Top 10 Recommendations to Kick Off Wedding Season Right

Top 10 Recommendations to Kick Off Wedding Season Right

Wedding season is nearly upon us and in honor of this wonderful, yet sometimes stressful time, we have asked our friends at SnapKnot to share some of their wedding photography wisdom and what couples should be thinking about when choosing a photographer. Planning a wedding may not be easy but their community of expert wedding photographers will help make planning a piece of cake! read more…

The Best Lenses for Night Photography: A Case for Rokinon Primes

The Best Lenses for Night Photography: A Case for Rokinon Primes

David Kingham is a landscape photographer who focuses (pun intended?) on the night sky. He set out to find the best astrophotography and night photography lenses for their price point. Discover why Rokinon lenses may transform how you shoot.

The Best Lenses for Night Photography

by David Kingham

Prime vs Zoom

What do you want in a lens for night photography? The most important factor is how much light a lens will let in so that we can shoot at lower ISOs– this means apertures of f/2.8 or greater (f/1.4 being preferred). Most zoom lenses only go to f/2.8 and, while they are perfectly okay for night photography, they are not the ultimate lenses to use.

Enter the prime lens! A prime lens is a fixed-focal-length lens that is designed to have much larger apertures. If you have looked into the major manufacturers’ primes (Nikon, Canon, Zeiss) you may be thinking I’m crazy right now because they are expensive (unless, of course, you rent them)! I went on a search for lenses with the ultimate quality-to-price ratio.

read more…

Exposure Blending Using Adobe Photoshop CS6

Exposure Blending Using Adobe Photoshop CS6

Adventure photo journalist Jay Goodrich highlights how he uses exposure blending in Adobe Photoshop CS6 in order to add drama to an image that would otherwise be lackluster due to constraints such as being out at a poor time of day, rapidly-changing weather, odd angle of the subject, or when using a lens that doesn’t accommodate creative exposure-assisting filters, such as a variable neutral density filter. In this video tutorial, Goodrich shows how he exposure blends a subject that rises above the horizon during sunrise and sunset. read more…

The Poor Man’s Tilt-Shift: Freelensing Your Way to a Specialty Lens

The Poor Man’s Tilt-Shift: Freelensing Your Way to a Specialty Lens

While we’ll never condone the wanton destruction of a lens (especially one of ours), sometimes a little home reverse engineering can do wonders–or at least make for a fun weekend project. This is exactly what photographer Jay Cassario did over at Lightshop. He took a $120 lens and converted into a tilt-shift, saving himself about $1,000. Of course, he could have just rented a tilt-shift lens from us but that is not the point! Read all about Jay’s  read more…

Diffraction and Focus Stacking Tutorial for Photoshop CS6

Diffraction and Focus Stacking Tutorial for Photoshop CS6

Adventure photo journalist Jay Goodrich highlights how he overcomes diffraction issues with today’s digital cameras and lenses by stacking multiple focal point images in Adobe Photoshop CS6 via Adobe Lightroom 4. Focus stacking, also known as focal plane merging or focus blending, is the process of combining multiple images taken at different focus distances. This is how many photographers are able to get entire subjects in focus even if the depth of field if very shallow. It is very popular in macro photography but it can also be very helpful for landscape photographers.  Watch the tutorial below to see how Goodrich is able to get his entire scene in focus when normally he’d be experiencing blur due to diffraction, which often occurs in lenses after a certain f/stop is reached. read more…

Playing with Nikon’s Big Guns.

Playing with Nikon’s Big Guns.

Nikon D4

Nikon D4

Not so long ago, I did a post about Canon’s new “Big Guns”, the 600mm f/4 II and the 1Dx. We’re now waiting for Nikon’s newest super-tele, the 800mm f/5.6, to ship, but I thought I’d take the newest flagship camera from Nikon out for a spin with the venerable 600mm f/4 that they’ve had out for a while.


Nikon 600mm f/4

Nikon 600mm f/4

read more…

Adobe Lightroom Tips for Beginners: The Island of Lost Files

Adobe Lightroom Tips for Beginners: The Island of Lost Files

Seán Duggan is a fine art photographer, author, educator, and an Adobe Certified Photoshop Expert with extensive experience in both the traditional and digital darkroom. His Lightroom Viewfinder series provides photographers with the tools they need to effectively use Lightroom for organization, editing, and printing. 

The Island of Lost Files

by Seán Duggan

In this episode I pay a visit to the Island of Lost Files to address one of the most common questions from new Lightroom users: “Why are some of my files missing in Lightroom, and how do I get them back?” I explain the reasons why Lightroom sometimes loses track of images, as well as show you how to track down those missing files (even if you have no idea where they are). I also make some organizational and workflow recommendations that will help prevent files from getting lost in the future. read more…

BorrowLenses Reviews the Canon Rebel T5i

BorrowLenses Reviews the Canon Rebel T5i

First, a confession: I’m a Nikon shooter. However, the first digital camera I ever really learned how to use was a Rebel T2i (was a film shooter prior to that). I have had a soft spot for the Rebel series ever since, despite being currently married to a D800. They are fantastic cameras and the T5i is no exception but, to be honest, it just isn’t at all exceptional when compared to its 2012 predecessor, the T4i.

In comparison to the T4i, the T5i… read more…

Top Ten Tips for Amazing Amusement Park Photography

Top Ten Tips for Amazing Amusement Park Photography

Kristopher Rowberry is the creator and host of Great American Thrills and an anchor at 1590 KLIV: Silicon Valley News. He is an extreme theme and amusement park enthusiast and knows the ins and out of taking photographs at one of America’s favorite attractions. If you’re heading to an amusement park this summer with camera in tow, be sure to read this tips first!

Top Ten Tips for Amusement Park Photography
by Kristopher Rowberry

There are few places on Earth that allow you to use the full feature set of your camera skills and most people don’t think that place would be the grand old American amusement park! I’m here to show you how to get spectacular shots, while having fun at the same time.

My Favorite Arsenal:

Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm
Nikon 24-70mm
Nikon 70-200mm VR II
3 circular polarizing filters
Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack

For most of my action shots, I shoot at a high shutter speed to avoid blur in the daylight (about 1/4000th of a second and above) and adapt my ISO settings accordingly depending on sun or shade.

TIP #1: If you intend on going on any rides or attractions, assume your gear isn’t coming on board with you.

While you’re spinning around in the air, your gear is on the ground and vulnerable to theft. Take this into consideration when packing your backpack the night before. Consider using an “All Day Use” locker so you can secure your items and not worry about your equipment being stolen while on rides. The $5-$15 investment is well worth it.

 TIP #2: Check the park press page for lens / equipment restrictions.

Some parks have limits as to how large a lens you can bring in as well as restrictions on bringing in full-size (or any) tripods. This is to thwart professionals from photographing the park without a public relations person present. It’s always a good idea to visit a parks’ media / press page beforehand and if you can’t find the information there then e-mail the park PR person or anyone who seems like they would know.

Be sure to check the park's policies about photography equipment prior to arriving.

Be sure to check the park’s policies about photography equipment prior to arriving.

TIP #3: Expect to wait. 

Just like waiting in line for a ride, “the shot” could take some time to get. Remember that the roller coaster trains usually go by only once every 90 seconds or so – be prepared to hang out in the same location for awhile!

The wait for the roller coaster train to come around is worth it for shots like this.

The wait for the roller coaster train to come around is worth it for shots like this.

TIP #4: Fences and signs are there for a reason.

It should go without saying – but sadly that’s not the case anymore. NO photo is worth risking your life for! Jumping fences or disobeying warning signs is a sure way to hurt yourself and others and can also get yourself permanently banned from the park.

That being said, some of my best photos were take while shooting THROUGH chain-link fences and I didn’t disobey any park rules.

Ride thru fence

You can follow all park rules and regulations and still find magnificent photo opportunities.

TIP #5: Landscaping is often overlooked.

Part of the beauty of parks is their landscaping. Many parks have traditions with regards to this, usually either a floral clock or even a daily changing floral calendar. Look past the rides and check out some of the scenery around them for good shots. Nothing beats a macro flower shot with a coaster behind it out of focus!

Don’t forget landscaping and macro shots while you’re there. It’s adds to ambiance and is a good break from the thrills.

TIP #6: Reaction shots are plentiful.

Looking for that “action shot” with an expressive face in it? Head to the water rides. They often produce the best facial reactions from people and if your timing is good, you can capture their expressions and the water geysers at the same time.


You’re guaranteed to find the best facial expressions (and reactions) on the water rides.

 TIP #7: Don’t focus on the obvious photo spots for rides.

Sometimes, it’s not the “signature element” of the ride that’s really photo worthy – it could be something much smaller that makes the ride unique and worth your attention.

For example, while the Looff Carousel at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk is over a century old (and the horses are hand carved), it’s actually the RING MACHINE that offers some of the best photo opportunities. 


Sometimes, it’s the accessories to the ride which make for the best photos at the park.

TIP #8: Night shots are hard to find and harder to get.

Some of the best night shots are found where there is a lot fun lighting, usually decorative like at a carnival. But even parks and rides without specialty lighting can be beautiful subjects.

Always use what the park gives you to your advantage. Case in point – Santa Cruz’s Giant Dipper has an on-ride photo system with flash, making for some unique exposures:


By using features such as on-ride flashes and other light sources, you can be creative with your exposures.

TIP #9: Garbage cans make wonderful tripods.

There’s no reason to bring a giant tripod to lug around all day. Even a Joby tripod can sag and get annoying to constantly reposition. The lowly garbage can – while potentially stinky – makes for an excellent, stable platform to lock in that long exposure shot.

This shot was taken by leaning on top of a flat garbage tan in order to stabilize the camera and photographer.

This shot was taken by leaning on top of a flat garbage can in order to stabilize the camera. As you can see – the results aren’t garbage at all!

Over the past decade, many parks have decided to cut back their night hours, so these photos are becoming more and more difficult to take.

You’ll find the latest hours in the summer – traditionally Fourth of July (or the weekend near it). Plus, as an added bonus, there may be fireworks to shoot!

TIP #10: Know ahead of time where fireworks get launched from.

Ask any park employee and they should be able to tell you where the fireworks will be lit that evening. It will make searching for the “best” spot to shoot them from much easier.


Fireworks always bring the crowds, so be sure to stake out your spot early after you find out where they’re fired off from.

So, there you have it – my top tips for finding the beauty of the grand old American amusement park. Let’s ride!


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