January 28, 2011

More About Lenses

Canon 24-105mm lens, Canon 10D body

Lenses seem to be the theme of the month! The people at the New York Institute of Photography wrote a great article on purchasing high quality glass for affordable prices. Check out the article at the link below.

Beyond Your Kit Lens

January 24, 2011

A good lens for digital SLRs

Japanese Garden, 50mm lens

In the days of manual focus, manual exposure 35mm film cameras, the standard "kit" lens was a 50mm. This was almost always a fast lens (meaning it was capable of letting in lots of light with a large aperture) and a lightweight one. For many photographers, it was the only lens they used for years. (Look up the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson.)

I came across this great article about using 50mm lenses with digital SLRs from a Facebook post. Check it out! And if your digital camera uses a cropped sensor (most models), then consider purchasing a 35mm lens for the same perspective as a 50mm on a 35mm film camera.

Get the Most out of Your 50mm Lens

January 9, 2011

Retrevo Award Nomination - Vote Today

For the second time, Essential Digital Camera has been nominated for a Golden Retrevo Award. This award spotlights the best and brightest independent bloggers of the gadget blogosphere.

You can help me win an award by voting at the link below. You have until January 24 to cast your ballot.

Thanks for your interest in my blog.

January 2, 2011

Visualization by Ansel Adams

Winter Clouds with Sun Stripe

One of the hallmarks of landscape photography is learning to imagine what your photo of the scene will look like as a printed picture. This process is called "visualization," a term coined by Ansel Adams. I recently discovered a video that features Adams talking specifically about this technique. You can watch it here:

Ansel Adams on Visualization 

Another technique that Adams taught in his workshops (and that I learned and use) is a viewing frame or "cut-out". This is a piece of cardboard, preferably white or black (you can make one from scrap mat board), with a hole that is the same proportions as your camera sensor or film. You hold this card and look through the hole to find and frame your picture. The cardboard border isolates part of the scene from the rest of its surroundings so you can better "visualize" how the subject you chose will look as a picture.

The closer to your face you hold the card, the shorter the lens (or zoom setting); the farther you extend your arm, the longer the lens (or zoom). In addition, it helps to close one eye when looking through the hole. This removes our three-dimensional vision of the scene and helps us see it as our camera will record it (in two dimensions).

Landscape photographer and master printer Charles Cramer was interviewed about how he uses the "cut-out" card. You can watch the video here.

How to Use a Viewing Frame for Landscape Photography

If you are using a digital (or 35mm film) SLR camera, cut a piece of cardboard 5x7 inches on the outside. Then make a 2x3 inch hole in the center for your viewing frame. If you are using a compact digital camera (or a Four Thirds camera), use the same 5x7 piece of card, but cut your hole to be 3x4 inches. These different sizes reflect the different proportions of the sensors in SLR vs. compact digital cameras.