Tag Archives: how-to

The Long Exposure Technique That Doesn’t Require A Tripod

Create unique abstract images with a swipe

long exposure swipe image
Fireweed (camera swipe)

When I find myself overwhelmed or just need a burst of creativity, I look no further than using a deliberate pan blur, or “swipe” to create an abstract photograph. The idea behind a swipe is to use a relatively long exposure and move the camera either up/down or left/right while dragging the shutter. I find that with the right subjects, I can create some pretty fun images!

Swipes are just one of the many topics I cover in my complete guide to long exposure photography.

Video: How to perform a long exposure swipe
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A Homemade Solar Filter

The sun, photographed with my Nikon D500 and 200-500mm VR Nikkor lens.

I’m not a total die-hard when it comes to solar photography, but I’m going to be close enough to the 2017 solar eclipse event that I figured I’d at least try to get some photos. But first, I had to construct a solar filter. Here’s how I made mine for about $45.

First, decide on which lens you want to use for photographing the sun. I chose my Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 VR lens, because it’s versatile and I can shoot it hand-held if I want to. I also chose this lens because it has a front filter thread, which will allow me to easily mount the solar filter to it. Continue reading A Homemade Solar Filter

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Get Maximum Dynamic Range from RAW Image Files with Lightroom

[youtube_sc url=”https://youtu.be/lPJV_cbuO30″ autohide=”1″ fs=”1″]

Did you know that with a little tweaking, you can extract tremendous dynamic range from single RAW files in Adobe Lightroom without using HDR? The trick is to take advantage of Lightroom’s Camera Calibration panel. There, you set the initial tone curve of your image (contrast & color). By using a low-contrast tone curve, you can recover more highlight and shadow details than by using sliders alone. If you use Nikon DSLRs, you can choose the “Camera Flat” profile to get more dynamic range. If you don’t have a Nikon camera, you can create your own custom profile with a linear tone curve by using the Adobe DNG Profile Editor. My video above will show you how.

Discover more Lightroom processing secrets with my comprehensive PDF guide. 

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How to Photograph Fireworks

Fireworks at Chicago's Navy Pier.
Fireworks at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Nikon D810 with 28-300mm Nikkor lens. 3 s f/8 ISO 100

It’s July, and that means many of us in the USA will be able to watch fireworks demonstrations. If you’ve never photographed fireworks before, you don’t want to have to troubleshoot camera settings in the dark. Most fireworks displays are under 30 minutes in duration, so you’ll want to be prepared! Here are my tips for photographing fireworks displays: Continue reading How to Photograph Fireworks

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Traveling with Lightroom: Moving images between two computers

When I’m on the road scouting locations or leading workshops, I use my MacBook Pro as my field computer. I store my images on a portable USB 3 hard drive and I use Lightroom on my laptop to manage, keyword, and process images.

The challenge with this approach is that Lightroom by its very nature is a single-user application. Unless you store your Lightroom catalog file on a portable drive, it means that you’re going to have to set up two catalogs: one on your main computer and one on your laptop. Keywords and adjustments are not stored in your images unless you use DNG files, so simply copying the images from the laptop to your desktop computer won’t preserve all your Lightroom adjustments. Continue reading Traveling with Lightroom: Moving images between two computers

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