Photo compliments of

The 2022 Winter Olympics is now history. And it has been a great event. Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be a “designated photographer” there? I thought that this would be an incredible opportunity because you would be able to mingle with the athletes and get some incredible photos of the events.


The New York Times has run a great article from some of the photographers. There thoughts and pictures are amazing, and hope you will enjoy this information:

Gabriela Bhaskar:

Gabriela Bhaskar/The New York Times

I thought a lot about the implications of photographing women, many of whom are still teenagers, figure skating in revealing costumes as they executed incredible feats of athleticism. Nicole Schott, 25, of Germany, wore a costume with a massive cutout on one side of her waist. As she turned into a backbend while spinning on one skate, I snapped a few frames of how far she was bending. The shadows on her neck and along her stomach, to me, showed the amount of torque the athletes’ bodies endure and the strength it takes to accomplish these tricks. Her little Olympic ring necklace suspended in motion was a little bonus detail to illustrate how fast she was spinning and to provide a little context about where she was competing.

James Hill

James Hill for The New York Times

It snowed hard for only one day during these Winter Games — something that was actually problematic because the Alpine courses were all made with artificial snow. For the men’s 4×10-kilometer cross-country relay, course workers had to blow the freshly fallen snow from the parallel tracks made for the classic-style skis. When the race started and the skiers powered forward, there was a strong and bitter wind blowing snow into their faces. The scene felt like a real Winter Olympics moment.

Chang W. Lee:

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

A legend. The last Olympic Games for that legend. And the legend’s last moment. I was humbled and honored to witness Shaun White’s feelings, which no one could tell in a story but could tell in a picture. A picture that said a thousand words would have been this photo to me. A legend will still be the legend.

Hiroko Masuike:

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

I had never photographed ski jumping before, so I arrived early in the morning at the ski jumping center in Zhangjiakou and tried to find the best view of the action. The perspective was thrilling, of course, but no matter how I framed it, I couldn’t get the right contrast against the snowy, white background. During a break in the competition, I left the hill. Then I came back when it was dark. The winding cross-country course, which the jumpers can look out over as they take flight, was lit up against the black of night, creating a beautiful scene. I waited for an athlete wearing a bright suit so she would be illuminated in midair. It was a freezing night, but braving the cold was worth it to catch this moment.

Doug Mills:

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Olympic athletes are required to go through an area known as a mixed zone. Reporters can ask questions there, but athletes are not required to answer them. Last week, after she fell and was disqualified from the Alpine combined, Mikaela Shiffrin spent more than an hour talking with reporters about the most disappointing Olympics of her career. Shiffrin could have easily walked past all the journalists, but she didn’t. I was surprised, but impressed with her strength and courage. It had to be painful: The ceremony was taking place just behind her, the Olympic music was playing and the athletes on the podium were celebrating with their medals. Shiffrin did not even turn around to watch.




fashion people art men
Photo by Markus Spiske on

We have all had this problem, and I have it especially at winter time. Winter is a beautiful time of the year…. when it is snowing. But, I live in a desert, and it is difficult to find motivation when you look outside, and no snow, everything is dead because it’s 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Somewhere out there, I need to find something to motivate me.


I was able to locate a great video from photographer from photographer Alex Kilbee and he has ideas that are unconventional. Please watch this video:

Just one point I would like to repeat that I really like: Photography is an art. If that is the case, looking at “art exhibits” can be very motivating. Artists often have the same trouble as photographers, and they run out of things to paint. So, check out art exhibits, art online, etc. And see if that helps.

We are excited to welcome our new sponsor: “The Smoothie Diet” to our website. We need this, especially this time of year. Check out this video too:
For further information go to:
woman in black long sleeved shirt using camera
Photo by Hamann La on

If you know someone who is getting a new camera for the holidays, or if you have a new camera and would really like to understand what a great tool you have, we will be doing a whole series of “PHOTO 101” in 2002. If you would be interested in this, sign up now for a special newsletter about this. We will work on helping you to master photography.

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Canon’s monster 1200mm f/5.6 L-series supertelephoto lens has just sold for over four times its estimate at a specialist auction in Germany.

The 36lb lens went under the hammer for €400,000 – which works out as $462,321 or £339,142. Wetzlar Camera Auctions had estimated the value ahead of the sale as being €80,000-€100,000.

Canon’s rarest ever lens, the legendary and elusive Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM, will be going up for sale in October – and could break its previous record selling price of $180,000 (approximately £127,400 / AU$232,400). 

Why is the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM so rare? Because it is believed that only 20 were ever made – making them almost impossible to come by, and when they appear they always sell for astronomical prices. 

Indeed, even when it was in production from 1993-1997, Canon could only produce two lenses every eighteen months due to the time taken to cultivate the enormous fluorite crystals (which themselves took a year to grow). As such, the lens retailed for some $100,000 (£70,700 / AU$129,000).

Only a handful of Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USMs have survived – according to Park Cameras, owners may be limited to Canon itself, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic magazines, and spy agencies around the world. 

Indeed, even when it was in production from 1993-1997, Canon could only produce two lenses every eighteen months due to the time taken to cultivate the enormous fluorite crystals (which themselves took a year to grow). As such, the lens retailed for some $100,000 (£70,700 / AU$129,000).

Only a handful of Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USMs have survived – according to Park Cameras, owners may be limited to Canon itself, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic magazines, and spy agencies around the world. 

So when a sample comes up for sale, it commands a ridiculous price (not least because replacement parts do not exist, so it is necessary to cannibalize another lens in order to repair one), with a lens fetching $180,000 in 2015.

“The world’s largest interchangeable SLR autofocus lens, in terms of both focal length and maximum aperture – available on special order only, each lens was produced after it was actually sold,” reads the Facebook post by Wetzlar Camera Auctions (spotted by Canon Rumors). 

“The annual production volume was approximately two lenses, each lens took more than a year to be built, due to the time required growing its massive fluorite crystals – only very few specimens are known to exist today – offered for sale at our coming auction on October 09th 2021 in Wetzlar!”


silhouette of man with oil lamp on shore at sunset
Photo by Bhola shanker Katariya on

We all take sunset photos, don’t we.  We see that magnificent colors just shooting at us over the horizon, giving us that great shot of color.  Who wouldn’t take a few great shots of sunset photos.  But, after you see one sunset after another, sometimes you can actually get bored of them.  What can you do to make those hundreds of sunset photos more interesting?  Here it is:


Yes, true, isn’t when you think about it.  A beautiful sunset with something in the foreground of the sunset. I am going to throw out a couple of pictures from the collection of “Photos of the Week” and you tell me if these sunset photos just make the photo so much  more interesting:

Photo taken by : Sasin Tipchai

Now, imagine these two photos above, or even the top photo without the objects in the foreground.  They are dark, no detail, but, they frame the sunset in the top photo, in the others, they tell a story with color.  Color my story.  That was our subject yesterday. If you had someone look at a variety of photos, their eyes would be drawn to the ones with the vibrant colors.  Now, here is the question of the day, and be truthful with yourself:  If you had a gallery of photos, would most people be drawn to the photos of just sunsets, or sunsets with a silhouette in them that tell a story, or a silhouette that is used for framing the sunset?  9 out 10 people prefer some subject material in their sunset photos. 



We previously discovered that the pretty colors in a sunset aren’t always enough. A winning sunset photo needs a star. In today’s lesson we’ll discuss adding silhouettes to get better photographs of the sun.


In previous articles, we have mentioned that the star could be an interesting palm tree, a seagull flying by, or basically anything. The gorgeous colors are the backdrop to our star, not the focus of the photo. But, much like our regular non-sunset landscape photos, the most effective star is a person—people like looking at people! You will get the viewer more easily engaged in a photo where there are people being shown.

In a sunset photograph there’s two ways to add a person. In silhouette showing no detail and the traditional route that shows full detail. Today’s sunset photography photo tip will discuss adding a silhouetted person or other subject. The principles are valid no matter what your “star” is. Done well, the end result can be one of the most exquisite photographs you could create.

When adding a silhouette, the key element to keep in mind is that you are adding a shape, not a person (or bird or tree). Your shape will be pure black with no detail. In sunset photography, getting the pure black shape with no detail is pretty basic. In our earlier discussions, we learned that if we take our meter readings from the sky—everything else in our sunset photo is going to be underexposed and black. Ta-daaa!

photo by Rachel Titiriga

Previously, our concern was to bring detail into the dark areas, now we just let them go dark. To add a silhouette, the first step is to meter from the sky, not the person. If you meter from the person, your camera will make a mighty attempt at setting an exposure to show detail. In other words, you have to take the camera off automatic. Meter for the sky and then re-compose to put your “star” in the correct place in the photo. Easy.

The second concern we have in adding a silhouette is actually harder to get right. Remember, you’re adding a shape and everything but the sky is black with no detail. Including the ground. When you add your shape, it has to “read” correctly. By “read” I mean when someone looks at your photo, they must be able to instantly tell what it is. If your subject is standing in front of some other object, like a palm tree, rock or whatever, the silhouetted shapes will blend together and distort the image.

photo by Manfred Moitzi

This idea is hard to put in words, but easy to understand. I’m sure you have seen photos where the silhouettes blended together and neither looks right. A person with a palm tree growing out of their head, a palm tree with a seagull’s wing sticking out of the trunk and so on. Be sure that there is nothing intersecting with your silhouetted shape, including the ground. I frequently see silhouettes where the top half of the model is in silhouette, but the bottom half is lost in the ground. You may have to shoot up at your star from a slightly lower vantage point to avoid this sort of blending.

The third factor to consider is the shape itself. Not only do you have to watch out for your silhouette not reading correctly because it blends with others, it can blend with itself too! Arms crossing in front of the body or hanging (with no gaps) along the sides, legs together and so on. To get an effective silhouette, the pose is vital, more so than in a normal photo of this person. The fact that she is a pretty girl doesn’t matter in this case. In a silhouette, no one is going to be able to tell what she looks like.

photo by Julian Garduno

Take photo examples from magazines and color them with a black magic marker. Would that pose “read” and be effective if that was all you could see of the person? Hats and other clothing could dramatically alter the shape and look weird in silhouette. It may look like a tiara in the wedding photos, but in silhouette, it looks like devil’s horns sticking out of her head. Study various poses for their shapes and find several you can use when you are creating silhouettes. Add them to your notebook so you will always have them at hand when the situation arises.

Silhouettes are not only effective in sunset photography, but also at weddings. For example, pose the couple in silhouette in front of a stained glass window. Or, at the door of the church with the light from outside silhouetting them.

Practice today’s landscape photography photo tip on how to get better sunset photography by including silhouettes. There are many times when a silhouette is just the thing you need to separate you from the crowd, its worth learning how to do them well.

About the Author: Dan Eitreim writes for He has been a professional photographer in Southern California for over 20 years. His philosophy is that learning photography is easy if you know a few tried and true strategies.



snow wood dawn landscape
Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on

To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan… believe… act!

This is probably the hardest part of my process to describe. Hiking in the highlands, I am privileged to have access to some amazing landscapes,; as I walk through them I am overwhelmed by options. This makes it hard to identify when I see a truly special scene, since it can be drowned out by choice. However, I can increase my awareness by asking myself a question every time I raise the viewfinder to my eye: “Why do I feed the need to photograph this scene?” It kicks starts a little bit of dialogue in my head. Once I’ve answered that question it naturally leads to others:

  • What should I include in the frame to support my rationale for taking the photo?
  • What should I leave out?

In many cases, this discussion takes place in a matter of seconds as I scan the image in my viewfinder. Often it results in a mental image of the photo I want to take. This part of my process isn’t limited to when I am actually in the landscapes I love photographing. I may get a feeling about a photo I want to take when I am reviewing images from a previous shoot, or I might see something completely unrelated that sparks an idea for a photograph.

green and brown mountains beside river under white clouds and blue sky
Photo by Martin Portas on

Once I’ve got a reason for taking the photo—and hopefully have a mental image or at least a general mood I want to capture in the photo—it’s time to really look at the scene before me.

  • What elements support the mood?
  • What elements stand out in that mental image?
  • What can I do to accentuate those elements?

The next step is to identify what elements could distract the viewer. Can they be eliminated without changing the image’s mood? This is where I actually start shooting, by taking some ‘sketch’ shots and reviewing them on the LCD.

a person sitting on wooden planks across the lake scenery
Photo by S Migaj on


Based on my ‘sketch’ shots I then identify the key elements in my composition. I also have an idea of what elements I want to leave out or minimize. Now that the content is nailed, I need to decide on the exposure, and I may adjust my depth of field based on what I want to include or exclude. Since depth of field is controlled by aperture, that will influence my overall exposure—I generally try to expose to the right without clipping the highlights. I may take a couple more ‘sketch’ shots to fine tune my settings. I use the LCD to zoom in and verify my focus and check the histogram and blinkies to ensure I’ve not lost any critical detail.

snowy forest
Photo by Pixabay on


Finally, I combine everything I’ve learned in the previous steps to take my final image. I verify my exposure settings, focus point, and composition. Then I press the shutter. I close my eyes for a minute and dive in to the mental image I had of the image I wanted to take. Then I return to the final image and try to gauge whether I’ve got a chance of processing it into the image in my head. If I think I’ve got a good chance, I take a marker image—a pure black image of the lens cap—to indicate that the previous image is my master. I’ll then go back and delete as many of my sketch shots as necessary to speed up import and processing later. Just be careful if you do this; I’ve been dumb enough to delete my final image by accident! The A7 has the option to protect an image, which I do frequently use to make cleaning up sketch shots easier and safer.

About the AuthorRobert Keith, a photographer of five years, is originally from South Africa but now lives in Scotland. He loves landscape and macro photography. He’s lucky enough to live on the borders of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, so he’s spoiled with beautiful vistas to photograph.
For more of the work that Robert Keith has done… go to his website at:


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Understanding Histogram

If you own a Digital Camera, in your display, and your instruction manual, you were introduced to something called a HISTOGRAM. And there are too many people that own a digital camera that have no idea how to use this.

Today I have a guest Author, that has allowed me to use this article to help us all understand the HISTOGRAM. Thank you Cecilia Hwung.

The term Histogram can be daunting for beginners, especially when you see those curves and parameters in DSLR cameras, photo editing software, or color grading tools. In fact, it is a handy tool and will efficiently facilitate your photography, both in terms of pre-production and post-production.

What is Histogram

Instead of giving you an abstract definition, let’s jump right into a specific case by analyzing the cave photography below.

Cave Photograghy as an Example to Explain Exposure

Different parts of the picture have varied brightness. For instance, the cloud and sky are the brighter parts, the cliff that reflects the sun is probably the brightest section, while the cave is the darkest part.

Let’s imagine it is a black and white photo. Still, you will find the sky area represented by lighter gray, and even white, and the cave area is darker gray or black. Each pixel has its own degree of luminance, like the simplified representation below.

Pixels at Different Luminosity

We can count the numbers of pixels at different grayscale levels, and rearrange them into groups. Put the darkest pixels at the left, the brightest pixels at the right, and others in between.

Explain the Axis in Histogram

As you can see, the horizontal axis represents the luminance level of the pixel, and the vertical axis tells us how many pixels there are under that specific luminance level group. For instance, there are 3 darkest pixels, 2 brightest pixels, 3 pixels a little darker than the brightest pixels, and so on. The dark and gray pixels have the largest amount, corresponding to the fact that the dark area takes up a large section of the photo.

That’s the simplified version, and the groups of each shade of gray are separated. In reality, the distribution of light is continuous. If we count and group all the pixels of an image to the axis, according to their luminance level, we will have the following histogram graph. Note that the distribution of the pixels in every shade of gray are continuous.

For the 8 bit monitor, the luminance value is between 0 and 255.

The left parts are darks and shadows, and the right parts are highlights and white, and what’s in between are the midtones.

How to Interpret Histogram

How would you expect the histogram to look like for this photo? It is quite dark, with most of its content in the shadows. In other words, there are a large number of pixels that have a darker luminance level, and few pixels that are bright.

Histogram Examples with Pixels in Shadows

Now looking at its histogram, the pixels stack at the left part, the shadow area.

As for this photo, it is quite bright overall. Its histogram looks like this, the main body moves to the right, indicating that most of the pixels are bright.

Histogram Highlights Examples

How about this one? You have the blacks and whites, and many shades of gray. Affirming by its histogram, the luminosity is evenly distributed. In other words, properly exposed.

How proper expusre looks like in Histogram

How to Utilize Histogram When Shooting a Photo/Video

In terms of preproduction, the histogram can help us in the following aspects:

1. Adjusting the Camera for the Proper Exposure

By proper exposure, we are referring to the technical aspects here, that is, avoid clipping, make sure there are details in the shadows and highlights, and the photo will not be underexposure or overexposure. That is to discriminate from the artistic concerns. For instance, if you want to convey a depressive mood, you might want to shot an underexposure photo on purpose. Artistically, that luminosity level is “proper” for your end.

Proper exposure vs Under or Over Exposure

Back to the technical aspects. The histogram helps us to measure the luminance level before or after we take a shot. You may be wondering, why not directly look into the screen? The short answer is, the screen or our eyes can lie to use sometimes. For instance, when you are shooting outdoors under direct sunlight, the screen may appear overexposure.

With the histogram, we can read the graph and make adjustments in the camera accordingly, both before and after the shot.

If you see pixels accumulated at the left most edge, it means you have pure black on the image, and the shadow part is losing details; similarly, if the histogram is heavily bunched to the right, with pixels touch the right most edge, you are losing details in the highlights. You can adjust aperture, shutter speed or ISO depending on the specific situation.

2. Keep an Eye on the Dynamic Range of the Scene and of Your Camera

The histogram can alert us in ultra-high-contrast scene shooting. If you see both the shadow part and the highlight part have pixels hitting the edge, it means the dynamic range of the scene is higher than your camera’s capability.

Let’s say your camera is capable of shooting a 5 stop dynamic range, and the dynamic range of the scene is a highly contrasted one, reaching 10 stop. You won’t be able to squeeze the luminance level into the 5 stop camera in one shot.

Human eyes can adapt to the scene of a much higher dynamic range than digital cameras, that’s why a single shot will not represent how the scene looks like to our eye.

In such a case, you can go with exposure bracketing. Take one underexposure photo, one overexposure photo, and one that places the main body of the histogram inside the axis. In post-production, you can then blend these photos into an HDR.

3. Adopting the “Exposing to the Right” Technique

Exposing to the right means deliberately overexpose the image, to the highest possible range, without clipping the highlights. The reason is to leave more room in the post production, when bringing back the histogram to the proper exposure.

Why the hassle? Comparing to low light, bright light has more energy, and can generate better signals in the camera’s sensor. On the contrary, a low light image has a lower signal-to-noise ratio, meaning more noise than the highlight area. Exposing to the right can effectively raise the signal-to-noise ratio when shooting in RAW.

By utilizing the histogram, you can adjust the aperture or shutter speed to bring the pixels’ luminance to the right, and ensure that no pixel is stacking at the right edge. In that way, you can crush the overexposure, without risking clipping.

That said, it doesn’t mean you have to overexpose every time. There are certain situations to resort to this technique. You can read more on exposing to the right for its do’s and don’ts.

How to Utilize Histogram in Post-Production

The histogram tool is one of the scopes in color grading that we can use to analyze the parameters. Fully-fledged photo editing software and video editors always have the histogram built-in, such as Lightroom, Photoshop, Davinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, etc.

Technically, you can rely on the histogram to notice exposure problems, and fix unintended overexposure or underexposure, while always keep an eye on the realtime changes in the histogram. We won’t elaborate on this since you already know how to interpret the exposure problem from the previous part.

Artistically, the histogram can help you to achieve a certain mood and style, by monitoring the tonal range and displaying the changes when you are dialing the color wheel or dragging the curves.

To better understand the tonal range, what it has to do with the aesthetics in color grading, and what the role the histogram plays in this regard, let’s take a look at High Key vs Low Key photos, and High Contrast vs Low Contrast photos.

1. High Key vs Low Key Photos

Take a look at the following photo and its histogram. We can see the photo is taken with daylight, and most of the parts are quite bright, with white walls and windows (blurred but still distinguishable).

On to the histogram, most of the pixels are bunched to the right, and there are few pixels in the midtones and shadows.

The region where most of the pixels present is called the tonal range. When a picture has a tonal range that resides mainly in the highlight part, we call it a high key photo.

High Key Photo

Portrait photos, scenery photos feature snow, sky and white walls, and backlit photos are likely to be high key photos.

On the contrary, when the tonal range falls on the shadowy part of the histogram, the most of the pixels bump up to the left side, you have a low key photo. When the photos are about starry nights, nightscape in the city, sunset, and so on, they are more likely to be low key photos.

Low Key Photo

Therefore, when you see a histogram with most pixels stacks at the left, and it is a low key photo, then it is still a properly exposed photo, instead of being an a problematic underexposed one.

When the pixels are distributed across the shadow, midtone and hight light range, with the midtone having the most of the pixels, and tapering on both sides, it is a midtone photo.

Midtone Photo

Adjusting the tonal range will have a large impact on how the viewers feel about the photo. For a photographer, the “proper” exposure is more artistically decide and act upon.

2. High Contrast vs Low Contrast Photos

Another aspect how to do with the contrast. When there are spikes at both the shadow part and the hightlight part, it means there are many pixels that are darker, and there are also lots of pixels that are lighter. The result is a highly contrasted photo.

High Contrast Photo with Histogram Shown

When the curves concentrate on a specific region, that is, you only see one spike, and the tonal range is narrow, then the photo is a low contrast one. Photos featuring foggy days, snowy scenes are likely to be low contrast photos.

Low Contrast Photo with Histogram Shown

Besides histogram, there are other scopes such as waveform and vectorscope to help you better understand the color and luminance of your video. You can read the complete color grading workflow for a systematic learning.

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

VideoProc - 4K Video Processing
To learn more about Digiarty, please go to their website at:

A Sincere thank you to Digiarty Video processing for allowing us to use this article.


Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

I have felt that: wouldn’t it be awesome to photograph a “sunbeam”. I totally have never had that opportunity.

I found this perfect explanation, and one who has experienced this in detail. His name is Chris Upton:

Chris Upton

Chris Upton is a travel, landscape and social documentary photographer from Nottingham-shire, UK. He is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and is proud to be an official Fuji Film Cameras X Photographer. Chris’s great passions in life are travel and photography. He has traveled widely and finds it an amazing experience to observe and photograph a variety of cultures, people, and landscapes. His hope is that through his photographs he can bring a little of this to the viewer and inspire others to experience the beauty and diversity of the world for themselves.
In 2016, Chris presented a major social documentary project recording the closure of Thoresby Colliery, the last pit in Nottingham-shire, to widespread critical acclaim. He also published a book, Thoresby: The End Of The Mine, to accompany the exhibition.
Chris’s work is sold internationally and has been published in numerous magazines and books. He has held several major solo exhibitions and was invited to exhibit at the prestigious Masters of Vision Exhibition of Photography at Southwell Minster in 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Chris loves to share his knowledge and he lectures around the UK and runs a variety of workshop events.

All photographs herein are copyrighted photos of Chris Upton

Photography is all about the light and, as landscape photographers, we are constantly searching for the most interesting and evocative lighting conditions. Without it our pictures can be dull and lackluster but when Mother Nature performs her magic, the landscape is transformed enabling us to capture some stunning imagery.

Some of my favorite conditions are shooting into the sun to capture those dramatic sunbeams, starbursts or beautiful back-lit scenes. Although this is counter intuitive to everything we are taught early in our photographic journey, this technique helps emphasize, shapes, lines and silhouettes to produce some striking images.

Here are some hints and tips to help you capture atmospheric sun kissed images.


When shooting sunbeams the first thing you need is strong sunlight! Sunbeams are most pronounced when they bounce off elements in the atmosphere, such as dust or moisture in the form of mist. But it needs to be the right amount of mist; too little and the rays won’t be strong enough, too misty or foggy and you won’t see any. Autumn and Spring often produce the best conditions. Check the weather forecast and look for calm conditions and bright sunshine after a period of rain.

Fuji Film Cameras X-E2S + XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS – 1/180 sec. at F6.4, ISO 800

Just a note from 123Photogo: I have to tell you that I am jealous of the camera(s) Chris Upton uses. Many years ago, when FujiFilm was manufacturing cameras, I had the opportunity to sell these cameras. I know most people today are thinking Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, but if you ever get a chance to find out the quality traits of a FujiFilm DSLR camera, then study this camera well. In August, 123PhotoGo will be doing a special on every, EVERY brand of camera, and let you know how good they all are. But to me, the FujiFilm brand of camera holds a special place in my heart as one of the best cameras.

Time of Day

The best conditions are usually early in the morning, late in the afternoon or early evening, though in the winter the sun never rises too high so this period can be extended.


Shoot towards the sun, with it at 45-180 degrees to your camera. Partially hide the sun behind a tree or other object for a greater effect. Isolating the light area against a darker background, for example making use of a forest canopy, will help the rays look more defined. Finding some open areas for the rays to flood with light can really add some impact to your shots. Look for different compositions and locations but work quickly as these conditions usually don’t last too long!

Fuji Film Cameras X-T2 + XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1/25 sec. at F11, ISO 200


You can shoot with any lens depending upon the look you are trying to capture and, whilst wide angle shots can work, I also like to use a longer lens to isolate an area of the scene and compress the perspective. Prime lenses, because of their more simple construction with fewer elements and groups, are usually better than zooms at reducing lens flare. Use a tripod to help you refine your composition and maximise the impact of the rays and check around the frame for distracting elements.

Select a low ISO for the best file quality and shooting RAW will give you more flexibility in post processing. Use a smaller aperture, such as F11, for increased depth of field and to highlight the diffraction of the rays.

Metering in these situations can be tricky because of the huge dynamic range. If you have a large, dark area of forest your meter will overexpose the scene and the rays will not be clearly defined. Shots need to be exposed to preserve highlight detail and then use software to recover some shadow detail. I usually shoot in Manual or Aperture Priority and use Exposure Compensation to underexpose to retain detail in the highlights. Exact settings will, of course, vary but try -1 or-2 stops and check your histogram. You can also meter a bright area but away from the direct sunlight. If you’re not sure about your exposure you can always bracket by selecting AE Bracketing in the Drive mode on your camera. I normally set my bracketing to 3 or 5 steps with a 1 stop increment in between.

Another option is to use neutral density (ND) graduated filters to balance the exposure of the foreground and sky. The dynamic range will likely be very wide so you may have to use 2 filters, slightly offset for best effect.

Polarising filters are great to reduce glare and bring out the saturation, however you need to be careful when using filters to avoid getting lens flare, especially when using wide angle lenses.

Starbursts and sunbursts are created from small point sources of light and, although the sun is not generally a small light source when it is low in the sky, early and late in the day, we can use it to provide us with a focal point in our images. To create the starburst, select a narrow aperture like F16 or F22. Partially obscuring the sun will exaggerate the effect. Compose your image with the sun obscured behind a tree or other object then move slightly so that the sun just peeps out and take the shot.

Fuji Film Cameras X-E3 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/4 sec. at F16, ISO 200

When the sun is low, but out of shot, it can create some wonderful lighting and atmosphere, particularly when there is low lying mist. Look for subjects to back light such as trees, fences or people out on their early morning walk. In these conditions, I definitely favour using a long lens such as the XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 or XF50-140mmF2.8 to compress perspective. As with the sun rays, make sure you expose to retain detail in the highlights. Both lenses made by Fuji Film Cameras.

Remember to keep your lens and filters spotless, as shooting into the sun can be very unforgiving. Any dust or greasy finger marks will show up and degrade the image.

It’s always good to know places locally that you can get to quickly when the conditions are right. Keep an eye on the forecast, prepare your gear and make the most of the light to create some awesome sun blessed images.

Finally, a health warning; take extreme care when photographing the sun and do not look directly into the sun when composing your images. Whilst using a mirrorless camera means that you are only seeing an image of the sun in the viewfinder, you should not expose your sensor to prolonged periods of intense sunlight. Anyone reading this who uses a DSLR should definitely not look through the lens directly into the sun as even a short unprotected glimpse through the viewfinder could cause you permanent eye damage.

Note: make sure you click on the words in red: Fuji Film Cameras to learn more about them, and also to check on prices, and purchase if you wish.

Fuji Film Cameras X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/160 sec. at F8, ISO 200
A special thanks to Chris Upton and Fuji Film Cameras to use this article. It, once again, brought great memories back to me in once being a salesman for Fuji Film Cameras

8 Pointers to Help You Travel and See the World Virtually with Ease:

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Just as we were nursing some hope of the world going back to normal and possibly, travel opening up again, we were hit by another news:

A delta variant, really?

For the past several months, a lot of people have been locked in a place – and they would love to explore now. Even if they were not naturally travelers before, all that has changed.

If the current indications are anything to go by, though, that is not going to happen anytime soon.

Fortunately, you don’t have to leave your location physically to explore the world anymore.

Where can you go?

With virtual travel, anywhere.

The best part of this deal is that more virtual travel platforms, services, concepts, and ideas are coming up daily.

Depending on your interests and hobbies, here are some of the most intriguing options to pursue:

  • Museum tours – check out the various museum tours that Google has on its Arts and Culture section, for example. Top museums worldwide are also hosting private virtual tours that take you through the ins and outs of the establishment like you were there.
  • Safari exploration – join a safari tour to enter the hearts of Africa, taking in the wild and enjoying the magnificence of those animals without any of the risks or costs involved.
  • Get underwater – the Great Barrier Reef experience allows you to swim alongside some of the biggest sharks in the world, stealing a sneak peek at the underwater world and coming back in a dry suit still.
  • Get random – with Window Swap, for example, you can dive in and automatically get teleported to any number of windows all around the world. See the world via someone’s window, getting into what’s happening in Greece, what a typical day in Singapore looks like, and more.
infinity pool near beach
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on

Making the most of virtual travel

Before you get on your first virtual travel experience, these tips will help you enjoy yourself better:

  • Choose what interests you – or check out something that you have been curious about. You only have to search – and you’ll find a way to see another part of the world from your home.
  • Get your gears ready – if you were streaming a documentary, for example, your internet-enabled device would be all you need. For some more immersive experience, you might need VR gear.
  • Ensure you have access – some virtual tours are location restricted, and you don’t want to find out too late. If you still want to go on them, download a VPN and connect to the supported server location to gain access.
  • Enjoy – although the experience won’t be as immersive as being there in person. If you give yourself to the program, though, we can promise that you’ll truly enjoy every bit of it.
photo of city during dawn
Photo by Alex Azabache on

Final Thoughts

Virtual travel is not the same as physical travel, granted, but this half loaf is truly better than none.

While we allow the world to heal and everything else to recover, virtual travel gives us a window to escape to other worlds beyond our current reach. That, we can say, is a laudable and judicious use of all the tech around us.

Any words in red have a special link that you can click on to learn more. Please take advantage of these special links, put in there just for you.

Article written by David Cadelina (guest author). for:

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