How to Take Pictures of a Ferris Wheel at Night

Carnivals. Cotton Candy. Arcades. Rides. Ferris Wheels. These words conjure up thoughts of fun, good times, and simple pleasures.

Nikon D600 & Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S lens @ 5 sec, f/22, 28mm, iso 100 on tripod.

To a photography enthusiast, it conjures up an opportunity to shoot long exposures at night to capture the dazzling lighting effects of the newer Ferris wheels. Read on to see how I harvested the light…

Continue reading

How to Take Pictures of Fireworks

Fireworks. The word conjures of memories of 4th of July’s, New Year celebrations, visits to Disney theme parks, and other very special occasions.

4th of July fireworks

Opening salvos. Nikon D600 with Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S lens @ 10 seconds, f/13, 28mm focal length, iso 100, and tripod.

So how do you take pictures of fireworks? It is not that hard really. Fireworks photography is one of those photographic techniques that is rather prescriptive. This article is a “how to” for digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras.

Continue reading

Project 30: Practicing Your Photography Skills Everyday

I just completed my first Project 30, where I practice my photography daily and choose one photo to post on my Project blog. I have heard of this exercise from other photographers, and I was finally inspired enough to start it when I came across this Click It Up A Notch blog post. I know it would be a challenge to shoot everyday, but my work/life balance is finally starting to level out so I thought I should just give it a try.

Lake Eola

Lake Eola, Orlando, Florida

What is has taught me? Plenty…

Continue reading

At the End of the Rainbow

Thunderstorms in Florida in the summer is a daily occurrence. Nothing unusual. This storm was a little bigger than usual as there were flood warnings throughout town. Just before sunset, however, it let up a little bit, enough for the sun to peak through before setting. And then this magic happened…

Rainbow after the storm

Rainbow after the storm. Nikon D600 with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S lens @ 14mm focal length, 1/80 sec, f/4.0, iso 200.

Read on to see how I post-processed the raw image to get this final result…

Continue reading

Architecture: Sacred Heart Cathedral

One of the nice photographic discoveries I made this year was Sacred Heart Catholic Church in neighboring Tampa, Florida. It is a beautiful cathedral right in the heart of downtown Tampa. Albeit small, it has much of fine ornamental features and intricate details for which much larger cathedrals are famous.

click to see larger images

Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Taken with Nikon D600 and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S lens @ 14mm focal length, 1/500 sec, f/8, iso 200.

Christmas decorations still adorned the altar and rest of the cathedral in early January.

View of altar and cupola. Nikon D600 and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S lens @ 14mm focal length, 1/160 sec, f/8, iso 2000, handheld.

Continue reading

Architecture: Florida Hospital East Orlando

The thought of hospitals conjures up all kinds of memories and emotions. For me, I am reminded of emergency rooms and urgent care and anxiety; birthing rooms and newborn nurseries and the overwhelming excitement and love for my newborn children, nieces and nephews; operating rooms and intensive care units and the worries that come with such situations. Surely, hospitals and the attending physicians, nurses, staff, and volunteers play an important part in our lives.

As buildings, hospitals are very functional. Some even have architectural flair. While function take precedence over form, there is still form. For example, take the new addition to East Orlando Florida Hospital. The new building is built with a gentle curve, serving as an architecture point of interest for the facility and a compelling architecture photographic subject.

Florida Hospital East Orlando is architected with a gentle curve.

Florida Hospital East Orlando is architected with a gentle curve. Taken with Nikon D600 with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 AF-S lens @ 14mm focal length, 1/80 sec, f/13, iso 100.

In the shot above, I composed the flower bed into the bottom of the frame to give the image some foreground interest. Serendipitously, though it was late morning, the sun was positioned behind the building, leaving the building evenly lit with indirect light. I framed the sun into the shot to add a sun flare that diagonally stretches across the image (as if to remind us of the flowers’ need of the morning light). I cropped the original image using Adobe Lightroom with a cinematic widescreen aspect ratio of 2.4:1 for an epic effect, re-composing the flower bed in the bottom third of the frame (using the composition rule of thirds). Other Lightroom settings included temp 5333, +0.33 exposure compensation, recovery 100, contrast +50, vignetting -10. View the larger 1200 x 500 pixel image.

Read on to see more images of this unique hospital building…

Continue reading

Mamarazzi: a must-have book for the camera-toting mamas (and papas)

Mamarazzi: Every Mom’s Guide to Photographing Kids

Mamarazzi: Every Mom's Guide to Photographing Kids

Mamarazzi: Every Mom’s Guide to Photographing Kids (cover)

Author: Stacy Wasmuth

Paperback | 288 pages | 1st Edition | copyright 2011
list $29.99 | $16.80 at Amazon.com

Rating: 5/5 stars – Recommended!

ISBN: 978-0470769102

If you are a mother (or expectant mother) who wants to (or plan to) take better than the average snapshots of your children, this is the book for you. It is written for the novice point-and-shoot photographer who wants more than the typical snapshots, frequently fraught with over-exposure, under-exposure, or red-eyes and washed-out deer-in-the-headlights look of flash photos. Author Stacy Wasmuth targeted mothers who wants something more than low quality, boring snapshots and are willing to put in a little time to learn the basics of photography.

Continue reading

Tutorial: Capturing Dimly Lit Scenes Without a Flash, Using High ISO Settings

When Flash Just Won’t Do

In dimly lit situations, a flash unit is often used to light up a scene.  But in some venues, flash photography is strongly discouraged or forbidden. Worse, some venues are too large for the flash unit to work effectively (remember, light falls off with the square of the distance).

High ISO shot of a high school band concert

High ISO shot of a high school band concert.
Nikon D5000 and Nikon 18-55mm kit lens, 1/60 sec @ f/4.5, iso 3200, no flash.

What are we photographers supposed to do? Read on for some tips…

Continue reading

Composition Technique: Lead the Viewer Through the Picture

One way to add visual interest in your pictures is to compose the photograph such that the subject or major elements lead the viewer through the photograph, as if the viewer’s eyes are walking through the photograph.

Single Subject Draws the Eyes Through the Frame

One way of achieving this effect is to choose a subject that can grab the viewer’s attention and draw their eyes into the frame, through the frame, and then lead it out of the frame. An example of this technique is the picture of the guard posts and safety chain.

Guard posts and chain

Guard posts and chain: using the subject as a compositional element to lead the viewer’s eyes into the picture, through it, and then out. Late afternoon at Torrey Pines Gliderport, La Jolla, CA. Nikon D5000 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S kit zoom lens.

The chain and closest guard post draw the viewer’s eyes in from the bottom right corner. The viewer’s eyes follow the chain up through the frame and to the left, then back to the right as the eyes continue to draw upwards, and finally out of the frame near the top right corner.

Read on to see another technique…

Continue reading