Friday, April 27, 2012

Summer Hike

     Last Summer my oldest daughter's church group took a Sunday afternoon excursion to a nearby hiking area.  I was asked to come along as a chaperone/photographer.  Well I like hiking, and I sort of do like taking pictures too, so....

Great bunch of girls with their awesome teacher Ms. Sharon

The girls all had a blast despite the heat

The trail ends at the waterfall.  Apparently the cool stream was very inviting...

They couldn't resist.

An uninvited visitor,  just passing through.

and the finish.. 

     This is a great group of girls.  They have really bonded these last couple of years under the leadership of their wonderful teacher, Ms. Sharon.  Everybody had a great time that day, including myself.  It was well worth enduring the heat and humidity to watch them laughing and playing in the rapids.
     I took lots of pictures, these are just a few.  I shot with my 55-250mm lens... very lightweight, and very versatile.  It's long, so I can zoom in tight for close-ups.  And it is just wide enough that I can get a group shot as long as I stand back a little ways.

     Everyone enjoyed seeing the pictures.  Ms. Sharon printed a bunch of 4x6's to give to the girls.  I also put together an Animoto video which the girls really enjoyed...

     Hoping to do it again this Summer, maybe it will be a little cooler this time :)


photo jabber blog by tim wyler
beginner photography tips for new dslr owners
family photography tips
better family photos

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Day at the Beach

     What family photo album would be complete without the shots from the big summer beach vacation!  The sun, the surf, hot sand, sunburns, jellyfish......   well you know.  It's still good classic family fun!  

the classic sandcastle building shot...  it's a must.

               Zoom in tight...                              Avoid distracting backgrounds...

A different perspective...

 The details...

Must include some beach vegetation!

     When capturing those family beach memories on camera, all the normal photographic rules apply.  But  here are a few extra tidbits which may help you yield better beach results...

  • The plastic bag trick...  Ever walked out of your cool condo with camera in hand, ready for action, until the warm moist tropical air hits that camera lens and suddenly you're all fogged up?  Before you head out, put your camera in a plastic bag and set it out on the balcony for 20 minutes.  Your lens will adapt to the warm temperature and you will avoid the dreaded fog-over.
  • Consider an old camera.  Keep in mind the sand and salty air do not make for a friendly environment for your nice shiny new camera.  Sure, you can bring the good one out for your portrait shoots.  But for those- hangin on the beach and just shooting some snapshots days, bring an old camera along.  Try to keep it protected when you're not using it.  And NEVER wipe the lens with a sandy towel or shirt.  
  • If you're using a DSLR, do No Not Never change your lens on the beach.  Sand in Camera = Bad.
  • As always.... Try to shoot in good light.  This means early or late in the day.  Avoid mid-day harsh sunlight.    - Having said that, we are just talking about vacation pics here.  It's perfectly fine to capture your memories at any time of day... just understand that your better photos will come in good light.
  • Avoid busy, distracting backgrounds and zoom in tight on your subject. 
  • Shoot from different perspectives...  Get low with lots of sand in the foreground.  Or try wading out into the water and shooting back toward the beach.
  • Capture the details... the sand castles, the umbrellas, the little toes in the sand, etc...
  • When shooting your fancy, dressed-up beach portraits... use fill-flash, so your sky will be pretty  and blue.
  • Don't forget the all-important sea oats!  It's a requirement that you shoot your beach portraits in front of beach vegetation.  (usually dressed in khaki and white!)  


photo jabber blog by tim wyler
basic tips for beginner photographers
better family photos

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Pilots Do...

     When we're bored...      Waiting for passengers to arrive today, we engaged in an iPhone photo duel out on the ramp. These were my best two entries-

     This is really a great way to practice seeing. Go out shooting with your iPhone, Droid, Blueberry, Polaroid, or whatever you have with you, and really really try to make the best images you can. Simplifying your camera gear helps you to really get focused in on the basics of composition, light, angles, lines, etc.. Forget about settings, modes, and menus, and just look at the light, the lines, the angles, and the potential for good images around you. I'm learning that creativity actually does improve with practice.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Senior Moment

     I shot some senior portraits for our nephew last weekend.  We took a bunch of pictures, this one is my favorite.......

     The very soft, directional light is what really makes this image.  I wish that I could take credit for the lighting setup, but it's really just ambient light.  The overcast cloud layer was providing nice soft, even light, which can be a good thing.  But without any direction, this light can look somewhat flat and uninteresting.  In this case, the old shed, which my nephew is leaning against, is blocking the ambient light from his left side, thereby creating the look of directional light coming in from his right.  Studio photographers call this Subtractive Lighting - removing light in order to create shadows, which add definition and dimension to the subject.  Okay, so.... now I've changed my mind-  The soft, directional Shadows are what really make this image!

Hope you like,

photo jabber blog by tim wyler
tips for new beginner dslr photographers

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bargain Alert!

     FREE stuff!...

On One Software is now offering their Pefect Layers 2 & Perfect Effects photo applications for the very low low price of.....  FREE !!

If you use Lightroom or Aperture, and you long for the creative power that is possible only by using layers and layer masks...  Perfect Layers 2 is the perfect layers solution.  And it's much much cheaper than buying Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, because it's FREE.

You can also use Perfect Layers as a stand-alone app if you don't currently use Lightroom or Aperture.  And even better...  it also comes bundled with a free version of Perfect Effects 3, which is a nice tool for adding some different textures and effects to your images.  Also FREE!

Now, if you are one of the people who purchased Perfect Layers a few months ago for the original price of like $149, you may really want to kick yourself right now.  Because, now it's FREE!

BTW...  I like FREE stuff.  If you like free stuff too, you can download the software from On One Software HERE.

     And some Pics.....
Here are a few shots from a pre-test pep rally at my kids' school.
They brought in stunt riders to complement the theme - Bikes, Blues & Benchmark.
I punched up the photos in Perfect Effects using the Faux HDR filter...


photo jabber blog by tim wyler
tips for new beginner dslr photographers

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Something Different - Blue Angels

     Last summer my family and I made a visit to the US Navy Air Museum in Pensacola to watch a Blue Angels practice session.  If you've never been, you should go... it's Awesome!  The Blues fly a full show routine, sometimes repeating certain maneuvers until perfect.  The spectators' stands are much closer to the action than at a typical airshow.  I knew it was going to be a great photo op!

     If I was going to shoot the Blue Angels, I wanted to take some serious glass!  I decided to rent the Canon 100-400mm L series lens.  Great reach, quick focus and super sharp image quality make the 100-400 a great airshow lens.  I rented mine from Lens Giant, they had a good rate on an 8-day rental.  

     I shot several hundred photos each of the two days we went.  I shot the whole time in high-speed burst mode, which on the 40D is 6.5 frames per second.  My Auto-focus was set to Continuous AF (servo mode), with all focus points selected.  I never use Multi-point focus for portraits because I can't control exactly where the focus goes, but it works perfectly shooting airplanes in the sky.  

     Going back for the second day helped me get some good shots that I missed the first time.  I learned to anticipate what was about to happen.  We were very lucky the weather was perfect both days.

6.5 fps is not fast enough!  Took me several attempts to get this shot.

me with the big Canon canon

     I'll definitely be going back again sometime.  If you get a chance to go -the Blue Angels practice schedule can be found on the Navy Air Museum website HERE.  note- Get there EARLY!


photo jabber blog by tim wyler
blue angels photos airshow photography
basic tips for beginner dslr users

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hold the CHEESE

 Smiles are overrated.  Well... sometimes anyway.  Typically the smile is a key ingredient in good portraits, but sometimes good portraits don't need them.  Some of my favorite portraits depict a very natural, un-smiley face.  

I find that most subjects really appreciate when I tell them they don't need to smile.  When they get to stop smiling they get very relaxed... And when they get very relaxed they look very natural.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Megabytes Are Cheap

     We're not buying film anymore, and megabyte are cheap!  So take Lots of pictures!

     Whatever it is you're shooting- kids, flowers, birds, sports, animals, cars, models, or leaves..... take lots and lots of shots.  If you take a picture of a grasshopper, shoot it from 14 different angles.  Get high, low, closer, farther.. shoot vertical, horizontal, different crops and different apertures.  Same goes for portraits- I typically come home from a family portrait session with well over 300 images on my card.  I usually narrow these down to the best 25-30.
     Please understand- I'm not suggesting the "Spray & Pray" method.  This term describes those who choose not to bother themselves with all the hassle of learning, practicing, and improving their photography.  Instead they choose to aimlessly fire off frames in massive numbers and hope for a good one.  Not a good technique.
     We want to do our best to make every shot count.  But certainly the more options we have to choose from, the more great keepers we will get.  Wedding photographers will typically shoot thousands of frames in a weekend, and only a small percentage of the photos will be included in the wedding album.  World renown commercial and advertising photographer Chase Jarvis, says he often shoots many thousands of frames per day when on assignment.... and only One of those photos will ever be seen by the public.
     So get yourself a big memory card and some extra batteries, and shoot away!



Monday, April 2, 2012

Soccer Saturday

For all you soccer Moms & Dads out there-

On Saturday morning my youngest had her first soccer game of the season.  I thought I'd share a few pictures along with some soccer shooting tips...

Capturing the intimidation factor

Shooting from a low perspective

Shutter speed of at least 1/800th sec. will the freeze action

I really like to shoot through the net for a unique perspective

Zooming in tight

f4 Aperture setting for a shallow depth of field.

Capturing the moments after the score!


    • As always, avoid mid-afternoon sun when possible.  Check your soccer schedule and choose a morning or evening game to shoot.
    • Move around the field.  The corners of the field offer good shooting angles.  Try some shots from behind the goal, shooting through the net.
    • Avoid busy backgrounds.  If possible, shoot in a direction that doesn't fill your background with people, cars, lawn chairs, trashcans, etc...
    • Get low.  Your knees may get green and wet, but shooting from a low perspective will improve the look of your images.
    • Use a long lens- Zoom in tight, and then crop in even tighter in post.
    • Shoot in Aperture Priority mode and set your Aperture to the lowest number available for your lens (assuming it is between f2.8 - f5.6).  This will keep your depth of field shallow.
    • Watch your shutter speed.  In Aperture Priority mode your camera will automatically adjust your shutter speed- Be aware of what it's doing.  You'll need at least 1/800th of a second to freeze the action.  If your shutter speed is too slow, increase your ISO.
    • Set White Balance to "Cloudy" for warm skin tones.
    • Set up your camera's focus to use only the center focus point, and keep that point on your subject.
    • Select Continuous Autofocus, this is "AI Servo" on Canons.  Hold the shutter button half way down as you track your subject.  The autofocus will adjust continuously as your subject moves.  
    • Set your drive mode to Burst or High Speed Continuous, and take a LOT of shots.  
    • Don't put the camera down after a goal is scored, be ready to capture the reactions.


photojabber blog by tim wyler
easy tips and techniques for beginner photographers
shooting soccer games sports