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Photographing Pinnacles National Park With IPHONE 11 Pro Max And Singh-Ray Cell Phone Neutral Polarizer!

In Polarizing Filters by Don Smith1 Comment

I decided to take a hike in Pinnacles National Park, which is located about 35 miles from my home along the east-side entrance of Highway 25. My main goal was to get in a good workout. I parked at the Western Visitor’s Center parking lot and headed up towards the Pinnacles High Peaks via the Condor Peaks Trail and returned down the Condor Gulch Trail. The total distance was 5.4 miles with an elevation gain of 1,591 feet. Besides water …

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Re-Imagining an Often Shot Location

In Equipment & Technique, Infrared Photography, ND Filters, Water Features by Don Smith2 Comments

Valley View, Merced River and Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California. Sony a7RIII, Sony 24-105mm, f/16, 30 sec., ISO 100, Singh-Ray Vari-N-Trio Recently in past weeks, good friends Ron Modra and his wife MB came out to California for a visit. On Wednesday, I drove them to Yosemite National Parkand met up with another good friend/photographer Gary Hart. Fortunately for us, Glacier Point Road had just opened. We were treated to a thunderstorm sky and had a great …

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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 Smith2 Comments

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 Smith1 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 is …

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

In Scenes & Scenarios, Wildlife by Don Smith1 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 on …