Sunday, April 17, 2011

Adam Jones in Macon, April 16, 2011

Ten Shutterbugs, along with four guests (family members/friends), gathered in Macon, GA, on Saturday, April 16th, to attend a photography seminar led by Adam Jones, one of Canon’s prestigious Explorers of Light photographers.

The seminar was hosted by the Middle Georgia Camera Club and was well-attended, despite the storms that moved through the area in the wee hours of the morning. Shutterbugs attending were: Dr. Bijay Pandey, Bonny Shockley, Brenda Fayard, Francis Hauke, Harolyn Castleberry, Jackie Stokes, Johnnie Ann Gaskill, Linda Godwin, Sheryl Farr, and Yvette Tolson. Their guests included: Dr. Pandey’s daughter, Dr. Tommy Farr, Sue Turner, and one of Sue’s friends from Perry.

During the presentation, Adam gave these tips, along with many others:

• Take the shot as perfect as possible. Then, you’ll only have to do some very basic editing on the RAW images. By getting the image right in the camera, you’ll avoid becoming a pixel pusher.

• For the best shots, shoot early in the morning and late in the afternoon/evening.

• 80-90% of the time, leave your camera set on aperture priority (AV). If you need a faster shutter speed, adjust the aperture to a lower f/stop number OR, as a last resort, choose a higher ISO number. Since today’s cameras are so sophisticated, there’s really not much need to shoot in the manual mode.

• When shooting, take a test shot and then check the histogram to see if you’ve gotten the exposure right. If not, adjust the AV, ISO, exposure compensation, or fill flash, etc., until the exposure is correct. Then fire away.

• Don’t worry about remembering formulas such as Sunny 16. Just learn what to do to take good pictures, whatever the light, and you will repeatedly get good results.

• Use evaluative metering, most of the time.

• f/11 is usually the sharpest aperture. Use f/16 or higher when you need sharpness front to back in an image, keeping in mind that sharpness falls off (in the distance) as the f/stop number increases.

• In landscapes or other images requiring a great depth of field (DOF, sharpness front to back), use the hyperfocal technique (set your focus on the mid-section of the image).

• When editing photos of people, slide the software’s clarity button to the LEFT rather than to the right.

• When photographing humming birds, spritz a flower with sugar water so you will know where the hummers will land. Then, while you’re waiting for the birds, set your camera for the right exposure and then fire away when the bird appears.

• Three crucial elements of a good photo: subject, lighting, and background.

• Be familiar with your gear.

• Be ready to go at any moment!

Although Adam has lots of equipment, his travel bag always includes Canon cameras and lenses. He takes about 95% of all his shots with either a 70-400 mm, 24-105mm, or a 100-400 mm lens. He also packs a teleconverter, a set of extension tubes, a polarizing circular filter (rather than a neutral density one), and his tripod. He does not use a polarizing filter when photographing wild life because the filter reduces the light, which slows the shutter speed and reduces the f/stop number. However, he highly recommends using a circular polarizer for landscape shots in order to reduce glare, make colors pop, etc. He uses Better Beamer, which attaches to external flashes, like 430EX Speedlite, and projects a stronger (i.e., more tightly focused) beam forward on the subject. This is particularly useful when using a 300+mm lens. For bird photography, Adam recommends a 500 mm lens and a teleconverter.

Adam uses a Helicon filter (provides unlimited depth of field in images already captured). (Do a Google search for the filter. Many sites have free downloads. The filter works with several photo editing softwares you may already own.) He uses Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Photomatix, Topaz deNoise, etc. However, he strongly urges everyone to get the image as right as possible in the camera! When using Photomatix, use the fusion method rather than tone mapping. While watching the histogram for each image, pull the highlights toward the middle. Then pull the darks to the middle. Combine all images, as many as it takes.

To view Adam’s beautiful images or to find out about the various photography workshops he leads, log onto

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