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Persist !

Published May 17th, 2012

I lived in Denver, and had a zeriscape garden. Whizzing in to get nector, these moths seemed impossible to photograph.

I tried. Failed. Tried again with a different lens. Failed to get anything in focus. Then I put the camera and tripod by the garden door. Every day I shot. Month in, month out, each day, to try to get a sharp image of this moth that flies as fast as a hummingbird.

Finally, the technique that worked was carrying the tripod quickly to a flower patch ahead of where the moth was, to set up before it landed. Also, it helped to shoot from a low view, to get a dark, almost black background of a tree in shadow near the garden. Along the way, I learned these moths are called white sphinx moths.

It was also fun to figure out how to get high speed flash set to minus -1.7 flash exposure compensation.

The photograph was selected from 17,000 entries to the Nature's Best competition. Printed at 24" x 36", it hung with a Nature's Best award in the Smithsonian, Natural History Mu ...

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Keep Walking Держите Ходьба: Приключения с Фото...

Published August 3rd, 2011

Keep Walking: Adventures with Photo Walks

by Jim Austin

Musicians practice. They tune their instruments and rehearse often before performing. Your camera is an instrument of seeing. Getting motivated to pick up your camera can be tough. So, try going on a photo walk. Practice seeing, regardless of the weather.

Recently, instead of a self-assignment, I gave myself a “self adventure”, photographing while walking alone around South Beach in Miami, Florida. Walking alone is different than joining a group photo walk. It’s harder to make new photographer friends, but a solo walk often lets you take more images and cover more areas. You can plan a photo walk adventure anywhere. All you need is to determine your intent with each image. The clearer your intent, the better your image.

5 Walking TIPS to Better Photography:

1. Carry less gear.

One lens is enough. I try to leave the 70-200 zoom behind. The only folks I’ve seen shooting on the street with huge le ...

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Zoom with Your Feet

Published August 1st, 2011

 You have to use zoom lenses, right? Wrong. 

If you love zoom lenses, I am not against you in any way, but merely invite you to set aside those zoom habits for a while, cross a mental bridge into a new photographic territory, and set out on photo adventure with one lens and one focal length.   

Here’s a recipe for pros to use, to develop expertise in framing:

1.)  Choose one specific focal length (20mm, 50mm,  135mm--your choice).

2.)  Practice with that focal length for an entire shoot, day, or week.  

3.)  Use your “foot zoom.”

 

A number of reasons support choosing a prime lens for walk-around, outdoor photography.  I learned of these advantages only later in my photo life, after building up my muscles carrying heavy zooms over miles of rugged terrain.  

 

All my photographs shown here were done with fast, lightweight prime lenses.  A prime is a lens with just one focal length.  Doesn’t packing primes limit one’s photography?  Not at all--instead, it frees photographers to c ...

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HDR: Why Character and Subject Matter, HDR: Поч...

Published July 29th, 2011

HDR: Why Character and Subject Matter

by Jim Austin

THE PERSISTENCE of CHARACTER

Beyond its techniques, what makes for lasting HDR work is the symbolic meaning that viewers perceive in the subject matter. Memorable HDR images, like symphonic melodies, are complex creations with interesting ideas about content, lighting, and composition. Their strength does not rest on how many exposures were taken, nor in the manner the picture was processed.

Part of the strength of an image is the character of the photographer.

When HDR was introduced, we were initially shocked because our biases got in the way and influenced how we saw this new process. It was common to view an HDR photograph relative to a landscape printed from film. Critics insisted that HDR nature images, for instance, should be both true to nature and a beautiful object. This over-insistence on truth, and a historical notion of beauty echoed the mindset of mid 19th-century viewers who were trained to see nature photographs ...

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Bullet of Faith Пуля Веры

Published July 29th, 2011

Bullet of Faith

by Jim Austin, Jimages

A bullet speeds out of a gun. Everyone knows how this sounds and how it looks. It is a standard subject in photography. It’s been captured by masters like Harold Edgarton - the father of electronic flash - and my mentor Andrew Davidhazy at MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, who photographed a speeding bullet piercing a Queen of diamonds playing card.

Speed is a familiar theme in photography, going back to the first exposure. The camera sees faster than the eye and the idea, and we photographers have been trying to create "instantaneous" photographs for over 160 years.

Ideas evolve. They can take months, or years. This picture idea started inside a cathedral, with a digital image of a stained glass window using a medium telephoto focal length lens. Some weeks later, I had a series of ideas about setting the image in motion emerged. These ideas usually come out in the morning after I wake up. I try to write them down im ...

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all about the image

Published July 28th, 2011

Image. That's all. If you comment, I'll drop by and visit your work.

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