Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

The Image Doctors #139

Uses for the DNG raw format

Adobe’s DNG “digital negative” raw format was developed as an open standard over 20 years ago. What originally started out as an alternative raw format 20 years ago has instead morphed into something quite different, but incredibly useful. This week, we discuss the pros and cons of DNG files and how we use them in our own photographic workflows.

Get Ready to Photograph the Lunar Eclipse

Blood Moon Visible Sunday, May 15th

The 2019 total lunar “blood moon” eclipse

This weekend, get ready for a total lunar eclipse! The eclipse takes place the night of May 15th and ends early in the morning on May 16th. Most readers in North America will be able to see a total or partial eclipse.

Check to see where and when you can view the 2022 Blood Moon

Tips for photographing a lunar eclipse

If you want to photograph the total lunar eclipse, you’ll want to be prepared. Read my article How to Photograph a Lunar Eclipse for all the tricks you’ll need to capture this celestial event, including lenses and camera settings.

What’s the best frame rate for photographing birds in flight?

Is 20+ frames per second really necessary in wildlife photography?

Brandt’s cormorant on final approach, La Jolla, CA | Nikon Z9 + 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6S VR Z Nikkor

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Introduction

Wildlife photographers love mirrorless cameras because many of them offer incredibly fast frame capture rates. I recently got the new Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera, and one of its best features is its ability to shoot RAW at up to 20 frames per second (fps) with no viewfinder blackout. Other mirrorless cameras, like the Sony A1 and Canon R3 offer frame rates as high as 30 fps. The appeal of such fast burst rates for still photography is that these speeds increase the probability that you’ll capture a moment of peak action, or a dynamic animal pose.

The downside to capturing images at these high frame rates is the sheer volume of images you’ll end up with. Not only will you fill your memory cards faster, but you’ll also have to slog through hundreds or even thousands of shots in your triage/culling workflow. Another challenge with setting your camera to high-speed frame advance is that it becomes nearly impossible to fire off a single shot. Even with practice and good shutter release technique, once the camera is set to capture images at greater than 12 fps, shooting individual images is really difficult.

Obviously, there are certain subjects and situations that call for fast burst rates, and for most wildlife photographers, flying birds are most frequently that subject. In most wildlife photography scenarios, super-fast frame rates just lead to lots of redundant images. But when you’re trying to capture flying birds, high frame rates do offer an advantage.

Continue reading What’s the best frame rate for photographing birds in flight?

The Image Doctors #128

When to use HDR in your photos

10 years ago, it was commonplace to see extreme HDR tone-mapped images all over the photographic community. Between cameras with better sensors and a change in tastes, HDR isn’t all that noticeable anymore. This week, we look at the role HDR plays in our own photography and the techniques we use when processing our images.