure (without a spare transmitter to fall back on) will render all of your receivers completely useless. Alternately, a single device failure in a transceiver setup (such as the PocketWizard Plus/FlexTT* or Cactus V6) means that you only lose the ability to trigger one flash, not the entire group, as any of the devices can act as a transmitter.

In some cases, a company may even produce radio receivers that are completely compatible with camera brand master flashes or transmitters, thereby allowing the use of older (non radio enabled) flashes to be used in an otherwise radio-enabled setup.

Range

One of the primary advantages of radio triggering technology is that it eliminates the line-of-sight requirements for trigging off-camera flashes as well as boosting the range even if line-of-sight positioning of flashes is possible.

For instance, Canon Speedlite's optical flash triggering system has an advertised range of 32.8 ft (10m) outdoors and 49.2 ft (15m) indoors. And technically speaking, line-of-sight isn't always required indoors if surfaces are available for the master flash's transmission to bounce off of in order to communicate with slave flashes.

Now contrast the previously mentioned optical triggering range with that of typical radio triggers advertising anywhere from 300 ft (91.4m) to 1,600 ft (487.68m).

Suffice it to say, most photographers will never need to trigger an off-camera flash from 300+ ft away, but... it's nice to know that your flash will fire when you need to position it in a location that exceeds the capabilities of optical triggering.

Brand Longevity and Backward Compatibility

Another thing to consider when shopping for radio triggers is the likelihood of the brand remaining in the radio triggering market for the foreseeable future and whether or not they have displayed a commitment to backwards compatibility with previous generation devices. One example, PocketWizard, has been producing flash triggers for more than 15 years with newly released products always being backwards compatible in terms of radio frequency.

Basic / Advanced Triggers

In regards to radio flash triggers, there are basic triggers and advanced triggers. Basic triggers transmit/receive only one highly relevant piece of information – FIRE! Because they are relatively easy to design and manufacture, there are a wide range of companies that produce these very-easy-on-the-budget triggers. While most of the triggers will work as intended most of the time, you may experience or occasional misfires and you'll likely forego high build quality with flash triggers at the lowest tier pricing level. Examples of basic triggers include the PocketWizard PlusX, Radiopopper Nano, and Yongnuo RF-603C.

On the other end of the spectrum, advanced triggers provide a myriad of features that make them more versatile and/or more convenient for those working in a professional (or semi-professional) atmosphere. Some advanced triggers are capable of:

  • Flash power levels adjusted automatically via TTL communication
  • Remote manual flash power adjustments
  • Rear curtain sync
  • High speed sync
  • Seamless communication with camera branded flashes
  • Upgradeable firmware
  • Multiple channels to avoid interference

Not all advanced triggers feature all of the capabilities listed above, but most offer at least some of them. The extra features of advanced triggers compared to basic triggers come at a higher cost, of course, but the price differential translates to significantly increased convenience and versatility. Examples of advanced flash triggers include the PocketWizard FlexTT*, Phottix Laso, Cactus V6 and Yongnuo YNE3-RX .

Which radio trigger is right for you?

If you're just exploring off-camera flash for the first time, it's probably a good idea to invest in a set of basic triggers. Why? Because all of the extra features afforded by advanced triggers can complicate the off-camera flash learning process. Basic triggers require manual flash power adjustments and therefore simplify the "cause and effect" learning process. Once basic lighting principles have been conquered, the value of the advanced triggers' full feature set can be fully appreciated.

Then again, nearly all advanced radio triggers can replicate the functionality of basic triggers. So if you're ready to jump down the rabbit hole, but still inexperienced with off-camera flash, you can invest in an advanced flash trigger system and use them as basic triggers until you're ready to explore the augmented feature set.

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Post Date: 6/13/2017 1:22:13 PM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Saturday, June 10, 2017

When a unique weather pattern arrived with numerous little rain storms showing on the radar, it seemed like a good time to go trail running with the lightweight Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens. After photographing some distant storms from a high vantage point, I took a direct hit from one of them. But, that was good news. Rain storms make rainbows and this one delivered superbly.
 
Also delivering superbly was the Sigma 100-400. While a telephoto zoom may not seem like a first choice for landscape photography, this focal length range is excellent for that purpose (and many others of course). And, using a telephoto lens for rainbow photography is often a good idea.
 
It was a good night for a run with the camera. In addition to some intense rainbow images, I brought home a large number of nice dramatic sky images including at sunset – and got some exercise.


A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.

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Posted to: Canon News, Sony News   Category: Photo Tips and Stories
Post Date: 6/10/2017 7:15:00 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
 Sunday, June 4, 2017

I know, some of you are thinking that snakes are creepy and that putting any thought into photographing them is ... completely wasted effort. Even if that is your thinking, stay with me here as you can likely apply the same thought pattern to a different subject, one that you find more photogenic. If you scroll your browser past the snake image, you even won't have to look at it while reading.
 
The story starts with me brushing my teeth (you didn't see that one coming, did you?). I looked out the bathroom window and noticed this cute garter snake lying on top of a weeping spruce tree. While garter snakes are common here, they are usually on the ground and are seldom cooperative. So, it is unusual to have the opportunity to photograph them in such a nice environment.
 
The weather was perfect for this opportunity. It was a very cloudy day, meaning that I had soft light to work with and the camera angle decision was not going to be light-driven. After checking to be sure that I could approach at least reasonably close to the snake without it being immediately frightened away, I decided to move forward with an attempt at photographing it.
 
There was no action involved here, so the frame rate didn't matter and the Canon EOS 5Ds R is nearly always my preference in such situations. For lenses, I observed that I had a limited working distance and I knew that getting too close would send the snake looking for a safer location. Interpretation: I needed a telephoto focal length, but not the longest available.
 
I quickly narrowed my choices down to the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens and the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens. I decided that the snake would not likely tolerate me being close enough for the macro lens' close-focusing advantage to be a benefit over the 100-400 L II's already very good maximum magnification ability and I wanted to be able to adjust my framing to the positions I was able to get into along with the scene available at that perspective. Basically, I'm saying that a zoom range was preferable. The macro lens' wider aperture would allow me to create a stronger background blur at 100mm, but the 100-400 easily wins the background blur contest overall due to its much longer 400mm focal length and the longer focal length provides a longer working distance at its maximum magnification. I mounted the 100-400 and began working with the scenario available to me.
 
Using a tripod was going to be too great of a challenge due to the in-the-tree location of the snake. Thus, handholding was going to be optimal and image stabilization was once again proved highly valuable.
 
The lighting was relatively constant, but it was changing with enough frequency to make a manual exposure challenging. Also, because I wanted to use a wide open aperture, the variable max aperture of this lens increased the manual exposure challenge. While I still technically used manual exposure mode, I opted to lock in my shutter speed (I was in unstable shooting positions and counting on some assistance from image stabilization) and aperture (I selected f/4.5 with the lens at 100mm and let it auto-adjust to the max available at longer focal lengths) with Auto ISO becoming the auto exposure parameter. Because the colors in the images were relatively neutral, the camera's auto exposure system worked great with the brightest colors, the yellow lines in the snake, being right where I wanted them at the right side of the histogram.
 
When photographing a potentially-fleeting subject, I quickly capture some good-enough images to have the safety shots on the card. Along with having those safety shots, I can quickly check the exposure and other settings before moving in closer. Upon reviewing these images, I immediately noticed that reflections were impacting color saturation on the snake and that meant a circular polarizer filter would, as it frequently does, provide a significantly improvement in image quality. I slowly backed away from the snake and went back inside to get the filter.
 
With the filter installed and properly adjusted, I was happier with the results and began to work the composition more seriously, including approaching closer to the snake.
 
Finding the proper perspective is often the key to creating the best composition and the longer I photograph a subject, the better I can determine what the best perspective is. Moving closer/farther, up/down or around the subject can significantly change the juxtaposition of the subject and its surroundings, significantly changing the resulting image.
 
To jump start the composition process, I wanted the snake's head to be facing in a direction other than away. That factor eliminates about half of the potential camera positions. A sideways-facing head can work well and a slightly-toward-the-camera angle is usually a great choice. That the snake was on top of the tree removed much of the below-the-subject camera position options.
 
The background is always a huge key to good composition and using a telephoto focal length is useful in both reducing what remains in the background and blurring what remains into obscurity. I adjusted my position to take in a variety of background colors and textures and also worked my position around the snake to get different angles on the main subject. Eventually I went for a step ladder and tried some downward angle compositions for some variation.
 
Another compositional opportunity available to me was that, with no discernable horizon or other sense of levelness showing in the frame, I was free to rotate the camera as I desired and that adjustment could change the entire balance of the snake in the frame.
 
Every so often the snake would move slightly and I was able to work with a modified scenario for a period of time. The snake cooperated for about an hour – long enough for my arms and shoulders to get tired from holding the camera in awkward positions. Then the snake abruptly dropped from sight and it was game-over.
 
As so often is the case, the 5Ds R and 100-400 L II proved to be the perfect combination for this purpose. With a bit of unexpected rain occurring during this shoot, I was happy for the camera and lens' weather sealing protection, meaning I could simply keep shooting without worry in that regard.
 
Just an hour of shooting not only gave me some of my best-ever garter snake pictures, but it also provided a great practice session. Simply spending an hour photographing something that interests you around the house can keep your photography skills fresh along with teaching you new ones. So, get out there!


A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.

 
Camera and Lens Settings
263mm  f/5.0  1/200s
ISO 1250
8688 x 5792px
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Posted to: Canon News, Sony News   Category: Photo Tips and Stories
Post Date: 6/4/2017 7:12:00 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, June 1, 2017

There are many types of off-camera flashes available for consideration, so let's go over the primary options. While the term "flash" could be used interchangeably to describe any of the following options, we'll be using the term "shoe-mount flash" to describe flashes featuring a hot shoe and "studio strobe" to describe the bulkier, more powerful flashes.

Shoe-Mount Flash: Camera Brand/Third-Party TTL Compatible

"Ok, so I own a Canon/Nikon/Sony camera... does that mean I have to buy all Canon/Nikon/Sony flashes for off-camera use?" The simple answer is, "No," but there are certainly some advantages to building a camera brand specific kit. Camera brand shoe-mount flashes – like the 600EX II-RT – can communicate with each other wirelessly through optical and/or radio means and can automatically calculate the amount of flash necessary to provide the correct exposure as determined by your camera (ETTL, iTTL). Optical triggering requires line-of-sight (each flash must be able to see the master flash or commander unit), and its range is fairly limited (especially outside in bright sunlight). Radio-enabled flashes provide much more range without the limitation of line-of-sight positioning. With an all Canon/Nikon/Sony flash system, you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of high-speed sync (exceeding your camera's max flash syncs speed) and rear-curtain sync (where the flash is coordinated to end with the rear curtain). Note: Nikon users can enjoy the benefits of rear-curtain sync even with non Nikon-branded flashes.

There are also some third-party flashes that mimic the capabilities of the camera brand flashes providing full communication with your camera and similar features at a reduced cost. However, sometimes these flashes can be incompatible with older and/or yet-to-be-released camera bodies. If the third party flash manufacturer does not release an updated firmware, or otherwise, there is no way to update the flash's firmware, then you're simply out of luck.

Shoe-Mount Flash: Third-Party Manual

Third-party manual flashes offer a relatively no-frills option as they do not feature wireless communication and power levels must be adjusted manually. These types of flashes work well in indoor studio setups where the flash is placed in an easily accessible location (they are not very convenient when the flash is boomed above a subject and the power level requires adjustments). Manual flashes typically require a radio trigger to sync the flash with the camera's shutter, but some manual flashes offer optical slaves which can trigger the flash when it sees other flashes fire.

The downside to all shoe mount flashes is their somewhat limited power. They tend to work great indoors and in times when the ambient light is not necessarily abundant and bright, but outside of those situations or when modifiers are used, you may find yourself wishing you had a few more stops of flash power at your command. If your photography lighting applications require more power, you'll want to look at the available studio strobe options described below.

Studio Strobes: Monolights and Pack & Head Systems

The two most common types of studio strobes include monolights and pack & head systems. With monolights like the Profoto D1, the flash bulb, modeling light, cooling system and power supply (requiring AC input) are all contained within the flash head's housing. In a pack & head system (Profoto Pro/Acute/D4) , the power source (often called a generator or power pack) is a separate component from the flash head. As you likely guessed, both these systems have benefits and drawbacks compared to the other.

Benefits of a pack & head system include smaller/lighter flashes, the ability to run off of battery power or AC and remote control of power levels via the pack with only one radio device needed for triggering all connected flash heads. Downsides to a pack & head system include a single point of failure (pack) could render all flashes unusable, power cords running from a single location to all flash heads (making positioning lights difficult at times) and higher cost.

Benefits of monolights include [generally] lower cost and easier positioning of lights assuming multiple AC outlets are available. Downsides include the need for a radio trigger for each individual light (unless the monolight features a built-in optical slave and your shooting situation allows for that type of triggering), AC power requirements and having to adjust power levels at each light (unless a radio triggering system is available that can perform power level adjustments).

Studio Strobes: Battery Powered

Relatively new to the industry are battery powered studio strobes (Profoto B1, Broncolor Siros, Interfit S1, Dynalite Baja, Phottix Indra) which offer the power of traditional studio strobes with the flexibility and convenience of a user-replaceable, rechargeable battery built right into the flash head unit. Most of these strobes feature built-in wireless receivers providing benefits such as independent power control (possibly even TTL) and high-speed sync.

With benefits of increased power and the inclusion of built-in rechargeable batteries (making them an excellent option for on-location/outdoor setups), the downsides of battery powered studio strobes compared to shoe-mount flashes include increased size, weight and higher cost.

Wrap Up

While there are certainly products that fall in between these categories offering a blend of benefits and drawbacks, the groups listed above constitute the majority of what's available for off-camera flash use. And with so many options available, it's very likely that you can find a flash/strobe setup (or mix of these products) which can adequately cover your lighting needs.

In our next installment in this series, we'll take a look at the wide range of radio triggers available in the today's marketplace.

Other Photography Lighting 101 Posts

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Post Date: 6/1/2017 9:03:41 AM ET   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, May 31, 2017

by Sean Setters

With a moderate temperature and sparse clouds overhead, I set off with the goal of photographing a local marsh with my infrared converted Canon EOS 7D and EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM. I was particularly interested in photographing the dormant trees often found in such locations. After a little exploration, I found an area behind an apartment complex that seemed perfect. The marsh was mostly dry and featured obvious walking paths used by nearby residents.

The dry marsh featured dozens of dormant trees which I intended on photographing as my primary subjects, using the wide, flat marsh and blue sky as a backdrop. However, I photographed several trees but was unsatisfied with my results.

And then I started thinking about my composition. A good landscape image needs to have a distinct foreground, middle and background, or else it needs an element that guides the eye through the composition. When photographing the trees with an ultra-wide angle lens, the images had a distinct foreground and background, but the lack of an element clearly connecting the two – guiding my eye through the scene – resulted in boring photographs. With that revelation and a fresh set of eyes looking at the scene, I began searching for ways to connect the foreground and background in the composition. The answer appeared just beneath my feet.

The curved pathway that snaked through the scene seemed ideal for leading a viewer's eye through the image. If the path had been straight, it wouldn't have had the same effect. But with a gentle S-curve running from the foreground through the middle part of the image, the resulting composition (including interesting clouds) proved to be my favorite shot from this outing. Of course, the image doesn't feature one of the trees I was so anxious to photograph, but... the trees aren't going anywhere, so I'll likely try again another day.

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Posted to: Canon News, Sony News   Category: Photo Tips and Stories
Post Date: 5/31/2017 8:58:18 AM ET   Posted By: Sean
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