LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY DURING THE PANDEMIC:

It is true: the Covid19 situation has made photography a little more challenging to go and get good photos. BUT, it shouldn’t have to. If you are a landscape photographer, this pandemic should not get in your way.

I found this video from a professional photographer that talks about taking photos during this pandemic. Very interesting, and please check it out:

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If you’re seriously into landscape photography, you probably dedicate a good number of days solely to photography trips. Traveling is a pivotal part of landscape photography. But with the pandemic ruining travel for everyone, borders and travel systems have been shut down. So how do landscape photographers keep going? Photographer Thomas Heaton shares his ideas on how you can indulge in your favorite hobby in a safe way while being respectful of the law:

Click the link above to learn more.

Landscape and travel photographers tend to value locations that are farther afield. But when you cannot trek out to distant exotic locations, you only have one choice: explore your own region and search for hidden gems.

Another advantage of shooting locally is that you’re less likely to encounter many others, since they’re probably lesser-appreciated areas. You can have the place all to yourself and not bother with tourists interrupting your shot. Also, at the end of the day, you can go back to your own home and sleep in your own bed. What a joy!

If you haven’t had the opportunity to explore the beauty around you, this could be the right time to try it. However, if you do plan on going out, make sure that you abide by local regulations—wear a mask and social distance when necessary. After all, safety comes first.

Now that you know you can still take some good photos during the pandemic, here’s some amazing photos I found on Pexels.com that show that you can take great pictures now.

brown pelican with colorful beak standing on stone on sandy shore
Photo by Julia Volk on Pexels.com
village among garden and lake by rock
Photo by Evgenia Basyrova on Pexels.com
seaside
Photo by Fabian Wiktor on Pexels.com
brown and green grass field during sunset
Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

Pro Photographer shares mistakes he made along the way

Here is another great video obtained through Picture/Correct, and Sunny Shrestha shared the video made by: Brendan van Son. I watched this video closely and was realizing myself, that I make some of these mistakes. So, it’s worth watching and hope you enjoy this:

In photography, we often see people making common mistakes. But what matters more than the mistake is the recovery. We should quickly identify such mistakes and try to correct them. Being able to do so is an important step to becoming a better photographer. In today’s video, we have photographer Brendan van Son who shares nine common mistakes that beginner and professional photographers often make:

One very important mistake that van Son points out is how beginners get stuck on the notion that their photos must be technically perfect. This means using the perfect aperture, ISO and shutter speed. And in a race to achieve perfection, they fail to learn how mistakes impact their photos. It is important to realize that you do not have to follow the rules every time. Go on, make some mistakes: mistakes can be good teachers. And learning from experience is the best kind of learning you can get.

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A TECHNICAL MISTAKE, WHEN LEARNING PHOTOGRAPHY!

Son further talks about behavioral mistakes such as not giving enough time on location, always expecting to shoot great-looking photos and being overly influenced by friends and families. He also sheds some light on how we make wrong gear-related decisions that could hamper or restrain our growth in photography, and much more.

Make sure that you watch the entire video. You’ll want to identify if you are making any of these mistakes and correct them early on. Otherwise, these very same mistakes can pile up and create bigger obstacles in your photography journey.

Have you been making any of these mistakes?

Here are some photos by professionals, that I think are done right:

anonymous man walking on sandy seashore in misty weather
Photo by Ben Mack on Pexels.com
adventure beautiful boardwalk bridge
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
landscape nature sky person
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

7 TIPS ON HOW TO SHOOT IN THE WOODLANDS !

Once again, I have found a great video that I learned a lot about taking quality photos. In this case, it is WOODLAND PHOTOGRAPHY: 7 TIPS ! Now, I have done some photos this year in one of our local woodlands, myself. And found it quite difficult to get any kind of composition when the woods actually create chaos. The woods I am thinking about are really jumbled up with dead trees, overgrown forest, etc.

Now that I have viewed this video, I wish I could go try it again, but, now the weather has proven it difficult.

So, today, if you just want to learn about composition, and “How to see a photograph”, then this video is must.

When it comes to photographing woodlands, things can get pretty chaotic. You are confined to limited space, difficult subjects and many distracting surrounding elements. Tightly packed trees and tricky lighting usually make the work that much more challenging. So to help you out, we have photographer Nigel Danson sharing his process of finding and photographing compositions in woodlands:

The trick in composing better woodland images is to come up with ways you can use the chaos to your advantage. For instance, use trees to create a frame and emphasize certain interesting elements. This will naturally draw viewers’ eyes toward your subject. This technique works best if you have a central character that’s unique and stands out from the rest of the surroundings.

Contrast is another way you can make elements stand out. Contrast can be in terms of color, lighting, texture, patterns, shape or anything else. Pay close attention to how vegetation varies and look for ways you can declutter. Danson also suggests photographers change their perspective. Move around and see how you can create separation. Sometimes, even the slightest movement of the camera can make a huge difference.

Along with his insightful tips on composition, Danson also shares the images that he took using his tips. Make sure that you go through the entire video to see how he does it. You’ll definitely get to learn a lot from his ideas and outcomes.

Now, from my experience in the Woodlands around here, here are a few of my photos:

One thing I look out for in the Woodlands, is an opportunity for a close-up. This combination of berries and the prickly weed was a photo I like.
Looking for things of the woodlands…. like a pile of chopped wood.
If I can find a path to be in my picture, I have accomplished one of the “composition guidelines”, and that is “leading lines”.
And if you haven’t got fog, perhaps you can create it your self in “Lightroom”.
dawn environment fall fog
Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com – Looking for special light is always a plus!

Pro Landscape Photog Shares Some Tips While He is Working:

I love to share good videos when they come along. You get the information right from the person, and in this case, a professional photographer. We can all use a little help in our landscape photography, and this will help:


The Internet makes it incredibly easy to learn more photography tips than you could ever use. That said, it’s easy to get overwhelming, especially when applying those tips out in the field. That’s usually because “ideal conditions” in landscape photography rarely exist, and even if they do, the window is often small. Today we have landscape photographer Mark Denney who discusses some on-location tips that have positively impacted his photography over the years:

In theory, we only get to read tips and tricks with these ideal conditions in mind. But when you’re out on location, things can get unpredictable. You need to anticipate, prepare for the moment and, when the moment really does present itself, act on it quickly. Otherwise, the opportunity will be lost.

Watch the video as Denney explains how he works in these scenarios. He talks you through what he looks for when setting up his composition, how he anticipates the conditions to change, why he uses a certain lens and what qualities he looks for in a light when composing a shot. Being able to develop such a thought process is essential because it allows you to put all of your knowledge into practice. Otherwise, all those tips you’ve learned are useless.

It is important that you go out, shoot and put your knowledge to practice in order to be a better photographer. What good is the knowledge if you cannot apply it?

Here is just a couple more great landscape photos:

art autumn autumn leaves beautiful
Photo by Valiphotos on Pexels.com
bench cascade creek environment
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
rocky formation on shore of ocean
Photo by electra kay-smith on Pexels.com

Notes on how to take night photos

With the coming forth of the newer cameras able to take photos in extreme darkness, I wanted you to go with me through this video and show you what to watch out for in taking photos at night. So, watch out for the lighting, and still look for good photos to take pictures of.

Please watch the video below:

Here are the actual results from tonight’s low light shooting:

This is the first photo taken tonight at 9pm, using just my new cell phone (DSLR would give you the same results if shot at 3200ISO). Amazing that I could still get this photo, no flash, and get this fence-line photo. Notice the deep yellow colors to this photo. This is the actual photo taken before Post-Production.
The same photo as above, but, most of the yellow color taken out. Interesting to see the blues in the sky come out. Made this for a more pleasing photo.
Photo number 2 taken of the broken fence. Still notice the yellowish color to the photo before post-production.
Same as the photo above, but with the yellow taken out of the photo, to make it look more pleasing. Once again, look at the blues in the sky come out.
This photo was purposely taken with the street lights in it. If we make this photo (below) look like daylight, then you would never know that this was taken at night. It’s often a good idea when taking your night photos, to include the lighting in the photo.
I love how this photo turned out after post-production. Blue sky, and the light is now white (Mostly). A winning photo you think?
You will recall our final photo was of flowers in the natural street light. Do you like this, Or below ?
These are yellow flowers. I take the yellow produced from the street light, and make it more daylight, and I get the green grass, and the blue tint to the sidewalk was surprising, but nice. What do you think?

With what you see in the results of our night time shooting, what do you think? Your comments are welcome and hope you enjoyed this video presentation.

WHAT DOES “THIS” PHOTOGRAPHER HAVE IN HIS CAMERA BAG?

When you get to that point that you are comfortable as an “advanced photographer” or even a professional, it is interesting to see what kind of equipment a photographer would have. Would you like to have their equipment? Why do they have that equipment? What can I learn from seeing the equipment a photographer might have or want to have in their bag?

Well, on today’s video, we are going to walk through the different things I have in my bag right now. Is it everything I want? Oh no! A photographer would always like to have more.

Please check this video out, and see what I have in my photographer’s bag:

I mentioned in the video of how much I like to shoot natural light. Here is a photo I have taken that was taken at about 10pm at night, no flash, just using the natural lights from the road:

Photo taken at 10 pm at night. No flash, just using the natural light of the street lights.

The things that most photographers would want to add to their bag: lenses, lenses, and more lenses.

For more information about what kind of lenses there are available for your camera, let’s just look at the website for Sigma lenses:

https://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses?gclid=CjwKCAjw5p_8BRBUEiwAPpJO6yxhglIMxwcLhCzWLtU0scH_A_PWYW8WYCQ5_4hkCQaQsK6XMy9c3RoC69QQAvD_BwE

105MM f2.8 DG DN MACRO ART
assorted black and gray cameras
Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

DSLR VS. MIRRORLESS CAMERAS

What is the big difference, really, in a regular DSLR camera and a mirrorless camera? So many people are confused as to what the difference is there an advantage of one over the other. We will get this clarified today.

First of all, a video is always a great way to learn, as it is both audio and visual to the senses. Please click on this link first:

So, let’s get you the list of the differences between a good DSLR and a mirrorless camera.

Many are wondering if they should just “ditch” their current dslr and go with the new mirrorless camera.

Should you ditch your DSLR?

Does this mean, as one recent mirrorless ad campaign provocatively put it, that you should “Ditch the DSLR?” Let’s just say that there are many good reasons not to, especially if you like the DSLR you now own and it’s performing very well for the kind of photography you do now and intend to pursue going forward. And if you have a bunch of lenses for it, it may make more sense to upgrade to the latest DSLR in the maker’s lineup than to invest in a whole new mirrorless system. Indeed, there are many reasons that pros using top-tier DSLRs fitted with premium lenses often prefer to stick with what works than to venture into uncharted waters. Having said all that it’s clear that an increasing number of pros and serious enthusiasts are now acquiring mirrorless cameras whether they retain their present DSLRs or not, and at this point, it’s fair to say that the upside potential of the mirrorless market is greater than that of traditional DSLRS. If you’re on the fence, or considering buying a new interchangeable lens camera here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each type that should help you make intelligent choices.

Mirrorless Camera Pros

Mirrorless cameras, regardless of format, are almost always smaller and lighter than comparable DSLRs because they don’t require a relatively bulky, heavy mirror box and the mechanisms needed to move a reflex mirror into and out of the light path. As a result, they have fewer moving parts, are quieter in operation than traditional DSLRs, and are inherently less prone to causing shake-inducing vibration.

Today’s top mirrorless cameras incorporate high resolution EVFs or OLED EVFs with incredibly rapid refresh rates (60 times per sec and up) that provide a brilliant, 100% coverage, high-magnification, eye level viewing image that rivals that of most optical viewfinders (OVFs), and provide continuous viewing without momentary finder blackout even as the shutter fires.

Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens and Accessories Kit
New Sony mirrorless camera with lens and accessories

The EVFs in mirrorless cameras have the advantage of allowing users to preview the captured (complete with exposure corrections and custom settings) in real time. This makes it easier, for example, to compose subjects in very dim light because the gain is automatically increased to make them more visible.

Mirrorless cameras typically include Hybrid AF systems that combine the advantages of fast, decisive on-sensor phase-detection AF (PDAF) and the precision of contrast-detect AF (CAF), taking their AF performance to a level surpassing that of all but top-tier DSLRs.

Further advantages of the hybrid CAF/PDAF systems in mirrorless cameras include the ability to provide continuous AF and focus tracking before and during the exposure, a crucial factor when shooting still images at high burst rates, or capturing clean HD video without visible or audible “hunting.”

Mirrorless cameras enable the layering of viewfinder information, such as camera settings, levels, histograms, focus peaking, etc., and can also provide an instant magnified image of the focusing area and allow playback of images and videos in the EVF.

Mirrorless cameras allow the seamless use of existing “open source” lenses by using simple mount adapters to expand the camera’s optical array. The possibilities include mounting lenses from other lens systems, classic rangefinder lenses, and lenses from obsolete or obscure systems.

The shorter flange back (mount to sensor) distance of mirrorless cameras makes it easier to design high-quality lenses, particularly wide-angles, that provide better edge and corner illumination and greater light transmission efficiency.

New Canon R5 mirrorless camera.

The Hybrid AF systems in mirrorless cameras cover a wider area of the sensor, providing AF capability closer to the edges and corners of the frame, and enhancing overall AF flexibility.

Mirrorless cameras provide continuous Live View via the LCD or EVF and provide previewing using either viewing system when shooting video, with no loss of AF capability.

At their best, mirrorless system cameras combine the advantages of both DSLRs and point-and-shoots, providing lens interchangeability, ultra-high image quality, and the entire high-end feature array of middle- and upper-tier DSLRs in smaller, lighter, handier form factors. Not surprisingly, as the popularity of MSC’s has dramatically increased over the past 2 years or so, camera makers and independent lens manufacturers have vastly expanded their lens offerings, vastly increasing the creative optical options available to consumers, and marketing opportunities for dealers.

The MSC market continues to be technologically driven, with many of the latest high-end models offering higher-res sensors, enhanced image-processing software for greater responsiveness, faster burst rates, 4K video capture, full Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS, multi-axis in-body image stabilization, and enhanced viewing options such as hi-res tilt/swing and touch screen LCDs, and OLED EVFs. However, entry-level and middle-tier MSCs have also benefitted from these technological advances. The result is an array of enticing new models offering features that have migrated down from higher-end models, often with simplified user interfaces, and at very competitive prices.

DSLR Pros

Middle- and upper-tier pro models with solid glass pentaprism optical viewfinders, provide a brilliant “real feel” viewing image that no mirrorless EVF can quite match. Whether this is important to you is, of course, subjective, but many photographers accustomed to optical viewfinders consider it a definite plus. Digital SLRs are generally larger than mirrorless cameras and this allows more room for the placement of dedicated controls for various camera functions such as ISO, exposure compensation, white balance, etc. The control ergonomics of the best DSLRs often have an edge over their current mirrorless counterparts in this respect. The use of larger batteries provides greater capacity than smaller batteries. With most pro-caliber DSLRs you can shoot all day without running out of battery power, and that’s not always true with comparable mirrorless cameras. Photographers with large hands often prefer DSLRs.DSLRs have evolved into a very ergonomic shape and some of them are more comfortably contoured than their mirrorless counterparts. Some shooters feel that a heavier camera, like the DSLR, also provides a more stable shooting platform than some of the smaller, lighter mirrorless cameras. Again this is subjective and the decision is personal. It’s hard to beat the record of durability, reliability, and consistent performance under adverse conditions of a DSLR. Additionally, DSLRS offer in-body or on-lens image stabilization systems to minimize the effects of mirror-induced camera shake. That’s why many pros are reluctant to make the switch. DSLRs offer very well developed lens systems that include numerous professional prime and zoom lenses that deliver spectacular imaging performance. While mirrorless systems have yet to match the phenomenal optical arrays available for the leading DSLR systems, this will happen sooner rather than later as both camera makers and independent lens makers are rapidly expanding and upgrading their optical offerings.

The newest professional DSLR camera from Pentax, is a winner.

Unquestionably both traditional DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are the heart of supremely versatile, viable systems capable of the highest levels of imaging performance. While we hope it helps to enumerate the advantages of each, the choice is inherently subjective, and a lot depends on what equipment you have now and in what direction you want to take your creative photography. As they say, it’s up to you, but the current crop of cameras of each type deliver awesome performance, and whatever you decide you’re not likely to be disappointed.

Why Pentax is Making the Right Call in Sticking with DSLRs:

As the majority of camera manufacturers move away from the SLR type cameras and start producing mirrorless systems, one company continues to hold on to the past. Pentax has now in multiple statements confirmed that it will not be producing a mirrorless camera and will continue to develop SLR cameras.

My knee jerk reaction was to scoff at this stance. However, now that I’ve had some time to think on this properly, I think it makes complete sense for the company.

There’s No Advantage

If Pentax produces a mirrorless camera, what difference would it make for the company? Will it start to become a viable alternative to the major manufacturers, and could it increase its market share?

The answer to the second question, probably not. The likelihood of Pentax suddenly becoming a major alternative to the three big manufacturers is extremely unlikely — I don’t see vast swathes of Sony, Canon, and Nikon shooters suddenly jumping on board with Pentax.

Current Customers

Pentax as a company has quite the loyal fanbase, and to disrupt this in any way would be extremely foolish. I find it difficult to see how Pentax shooters would be happy to migrate to a whole new mount. One of the things Pentax shooters seem to love is the compatibility and lens selection available for the K mount.

This mount is compatible with lenses all the way from 1975, and new lenses are still being produced for it. There are literally hundreds of lenses available for this mount — there are so many that I doubt anyone has an exact number of lenses that are compatible.

This is one of the major benefits and reasons why people continue to shoot with Pentax cameras. There are lenses that have been handed down to photographers by their grandparents, which of course, instills a deep sense of loyalty. Moving to a mirrorless camera system would pretty much betray most Pentax customers.

For this reason, it’s essential that Pentax continue with the current mount.

Pentax has created the ultimate DSLR that will be hard to beat by any mirrorless cameras

The DLSR Niche

The benefit (or novelty) of being able to see through a DLSR viewfinder will become popular again. Once the majority of manufacturers move away from DSLR type cameras and mirrorless cameras become the norm, the quirks and benefits of a “proper” viewfinder will draw a large number of customers.

Arguments about how the DSLR viewfinder being natural or more realistic will probably be used, and at that point, Pentax might be able to say that they never left.

Even now, there are still many customers that dislike mirrorless cameras. It doesn’t really matter what the reasons are — what matters is the fact that these customers exist.

As most manufacturers move away and eventually stop supporting DLSR cameras, either by discontinuing them or stopping the production of new lenses, there’s a good chance that a strong base of customers will still want a DSLR instead. Pentax could comfortably be the company that takes that spot, and with its vast number of compatible lenses, it does have quite an advantage.

The only problem is that this is an incredibly long-term plan because current DSLR cameras won’t be discontinued anytime soon.

Pentax lenses have been known to be some of the best in the world. They have been making lenses longer than other manufactures.

Final Thoughts

In some sense, the fact that Pentax has resigned itself to the DSLR could be described as the company admitting defeat. I think there may be some element of truth to that, as Pentax may know that it simply cannot compete on the same level.

Despite this, I think this is a great idea by Pentax because not only is it looking more long term, it also shows a great deal of self-awareness and foresight.

The one major positive note we could take from this is the fact that, if Pentax (Ricoh) is planning long term, it probably doesn’t have any plans to exit the camera market.

A special thanks to the following contributors:

Usman Dawood from Petapixel for his insight into Pentax

HOW TO SEE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!

If you want to become a good photographer, you want to practice, practice, practice taking photos. I have heard it said that you finally become a good photographer after you have taken 10,000 photos. I don’t know how true that is, but, I am sure someone said that to make you realize that you need to take a lot of photos before you really learn what you are doing.

I have heard upcoming photographers say: “I want to take a lot of photos, but, don’t know where I can take photos”. And let me tell you the biggest challenge you have as you become a good photographer, is learning “To See” a photo. And it is hard at first, because most people don’t know that it takes practice to see photos. Take time to look around you, and see if you can see photo opportunities to just practice on. This is the way that when you practice in your own backyard or neighborhood, you will see even more amazing photo opportunities when you go out to a “real” site that is beautiful. And then as you get there, you will see more things around you that you didn’t see before. That is when you become a good photographer, by seeing things different than most people. I have done this once, and I remember hearing someone say: “Now that is something I didn’t think about taking pictures of”.

Today’s video is showing how to find things to practice on in your own backyard. I will take you on a photo expedition of my own backyard. And then we will take a look at these photos after our expedition:

Click on the video to watch how to take photos in your own backyard.

Here are the results of the photos I took in my own backyard:

The picture of the bird feeder. Make sure when you take a photo like this that you have some angle to it, so you can see the whole thing. Shooting it straight on, may not show the dimension of this bird feeder.
I couldn’t remember the name of these flowers during filming, but they are Gazania’s. Notice while I was taking this photo, a bumblebee graced this flower at the bottom. Thanks Mr. Bee.
Beautiful miniature roses taken close up to give you some practice taking “close-ups”.
This is different than the video shows, but, this leaf had less contrast on it. The original leaf in the video, I noticed after I closed the video, that it had both shade and sunshine on the leaf, making a contrasty photo. This is something you have to learn to see as you take photos as well. Beware of scenes that have both shade and light in the same photo. Unless you want to practice doing that type of photo, this one usually will give you better results.
A variety of flowers is always a good thing to practice on. Notice, however, the background. Not exactly a pretty background, and my dog photobombed me too. Always watch your backgrounds before you snap your photos.
Remember in the video we talked about making this a black and white photo. What type of photo would you take that you would want to change from color to black and white? This is one of those that I like better in Black and White than color. It actually gives it character rather that a bench that needs painting.
Now this is one to have fun with, and watch for as you take photos. Should you take the photo where the subject is in the center, or off to the third of the photo? Well, composition rules tell me that the walnut should be in the third quadrant of the photo. But, I also gave it something to hang on to, which gives it lines to follow it to the subject.
From the video, we were trying to get rid of the camper in my neighbors yard. With a telephoto lens, I was able to get a great photo of our mountains close by. Once again, watch out for “clutter” that might ruin a good photo.

Once again, remember to view the video, like it, and subscribe to it as more of my blogs may be YouTube hits. Haha. But, I hope you have learned more about how to take photos around you.