Category Archives Photography

It’s one of the most long-awaiting books of its kind, and we’re so excited it’s finally here (and in bookstores right now), it’s Moose Peterson’s ‘Takeoff: The Alpha to Zulu of Aviation Photography’ — an incredible book designed from cover to cover to help you create amazing photographs of airplanes, on ground or in the air, and tell the amazing stories surrounding them through your pictures.

First, check out the book’s official trailer (below), from Moose himself:

Here’s the book’s description from the back cover (but if you can’t wait any longer, here’s a link to order yours now on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or direct from the publisher at Peachpit Press).

Aviation photography is the perfect mix of sleek, beautiful machines, blended with nature’s beautiful skies and fields, along with a fascinating collection of fearless pilots and capable crew, all wrapped in a rich, significant, and crucial part of history. Few genres combine this many elements and invoke this much passion from photographers. This one-of-a kind book from Moose Peterson, one of the world’s most recognized experts in aviation photography, not only teaches you exactly what you need to know to start making beautiful, intriguing photographs of aircraft but inspires you and pushes you creatively and technically every step of the way.

Moose takes you through all the basics for camera gear and settings, showing you what he travels with and the settings he uses to get those tack sharp images. He covers one of the most important aspects of aviation photography—light! And, he gives you a number of examples of how to take the best advantage of that light any time of the day. He shares the critical techniques you’ll need to master to create the illusion of flight, speed, and romance in a still image, including which types of prop blur you’re aiming for (and which types you want to avoid).

You’ll learn how to make the most out of air shows and fly-ins—what to shoot while you’re there, and what you might want to skip or avoid altogether (and why). You’ll learn how to photograph aircraft on the ground, from ground-to-air, and ultimately air-to-air, and how to capture one of the most important elements in aviation photography today: the fascinating pilots and crew—the people!

Moose shares many wonderful stories and adventures along the way, which illustrate how, as photographers, we’re also storytellers, and the importance of bringing out those stories in our aviation photos. Plus, you’ll gain free access to his acclaimed KelbyOne film, Warbirds and the Men Who Flew Them.

With this book, your camera, and your passion, your success in aviation photography will quickly take flight!

The book is in bookstores right now — orders yours from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or direct from the book’s publisher, Peachpit Press.

We’re so proud of the incredible work Moose has done with this book, and how openly and honestly he shared his techniques, his images, and his stories with the readers. We were honored to get to work with him on Takeoff as his publishing partner, and my hearty congrats go to Moose and his wonderful family for creating some really unique in our industry.

Also, a big high-five to my in-house book team — Olympic Gold Medal editor Kim Doty and the world’s best book designer Jessica Maldonado, who knew how special this book would be, and worked so hard to craft a book that will have such an impact on so many photographers. You two are the best!!! Also, a very special thanks to our wonderful publisher Nancy Davis at Peachpit Press for having the vision to get behind this project from the start, and for believing in it from start to finish. Thank you, Nancy, you rock!

Well, you can see we’re very excited about this (this is a big day for us), and we hope you’ll tell your aviation-loving photographer friends about Takeoff! They are going to love it!

It’s a short week this week — let’s make it a great one! :)

Best,
-Scott

#Love #Me—two of the current top three hashtags on Instagram. Perhaps that follows suit with what many of the population think of hashtags being overused as narcissistic, vain, attention-grabbing props, but let me tell you that that isn’t (always) the case and the correct use of hashtags can boost your performance and reach on Instagram. Your chances of tantalizing and captivating new followers, collecting likes, inducing comments, and generally increasing engagement are vastly increased with the correct use of hashtags.

Here’s how they work: 

Every post on Instagram can be accompanied by a caption and up to 30 hashtags. It’s down to these hashtags, along with geolocation data, that photos are discovered by non-followers and potentially appear in the Explore section. Basically, if you want to achieve maximum reach and target a specific, active audience in order to grow, then you need to wise up to hashtag use (coupled with posting things that people actually want to engage with).

The problem is this: Let’s say you’re a travel photographer, like me. If I post a photo, I could hit the caption with the hashtag #travel and expose it to Instagrammers, searching among the approximately 205,296,724 (give or take) photos bearing that tag, and the audience that comes with it. To help with the point I’m going to make, in the time it took to write that last sentence, and progress to this one, there are now 205,296,962 posts with the #travel tag—138 photos posted with one tag within the space of fewer than 30 seconds. So, before the lesson, here’s the point: if you post using a popular tag, you potentially open yourself up to a massive audience, but that audience is very, very quickly lost because that photo of yours shoots straight down the Most Recent feed, constantly replaced by other posts. There are 205,297,745 now—another 783, as well as our initial 138, since I typed out the first number! So, in the time it’s taken me to compose this one paragraph, there have been nearly 1,000 posts onto Instagram with the #travel hashtag, and if we also use it, we’ll likely just get lost in the feed. Let’s beat that!

The trick is this (and there is a trick!): if we want to beat the system, and keep our posts in a place where they are more likely to be seen by people searching tags, then we need to use a less-common tag, but one still appropriate to our post. How about this for an idea to get started: let’s say that our post fits the Travel category and that photo is this one.

I took this shot last November in Eastern Iceland.

This photo could be accompanied by #snow or #reindeer, just as a couple of examples of tags which fit the content. But, in order to get maximum exposure to the people who search the category, we could also use #IcelandTravel #VisitIceland #BestOfIceland, which span between the categories of Iceland and Travel, or get more specific and go for something like #MyStopover, which is a hashtag drawn up specifically for photos of Iceland as a marketing campaign by IcelandAir.

Keeping up? So, if we use a less-common hashtag, we’re still hitting an active, searching audience, but that audience will see our photo for a longer time in the feed than one we post in #travel. If we were to take a moment when posting to consider hashtags and use #ig_iceland or #absoluteiceland, instead of #travel, we’d really open up our reach and our opportunities.

Here are a few more examples:


Rather than #Instafood, how about #CleanEating?

 


Rather than #Instatravel, how about #Italian_Vacations?

 


Rather than #DogsOfInstagram, how about #SquishyFaceCrew? (Credit to Kaylee Greer —with permission.) 

The more specific the hashtag, the more engaged the users are! Let me know how you get on, and go check out my Instagram feed to see my tactics—I’m @HybridDave.

Much love,

Dave

Happy Monday, everybody. I’m going to tackle a question I get asked a lot while out on my seminar tour, and even though it sounds like a simple one, I think it’s an important one. The question is along these lines:

Q. I’ve heard that hard drives die after a certain amount of time, and so do CDs, and DVDs, and optical drives, and all the stuff we backup our photos onto. I’m not sure there’s any storage media that lasts even for 10 years. What about uploading them to someone else’s digital storage like Google photos? Are they always going to be around? What if Google goes out of business, or somebody buys them? I stilll remember what happened to Kodak (and Kodak Photo CDs in particular). What do you recommend for protecting our most precious photos?

A. First, I agree — I don’t know of a single storage media that I would trust more than just a few years at best without replacing it entirely, and adding a 2nd backup copy, and even then I wouldn’t trust them 100% (same goes for any online backup solution. It feels like they’re just one major internet hack away from being wiped out). All that being said, there is one method that has stood the test of time and I can’t recommend enough (for a myriad of reasons beyond protection), and that is making prints. Simply making prints nearly guarantees that your images will last, probably at least 100 years, if not more. 

I have photos from when my parents were kids, and from when my brother and I were babies, and the only reason I have them today is that my parents made prints back in the day and literally stuck them in a shoebox. Say what you want about that method, but it worked, and the only reason why many of us even have those historical images of our family is that our parents did that simple act of printing and storing them in a dumb ol’ box. Wasn’t that dumb after all.

This begs the follow-up question: What are you doing to preserve the visual history of your family?

If you did nothing but upload the images on your cell phone to MPIX or Bay Photo Lab or even Costco for gosh sakes, and you made a bunch of 4×6 prints when they were on sale cheap, and you took ’em and put them in a waterproof/fireproof box you get at Staples, you’d almost be ensuring that your most precious photos would live on for many, many years after you’re gone (and your heirs could actually find them and have access to them).

This is important stuff. I hope that gets you to thinking this morning.

Have a great Monday, everybody!

-Scott

P.S. If you’re a Lightroom user, check out my post today on over LightroomKillerTips.com about edge-to-edge borderless printing in Lightroom. 

Mornin’, everybody! Not sure if you’re following me over on my Facebook page, but I’ve been sharing lots of behind-the scenes shots from shoots over there, along with all the lighting set-ups and camera settings.

They’re really popular so far –  if you get a chance, you can check them out over there on Facebook. 

Are you into guitar? Or Van Halen? Or both! :)

Tonight I’m talking guitars and amps (and even a little photography), with guitar god Eric Broadbent (and btw: if you think they’re going to win any points with me by referring to me as “Photography’s Eddie Van Halen” in their graphic above, well, you are absolutely right. LOL!!).

Who: Me and rockin’ guitar player and show host Eric Broadbent
What: Lots of talk about guitars and amps and music and some photography
Where: Follow this link (the podcast is free and open to everybody)
When: 9:00 PM EDT Tonight
Why: Guitars, Music & Photography? Why the heck not! I’m in!  :)

Have a great weekend everybody! Here’s to breaking your high e-string!

Best,

-Scott

Hi everybody – I’m back from a whirlwind trip out West – three seminars in one week (LA [seen above], San Francisco & Seattle), plus a talk at the Canon Experience Center in Costa Mesa.  Had a really fun time, and met some really cool people along the way. Thanks to everybody who came out. OK, onto what’s up this week:

The Eclipse is here
Hope you caught Erik Kuna’s excellent post on Friday called ‘7-tips for shooting the Eclipse’ and if you didn’t, here’s the link. Erik and Kalebra hosted ‘The Grid’ this week and their topic was photographing today’s eclipse and there’s lots of great info that episode as well, so I’m embedding it here below. Hope you get some great shots!

I’m back at HQ now, so I’ll be on this week’s show, broadcast live, this Wednesday at 4PM ET. Hope you can join us this week.  

2017 Worldwide Photo Walk Update
We’re just a couple of weeks into this year’s walk and it is already rockin’! Here’s a quick look:

  • Photo Walks already up and running (you can join these today): 547
  • Cities with approved walks not yet released by the leaders: 949
  • Photo Walks started by leader and in draft mode (almost ready): 84 
  • Number of walkers signed up for walks so far: 5,272

New Photo Walk Prize Category for Kids
More and more parents are bringing their kids along on our Photo Walks, and getting them involved in this social photography event, and so this year, with Canon’s gracious help, we launched a new prize category for the competition for kid’s under 16-years-old, and the winner in this Youth category gets all this stuff:

How cool is that!!!! A big high-five to Canon, and all our sponsors who stepped up big time to support this new category for our youngest walkers. :)

My September Seminar
I’ve only have one Lightroom seminar date coming up in September (I had to reschedule Houston and Dallas due to a scheduling conflict), but it’s in an awesome place — Denver, Colorado. Hope you can join me for the day.  

Good luck tonight at the eclipse. Here’s to staying safe, and getting some once in a lifetime shots! :)

Best,

-Scott

Millions of Homes in America Will Go Dark Monday Afternoon, Are you ready? [guest post by Erik Kuna]

Seriously, unless you’ve been living underneath a rock in the U.S.A (which might not be a bad thing lately) you know that there’s a total solar eclipse happening Monday for around four hours starting on the west coast of Oregon at 9:04 am PDT and moving all the way to the east coast in South Carolina to end at 4:10 pm EDT. While total solar Eclipses happen every year or two, it’s rare that they cover so much land mass, in fact, it’s been almost 100 years since something like this happened in America.

Being photographers, it’s an event that gives us a unique opportunity to capture unforgettable images of this rare event. Recently, I had an opportunity talk to some Astrophysicists from Kennedy Space Center while covering the NASA/SpaceX CSR-12 mission about the 2017 Eclipse. During that time, I picked up some great tips that I wanted to pass along here for you all that I’m hoping will help on Monday if you’re shooting. Fair warning that most of the tips I’ve also been hearing all over the place lately in many of the coverage about the eclipse, but they also clued me into something that made me explore one topic that I haven’t seen discussed much online. More on that later.  For now, let’s give a quick rundown of 7 tips for shooting the Eclipse.

 

#1- Be Safe and Bring the Right Equipment

Yes, Yes, I know, I know. If you’ve heard anything about the eclipse, you’ve probably seen this in every article, video or news story. But, this is very serious. The Sun is a super mega bright ball of light, burning at 10,000 degrees with parts of its corona reaching into the millions of degrees and just like your skin will get sunburnt, so will your eyes, and fast and it will be permanent. This is nothing to mess around with and goes for every day of our life. Don’t look into the Sun whether it’s the Eclipse or not, without approved protective eyewear, period. Moving on.

Just like with your eyes, you’ve got to protect your camera sensor if you’re going to be pointing the camera at the super-mega-uber bright ball of light. So, if you’re going to be taking images while the moon is eclipsing the Sun, you’ll need to use a solar filter or solar film to protect your camera. Just as you’ll need a pair of eclipse glasses to protect your own eyes, your camera needs protection. With that said, if you’re one of the lucky few in an area of 100% totality, you’ll have the two and a half minutes or less where the Moon completely blocks the Sun you can remove the filters and eyewear so you can see the Sun’s outer atmosphere or the corona. This is the holy grail of the Eclipse, it’s the only time we can see the corona with the naked eye.

Sun’s Corona
Shot of the Sun’s Corona courtesy of NASA
Credits: Miloslav Druckmüller, Martin Dietzel, Shadia Habbal, Vojtech Rusin

Keep in mind the area of totality is very small, only about 70 miles wide. See NASA’s interactive map for the exact areas. If you’re outside this totality, you should always wear solar glasses and protect your camera with solar filters. One caveat to that is if you’re going to take a few wide-angle picture of the eclipse here and there with a smartphone and not going to point your camera at the sun all the time, you do not need a solar filter. Apple even issued a statement the other day in an article from USA Today where it confirmed it. DSLRs should be fine too for temporary exposure. We all shoot sun flares and position the sun in our shots from time to time and I’ve never heard of anyone damaging their sensor from occasional use. Of course, as with everything, in moderation. Bottom line, if you’re going to point your camera, smart phone or anything at the sun for a long time, use some sort of solar filter especially if you have a telephoto lens on your camera or smartphone.

Besides your camera and a solar filter and glasses, having a few other pieces of equipment can also come in handy during the eclipse. Using a tripod is a must to let you stabilize the camera and avoid taking blurry images. You’ll really want to use a tripod during the lower light moments around totality or if you’re using a telephoto lens. Also, using a shutter release timer or trigger will allow you to make better eclipse photos with less blur. If that strikes a chord with you, you’ll also want to use mirror lockup to minimize vibrations in your DSLR.

#2- It doesn’t matter what camera you have

Taking an awesome photo has more to do with you as the photographer than your camera model or brand. Yes, the equipment helps, especially if you’re going for a particular type of shot of the eclipse. Like if you want something like these multiple exposure close ups, you need a telephoto lens on a tripod.

Total Solar Eclipse phases.

However, if you have just a camera phone or a kit lens, you can still take great photos during the eclipse. The best piece of gear with you is your own vision. (which is why you better be wearing those solar glasses) Of course, you have to work with what you’re given, so if you don’t have a telephoto zoom lens with a solar filter, maybe focus on taking landscape shots, or capture reaction shots or capture the changing environment. Which leads me to the next point…

#3- Up, Down, Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Select, Start

While we’re all focused on that magnificent ball of burning gas and plasma that’s being blocked by either a large rock or just huge piece of cheese (if you get your science from Folklore) remember to look up, down and all around. You’ll see changes in the way shade appear or the way the sunset comes from 360 degrees. This is the “other” side of the eclipse that most people miss. Landscapes will have long shadows, creating odd lighting across the landscape. Light through trees leaves will create creating natural pinholes, which will also create mini eclipse replicas on the ground. You can even create awesome pinhole effects with things like colanders, strainers, or even the holes in Ritz crackers.

Almost anywhere you point your camera even if it’s not into the sun, it could give you unique photos, so be on the lookout to compose some creative perspective, environmental shots or wide-angle photos that can capture the eclipse experience. Even reaction shots from people watching the eclipse might end up being the most memorable ones of the day.

Along these lines, if you’re a KelbyOne member make sure to join our photo contest over in the Community starting Monday where we’re looking for the most creative shot of the Eclipse. The winner will be selected by the KelbyOne Community and will win a ThinkTank SpeedFreak v2.0

#4- Know the Sun you’ll be dealing with…

Remember earlier I mentioned there was something big that I haven’t seen many people talking about with the eclipse. Well, here it is! Know where the sun will be and what you’ll be dealing with in the exact location you’ll be, and know it now, before the day of the Eclipse.

What do I mean? Well, if you’re in Oregan you’re going to have a very different perspective on the Eclipse than someone shooting in South Carolina. Why? The Angle and Azimuth of the Sun. What’s that you ask? Well, it just means how high off the horizon and in what location the sun will be relative to your position. Why is this so critical? This will change what gear you bring, what technique you might want to use, the lens you might want, your composition, the type of shot you plan, basically everything. You might have a vision for the image you want to create but the Sun isn’t going to cooperate. So, you’re might need to need to adjust your vision slightly.

Solar Eclipse Sequence in Iceland on March 20, 2015

For Example, let’s say you’re going for a multiple exposure landscapes shot with the moon eclipsing the sun or any type of tighter landscape shot with the sun and the moon where it’s not just a very small speck in the sky you better be on a plane to Oregon while you’re reading this post.  Even at that, the sun is going to be between 27 and 45-degrees up in the sky in the western states like Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming. However, knowing that is valuable information. You’ll have the opportunities people in other places like the Southeastern U.S. don’t have, where we’re going to be dealing with 65 to 70-degree angles on mid afternoon sun for our Eclipse.  With that kind of angle, we’d need a very very wide wide-angle to capture the sun being eclipsed in a landscape. Not to mention that the sun would be a speck in the frame.

To illustrate the point here’s an example of something you won’t see from the 2017 Eclipse unless you see a bunch of ocean in front of it, the angle of the sun relative to the horizon is too small for any land mass during the 2017 Eclipse.


Another thing to consider besides the angle is that Azimuth. That way you’ll know where the sun will be in your frame not only on the horizon but in the scene or part of the sky. For example, don’t expect to get a beach shot of the eclipse on the Oregon coast or even the South Carolina Coast, unless you’re on a boat. The Sun’s azimuth will always be in the opposite direction. That one is a little more intuitive, rising in the East and setting in the West, but again just something to consider when planning.

Transversely, if you’re looking for an awesome shot of the corona or the greatest eclipse, hopefully, you’re on your way a little northwest of Nashville, Tennessee. There you’ll experience a long eclipse where the axis of the moon’s shadow cone passes the closest to Earth. (Weather permitting, of course, it’s looking like a lot of cloud cover is predicted around this area as of Friday)

#5- Practice Now

You have a couple days, and be sure you know the settings and capabilities of your camera before Eclipse Day. Start by shooting the Sun today during the times which the Eclipse is passing over you. That way you’ll know a few things. First, you’ll master the angle and azimuth of the Sun at your location. Frame up the shots you want and get your settings right. This will allow you to have a good starting point. If you’re wondering what time it will pass over you, check out this interactive map from NASA.


Our cameras and even camera phones have adjustable exposures, which is essential to help you adjust your image during the varying eclipse lighting. This is the key to getting a good eclipse shot. As for focus, make sure you know how to manually focus the camera for sharp shots and then lock your focus so your camera won’t try to adjust focus with the varying brightness. Plus, use live view to compose the image, it’s less dangerous than looking through the viewfinder especially if you’re going to be risky and shoot without a solar filter. As far as settings for a DSLR camera, the best way to determine the correct exposure is to test settings on the un-eclipsed Sun this weekend.

For the best results, you’ll want to dial in your settings manually, which is another reason to practice. Get your DSLR out of auto mode and go manual, using a fixed aperture of like f/11 or so and the lowest ISO you can go, that’s ISO 100 on my Canon. Then, try shutter speeds to find the optimal setting. You’ll probably be around 1/1000 to 1/4000 with a solar filter but just find the setting that works best for you. This will give you the exact starting point you can use to take images during the beginning stages of the eclipse. That way on the day of the Eclipse you’ll just have to adjust your shutter speed settings as the lighting changes. During totality, the corona has a wide range of brightness so it’s best to use a fixed aperture and ISO and multiple ranges of exposures from approximately 1/1000 to even as high as 4 seconds. Make sure to take your filter off during totality. I’d suggest bracketing your exposure too. There’s a lot of detail in the sun but you’ll see some things better over exposed and some thing better under exposed.

Here’s an example of different exposures of the sun and about the same time:

You can see the little difference in the sunspots and better to take multiple exposures than miss some sort of detail you’ll want later. Also, shoot in RAW if you can, it’s going to give you the flexibility you want later since you’re shooting a bright ball of light.

Now, If you’re going to miss getting the shot you want this time around, never fear, another total solar eclipse will be coming back to America in 2024 traveling from South Texas up through Maine. So, you’ve got 8 years to practice! Who knows though, by then we might be shooting Ultra HDR holographic light field cameras.

#6- Its mother nature, be flexible

As with anything that relies on the weather, it’s a roll of the dice. If you’re a landscape photographer, you know exactly what I mean. Unfortunately, with the Eclipse, there are no do-overs, missing your alarm or “we’ll just try again tomorrow morning” kind of plan. It’s a one and done kinda thing, so that’s why I can’t stress enough the practice element.

So, check the weather before you go out Monday to see what you’ll be dealing with before you leave for your shooting location. Maybe even come up with a backup plan if you get cloudy weather and try to have a backup location if the weather looks like it is not going to cooperate. If all else fails, NASA has tons of live coverage of the event on their site the day of the Eclipse and while I know it’s not the same, the weather just might not agree.

#7- Share your experience

The 2017 Eclipse is predicted to be the most photographed one-day event in history. Share your eclipse experience with friends and family afterward. Use the hashtag #Eclipse2017 or upload your eclipse images to NASA’s Eclipse Flickr Gallery.

While you’re out trying to capture the perfect eclipse shot, don’t forget to take a break from shooting every so often and look at the eclipse with your own eyes. And, just because I can’t stress it enough remember to wear your eclipse safety glasses for all stages of the eclipse except for the totality.

Thanks for letting me share,

-Erik

Speaking of sharing our experiences, here are a few of my shots from this weeks NASA and SpaceX CSR-12 launch. Big thanks to NASA for allowing photographer’s access to shoot these events. The Dragon spacecraft atop the rocket in these pictures docked with the International Space Station just a couple days ago with a laundry list of awesome science experiments and cargo. There’s even a huge experiment on board that might lead us closer towards a cure for Parkinson’s disease. If you’ve never experienced a rocket launch live in person, it’s probably up there with an event like the moon passing in perfect alignment with the Sun and the Earth. Plus with the frequency that Kennedy Space Center is launching rockets nowadays if you’re in the area your chances of seeing one are very high. I can’t recommend it enough.

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