Focus on Composition: An Interview with Nature Photographer Ian Plant

Focus on Composition: An Interview with Nature Photographer Ian Plant

Ian Plant is a world-renowned professional nature photographer, writer, and adventurer who has been photographing the natural world for almost twenty years. Plant is a frequent contributor and blogger for Outdoor Photographer Magazine, a Contributing Editor to Popular Photography Magazine, and a monthly columnist for Landscape Photography Magazine. He is also is the photographer/author of several dozen print and electronic-format nature photography books and his work has appeared in a number of other books, calendars, magazines, and advertising campaigns worldwide.

Fuji Meets Leica: One of the Best Street Cameras Gets Even Better

Fuji Meets Leica: One of the Best Street Cameras Gets Even Better

To hear some photographers tell it, Fuji is the new Leica. The company, which saw rave reviews for its X100, has been on something of a tear of late. What began with an interesting concept morphed into a camera with a cult following, and was followed up by an entire system that has turned much of the photo world on its head. The X100s, for example, is a body we can’t seem to keep in stock (though it is right now – go get it before it sells out again!), and the interchangeable lens-capable X-Pro1 is one of the finest low-light performers we’ve ever seen in a body that size. That X-Pro1 has now gotten a breath of fresh air. Fuji seems to be the sort of company that really listens to its users, and with the latest firmware update, has made a lot of those users very, very, happy indeed. The 3.0 firmware update for the X-Pro1 brought with it one very important feature: focus peaking. For those of you who don’t know what that is, focus peaking is something that’s made its way over from the video world. It’s a tool that helps photographers and videographers ensure that they’re achieving critical focus in manual mode. When enabled, this feature adds white outlines to objects that are in focus, as shown below. As you can see, the subject’s eyes and parts of his nose have what we colloquially refer to as “white squigglies” on the edges. This tells me that those are the parts of the frame that are currently in focus. In the image above, I’m using the...
Capture Emotion: An Interview with Wedding Photographer Andy Lim

Capture Emotion: An Interview with Wedding Photographer Andy Lim

Andy Lim got started in photography after leaving design college in 1992 and his work has since been published worldwide. Andy conducts SimpleSLR hands-on digital photography workshops from beginners to advanced levels. He also writes useful and practical digital photography tips on GoodPhotography.info. Andy Lim is an accomplished professional wedding photographer and his brand, Emotion in Pictures, attracts clients worldwide with his unique flavor of emotional wedding and portrait photography.

Small Cameras with Big Impact: Traveling Light without Compromising Quality

Small Cameras with Big Impact: Traveling Light without Compromising Quality

Don’t get us wrong – we LOVE our big cameras, especially those pro bodies with huge, high-quality glass. Lugging it around, however, is not so ideal – especially while on vacation or during situations where there just isn’t a lot of room to shoot. High-quality sensors are coming in smaller and smaller form factors, which is good news for globe-trekking photographers or for those who simply need to pack lightly. These small cameras are perfect for: Hiking to get that great sunrise/sunset shot from a high vantage. Inconspicuously taking candids out on the street. Using auto or fully-manual settings on a simplified system. Here are 5 recommended small cameras with incredible image quality: Sony RX1 & Sony RX1R These full frame cameras sport 24 MP sensors and fixed 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lenses. They shoot full HD 1080p video and have incredible low-light performance. The “R” version lacks an optical low-pass filter, which is ideal for catching extra detail in landscape shooting. The only bummer about these? You’re stuck with that lens. However, on the full frame sensor the 35mm is a great walking-around focal length and the all-metal Zeiss construction is top notch. Another great small-form-factor offering from Sony is their NEX series of mirrorless cameras (with some sample images here). Olympus E-P5 This retro-looking, handsomely-built micro four thirds camera does full HD 1080p video and shoots stills up to 9 FPS on its 16MP sensor. It is very slim and yet still accepts interchangeable lenses, like the fast 17mm f/1.8 M.ZUIKO. Many of our street photographers extol the virtues of this camera. Fuji X100s Another retro beauty, the X100s comes equipped with...
Get Striking Photography Tips and Inspiration from 10 Pro Photographers

Get Striking Photography Tips and Inspiration from 10 Pro Photographers

In a world saturated with images, we want our work to stand out. It takes a lot of time, practice, and–sometimes–a little luck to get striking photographs. Here are 10 examples of striking photos we love from photographers working in the field today. We hope the images inspire you and the tips and tricks help you improve your portfolio. Benjamin Von Wong: “Exploring the multiple exposure function on my Nikon D700 unlocked some creative potential never before explored in this fiery shot of pyrotechnician Andrey DAS.” See Von Wong’s full tutorial to find out how this striking image was achieved. Troy Paiva: “There are pops of purple-gelled strobe between each car and through the windshield–snooted red LED in the tail lights and onto the ground too. I also added a few seconds of natural LED on the right trunk-lid edge and bumper, the reflection carefully placed to balance the moonlit reflections on the left side of the trunk. This is a stack of two 4-minute exposures–focused on ∞ for 8-minute star trails, and a 2-minute exposure focused on the tail lights for increased depth-of-field.” See ‘Thunderbirds Are Go!’ and more striking light-painted work on Lost America. Julia Kuzmenko McKim: “I believe great photography starts with the photographer’s thorough understanding of the main principles of light behavior and the basics of visual arts such as composition, visual balance and color theory. Everything else is just regular tasks and problem solving at each photo shoot: getting great experienced models with flawless skin, the crew of highly skilled creative professionals and the equipment and accessories that will help the photographer to achieve the results he or she...
Rolling Stone Contributing Photographer Drew Gurian on the Leica M9

Rolling Stone Contributing Photographer Drew Gurian on the Leica M9

Drew Gurian is a music and portrait photographer based in New York City. For the past five years he has been the first assistant to long-time photojournalist and National Geographic photographer Joe McNally. Last month, Gurian shot the Wakarusa Music Festival, which included running a backstage portrait studio. He used a Leica M9 from BorrowLenses to shoot the event. Read about why Gurian chooses Leica for this work. Music Photography with the Leica M9 by Drew Gurian I’ve been a big fan of Leica rangefinders for the last few years. I own an M6 and am on a wait list for the new ‘M’.  For this particular shoot, I really wanted a digital Leica body (the M6 is film) so I picked up a spotless M9 body and 90mm lens from BorrowLenses. Though I shot the festival with a few different cameras, here’s what I love about the Leica: It’s a completely non-intrusive camera system.  Waving a DSLR with a 70-200mm lens in front of your subject isn’t exactly a comforting feeling for them.  Whether you’re shooting static portraits or street photography (which, in my mind, is what Leicas were made for), I find a noticeable difference in a subject’s mood and energy with a Leica.  You’re there with your subject and not hiding behind a massive machine. It’s as simple as a camera can get and Leica’s design hasn’t changed almost at all since the first models came out in the early 1900’s.  All of their rangefinders are fully manual focus, almost all lenses are fixed focal lengths, and they’re incredibly sharp. The M9 is much slower than a DSLR (though...
Immerse Yourself: An Interview with Night & Light Painting Photographer Troy Paiva

Immerse Yourself: An Interview with Night & Light Painting Photographer Troy Paiva

Troy Paiva, AKA Lost America, has been creating light painted night photography in abandoned locations and junkyards since 1989. His documentarian work examines the evolution, and eventual abandonment, of the communities, infrastructure, and social iconography that spawned during America’s 20th century expansion into the cities and deserts of the West. His imagery has appeared in print in over a dozen countries, including three Stephen King book covers, American Photographer, Air & Space Magazine, Hot Rod Magazine, and CNN Online. Troy’s work has appeared in museums and galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Sweden, and San Francisco.

Quick Video Tip for Beginners: Use a Rubber-band for Smoother Pans

Quick Video Tip for Beginners: Use a Rubber-band for Smoother Pans

If you’re just getting started with shooting video with your DSLRs, there’s a better than even chance that you’re not quite used to making smooth movements with your camera. Here’s a quick tip to help you get started with making one of the most basic moves in cinematography: a side-to-side move with the camera locked down on a tripod with a fluid head (like this Manfrotto kit, available from BorrowLenses.com now) meant specifically for video. Gear used Video tripod and fluid head (I used my own, but you can rent a Manfrotto video head and tripod here). I also used my own 15mm rail system, but you can rent one like the Redrock Micro Eyespy from us. This is completely optional. HD-DSLR. I used the Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-70mm lens. A rubber band First, find yourself a rubber band. You want one that’s a bit sturdy, but not so stiff that it has no give at all. Then, set up your tripod and camera and make sure your focal length, exposure, and focus and are all adjusted to your liking. To execute the pan, slip the rubber band around your video head’s handle and pull in the direction you want. Keep a smooth, even pressure on the rubber band, and stop pulling at the end of your pan, allowing the natural tension of the band to bring the pan to an end (or fade it to black in post, as I did here). Here’s a video that lays the technique out. The footage is ungraded (i.e., no post-production techniques have been applied to it as yet). It’s...
Tips for Setting Up Your Kino Flo BarFly

Tips for Setting Up Your Kino Flo BarFly

ABOUT BARFLY Our Kino Flo BarFly 200D 2-light kits and BarFly 400D 1-light kits are professional, energy-efficient lighting systems ideal for filmmakers and photographers alike. They produce 3200K and 5500K (daylight) temperature lighting from florescent, dimmable 55W lamps inside Kino’s signature modular fixtures. Each bank can be switched on and off for full stop exposure changes. The kits also come with: Gel Frames (2 for the 2-light kit, 1 for the 1-light kit). Note that these kits do NOT come with gels. You will have to apply the gel yourself to the provided gel frame using a non-destructive adhesive (also not included). 90 Degree Grids (2 for the 2-light kit, 1 for the 1-light kit) True Match Quad Fluorescent Lamps with padded mini case. 55QK32 55W KF32 Quad Lamps with padded mini case. Light stands (2 for the 2-light kit, 1 for the 1-light kit). AC Power. Heavy Duty Kino-branded  Case. These kits are a fantastic option for those seeking all-in-one kits that produce very natural-looking light that is intuitive to shape because what you see is, generally, what you get. However, they are less intuitive to set up. Please take note of the following tips to prevent bulb breakage and other kit issues. SETTING UP THE BARFLY Kino Flo lamps are aways shipped from BL outside the lamp fixtures to prevent breakage. Inserting lamps into fixture: Insert lamps at a 45 degree angle. It will feel unnatural at first but if you feel any tension at all inserting the lamps, you must restart and try inserting at an extreme angle. They should drop in smoothly. Once down, push the lamps...
Lenstag: Discouraging Camera and Lens Theft One Registered Serial at a Time

Lenstag: Discouraging Camera and Lens Theft One Registered Serial at a Time

UPDATE: Lenstag, the service that collects serial numbers from your gear and keeps them in a registry to be flagged and indexed online if they get ever stolen, now has free apps for iOS and Android in multiple languages. Some features include: gear name auto-complete, picture-taking of your gear right from your phone, easy and immediate flagging, and more. Lenstag aims to curb theft by making it harder to resell stolen items. Download it here: • http://lens.tg/ios • http://lens.tg/android Lenstag is a new, free service that collects serial numbers from your lenses and cameras and keeps them in a registry to be flagged in the unfortunate event that they get stolen. By locking down a serial as belonging to its owner, the reselling and pawning of stolen gear becomes increasingly discouraged. The more people who register the gear, the more effective the registry system is. Stolen serials are indexed online, so checking up on a serial before purchasing in the resell market is easier than ever. We have already registered our gear and want to give a few pointers on finding your gears’ serials. There are a lot of numbers listed on cameras and lenses and not all of them are unique identifiers–be sure you have the correct number! CANON Canon’s Guide to Locating Equipment Serial Numbers is a great, visual resource. Some of the highlights to remember: Don’t confuse company codes for serial numbers. Company codes tend to have letters in them like “‘UV” or “UZ”. Serials do not. Most lens serials will be either on the body of the lens or on the mount. Canon body serials are located on the base...