Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: 10 Tips for Better Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is one of my most favorite subjects. From the beaches and coastlines of Big Sur, California to the lighthouses of the Northeast; landscapes make up our world. Everyone looks at them but few can capture the magnitude. Here are some tips to help you improve your landscape work and get the most out of your time.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2011–02–22 17:45
Categories: Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: Teleconverters

Teleconverters are an essential part of my wildlife photography. The problem is that Nikon does not allow you to mount teleconverters on several of their lenses. Today I will show you how to modify your teleconverter to fit on any Nikon lens.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2011–02–15 15:27
Categories: Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: How to Safely Buy Used Photo Equipment

In today’s economy every nickel counts, and just like everything else cameras and lenses cost way more than anyone wants to pay. I’ve had good and bad experiences with buying used equipment. However, if you do it correctly then you can save a bundle.

Used equipment is available from several sources; some examples are eBay, craigslist, store returns, pawnshops, and private sales. There are others but these are what I will be covering. I’ll give you the goods a bads and recommendations on what to look out for.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2011–02–08 16:21
Categories: Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: Camera Stabilization

Real Photo Advice: TripodsNo matter how good of a photographer you are, if you can’t hold the camera steady your images will turn out like crap. Image stabilization is one of the most important aspects of photography. If you have a great picture opportunity make the most of it and be sure you will be holding that camera steady.

This article will explore a lot of different tools that you can use to hold your camera steady and reduce the dreaded camera shake. I will also give my opinions on brands. So here is my disclaimer: I do not have any corporate sponsors, I pay retail for all my equipment and I give ya the good and bad opinions for brands of things I try.

First, let’s examine the best ways you can hold your camera to be steady on your own without extra mechanical aids. Really, who wants to carry extra crap if you don’t have to, right? The basic rule for years has been anything slower than 1/60th of a second you can’t hand hold. That rule still applies and you also have to remember that it was designed for use with a 50mm lens. A more accurate rule is that you can’t hand hold anything lower than the “length of your lens”. For example: 200mm you need 1/200th, 600mm you need 1/600th. There will always be people out there that have big egos and like to compete about who can hand hold 1 second exposures, but they are usually young and have a lot less years on their body than I do, ha ha.

There are a few techniques you can use to help hold steady. The way you hold your camera is a big consideration. Keep your elbows in and hold the camera to your face to help stabilize it. Also, hold your breath as you press the shutter. Leaning against something like a tree or a building can help you a lot as well, or sitting. If you are in a car, that car window is a great support for your camera.

After you are done with your best ability of your body there are many mechanical aids out there that will make your life easier. Some are bigger and bulkier than others; basically you sacrifice comfort for greater stability.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2011–02–01 17:12
Categories: Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: The Nikon 600mm vs. Sigma 300mm-800mm Showdown

When you need a huge long lens for your Nikon there are a few choices. Today we will talk about the Sigma 300-800mm and the Nikon 600mm. If you are looking for a quick answer, in my opinion, the Nikon 600mm is the better lens. There, now you can quit reading if you only wanted a fast answer.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2011–01–25 17:12
Categories: Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: UV Filters

UV filters as protection on a lens. This subject has been a huge constant battle among photographers for as long as I can remember. The topics range from quality of glass, protection, vingnetting, and more. Right off the top, I DO NOT use a UV filter on the front of any of my lenses. I will do my best to give information in this article on both sides of the issue so you can make your own informed decision instead of going with the cool crowd. UV or Skylight filters (I’ll just say UV from this point forward) are traditionally put in on the front of your lens to protect it from being scratched. While this is a good theory it has quite a few drawbacks.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2011–01–18 17:02
Categories: Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: Photographing Wild Animals

Photographing dangerous animals is something that a lot of us enjoy. It gets us excited as we are interacting with something that has huge teeth, speed, and weighs as much as a Yugo! I hope I’m not the only one old enough to remember what a Yugo is… Really, who is going to get an adrenaline rush by taking pictures of a cow?

As with everything else in life, the more fun it is the more risky it can become, so today I will share some of my techniques that I use to get closer to larger wild animals and get those great shots.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2011–01–11 19:36
Categories: Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: Death Valley Travel Log

Death Valley is one of the most unique places on the earth. The colors and landscapes you can see there are amazing and I haven’t found anywhere else where you can photograph all of them in such close proximity. Death valley is huge and without good planning you can easily get stranded without gas in the middle of literally nowhere.

I’ve been there several times and even with my knowledge of the roads and trails I’ve had my share of close calls. I’m going to share some of my tips and tricks to see the most sights and avoid the common mistakes as well. Death valley has many many things to see but some are more spectacular than others. It’s a real let down to travel 2 hours to see something and get there and say to yourself “that’s it?” This guide will help you to plan a good trip and keep you safe.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2011–01–04 19:34
Categories: Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: Working From Your Car

Many many photographers go on huge long photo hikes.  They pack everything up, cameras, lenses, filters, tripods, solar chargers.  And then there is the traditional necessities such as water and food for a day trip all the way to tents and sleeping bags and more for a longer trip.

Personally, at my age, I enjoy the comfort of a bed in a nice hotel each night.  Or, at the worst, an air mattress in the back of the rented SUV.  I’m not one of those guys that likes strapping 50-100 pounds of camera and camping gear to my back and going in the woods for miles.  There goes my back, my neck, my knees… uggggg.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love nature, but my idea of hiking is simply walking through the woods with my shoes and a small camera and that’s it.  I’m more of a minimalist when I go in the woods, I drink the water I find and I eat the berries if I get hungry… or maybe a couple granola bars in my pocket.  I’ve found that carrying tons of stuff first of all, duh, it’s heavy, but it also tends to make you stay near established trails that many have walked on already anyhow.

I’ve never really found anything breathtaking walking through the woods anyhow.  Usually I find a stream, the occasional pond, or some animals that run away at the first sound of me coming.  But if you must go in the woods then plan the trip, look at satellite images before you go.

So if you are walking on trails that many have done beforehand, you are not finding that all important “original secret view” that hardly ever exists anymore anyhow.

I know that I am attracted to the latest cameras and lenses with the cool little fancy buttons and I love technology.  So why do photographers run away from using technology to get to our subject?  Cars people, cars.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2010–12–28 18:52
Categories: Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: Florida Bird Photography

The time of year has come when the weather is just horrible. At least in Northern New York it is horrible. Up here the skies are gray, it’s rainy, it’s cold, just no fun to be outside at all. Many of us are faced with a similar problem, it’s discouraging and you just don’t want to get up and go out and photograph things. Now is the time to go to Florida! If you time it right you can save a ton of money going down there and avoid all the tourists as well.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2010–12–21 10:30
Categories: Real Photo Advice

Real Photo Advice: Winter Photography Preparation

Winter is coming and we need to get ready for winter photography. There are several different challenges that a photographer needs to overcome to produce good images. Cameras, lenses, batteries and all sorts of equipment behaves differently in the cold and we will go over the best ways to adjust to the weather and have good results.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2010–12–14 22:07
Categories: Real Photo Advice

An Introduction to Real Photo Advice

Every Tuesday going forward, the Corner Blog will feature a new column by guest author Mike Leggero (who goes by michaelleggero on the forums). The column will be filled with all sorts of advice on photography, travel and anything he can think of that will help someone to become a better photographer. While Mike doesn’t do much work in a studio and seldom works with people anymore, he enjoys our environment and natural world and shows it to others through his photography. If you see something in these articles that you don’t agree with or want to comment on, please leave them in the comments section of each post - conversation and discussion makes us all better!

The first article on winter photography preparation will be posted to the blog within the hour.

Posted by Tim L. Walker on Tue, 2010–12–14 21:55
Categories: Real Photo Advice
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