Jim Zuckerman's Blog
Tradeoffs
Monday, April 14, 2014 9:06AM

When photographing action, depth of field is not a luxury you can afford.  It’s all about shutter speed.  A fast shutter freezes the movement, and in this case the 1/640th of a second shutter froze not only the movement of the horses but the water drops as well.  That’s exactly what I wanted.  Sure, a small lens aperture would have been nice, but I wasn’t willing to raise the ISO to get it.  In this context, if the background became slightly soft that was a price I was willing to pay to keep the quality of the image high (i.e. by using a relatively low ISO of 640).  As you can see, the day was overcast and the light level was low.  ...

Expansive views
Sunday, April 13, 2014 8:07AM

When photographing animals, the tendency for most photographers is to fill the frame with the subject(s).  I do that often as well, but sometimes it works very nicely to use a wide angle lens and show the environment or the sky.  In this picture, I used a 24-105mm lens set to the widest focal length to show the marsh in which the horses were running. The sky was a bonus because it was so dramatic, and the semi-silhouettes of the horses allow us to appreciate their forms.My settings for this shot were 1/640th of a second at f/18 with 400 ISO.  I used daylight white balance (as I do for all of my outdoor shooting), and the exposure mode was evaluative (i.e. Matrix). 

Strategy for action
Saturday, April 12, 2014 8:58AM

Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE I am in France right now with a photo tour group to photograph the stunning white horses of the Camargue.  This morning we put two stallions together, and the action that resulted was dynamic and very exciting.  My settings for this picture were 1/5000th of a second, f/4, and 640 ISO.  I specifically chose aperture priority in this case and used a large lens opening because that forced the shutter speed to be very fast.  I could have used a lower ISO, but in order to guarantee that all of the water drops as well as the fast moving horses were tack sharp, I opted for a very fast shutter speed.  I hand held the camera since ...

Equidistance
Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:04PM

If you look at this picture from Venice closely, the eyes of the model in purple are not tack sharp, nor is the fabric and decoration of her costume in the immediate foreground.  This is not good at all. There are two lessons to be learned from this.  When you have two subjects in a picture, in most cases both of them should be sharp.  Second, when using a telephoto lens fairly close to the subjects, the depth of field will be shallow if the two subjects are not equidistant to the camera.  In this picture, the model in purple was closer to me than the model in blue, and my shooting angle was oblique.  That was a problem.  The solution?  Either i should ...

Importance of skies
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 3:01PM

I have written many times about replacing unattractive or boring skies, and these two pictures are good examples of that.  I just returned from a photo tour of the American Southwest, and on several occasions the sky was white or very light without artistry in the clouds.  Such was the case when my group visited White Pocket near Page, Arizona.  I replaced the sky with storm cloud photos from my files because the lighting from a thick cloud cover is appropriate for the kind of diffused light on the landscape we saw at White Pocket.  The results are quite dramatic. I transformed the original images, which were fairy boring, into visually compelling nature shots.Never ...

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