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How to photograph at night and get great shots

Brooklyn Bridge at Night

Why do night shots look so attractive to us?

Our retina is build with rods and cones. Rods offer much better night vision, but far less color sensitivity than cones. Since our eyes have to keep a fixed exposure time, this is nature’s elegant trade off.

Our cameras work the same at all times. To compensate for lower light, we increase exposure time, a luxury the human eye cannot afford.

The photograph that almost killed me

How far do you go for your photographs?

Aztec Butte Granary

As travel photographers, we never have enough time at a location. We have to face the weather and make the best of any situation. The last time I went to Canyonlands National Park, I had to compromise between False Kiva and Aztec Butte. I chose False Kiva and I have not regretted it. False Kiva is one of my all-time favorite photographs. Even NASA linked this picture from APOD.

Pier 7, San Francisco

Pier 7 San Francisco

Yesterday we went on a leisurely shoot in San Francisco. I have been on Pier 7 before, but I did not get the light I wanted. We decided that night shots would look perfect when the tungsten lamps illuminate the pier.

I decided to go black and white, as the extreme yellow of the lights conflicted with the blue/purple sky.

I took this image on the halfway point between the Embarcadero and the end of Pier 7. A wide-angle lens allowed me to include the Ferry Building and the Transamerica Pyramid.

I chose a small aperture and an exposure time of 30 seconds and manually focused my wide-angle lens to get the maximum depth of field. I lowered my tripod so that the camera would be slightly above my waist level.

The camera height let me shoot almost straight. When you point your camera up or down too much, you get projection distortion (except with tilt-and-shift lenses). This distortion is even more pronounced with wide-angle lenses.
 

7 Tips for Efficient Image Processing

How to save time editing your images and get better results.

Toronto

During the past two years, I have been overwhelmed with so many things, that I rarely did get to edit and publish my photographs. I still have “undeveloped” RAW files on my hard drive that are two years old. I need to reduce my backlog, so I figured I needed to increase my efficiency.

Instead of writing a long tutorial, I decided to share some insight into efficient image processing instead. Since I do not have a lot of time, I usually process my images this way:

How to Buy a Digital Camera - The Beginner’s Guide

The easy way of finding the best camera.

Trying to find the best-rated digital cameras online is a difficult task. I have finally found a good format to guide you through the maze and to the digital camera that is best for you.

I have created an interactive Mind Map to show you which digital camera to buy based on your requirements. You can manipulate the map and let it guide you toward a small selection of cameras that fit your needs:

Clarity

Golden Gate Bridge

While driving home from a nice day out, I realized that the clarity that struck me this morning as unusual was still prevailing tonight. We rarely have such a clear view in San Francisco. Fog and even smog can create beautiful images, but clear weather can produce good shots too.

Although we had photographed the bridge from this angle many times before, the changing weather conditions created a unique photograph. I always have my camera gear with me, and so should you.

You never know when conditions change or when you will see unique weather patterns, a UFO landing or just an unexpectedly beautiful shot. Be aware of your surroundings and stop when you see something.

Sometimes we subconsciously register a beautiful picture, but “important” matters occupy our consciousness and we fail to register great shots on our “photo radar”. You can train yourself to become aware by asking yourself why you looked.

Why did you look somewhere?

What attracted your attention?

What made you look?

Now all you need is a camera in your trunk or backpack and you can take the shot.

Chicago Pictures

Chicago

This weekend I added my new Chicago Gallery to this website.

Chicago is an exceptional city. Located at the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago has miles of sandy beaches. With giant parks and free entertainment, Chicago must be one of the most livable cities in the United States. I have had a great time photographing here and as so often, I wished I would not have to leave so soon.

Check out this wonderful city in my new gallery.

850 Megapixel San Francisco Panorama

Some of my readers wanted to see a full version of the picture we loaded into Hiperspace.

I found a way using the Gigapan Viewer so I won't have to provide the necessary bandwidth and disk space. Their web software compresses everything a bit much for my taste, but don't let it distract you.