PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

 
QUICK-RELEASE
Most of us have long used a quick-release system to mount cameras and lenses on a tripod.  The camera body or the lens rotating tripod collar has a plate attached which will fit into the quick-release clamp on the tripod head.
Here are 2 other essential quick-release systems

#1 TRIPOD HEAD QUICK-RELEASE
Some of us change tripod heads.  A ballhead for general use.  A gimbal head for use with long lenses.  It takes time to switch heads.  If screwed on too loosely the head may rotate.  If screwed on too tightly it may be difficult to remove.
Really Right Stuff makes a quick release platform for the tripod base and plates to attach to the base your ballhead and gimbal head, to allow quick swapping of tripod heads.  No longer do you need to carry a strap wrench to get a tightly fixed head off the tripod.  No longer will your tripod head loosen because it is not screwed on tightly enough.  

#2 QUICK-RELEASE ADAPTERS FOR FILTERS
It takes time and a little effort to screw filters on and off a lens.  First unscrew the UV filter used to protect the front element of the lens.  Then screw on a polarizing filter or neutral density filter. Perhaps take the ND filter on and off to compose and focus before shooting. Then take it off and put back the UV filter.  
Now a better solution from XUME.  Screw a Lens Adapter onto the lens.  Screw a Filter Holder onto any filter.  Filter Holder with attached filter is held onto the lens by magnets.  Filters are held securely and will not fall off unless strongly jarred, but can instantly be pulled off the lens for shooting without any filter or for putting on another filter.  Use of the Lens Hood not impaired.  The only problem is that on a full frame camera, there may be vignetting at focal lengths below 35mm.  
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HAND HOLDING WITH TELEPHOTO LENS – DON’T MISS THE MOMENT
DON’T BE AFRAID OF HIGH ISO IF NEEDED
For those of us who remember shooting with FILM, we rarely used ISO higher than 100.  In order to catch the action and have a sharp image, especially in low light, we needed lenses with a wide aperture and it was beaten into us that a tripod must be used for maximum sharpness.
With the new digital cameras, we have entered a new reality.  No longer do we adjust exposure with just aperture and shutter speed.  We have a third variable – ISO.  The newer high end DSLRs allow us to use ISO 1600 with almost no loss in quality, and often very acceptable images with ISO up to 3200 or higher.  And noise brought on by high ISO can be handled if necessary in post production.  So now instead of an aperture of f2.8 or 4, I can shoot at f5.6 – 11 for better depth of field (I can get not only the bird’s eye to be in focus but also its body and tail).  And I can now achieve a shutter speed fast enough to get sharp images while handholding.  And lenses with image stabilization further help.


                                               Aperture


                                            EXPOSURE
                                     TRIANGLE

                    Shutter Speed                                        ISO Speed




Don’t get me wrong.  A tripod is great for setting up composition and for getting maximum sharpness in an image.  But as a wildlife photographer, the tripod constrains my mobility and often I miss the peak action shot that I would have gotten with a handheld camera. 
My favorite lens is the new Nikon 80-400mm.  It is image stabilized. AF is fast. It is an incredibly sharp lens, even when hand held.  I just raise the ISO high enough for a fast shutter speed, often 1/1000 or faster.  I have much more freedom of action to follow birds in flight or cheetahs running in different directions around my vehicle.  When the action peaks, I miss far fewer shots.
Another great lens is the Sigma or Tamron 150-600mm - hand holdable.  Can more easily hike with this than with a heavy 600mm f4.  When fast response to wildlife is needed, less likely to lose the shot when getting out of the vehicle with this lens, than when having to set up a tripod for the larger lens.  
And add one of these telephoto zooms to a cropped sensor camera, such as the Nikon D500, and you are shooting at 600mm with the 80-400mm lens and at 900mm with the 150-600mm lens.
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GETTING IT ALL ON THE PLANE
One of the greatest challenges for those of us who travel with a large amount of heavy and bulky photo gear, especially the super-telephoto lenses, is how to get it all onto a plane.  When I travel, I check only my tripod and my gimbal tripod head (and some accessories like small Allen head wrenches and bubble levels which have previously been taken away from me by TSA personnel who felt they were tools that could be used to dismantle or hijack the plane).  
One solution is to use a dedicated large rolling photo bag.  But it has only 2 wheels making it not so easy to roll long distances in airports when heavily loaded.  Instead, I use a legal sized carry on roller that has 4 wheels and has no camera and lens dividers in it.  My favorite is the Victorinox Avolve 2.0 22 inch.  It is filled with photo gear wrapped in LensCoat pouches and travel coats.  This holds considerably more stuff than the dedicated camera bag with dividers.








  













In addition, I use the Gura Gear Chobe 19-24 expanding camera/computer shoulder bag as my 2nd “computer bag”.  The Chobe has a sleeve for slipping over the handle of the first bag.  The Chobe will hold additional camera equipment, including the large Nikon 200-400mm f4 lens. The combination of the Victorinox bag and the Chobe bag is now easily wheeled down airport corridors on 4 wheels.  It is easily wheeled down the aisle of a plane, as it can be turned sideways to be wheeled down the narrow aisle.  Both bags fit nicely in the overhead bin (if you are strong enough to lift them).  In my checked luggage I pack a camera bag filled with clothes, that I can use in the field.

Another way I carry gear on the plane:  I use a Gura Gear Buttaflae 32 or 26 plus a Gura Gear Chobe bag.  I either use the Buttaflae bag as a backpack with the Chobe on my shoulder (hard work walking long distances in the airport) or I attach the Buttaflae bag to a small collapsible Samsonite roller and then put the Chobe bag over the roller’s handle.  The Buttaflae bag will fit in the overhead of all but the smallest commuter planes.  An advantage of this method is that when I get to location I have the Buttaflae to use in the field, without having to have packed it in my checked luggage.
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GLASS TEXT EFFECT in PhotoShop
Glass text that lets you see through to underlying picture.
Text tool (T) > choose font, size a a light gray color > click on document and type in text. Click on TEXT layer.  Click Add Layer Style icon at bottom of layers panel ( fx ).  Bevel & Emboss > Reset to Default.  Inner Shadow > Reset to Default.  Stroke > Reset to Default and set Size slider to 1 pixel.  Click OK.  
Adjust FILL slider (not OPACITY) to perhaps 30%. 
Click Move tool (V) to move test.  CMD (CTL on PC) + T to transform text.
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SKETCH EFFECT in PhotoShop
Open image in PhotoShop.  CMD+J.  Image Menu > Adjust > Desaturate.  
CMD + J.  Image Menue > Adjust > Invert > change blend mode to Color Dodge.
Filter Menu > Other > Minimum > leave Radius value at 1 pixel > OK.  
Layer Menu > while holding down OPT click Merge Visible to make “layer 2” > change blend mode to Multiply and adjust opacity to 50-65%.
Select Background Layer > CMD + J > SHIFT + CMD + ] (to move background copy to top) > change blend mode to Color and lower opacity to about 50%.
Can make further adjustments with adjustment layers such as Levels, Hue/Sat.