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Astrophotography – Star Tracker Basics

In Astrophotography, General - Tips and Tricks, Learning Center by jfischer2 Comments

As a landscape photographer the words ‘High ISO’ might as well only have four letters in them. For the cleanest and best images, I always strive to have my ISO settings as low as I possibly can. Even with today’s excellent sensor technology, there is still a difference at the end of the day between shooting at ISO100 and ISO400 when you start looking at the files at high zoom or printing at a large scale. So cranking the ISO on my Canon 5D mkIV or 6D to 1600 or …

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Dodge/Burn with Photoshop Blend Modes

In General - Tips and Tricks, Landscapes - Post-Processing, Learning Center by jfischer2 Comments

When most photographers think of Dodging and Burning they immediately think of portrait retouching. Adjusting the contouring of the face and other body features to sculpt the lights and shadows. However, the technique can be used on almost any photo where objects need to take on an increased depth through the addition of contrast. While global and even localized contrast can be used to bring punch and detail, it can not reshape or refocus the light like a little bit of dodging and burning can do. Regardless if it’s a …

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Photo Backup – Local Storage Options

In General - Post Processing, General - Tips and Tricks, Learning Center by jfischer1 Comment

Looking to improve your photography storage and backup solution?  Start Here – Photo Backup Strategies It only takes one frantic heart stopping moment when your hard drive fails to wish you’d been more prepared.  Especially if it’s at 3am after an all night editing blitz to get a client’s set finished for delivery the next day.  I’ve heard enough of these horror stories to know it can and will happen – usually at the most inopportune time.  Most of the time, a photo can only be captured once.  You only have the …

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Astrophotography Lenses – Beyond the f-number

In Astrophotography, General - Tips and Tricks, Learning Center by jfischer4 Comments

Just getting started in Astrophotography?  Please check out my introductory article, ‘Astrophography – Seeing the Light in the Darkest Places’ first before you dive in here.  It’s been recently updated for 2017! Astrophotography is a wonderful, and at the moment wildly popular, style of photography. From the peace that comes from sitting in the still darkness taking in the sights of the night sky, to the wonder of seeing far more than the eye can behold light up the back side of your camera’s screen after each click – there …

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Landscapes 201 – Preparing for the Shoot

In General - Tips and Tricks, Landscapes - Fieldwork, Learning Center by jfischer2 Comments

In Landscapes 101, I discussed 10 top tips to kick start your thinking on how to improve your landscape photography regardless if your subject is your local park or Arches National Park in Utah. In Landscapes 201 will break this down further by diving into much more detail on a number of these tips. This series is geared towards preparing for a major photography trip to a landscape photography destination, be it Olympic National Park, the beaches of Mexico, dark skies of West Texas, or deep in the Smokey Mountains. In …

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The Plight of the 50mm Lens

In General, General - Tips and Tricks, Learning Center by jfischer1 Comment

Go ask almost any forum filled with Photographers “What is the first lens to buy after the kit lens?”, and the answer is often ’50mm’, ‘Nifty Fifty’ and so on. The 50mm has no shortage of fans. Simply Google ‘Why every photographer should own a 50mm’ and you’ll get dozens of articles from some of the biggest photography websites around. However, go back into those same forums you started at, and ask ‘What’s your least used lens’, and amazingly, the 50mm also gets mentioned a fair bit. And this got me …

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Exceeding Photoshop’s PSD 2GB File Size Limit

In General - Tips and Tricks, Landscapes - Post-Processing, Learning Center by jfischer1 Comment

I remember when my family got their first computer.  It was an Acer, it was this huge, heavy, dark colored tower case and even heavier 15″ CRT monitor.  It was top of the line, Pentium 100 mhz (yes, mhz), and it had a 1 GB hard drive.  Our neighbor exclaimed that we’d never possibly fill up a 1 GB hard drive.  Six months later my father was none too pleased when I proved the old phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”  Somehow, over a 56k modem, I had …

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Canon Camera Options – Tips & Tricks

In General - Tips and Tricks, Learning Center by jfischerLeave a Comment

From the factory your new Canon DSLR is going to be setup for ease of use and a direct path from the box to shooting.  However, there are a few small menu options you can change to make your camera more fool proof when in the heat of a shoot, or for it to simply work better for your style of shooting.  The options below are all from my Canon 6D and 5DmkIV.  Depending on the model, your camera might not have all the options mentioned, newer models may have …

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Eliminate background clutter!

In General - Post Processing, General - Tips and Tricks, Landscapes - Post-Processing, Learning Center by jfischerLeave a Comment

Photography is all about light – and with light comes contrast.  Anything that contains contrast – be that color, light, sharpness, anything – will draw attention.  And while I plan to give the subject of contrast in its many forms a full length article in the future, a photo I was editing this afternoon gave a wonderful example of why you should take a few moments to clean up the background, and also the foreground or edges of your frame – either before you take the photo – or afterwards …

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Star Trail Stacking in Photoshop CC – the fast way

In Astrophotography, General - Tips and Tricks, Landscapes - Post-Processing, Learning Center by jfischer7 Comments

For the first year after I started working with Star Trail photography, I’ve used StarStax to blend my individual frames together into the trail photo.  Unfortunately, StarStax has some limitations, and I have suspected that the resulting star trail image wasn’t as high of quality as the input images.  So I started researching other options, including stacking manually in Photoshop.  The root of the idea is to set each of your layers above the bottom layer to blending mode = ‘lighten’ – so the bright starts shine through on each subsequent …

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Photo Backup Strategies

In General, General - Tips and Tricks, Learning Center by jfischer2 Comments

There are two ways to learn – by first hand experience, and by learning from other’s experience.  And while in some situations learning things second-hand doesn’t always sink in quickly enough, in other cases simply seeing the fallout is plenty to motivate one to be proactive.  Thankfully, on this particular topic, I’ve been lucky and have learned from the unfortunate misfortunes of friends and fellow photographers.  Simply put, in the world of digital photography, one can never have your photos in too many (secure) locations. Additionally, you can never get …

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Dallas and the flooded Trinity River

In General - Tips and Tricks, Travel, Trip Reports by jfischerLeave a Comment

With rain in the forecast seemingly every day again lately, it might just happen that we come close to the rainfall totals here in Dallas that we experienced last year.  And with the peek of the North Texas rainy season nearly upon us, and a few minutes to kill, decided to sit down and try to quickly put together a few thoughts on where and how to capture the Dallas skyline when the Trinity River is swollen or full on flooded. Most of my visits to the levees along the …