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dudler’s latest blog : remote shooting part 2

dudler's latest blog : mirrorless - and why they?re (arguably) better

Remote shooting part 2

24 Nov 2020 7:04AM  
Views : 55
Unique : 43


Yesterday, I spent an hour in a Zoom meeting taking remote pictures of Vampire Princess: it worked rather well, I think. It’s important that she is techie-minded, and understands what she’s doing with the Zoom link, so that I didn’t really need to. Because she’d shot remotely before, she was right on top of her technology, and had her Canon camera linked to her computer: all the controls were available on my screen, and I was able to adjust the camera with the aid of my mouse.

Yes, there’s a delay with everything, but with a good model – like Kay – it isn’t a big issue. And the delay isn’t great, in reality. Most people don’t shoot terribly fast, in any case… More thought, fewer frames is a pretty good maxim.


I shot at a rate of slightly more than one frame a minute, and that’s fine: I was learning as I went. And I feel that with several really good frames in the bag, my costs were well justified. But I would normally take rather more frames, with slight variations. For direct comparison, a one-hour shoot with VP in June, at an outdoor location, gave 141 frames, even after deducting walking time from cars to the location and back.

The wonders of modern Broadband meant that I had the RAW files downloaded around 20 minutes after we finished shooting. In some ways it’s a disadvantage shooting with a strange camera and lens, of course: VP’s Canon is rather different from my Alpha 7, though working with live view reduces the apparent differences.


VP was shooting in her bedroom, which has the advantage of black walls – at least, it’s an advantage for my preferred sort of low-key work. Lighting was a single Rotolight, supplemented by a little daylight for most shots. With the camera on a tripod, the necessary slow shutter speeds aren’t a big deal. Speedlights complicate matters, as you can’t see the effect you’ll get, though studio flash with modelling lamps will rock it (as they usually do).

My usual style of shooting relies on fine adjustments of camera angle and focus point: obviously, that’s not possible with a camera on a tripod. It was necessary to allow a larger ‘dead’ area all round the subject – though I caught myself out once or twice, and have sub-optimal framing in one or two shots.


A big issue could have been that I was shooting with an 18mp camera and a standard zoom, and I’m used to using a 42mp camera with an 85mm lens on the front. Did it matter? To be completely honest, not really. Most pictures succeed or fail on the basis of their content, rather than absolute technical quality: and while I reckon 24mp is where film starts to lose out to digital, once cameras reached 12mp, quality was usually perfectly adequate for any shot that doesn’t require fine detail to be beautifully sharp.

One thing I missed until we altered the setup – if you’re using a relatively weak artificial light source like a Rotolight, it’s important to kill all other light sources. The drama of our setup increased markedly when I saw that the curtains were open, as the daylight was providing a significant additional light source!

Would I do it again? Yes, I would. Should you? Very possibly: though you need to be sure what you’re getting in technical terms. The deal I had meant that I got RAW files rapidly, and with virtual links that worked well: I can vouch for the Zoom/Digicam combination. And it’s worth being sure that your model understands what she’s doing with her kit, and that you are happy with what’s on offer. I know of at least one other model offering similarly sophisticated hardware and an incisive mind of the sort this needs at the model’s end to make it work.


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A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting in Manual Mode

A Beginner's Guide to Shooting in Manual Mode

Mastering manual mode is one of the most fundamental skills every photographer needs to develop to take better creative and technical control of their images. If you are new to photography and wondering how to decode the mystery of manual mode, this fantastic video tutorial will get you up and running in no time at all. 

Coming to you from Mango Street, this excellent video tutorial will show you how to use manual mode to take better control of your photography. While automatic and semi-automatic modes on cameras are quite advanced and capable (and even preferable to manual mode in certain situations), they cannot think creatively and they can be fooled technically, which is why it is so important to have confident command of your camera’s manual mode. The best way to look at it is to remember that the three exposure parameters, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, do not operate independently; changing one will force you to compensate with another. Much of working in manual mode is about choosing which parameter you want to control for creative purposes, then using the other two to compensate for technical needs. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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Check Out the Nikon Z 6 II Eye Autofocus Shooting Wide Open in Low Light

Check Out the Nikon Z 6 II Eye Autofocus Shooting Wide Open in Low Light

Manny Ortiz loved shooting on the first iteration of the Nikon Z 6, but one of his big reservations was the consistency of the eye autofocus. He now has his hands on a pre-production model of the Z 6 II, so how will the autofocus cope in low light and shooting wide open?

The Z 6 II is falling into more and more hands, and fans will be delighted to see that early indications are good. Even those who don’t shoot on Nikon will be happy for the Japanese manufacturer’s new mirrorless cameras to match the pace set by the likes of Sony and Canon, as it makes for healthy competition and is a positive sign for the industry more broadly. Nikon doesn’t have the deep pockets of its competitors, and the last couple of years have been harsh, even before the global pandemic came along.

If you’re keen to see more, check out this video pointed out to use by Fstoppers community member Hans J. Nielsen. The way that the Z 6 II deals with a subject who’s wearing not only sunglasses but also a mask is genuinely impressive.

Are you impressed so far? I certainly am. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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How Good Is the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art for Shooting Natural Light Portraits?

How Good Is the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art for Shooting Natural Light Portraits?

Sony shooters are blessed with a number of options when it comes to 35mm primes, and Sigma’s 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art is something of a bokeh beast. Photographer Julia Trotti puts it through its paces shooting some natural light portraits.

35mm isn’t the obvious choice when it comes to shooting portraits, but with the right model and composition, it can create some great results and can make life a lot easier if you’re shooting in tight spaces, such as on someone’s porch steps where you don’t have much room to back up.

Sigma’s 35mm f/1.2 doesn’t have a brilliant reputation for the speed of its autofocus, probably because it’s a massive lump of a lens with a ton of glass to move around. At $1,499, it’s not the most expensive, but most will be putting it up against Sony’s Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA which loses a third of a stop and gains $200, but is said to be a lot snappier. Trotti shows that the autofocus, though different, isn’t an obstacle once you’re used to it, and some buyers might be happy to compromise here to get that super-wide maximum aperture.

If you’re pondering a 35mm lens for Sony and don’t want to break the bank, you could opt for Sigma’s older 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, which has dropped in price recently from $899 to $799. And don’t forget that Samyang has a 35mm f/1.4 as well. In addition, there are two f/1.8 options, one from Sony and one from Samyang, both of which have received excellent reviews. You can check out my review of the Samyang 35mm f/1.8 by clicking here.

Do you like the images produced by the Sigma? Which 35mm lens would be your choice? Let us know in the comments below.

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Shooting an NFL Game in an Empty Stadium During COVID

Shooting an NFL Game in an Empty Stadium During COVID

Photographer Paul Rutherford is back with another behind the scenes look at what it’s like shooting professional sports during the pandemic. Previously he took us to a spectator-free MLB game at Fenway Park; today he’s showing us what it’s like working an NFL game in an empty Gillette Stadium.

Just like his MLB behind-the-scenes video, Rutherford goes into quite a bit of detail on what he can and can’t do, where he can and can’t go, and how he’s able to work within those rules to shoot, edit, and submit the kinds of images that his editors (and the public) are looking for… all from the stadium’s empty stands.

He also explains how he and the other USA Today photographer coordinate to make sure that they’re not capturing the same sorts of photos, creating a helpful diagram that shows his two favorite shooting positions for NFL photography.

Here’s a quick peek behind the scenes:

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Photo by Brian Fluharty -USA TODAY Sports
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Photo by Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini

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The video is titled a “Day In The Life of A Sports Photographer,” but of course this particular day is anything but typical. Shooting from the stands instead of the field is a new experience that is both good and bad. On the one hand, it changes the kinds of photos you can capture; on the other hand, Rutherford says he kind of enjoys it.

“It’s actually kind of nice shooting from the stands and being able to edit from the stands,” he explains. “Definitely you can’t get the same types of images, but you can still get a lot of great stuff and it’s still a fun time to go out there and shoot those games.”

Check out the full video up top to see what it’s like for yourself, and if you want to see more of Rutherford’s work, you can watch his MLB during COVID video here and explore his portfolio on his website or by following him on Instagram.

Image credits: All photos by Paul Rutherford unless otherwise credits. All images used with permission.

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Tips On Shooting Autumn Landscapes In The Lake District

Tips On Shooting Autumn Landscapes In The Lake District


Ask most landscape photographers what their favourite season is, and probably 80% will reply “autumn”. I actually try not to have a favourite, because it keeps me fresh for all the different seasons, but even I can’t deny that the Lakes in autumn can be a truly spectacular place. An important issue to remember is that the lakes can also be a truly WET place through October and November as well, so consideration of the weather must be taken into account.

Equipment needed is totally down to personal style, anything from a compact, through to DSLRs with wide-angle lenses, telephotos, macros etc. will all give excellent results. I do find a polarising filter useful to take reflection off leaves / bracken and give a boost to the colours; but be careful not to overdo it.

If I’m working in the early part of Autumn, I quite often like to work with a wide lens to make a strong feature of foreground bracken, especially when it’s showing a wide colour range, from green, through to red. This will even make a good semi close-up picture just concentrating on the bracken itself.

Autumn Landscape

Later in the season, when the colours have changed, if I’m really lucky a calm day can, with the help of the reflections, offer twice as much landscape in a single shot; with the landscape reflected perfectly in the water. On all my reflection shots, I use a 0.45 hard-edge ND grad filter, to balance up the amount of light absorbed by the reflection. Also remember, that lower viewpoints often give better reflections. In addition, if there is any foreground element, a low viewpoint will usually reduce the distance between the foreground element and the bottom edge of the reflection.

Woodlands clearly become a favourite subject through the autumn weeks, but as well as general vistas, individual branches can show off the shapes of leaves well. Even once the leaves have fallen, there are great pictures to be had of leaf details and textures on the ground, or contrasted on a mossy bank or rock. If the weather is inclement, consider taking a few leaves home and photographing them backlit on a lightbox. The type of tree and altitude has a great bearing on when they change colour, with Silver birches tending to be the early changers, and larch (the only conifer to drop its needles) then oak bringing up the rear.

The range of subjects through the autumn in the lakes is incredible, certainly covering most of October and November. Even when the trees have lost their leaves, the glow of the bracken retains the fantastic hues of autumn, almost right through to spring the following year.




Article by by John Gravett –


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Behind the Scenes of Shooting Action Adventure Photography

Behind the Scenes of Shooting Action Adventure Photography

Some photography is gated behind the physical requirements of keeping up with the subjects, and unsurprisingly, action adventure photography is one of those genres.

The first thing to note about this video is that it’s a lightly shrouded advertisement for Nikon’s Z 6 II, by Nikon Europe. Generally, I’m not interested in sharing that sort of content, but this has value outside of that and is worth your time.

Under the campaign #CreateYourLight, Nikon follows outdoor, adventure, and urban photographer, Ray Demski, as he shoots runners up in the mountains. The location and light is beautiful, but what struck me most was how difficult the shooting must be on the photographer, physically. You are quite clearly have to keep up with your subjects, and presumably hike difficult terrain to get to the locations in the first place. What makes this more difficult — as all us photographers know too well — is camera gear is seldom light. So, in essence, you’re doing what the subject athletes have to do, with the addition of a pack weighing you down!

Nevertheless, the results are fantastic and it’s a genre I’d love to try. Sometimes the physical nature of getting a shot adds to the sense of accomplishment. 

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johnriley1uk’s latest blog : all weather shooting with pentax

johnriley1uk's latest blog : cool activities on the streets of manchester

All Weather Shooting with Pentax

28 Oct 2020 4:48PM  
Views : 130
Unique : 105

Today it’s the turn of Pentax, and a look at the newest 50mm lens, the high-end HD Pentax-D FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW, the AW standing for All Weather, a step up from WR or plain old Weather Resistant. Well I needed it, that’s for sure. I’ve always said that water/dust resistance opened up all sorts of possibilities and this was the chance to literally put my own kit to the test as I coupled the lens up with my own K-1 body and ventured out into a very wet and blustery day at Pickering.

We were having an ADAPS trip out to the 1940s weekend, but we were already on holiday and had a cottage in Pickering for the week, so we met up with everyone there. In the rain. And the rain and the rain. It reminded me of a similarly wet trip with ADAPS to Whitby one April a few years ago. So it was put to the test for sure, and the new 50mm lens proved to be a beauty, and so it should be for the price. It also proved its All Weather credentials, and these days I can’t really imagine buying a new lens that doesn’t have that feature. Of course, if we didn’t venture out in the rain then it wouldn’t matter, but as we do it gets to be rather more essential.

So here’s some pictures, plus a few from a drier shoot a bit closer to home.













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Tips For Shooting In The City At Twilight

Tips For Shooting In The City At Twilight

How to keep safe and shoot great images in the city as the sun goes down.


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Photo by David Clapp


Be Early

Arrive at your chosen spot about half an hour before the sun’s due to set as you’ll need time to set your equipment up and to find your angle. You’ll need your tripod as shutter speeds will be slow and working hand-held will only result in shake. If you have one, attach your remote release up, too, to stop your movement rocking the camera when you go to press the shutter button. Many cameras allow you to fire the shutter via a Smart Phone, eliminating the need for a remote release. You might want to fire off a few test shots to see if your composition works but do remember the light will change.

Get Ready

Make sure your focus is correct then turn off autofocus as it tends to struggle in darker conditions. Check your white-balance and set your ISO to 100, although, if you want to quicken the shutter speed slightly, you can knock it up a couple of notches. Then, you just have to stand and wait for the sun to begin setting. You might want to pack a flask of something warm and make sure you have your coat with you for this bit!

The Sun’s Setting

Once the sun has gone below the horizon don’t think it’s time to put your equipment away so you can head home, you need to keep taking photos, adjusting the exposure length as you do to capture as many different results as possible.

Watch Out For Bright Light Sources

If you have the moon in shot, or other bright lights such as street lamps, and you use a longer shutter speed it can result in flare but this isn’t always a bad thing as an as overexposed street lamp, particularly on a damp evening, can look quite good.

Where Works?

Getting out above the city so you can shoot down on it. Capturing the city lights against the dark blue sky as they switch on works well but do get in among the city buildings too. At busy junctions you’ll be able to capture light trails as traffic flows by while a bridge will give you a nice leading line with lights dotted along either side of it. Have a look for shop signs that are lit up or if you’re visiting one of our well known seaside towns, you’ll have a long street of illuminations to capture.



Photo by David Clapp


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Shooting Portraits with a Pre-Production Nikon Z7 II

Shooting Portraits with a Pre-Production Nikon Z7 II

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Audrey Woulard, a new addition to Nikon’s team of ambassadors, has provided an exclusive first look at images created with the upcoming Nikon Z7 II mirrorless camera as well as her thoughts on what she likes best about the upcoming new flagship.

Woulard was given the opportunity to use a pre-production model of the upcoming Nikon Z7 II with very little advance notice. “You don’t get any info,” she told PetaPixel, referring to what is provided by Nikon. “No camera name, no camera info. So you go into it, in my experience, fairly blind. It’s a good thing because you don’t overthink it – I’m the queen of overthinking.”

When asked what about the Z7 II she noticed as improved over the original, Woulard says that the changes Nikon has made mix particularly well with what she expects from a camera for the kind of work she does.

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“The thing that I have seen improved that lends itself really well to the way that I typically photograph is the dynamic range. The different situations I am in, I can go from bright sun, to really dark areas. So I’ve found that to be absolutely improved and so much better,” she said.

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100% Crop

“In regards to focusing, I religiously photograph really wide open. I’m going to push the aperture as wide as the lens will go. There was a lot more detail from head to toe, I felt that the focus system was a lot better.”

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Woulard explained that the improved autofocus options allowed her the freedom to work in her ideal format. Because the camera tracks so well, she said, Woulard was seeing improved clarity in her images even when she and her subjects were moving during the capture process. “I’ve got kids moving and I encourage them to move. He’s walking, and I’m walking with him. When they’re moving, I’m moving. The focus system was much better.”

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Nikon sent the pre-production camera out to Woulard with not only short notice, but with a comparatively small window of time to use it.

“It wasn’t a lot of time,” she said. “I’m talking like two weeks to put together a full-on shoot. That included getting permits because I do photograph downtown in Chicago. It was intense.”

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Nikon did not give Woulard specific instructions on what it was expecting. Instead, the company just asked her to be herself. “They told me, ‘We want you to do what you do, shoot how you shoot.’ So I pretty much scheduled different looks and lighting all in one day. I started at like 10 AM and wasn’t done until about 5 or 6 PM.”

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Though the images have a consistent look to them, Woulard admitted it wasn’t due to any pre-planned concepts. She said she makes her best work when thriving on chaos and the pressures of the moment.

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“I had no concept, to be honest with you,” she said, laughing. “Part of the way that I photograph is that my goal is to have some sort of connection with the people I am photographing. An actual concept? That’s too much pre-planning for me.”

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Woulard says that when she shoots, she’s aiming for a specific look to the light mixed with engagement with the subjects. “Anything that happens organically, happens. I typically will use the beauty of light downtown, bokeh with different lighting which will bring in color into my background. Then I rely on fashion.”

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Woulard used the pre-production Nikon Z7 II primarily with the 85mm f/1.8, but also with the 50mm f/1.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 sprinkled in. She used primarily ambient light but accentuated it with a single Profoto B10.

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You can see more of Woulard’s work on her Instagram, Facebook, website, and Ambassador page.

Image Credits: Audrey Woulard and used with permission.

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