Tag Archives: digital photography

Photos posted by Photographer Dan Splaine on Pintrest and Instagram

Some recent images I have posted with Instagarm.  Fun with photography!

 

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The Power of RAW in Digital Photography

RAW format is  the best choice for image capture.  JPEG format is the best choice for image distribution

 

Unsure why you should shoot RAW format images?

Don’t know how to process a RAW file  on your computer?

 

I have the answer for you.  On Thursday night  (11/1) I will be presenting my RAW WORKFLOW WORKSHOP that will introduce you to the advantages  for using the RAW format in your image capture.  In this class we will cover the procedures and techniques you can use in your post production to use those advantages in your digital photography.

Screenshot of Adobe Lightroom develop module.  Photographer Dan Splaine will cover this tool in his RAW WORKFLOW WORKSHOP on November 1, 2012.  For more information coat him at info@testoftimephoto.com

We will be primarily using Adobe Lightroom to show how to  process RAW images  and  we will review the similar features in Adobe Bridge  Camera Raw.  In Lightroom we are  working primarily in the Library and Develop modules and this workshop is a good introduction to this productive tool for digital photographers.

Topics include a review of digital asset management (DAM),and then will move in photo editing techniques  (white balance, exposure. tonal correction, etc..).  The aim is to introduce the digital photographer to a systematic approach to post-production of their RAW format captures.

 

RAW image conversion to the DNG format will be covered.  I will explain the value of using the DNG format that  has been introduced by  Adobe.  In my client photography I have found this  a very useful option and I think it will ultimately become the industry standard for a universal RAW format.  For a good explanation of the DNG format and some of the future capabilities  that Lightroom will have to work in this format check out this article on CNET   ” Revamped DNG format shows new Lightroom possibilities”

 

The RAW WORKFLOW WORKSHOP is one of a series of  digital photography classes that I present.  This program of photography education  includes class sessions at my  Nashua, NH studio  and in locations throughout New England along with photography tours.  The photography tours single to multi-day workshops at great locations for photography. Recent photo tours include Quebec, the Bronx Zoo, the Isle of Shoals, and the summit of Mt. Washington.  On President’s Day weekend (Feb. 16-18, 2013) I will be hosting a Photography Weekend in Times Square, presented with our travel partner NH Tours.  For more information on these photo workshops contact me at info@testoftimephoto.com

 

 

 

 

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The Most Important Photo Accessory

A point that I make in all of my photo workshops is about the most important photo accessory that every photographer must use. What is the “most important” photo accessory? you ask.  Your feet.  If you want to improve the look of your image; move!

Changing your camera position, your point of view,  is the  best way to improve how your photography looks. Compose your image carefully and fill your frame.  Only include the essential visual elements in your frame. Determine your camera position relative to the direction of the light falling on your subject.  Select a focal length the create the arrangement of distance you want to appear in your photo and then move your feet.  Don’t believe me ?  Here is what the iconic photojournalist had to say about the subject.

Source: pinstamatic.com via Dan on Pinterest

 

I offer a program of photography workshops and photographer tours at my studio in Nashua, NH and in locations throughout the Northeast. For more information contact me at info@testoftiemphoto.com .

My next photographer workshop is October 13-14  in Lincoln, NH.  For information about the third annual WHITE MOUNTAIN PHOTOGRAPHER WEEKEND  go to the workshop website.

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Cog Railway- Mount Washington Observatory Photo Workshop – New Date Added!

New Date Added for The Cog Railway – Mount Washington Observatory Photography Workshop

 

Test of Time Photography and Photographer Dan Splaine are happy to announce we have sold out the Sept. 10 session of this photography workshop and we will be adding a second date for this workshop on Sept. 11, 2012.

This one day photography workshop includes photography instruction, round trip passage on the historic Cog Railway to the Summit of Mount Washington with four hours for field photography.  The workshop also includes a guided tour of the Mount Washington Observatory which is rare privilege.  Access to this working weather station is restricted, and the tour will be one of the most unique features for this workshop.

This workshop presented in partnership with The Cog Railway and The Mount Washington Observatory with Test of Time Photography.  Our goal is to give high quality photography education experiences in unique locations and the summit of Mount Washington could not be a better place for our photography event.  This workshop will emphasize landscape photography techniques and we could not ask for a more dynamic location.  The dramatic terrain , lively weather and lighting that we can encounter during this workshop is as unpredictable as exciting!  The potential for creative image making makes this a truly one-of-a-kind photo learning and skill building experience.

Space is limited  and registration is required to attend this workshop.  For complete details and to register CLICK HERE

This photography workshop is one from the program of photography education events presented with photographer Dan Splaine.  These include digital photography workshops and photographer tours  held in locations throughout New England. In the last three years over 1200 photographers have attended on of the events presented by Test of Time Photography with professional photographer Dan Splaine.

Our next photography workshop  is the WHITE MOUNTAIN PHOTOGRAPHY WEEKEND held on Oct. 13 and 14, 2012 at the Mountain Club on Loon  in Lincoln NH. This is the third year we are holding this workshop at this great resort and location for photography. For details and registration CLICK HERE.

 

 Cog Railway - Mt. Washington Observatory Photo Workshop with photographer Dan Splaine on Sept. 11, 2012 ©2012 Daniel J. Splaine

 

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What is ISO and how do use it in my photography?

Some Tips And Info For Selecting The “correct” ISO For Your Digital Photography

ISO selection is important because it is allows the photographer to adapt to the lighting conditions found in their scene. The ISO value you select is one leg of the exposure triangle, along with aperture and shutter speed, which allows for precise exposure and creative control.  Understanding ISO and how to use it is a fundamental photographer skill.

With digital cameras the ISO is a numerical value given for the level of sensitivity your camera sensor has to light.  We saw the same rating system with film.  Remember shooting ISO 100, 400, 800 etc… rated rolls of film?  Do any of you old timers remember ASA ratings on film (pre-ISO)?   With digital cameras we have the option to select a particular  ISO value for every shot, which is a big advantage with digital photography.

In general the lower the ISO setting the less sensitive your sensor will be to light, the higher the ISO setting the more sensitive your sensor will be to light.  This means that when you are shooting in bright conditions you can use a low ISO value and when shooting in low light conditions you select a high ISO value.

Most digital cameras offer a range of ISO values to choose from; 100 to 3200 is a common range of choices, although many models of camera go higher and lower.  In general, the lower the ISO the better quality your results will be.  Using a higher ISO will increase noise (digital artifacts), reduce sharpness and decrease the contrast ratio of your results.  Digital cameras with larger sensors produce less of these negative effects than cameras with smaller sensors. Low ISO setting will then have less noise, more sharpness and a larger contrast ratio which will produce the higher quality images relative to high ISO settings.

In my opinion these disadvantage, the reductions in image quality have to be weighed against the benefits of having the option to shoot at a higher ISO rating. Most issues with noise, sharpness and contrast can be restored with software and I would urge you to shoot high values when conditions dictate.  Being able to shoot action photos at high shutter speeds, with a telephoto lens in an indoor scene is only possible with high ISO values  (1600, 3200, 6400) makes the trade-off in quality  acceptable .

A variable ISO allows you to adapt your exposure settings to the scene and the creative options you want to use in your photography.

My general recommendation is to select the lowest ISO value that will allow for a proper exposure with the least noise. 

ISO TIPS FOR DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHERS

Here are some of my recommendations for using  different ISO values in your digital photography.  This is an important photographer tool and I encourage you to explore this option for exposure control in your photography.  Good images always start with good camera work and ISO is a fundamental tool for photography.

 

  • TURN OFF your AUTO ISO – By using auto ISO you are letting the camera give a ISO value choice and you are not deciding which ISO suits your photographic intent best the  scene. This is one habit you want to change if your goal is to take control of your creative results.Turn AUTO ISO off, and leave it off!
  • SELECT the ISO FOR THE SCENE:  When you are beginning to determine your exposure settings, one of the first steps is to select an ISO value that is right for the scene and your photographic intentions.  If you are in the woods with an overhead canopy of foliage blocking your light you would select a higher value.  If you are shooting portraits with plenty of window light and you want to use large apertures for shallow depth of field then a low value would be your best choice.  Evaluate the lighting resources and exposure options for the image you want to create and choose the ISO according to those objectives.
  • CHANGES in ISO ARE EQUAL TO “STOPS” –  When we change our exposure settings (in whole stop increments) we are halving or doubling the amount of exposure.  For example if you move from F 11 to F 8 you are doubling the aperture size or if you move from 1/250th of second to 1/125th of a second you are cutting the duration of your exposure in half.  The same ratio holds true with ISO, when you move from 400 to 800 you are doubling the sensitivity setting or as we would say increasing it by a “stop”.  Digital cameras allow for incremental changes in EV (Exposure Value = Stops) usually and half and third stop amounts.  You can refine exposure equally with aperture, shutter speed or ISO in those partial stop increments.
  • SHOOT RAW -  RAW is the best format for image capture and will yield the best results because you are collecting the maximum amount of data when you make your photo. JPEG is great file format to distribute photos but it produces less quality for capture.  RAW files can be processed with photo editing software post capture to yield the highest quality images.  The negative effects of shooting with high ISO (noise, sharpness, and contrast effects) are increased when shooting JPEG compared to RAW
  • PLAY with EXPOSURE COMBINATIONS – There is no exact recipe for exposure combinations.  Play with a variety of exposure combinations and ISO settings and compare your results on your computer. Each variable in the exposure triangle makes a difference in how your images will ultimately look. Experimenting with combinations will produce a variety of visual results.
  • USE A TRIPOD – If you are seeking low noise, high sharpness and a wide contrast ratio that low ISO settings provide use a tripod.  Long lenses and long exposure times make hand held photography difficult, especially in dim light at a low ISO.  Securing you camera on a tripod is the solution for this type of shooting situation.
  • SHOOTING HAND HELD with TELEPHOTO LENS –  Long lenses are difficult to use when shooting  hand-held.  By increasing your ISO setting you can then shoot at faster shutter speeds which will eliminate the blur caused by camera movement.  For example an ISO of 1000 with a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second shooting with a 500 mm lens.
  • HIGH SHUTTER SPEEDS = HIGH ISO -  If you want to stop subject action you need to shoot at high shutter speeds.  Increasing your ISO will allow you to increase your shutter speed.  This is especially useful for shooting indoor sports or performances with limited stage lighting.
  • USE ARTIFICIAL LIGHT – Sometimes we run into the limits of ISO choices in particular photographic conditions.  For example you are shooting a portrait in a low available  light setting.  Facial details and skin looks best at low ISO values (100-200) and raising the ISO to a high value will produce less than flattering results.  The solution to this situation it to use flash or other artificial light sources to keep the quality you desire.  More light is often a better solution than a higher ISO.
Digital cameras have very precise exposure refinement tools and a variable ISO option is one of the most important.  Understanding this feature and how to deploy, and how to select ISO for your scene ,to achieve your desired photographic result is essential for good image making.

Photographer and photo educator Dan Splaine of Test of Time Photography in Nashua, New Hampshire. ©2012Daniel J. Splaine

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Photographer and photo educator Dan Splaine has more than thirty years experience producing photography for public relations, marketing and editorial clients. His company TEST of TIME PHOTOGRAPHY based in Nashua, NH provides commercial photography services in studio and at client locations all over the world. He presents a program of digital photography workshops and photography tours for adults throughout New England.

 

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July photo Challenge FIREWORKS PHOTOGRAPHY

Have some summer fun with your digital  camera and join in the photography challenge for July 2012- FIREWORKS PHOTOGRAPHY.

 

Join in with the other members of the IMAGE MAKERS PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKSHOPS meet-up group for this photography education experience.  Register for the event (it’s FREE) and share your fireworks photography with this group of over 200 photographers.  You can download a FREE guide to Fireworks Photography prepared by me to help build your photo skills.  Photographers can also win a private photo tutoring session if they participate in this photographer challenge.

 

 

 

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New Photo project for the New Year – 2012 IMAGE MAKER’S 52 PHOTO WALK program

Photographer Dan Splaine of Test of Time photography in Nashua NH announces the 2012 IMAGE MAKER"S 52 WEEK PHOTO WALK. Splaine is a photo educator who presents a program of digital photography workshops and photographer tours ©2012 Daniel J. Splaine.

 

The New Year is upon us and of course our inclination is to set some goals and resolutions to carry out in 2012.  One of the goals I have tasked myself with is spend some time on a regular basis practicing my photography skills.  This goal has led me to develop a program that I would like to share with other photographer’s to help them grow their photographic skills.

I invite you to join me for the 2012 IMAGE MAKER’S 52 WEEK PHOTO WALK program.  The concept is simple, make a commitment to take a walk with your camera for one half hour once a week and post a single image from that excursion online. The aim is 52 new images in 52 weeks. The idea behind this is to spend a small amount of time each week practicing your skills , and over the course of the year your work will improve.  The weekly  investment in time and effort can easily be accomplished and the online conversation will  encourage folks to stick with it for the entire year.

 

The photos will be posted and shared online through a Flickr group I have organized.  

Full details and the rules for participating are listed on the Test of Time Photography website CLICK HERE

Jump into the challenge, the more folks participating the more motivation to continue.  Sign  up here

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Digital Photography workshops- September and October program schedule

Fall foliage, maple leaf deatil image by photographer Dan Splaine during one of his NH digital photography workshops ©2010 Daniel J. Splaine-Test of Time Photo

We are getting to the end of summer and it is time to start making plans for the fall.  Test of Time photography has posted a schedule of digital photography workshops and photography tours for September and October (2011). This line up includes a range of topics and a few field photography opportunities.

Night photography on Boston Harbor to classes on photo composition and a Glamour photography studio class with models are some of the options you have to choose from.

In October we are presenting our second annual WHITE MOUNTAIN PHOTOGRAPHER WEEKEND which will be held at the CLUB on LOON MOUNTAIN on the 15th and 16th.  This weekend photo workshop organized with the able assistance of NH TOURS and features an expanded program .  We are offering a $20 discount to folks who sign up before September 10th.  This resort is well-appointed and the location in the heart of the White Mountains is a dream place for photography.

Here is a complete list of links and photo workshop titles.

Tuesday September 6, 2011 6:30 to 9:00 pm

Monthly PRINT REVIEW AND CRITIQUE SESSION

Wednesday September 14, 2011 7:00 to 9:00 pm

PHOTO COMPOSITION AND DESIGN workshop

Tuesday September 27, 2011 7:00 to 9:00 pm

UNDERSTANDING EXPOSURE workshop

Saturday October 1, 2011 1:00 pm to 3:300 pm

CAMERA to COMPUTER workshop

Thursday October 6, 20111 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY at BOSTON HARBOR (field photography)

Tuesday October 11, 2011 6:30 to 9:00 pm

Monthly PRINT REVIEW AND CRITIQUE SESSION

Saturday and Sunday October 15-16, 2011  9:30 am  Sat. to 2:00 pm on Sun.

WHITE MOUNTAIN PHOTOGRAPHER WEEKEND

Saturday October 29, 2011 11:00 am to 3:00 pm

STUDIO GLAMOUR LIGHTING workshop

Please consider attending our class and make sure you pass on this  information to the digital photographers you know that may be interested.

 

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Developing your photographic style

Often a photographer’s identity can be determined by simply viewing an image.  Their personal style is so well-formed that each photograph they create is readily recognized as distinctly their own.  Consider the example of Ansel Adams.  His images are iconic and if you are not familiar with each  photo he made you arguably would know one when you saw it.

So how does a beginner photographer develop their own photographic style?

The ability to create original photography on a consistent basis requires practice and skill. For those starting to learn photography I suggest two paths to follow on the way to establishing their own unique photographic style.

My first suggestion and something I urge photographers of all skill levels is to study the work of other photographers. An examination and understanding of the images created by others will help inform you own perspective.  I am not suggesting that you mimic the style of others, rather use their work as inspiration and a source of insight about photographic content, technique and design.

In my over 30 year professional photography career I have constantly referred to the work of other photographers to expand my understanding and refine my personal point of view.  Other photography provides reference points and a standard for comparison.  Apply that reference material to your imagination and intellect to create the photography that illustrates your own unique viewpoint.  As you develop your photographic skills learn how to deconstruct the images of others to find the techniques applied in their creation.

Digitla photography student at New Hampshire photography workshop hosted by photographer Dan SplaineMy second suggestion is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the camera and the photographic options that it provides.  Understanding the physical controls and how incremental adjustment will affect your photograph is fundamental to achieving predictable results.  Creative control of your photography begins with technical expertise.  To make the photography that matches your vision you need to know how to control your camera.

Making correct exposure, understanding optical choices and focus control are fundamental photography skills. Once you establish mastery of technique you can then maintain creative control, you can actually begin to shoot and make consistent results.

Your own personal photographic style is a product of your imagination and how you process your experiences and impressions. Digital photography requires study and practice to be creatively consistent.   That consistency of results builds the the foundation of style.  Ansel Adams did not get accidental results; his beautiful photography was the product of exceptional technique and a highly personalized vision.

To learn more about digital photography and to learn more about this topic you should consider attending a photography workshop.  I offer a full program of digital photography workshops and photography tours for adult photographers.  On September 14, 2011 (7 to 9 pm) I am holding the PHOTO COMPOSITION and DESIGN workshop at the TEST of TIME PHOTO studio in Nashua, NH.  Please consider attending this or any one of my many digital photo classes.

Pro photographer and photo educator Dan Splaine of Test of Time Photography in Nashua, Nh

Dan Splaine _ Photographer

 

About the Author:  Dan Splaine is a professional photographer and photo educator who operates a commercial photography business in Nashua, NH.  He produces custom, unique images for businesses, institutions and individuals (regionally and nationally) with particular expertise in public relations and location photography. In his thirty plus years photo career he has photographed in dozens of countries and location ranging from rain forests to the halls of congress. He teaches photography workshops at his New Hampshire studio and conducts photography tours in New England and internationally.

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A photo educator’s philosophy- From simply picture taking to image making

What do I mean when I distinguish between simply “taking pictures” and the photographic method of “mage making”?   Image making is a deliberate process for creating original photography that produces predictable and repeatable results. Picture taking is random and sporadically produces good images. Shooting snapshots can be fun and for the average digital photographer and can provide plenty of satisfaction.  For shooters who have higher photographic aspirations a more skillful and deliberate approach is required.

 

Squid fishing boat passing under the setting sun in Ko-Panang , Thailand. Image by photographer Dan Splaine.©2011 Daniel J. Splaine-TEST of TIME PHOTO

Squid fishing boat passing under the setting sun in Ko-Panang , Thailand. This photograph is an example of the “image making” approach to photography that professional photographer and photo educator Dan Splaine teaches in his photo workshops and tours. Careful observation, composition and timing are the factors that add to a photographic result.

I am constantly referring to “image making” in my digital photography workshops and photography tours.  My goal as a photo educator is to help my students build their understanding and skills so they can fulfill their creative intent or more simply to make the photographs they imagine.  The approach I advocate to photography is all about understanding the mechanics of cameras and photographic techniques in order to achieve the greatest amount of creative control.  Photography is a remarkable melding of art and science and digital cameras are extraordinary tools for personal expression.

 

My objective as a photo educator is to enable my photography students to realize their creative intention.  My approach is to build the skills and technical understanding that allows my students to make photographs in any condition with a deliberate creative objective. Learning digital camera controls, developing an understanding of light and the relationship between the two is the core of the image making technique.

Another element of image making is to develop your photographer’s eye, to begin to see the world photographically.  When we are observing a scene an analysis of lighting conditions, optical choices and design considerations should be made before we raise our camera.  Good photographers are careful observers and good photography should be deliberate in conception and execution.

Photography is a wonderful medium for creatively expressing an individual point of view.  How we understand and adapt all of the photographic tools available and apply them to our observations is at the heart of that expression.   Building photographic knowledge and skills provide creative control and ultimately greater satisfaction in the photography produced.   Reconsider your photographic approach and make to move from “picture taker to image maker.”

Photographer Dan Splaine of  Test of Time Photography in Nashua, NH presents a full program of digital photography workshops and photographer tours for adult photographers of all skill levels. Currently we have several photo workshops scheduled for September and October as well as a 10 day photography tour in Ireland in April 2012.  Our fall program includes a photography weekend in the White Mountains of New Hampshire on October 15-16, 2011. Click on the links above for further information about our upcoming program.  For more information or to answer any questions send me an email at info@testoftimephoto.com.

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