Fall Foliage

While we believe photos should be taken year-round, fall is a fabulous season to shoot changing foliage, football, back-to-school transitions, pumpkins, Halloween parties, trick-or-treating costumes and more!
In many parts of the country, fall is a colorful season of changing leaves as Mother Nature makes the transition from summer to fall. However, the peak foliage season is fleeting. Sometimes the prime window is only a day or two long, depending on weather.
The sunlight changes in the fall too, enhancing the golden glow for shooting outdoors with a palette of rich reds, golden yellows and warm oranges. A polarizing filter is a helpful tool to capture the rich, saturated colors without glare, whether you're shooting on a sunny or cloudy day.  
Enjoy Mother Nature's transition through your lens and share your favorite photos with us!
Fall Colors Pixel2metal 4x6

How to Photograph Fireworks

Wondering how to photograph fireworks on 4th of July?

Well here are some tips on digital firework photography.

Since autofocus can be slow when its dark, set your digital camera to infinity mode, or manually focus to infinity. Capturing the light trails requires long exposure times. With long exposure times you need to use a tripod or some type of support to ensure sharp exposures. Also use the self-timer or a camera remote to release the shutter. A cable release ensures that you won't have to physically touch the shutter release thus eliminating the possibility of camera shake. Turn off the flash (if you can’t turn it off, tape a piece of cardboard over it).

Set your camera’s focal length to the equivalent of 50 mm or wider. Using a wide focal length is generally more effective than zooming in when photographing fireworks because the aperture is faster at the wide end of the zoom. Later, when editing, you can crop to give the appearance of a close-up shot.

In short, the best way to photograph fireworks is to set the camera to manual exposure, set the aperture to a suitable f-stop and the shutter to 'b' or bulb. Open the shutter just before the firework bursts and close it after it's finished. By the way firework photography looks especially impressive on metal prints. The metal print surface that I recommend would be either the glossy solid or clear glossy.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!



fireworks 4th of july

Beach Photography

If you are lucky enough to live near a beach you may want to search out a pier. These massive structures that stretch into the ocean can make for an incredible photograph especially when made into a metal print. The colors at sunrise and sunset along with the waves look great particularly on glossy solid metal prints.

oceanside pier
Photo by J. Libertini

How To
As with landscape photography, early in the morning and late in the day offer that desired warm light and long shadows to create mood and atmosphere, to best photograph piers. Whether it is a blue sky on a clear day or a dark thundery storm is approaching you will have an excellent backdrop for these imposing architectural wonders. Although you may not capture the full expanse of a pier shooting underneath it, you will have an opportunity to get up close with the barnacles and other sea creatures that make interesting subjects. Another interesting technique is to turn the pier into a silhouette; this is accomplished by exposing for the sky rather than the pier.

I hope you have a chance this summer to enjoy the beach and take several interesting photographs.


Enjoy Macro Photography

Macro Photography is fun way to shoot photos and can be done in your own backyard. Wikipedia defines Macro Photography as extreme close-up photography, usually of very small subjects, in which the size of the subject in the photograph is greater than life size. What I like about macro photography is that the simplest subject can take on a certain prominence when amplified. You will often be pleasantly surprised by the myriad of interesting details found in objects shot at close proximity. Whether it’s a fruit blossom, a bee, or a rose petal, there are a plethora of interesting subjects to photograph up close.

Bee on Eyeball Flower 400
Photo by J. Libertini

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind with macro photography:

  • 1. Switch to Manual Focus
When you are in autofocus mode you may notice your camera attempting to focus backwards and forwards to focus. To obtain a more precise and quicker focus, I recommend switching to manual mode.

  • 2. Light
You will want to shoot in the early morning or late afternoon to capture the best natural light. Often in the morning, a drop of dew will be on a flower, which can add to the image. Additionally, an off-camera fill-in-flash can ad to an image.

  • 3. Keep it Steady
Camera shake is especially noticeable in macro photography. I recommend using a tripod and a remote release to fire the shutter button so you don’t touch the camera. Also it is helpful to use quicker shutter speeds and make sure your image stabilization is on.

  • 4. Depth of Field
Use apertures to control the depth of field. Select a small aperture like f/16 or even f/22.

  • 5. Composition
Make it interesting by experimenting shooting at different angels. Also, have the subject fill 75% of the area. And don’t forget to be mindful of the background. Remove anything that can be distracting.

  • 6. Patience
From experience, I find it is best to wait and be patient for curious insects to settle in a place rather than chasing them around. Insects are curious by nature and they will often come to you if you are in the right setting.

Enjoy,

Mike

Take Better Children Photos

close up
Creating a photo record to display your child's growth is a wonderful way to capture a lifetime of memories. Here are a few tips to make those photos best reflect a child's personality.

Get Down to the Child's Eye Level
Getting down to a child's eye level will easily change the image of the child. When you photograph a child from their level you gain a different perspective and you to feel more in the moment with the child. The child will be more comfortable thus allowing you to capture their personality. Additionally, it will help avoid photos of the tops of their heads which is common when photographing down towards the child.

Get Closer
You can capture so much of a child's character when you tightly focus on the child. You can accomplish this by either zooming in on the child using your lens or simply physically move closer. Photos taken without a close focus often contain unwanted items that distract from the image. Therefore, I suggest getting so tight that you are cutting a bit of the head or chin. You’ll be pleased how closely focused images look.

Use Props
Get creative and use toys, clothing, gadgets or furniture as props. The use of props often puts children at ease and will allow you to photograph playful moments. Your photos will be more animated and filled with happy smiles.

Pixel2Metal's most popular metal print surface for portraits is the
matte finish.

Cheers,
Mike

Take Great Photographs of Hummingbirds

hummingbird
Did you know that Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards? They can also fly sideways and upside. Pretty amazing. Not only are hummingbirds wonders in flight but make great photographs due to their iridescent colors. Its best to take pictures of hummingbirds in bright sun so you can capture their iridescent colors. With regard to equipment, I suggest that you use zoom or telephoto lens so you can get a good close-up. Additionally, I recommend using a tripod or monopod for stabilization. If your lens has a stabilizer feature then make sure it is turned on.

By using the auto-focus (AF) setting on your camera this will allow you to refocus on the hummingbird as it is darting around. Its helpful to use the center AF point for focusing. You also need to use a fast shutter speed of 1/800 and an ISO of about 400. Keep in mind, that if either are too high in low light you will get too much noise making your picture look grainy.

Especially with hummingbirds, you will want to take a lot of pictures. But once you capture that great image it will be well worth the effort.

Happy shooting,
Mike