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Author Archive | Jim

Preserving Highlights and Shadow Detail (Video)

Dynamic range is a topic that I have discussed here a lot.  The reason for that is that it is really important to the outdoor photographer.  You face the problem of a really bright sky and a dark foreground almost all the time. We’ve talked about dynamic range in the context of the camera, including […]

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Planning Your Milky Way Shot

There is perhaps nothing better than getting a great shot of the Milky Way.  With the Milky Way in your shot, you are almost guaranteed a great photo.  The cluster of stars gives you a ready-made center of interest for any picture.  Plus it is just cool.  And they are fun to take. But if […]

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Getting a Shallow Depth of Field (Video)

Very often, outdoor photography involves the pursuit of pictures that are sharp front to back.  Sometimes, however, you’ll want photos with blurred backgrounds.  This helps isolate your subject, and can look very cool in the right circumstances.  It is common practice (or at least it should be) when it comes to including people and wildlife […]

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Keep Your Data Safe and Organized While Traveling

A simple, safe, and cheap backup strategy to use on the road I want to admit something at the outset: I hate spending money on backup and data storage.  I refuse to buy expensive things like drobos or raid drives.  Buying that stuff does absolutely nothing to advance your photography.  There is nothing you can […]

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The Secrets of Golden Hour Photography

Today we have a guest post by Max Therry.  He’s an architect with an art school background who is now devoting more of his life to photography.  Check out his work over at Photo Geeky. The golden hour is not only one of the most beautiful times of the day, it’s the absolute best time […]

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A Field Checklist for Your Photography

When I look back to my first photography trip to Ireland, I get pretty unhappy with myself.  Looking at my pictures, I can see that there were a lot of opportunities present in the scenes I was photographing, but I just didn’t follow up on them.  There were panoramas I should have taken, but I […]

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Introduction to Luminar

Recently, I took the plunge and picked up a copy of Luminar 2018.  I spent some time going through it this weekend.  I thought I would write about my impressions of it for those who are unfamilar with Luminar or who have been considering it but haven’t yet taken the plunge.  This will look like […]

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Photography Gear You Don’t Need

Everyone Talks About the Stuff You Need.  Let’s Talk About What You Don’t. Since the day you became interested in photography, you’ve been inundated with articles, ads, and reviews about all the photography gear you need.  Hint: you don’t need most of it.  Your photography friends probably join in too.  It is a rare outing […]

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Which Filters Do I Need?

As photography has advanced, filters become less and less necessary.  The old black and white photographers used a lot of filters.  Now we use very few (and some photographers use none at all).  The only filters I personally use – or that I really think are useful – are Polarizing filters, Neutral Density filters, and Graduated […]

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How Much Editing is Too Much?

Unfortunately, there is no answer to this question.  Different people have different ideas on this topic.  Some people want everything to appear natural, and the tipping point for them is when their photos does not.  Others couldn’t care less about that and in fact don’t want their pictures to appear natural.  Neither approach is correct.  […]

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How Can I Get Great Background Blur?

I know you want me to tell you a secret or a gadget that will get you great background blur easily.  Don’t worry – I will do so – but first please indulge me while I stress the fundamentals. Aperture Settings As you likely already know, getting a blurred out background or shallow depth of field […]

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Should I Get a Variable Strength Neutral Density Filter?

I do not recommend that you purchase a variable strength neutral density (ND) filter.  If you are familiar with these filters, that might surprise you.  It is not that I don’t agree that they are a wonderful idea, it is just that I don’t think they work properly.  Instead, I think you should buy normal […]

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