Three Great Tripod Accessories

Sometimes it can be really annoying to get your tripod in the EXACT position you need it. Just when you think you’ve got it set up how you want it, you lock in the ballhead, and realize your camera just moved down half an inch, which totally ruins your composition.

Well, luckily there are a few accessories that can help make your life easier: an L-bracket, a tripod collar, and a bubble level. [Read more…]

Three Quick Tips For Close-Ups

California Wild Rose / Photo by Steve Berardi

California Wild Rose / Photo by Steve Berardi

Now that spring has arrived here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to start thinking about photographing all those wonderful wildflowers and insects. It’s the perfect season for close-up photography.

So, here are three quick tips to get you started:

#1 – Get down to your subject’s level

Many of the plants and insects that come out in the spring live very low to the ground, so your first reaction may be to photograph them from where you first spot them (standing up and looking down at them). But, many times it’s better to get down to your subject’s level and photograph them from there because it captures a more friendly point of view (almost as if you’re seeing eye-to-eye with your subject). [Read more…]

How To Focus Closer With your Lenses

Every lens has a minimum focusing distance: the closest point where the lens can get a sharp focus. Generally, the longer the focal length of the lens, the greater the minimum focusing distance.

Most of the time, this distance isn’t a problem because with longer lenses you’ll generally be photographing a distant subject.

But, those longer telephoto lenses are also great for close-up photography, because they help you isolate your subject against a specific part of the background. In these cases, this minimum focus distance often becomes a problem because many lenses won’t let you get close enough to fill the frame with a small subject (such as a wildflower or insect).

So, how do you make your lens focus closer? [Read more…]

What To Photograph On An Overcast Day

Photo by Steven Burke (used under the CC-Attr-NC-ND license)

Photo by Steven Burke (used under the CC-Attr-NC-ND license)

In Southern California, we have this thing called “June Gloom” where pretty much every day in the month of June is overcast or cloudy. Some people call it our punishment for having bright sunny days for the rest of the year.

But, I look forward to the overcast skies because although they produce some gloomy feelings, they also create some very unique lighting conditions that bring out some of the best colors found in nature. [Read more…]

A Fun Way To Improve Your Wildflower Photography

Photo by Vic Berardi

Photo by Vic Berardi

As spring approaches and the dreary overcast days of winter are still upon us, we anxiously await going out in the field for some wildflower photography. But, while you’re waiting for those flowers to pop up, you can still do something to help you prepare for those wildflower photos.

Over the winter, I picked up several excellent flower photography books and a few showed some techniques for indoor photography. So, I thought, why not give this a try and see if I can apply what I learned to outdoor wildflower photography. I didn’t have any studio lighting, so I decided to experiment with what I already had. [Read more…]

How to Win the Battle of Close-up Photography

Pitcher Sage / Photo by Steve Berardi

Pitcher Sage / Photo by Steve Berardi

In close-up nature photography, there’s a constant battle of trying to find that perfect balance between a sharp subject and an out-of-focus background.

An out-of-focus background is essential to a good close-up photo, because it helps draw attention to your main subject.

But, it’s not always easy to get that nice background. Sometimes the background is just too close, or your subject has a lot of depth (forcing you to try a smaller aperture, which then puts more of the background in focus).

So, how do you deal with this constant battle? Well, here are a few ways: [Read more…]