This blog is where I share my opinions on photographic subjects. I hope you find it informative, or at least entertaining.
If I'm wrong about anything, please let me know in the comment box below.

New! CGI Art Prints

I’m now offering Computer Generated Image art prints.
Yeah, they're not "real photos", but they are out of this world. They were created using software Vue and Blender. They all have a wide size ratio, so order prints with a wide size ratio (16:9). Other sizes are available but will be cropped.

Film vs Digital

film vs digital Which format is best? Maybe you’ve been searching the Internet looking for a simple answer. Ok, here it is.
  • 35mm format. In the realm of 35mm photography, digital is arguably better than film. Any modern high-end digital SLR camera has greater resolution and raw dynamic range than most 35mm film.
  • Large-format. For medium-format and large-format photography, film is still king. This is partly because it is prohibitively expensive to manufacture a digital sensor the same size as medium or large format film. But also because medium and large format film has so much more area to record the image, and providing more resolution and dynamic range.
  • Cell phone. Film is better than any cell phone camera. Even the best cell phone cameras still have a lot of digital noise, which can reduce detail. Cell phone cameras also have a more limited dynamic range. These two factors are because the image sensor in cell phones is tiny.
However, none of that matters if a certain format is not convenient for you, or you are not comfortable with it. If maximum image quality was the only consideration then everyone should be lugging around a huge large-format film rig. But most people don’t want to do that. What the vast majority of people do is settle for the best compromise of quality and convenience that works for them.
There are some pro photographers who use cell phone cameras; it works for their needs. Other pro photographers use 35mm, or medium, or large, digital or film. Because it works for their needs.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to use certain equipment to be “Pro”. A professional uses what equipment is best for them. Remember these two axioms-
  • "Amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money, masters worry about light..." -Vernon Trent
  • ”A good craftsman never blames his tools." -Unknown

New! Ultra Long Panoramas

Now I am offering ultra wide panorama prints. These photos have a 4:1 size ratio, which means they are four times as long as they are high.
For best results order a print with a 4:1 ratio. Such as 5x20, 6x24, 8x32, 10x40, 12x48, 16x64, 20x80, 30x120.
Other sizes are available but will be cropped.
I have also switched to a new photo lab which offeres a better array of print types.

Demystifying Moon Photos

This meme about the moon goes around the internet and many people can identify with it. But it doesn't have to be hard to photograph the moon.
It's easy to shoot the moon once you realize it's a day-lit (actually sun-lit) object and set the exposure as you would a day scene. Camera exposure meters get fooled by all the darkness around the moon and overexpose.
Here's how to do it-
  • Put your camera or phone into manual exposure mode (if it has one). If you don't know how to use manual mode, there are plenty of websites that will quickly teach you.
  • With your camera or phone, "zoom in" on the moon.
  • Adjust the exposure to a fast daytime exposure, or until it looks good.
  • Hold your hand steady and take the shot. If it's blurry use manual focus or a tripod.

If you want to get fancy, you can connect your camera to a telescope and get even better photos.
Sometimes you may see amazing night photos where the moon is perfectly exposed and the foreground is also nicely exposed. These photos are usually double exposures. The photographer shot the foreground and moon separately at different exposures and then edited them together.
Photos you see where the night foreground is well lit and the moon is also properly exposed are double exposures.

Demystifying Black & White

Black & white photos are more than just pictures with no color, it’s an art form all about the tones in the photo.
A grayscale digital photo is created by stripping all color information from an image. A black and white artistic photo also has no color information, but it’s not indiscriminate. With black & white film, a photographer would put color filters on the camera lens to change the tones in the photo. The filters did not add color but filtered out what colors were reaching the b&w film, thus altering the tones.
For example a red filter will make a blue sky black on b&w film. By using yellow, red, green, and blue filters a photographer could decide which tones to augment or suppress in a photo.
Famous b&w photographer Ansel Adams could spend a month in a dark room modifying the dark and light tones of a single photo. Digital cameras can do the same thing. Photoshop is a “digital darkroom” and its b&w tool has options to apply color filters to the black and white conversion. This does not add color, but it modifies the tones in the photo.
It’s all about the tones.
In the photo below, the sky wasn't really black or even dark blue. A red filter was used, which reduces blue light. Thus the blue sky appears dark.

Does Your Camera Really Matter?

"Amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money, masters worry about light..." -Vernon Trent

"A good craftsman never blames his tools." -Unknown

No matter what camera you use, your photos will look like you took them.
When I was younger I bought many new cameras that promised better photos, but every photo looked the same. Sure there were differences in resolution, noise, and color, but the overall photos looked like the previous camera. Any camera is just a light-proof box with an opening on one end. It captures the light from whatever you aim it at. To make a difference in my photos I had to learn to take better photos myself.
Don't get me wrong, a full featured SLR camera can do things that a cellphone camera can't. But you have to learn how to use those features. Likewise, a cellphone can do things that a fancy SLR cant. It's about using the right tool for the job and knowing how to use that tool.
A good example is this- When you go to a restaurant and enjoy a delicious meal, do you complement the chef or say the chef must have good pots & pans? The chef probably does have good pots & pans, but it is the chef that makes the meal.
So, if you want to improve your photography, don't depend on a camera to do that for you. Get a camera that you like, that feels comfortable in your hand, and learn how to use it creatively.

Demystifying Camera Sensors

You have heard the term "megapixels" used to describe cameras. A higher number DOES NOT mean the camera is of better quality. The term simply means the number of pixels in a digital cameras imaging sensor. One megapixel is one million pixels, so a 12 megapixel camera has 12 million pixels. But more is not always better.
The number of pixels is also called "resolution." A high resolution means you could print a photo larger than a low resolution photo. If you have no plans to print your photos then a high megapixel count may be of little value to you.
All cameras are light-proof boxes with an opening on one end. The light that enters is focused by lenses onto something that records the image. In film cameras the light causes a chemical reaction on a piece of film which produces a negative image. In digital cameras the light strikes an electronic plate covered with tiny light-sensitive dot called a pixel. That creates an electronic signal that is processed by a small computer and saved as a photo on the cameras memory card.
Which one is best? Technically large-format film is probably best, but digital is also good enough for most people, including me.
What size sensor is best? Small sensors in phones and small cameras can produce decent photos good enough for the vast majority of people, but they do have limitations. Small sensors also create a lot of electronic noise between the densely packed pixels. This noise is dealt with by the cameras computer and often results in smeared details in the photo.
Large sensors have more pixels but they are less densely packed, so there is less electronic noise and better fine detail.

Cool Nature Quotes

  • The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. -Anne Frank.
  • Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. -Lao Tzu.
  • The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration. -Claude Monet.
  • To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. -Helen Keller.
  • Nature abhors a vacuum, and if I can only walk with sufficient carelessness I am sure to be filled. -Henry David Thoreau.
  • It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility. -Rachel Carson.
  • I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars. -Walt Whitman.
  • The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. -Zeno.
  • In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. -Aristotle.
  • You cant be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet. -Hal Borland.
  • May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey.
  • Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. -Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  • I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. -John Burroughs.
  • Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. -Albert Einstein.
  • In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. -John Muir.
  • Mans heart away from nature becomes hard. -Standing Bear.
  • If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere. -Vincent van Gogh.
  • Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more. -Vincent van Gogh.
  • I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. -Vincent van Gogh.
  • Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. -William Wordsworth.
  • One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. -William Shakespeare
  • The clearest way to the universe is through a forest wilderness. -John Muir
  • I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. -John Muir
  • The question is not what you look at, but what you see. -Henry David Thoreau
  • For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. -Vincent Van Gogh

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