Tag Archives: Hiking

Photographing Fall Foliage

Bergen County, NJ- The season’s vibrant forests filled with leaves changing colors beckons us to spend a day outdoors with camera in hand.  Taking time to enjoy nature can inspire us in several ways and influence our photography in positive ways. Each time of day offers advantages and challenges, but many pros agree that shooting in the late afternoon – when your shadow is taller than you are – is a great time to photograph the great outdoors. Early mornings are also excellent, although you’ll need to decide if morning dew adds to your composition or simply complicates things.  And don’t let overcast skies deter you, either – the clouds can help emphasize the vibrancy of leaves and other changing foliage.

 

3 Ways to Pick the Perfect Gear Bag

Bergen County, NJ-  While many of us are guilty of tossing our digital cameras and equipment inside a large tote or backpack, deep down we know that we should be taking better care of our gear. The right bag provides a number of benefits including proper padding to absorb shock and to protect from bumps and drops, and keeping all your accessories and chargers in one place so they aren’t lost before your next trip. There are so many designs to choose from, and it can get a bit overwhelming at times, so let us help you narrow your focus. Here are a few tips to help you find the right gear bag for your needs:

Consider Your Gear: Take a quick mental inventory of your equipment. Do you use a point-and-shoot camera or do you switch between a point-and-shoot and your DSLR depending on the situation? How many lenses do you have? Are there accessories that you own that you often forget to bring with you such as filters, flashes or lens cleaner? How often will you need your laptop with you during a shoot or travel? Do you want to keep everything streamlined—including your laptop– in one bag or do you have a laptop bag you already use for this purpose? Thinking about all your items as a group will help you get a better idea of which bags will make the cut.

Include Room to Grow: If you’re like many photo enthusiasts, you’ve got a wish list of accessories and other items you’d like to own one day. While there’s no reason to purchase a bag that far exceeds your current needs, ponder getting a slightly larger size if you are considering additional purchases of equipment this year.
What’s Your Style? It’s important to consider your preferences when choosing a bag. Some people find that a backpack style is the perfect design when needing to carry a substantial amount of gear comfortably while others prefer a messenger style designed to lay flat on the hip and that distributes weight off the shoulder. Still others would prefer something that blends into a work environment and looks more like a traditional briefcase.

How Will You Use Your Bag? Will your camera bag often be considered a carry-on for airline travel or do you need something capable of handling additional items when out hiking or outdoors? Do you need a smaller model that lets you travel light? Or, is it best to have a rolling hard case to help you navigate train and airport terminals?

When it comes to keeping your gear protected and organized, the right bag can make all the difference. We’ve got a number of different styles for you to consider ranging from small messengers to full-sized carryalls.  Check out our selection here or come in and try some out for yourself.

 

What You Need to Know About Photo Safaris

Bergen County, NJ- Summer is the time for exploring, and many shutterbugs dream of packing up their favorite gear, boarding a plane and heading off on a photo safari. There are many opportunities available to hone your craft and indulge your desire to explore the great outdoors with camera in hand, so how do you choose the right adventure? We asked Rick Vanselow, General Manager of Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris & Travel Wild Expeditions (www.photosafaris.com), to provide some tips to help choose the right experience.

Consider Your Schedule: Can you steal an entire week to go on a photo safari? If you’ve got a full week, which includes two days of travel, consider what kind of environment you’d like to explore. Is there a certain kind of wildlife you’ve always wanted to photograph or a part of the country that captures your imagination? “You’ll be immersed in photography during this experience so choose a location that you feel you’ll enjoy experiencing intensely.”

If you have a bit less time, say a long weekend, there are still many options open available. You can easily still travel cross-country with direct flights and a bit of careful planning. In fact, you can find fabulous opportunities that are likely just a few hours drive if you’re on a tight time schedule. Driving to your location will also give you extra flexibility in case your travel arrangements need to be adjusted.

Know Your Gear: While you don’t need to be a professional photographer–most photo safari attendees are avid hobbyists–you do need to have a basic understanding of the manual functions of your camera so that you’ll be in position to take full advantage of the available scenery and wildlife. You’ll need to know how adjust your ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings. Understanding how to bracket your shots will also prove useful. If you’re shooting by water, being able to create a custom white-balance will serve you well in those situations where you’re keen to capture babbling brooks and white waterfalls.

Solo or With Spouse: Taking along a friend or spouse might be a perfect way to make the most of the experience but it can be a recipe for disaster if your expectations aren’t aligned. For example, if your spouse thinks it would be fun to tag along, he (or she) may realize that the shine will wear off quickly after a couple of hours riding on a jeep trying to get that perfect shot of a gazelle. Rick says, “Many safari experiences don’t have spouse programs so make sure to ask questions to see what is-or isn’t–available.” A photo safari might be best attended with a friend or spouse that is equally excited about photography.

Keeping on Top of Expenses: Vanselow advises making sure you understand what is included when comparing locations and prices. “Many photo safaris will not include lodging, meals or additional transportation needed to travel between locations. Our safaris include these expenses and some other companies may cover this as well. Just make sure to ask very specific questions so you can accurately compare costs when making a decision.”

Get to Know Your Guide: While many professional photographers today offer different versions of a photo safari, they aren’t all created equal. For example, Vanselow states that his company has spent many years getting to know the areas they travel to and have built relationships with the best guides in each location. They scout the areas and coordinate the times so that photographers aren’t shooting directly into the sun, as an example, and the guides understand which situations are prime opportunities for shooters. “We only put three photographers in a vehicle that holds nine, while other companies might cram nine shooters in one vehicle. We know that not every photographer will have the same vantage point and flexibility when you put too many people in one space, and we want to make sure every one of our guests have equal opportunity to claim those amazing shots.”

Whether you want to take two days or two weeks, there’s a photo adventure waiting for you if you’ll take the first step and start searching!

Capture the Majesty of National Parks

 

When it comes to summer holidays, visiting another state or national park is high on the list for many vacationers. Sometimes the vastness of these natural beauties can overwhelm our senses and interfere with our ability to decide how to best photograph such a vast space. It’s an issue that puzzles many photographers – how do we do justice to the grandness and detail of our country’s natural treasures? We have a few tips to help you capture the essence of the beauty that surrounds you:

Be Prepared: Shooting in nature requires the right accessories, so think about what kind of images you’d like to create while you’re in that amazing environment. For example, a tripod is invaluable, as it will provide stability and flexibility, allowing you to compose images that you might otherwise miss. We have a complete range of quality tripods for you to consider here: http://www.promaster.com/products.asp?CatID=300&SubCatID=5

Take it In: Those first moments when we arrive at the park can open the floodgates of ideas, but reaching for your camera immediately can be a mistake. Instead of shooting as soon as your reach the park’s entrance, consider taking in the scenery first. Let your eyes and senses experience the views around you; let your imagination wander as your drive along the path. Your creative mind needs a bit of time to process this new space, and this patience will pay off in your composition.

Shoot a Quick Memory List: When taking in a park’s many views and vistas, it’s easy to forget certain areas that you wish to shoot. Use your camera as a visual ‘to-do’ shot list and take quick photos of the areas that interest you. Don’t be too concerned about composition or details at this point; the goal is to simply create a shot list to remind yourself of which areas you plan to explore in greater detail.

Choose Different Times of Day: The sun’s changing position throughout the day can create a wealth of different images even though the scenery remains the same. Areas with trees can cast interesting shadows based upon the sun’s position, so you’ll want to explore those options, as the day stretches on.

One Location, Many Viewpoints: Instead of rushing from one location to the next, take a bit of time and study your space from several angles. Shoot from numerous angles – high, low and close up – to examine how the same area can provide so many distinct and different views. Find a focal point and shoot it from different vantage points.

Make Macro Magic this Summer

Bergen County, NJ- With warmer weather  here, it’s time to take our cameras in hand and head outdoors. Nature photographers rejoice as we find our surroundings flourishing and endless opportunities to capture the splendor of spring. It’s also an ideal time to experiment with macro photography. Macro photography is essentially taking the size of your object in an image and enlarging it to several times (such as 5x) life size.
Ladybugs, bees, tiny creatures atop flower petals and leaves are all amazing subjects to capture from a macro standpoint. Another benefit of shooting macro is the fact that you will have a shallow depth of field with this method, so clutter or background issues will have less of an impact than they would in traditional photography.

Here are a few tips to make your macro photography magnificent:

Try Texture: One of the most powerful aspects of macro photography is how textures are magnified to complement your subject or add interest to the background. For example, the fine hairs on a bumblebee will be magnified and the texture of the insect’s body will immediately draw the eye. You can also use the texture of a leaf or flower to provide contrast to a smoother subject, such as a ladybug. Combining textures works beautifully in nature and it also makes for stunning macro images.

Delight in the Details: Macro photography brings the smallest of details to the forefront, so it’s important to consider this when deciding what to photograph. For example, a blemish on a petal might not be noticed in a standard shot but a macro image might enhance it to the point of it impacting the overall effect. A practice snap or two can help you decide if an issue is really an issue at all.

Experiment with Focus: Consider shooting with a larger lens aperture to throw a portion of the scene or subject out of focus. This technique provides some artistic play and will lend a different feel to your images. You can reposition yourself to determine which portion of the subject looks best in soft focus.

Learn Lighting Tricks: As with all other forms of photography, learning how to manipulate available light is an important skill. For example, with macro photography, using front light will result in more intense color saturation whereas side lighting is perfect for those instances where you wish to showcase texture. Playing with your position with respect to available light can have a substantial impact on your final image.

Your macro lighting can also be helped along with our ProMaster LED 120 Camera/Camcorder light. This model accommodates cameras and camcorders and can help you achieve well-lit photos and video with more natural color. The continuous light source eliminates the red-eye effect caused by your camera’s flash and helps you get sharper pictures by providing a good source of illumination for your camera’s autofocus system.   Here are our LED options.

Back to Basics: Rule of Thirds

 

Bergen County, NJ- The Rule of Thirds is one of the most well-known and frequently practiced techniques explored by budding photographers. While many photographers agree that rules are meant to be broken in the name of creativity, your composition will improve if you understand how to apply the rules first.

To understand the Rule of Thirds, visualize two vertical lines and two horizontal lines dividing your image into nine equals squares. You then place your key subjects and points of interest along these lines. The primary subject will reside where the lines intersect. The intersecting lines are sometimes referred to as crosshairs.

To better understand this concept, take a few of your photos and imagine the nine squares atop the image. Where are your primary items of interest? Choose a few of your favorite photos, the ones that really speak to you and apply this rule. You may be surprised at how often the Rule of Thirds is already at play in your favorite images.

Most camera manufacturers offer a virtual screen overlay that can divide your viewfinder into the Rule of Thirds format and this may help you get used to seeing your images in this way. You may prefer not to use this guide, but if it is available on your camera and you are new to the concept, it’s worth the time to experiment. The Rule of Thirds, when properly applied, can create a sense of scale and drama and will direct the eye to the perfect place in your image.

Top 5 Photo Tips for Your Next Vacation Getaway

 

Bergen County, NJ- The month of March means winter will soon end. It also offers a much needed spring break holiday. Whether you’re packing your bags for a quick weekend road trip or a ten day international excursion, we’ve got a few tips to help you create some stunning images sure to make you smile long after your holiday has ended.

Keep it Light: Going on vacation with your gear doesn’t mean you have to weigh yourself down with every accessory you own. In fact, many professionals prefer a more minimalist approach when traveling. Consider what kind of photographs you intend to take and, if possible, scale down to a single multi-purpose lens, a cleaning kit, a lightweight mono/tripod and an external flash. And don’t forget your charger and extra batteries! We have  great cleaning accessories here for your next trip.

Candids are King: Vacations are often the most fun when things happen spontaneously and without a rigid plan. The same can be said for photography. We sometimes have a specific vision in mind before we begin photographing, but while on holiday, consider shooting off-the-cuff instead. Candid images capture an authenticity that comes through in a way no posed image can duplicate.

Look for Landmarks: If you’re traveling someplace with recognizable landmarks, incorporating them into your travel photography is a great way to quickly highlight the familiar location. That said, don’t feel you have to shoot a standard head-on image just to include a notable building. Have fun with this process, play with your perspective and shoot from various angles and vantage points. Being able to shoot a familiar location from a fresh angle can showcase both the location and your abilities as a photographer.

Let Scenery Speak for Itself: Our instinct is to make sure our family members and friends are included in almost all of our vacation photos but remember to take in the scenery of your locale as well. As you explore and enjoy your leisure time, keep your eyes open for items in your environment that capture your attention and imagination. For example, is there a historic marker that piques your interest or a café sign that is beyond charming? Shoot close, fill the frame with these quirky and fun items and add them to your vacation album!

Keep the Memories Alive: Once your getaway has ended, make sure to keep the memories close for you to enjoy by having a favorite photo enlarged and framed – or even printed on canvas! We have so many fabulous ways for you to transform your images into keepsakes, and these keepsakes will make you smile throughout the year. Let us show you the many ways we can incorporate your favorite photos into your living space.

The 3 Best Ways to Bounce Your Flash

Bergen County, NJ-  There are few things that can ruin an image as blatantly as harsh lighting, but fortunately, there are ways to soften your light source in such a way that it works to your advantage. Learning how to bounce your flash can combat unflattering shadows and create a softer effect overall. This technique can be used both indoors and outside and is practical in a variety of situations.

Solid Surface Shooting: When it comes to bouncing your flash, using a nearby wall or ceiling are the two most common choices for this technique. By adjusting your camera’s flash to point at a nearby light-colored surface rather than your subject, the light will bounce off the wall and reflect in a diffused capacity on your subject. The resulting lighting will be softer and far more flattering than if you were to point your light source directly at your subject. If you’d prefer to use the ceiling, adjust your flash to point upward but angle it slightly so that is falls atop your subject rather than directly above you and the camera. The goal is to have the light fall toward the subject. If you find yourself shooting in a location with particularly high ceilings, consider shooting off a side wall instead. It may require adjusting your subject slightly, but experimentation is part of the fun! Light is a fascinating tool to manipulate and learning how to adapt it to your needs is key in photography.

Photo courtesy of Helmut Römhild

Bounce Outdoors: How do you bounce your flash outdoors? Thinking outside the box helps. You can use a nearby white wall, a large white poster board or even someone wearing a white t-shirt (yes, people have done this with success!). The key is to be close enough to your bounce prop that it can both diffuse the light and still be useful in your composition. Again, adjust a bit here and there to strike the perfect balance.

 

 

Bouncing with a Point and Shoot: While bouncing your flash is a technique most commonly used with DSLR cameras, you can also apply it with some point and shoot models. While the range will be more limited as the flash can’t be rotated to such an extensive degree, you can manipulate the flash by placing your finger underneath the flash and slightly nudging it upward. In many cases, it’s just enough to get the job done. Still, it requires a steady hand and a bit of finesse. In a pinch, you can also use a tissue to cover the flash and diffuse the light from the outset. It’s another quick fix, and successful photographers know that thinking creatively to solve problems is critical in creating the effect they desire.

 

Come by Wholesale Photo and browse our large selection of flashes and flash diffusers and bouncers.

Control the Movement: Shutter Speed Quick Tip

Bergen County, NJ-  When it comes to remembering how to best use shutter speed, keep in mind that the largest lens opening will yield the best results for stop action while the smallest lens opening will create a more blurred effect.  So, the largest lens opening will provide the fastest shutter speed while the smallest opening will yield the slowest shutter speed.

If you’d like to experiment with the concept of adjusting shutter speed, ask a friend or family member to jump up and down, throw a ball or run across the yard and begin shooting while stopping down your lens a full-stop each time.  This exercise will not only demonstrate the differences in shutter speed but will also help you remember how each setting affects motion, which is an important fundamental lesson in photography.

Here is an example of how different shutter speeds affect a waterfall courtesy of Gregory F. Maxwell.