Improve Your Photography

I’ve read a lot of photography books and spent a lot of time on set, but found this New York Times about being a better dSLR shooter on vacation.

Q: For D.S.L.R. photographers, what lenses are best for vacation shots?

A: Zoom lenses are obviously a good choice for vacations. I’d recommend a 28-105-mm zoom, which will provide you a lot of versatility. You might also consider a telephoto zoom lens (maybe a 70-200 mm), which gives you the ability to pull in the subject and use techniques that act to compress or isolate the scene. If, for instance, you are photographing a portrait of someone who is 15 or 20 feet away and shoot with a 150-mm lens at a wide aperture, the background will be out of focus and your subject will be isolated.
Also, having a really wide lens — 28 mm or wider — is great for landscapes. I use my 16-35-mm zoom often when traveling because it allows me to capture the scene –- whether it is all of the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset or a mountain range in prime fall colors — in an exciting way.

Q: Do you recommend any additional equipment?

A: Rather than buying a second lens, consider a 2X extender [teleconverter], which doubles the focal length of that 28-105-mm lens, to 56-210mm. So for a very small physical space, and much less cost, you effectively double the lens. The downside, however, is that you lose two stops of light. A small tripod is also a great investment that pays you back with better and sharper images.

A: What about sunsets? They can be beautiful but are difficult to capture.

A: Underexpose it a lot. That will help you capture the incredible reds, rich oranges and yellows. I use the manual mode to underexpose, usually about two to four stops. The exposure compensation features on most cameras have only three stops, and some have only two stops. Manual mode provides the best way to reduce the light level.Read the whole article and the comments too.

Read the whole article and the comments too.

Digital Photography School also has an excellent article on taking better portraits, and the article includes some beautifully composed shots that are included nice and big inside the article.

Last up, LifeHacker has a survey of the “Most Popular Photography Hacks of 2009” that is links to several entire collections of photography information. Take a look and see which one(s) appeal to you.

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