Helpful Photography Tutorials

While trying to develop my photography I not only went out shooting, developing my skills in the field, but I searched online for helpful tutorials to further my skills. Here are a few I’ve found, hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me…

 Freaky Detail

I use this technique a lot in my shoots. I helps bring out the details in images such as in rocks. It was developed by a photographer called Calvin Hollywood and this tutorial was made by kajophotography.  

Highlights: A quick fix

This new tutorial was written by Everlook Photography. This is one of many interesting blogs they have written. I advise you to follow their blog and work in general, incredible landscape photographers. This tutorial shows a simple way to correct highlights selectively Highlights: A quick fix

Raw: Basic Processing

This tutorial is created by Jay & Varina Patel on the basics of processing your raw files. You should also follow them on Google+ as they offer many helpful hints and tips on each post. 

Transitions: From RAW to final image

Finally another one by Everlook Photography. This is not a tutorial per say but I found it very useful seeing the transtion of the raw image to the final result and plus they are awesome photographs! 

Hope these will help some of you and if I come across more or remember others I have used I’ll post them.

Enjoy! :)

Find the Beauty in Photographing Your Local Area

Do you dream of travelling to far off distant lands, amazing locations you’ve read about and seen photos of, all in the quest for amazing unforgettable shots? Ye well so do I but as is the case for a lot us (especially in these poor economic times) its not an option, but hey don’t put your camera away until you can afford to go to these locations, look around you and find the beauty that is all around. Mother nature is not just beautiful in certain locations of world but it can be found everywhere! You just have to learn to see it.

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The shot above was taken only 5 minutes from my house! Literally just up the road. I had made note that the farmer was growing wheat in the field, which has this lovely soft feel to it at this stage in its growth and with a strong sunset this was the shot I got. If your are always thinking of photographing exotic lands (which everyone does and it’s not a bad thing) but you can sometimes forget to look around you and see that maybe to you your area isn’t exotic but it may be a place someone else is dreaming of, perhaps?

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Sometimes dramatic light and weather conditions can completely change an ordinary looking scene from mundane to magic! The above shot was taken in the field behind my house. Being so close to the location means I can just look out my window and respond quickly to dramatic conditions, a big advantage in shooting locally.

Another way to shoot the beauty in your local area is to get close! There is beauty in the details. You don’t even need a macro lens (although it can help).

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This shot was taken in my back garden with my 18-105mm kit lens with a tripod, remote release and circular polarizer.

So never forget there is beauty in the details and in your local area! So get out there and find these local locations and capture the beauty of nature.

Blackrock’s Moody Sky

Hello everyone!! Long time no see, sorry for my prolonged absence I’ve been very busy lately with college.

Last weekend I went out to Blackrock beach mainly to photograph the jetty of rocks  that jut out to the sea. I checked online to find out when high tide was before I left.

I had in mind the shot I wanted before I went. For the shot above I had a GND filter on to keep the exposure balanced and also a polarizer filter to cut out the reflection on the sea and enhance the colours.

Above is a 12 shot pano stitched together in photoshop using photomerge. I used the same exposure through all the shot to keep in as even as possible. The sea had a great turquoise colour and I was really happy with the end result.

For  the shot above I used a long exposure to smooth out the water and converted it to B&W  to create a real moody atmosphere.

   I used a polarizer on the shot on the right to bring out the really nice green moss under the water.

All in all a successful day out! Hope you all had a great Easter, keep smiling!!

A few tips I’ve learnt about photography along the way-help and hints

The longer you do photography the more you learn, there is always something new you find out and heres some things I’ve learnt along the way the will hopefully help out any of you’s who are just starting photography.

1. Always bring a spare!!-This can range from a battery for you camera to a tripod. Recently while shooting a sunset at a beach I forgot a spare battery for my remote shutter release(wireless) and of course the battery I had in it went dead (ain’t that always the way) and although I wasn’t taking a shot that was longer then a few seconds, it was awkward holding the shutter down in the position I had the camera and ended up with mainly blurry shots. Another time I forgot my tripod (which is criminal really for a landscape photography and something you won’t do twice believe me!) So now I always put a spare tripod in the car, its a cheap tripod but better then not having one, trust me!

2.Adobe photoshop- This is mainly the program I use so hears a few tips I would have loved to know when starting out.

Unsharp Mask- I use this on nearly all my shots to add that extra bit of sharpness to the shot (but your photo has to be in focus in the first place because it can’t work miracles,haha). It can be found in filters>sharpen>unsharp mask. I usually put the radius to 1 and the amount,depending on the shot, anywhere over 120 but play around with it and find whats best for you. Also if you put the radius up to around 30 and the amount at about 20 it adds a nice amount of contrast into a photo, again move it around a bit and find what’s best for you.

Freaky detail(high pass filter)- This is great for adding extra detail into your photo. I found a great video on how it’s done by kajophotography, you can find the video here- http://www.kajophotography.com/blog/category/videos/ . I currently use cs5, where you can skip some of the steps in the video by going to filters>other>high pass, then you can follow the steps in the video from after the photo is inverted!

Layer masks- This is something I mainly just use to apply freaky detail in only certain areas of my image. Heres a quick video(not done by myself) on how to use them-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRJoY5odA7k

3.Always check your camera settings!!-Over time this will become automatic but always make sure you check your camera settings before taking a shot. This happened to me a lot when I was starting out, especially when shooting something that only lasts a few minutes like a rainbow. You get so caught up in the scene in front of you that forget everything and just start clicking the shutter without thinking, big mistake. Sometimes you can get lucky and everything’s ok but most of the time that won’t be the case. Noting worse then coming back thinking you’ve captured a great shot to find out there was raindrops on your lens or your ISO was up at something like 1600 giving so much noise the image is irretrievable!

Oh and always bring a cloth to wipe your lens (make sure it’s a proper cloth for camera lens’ so you don’t scratch your lens) and keep your ISO down as low as possible especially when doing landscape photography!

I hope those tips will help out a few of you’s and keep shooting…

Gold and Blue

To the cliffs..

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

I recently went to the Cliffs of Moher,Co. Clare in the west of Ireland and I must say it was amazing. The sheer size of the cliffs is enough to take your breath away and if that isn’t enough the the very narrow path along the top of them will. In some parts you can lay down and look down over the edge of the cliff which really gives you a sense of these cliffs size.

Cliffs of Moher

Don't look down

We lucked out with the weather, I thought it was going to be overcast but at least dry the whole, it turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year with a few clouds in the sky to keep it interesting. The sea was a beautiful deep blue colour, just a glorious day. If I was staying in the area it would have been nice to stay for the sunset but time didn’t allow. In the distance the Aran Islands can be seen.

Cliffs of Moher with the Aran Islands in the distance

Cliffs of Moher with the Aran Islands in the distance

At a flat section on top of the cliffs there was a group of German students having a sing a long which was pretty cool. Down at the start of the walk along the cfiffs there was a lady playing the harp which seemed very fitting. I had to put the camera down after awhile and just look at the cliffs and really take them in, its something I feel is important to do when photographing such places.

Taken along the coast of County Clare

The Dream

On the way back from the cliffs we stopped along the coast to get a couple of shots, there was some beautiful compositions to be had, and when we looked to the right we could see the bare rocks of the Burren stretching over the mountains, an impressive sight. All in all a great trip to the west of Ireland and the Cliffs of Moher and one to remember for sure.

Always have the camera ready!!

Thatched cottage in Co. Clare

An Irish Cottage

Something I’ve learnt over the last while is to always have the camera ready, you never know when the next photographic opportunity will appear. I learnt this the hard way. One day when we were driving down some small winding roads, suddenly on the hill I saw a white horse on a hill standing beside an old church ruin, they was something special about the image but, of course, I didn’t have my camera ready and by the time I got it out etc. the horse had moved away and I missed my chance to capture that moment in time, which is what photography is about. So from then on I learned to have my camera ready even when in the car.

The above image is one I managed to catch while sitting in the passenger seat of the car. We were on our way back from the Cliffs of Moher, driving down the small winding roads along the coast of county Clare, with several cars behind us and I had my camera on my lap. On the left I saw this thatched cottage, which is such a typically Irish shot I think, more seen on the west coast of Ireland now-a-days. However there was no where to pull in for about another two miles and the gates on the house were closed so we couldn’t pull in there either, so I quickly rolled down the window, picked up the camera, took a few shots and luckily one came out well, an image I really like. So my advice to you…always have the camera ready and you’ll never miss that great shot again!!

Why choose that make of camera?

One thing I’ve always wondered about photography is why people choose a certain make of camera i.e. Canon or Nikon. Both produce equal quality, especially at the higher end of the scale. So why choose one brand over another, maybe you believe one is better then the other or you got a recommendation for a specific camera, or like me there may be a reason/story behind which make you choose. I’m a Nikon user.

Downstream

Downstream

When choosing to upgrade to a digital SLR camera I was only going to ever be a Nikon, not because I think it’s better then other makes of camera, but for the simple reason that Nikon is the camera my dad always used. It’s the brand I grew  hearing about and that’s why I choose it, so I wonder still the reasons other people choose the cameras they do…

Where did the journey start and the kerosene ignite?

Where did my love of photography come from, this burning passion-well I guess it stemmed from my love of nature, the outdoors and the world around us. This developed into a need to try and capture this beauty. Also  in starting photography I have found an escape. While taking a picture I forget everything apart from trying to capture a moment in time that can be remembered forever. Blink and you can miss a perfect picture, but, be in the right place at the right time and you can capture a picture that can take peoples breath away.

The above image was taken with the camera that got me started, a Fujifilm Finepix J30. I went to  America last summer and this camera was great for taking shots around the places I visited such as New York. It’s only recently that I felt the need to upgrade my camera to an digital DSLR, choosing to get the Nikon D7000.

My dad has been a great help in getting me started. He has also been interested in photography since he was young . The new camera has, I believe, taken my photography to the next level, but as my dad says ‘you can have the best camera in the world, but you still need to have the eye to see and take a great shot’ which I believe is true. Experience is also another key factor in developing your skills and eye further.

Clogerhead Beach

Crepuscular Rays

The image above was taken with my new Nikon D7000, and so the journey continues and the fire still burns bright…

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