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Today's Photo Minute

Shoot and Share – Telephoto and Red, White and/or Blue

The Concept:

It is time for a weekend edition of Today’s Photo Minute with “Shoot and Share”. Since this is Memorial Day weekend, we will have an extra day to do some shooting and to get your best challenge photos into share with others.

The Assignment:

Challenge 1: Telephoto – We define telephoto as any focal length on a lens greater than 50mm. This would include popular ranges like an 18-300mm or a 55-250mm zoom. For those that have larger lenses such as a 100-400mm or 150-600mm, you could certainly work with this range. While the first thing that might come to mind is photographing something that is a distance from you like a bird or animal, I want to suggest you try the telephoto range on other subjects as well. Something called compression (how close the background looks relative to the subject) takes place with the higher focal lengths and it might be cool to see how this effect plays out with different subject matters. Either way, you go, get out the telephoto lens and have fun with it.

Challenge 2: Red, White and/or Blue – Since it is Memorial Day, I figured looking for subjects that are made up of one, two or all three of these colors would be neat. Have fun coming up with what you like best for this challenge.

When you get your images ready by late on Monday, please share those with the rest of us who are participating as well. If you are on Facebook, please post them as a comment to this particular post. If you are not on Facebook, feel free to email your entries to brian@thephotoclassroom.com and I will be glad to post them

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Today's Photo Minute

The Purpose of a Shift-Tilt Lens

The Concept:

A shift-tilt lens (also known as a PC, perspective control lens) has a variety of functions but is mostly thought of for correcting distortion on architectural photos. In this segment, Brian Osborne is onsite at a client’s hotel property and actually demonstrates the shift function of the lens in the video.

Nikon’s 24mm PC Tilt-Shift Lens (pictured above) has the ability to shift the lens barrel up or down (or even side to side)

The Assignment:

Go out with a wide-angle lens and point up at your house or a building. Notice how the more you point the lens up the more the vertical lines on the building lean in towards the top. Take a shot like this and then go into your editing software and find where you can correct vertical distortion. This is a great way to learn how much extra space you have to leave if you plan on fixing distortion in post processing. Also, take a photo with the lens pointed straight ahead at the same building and while you might get more ground in the photo than you would like, you will see how the building is much straighter. The final solution is to backup from the building and/or get the camera up higher (on a ladder) to reduce the upward angle of the lens and therefore, the distortion.

Image done without the lens shifted and you can see how the building is leaning back or what we call converging lines.
11600The distortion was corrected but pointing the lens straight ahead and then shifting the lens up in order to capture the building positioned the way we wanted in the frame.

While the effect of the distortion is more easily noticed in buildings, the same thing takes place out in nature as well. The example below shows the without and with effects of a tilt-shift lens in the situation of a tall waterfall.

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Today's Photo Minute

Shoot and Share – Panoramas and Smartphone photos

The Concept:

It is time for our weekend edition of Today’s Photo Minute which we call, “Shoot and Share”. Check out the video as Brian Osborne shares this weekend’s challenge subjects and be sure to share your best images on our Facebook page.

The Assignment:

Challenge 1: Panoramas – With our recent class on panoramas, I thought it would be fun for us to look at photographic opportunities to create a panorama. So, get your settings and take a series of shots from left to right or from top to bottom making sure to overlap each consecutive frame about 20%. Then use your favorite computer editing software to stitch them together into a longer format (with a wide-angle of viewpoint) final photo. If you do not want to do it on your DSLR, you can use your smartphone which undoubtedly has a panorama mode built-in.

Challenge 2: Smartphone Photo – It is often said the best camera is the one you have with you at the time. Many of us have found how much fun taking a snapshot with our phone can be and how it can become a great photo. Therefore, for our second challenge, get your phone out and start shooting. Whether it be a photo you capture at a time this weekend when you do not have your camera handy or whether you intentionally use your smartphone camera, either will work. If it needs editing, give the Snapseed app a try so that you will have a photo that from beginning to end, came from your phone.

When you get your images ready by late this weekend, please share those with the rest of us who are participating as well. If you are on Facebook, please post them as a comment to this particular post. If you are not on Facebook, feel free to email your entries to brian@thephotoclassroom.com and I will be glad to post them

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Today's Photo Minute

The importance of leveling your tripod

The Concept:

In Today’s Photo Minute, Brian Osborne reminds us not only the importance of making sure your tripod is setup correctly and level, but how to do so with some of the features included on many tripod designs.

The Assignment:

Spend some time practicing setting up your tripod paying attention to keeping the legs level more so than just the camera. Doing this on uneven surfaces is an even better way to work with the feature of the legs being able to angled out. If your tripod center column has a horizontal option like demonstrated in the video, make sure you try out the operation of that as well.

Finally, for a reference on the tripod leg sets and heads that we recommend, check out our Equipment Recommendation List on the Resources page of our website for our top suggestions.

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Today's Photo Minute

Shoot and Share – Wide-angle and Wildlife

The Concept:

Our weekend edition of Today’s Photo Minute is called Shoot and Share because it gives us the opportunity to do just that; get out and do some shooting along specific themes and then share our best results with each other.

The Assignment:

Challenge 1: Wide-angle While much of our emphasis in the past weeks has been on macro and getting in tight on subjects, it might be fun to play with the other end of the focal length spectrum. We define wide-angle as anything less than 24mm for a full frame camera and less than 18mm for a crop sensor camera. So, either go to the low range of your general purpose lens or if you an ultra-wide angle lens, put that on and try some shooting. Hint: Often the best images in the wide-angle range are not ones that have lots of stuff in them but rather, getting close to something in the foreground and seeing the perspective of depth that is created by these lenses. Have fun and get creative.

Challenge 2: Wildlife We have done lots of bird photography and if you decide to do some more for this challenge, that is fine. However, part of the goal of this challenge is looking for other wildlife subjects that might made for a great subject matter. If you would rather include pets and animals for your challenge, that is fine as well. Either way, look for some creatures to photograph and embrace the challenges of wildlife!

When you get your images ready by late this weekend, please share those with the rest of us who are participating as well. If you are on Facebook, please post them as a comment to this particular post. If you are not on Facebook, feel free to email your entries to brian@thephotoclassroom.com and I will be glad to post them