Tag Archives: photography

Landscapes with Longer Focal Lengths

Daybreak in the Rockies, Cottonwood Pass, Colorado. Image captured with a Nikon D800e and 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS G VRII zoom Nikkor lens.
Daybreak in the Rockies, Cottonwood Pass, Colorado. Image captured with a Nikon D800e and 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS G VRII zoom Nikkor lens.

When you go out to photograph landscapes, what’s the first lens you reach for? For many of us, it’s a midrange (24-70mm) or wide (16-35mm) zoom lens. Those lenses are great, but there are lots of times when a longer focal length is ideal, even in wide-open spaces. By using something like a 70-200mm zoom, you can make some really compelling images.

Why should you use a telephoto zoom for landscape photography?

  • Telephoto lenses help you isolate the subject and cut out distracting elements from the scene, especially empty foreground space.
  • Telephoto lenses create subject isolation by softening backgrounds, especially when used with wide apertures.
  • Telephoto lenses compress the scene, enhancing the look of layers in a landscape and adding depth.

With all these creative benefits, it’s no wonder that my 70-200mm lens is something I find very enjoyable to use on my landscape photography trips.

Here are some more landscape images I captured with my 70-200mm lens: Continue reading Landscapes with Longer Focal Lengths

Channel-Swapping: Download Free Photoshop Actions

Independence Pass, Colorado. Digital Infrared image captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera 590nm conversion.
Independence Pass, Colorado. Digital Infrared image captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera 590nm conversion. Blue-sky effect created by Lab channel swapping in Photoshop CS6.

In yesterday’s post about channel-swapping, I mentioned two techniques for Adobe Photoshop. I created actions for both the RGB channel-swap (red-blue) and Lab channel swap (a-b).

Download this action set here (ZIP archive): Infrared Actions

My Descent into Infrared Photography, Part 3: One Camera, Multiple Looks

Old building, Ashcroft mining town. Super-color infrared image processed to produce "deep black" style.
Old building, Ashcroft mining town. Super-color infrared image processed to produce “deep black” style. With the right tools, you can create many infrared styles from a super-color infrared conversion (590nm).

I’ve been taking lots of infrared images with my converted Nikon 1 V1 camera. It’s not just because I think infrared is cool, but there is a method to the madness. Any time you get a new piece of gear, whether it’s a lens, camera, or accessory, you need to learn it. That means spending some serious time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of your gear. With an infrared camera, I not only need to understand how the camera itself operates, but also how to best process images to get the creative results I desire. Continue reading My Descent into Infrared Photography, Part 3: One Camera, Multiple Looks

My Descent into Infrared, Part 2: Choosing a Conversion Type

Afternoon clouds near Cañon City, Colorado. Super-color infrared image converted to monochrome using Silver Efex Pro 2.
Afternoon clouds near Cañon City, Colorado. Super-color infrared image converted to monochrome using Silver Efex Pro 2. If you have the right tools, a Super-Color infrared conversion is probably the most versatile choice for the creative photographer.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I selected a “Super Color” conversion for my Nikon 1 V1 camera. Today, I’ll dive a little deeper into my rationale for this conversion and provide some examples for why I think it was a good choice for what I do. Considering that most infrared conversions cost between $250-$325, you want to be sure you’re making a choice that you’ll be happy with. Your choice of conversion will determine what look or looks you’ll be able to get with your camera.

I based my rationale for choosing a “super color” conversion, which allows some visible light to reach the sensor, on two key points. First, I like the creative options afforded to me by having some color information. Second, I own Photoshop and Silver Efex Pro 2, and I’m fairly proficient with those products. Had I not owned those two programs, I may have chosen a different conversion style (likely standard IR). Continue reading My Descent into Infrared, Part 2: Choosing a Conversion Type

Video: Setting up Long Exposures with ND Filters

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Here’s a tutorial video showing how I use solid ND filters to capture long exposures in daylight conditions. A couple of key points for long exposures:

  1. Focus and compose before attaching the filters to your lens
  2. Determine the base exposure shutter speed using Aperture-priority mode
  3. Close the eyepiece shutter or use the cover before you shoot
  4. Use Manual exposure and set the shutter speed to “bulb.”
  5. Calculate the long exposure and use a timer to get the exposure right
  6. Use a locking remote release so you don’t have to touch the camera during the exposure