Lens Lessons Learned From Real Estate

My wife and I have started shopping for a new home. We're in the "keep our eyes open and visit the occasional open house" mode, and if there's one thing I've learned so far it's this: it really helps to set foot in a house rather than to rely solely on pictures. The reality is often quite different from the picture. This has served to remind me about the power of photographs, and more specifically, the power of a wide-angle lens to expand a scene. Small (er, "charming") homes use this technique regularly to make a living room look large and comfortable rather than cramped and claustrophobic. So here's what I've learned: first, not only should I be more deliberate about what I'm trying to say with a given picture (do I want to make someone look old or young, should I make this element prominent or minimize it in the scene, and so on) and two, when I want to make a space look huge I probably can't do better than to use a wide-angle lens. If a real estate agent can make great pictures with this simple bit of knowledge, think of what us photographers can accomplish? If you'd like a leg up on working with wide angles effectively, check out this article I wrote for Digital Photo a little while back. It includes tips for composing successfully with wide lenses, as well as advice for minimizing distortion in camera and in the computer. 

http://www.dpmag.com/how-to/shooting/go-ultra-wide.html
DPMag
My wife and I have started shopping for a new home. We're in the "keep our eyes open and visit the occasional open house" mode, and if there's one thing I've learned so far it's this: it really helps to set foot in a house rather than to rely solely…

Cold Shoes For Radio Triggers

I only recently learned, I'm embarrassed to say, that my radio strobe triggers work better when they're properly oriented. For years, I've laid my Pocketwizard receivers wherever it was convenient. But it turns out that if the receiver and transmitter are oriented in parallel—meaning that the receiver should also be standing upright—they will work notably better in almost all circumstances. I learned that little tidbit in the first place from David Hobby, the Strobist, so it's fitting that today I learned a great trick for affixing those radio receivers (Pocketwizard or otherwise) to the pack or strobe heads I'm using also straight from the Strobist. Here's the tip: take a discarded cold shoe (the non-electrified version of the hot-shoe on top of your camera) from other random strobe accessories (like the brackets designed to hold umbrellas for use with handheld flash units) and glue it to your pack. Then you can mount your receiver directly to the pack and keep it perfectly oriented for better reception. See how Mr. Hobby does it at his blog, and then do what I'm gonna do: glue some cold shoes to practically everything I own. 

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2012/03/cold-shoe-your-monoblocs-for-better.html
DPMag
I only recently learned, I'm embarrassed to say, that my radio strobe triggers work better when they're properly oriented. For years, I've laid my Pocketwizard receivers wherever it was convenient. But it turns out that if the receiver and transmitter are oriented in parallel—meaning that the receiver should also be…

The Photoshop Quiz Game

Apparently this is the week of "Why didn't I think of that?" Not that I'm the Photoshop expert that Dave Cross is; frankly, he's a guru. But his new idea is so great that definitely makes me envious. Along with offering awesome advice via his daily blogs, he's now created an iPhone and iPad app called The Photoshop Quiz Game. It's comprised of more than 600 questions: true/false, multiple choice and "name that dialog" questions that will test your knowledge of the industry standard image editing program. What makes it really genius, though, is that it's got three levels of difficulty, which means anybody can use it. That's right: not play with it, but use it. You can use this game to learn more about Photoshop! And that, my friends, is the mark of a great idea. Like I said, I wish I'd thought of it first.

http://davecrossworkshops.com/2012/03/23/the-photoshop-quiz-game/
DPMag
Apparently this is the week of "Why didn't I think of that?" Not that I'm the Photoshop expert that Dave Cross is; frankly, he's a guru. But his new idea is so great that definitely makes me envious. Along with offering awesome advice via his daily blogs, he's now created…

Simulate Movement In Time-Lapse Videos

This is great advice for time-lapse video makers on a budget! And I wish I'd thought of it first. I'm always seeing time-lapse videos with motion in them, and lamenting that I can't do it because I don't have one of those motion tracking rigs that allows you to slide your camera via rails a few feet sideways (or up, down, backward or forward) as you make your time lapse exposures. So here's the way you can fake that motion with your camera locked down on a tripod: crop the pictures. By moving the crop from frame to frame as you render them into a stop-motion movie, you will recreate the effect of moving the camera during exposures. I can't wait to try it out.

http://www.lightstalking.com/how-to-fake-motion-tracking-in-time-lapse-photography-on-a-mac
DPMag
This is great advice for time-lapse video makers on a budget! And I wish I'd thought of it first. I'm always seeing time-lapse videos with motion in them, and lamenting that I can't do it because I don't have one of those motion tracking rigs that allows you to slide…

Watch A Great Photographer At Work 

Here's a cool one-minute video that shows some great photography techniques. It's a behind-the-scenes time lapse that shows commercial photographer Michael Grecco (a stud of a photographer who can light anything, anytime, anywhere) shooting a unique cover photo for the magazine "Psychology Today." It's a quick video but it's full of great little glimpses into how Grecco works. And if you don't learn enough from this one video, check out Grecco's other behind-the-scenes sessions—which can be found on his YouTube channel and include sessions with such luminaries as Will Ferrell, Kathy Ireland and Martin Scorsese. (Thanks to The Strobist for pointing me to this great video.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0MU1yQOqTo
http://www.youtube.com/user/michaelgrecco

DPMag
Here's a cool one-minute video that shows some great photography techniques. It's a behind-the-scenes time lapse that shows commercial photographer Michael Grecco (a stud of a photographer who can light anything, anytime, anywhere) shooting a unique cover photo for the magazine "Psychology Today." It's a quick video but it's full…

Chart The Sun's Trajectory Through Your Scene

I'm a big fan of wielding a technological advantage whenever possible, so I like using tools like Google Earth and The Photographer's Ephemeris to help plan out photo shoots. You can imagine how pleased I was, then, to learn about this new iPhone and iPad app called Sun Seeker. Point your phone's camera in any direction, and using the iPhone's directional positioning the Sun Seeker app will overlay the sun's movement across the scene. If you want to figure out if the sun will dip behind that building on its way to dusk, or if you simply wonder what direction will work best for a shooting session later today, Sun Seeker is a simple and effective way to plan for where the sun will be. It also includes a compass and map view that can also help to plan shoots remotely, but the live overlay of the sun's trajectory is really pretty sharp. At only five bucks, there aren't many photographic tools less expensive. 

http://ajnaware.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/sun-seeker-seeing-the-light-with-augmented-reality

DPMag
I'm a big fan of wielding a technological advantage whenever possible, so I like using tools like Google Earth and The Photographer's Ephemeris to help plan out photo shoots. You can imagine how pleased I was, then, to learn about this new iPhone and iPad app called Sun Seeker. Point…
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