First off, I’m not going to lie to you. Those photographs you love—those artsy ones with a small area in focus while everything else is a dreamy blur—are almost always but always the handiwork of DSLR cameras.
The effect, called bokeh, is created by using a shallow depth of field.
But you probably already know that, and maybe you’ve been trying for months on end to achieve it with your point-and-shoot by following the usual advice: use your lowest F-stop (that is, your widest aperture), a fast shutter speed, and some zoom.
You know what’s thrilling? Nailing that once-in-a-blue-moon, absolutely beautiful shot with your camera. You know what’s not thrilling? Getting your camera cleaned. But cleaning is important if you want to take great photographs. It’s sort of the yin side in the yin-yang of photography.
“Honey, we’re gonna need to clean the camera.”
Want something fun to do when the electricity goes out? Something a little more interesting than making shadow puppets or watching the candles flicker? Try light painting. It’s really not hard to do and, with practice, you can have dazzling results. All you need is a camera, a tripod, and a hand-held light source or three (glow sticks, flashlights, sparklers, cell phone flashlight, a strobe unit, neon signs, etc.). The best light sources are colorful and bright, so think LED. And your camera need not be anything special.
Are you a purist with photographs who refuses to use photo-editing software? Are you turned off by all the pre-set post-production filters people use—to do things like add a vintage look, tilt-shift effect, or an HDR-induced cartoon appearance? Well, I get it. Sometimes pure is pure gold. And there’s satisfaction in knowing you and you alone worked all the magic upfront, no computer assistance required, thank you very much.
Well, here’s a thought for even the most filter-revolting photographers among you. If you have a really blah photograph, something you’re going to trash anyway, that image presents the perfect guinea pig for going hog-wild with the filters. You really might be surprised at what interesting things you can create from photos that would otherwise end up in the garbage.
Back in December, I posted a blog about cold-weather photography. One of the things I discussed was the quick loss of battery life in very cold temperatures. Remember how I advised that photographers should carry an extra set of batteries and store them close to the body for warmth if need be? Continue reading
To glimpse the cars of the future, you go to the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit. But where do you go to look at the cameras of the future? The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas. For 40 years, this is where innovators from around the globe have shown off breakthrough technologies—including concept cameras. The show takes place next week, January 7-10. To mark the occasion, I wanted to revisit one of the more inspirational concept cameras from the show’s recent past. Continue reading
A few months ago, Samsung issued a birth announcement of sorts: They would soon be the proud new parents of the first ever smartphone with 10x optical zoom capability. Samsung’s writers called it “revolutionary.” They said it fulfilled their goal of a single instrument that could dual as smartphone and high-end camera. They fell just shy of calling it manna from heaven. The whole thing gave one the impression that they were about to blow up the photography world.
Really? Continue reading