The Business Of Sports Photography
Monday, July 29, 2013
The fine folks at Photoshelter regularly publish free "how-to" guides for photographers. Usually, though, rather than focusing on technique, these guides are geared to help professional photographers in all stages of their careers grow their businesses. Whether via tips on marketing and advertising, or utilizing social media for self promotion, these guides are almost always filled with welcome advice that photographers love. Now Photoshelter has released a new guide for photographers: "Growing Your Sports Photography Business." It was written with the help of renowned sports photographers, including the Director of Photography at Sports Illustrated. The downloadable PDF offers insights and advice for sports photographers from beginner to expert who are looking to take the next step in the sports photography careers. Read more and download the guide at the Photoshelter blog.
Quick Fix Fridays: Turn Day into Night
Friday, July 26, 2013
This post is about turning a photograph that was taken during the day into one that appears as though it was taken at night. It's about altering the reality of a scene and, perhaps most important, having fun with your photography.
When we remove the true color from a photograph, we remove some of the reality. The same is true for removing some of the sharpness from a scene. When we remove some of the reality from a photograph, that photograph can, but not always, look more creative and more artistic.
One of the techniques I use to remove/alter the reality of scene is the Midnight filter in Nik Color Efex Pro. That filter, when used correctly, can also change the ratio between the shadows and highlights in a scene, darkening the shadows and brightening the highlights. That's another way to change the reality of an image.
Let me take you through the process I used to create the opening image for this post. I call that image, "By the Light of the Midnight Moon."
The first step was to crop my original photograph of several sandhill cranes. I took the shot in the late afternoon in Bosque del Apache, New Mexico on one of my digital photography workshops.
After a careful crop, I selected the Midnight filter. In Color Set, I selected Neutral, but try Blue, Green, Sepia and Violet for other creative effects. After selecting Neutral, I played around with the other settings to fine-tune my image.
The resulting image reminded me of a moonlit scene, but there was no moon in the shot. I grabbed the moon from another image and, because it was small in the frame and lacked detail, I used the Detail Extractor filter in Nik Color Efex Pro to bring out more of the detail in the moon.
Then I grabbed a horizon line from another image and used it as foreground element. My final image is a composite of three images. Good fun for sure!
I'd like to leave you with a John Lennon quote: "Reality leaves a lot to the imagination."
Have a fun and creative weekend! Got questions? Drop by my website at www.ricksammon.com.
Accessories For Landscape Photography
Friday, July 26, 2013
Sometimes new photographers get all discombobulated when it comes to gear. Case in point: you decide you want to make some landscape photographs, you get your camera and your lenses and your tripod and you set out for a great destination. Everything's great, including the sunrise on the subject you've traveled miles to photograph, until some fellow photographer—or maybe even something you read in a photo magazine—tells you that you've simply got to have a certain widget if you're serious about your pictures. So what are those widgets anyway? Well when it comes to outdoor and landscape photography, there are a handful of supremely useful devices that every new photographer will want to know about. The fine folks at Digital Photography School have put together a short primer of six accessories to help you improve your landscape photographs. In fairness, though, one of them is the tripod—and everybody knows that already, right? So let's call it a list of five accessories that are ideal for landscape photography.
Laser Safety For Cameras
Thursday, July 25, 2013
After reading an article at DIY Photography about how an expensive RED cinema camera had its sensor damaged while recording a laser light show (see the link below), it occurred to me that I wasn't aware of just how much of a threat lasers pose to camera sensors. I knew you weren't supposed to look into them for fear of damage to your eye, but it turns out they're much more likely to damage a camera sensor. So I Googled and found the Laserist blog of the International Laser Display Association. They've published a detailed explanation of how lasers can damage camera sensors, and what you can do to keep your equipment safe. The best advice I've found is a lot like preventing lens fare: if you position your camera where it can't directly see the light source itself, you should be safe. For the full list of suggestions for camera safety, check out laserist.org.
Camilo José Vergara
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Camilo José Vergara has devoted his life to documenting the architecture of some of the poorest areas of inner cities throughout the United States. What makes his work so interesting, beyond the obvious interest in witnessing how the built environment can change dramatically over time, is how it really brings to the fore one of the most unique aspects of photography as a means of visual communication: its ability to stop time, to freeze a moment in an instant, and fix it forever. This makes photography, unlike any other medium, capable of telling this story in a way that makes it very real, plain as day, in a way no other medium can match. Forty years after Mr. Vergara began his project, he has won the National Humanities Medal, which was recently presented to him at the White House by President Obama himself. See more of his very interesting photography at Time's Lightbox blog.
Robotic Cameras With Dynamic Target Tracking
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I've seen the future of photography, and it's robots. Last week I wrote about a robotic camera—though it was controlled by a human photographer—employed to capture unique images at the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Well it would work well with this new being developed at the University of Tokyo, if only it were already ready to go. It's a camera system with "dynamic target tracking" that can track very fast moving objects. I read that and thought it meant fast-moving, like an athlete. But in fact, no, it's talking about objects that move even faster—like the flying tennis ball itself. Amazing! Check out the video from Diginfo.tv to see the technology in action. Things like this make me wonder if eventually we photographers are going to be totally obsolete, or if our pursuits will be more akin to computer programming—telling the robot what we'd like to photograph.
Photos Of Le Tour
Monday, July 22, 2013
I'm a rare American in that I really and truly love the Tour de France. The three-week spectacle is always a highlight of my summer, and actually visiting (and photographing) the race in person is atop my lifetime bucket list. I think part of the reason I love the Tour is because it is so beautiful, so inherently photogenic. Watching the race on television is like watching a beautiful landscape photograph come to life, as the French countryside (from the Alps to the Pyrenees) come to life as several dozen cyclists pedal their way through it. It's such a wonderful event, and in honor of the completion of the 100th Tour yesterday, here's a great gallery of the best photos from this year courtesy of British television network ITV.
Quick Fix Fridays: Enhancing Shadow And Highlight Detail
Friday, July 19, 2013
When you think about it, every picture you have ever taken, and every picture you will take, has one main element: light. Break that down and you have two sub elements: highlights and shadows. When working on a picture in the digital darkroom, controlling and enhancing shadows and highlights is of the utmost importance.
Over the years, digital darkroom software has advanced when it comes to shadows and highlights control. Today, we can open up shadows and tone down highlights like never before.
I created the opening image for this post from the image directly above, taken in Tucumcari, New Mexico. As you can see, the highlights are a washed out and the shadows are rather deep. That's normal in a very high contrast scene like this one. This shot, by the way, is the average (middle) exposure from an HDR sequence. I shot HDR because I thought I needed HDR to capture the entire dynamic range of the scene. Before going through the HDR process on my computer, however, I thought I'd see what Lightroom 5 had to offer in shadows and highlights control.
Here's a Lightroom screen grab of my original photograph as shown in the Lightroom Develop module without any image enhancements.
Here's a screen grab after I made a few quick adjustments.
This magnified section of the "after" screen grab shows my enhancements, which were: reducing the Exposure, reducing the Contrast, bringing down the Highlights almost all the way, substantially opening up the Shadows, increasing the Blacks — and finally — boosting the Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation.
Had the contrast been a bit greater, I would have needed HDR to create the image I envisioned. When in doubt, shoot an HDR sequence. But just for fun, experiment with an average exposure to see just how much you can open up shadows and tone down highlights in Lightroom 5 or your digital imaging program.
Have a fun and creative weekend!
Got questions? Drop by my website at www.ricksammon.com.