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How-To

Outdoor Photography Techniques


Master the skills you need with photography techniques from the experts. Whether you're a novice seeking advice on landscape, wildlife or nature photography or a pro looking for more advanced techniques, you'll find all the information you need, here.




Monday, October 1, 2007

Daylight Fill-Flash

Sometimes changing the exposure just isn't enough to get the shot

An accessory flash may not come to mind initially as an important tool for wildlife photography, but I never go out on a shoot without one. I recommend that you pack a flash in your gear bag before you next venture into the field.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Best Techniques For Digital Exposures

Setting everything on full auto isn't always the ideal solution. Try these tips to get your best shots every time.

Film photographers have known for years the importance of correct exposure. If you overexpose a slide, the highlights are gone irretrievably. If you underexpose a slide, the image will be murky, with no true black tone in the darkest areas. Negative films have a little more leeway, in that you can make some adjustments when printing the negative, but again, the image quality won’t be great if the image is over- or underexposed.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Tilt & Shift To Boost Your Megapixels

While tilt-shift lenses can be used for both practical and extreme purposes, they also can be utilized to increase your image file size and creativity in unexpected ways

Why not create your own focal length? This concept rattled around in my head for some time after going digital. Then again, many things rattled around in my head after I went digital. But one concept that rattled louder than others was how to utilize a moving lens mounted on a camera body to achieve multiple formats and compositions. With this in mind, I started using a Canon tilt-shift lens and began combining two offset digital files of the same scene. I began creating new compositions and aspect ratios and also increased the file size of my images—all without the use of panoramic equipment.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Power To The Background

The background can be just as important as the foreground.

For the past 20 years or more, there has been a trend among wildlife photographers, myself included, to minimize the contribution of the background in their photographs by rendering it as low key as possible. By doing so, the subject can be freed from visual competition and stand out clearly.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Landscape Lighting

Start with the basics and your images will keep getting better

The most challenging aspect of teaching landscape photography is that of helping students find a creative voice. One way to think about improving your creativity is to ask yourself, "What do I want to say with my photographs?" It’s important to have something to say, to have a theme or concept within which you can organize the imagery about which you’re most passionate. Think of your favorite photographers, and I’ll guess that you can immediately recall what they’re trying to say with their work. As regular readers of this column know, I’m passionate about the subject of pushing ourselves creatively.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Seeing in Slo-Mo

How to get motion blurs that will add a new dimension to your photography

Long exposures can blur moving subjects and portions of scenes into fascinating forms, revealing flows of motion and form that can’t be seen in an image made with a short exposure. All you need is a slow shutter speed, a sturdy camera support and your imagination.


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Light, Heat And Life: Infrared Photography In A Digital Age

Infrared photography is an enigma—something that isn't as it first appears. It plays with the viewer's emotions and often brings out the whimsical side or the eerie, dark shadows in everyone's hearts.

I love to have fun with my photography, and infrared is no exception. When George Lepp lent me his Canon EOS D60 that had been converted to infrared, I went wild.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Photo Art Papers

Choosing the ideal texture to showcase the details and colors in an image

Experimenting with photo papers is one of my favorite things about printing. Besides the usual suspects—premium gloss and semi-gloss—I try different textures to see how they affect a photograph. Deciding which type of paper will best reproduce an image or series of images is subjective, though. It depends on the subject matter, whether I’m going color or monochrome, and the desired visual impact.


Saturday, September 1, 2007

No-Light Landscapes

Sunset isn't the time to put away your camera

Once, on a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, I was sharing the Sunrise Point Overlook with half a dozen other shooters, all of us lined up with our expensive SLR cameras and carbon-fiber tripods, shooting away as the sun set (yes, it’s called Sunrise Point, but it’s equally spectacular at sunset). As Old Sol hovered over the western horizon behind us, most of the hoodoos in the valley before us fell into shadow while the distant buttes were catching the last rays.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

On Landscape: A Sense Of Scale

Be versatile, and you can build perspective into your landscape images

One key compositional technique in landscape photography is the use of scale. By including foreground subjects such as rocks or trees or flowers in front of mountains, for example, the photographer can convey depth in the scene, giving a stronger sense of the locale and of "being there." In many uses for photographs, such as editorial use, it’s important to clearly describe the subject. Objects of known size give us clues as to the scale and depth.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

When Does Digital Match Film?

Film and digital can't be simply compared by using math. There's much more to the images than numbers.

About 15 years ago, digital imaging started to capture the attention of the press, including photography magazines. At that time, a lot of this was gee-whiz stuff, and most photographers saw it mainly as a curiosity or something that might work for scientists or other specialized use. Many pundits at the time made rash pronouncements of the technology, using all sorts of techniques to compare film and digital, but mainly they all came to the conclusion that it would be a very long time, if ever, before digital image capture could match film. And they all said that film would be around for a very long time. Obviously, that has turned out to be wrong.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Luminosity Control In Photoshop

What does it take to visualize luminosity in black-and-white and color photography, then see and control it in Photoshop?

Luminosity is represented in a photograph by tones of black, white and gray. Luminosity is light. It represents all that we can see about the world we photograph. Every object, event and mood depends upon visible light represented by luminosity in the photograph.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Extreme Neutral Density

Taking super-long exposures with ND filters can add an artistic component to your photography

Fish don’t see water, birds don’t see air, humans don’t see time...but photography does. When a film or digital sensor is exposed to light, a subject is recorded in relation to time. For example, a bird in flight photographed at 1/4000 of a second looks entirely different than if photographed in the same situation at 1/8 of a second. The difference is time. A film or digital sensor can record the passage of time, be it seconds, minutes or hours.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

As Simple As Black And White

Shoot in B&W or convert in Photoshop? That is the question...

If you’d like to simulate the results produced by specific films or film/developer combinations, reach for Exposure from Alien Skin. Based on detailed analysis of actual film stock, Exposure not only re-creates the film coloration and contrast, but also actually reproduces the size, shape and color of the film grain. If you like the look of push-processed Kodak TRI-X, for example, you can re-create it digitally—with authentic results. Exposure performs other editing functions as well. The options include a monochromatic toning filter set (blue, gold, sepia, selenium and sulphide) that allows you to re-create the look of old-fashioned image recording techniques.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Changing Landscape Of Printing

The digital print gives photographers more freedom and control in getting great images.

For landscape photographers, the print has gone beyond a simple record that goes on the wall. With printing so accessible to all, photographers have the opportunity to create dramatic, large-format prints that demand attention.

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