In December 2014 I decided that I wanted to practice shooting the night sky in order to expand my photography skills. Of course I made every possible mistake. My compositions were completely off, I severely underexposed or blew out the sky and the images were not sharp.
Chiefly I use filters when I want to:
- Smooth the water in a waterfall
- Shoot long exposures
- Balance the light in a scene
How water should look in an image is of course subject to endless discussions and depends on one’s personal preferences. I prefer smooth water…. or water with some textures which demands exposures at around one fourth of a second.
Shooting directly into the sun whether it is sunrise or sunset often results in that some areas around the sun are clipped and we get these rather harsh edges in our sky. Even when shooting bracketed or underexposing for the highlights we may not achieve a pleasing result around the strongest light in a scene.
This is not meant as an in-depth review of the Samsung S10+. The review will chiefly discuss the cell phone’s camera capabilities from a landscape photographer’s standpoint.
The first thing I noticed when I began using the Samsung S10+ was how well calibrated the screen is in terms of colors, black point and contrast. What I see on the display is extremely close to what I see on my calibrated computer monitor. That to such a degree that I now use my phone as a point of reference when re-calibrating my monitor.
I very often have this strong negative reaction when a newsletter arrives in my inbox or I see an online article where the heading, for instance, reads: “5 rules to follow when composing an image” — or something to that effect.
I would have been far more positive if the heading read: “10 approaches to consider when composing a landscape image”.
I have plenty of personal preferences when it comes to photography. However, I try to avoid making rules or laws based on what I prefer.
To shoot directly into the sun is both challenging and fun. Challenging because it can be difficult to control the light and, not least, our images are very often marred by sunflare. One simple way of avoiding flare is to shoot an extra exposure with one finger or more obscuring the sun.
Admittedly, it happens that I forget to follow that simple step, or I am too lazy or I believe that clouds or mist sufficiently diffuse the light so that the lens won’t produce any flare. In the example below I believed that mist would prevent any flare. I was wrong something which became very evident when examining the raw file in Lightroom.
Please note that this tutorial is meant for advanced users of Photoshop who are well familiar with layers, masks and luminosity masks.
Occasionally when examining a raw file I get a reasonably clear idea on how I would like the end result to be. In this instance I had an inner picture of trees glowing from the sun, rather dark shadows and a sky with nice color contrast.
In order to achieve this I opted to create two virtual copies in Lightroom from the original raw file. I could alternatively have achieved what I was looking for using Smart Objects, but envisioned that Virtual Copies would be the better option for the image I had in mind.
I believe we all now and then are envious of others’ photography — their skills, the conditions they experienced, the epic locations they visit, the accolades they receive and so on. We can either let this emotion make our lives miserable or we can channel it into something positive where we strive to improve our own skills and develop our talent. In other words, we turn envy into inspiration and motivation. May the tremendously gifted photographers featured in this article inspire you just like they inspire me. Each of the photographers has written a few words about themselves.
To shoot medium format has been a yearlong dream, but I have to admit I didn’t know it would be such a mind blowing experience. The Pentax 645Z (51,4 mega pixels) arrived on the market in 2014 and was the first camera to ever exceed 100 points in the DxOMark sensor test. For some unknown reason the score and review wasn’t published before 2017. There is plenty of info to be found on the internet concerning the camera specs so I won’t cover that in much detail. What is of greater interest to me and hopefully the reader is the medium format experience.
I can’t help but notice all those articles proclaiming mistakes we should try to avoid in order to become a better photographer. Admittedly, I have issues with such an approach. First of all: I hate the word “should”. Basically we “should” nothing. Secondly, there is not much learning in avoiding mistakes — we learn best from our mistakes and the more bittersweet they are the more carved into our memory they become. So here are some mistakes I genuinely recommend you to commit. I cannot promise they will make you a better photographer but the likelihood of you making those mistakes again will hopefully be reduced.