Before we made the trip to Germany for Photokina we made a stop in Poland. The trip to Poland for me was to experience the ghettoes of Warsaw and visit Auschwitz. These are not happy places to go but they are places I felt I must experience. I must take the good with bad and attempt to feel as much as I could possibly feel when visiting these places.
I did take the Nikon D810 with me knowing I wanted to capture a few images. I wanted to tell a story as I tend to do but I wasn't sure what I would find or how I would feel about what I was capturing.
There are a few images that I thought told a story. The look down the tracks to the main gate, the close up of the train stair and the train itself.
The train is haunting, I found myself staring at it and I started to get emotional. I started to feel the walls closing in on me and I started to tear up. My mind shifted to the people inside. The pain and suffering they must have been facing on their trip to the unknown.
Look at that image, stare at it, don't take your eyes off of it until you feel something.
Feeling, it is all about feeling. It's all about emotion. It's all about that moment. That moment that presented itself in front of your lens and you captured it it. That moment that you put yourself in the right situation to capture. That moment where all the pieces of the puzzle came together for that one solitary split second of a shutter push.
Images with emotion and feeling do not happen often. In fact, I would say that they are captured less and less these days as more and more "snap shots" are being taken.
That's what makes it so gratifying when you find yourself looking at the images you captured and you spot "the one". That one image or the couple of images that tell the story. That capture the emotion like your other images have not.
I just had that feeling recently. There are a few powerful images that I captured in Poland while in Aushwitz. One of the images made me tear up, it made my mind go to a place that is so dark in our history that it's very hard to even get to that place.
But for a few moments the haunting nature of the image struck me, it showed me the inside of this dark place that I can't even imagine being in.
There have only been a handful of images I have taken that bring out that emotion for me. The strange thing is the images I can see in my mind that have done this to me are very painful, very personal.
We must feel, we must capture, we must create. I have felt that feeling and hope to feel it many more times as I continue on my path as a photographer.
I can't tell you how to get that feeling but I can tell you, you will know when you did.
Sometimes we have a tendency to only see what is right in front of us. As photographers we have to see the world differently, that's why I am here to tell you not to forget to look up!
The funny thing about the image below is I did not intend to capture it. In fact, I didn't even want to take the camera out of the car for the walk around Muir Woods. But with Stephen's encouragement and my passion for capturing images I took it with me.
We took a short respite to sit and talk on a bench when I decided to lean my head back and look up. What struck me was how beautiful the scene of these huge redwoods towering into the sky. I saw the image in my mind, put the camera up to my eye, tweaked my settings a little and bam, got the shot.
That moment on the bench really gave me the kick in the butt I needed to see the world that is all around me, not just what is in front of me.
Click Here to download the FULL res image. This image was edited in Adobe Lightroom form the RAW of the Nikon D610. I used the Nikon 14-24 2.8 and this is not HDR.
When I got a last minute call to head up to NYC to shoot Gavin DeGraw at Madison Square Garden opening for Billy Joel I envisioned an image in my mind.
The image I saw in my mind was a wide angle shot from directly behind Gavin with the entire MSG in the background and spot lights shining down.
What I ended up capturing with the Nikon D4s and Nikon 14-24 2.8 was almost exactly the vision I saw in my mind.
MSG is one of the most famous venues in all of the world. I think to capture an artist center stage in an image like this is one of those defining moments. It is a culmination of all their hard work and dedication to their craft. To be there to capture it is an honor.
I have uploaded the image below at 40x60 in to Flickr for you to see this image as I think it was meant to be seen, BIG. You can save the file and use it for PERSONAL USE ONLY. If you would like to print it that is fine as long as it is for PERSONAL USE. If you use it anywhere online I must get the photo credit of Photo By Jared Polin FroKnowsPhoto.com.
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I love seeing basic gear capture solid images. It hammers home that it's the photographer not the gear, most of the time.
In this case the photographer was working with some basic Nikon's and doing a great job with what they had. What I look for in these critiques are a few solid images. When you come out with 6 or 7 solid images you are doing something right.
Just remember, if you think your camera is doing a terrible job taking photos, be sure to make you are not the one to blame first.
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If you think your camera is slow, try this one, it shoots one frame every 10 minutes! That's because this is a 5 Min Portrait 1850's Style with Giles Clement.
Giles is a skilled tin-type / wet plate photographer who has honed his skills over many, many years.
I invited Giles over to the loft to photograph me with his 8x10 View Camera to create an 8x10 one-of-a-kind image.
With my prompting, Giles walks us through the entire process start to finish. You get to hear the history of Tin-Type Photography as well as how he acquired and built his 8x10 view camera.
We take you inside the darkroom to see a plate being sensitized to light. Once the image is exposed, we take you right back into the darkroom to watch as the exposed plate is turned into the final image.
This entire process is fascinating and you get to see it all unfold in this 5 Min Portrait, 1850's edition!
To see Giles's work please check out his website. http://www.gilesclement.com/
My RAWtalk with Giles Clement
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While in Florida for a family event my cousin was taking part in a tennis clinic that I decided to photograph. I have always loved tennis, I played when I was younger and have shot a few professional events in the past.
First and foremost you will hear a lot about making sure you get the ball in the frame. Now this is not always possible or written in stone. But it does tend to add interest to the image. Trying to capture the perfect moment of the racquet about to strike the ball doesn't mean motor driving. You want to anticipate the action because the motor drive may not always capture what you are looking for.
Second look for what direction the sun is. Is the sun straight up in the air? Is it early morning or late afternoon. The reason this is important is if the player has is on their forehand and you are shooting into the sun you may not get the proper light in their face. They will be backlit which if you are not in manual could lead to the camera exposing for the background.
It is a good idea to have the sun at your back and into the players face. Of course the players will be moving around the court but sometimes it's best to hold off until they switch sides to capture more images.
Third Emotions!!! Many times after a solid shot the player will let out a scream or give a fist pump. Other times after a bad shot there could be a not so happy reaction. These reaction shots can sometimes be some of the strongest ones you capture.
Fourth Fill the Frame. Yes I am on to the fill the frame and don't crop message once again. Like I have said time and time again it is personal preference but do your best to fill the frame in the camera so you are not cropping after the fact.
Good lens choices for tennis would be a lens in the 70-200 range or a fixed 300 or 400 depending on the type of action you are looking to capture. With that said since you will be shooting outside you can break out the kit 55-200's or 70-300 lenses and get acceptableresults. Remember with these type of lenses that shooting out at the furthest zoom will help compress the background more.
Five: Matches tend to be long so don't be afraid to experiment with the shots you are capturing. For part of a game try to capture the serve. For otherstry and focus on capturing the ball right before or after it strikes the racquet. Shoot some wide, tight and ultra tight. Finally don't be afraid to shoot horizonticles and verticals as you never know which will turn out to be the winning shot.
Five Point Five: Shoot RAW. I don't buy into the school of thought that because you are shooting sports you shooting shouldn't RAW. The mentality that you will be shooting so many images and RAW would take up to much space and take to much time to edit is bs.
Don't overshoot and you have nothing to worry about. That RAW file will be well worth having in the long run so don't wimp out.
How should you set the camera?
I look generally want to have a very fast shutter speed for freezing the action. That means I am in the range of 1/2000th and up. Some of your cameras will top out at 1/4000th and others will be 1/8000th. Having such a fast shutter speed will help freeze the ball, the player and the racquet. Keep in mind that it is okay to experiment with your settings to try and pan with a player at a slower shutter speed or track the action.
For these sample shots I was around F4. I could have shot at 2.8 to help compress the background more or 3.2 or 3.5 would have given me similar results. Thinking back maybe I should have shot some at 2.8 to see what the difference would have been but I did not.
Part of my thinking for shooting at F4 was to make sure that I gave myself some extra room with my focus. I am not saying I was thinking I would miss focus but more that it would be a good idea to get more of the face and body locked in.
Since I was shooting at a higher shutter speed and closed down to F4 that meant my ISO was going to be bumped slightly. I know people always say to keep your ISO down as much as possible when you are shooting outside but when you need that faster shutter speed your trade off is bumping the ISO. With that said every DSLR for the past 10 years would be able to handle 400 ISO in bright daylight without an issue.
There is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to slightly bumping the ISO. I look at it as you can not freeze the motion and keep your ISO down which theoretically means less noise or grain (which I still don't generally see with even the D610's) or you could get exactly what you want and not worry about it.
There are a few places that you can sit on the court or around the court that can lead to great images. Many times you will be along the side of the court which makes for some great action shots of the players moving and striking the ball.
If you have the ability to shoot behind the baseline and have a super telephoto lens you can shoot directly into the player on the other side of the court. These shots can be great for getting the ball in the frame, capturing emotion and getting a winning frame.
Finally don't be afraid to go above court level. Some places have stands or elevated platforms that allow to shoot down on a player serving or capture some action you might not have seen at court level.
All and all I am happy with the shots I captured. I would have liked to have captured more images with the ball in the frame. I was not shooting a match so there weren't as many opportunities to capture points. During match play you have a good 45 min to a few hours depending on the tournaments to capture images.
Please follow along as I give you a first person perspective on photographing Maria as she works out at the gym. My goal is to show you exactly how I work on a photo shoot. Yes, I am going a lot slower since I am teaching but you will see the good shots with the bad and everything in between.
The gear being used for this photo shoot was the Nikon D4s, Nikon 14-24 2.8, Nikon 24-70 2.8, Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR II and the Nikon 200-400 F4 VR II.
If you would like to see the FULL RES images you can do so by clicking right here.
Let me take you through the entire process from importing, renaming, selecting and finally editing the images in Adobe Lightroom 5.
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