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Beginner Photography: Action

Whoo boy, action is hard! As you may have guessed, I’m not big on sports which seems like the obvious place to go for action shots at short notice. But I do happen to have children. We were invited to a kid’s birthday party this weekend at an indoor playground, so I lucked into some action. The lighting wasn’t ideal, but I did my best.

This is a great post on how to shoot action on a budget, written by a reader of ours. And a great video on shutter speed from Tony and Chelsea here:

I don’t regularly shoot in shutter priority, but it’s a necessity for shooting action. You want to shoot at the slowest shutter speed possible and still freeze the action, but also¬†get enough light and show a bit of motion. If you freeze the subject entirely, the motion won’t convey. If your subject is moving too much, you’ll totally miss focus (although you can make that choice artistically.)

So I pretty much followed my daughter around for the day and shot on continuous shutter to capture as many different moments of movement as I could. Here’s what I got:

f/3.5, 1/80th, ISO 800

This one doesn’t really convey the motion I want. She’s at the top of the slide so it’s a moment before action, but I liked her expression and eye contact.

 

f/3.5, 1/125, ISO 1600

The motion is better on this one, the hoop is blurred but she is still. I just wish the background had been better.

 

f/3.5, 1/160, ISO 1600

Jump! I think this was a good speed, only her hair and hands are moving.

 

f/3.5, 1/80, ISO 1600

I love the motion in this one of the balls in the foreground and of her hands moving. Unfortunately her face is out of focus.

 

I think these came out pretty good considering the lighting and busyness of the background (that’s why I went black and white for most of them.) I think I captured some of the fun and focus of a kid at play. How do these work for you?

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Live Show Recap: Contrast

Contrast! You guys took some liberties with this one, but that was expected. We were looking for contrast in color, light, or mood.

Next week is action, so bring it!

We start off with photo news:

-Sony got the a7 SII onto a space station and is taking footage! Tony and Chelsea are repping with their nerd shirts.

-the TSA is getting more thorough with their checking electronics, sign up for precheck

-Nikon announced the D850. Meh. Tony’s real into that liquid crystal.

-Nikon didn’t send us a cake.

Ok, let’s get into your¬†photos:

-red and blue

-beach drone

flowers

Bugatis

-surrealist veggies

-“lonely in the rain, that’s actually the title of my autobiography”

-b&w sunflower

-“why do guys like¬†planes¬†so much?”

-“she’s got the kind of¬†glasses¬†only a beautiful woman can pull off”

portrait

-steel on cotton

Over to me for some questions and $$$:

-Roderick, as always

-what is one of the worst things your camera has gone through and survived? Tony left a 5D Mark II outside in the rain overnight. The drones have gone through a lot, like crashing into trees. Drones: “good images, weird experience.”

-British slam! We accept your money comment war.

-does Tony have odd socks? Yes. Like any human being (which he is, we swear.)

-where will the next Wanderlust be? Somewhere in New England!

Over to chit-chat. You know what it is:

-yeah, we have a book

-4 things: Lerman Ber, look him up

-pretty gangster with that GH5 overview

Ok, back to your photos:

 -contrast in the underpass

-contrast in technology

-“that’s a cat”

-coffee m&m

-“if you haven’t got the butt, you haven’t got the shot. I like that, and it frightens me”

ferns

-pick for Tony looking like¬†Anderson Cooper. Jk he doesn’t at all.

-I’m calling you out for your spot¬†color, Mark.

clock

-“real and¬†gorgeous

-contrast in generations

Over to me for some more questions:

-thanks for the money!

-congenital anosmia question. Tony can’t smell at all! He didn’t know until he was a teenager. He thinks we’re weirdos. “Tony, you’re gonna die.”

Back to photos:

Aurora

-woman on a rock

And back to questions:

-‘mo $ ‘mo problems

-is stock photography a big fat waste of time now? Hard to say, we’re not really in it anymore. You can still make money doing it, but not as a primary job probably.

Still more photos:

-weird bear

-gorgeous spot

fields

-bench shadow

-beach contrast

pennies

jellyfish

-you get a pick for your name

Mr. Robot

rally

ice

lantern

-evil building

Back to me for some questions:

-$$$

-how hard was your first flash shot and how bad did it turn out? Flash is hard, it takes a lot of practice to get right.

-how hard is it to produce something like Wanderlust? Justin is being humble. It’s a lot of work. Making a story out of footage is the hardest part.

A few last picks:

Krystal, killing it as always

-white house in wilderness

And that’s our show! Next week is action, so get out there.

NASA is not a waste of money. Last word!

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Beginner Photography: Contrast

Hey y’all! This week’s topic is “contrast” and that could mean a few things: contrasting colors, contrast between the subject and the setting, contrast between light and dark. I attempted to capture each of these this week. I’m attracted to contrasting light in general, but I’d like to challenge myself to look for color in my shots more often.

My first idea was to shoot my black dog on my already high contrast black and white rug. He’s a reluctant model. I shot him from above to make the carpet fill the background and used Aperture priority to keep my aperture low to gather as much light as I could in my dim living room and blur the background. Please forgive my dirty carpet.

f/3.5, 1/15th, ISO 1600

His paw looks weird because he hurt it and has a bandage on it. Poor pupper.

Then I went through and found an old shot of some green weeds growing through a grate over a rusty red background. 

f/5, 1/80th, ISO 400

 

And the last one is a shot I took of a safety helmet in the rubble of an abandoned building. Pretty self-explanatory.

f/4.5, 1/80th, ISO 500

 

These aren’t my most aesthetically pleasing photos, but I think each one properly represents the different types of contrast that Chelsea listed for our topic this week. It’s really just a matter of keeping your eyes open for unusual compositions. I think it’s a great practice to get out of your comfort zone and look at the world around you differently. Are any of you shooting on the theme each week? If so, how has it changed your photography practice?

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Live Show Recap: Abstract and Geometric

Chelsea sasses the old-heads right off the bat. Tony wears cool glasses to assure you he is working on a video about shooting the eclipse.

This week we satisfied Tony’s new obsession by looking at your geometric and abstract photos. There were some great ones!

Next week’s topic is contrast. Contrasting colors, or contrast in mood, or simple contrast in light.¬†

No news this week, except that Tony made Margaritas with lemon.

Ok, let’s get into your photos:

-wait, Ahmed. You got a pick and you were still bugging me all show about why it wasn’t on theme?!

Tron building

-Palm Springs

DC

forks

Pentax 4 Life

lines

-“and that’s the point today, confusion”

-extreme abstract

-“this is very cool, I want it to be my album cover

-“I’m gonna give you a pick cause I didn’t know the name of that

-under the clock

-double exposure

flower, or ear canal?

chairs

James! Good one.

Over to me for your questions:

-what’s more satisfying, a great wildlife shot or a really popular YT video? Wildlife, it takes work and focus to capture. YT videos are fleeting.

-Chelsea, what’s your favorite type of photography? Travel.

-what are your favorite shapes, excluding the rhombus? Hexagon, circle. Tony has a nerd answer. Chelsea doesn’t like octagons cause they’re always telling her what to do.

-what are your thoughts on Nikon working on a mirrorless camera? Chelsea’s into it, Tony hopes they don’t introduce a new mount.

-follow my step-son’s YouTube channel¬†(he went from 9 subs to 182 because of you all!)

Ok, time for a portfolio review. Casper Krohn. Change the arrangement of your pricing page. Change the lead photo for your animals. Don’t have a category with only one photo, pare them down and combine them. ¬†Good work, just focus on replacing photos.

Time for chit-chat! Where you say things and we respond.

-Wanderlust, we get it. Tony throws shade on Germany.

-alcohol, the drink of idiots

-oh Amazon reviews

-Tony, the dog whisperer

-Chelsea “Cringy Woman” Northrup

-here’s a long time talking about country music

Ok, back to your photos:

-hot air balloon

-stair shadows

-“don’t you dare talk like me”

-“you’re lying and I like that about you”

-naked jumping

airplane

star

Twitter Q from Justin:

-why the hate for spot color? It’s usually lazy. Watch this video. Tony throws Chelsea under the bus.

Back to photos:

-happy birthday, Laura

skeegul

-“if you’re just wrong so much, people don’t correct you anymore”

-lost balloon

-dope blinds

-windshield lights

-“I’ll give you a pick, that’s a shape

-“oh, this is that thing, you wouldn’t understand” “a whisk?”

-twisty building

-more shadow stairs

fountain

-this makes me think of space

-blue and orange

-sidewalk weed

Questions from me:

-favorite current lens and why? Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM, Canon 500mm f/4¬†for wildlife, Canon 400 f/5.6¬†for it’s lightness, Sigma 18-35. Too many to list, depends on what you’re shooting! But their favorite child is Madelyn.

-thanks for $, Connor

-changing the white points messes up skin color, help! Work with your color channels and keep the orange, yellows and reds. Or mask the image first to keep the people out and then adjust the surroundings.

sdp.io/whichcamera, please visit it before asking

-what character would you be from GoT? Arya for Chelsea, Tony would be the dad that got robbed by the Hound, Justin would be the many-faced god, I would choose Arya or Ygritte

Back to photos with this lovely overhead shot of tennis courts:

-“nobody knows what this is, pick

-dang, Stuart

-“oh my god, the earth is flat. Just kidding!”

-everything in America is a baby

-“there are grandmothers who have those little signs right on ’em” and now Chelsea is ded

spikes

One last question before we go:

-when you go out to take landscapes of somewhere you’ve never been before, how do you prepare? Google, sun tracker apps.

And that’s our show! Next week’s topic is “contrast” and all that could entail. Thanks!

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Beginner Photography: Abstract and Geometric

This week’s topic is a fun one. I, like Tony, really love geometry in photos. I like abstract as well, the focus on shape and form is really compelling. I’m not entirely sure how you teach something like this though. It feels very subjective. I’ve done two abstract posts so far, the first one is here¬†and then another here¬†where I try Chelsea’s abstract impressionism project:

The way I approached this was just finding an object that I thought had an interesting shape, and then taking shots of it from as many angles as possible. I also zoomed or cropped in really close on the subject to focus on texture.

Here’s my attempt:

f/5, 1/80th, ISO 1000

 

f/5.4, 1/6th, ISO 1600

 

f/3.5, 1/80th, ISO 320

 

f/3.5, 1/320th, ISO 200

 

¬†I’m not thrilled with these shots. They don’t look as compelling to me on the page as they did in the camera which is disappointing. I would have loved to get some architecture, I think it lends itself to this topic the most, but I wasn’t in the city over the weekend. I’m really interested in seeing what every one else came up with this week!

What about these shots works for you? What doesn’t?

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Live Show Recap: Night/Astro Photography

What’s up you cool babies? This week we looked at your night and astro photography and you killed it. Next week’s topic is abstract & geometry, which is Tony’s new favorite thing. I’m excited for that one.

We start off with some photo news:

-Leica announced the new TL2 mirrorless camera

-we have the¬†Loupedeck¬†and¬†we’ll put out a review soon. Chelsea uses it during the live show for the first time!

Time to start reviewing photos:

-sky over building

-moving clouds

-Tony suggests the Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 for beginners in night photography

isolated

-Tony shakes the hornets nest of flat-earthers, again, forever

-Chelsea is only good at “restaurant math”

-moon over Golden Gate

boat

Over to me for some questions from you all:

-eclipse plans? Tony’s trying to learn it now and purchased some ND filters and those special glasses. Chelsea throws shade at the eclipse, she doesn’t think that 2 minute cover is worth it. “It’s not Hamilton, I’m not gonna travel cross country for it.”

Back to photos:

-“are you doing the flat earth thing again?”

-that cool truck again

-car forest

Over to me for some more questions:

-Sigma 120-400? No idea. Thanks for the money though!

-if you had to choose between a faster lens and a bigger sensor for night photography what would you pick? The lens is easier to upgrade for sure.

-what’s the most amount of times you’ve visited a site to get the shot you want? Over 100.¬†

Time for a portfolio review! Wood bow tie gets it, Denslow Photo. Maybe change your menu items so they are immediately obvious. Pare down your portraits, but your shots look great! Tony says add a pricing page.

 Time for chit-chat! The part of the show where we highlight ridiculous comments on our videos. 

-S-AF, sexy as f*%&?

-Mister Rogers, Mister Rogers

-Tony taking of sweaters, ends with twerking

-Chelsea, beauty or smarts? Neither: funny.

-shit is funky

-Tony whispering “diopter”

-a weirdly nice comment? “Let’s save her eggs”

Back to your photos:

milky way

-why do we talk about Roadhouse so much?

lighthouse

-moon river

Budapest

-bougie camping

-will we ever get over fireworks?

bridge

-insane fireworks

tree

Over to me for your questions:

-how to get your partner into photography? Candy. Ask them to model, ask them for their view on the subject.

-what songs do you sing in the shower? “All by Myself” for Chelsea. None of the rest of us do that.

-favorite day of the week? Tony is patronizing you. Chelsea’s is Sunday, Tony likes a Tuesday which is an abomination. Justin and I like a Saturday.

Back to photos:

-light trail

city

-empty station

-Chelsea is thiiiis close to being a cannibal

-green sky

One more question before we cut out:

-how do you get the foreground sharp in astro photography? Focus stacking.

A few more photos then we’re off:

-tiny person

-Charles bridge

aurora

That’s our show! Thanks so much, guys. Join us next week for abstract and geometric photos. Looking forward to it!

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Beginner Photography: Night

Oh man, I probably should have tried to do something more technically interesting, like astro photography. But I’m lazy! And I don’t like to go out at night! So I stayed in my regular wheelhouse (and literal house) and tried some spooky selfies in the back yard.

Here’s a page of great info on night photography: https://northrup.photo/tutorials/photography/night-photography-tutorials/

And you can see my first attempt at night photography here.

So I set up my camera on a tripod and used the app OI.Share for Olympus to remotely control my camera from my phone. I wanted to be holding a light source, so I took a wrought iron owl candle holder. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a candle to stay lit in it, so I borrowed my husband’s phone and used a flashlight app. It was brighter than I wanted, but seemingly still not bright enough to keep my shutter speed up! I shot in shutter priority and got the shutter as fast as I could to capture the image but not so slow that I was moving much. It was not easy.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was how odd the color would be. I had a light on in the yard which was yellow, and the light from the phone was more blue. It wound up doing some strange things to my skin color, but I think it may have added to the weirdness. Also, it’s almost impossible to focus the camera at night. I couldn’t see my face in the monitor, and therefore had to essentially guess where to focus the shot. Anyone have tips on how to work around that?¬†

 

f/3.5, 0.6 sec, ISO 1600

 

f/3.5, 0.6 sec, ISO 1600

 

f/3.5, 0.6 sec, ISO 1600

 

f/5, 4 sec, ISO 1600

 

So, the ISO is high, the shots are crazy noisy, and my face is for sure not in focus. The last one was intentionally that way, and it wound up being the one I like the most. I think I should have gone more surrealist with it. 

Are any of these successful despite their technical shortfalls? I don’t think I can objectively judge my shots anymore.¬†

 

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Live Show Recap: Travel

What’s up, jerks? We reviewed your travel photos last night, and you really came through! It’s a pretty ambiguous topic, but I think we got some really impressive submissions.¬†

We decided that travel photography was something that captured the unique spirit of a place, or portrayed motion and destination.

Support our Patreon! You can vote on the live show topic each week and even see videos before we post them publicly.

Here’s where we get into your photos, I’ll highlight our picks and ridiculous one-liners below:

-“what’s the Matterhorn with you?”

-this talk of travel dreads killed me

-Tony is confirmed robot

 -thatched roof

Alcatraz

Jacksonville

runway

-mixed facial expressions

-Cape Smokey

-Golden Gate

-so much talk of terraforming Mars, Chelsea is invested

-Ho Chi Minh City

-girl with donkey and lamb

Over to me for viewer questions:

-what gadgets have been game changing for travel? Smartphones, USB batteries for smartphones, drones, electric razor? Noise-cancelling headphones.

-what has been your favorite place to travel for photography, and your favorite place not for photography? Peru and Portugal for Chelsea. Japan. Lucerne, Switzerland was great for photography but not much else.

-Roderick! Our generous Irish gentleman friend. Thanks for loving us quietly. Thanks for dating us.

Time for a portfolio¬†review! Fabian Santiago. Gorgeous images, great full-screen layout. Fabian, we’ve seen your photos before and we are fans! Maybe just pare down your “on the line” category.

We very unceremoniously get into Chit-Chat, the part of the show where we respond do your dumb YouTube comments.

-nerd the Jeff out

-“kicking the greasy piglet”

-wait so… are we or aren’t we a paid shill? “You’re wrong, but I’m sure you’re used to it by now.”

-podcast? sdp.io/picturethis

Okay, back to photos:

 -leave your family and photograph one place for years

arches, now I see the Kuato

-waterfall celebration

-oh, it me

-lady in red

Erlend!

lighthouse

oasis

Vancouver

Key West

-Great Mosque

-Broad Museum

Banff is fun to say

Back to me:

-10 years ago would I have imagined I’d be on a YouTube live show? Nope, that wasn’t a thing. I was working retail. “You committed, die with it.”

-T&C love Puerto Rico

-two picks happened in the background, here and here

-we’ve been doing the live show for 3 years!

-thanks for $$$! Can the Nikon D7200 do sports? Sure.

-quick tips for travelling on a budget? Stay in hostels, trade apartments while you travel, volunteer tourism, work travel, fly standby or travel by land, travel locally. Travel on container ships? Don’t take a limo to the airport. “What are we, Hulk Hogan in 1989?”

Back to your photos:

 -some castle

-New Zealand

-fall colors

Thailand

waterfall

-“I can’t level it because I’m not level, biologically”

-“we’re the people that don’t have a ding in our car”

-airplane aisles

sunset

Back to me for some more questions:

-if you could only have on mirrorless camera, which one would you choose? a9, or the XT-2, or the XT-10, or the GH5…

-how often do you carry a tripod and then don’t use it? Most of the time. That’s why they like the BeFree.

-are you beyond bringing a laptop for travel? Do you wait to come home before you edit and post? They love the new iPad.

-Twitter Q for Chelsea: where’d you get your shirt? She doesn’t know.

A few more reviews:

-tilt-shift train

vultures

infrared

-v v cute dogs

And that’s a show! Next week’s topic is Night or Astro photography, see you then.

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Beginner Photography: Travel

So, this post is a bit of a cheat. I haven’t traveled since I went to San Francisco in September, so I went through those photos again and chose some shots to edit that I didn’t use in my previous posts here and here.

I’m still not entirely sure what constitutes “travel photography”. While these were certainly shot while traveling, I’m not sure that looking at a shot will convey travel unless you include a mode of transportation, a selfie lugging bags around or in front of some site-specific monument. I just shot the things I liked about San Francisco. Most of my favorites were of surfers on the beach, but I want to include some other bits for a more well-rounded experience of the trip.

I was shooting with the Olympus EM-10 which I think I’d just started working with,¬†and I’m pretty sure I had my camera on auto, because my settings are complete nonsense.

I should have watched this video before I set out:

 

f/10, 1/400th, ISO 200

 

f/11, 1/400th, ISO 200

 

f/8, 1/160th, ISO 200

 

f/8, 1/400th, ISO 200

 

f/4, 1/400th, ISO 200

 

So that’s San Francisco through my eyes! I hardly spent any time downtown until my last few hours in the city and by that point my camera had died (I forgot my battery charger like a rookie) so I’m not sure how recognizable any of this would be. It was my first (and so far only!) trip to California and I hope I can go back and do it justice sometime.

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Live Show Recap: Black and White

Hey guys! We looked at your black and white photos this week and you came out in force. Lots of great shots.

We just got the LoupeDeck for Lightroom, but we haven’t tried it yet, I’m sure we’ll get a review out soon. Canon released some new cameras, but we don’t have them yet. They don’t like us.

Get our t-shirt! sdp.io/shirt.

Support us at Patreon to vote for the live show topic each week, plus get videos early.

“I like to just be silent so it seems like a really long time.”

Okay, we start reviewing photos here:

-a pick right off the bat for this cute baby

Krystal, always killin’ it

texture (nice one, James!)

-tiny boat, big sky

bird

tracks (good one, Rod!)

ship

-dramatic peanut, or the ship from Arrival?

-god rays

-time to wait

windows

Time for my “comments or feelings“:

-FOLLOW THE RULES ughhh why do you all hate me

-I was drinking a Yard Brawler which explains my mood

-tips to grade black and white (including video)? Crush the blacks, blown out whites, high contrast: sdp.io/toptip. Adjust by color so that you can make different parts pop.

-is the split between mirrorless and “proper” cameras generational? Not really, it’s either sticking with what you know or trying something new. Generationally, younger people are using smartphones for photography. Watch “Death of the Consumer Camera.”

Back to photos:

-fog plan

-“cute-iful to the max”

carts

Time for chit-chat! The part of the show where we highlight your weird/confusing/mean/dumb comments on our videos:

-WtF Shr has an strange voice

-“we need to see those pale legs more often”

-“you know what I’m pissed about? Everything!”

-Chelsea & Dog Live “Qbert, you m-fer”

-for sure a bit strange

-podcast? sdp.io/picturethis

Back over to me for some questions:

-Affinity Photo for iPad? Yes, we have a review coming out soon.

-advice on digitizing old prints? Just scan them at a high resolution and then go in and do some retouching.

Back to your photos:

trombonist

-bride on a bike

-“oh, Midsummer. The Swedes, they like to drink.”

-a pick for pandering

-long shadow

-bespectacled man

-happy belated birthday, Justin! Not you, Chelsea.

-ghost reflection¬†“I’m too scared of metaphors”

-“it’s like some people are wearing glasses, and some people are bespectacled”

-another horn player

sideways

-this one didn’t get a pick, but deserved it

drummer

hiker

-Selma boys

-girl being held

-dramatic smoker

 Back to me for some questions/comments:

 

-please don’t send us pics of your junk, I’ll send them to your family

We really didn’t do any questions when they went over to me, we just kept going through pictures:

-lady in a barrel

-terrifying doll

curves

-two men on a bus

-a beer brand should sponsor us (please!)

-intense face

dunes

umbrella

camels

Over to me for some $:

-I dunno, some stuff about a camera

-Sigma 18-35 for low light with a Sony a6XXX series? Maybe with the a6500 but you’ll need to manually focus. Probably better with Canon or Nikon though.

Back to photos:

-lovely portrait

-lonely white dog

Last questions from you, the audience:

-how did Tony decide to go from IT to photography and was it a financial risk? For sure, yes. He was doing both concurrently, but he saw the death of his IT career coming since no one was reading manuals for later Microsoft versions. You have to keep up with trends and change your focus to fit them. Google images then killed the stock photo business, so they shifted to writing photography books and making videos.

-how to reproduce the black and white auto effect in Lightroom? Just do it manually, adjust your contrast, follow our top tip.

A few last photos:

-pick for this dog that looks like my dog

-obscured face

And that’s our show! Next week’s subject is travel photography. See you then.