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The Lo-Down On Using Neutral Density Filters

In Equipment & Technique, ND Filters by Don SmithLeave a Comment

Recently I posted this image on my social media sites of a sunset at Bandon Beach in Bandon Oregon while teaching a co-workshop with Gary Hart along the Oregon coast. Questions immediately came in on how I went about figuring out my exposure?  What is the proper way to use a neutral density filter? WHAT IS A NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTER? First off, for those of you who don’t know what a Neutral Density filter is, here is a simple definition: …

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Is There a Perfect Aperture for Landscape Photography?

In Landscapes, Scenes & Scenarios by Don Smith1 Comment

The sun sets into Pacific Ocean fog as seen from Fremont Peak State Park, elevation 3,169 feet, Gabilan Mountain Range, California. Sony a7RII, Canon 11-24mm, f/16, 1/4th, 100 ISO. How often do you think about your aperture choice? There is an old saying amongst photojournalists: F/8 and be there! Many amateur landscape photographers seem to think f/16 is the popular choice. If one thinks about maximizing depth-of-field, then their thinking is correct. But when should one use f/22? Is that …

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Tips For Better Wildflower Images – Part 2

In Equipment & Technique, Landscapes, Polarizing Filters, Scenes & Scenarios by Don SmithLeave a Comment

Tip #6 – Auto ISO Most new digital cameras are now offering Auto ISO. I find, when photographing wildflowers and fighting a relentless breeze, that this feature can save the day and really allow me to concentrate on my composition. I first tried this feature last March in the hills of southern Washington. I was working on a sunset shoot with some Balsamroot and Lupine. I had envisioned catching a sun star as the sun lowered on a nearby hill. …

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Tips For Better Wildflower Images – Part 1

In Equipment & Technique, Landscapes, Polarizing Filters, Scenes & Scenarios by Don SmithLeave a Comment

Editor’s note: It’s flower time in many parts of the world now, so we thought these tips from Don Smith might be helpful – here is part one. Don’s essential tools for shooting wildflowers include his Singh-Ray warming and neutral polarizers. Many photographers also choose our ColorCombo Polarizer for flowers. One way or the other, a polarizer is a must-have creative tool for this type of photography. Sony a7R II, Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm, f/22, 1/30th ISO 800. Spring is in full bloom and …

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For stronger foregrounds, try taking a bug’s eye view!

In Equipment & Technique, Landscapes, ND Filters, Scenes & Scenarios by Don SmithLeave a Comment

Editor’s note: Don’s technique for capturing and processing this image is also a great way to solve the challenge of combining a very long exposure for one element of a scene with the need for a faster exposure to avoid motion in another part of the scene.  Sony a7RII, Sony/Zeiss FE 16-35mm, f/16, 8.5 minute exposure (separate exposure on foreground – explained below), 100 ISO, Singh-Ray 15-stop Mor-Slo solid neutral density filter.  Back in my college days at San Jose …

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5 reasons why you should be using a circular polarizing filter

In Equipment & Technique, Landscapes, Polarizing Filters, Scenes & Scenarios by Don SmithLeave a Comment

  The sun sets through fog as seen from Fremont Peak State Park, San Benito County, California (Sony a7R II, Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm, f/22, 1/10th, ISO 100, Singh-Ray Neutral Polarizer) If you are serious about your landscape photography, there is one filter that should be on each lens in your bag – a polarizer! Why? Well, that is what I will discuss in this article. But first you need to understand that the one filter that cannot be re-created in post-processing …

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What grabs your attention? That’s what your picture should be.

In Scenes & Scenarios, Wildlife by Don SmithLeave a Comment

  “When Forces Collide,” Big Sur Coast, California, Sony a6000, Tamron SP 150-600mm @900mm, Sony LA-EA4 adapter, f/11, 1/1000th sec., 800 ISO I work with a lot of amateur photographers. There are times we are on location when I get the question, “so what are we shooting here?” Sometimes the answer is rather obvious, but oftentimes it’s not. As an instructor, these are the times I seize to really teach. My first response is to not hand it to them …

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Working Through Visual Puzzles

In Equipment & Technique, Landscapes, Polarizing Filters, Scenes & Scenarios by Don SmithLeave a Comment

  Maple Leaves on Fallen Redwood, Nisene Marks State Park, California Sony a7R, Sony 70-200mm @ 200mm, f/20, 4 seconds, 100 ISO, Singh-Ray Neutral Polarizer It has been my observation in teaching workshops for the past 10 years that there are two types of photographers: There are those whom I call the “trophy hunters,” they have scoured the internet regarding the area they are photographing and are there to shoot the icons. Then there are those who’ll find their own …

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10 Myths People Have About Professional Photographers

In Corporate/Commercial, Equipment & Technique, Landscapes, Polarizing Filters, Scenes & Scenarios by Don SmithLeave a Comment

I have had the good fortune to make a living with my camera for the past 40 years. I picked up my first camera at age 13 and have never stopped being fascinated with creating images. During my teen years, I had absolutely no desire to be a professional photographer. I loved sports and was absorbed in the world of snow ski racing. Every year, without fail, I would round up my friends and see the latest Warren Miller ski …

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Take a look back at a great year with Singh-Ray filters

In Equipment & Technique, Landscapes, ND Filters, Polarizing Filters, Scenes & Scenarios by Don SmithLeave a Comment

Dawn at Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii Canon 5DMKIII, 24mm, 6 minutes, f/16, ISO 100, Singh-Ray Vari-N-Duo Looking back at 2013, I was fortunate to photograph incredible landscapes from Eastern Utah to Hawaii and many places in-between. Of course, my Singh-Ray filters were always with me and are an integral part of my success. During my Kauai Workshop this past June, I had my group on location at Hanalei Bay for first light. I love the soft hues of early morning …