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Posts Tagged ‘camera techniques’

Planning to be out and about for a day of shooting? Unless you’re doing this in the Sahara, plan for rain. Nothing ruins a day quicker than a sudden downpour. Rain and digital cameras don’t mix. Where film cameras could shrug off a shower with little, if any, negative consequences, the electronics in today’s digital cameras will short out when exposed to moisture. 

So, to preserve your investment, keep your camera DRY!

There are a lot of protective rain covers on the market that cost hundreds of dollars. My solution is a bit cheaper. I use a plastic trash bag! 

Don’t get me wrong, those expensive camera rain coats are worth the money when you have to shoot an event in bad weather. What I’m talking about here is bringing along a kitchen trash bag to throw over your gear if you’re caught outdoors and exposed to the elements. 

It’s cheap insurance that takes up little space in your bag and weighs, well, nothing. I squeeze my “emergency” cover in a pocket on the inside of my backpack. The trash bag is so inconspicuous that I forget I’m carrying it… unless it starts to rain!

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I’ve done quite a bit of posting lately. Now it’s your turn. How do you keep your camera steady when you don’t have a tripod handy? To get the ball rolling, I’ll share what I use for those times when I don’t have three carbon fiber legs handy….the lowly beanbag.

Yep, I dragooned one of my kid’s toys years ago and converted it into a quick and easy camera-steadying device. I just line up my shot, find a suitable, stationary spot and plop down the bag, then the camera. After checking the viewfinder to finetune my composition and make sure none of the beanbag is in the shot, I get to work. My beanbag measures about 6 inches in diameter, by the way, so it’s easily stowed in my “go” bag. 

Okay, I shared, what works for you?

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Part of my job is editing photos submitted by readers who aren’t necessarily photographers. The main flaw I see in their work is photos blurred due to camera motion. A tip I picked up early on in my career can help eliminate a lot of this camera shake. It’s a simple solution, just shoot as you exhale

The theory here is that the body is more relaxed and less tense when exhaling a breath. A body that’s in a relaxed state will shake less than one that’s all tensed up. It’s a trick taught to snipers and can apply to shooters with a camera too. Try it for yourself the next time you’re out with your camera. Adjust your exposure to 1/30th of a second or so and shoot a series of photos with your breath held during the exposure and some shot during a slow exhale. Squeeze off your shots while doing both, of course — don’t stab at the shutter release!

I think you’ll see a big difference. 

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