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Here you will find a collection of relevant and interesting Rocky Nook free photography articles. Each article has been created with you in mind and includes content from our wonderful books. Enjoy!

Tips for Sharpening and Noise Reduction in Lightroom

Noise_reduction_02Lightroom guru and best selling author, Scott Kelby shares his tips for sharpening and noise reduction in lightroom. These tips were taken from Scott Kelby’s latest book, How Do I Do That in Lightroom?.





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Time-Lapse Photography for the Nikon D750

Configuring a Time-lapse Interval_02Time-lapse photography is a cousin of Interval timer shooting (see previous chapter). The primary difference is that Time-lapse photography is designed to create a silent time-lapse movie obeying the Frame size/frame rate and Image area options configured earlier in this chapter.

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High Speed Photography Using Canon Speed Lites

This shot from the cover of the first edition of this book was taken without any specialized equipment. I set up a 580EX II behind a translucent screen and a 420EX to camera right. I then dropped raspberries into a water-filled wine glass, firing a manual shutter release over and over. It took quite a few attempts to get the timing right, since the flash has to sync to an event (the splash in this case) and not to the shutter opening.

This shot from the cover of the first edition of this book was taken without any specialized equipment. I set up a 580EX II behind a translucent screen and a 420EX to camera right. I then dropped raspberries into a water-filled wine glass, firing a manual shutter release over and over. It took quite a few attempts to get the timing right, since the flash has to sync to an event (the splash in this case) and not to the shutter opening.



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Why Film Photography?

Film Photography 03There are many people who are curious about our film photography. Nowadays, if you decide to work with analog methods, you sometimes need to explain yourself. Sometimes when you mention that you are taking photos on film, the statement is met with incredulity and triggers certain recurring questions. “What can you do with an analog camera that I can’t do with a digital one? Both just capture light—the only difference is, one does it with film, the other with a sensor.


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Architectural Photography with the Fujifilm X100T/S


Meticulously composing an image to bring out the best in your subject can be very satisfying, and the Fujifilm X100T has a big, bright viewfinder that makes it all the more enjoyable. Even though architectural photographers place a premium on framing images with certain proportions, such as the golden ratio (in which a distance is divided into two unequal parts, and the smaller part relates to the larger part at the same ratio as the larger part relates to the full distance), sometimes a clean geometric division of the image area and its key elements produces a satisfying and solid composition.


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Quick Fix! Blemish and Red Eye Removal

QUICK FIX!Blemish & Red Eye Removal in lightroom ccSpot removal is not just for landscapes or dust removal, it can also be used to retouch facial blemishes. Let’s do some spot work on a face. For this image, I’m just doing light work to demo the process. There’s been some negative Clarity brushed on the skin, and a little red removed from the skin. All blemishes were left intact for the initial shot.



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Embracing the Compositional Faux Pas

The fisheye lens played a critical role in the photo at left and those on the following pages. The extreme distortion allowed me to convey a unique perspective, adding curiosity and interest to the images. Sony a7R Sony 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye 1/200 sec. at f/2.8, ISO 100 September 11, 2014 © Brian Matiash

In photography there are several examples of technical and aesthetic decision-making that can seem—and outright are—contradictory, especially when we consider the “corrective” phase of post-processing. For instance, photographers go to great lengths to find a lens that produces minimal-to-no vignetting only to reintroduce it as they’re stylizing that same photo. Similar aberrations that once were the bane of photographers, such as light leaks and lens flares, are now in vogue.

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Building Bird Hides–What You Need to Know

BirdHides_01A “blind” (as it pertains to photography) is a concealment device used to camouflage the photographer from the subject of the photograph. When photographing birds, you can either sit in plain view of the birds, or use a blind to remain hidden from them. I prefer to use a blind whenever possible. It typically allows for a closeness that is difficult to get with many species of birds that are wary of humans. Working from a blind can be comfortable; it allows you to move, have a drink or a snack, or reposition yourself as needed without startling the birds you are trying to photograph.


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EXPLAINED: D7200 Exposure Calibration

Figure_01_DBD7200Although it can make some good guesses based on how the brightness levels vary within a scene, your D7200 has no way of knowing for sure what it’s pointed at. So, it must make some assumptions and calculate the correct exposure based on its internal rules. One parameter is that the brightness of all—or part—of a scene will average down to a so-called middle gray tone. The conventional wisdom is that this tone is roughly 18-percent gray.


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Street Photography: The Basics You Ought to Know

20120609-_DSC3679One of the attractions of street photography is that it requires so little equipment. Successful street photographers have been known to use only one camera and one or two lenses during their entire careers. Better yet, unlike more specialized types of photography such as architecture or macro, you have a lot of flexibility in camera choice. I have used everything from a Pentax 67 film SLR (whose body weighs only 1,660 grams and has a mirror that sounds like a door slamming) to a Leica M4 rangefinder (550 grams and whisper quiet) with equal success. The chances are that whatever reasonably portable camera and lens you already own is suitable for street photography, as long as you’re comfortable with it and happy with the results.


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Live View Photography With Your Nikon D750 

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.13.51 PMTo enter Live view photography mode you will flip the Live view selector lever to its top position (image 1) and press the Lv button. To exit Live view photography mode, simply press the Lv button again. Figure 12.1A, image 2, shows the Live view screen you’ll see first. Normally, this screen would show the subject you are about to photograph, but I left the lens cap on to provide maximum contrast for all the controls we will discuss.


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Shooting Street and Cityscapes with the Fujifilm X100T/S

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 12.09.11 PMWith its small, inconspicuous body and ability to easily fit in a camera bag, the Fujifilm X100 series has earned a cultlike following among today’s street photographers. Friends of Peter Fauland, author of Mastering the Fujifilm X100T and X100Ssum up the delightful process of working with this camera series as such: “The camera is effectively an extension of my right eye.”

Below we’ve listed a few of Peter’s examples from his book that tease out the strengths of the Fujifilm X100T and X100S, along with explanations about how he approaches specific shooting scenarios.


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Posing Charts for Photographers

Posing requires directing the subject to change physical position to increase visual interest, flatter, imply emotion, or communicate intent to the viewer. This is done by rotating the subject, tilting the head, positioning the subject’s body, and employing clothing and accessories.

The first issue in approaching posing is the amount of the subject’s body that makes up the portrait. There is no specific advantage to one approach or another, as each gives a different look. Primarily, we speak of full length, three-quarter, bust, and closeup portraits. The most common pose is the bust that includes the total head without cropping and the upper part of the torso. A full-length pose need not be a standing portrait, but it will show the entire body. The least frequently used pose is the three-quarter view that includes the head and full torso but seldom shows the body below mid-thigh. Last is the closeup or full-face portrait that crops tightly on the face and does not show the shoulders.


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Best Flash Set Ups for Traveling

From The Nikon Creative Lighting System, 3rd Edition by Mike Hagen

Traveling soon? Discover what works best from the three case studies listed below. With insight from Nikon lighting expert, Mike Hagen, you’ll leave for vacation feeling fully prepared for nearly any photography situations!

Case Study 1: Portrait

Overcast days are a photographer’s best friend when it comes to outdoor photography because they provide nice, low-contrast lighting. However, this lighting can frequently result in dark eye sockets when photographing people. To avoid this problem, it helps to use some type of fill flash.

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Tips for Making Photo Books in Lightroom

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 3.03.11 PMUsing Lightroom’s Built-In Book Module

Before you begin your book, put all your final images into a collection. These should be “final” images, meaning they’re cropped, sharpened, edited—you name it. Put ‘em all in one collection, and then click on Book up in the taskbar across the top of Lightroom’s window ‘cause you’re ready to go!

How do I: Choose My Book’s Physical Size?

At the top of the Book module’s right side Panels area is the Book Settings panel, and near the top of that panel is the Size pop-up menu, which has the standard sizes supported by Blurb.com. Directly below that, you get to choose the Cover style.


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The Things Themselves by Guy Tal

© Guy Tal

© Guy Tal

I photographed in a metered rhythm, fitting with the slow unfolding of quiet drama before me, a frame at a time, closing my eyes on occasion to inhale the distinctive air of the high desert and to savor its silence. As darkness set, the familiar call of a Great Horned Owl and a slight breeze in the junipers lulled me to sleep.



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Making Mistakes: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Rules in Photography

Do textbooks and rules make sense in a photographic context? If you want to do arithmetic accurately, you have to stick to the rules. If you want to take great photos, you have to know the rules too, but you can ignore them if you want. Many photography textbooks aim to help us avoid making common mistakes and talk about the “right” composition, “correct” exposure and “ideal” shutter speeds.


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Quick Food Photography Tips for Bloggers

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 11.06.09 AMA growing love of good food and the desire to cultivate an online community of like-minded people has seen an explosion in the number of food blogs in recent years, but it still takes good photos to give a food blog visual appeal and get people’s juices flowing. Great food photos are relatively easy to shoot in daylight, but if you have a day job you might prefer to shoot in the evening. If you try to capture appetizing food photos in your kitchen’s artificial light, you are sure to be disappointed with the results.



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Rethinking Visualization and Composition

GuyTalweb1In my workshops, I teach a framework for creative image making consisting of six categories—concept, visualization, composition, capture, processing, and presentation. The premise for this framework is that all images begin with a concept: a nebu­lous, amorphous “trigger” that sets the creative wheels in motion. The concept may be a thought, an emotion, a response, or a sensation that the artist experiences and wishes to express in the finished work. The concept has no form, color, or other physical characteristics.


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When its OK to Include People in Architectural Photos

 The inclusion of people in architectural photos is the subject of much debate, as they can influence the dynamics of an architectural scene in both positive and negative ways. Historically, people were usually deliberately left out of architectural compositions, particularly in the genre’s infancy because of the technical limitations imposed by the long shutter speeds used by the equipment of the day.




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Fisheyes and Wide-Angle Lenses- What You Need to Know

What is a wide angle lense? Wide-angle lenses are basically any lens with a field of view wider than a standard lens. On a 35mm film camera or full-frame digital, this is any lens with a focal length of 35mm or shorter. Wide-angle lenses are great when you need to take in a lot of a scene. This could be a dramatic shot of a landscape or a picture showing the interior of a room. Wide-angle lenses vary wildly in price, with the focal length the primary factor in determining cost. Focal lengths close to normal—28mm to 35mm for full frame—tend to be affordable simply because such lenses are easy to produce. But the wider you go, the more the light has to be bent and the more complex the optics have to be. Below are examples of various wide-angle lenses and the best shooting situations in which to use them.


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Tips for Photographing an Aurora 

Glenn_Randall_1Words cannot truly convey the awesome experience of watching the aurora swirl across the sky. The aurora can be seen most frequently in the auroral zones, doughnut-shaped regions centered on the magnetic poles, so unfortunately for photographers based in between the southern and northern auroral zones, it’s mainly an experience reserved for those willing to travel. Both the southern and northern auroral zones offer an excellent chance to see the aurora, but the northern zone is far more accessible to photographers in North America.


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Meditative Photography

The recent phenomenon of mass accessibility to digital cameras has produced a generation that records everything, even the most benign moments. While this means that photographs have become a form of mass communication, it also means that millions of thoughtless photographs are taken on any given day. However, the demand for conscious, reflective photography has become even greater. For instance, the works of Andreas Gursky, one of the world’s most highly paid photographers, have demanded close to a million US dollars for a single large scale photograph.


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Finding Photographic Inspiration

Photo by Bruce Barnbaum

Have you ever thought of finding photographic inspiration and valid subject matter in the place where you spend much of your day? Is there any aspect of your daily work that is of visual interest to you? Do you work with others in an office, store, laboratory, or some other place where you may have the opportunity to photograph those working with you?


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Help! Adobe Lightroom Ate My Homework!

Adobe-lightroom-helpEveryone has to start somewhere, and no one person knows absolutely everything about Lightroom. I learn new aspects of the program from gurus all the time, and they, in turn, learn from me. This is a collection of frequently asked questions and their answers. I will start by giving you one bit of sage advice: with any problem, always restart Lightroom before you do anything else. Seriously. The program sometimes gets tired and needs a little nap from time to time.


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Photography as a Direct Experience—Becoming One With Your Surroundings

Photography-Direct Experience-Rocky Nook 2In order to experience photography in a deep, transformative sense, you must enter a more contemplative and meditative state of mind. You must free your mind of thoughts and judgments and submit to the influence of your surroundings. For example, I enter this contemplative mode when I photograph in New York City. I no longer walk around thinking, “this is the Chrysler Building, which was built in the Art Deco style of the 1920s, and is the most beautiful building in the city.” (You can, of course, revisit these thoughts at another time.)

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Professional Quality Food Photography Tips

potato final Food photography is a lot of fun. Virtually everyone reacts positively to great food photos, and it is an appetizing genre full of variety. If you are a hobby cook, food shoots can be really exciting, and educational too. One thing to keep in mind is that if nothing else, food photos should make you feel hungry! Freshness and a natural look are important factors if you want to stimulate the viewers tastebuds.

When shooting food, it is important to have a basic knowledge of food and cooking before you begin. A full-scale kitchen is recommended as is a cook or professional who knows how to properly dress a plate.

Additionally, to radiate freshness great food shots should be taken in daylight or natural-looking artificial light. Due to the similar nature of many of the subjects, food photos are also usually taken from the same few viewpoints with the same perspective.

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Create Artwork Your Customers Want to Buy


The unique aspects of your work are some of your most important selling assets. To achieve this you will need to work hard at developing a personal style. Having a style based on your vision for your work will make you unique and give you an edge that no competitor can ever take away from you. There are many ways of developing a personal style.

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Photography and the Importance of Planning

Polo Match - Leica M Photographer

“Without a Map, You Won’t Reach Your Destination”

Good photography planning is essential for a successful photo shoot. While it’s great to keep your camera ready at all times and not to let it languish in your camera bag, you still need to find your subjects. After all, cameras don’t have a built-in “great subject” alarm.


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What Makes a Great Street Photo?

A mistake that novice street photographers often make is to assume that photographing an interesting subject will result in a great pho­tograph. Although it certainly helps to photo­graph a fascinating person, place, or thing, it’s how you photograph the subject that makes the photo interesting, not the subject itself. In fact, in street photography, more often than not it’s the moment you capture that becomes the true subject of your photograph.

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7 Tips to Add Variety to Your Travel Photography

Small Figures_PetrowitzNothing but chocolate, all day every day? Sounds enticing, but eventually it will all start to taste the same. With photography, we can run into a similar sort of problem: If you shoot from the same perspective, with the same focal length, and use the same concept for every image, you and your viewers will grow bored. Trying out new things is an effective way to break out of your old habits, both when you’re on the road and in familiar climates. Here are seven tips to add a little variety to your photography.

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Using High Powered DSLRs to Capture the Night Sky

DSLR NIGHT _ Glenn Randall 2The sensors in today’s best DSLRs, by con­trast, are so sensitive at their highest ISOs that photographers can capture the night sky using exposures short enough to record the stars as pinpricks of light. In short, we can now use readily available equipment to make photographs that capture some of that sense of wonder we all felt as children gazing up at the star-filled night sky.

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Five Tips for Capturing the Right Moment

Rissler_Tips_4On the lookout photographers require a hunter’s instinct—not unlike those instincts possessed by some of our favorite subjects: cats make excellent models to follow. Their patience ensures the successful pursuit of a mouse or bird. Patience is necessary for photography: sometimes you have to wait for just the right moment to capture. Practicing patience and adhering to the five tips for capturing the right moment listed below will yield excellent photographs.


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Understanding Negative Space

Dykinga 4There’s a time when the subject mat­ter of your photograph shifts from what you originally planned. An example of this is when the negative space, or the background space, or a vacant shadow area forms an interesting design element in itself. I can re­call photographing hoodoo rock formations in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. I was carefully crafting an image that featured two giant boulders, with a narrow sliver of daylight in between.


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Motion Control for Beginner Photographers

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 7.51.21 AMAs a beginner photographer, you may wonder how people are able to capture sharp images of moving subjects. Or you may have seen images in which the subject is blurred to imply motion. Motion control is very important to photographers who shoot wildlife, sports, and action shots of any kind. In some cases, it even becomes important to nature shooters, such as when they want to blur a waterfall and make it look wispy. Let’s talk about how we can use shutter speed to control motion.



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The Art of Storytelling

The Art of Storytelling_20150324_02Gerd Ludwig is one of the few internationally renowned photojournalists; a member of the core team at National Geographic; founder of Visum, one of the earliest photography agencies in Europe; recipient of the 2006 Lucie Award for “International Photographer of the Year”; and in 2014, he earned the Erich Salomon Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in photography. The man is a legend.

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Choosing the Right Lens for a Photo Project

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 1.45.41 PMChoosing the right lens or lenses is one of the most important photographic decisions you can make. Nothing affects the quality of a photo more than the lens. Many first-time buyers of DSLRs don’t venture past the basic lens included in the box. While some are reluctant to spend more money, others are confused by all the buzzwords or are overwhelmed by all the choices out there. It’s really a shame, because interchangeable lenses give you amazing scope for quality photography.


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Working with Images In-Camera: The Olympus OM-D E-M1

Mastering-the-Olympus-OM-D-E-M1Olympus launched the OM-D E-M1 camera with a specific purpose in mind: to create a Micro Four Thirds camera for professional and advanced photographers. The E-M1 is the peak of the Olympus digital imaging system—a true system camera for those who demand the best in cameras, lenses, and image quality. The OM-D E-M1 is packed with many advanced features that will be appreciated by serious photographers.



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Outdoor Lighting: Balancing Flash and Ambient Light

In most cases, making an outdoor portrait involves mixed light sources and demands greater control of both exposure and lighting. Outdoor lighting with electronic flash can be daunting. There are many means for balancing the light output of a strobe with the ambient light available in the scene. Few, however, are consistent from shot to shot.





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  Points to Consider When Purchasing a New Camera

Favim.com-1668The first thing to consider when purchasing a new camera should always be: what will I use this camera for? After all, the purpose of buying equipment is to put you in a position to create better photographs.

That being said, sometimes camera with the most bells and whistles or the highest ratings may not be the ideal camera for you.

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The Four Step Visualization Process for Composing a Photograph

A key component of creating a great photograph is visualization. To fully comprehend the process of visualization it is important to understand the following four steps:

Step 1: Photographic Looking and Seeing

Look Deeper. In photography, we accomplish nothing unless we analyze everything. We must search for those elements that can be put together to form a photograph.Visualization starts with in-depth looking and seeing—not the casual perusal that we all do in our everyday lives.

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Expert Tips for Choosing the Right Flash and Flash Accessories

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.58.37 AMWith the right flash and flash accessories, you can be sure of taking great pictures without irritating shadows or excessive contrast, whether you are shooting indoors or outdoors using fill flash. But don’t forget to read the manual before you start shooting!


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Create a Gobo Projector Using Flash

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 1.33.43 PM

A gobo projector works like a slide projector, but instead of projecting a photographic slide it uses a material that is similar to a stencil, usually made of metal or etched glass, to project a pattern. This gives the projection higher contrast, and the material is more heat resistant than a slide. Gobo projectors are usually much simpler than slide projectors because they don’t require complex mechanisms to change slides between shots. They typically use a halogen light source, but in this workshop we use flash to project interesting backgrounds in the studio.

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 Marketing Fine Art Photography- Key Points to Consider

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 4.27.43 PM

As artists we cannot hope that luck will bring us money and fame. We must be active in the marketing process. Taking control of your own marketing process ensures that specific things will happen because of your actions, your decisions, and your personal abilities, not because of some unknown outside force that may or may not come your way. It is this choice that will, eventually, will bring you success.

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Taking a Beautiful Portrait- Understanding Facial Analysis, Lighting, Angle, and Lens Selection

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 9.50.49 AMWhat do we want and what do our clients want? When taking a portrait, the concern is whether a portrait should be an exact, idealized, or factually correct portrayal of the subject. In photographic portraits, we have the ability to make this choice in sophisticated ways. We cannot deny that our subjects want to look their best, but this is not the same as looking perfect. It is not only an issue of retouching, but also of making proper choices in lighting and composing the portrait.

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Tips for Excellent Image Composition

Albrecht Rissler Author Gallery Venice 2

Taken from The Perfect Photo: 71 Tips from the Top, by Elin Rantakrans and Tobias Hagberg. A photograph is a reflection of reality, or, to be more exact, a reflection of a part of reality. The composition of a photograph—or the selection of this piece of reality—is fundamental to a photo’s effect.

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Composing Photographic Art With iPhone Apps

The Art of iPhone PhotographyAlways on, always at hand, and inconspicuously deployed, today’s smartphones empower us to record the world in ever newer and more personal ways. By leveraging the photo-editing applications found on the iPhone, professional and amateur photographers alike are able to create not only editorial imagery, but also creative art.

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How to Capture the Best Bird Images

349 Snowgeese landingWhen photographing birds, you will learn that patience is a virtue. This means keeping your activities in your blind (your hiding place) to a minimum. No loud noises or waving your lens around. Birds aren’t always predictable and it may take some time for them to start using the feeders that you have set up in your yard. It is important to let them get used to visiting the feeders so they will consider your yard a safe location.

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Creating Photo Books- Tips and Tricks for Photographers

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 1.12.39 PMWhen you are shooting specifically for a photo book, you need to take extra care with your choice of subject. When we are out taking photos in everyday situations, we generally aim to create images that stand out individually. In contrast, a photo book often tells a story using a sequence of images that embody separate, individual details of an overall narrative.

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Bird Photography – Focusing Methods and How to Use Them

Rough-legged Buzard (Buteo lagopus)Utö Finland October 2010Many would agree that autofocus changed the world of bird photography. Before autofocus, focusing was done manually and the photographer had to rely heavily on his eyesight. This made taking sharp images of birds in close range very difficult, resulting in poor images. Now, with autofocus, photographers have the ability to capture one great shot after another. However, there are circumstances where one-shot focus does still apply.

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Preparing Your Photography Equipment for Your Underwater Dive

25. Tobias FriedrichThere are many factors to consider when embarking on an Underwater Photography Expedition. One aspect in particular is considering the importance of dive equipment preparation. When embarking on an underwater photography expedition, camera equipment must be meticulously prepared and protected.

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Finding Photographic Style Through Meditative Practices

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 3.14.36 PMAccomplishing expressive photography and developing your own photographic style cannot be learned by following a recipe, just as there is no recipe for meditation. Nevertheless, this is an instructional guide that provides tangible tips for readers interested in combining meditative practices into their photography experiences. The following is a sample workflow for finding interesting subjects through the acts of total concentration and meditation.

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