One of the biggest challenges with macro photography is working with a limited depth of field or DOF. When I am shooting macro I am always trying to make sure the subject and elements in the frame appear sharp by adjusting the aperture and making sure the important elements in image fall on the plane of focus by adjusting my angle of view. But there is another important element that has a huge effect on DOF that most people don’t even know about, how a different sensor format can and will effect the depth of field in your image. Moving to a smaller sensor format at the same apparent magnification will give you lots more DOF to work with in your macro images.
When our camera reads the light in a scene, its trying to give us an ‘average’ or middle grey exposure. [...]
In my workshops and presentations over the past few years, I have discussed my extensive use of two powerful software packages: Helicon Focus and Photomatix. Helicon Focus stacks multiple images, each focused on different planes, creating one super-focused image. Photomatix combines multiple images photographed with different exposure values, creating one file with a super-wide exposure range.
In most of my sessions, I’m always trying to stop the action of my subjects rather than show the movement. I would say the majority of my clients prefer to see sharp images of themselves and of their children. Sometimes the imagery, for me, feels a little bit static. So when I had the opportunity to photograph the Keeneland Races in Kentucky a few months ago, I decided to do something a little bit different and create some images with movement in them by slowing down my shutter speed to create the feeling of moving along with the subject. This creates a very soft image, but it still has enough detail that you can see what is happening. I found that it takes a lot of practice to get it right, or at least get close enough to create the illusion of movement. Recently, I have started to look for opportunities to do this in my work. As a professional photographer, I want to raise the bar for myself and be able to show my range of abilities by creating different effects in my work. Capturing the moment is still the most important aspect of my storytelling imagery, but how I do that is what I’m trying to change.
In conjunction with Sigma and Hunt’s Photo, I recently lead a garden photography workshop at The Botanic Garden of Smith College in Northampton, MA. There and anywhere I lead a workshop dealing with macro photography, I always stress the importance of choosing your f-stops wisely.
Iceland has long been on my list of photography destinations so I was very excited to finally get a chance to explore the country as well as try out the Sigma 12-24mm. The landscapes were just breathtaking and I got an opportunity to photograph the many waterfalls of the country. The lens quickly proved itself as I was able to compose and recompose quickly given that I was often very close to the falls! One of my favorites is a triple waterfall near Mt. Kirkjufell (shown above). While I normally use split neutral density filters to balance a scene, I decided instead to blend two exposures (one for the sky and one for the foreground) because of the mountain protruding on the right hand side. A split ND filter would have unnaturally darkened Mt. Kirkjufell so an exposure blend was the best option in this case.
Macro lenses are for making pictures of bugs, watch parts, coins, jewelry and other tiny stuff. Right? Well not necessarily. Recently one of my model buddies wanted some beauty photographs that mimic Cover Girl makeup ads. We gathered one Friday morning at my studio and went to work. I set up an evenly lit white background using V-Flats while Hope had her makeup done by Kristen White.
It’s pretty well known that a polarizer filter may deepen the color of blue skies, but the more subtle effects of a polarizer are often less known–and certainly worth exploring.
Polarizers limit the light that penetrates through them. As such, they help reduce contrast. Polarizers are like prison bars, where the light bouncing up and down through the bars passes through, but the light waves traveling horizontally do not. Of course, polarizing filters can be rotated, changing which directional light reaches a camera’s sensor and which does no
Working with people in general is such an honor for me. As a portrait artist, I photograph people of all ages. I can’t honestly say I have a favorite age group, although I do love photographing young adults and helping them to see their beauty as I do.
The ages of these young people included in this article vary from 11-19 years old. They are from different families and all share the same optimism that comes with being so young.
When I set out to do wildlife photography, I always have my Sigma 300-800mm lens with me mounted on one camera body and the newest addition to my arsenal; the Sigma 120-300mm mounted on another. I absolutely love the versatility and reach of that combination. It is unmatched by any combination on the market today. I have always used both lenses for a while with great results, but I wanted to see how the budget friendly Sigma 150-500mm worked in the field because sometimes, it is nice to travel light! Another big factor is that many people simply can’t afford the higher end lenses and I would love to give them another option, but I did have a few questions myself that needed to be answered. Was the lens sharp…..even all the way out to 500mm? I set out one morning a few weeks ago and started testing the lens out on simple portraits like the one below. I patiently waited for the bird to walk into some nice sand.