Category Archives: Articles

What is Focus Breathing?

Some lenses change apparent focal length during focus due to their optical design.

A demonstration of focus breathing in the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lenses

Some lenses change their apparent focal length as you move from infinity to near focus. This phenomenon is called “focus breathing.” In the video above, I demonstrate what this looks like using the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G and Nikon 50mm f/1.8S lenses on a Nikon Z7 mirrorless camera.

Photographing Fall Colors

Fall colors adorn the mountainsides in Teller county, Colorado
Fall colors adorn the mountainsides in Teller county, Colorado

Pro tips for photographing fall colors and foliage

As summer starts to fade, it’s time to turn our thoughts to the approach of autumn. The smell of pumpkin spice is in the air, and soon the leaves will be turning. If you want to photograph the changing leaves this year, it’s good to have a plan, and have the right approach. Here are my tips for getting outstanding photos of fall colors.

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Mastering iPhone Photography

Why the iPhone is my go-to backup camera for creative travel photography

The best camera is the one you have… and many times that’s your phone.
Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN

I’ve owned an Apple iPhone since the original was released in 2007. Back then, the quality of camera phones was still rudimentary, and I didn’t consider using it for creative photography. Thirteen years later, my iPhone is a critical part of my photography kit and iPhone photography is here to stay. In fact, I often refer to my phone as my “backup camera.” Last fall, I upgraded to the iPhone 11 Pro, and I have to say that it offers an incredible array of built-in features that are just amazing. Whether you have the newest iPhone or an earlier model, here are some of my go-to tips for iPhone photography.

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Bird Photography with Nikon Z mirrorless cameras

Autofocus settings for birds in flight with Nikon Z cameras

Brown pelican in flight, captured with a Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera and 200-500mm f/5.6E VR zoom Nikkor lens.

I’m back from my third annual San Diego Birding & Wildlife photo workshop, and this year I decided to use the workshop as a testing ground for the Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera. Ever since the Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras were released, the general consensus seems to be that their hybrid phase/contrast autofocus system was great for everything except fast moving subjects, like flying birds. I decided to test the Z6 myself and see how well it could perform in the field in real-world conditions.

For four days I put the Z6 through its paces, and came away with the conclusion that by tweaking the autofocus settings, you can nail BIFs with this camera almost as well as I could with my tried and true Nikon D850 DSLR. The trick is to customize your autofocus settings to something other than the defaults, and the settings I chose will actually seem counter-intuitive. More on that in a moment.

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Tips for the Traveling Photographer

These little tidbits will save a lot of headaches if you travel with your camera

In October 2010, I made the decision to pursue my photography career full-time. Since then, travel has become an important component of my business. As you might imagine, traveling with your camera gear adds a layer of complexity to any plans you may have. Whether its dealing with airport security or just figuring out how to pack everything so it is safe, there are lots of little things that can make your travel experience easier. Here are some of my favorite travel tips.

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