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Night Sky Photography Tips

Star Trails

jiDue to the Earth’s rotation about its axis, it seems that the light from stars moves in circles around the celestial pole. These movements are detectable after about 5 to 10 minutes, and can be traced by your camera in the form of a streak. To photograph this magical effect, you need a sturdy tripod and lots of patience. Focus the lens to infinity and set the camera’s mode at Manual or Bulb shooting mode. With the use of a cable release you will capture the stars moving across the sky. These exposures can be a few minutes to several hours long. If you keep few things in mind, such as the timing, composition, and power of the battery, you can make photographing star trails simpler for you.

Find the Right Location

The best place to view and photograph the night sky is in the rural countryside because cities have artificial lights which cause a phenomenon known as light pollution. You need to get away from artificial lights in order to see the stars well. A truly

Baby Photography Tips

Click Away!

voBabies are unpredictable so therefore tears and tantrums are to be expected. Don’t be afraid to keep the camera shooting rather than waiting for that perfect pose or moment because somewhere in 30 consecutive shots will be one winner. Presuming you have a good amount of natural daylight, choose an ISO of 100-400 and use a wide aperture (f/2.8-f/8) for a shallow DOF (depth of field). Use continuous shooting mode on your camera to capture 2, 3, 4, or 5 photos in a couple of seconds.

Check the Lighting

For the best baby shots, photograph during the daytime when there is plenty of natural daylight. Natural light gives a soft focus look to the baby’s skin. Use window light if possible and avoid the harsh sun because it tends to casts shadows and is also unhealthy for the baby’s skin. A standard lens of 50mm is ideal for this kind of image. Turn the mode dial to AV (Aperture Priority) mode, select a high ISO and a wide aperture. Let the camera choose the correct shutter speed. Use

Nikon vs Canon vs Sony

copsI have been getting a lot of questions from our readers about whether they should pick a particular camera from Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax or some other manufacturer. These inquiries are only increasing over time, so I decided to post an article on what I think about different camera systems and why you should go with a particular brand versus others. Many of the questions are something like “should I go for Nikon D5000 or Canon 1000D” or similar, with readers asking me to tell them why I would recommend or pick a certain brand/type of a camera over another. When it comes to the question of Nikon vs Canon vs Sony, there are lots of heated debates over the Internet, so I wanted to share my personal thought on this subject matter as well.

As you know, I have been mainly writing about Nikon – simply because pretty much all of my gear is from Nikon and it is the system of choice for me. Why don’t I shoot Canon or Sony? Is Nikon superior than these brands? No, not

The Perks of Switching Camera Systems

The choice of the first camera system is an exciting one. Why would it not be? You get to pick the first camera to buy, the first lens, and you spend so much time reading reviews, forums and asking friends for advice. I know I did – some eight years ago, I was admiring such cameras as the Canon 30D and 40D, and was seriously eyeing the 400D which was then within the budget of a teenager me. Nikon D200 looked out of this world and the then-announced D300 was a camera of dreams. All of these models, now obsolete from a technological standpoint (much like the D700 I now own and love), were as desirable as any current equipment you can think of. Maybe even more so, since the refresh cycle was longer and digital photography in general not as widespread as it is today.

Yes, the choice of the first camera and lens is a very exciting one. But, inevitably and at some point, a different question arises for just about all of us, and one much less pleasant – should you stick with your first decision or is the grass truly greener somewhere else?

Top 10 Digital Photography Tips

Compose in Thirds

To use the rule of thirds, imagine four lines, two lying horizontally across the image and two vertical creating nine even squares. Some images will look best with the focal point in the center square, but placing the subject off center will often create a more aesthetically composed photograph. When a photograph is composed using the rule of thirds the eyes will wander the frame. A picture composed by the rule of thirds is more interesting and pleasing to the eye.

Camera shake or blur is something that can plague any photographer and here are some ways to avoid it. First, you need to learn how to hold your camera properly; use both hands, one around the body and one around the lens and hold the camera close to your body for support. Also make sure you are using a shutter speed that matches the lens focal length. So if you’re using a 100mm lens, then your shutter speed should be no lower than 1/100th of a second. Use a tripod or monopod whenever possible. In lieu of this, use a tree or a wall to stabilize the camera.

Top 10 Digital Photography Mistakes

Blurry Pictures

One of the top complaints from amateur photographers is that their images have come out blurry. The simple answer to this problem usually is that there isn’t enough light reaching the sensor, so the camera struggles to take a sharp image. Various ways to solve this issue include using a tripod or a monopod (a must in low light conditions!), choosing a higher ISO setting for faster shutter speeds or using flash to freeze any movement.

Too Much Contrast

A photograph with too much contrast has a strong difference between light (highlight) and darker (shadow) areas of the image. This is very apparent in photographs taken on a sunny day. Use flash to fill in the dark shadowy areas of the image and try underexposing the image by one or two stops to see the difference it makes.

Red-Eye

Although red-eye can easily be corrected with an image editing software, it’s a great idea to know how to prevent it from occurring. Red-eye appears commonly in light-eyed people when the camera flash reflects off the retinas in their eyes. You can prevent

10 Quick Tips to Fix Your Bad Photos

Digital photography has democratized the medium. More people are taking more photos than ever before, and they’re sharing them online with friends and family in record numbers. It’s easy to place the blame on the camera (or your smartphone) if your images aren’t as nice as some others you see online, but by following a few guidelines you can improve the quality of your photos—without having to shell out big bucks for a new camera. Keep these 10 easy tips in mind next time you head out to capture the world around you. And if you have any tips that have helped you take better pictures, please share them in the comments section.

1. Get Basic Composition Down. The heart of a photograph is its composition—the position of different elements in a frame. The easiest rule of thumb to learn and remember is the Rule of Thirds. Basically, you’ll want to break your frame into nine squares of roughly equal size. Try and align the subject of your photo along these lines and intersections and imagine the main image divided over these nine boxes. This gives you a more dramatic, visually interesting shot than one where

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a New Camera

So you’re about to embark on a thrilling journey—buying a shiny new camera!! Exciting! If you haven’t purchased one of these magical devices before you might be a bit intimidated. What are all the different types? What accessories do you actually need? What do all those crazy letters and numbers mean?

There are so many options available it can be difficult to know where to start.Worry not, brave explorer. This guide is designed to teach you everything you need to know about buying a camera, so you can feel confident when you make that delightful purchase.

Psst! This guide is chock full of general information about cameras, lenses, and more. But if you’re looking for specific photography equipment recommendations, you’ll want to mosey on over to our incredibly thorough Recommended Photography Equipment page! Enjoy!
Table O’ Contents

This is an absolutely epic guide. If you’re brand new to cameras and photography, we recommend reading it start to finish, for the ultimate learning experience.

But if you’re just interested in a certain topic, feel free to make use of the magical Table O’ Contents below. Simply clicky click where you want to jump!

(Pro Tip: After clicking on one of the links in the Table O’

Freezing Water

Contributing editor Jim Richardson is a photojournalist recognized for his explorations of small-town life. His photos appear frequently in National Geographic magazine.

Perhaps unlocking one creative door opens another.

Somehow that’s how I felt dashing back to the Zodiacs to leave Thistle Fjord in Iceland, flush with confidence from my photographic encounter with the bird wing. If I could break through that creative barrier, what other challenges would succumb to me?

Then I remembered the cascading waterfall near our landing site. Nothing huge, just crystal clear waters sweeping past the ancient farm and dancing down over the rocks to the sea. With a couple of minutes to spare, perhaps I could pull off one more image.

First, a bit of photographic background. Waterfall pictures are moving perilously close to being clichés. I say “close” because I doubt we humans will ever lose our fascination with the delights of cascading water plunging dramatically from on high. But … the techniques used to capture waterfall pictures have become standard fare. The most common current rage is to use a long, very slow shutter speed to turn the water into silky, silvery curtains of liquid smoothness. And

DSLR vs Point and Shoot Camera

Why would you pick DSLR vs Point and Shoot Camera or vice-versa? As DSLRs are becoming more and more affordable, a lot of people are wondering if it is time for them to switch to a DSLR and toss their point and shoot cameras. Nowadays, point and shoot cameras have a long list of features and capabilities, compared to even slightly older versions. GPS, face-detection, smile detection and many other new technologies are making their way into the point and shoot market, over-saturating it with new cameras and making it more difficult for people to choose the right camera for their needs. A similar thing is also happening in the DSLR world, where manufacturers are dividing the market into multiple segments, trying to capture a range of potential customers: from entry-level to advanced professional. But one thing for sure – there are many people, who are stuck in the middle, trying to decide whether they want to stay with their point and shoots, or bite the bullet and switch to a DSLR.

In this article, I will go through the advantages and disadvantages of both DSLRs and point and shoots, so that you can evaluate what’s best