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Tips, Tricks and Updates

Pushing myself further with flash..

Bryan Weiss

This past Saturday night I was able to test out some amazing gear shooting wrestling up in Barrie.  
Ive been shooting for Barrie Wrestling for the past 4 years and I've used this as a testing ground for new techniques and for trying out new gear.  Although I don't get paid, the things Ive learned have more than paid me back in experience and opportunities its brought my way,  

Nikon stepped up and leant me 2 of the Nikon Wr-r10 trigger sets and a SB-5000 flash and I borrowed the new D850, a D500, a 2nd SB-5000 and I used my SB-910 as well.  
So let me explain how this works..

I plugged a Wr-r10 into 10 pin terminal the D850 I was shooting with and used my SB-910 on the hotshoe for front fill.  I then plugged the 2nd Wr-r10 into the 10 pin terminal on the D500 that I had on The Rock (My Gitzo Basalt tripod - Yeah, i know... I name everything) and positioned to see the entire ring opposite of where I was shooting from.   I then set the 2 SB-5000's on light stands to create a light triangle.  

When I squeezed the shutter on the D850.... the whole works fired at the same time.

I am now looking through the photos for the first time and I have to say this kind of shooting can change everything!  Each time I'd try it, I'd be able to refine the modifiers on the flashes, I'd be able to change the positioning of them to create a more even light, and BOOOM I've got perfect lighting .... anywhere!   Add some coloured gels to compensate for the orange coloured walls of a church gymnasium and I can create any mood I can imagine!  

This technology may seem confusing or hard to set up but trust me, once I had a bit of guidance from the good doctor Ross Chevalier and Mark Cruz from Nikon, I got the entire concept and set up was a breeze. 

I loved using this gear and I will cry a little when I have to return the stuff back to Nikon but I'm excited to bring this experience back to the sales floor and onto my day trips to help anyone with an interest in off camera flash make better photos.  

The photos used with this post are unedited other than possibly a crop.  Usually for wrestling there is noise removal, white balance issues, and of course Id bring it into Nik Analog efx for my custom Barrie Wrestling preset to give it the final somewhat consistent look but shooting with this kind of light setup would save SOOOO much editing time.. If I even need to edit at all! 

Im not writing this post to say "hey look at me using all this cool stuff"  I'm merely saying that the tech makes something that Ive done for the past 10 years in total 50% or more better.  This can save me time and ultimately help me make the photos I've always hoped I could! 

Keep shooting, be safe, and share!  

The Flash!

Bryan Weiss

It's been said that as far as the pop up flash is concerned, you get what you pay for.... And you don't really pay extra for a pop up flash.  

In other words... They kinda suck.  

Now for certain things, I totally agree that they do!  Here are some examples of how.

Fireworks...  A while back I was at a public fireworks display for Canada Day and I thought I was planning and doing everything right... I had the tripod, I had the remote, I even brought an extra baseball hat so I could do long exposure "Hat Trick" photos.  I lock the shutter open on bulb mode and keep the hat over the lens.  When a firework goes off, I remove the hat for a few seconds and then place it gently back over the lens.  Doing this multiple times creates a fun multi firework shot without anything overexposed...... Well in theory.  

What I didn't plan for was the people sitting behind me with their camera's on auto mode and their pop up flash firing and hitting the inside on the hat on my lens and therefore flashing into my lens and ruining photo after photo.  

**People, please do not use a flash at a public fireworks display!**  

Concerts...  How many times do you see flashes going off from the seats at a concert?  Well, I guarantee all it will do is illuminate the bald head of the guy sitting in front of you and making anything more than 15 feet away dark.  

Portraits...  If you've used the pop up flash to make portraits, you should know what I'm about to say.  For the most part, a built in flash only fires a short distance and is a very small light source.  This means you are projecting a small blast of light directly at your subject.  This looks harsh and generally unappealing.  

However, there is a big world of photography out there and this post will hopefully shed some light on where this little on board gem can really come in handy!  

Using the pop up flash but dialing the power down a bit would be great for seeing eyes under hats.

Using the pop up flash but dialing the power down a bit would be great for seeing eyes under hats.

My wife Shelli and I have been able to meet many pro wrestlers over the years, here Shelli is in a photo with former WWE Superstar Ken Anderson.  I was using Mr Snaps (My Nikon D700) and a 24-70 F2.8 lens.  I brought the best camera of the day for high ISO and the brightest lens that I could for low light.  I was so proud that I had awesome gear and felt like I was so smart and prepared until I showed this photo to my colleague Martin Ingles and the first thing he said was "Why didn't you use the pop up flash to fill in under his hat lid?"  

I felt kinda sick and definitely stupid for not even thinking of that.  And since then, I always remember that it's there.  A good tip for this is to use your flash exposure compensation.  Dial it down a bit and it won't blow out the photo but would give a nice glint in Anderson's black eye.  

Using the pop up flash as fill flash is also helpful for shooting a subject in front of a window.  If your subject is mostly shadow, using the pop up (Hopefully not at full power) can add enough light to make the photo interesting.  

My favorite use of the pop up flash is the creative lighting system.  I've used this for years on my Nikon DSLR's but now it's also found in most Canon DSLR's. At least the ones with a built in flash made within the past few years.   Many other DSLR's (Sony, Olympus, etc..) also have a creative lighting system. 

This system uses the built in pop up flash to send a signal to off camera flashes.  On my D700 and D7100, I can control as many flashes as I want.... As long as their is line of sight between the pop up and the remote flash.  Even better than that you will be able to not only fire it, but choose if it's in TTL or Manual power.  AND I can also control 2 separate zones of flashes and up to 4 separate channels.  

So in the photos above I used 5 total flashes.  

1 flash with a blue gel firing towards the back of the gym and 1 flash with a red gel firing on to the ring mat.  These two were on Group A  

I also fired a flash with a Lastolite hot shoe softbox on the left, through a shoot through umbrella on the right and then a rear flash on a monopod in the back.  These three were on Group B  

Doing it this way, I can control the coloured flashes separately from the regular flashes.  OR, if I wanted to group the left from the right, or any other combinations of groups to have full control of my light.... All from the pop up flash and in camera controls.  

Below are the menu's to get to this function on a Nikon DSLR

When I set out to make these in ring action photos, I used lessons learned at a Joe McNally seminar in Toronto that I had attended.  

While at the seminar I was making out the plans on how I'd do this.  My main goal was to fire all the flashes I needed to make the photos I envisioned all only using the pop up flash as the trigger for each.  

 It was fun to finally get to try it and with a little help from my friends... aka Voice activated light stands ....  I learned a lot and made some pretty cool photos.   

I've since taken this technique to a different level by using an sb700 on camera as a trigger to fire an sb910 as a remote flash to add backlighting in my wrestling photos.  

Using an sb700 mounted on camera as a master,  I fired the sb910 you see in the photo as a slave

So, the point of this post is to show how the pop up flash can really become a handy tool if you know how to use it and understand what you want from your photos before you make them.  

Understanding how light influences your images and how to control it with your camera and settings can help you visualize your results before making them.  

Instead of going out to buy more kit to "make better photos" try using the kit you already have to it's fullest.  Including the lowly pop up flash you already own.

Up to the challenge?

Bryan Weiss

The challenge was Shallow Depth Of Field.  So I thought...  What are the technical ways to create shallow depth of field?   

Focal length - Zoom in to the max focal length on any zoom lens and you will create shallower dof.  The longer the focal length the shallower it gets.  

Aperture - A more open aperture will create less depth of field.  When you think of aperture values, an easy way to remember if it's a big or a small aperture when you see the F# would be to think of the number that is closer to a 0 as a more open hole.  f1.8 v f22  1.8 is closer to 0 than 22..  So it's a more open aperture.  

Proximity - The closer you get to your subject, the shallower the depth of field.  If you hold your finger out in front of you at arm's length and as you stare at it, pull it closer.  You'll notice the background blur more .... before you go cross eyed and feel a little sick.. 

When you combine these three things the dof is even shallower!   So.....  That's where I went with my theme.   

This photo was made by light painting with red and white flashlights.  It's a 30 second exposure at f4 and shot at 85mm.  The lens I used was my 24-85 Nikon f2.8-f4D.  I love this lens because it has the ability to switch it into macro mode and I can get much closer focusing distance.  

So to sum it up, I shot all the way zoomed in with a lens that has very close focusing ability and opened up the aperture all the way at that focal length.  I've combined all three ways to create shallow dof therefore it is incredibly shallow. 

As far as the content of the photo.  I have had a bit of a stressful situation with .... how do I put this.... humans lately and needed to get back to what's important.  Peace and love.  I thought it was fitting and it was quite therapeutic as well making this photo.  I used a red gel on a flashlight to make the red and I used a normal white flashlight with a homemade snoot attachment on it for the white that draws the eye to where the story is.  

I didn't edit this photo.  Not that I don't believe in editing, I just didn't think it needed any.  

Here's a cell phone shot of the set up.   A TV dinner tray, a garbage bag a camera, remote and 2 flashlights.  With the lens zoomed in and the camera so close to the stones, all I needed to do was move the rear stone a few inches from the front one to make it virtually unreadable.  

Here's a cell phone shot of the set up.   A TV dinner tray, a garbage bag a camera, remote and 2 flashlights.  With the lens zoomed in and the camera so close to the stones, all I needed to do was move the rear stone a few inches from the front one to make it virtually unreadable.  

So this is how I created shallow depth of field but how would you do it?  If you like the challenge than I hope I get to see your interpretation!

Its coming right for ya!

Bryan Weiss

I spent the last few days shooting waterfalls, wrestling, and most recently the Toronto Auto Show.  With such diversity, I knew I would have something to make a post about.  

Turns out, there are several experiences I've had that would make for a good post... So, I will be posting them each over the next short while.  

Today's post will be about my experience at the Auto Show.  

Ross Chevalier and I made our way to Toronto yesterday as we've done many times in the past but as I got in the car I realized I had left my tripod (The Rock) at home!  Usually I will carry it all over the place, setting the camera down low and at a funky angle to make the cars look big and impressive.  Without The Rock I had to think differently and not go for those small apertures (for deep depth of field and maximum focus) but rather shoot all handheld with higher ISO and larger apertured to try and keep the shutter speeds fast enough to eliminate the motion blur.  Or did I?

I have worked with motion and zoom blur in the past so I am quite comfortable with creating images that have sharpness and motion but usually Id bring an external flash to give me the light I'd need to create the sharpness then with a slow shutter speed I would zoom or move the camera to make the blur..... Well, I didn't bring the flash with me either!   I got all wrapped up in the whole... "Travel light" concept and left everything at home!  

So What is a guy to do in this case?!  Use the built in pop up flash!  I knew I was close enough to the cars that a pop up could work so I put the built in flash to manual mode (Not TTL) and fired it from full power down to 1/4 power at times, depending on the brightness of the car I was shooting and how much light would hit the car and reflect back to the camera.  

Well, I had a blast!  I made some really unique images and had a lot of fun but more importantly, I gained experience!  Working with this technique had me changing settings with each shot and trying over and over until I got the desired effect for each amazing vehicle I shot. 

In fact, I made so many cool shots, Ill add them as a gallery here rather than just post one of them.  

The equipment I used was my regular kit...  The Schwartz (My trusty Nikon D7100) with a 10-24mm Nikon lens.  I did bring the 105 macro and a 50mm 1.8 but ended up not using them for much because I was having so much fun working the blur that I didn't need them.

The technique was simple... I shot between 1/10 and 1/30 shutter speed and had the pop up flash up.  First, I would get my focus and then as I squeezed the shutter button, I would zoom from wide to far or from far to wide... depending on if I wanted the vehicle to look like it was coming towards me or going away from me.  This combination of settings and technique made the shots look awesome on Schwartz's LCD but I always reserve my judgement until I see the photos on the mac.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see how awesome the turned out when I loaded them up at home.   A slight edit and I loved the majority of the shots I made.   I even zoom blurred the DJ as the Scion display.  I thought it would lend well to what he was doing and it did! 

I hope you enjoy this gallery of photos and feel free to reach out to me to ask any questions you may have!  

To learn more about how to use your camera and to get the support of a fun online community, join the Daytripper Photo community on Google Plus or register for any of our upcoming photo day trips!

Lucky #7

Bryan Weiss

Here is the final image.  The only editing I did was a slight crop.  

Here is the final image.  The only editing I did was a slight crop.  

For some time now, I've been very frustrated with my personal photography.  I've decided that the biggest problem I have is that I need to learn more...   I should clarify this a bit though...  

For the past while I've been a member of an online photo mentoring program and while there I had some great help in the form of critiques, inspiration, and motivation but as I've already mentioned I've been in a real slump.  After a long time in that programme, I decided that I didn't have the time to dedicate myself to that path and felt I was spending the money but not doing the homework and then seeing no improvement in my photos.  

Well therein lies my problem.  I've never been good at homework!  Even though there was never any actual homework in that programme ... per se...  To get out of it anything of real value, one should always put the time into the given assignments and challenges and that's what I found I couldn't accomplish.

So, after almost a year of relative inactivity, I made the difficult decision to cancel that account and decided instead to focus on my learning in a new way.  

I learn by doing.  That's how I've always been.   When I make a photo, I'll remember it and be able to reproduce it... Then when I edit that photo I learn even more about composition, colour, and much more.  

I have planned out this new learning path of mine as a long term commitment.  There will be many stages of how I progress and they will all be revealed in time.  For now though, welcome to stage 1! 

I am going to be making photos and then posting those results along with behind the scenes photos and explanations on how the photo was made and then edited... if at all.  

I'm hoping this personal challenge will not only help those who see and read the posts but will also help me by making me challenge myself more to try new things.  

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
— - Benjamin Franklin

This first photo is a light painting I made this past Tuesday night.  I knew I wanted to make my first post in this series light painting but couldn't think of an interesting subject.  When I saw this lightbulb, I had an idea!  

I wanted to make this bulb look like there were gases escaping and yet still illuminating the bulb.  I set up my Nikon D7100 (The Schwartz) with a 24-85mm lens and pre focused on the bulb with the lights on.  Once I got my focus, I locked the focus back to manual and didnt touch it from then on.  I then clipped the light bulb to my third arm and clamped the other side of that arm to a light stand off to the right of the bulb.  I was ok with the clamp showing on the base of the bulb because that proves that the bulb is not in a socket but rather just sitting there with coloured gasses all around it.  

I had The Schwartz tethered to my Mac using Lightroom to help me see the details of where the light was hitting after each shot, make some changes on the following shot, and continue that process until I got everything the way I liked it.  

Usually this process can take several hours and anywhere from 10 - 100 photos to get one that I really like.  This time, I stopped at #7. 

The first shot was to see how the light would show up with the specific aperture, and ISO I was shooting at.  I was at f18 and 100 ISO.  The shutter speed would vary based on how much light I wanted to apply.  After taking several more, I started to see how the light was taking shape and got a more defined idea of what the final photo should be like.  By the time I got to the 7th photo, I thought I liked it enough and packed it in for the night.  The final exposure time on the 7th photo ended up being 99 seconds long.  

I used 3 flashlight tools for this.  2 were $5.00 light wands that I bought at Home depot.  I modified them by adding fibre optic brushes to the tips that I bought at Canadian tire for $10.00 each. Unfortunately the last time I went back to buy more they told me they no longer have them so I had to source them elsewhere. Here's a link to some I found online.  As you can see in the short video they show, the fibre optics part is all attached to a plug.  That plug sits perfectly on the top of the coloured wand and with a bit of tape and some shielding to cover the wand light, shazam!  You've got yourself a fiber optic paint brush! 

Using the 2 brushes with one turned on to red and one to blue, I "painted" the light onto the image and then used the third flashlight to just hit the front of the bulb with white light to outline the glass.  

Above are the 7 photos I made.  These helped me see how the lighting looked and how the photo was composed in the frame. The beauty of light painting is that you make the by lighting it up as you're exposing it.  When the exposure is complete, it pops up on the computer screen where you can view it larger and decide where you want to go with it.  Once you've created the image you like you may want to do more with it by editing but you usually shouldn't have to do too much.  

Here are the behind the scenes shots.  First you see the setting I used on The Schwartz.  The next photo shows how I was tethered to my computer and used a corded remote control to press and lock the shutter open until I was done my light painting.  The last photo shows the tools I used.  I attach a snoot to the front of my flashlights for light painting.  It allows me to control how much light is coming out of the flashlight by merely pinching the snoot down.  I only used the white one for this photo.  The metallic looking one that's in the photo I adapted by adding a red gel inside the snoot in case I want to just add some red somewhere.  The brushes are the converted wands and fibre optics with a black shield on them to prevent the wand part from showing up in the photo.  

I hope you try something new yourself and share your experience with the Daytripper Photo Community on Google plus.  That's where we announce our day trips first and it's where anyone can bounce any photographic idea off the group and get useful and thoughtful feedback 24/7!  

Enjoy this BTS story and check out everything Daytripper Photo is up to at www.daytripperphoto.com

The Expo was a hit!

Bryan Weiss

Well, the 2015 Daytripper Photo Expo is complete and was a big success!  

Thank you to everyone who attended and enjoyed the sessions put on by the amazing photo instructors at our inaugural event.

Don Komarechka, Ross Chevalier, Joseph Leduc, Ron Clifford, Gabriel Bousquet, Navy Nhum, Stanislav Yavorskiy, Martin Ingles and I led sessions of all kinds.  From boudoir to macro and everything in between, they offered up inspirational and educational content that has received great reviews and comments.  

We had photo walks, night photography sessions, sensor cleaning, and a whole room setup with Manfrotto tripods, Lastolite and Rogue light modifiers, and we even had visits from Evgeny Tchebotarev, the founder of 500px, and Brent from 3Dr drones!  

With so much going on over two full days, I have to give thanks to the Town of Newmarket and the Community Centre staff for all the help you gave us, all of the volunteers who worked their butts off during the event, and to my wife Shelli King-Weiss who ran the show like clockwork and made sure everything and everyone was well looked after throughout the entire event!  

Thank you once again to everyone and stay tuned for information about what's coming next from Daytripper Photo!  

Photo Expo updates!

Bryan Weiss

September 19th and 20th 2015

Put this date in your calendar because it will be the one photography event you won't want to miss in 2015!  Daytripper Photo has announced that on Sept 19th and 20th, they will be holding a full blown photography expo in Newmarket Ontario!  

They will be taking over all 4 halls of the Newmarket Community Centre and holding photography sessions for 2 full days!  These sessions will be led by some of the top photo educators in the world!

Ross Chevalier - Ron Clifford - Don Komarechka - Navy Nhum - Gabriel Bousquet - Joseph Leduc - Martin Ingles - Bryan Weiss - and Keynote speaker Dave Black!  

With new instructors being posted soon, this will surely be the most comprehensive photography event in Canada!  

There will be more than 40 sessions over Saturday and Sunday not including the photo walks on Saturday and Sunday and evening sessions on both Friday and Saturday nights!  

There will be reps on hand from Nikon and Lenspen to help with lens and sensor cleaning and even lens calibrations!  

If you want to buy your MultiPass, they are available now for only $250.00.  The MultiPass will allow you all access, day or night, any session any time!  

Starting June 1st, day passes will also be available for an earlybird price of only $150.00 per day.  Choose Saturday or Sunday and it's only $150.00 for up to 5 sessions!  That's only 30.00 per session!!  Where else could you sit in on a session by Dave Black for only $30.00!!??

This is a 100% knowledge based event and with sessions on everything from inspiring conversations with Ron Clifford to how to read the light for photography to advanced editing techniques, and so much more!  

There will be something for ANYONE who has an interest in making better photos!  

We are trying to arrange for discounts at local hotels if you want to come to Newmarket for the entire weekend but tickets will be available for day passes or the all access MultiPass!  

Keep checking back to www.daytripperphoto.com for updates and more information!!  

Be inspired by Arcanum Master Ron Clifford!  

Be inspired by Arcanum Master Ron Clifford!  

Key Note Speaker and Sports Illustrated photographer / Kelby instructor Dave Black will be at the Expo!  

Key Note Speaker and Sports Illustrated photographer / Kelby instructor Dave Black will be at the Expo!  

The Snowflake Guy Don Komarechka will be presenting and discussing his amazing photos like this.

The Snowflake Guy Don Komarechka will be presenting and discussing his amazing photos like this.

Happy Holidays from Daytripper Photo

Bryan Weiss

Hi everyone and happy holidays from Daytripper Photo!

With only 2 more episodes of the Daytripper Photo Show remaining this year, I wanted to send a huge thank you to everyone who has tuned in and joined in this year!  

2014 has been a lot of fun and very inspiring to many people who've come on our day trips and listened to our amazing guests on the web show.  But more than that it has inspired us as instructors, hosts, and photographers!  

You all keep us trying new things and (almost) overthinking everything we post and share to the point where nothing ever gets posted!  (How many times do I delete a post because I start to squirrell) and that is what's great about this community.  You challenge me and the rest of the DTP Community.  

I usually don't like singling people out like this but there have been a few key people who have helped keep DTP going throughout the year and I really do want to thank them and wish them the happiest of times over the holiday season.  First of all, my right hand man, Gabriel Bousquet.  Sir, you are a scholar and a gentleman and other things that wouldn't sound like a compliment to Ill leave it alone...  You keep me on track and keep DTP fun.  Your skill will a camera is obvious but its your skill with people that makes the world gravitate to you.  You're an amazing colleague our world of photography but even better than that you're a good friend and I thank you, Trish, and Jayden for all the time you give to DTP!  

To The good Doctor.. Ross Chevalier..  Thank you sir for your guidance and inspiration!  I like to say all the good things I do in the world of photography and sales I learned from two men.  My father and Ross.  I appreciate you more than you know!

I also want to thank Darren Gahan for the years of support he gave to DTP.  I always wanted Darren around because he offers us an honest and true perspective on photography and I was always able to count on him for a differing view... which is a very good thing to have!  Darren, Merry Christmas and happy new year to you!

And of course to our newest co host and long time friend Navy Nhum.  Im so happy you've decided to join the DTP Crew and I can't tell you how excited I am to see some of the creative sessions you create!  The wedding session is truly going to blow peoples minds and that's just the first one!  

And to many of the folks in our community that have amazed and inspired me every time I sign into our community page on G+.  People who've been there from the start like Julie Brocca, Laurie Clouthier, Isabel Kelly, Stephanie Sullivan, Carl Salter, and Blake Zimmerman and so many of our more recent photography lovers like Fred Ede,  Michelle Scott, and Robert Schindelheim... Just to name a few!  There are so many others who have come on day trips or dealt with me at Henry's Camera and if you've dealt with me, you know how much I appreciate you.  

Thank you for a great 2014 and I wish you all happiness and health for the holidays!   

Bryan -

It's starting to feel a lot like christmas.

Gabriel Bousquet

OK, maybe not when you look out the window, but this is the time companies are starting to gear up for the gift giving season and if you are looking to bring your photography to the next level, you should be as well. 

I’m not talking about a new lens or a shiny new camera, I’m talking about gift certificates. Yup, gift certificates. Don’t think I didn’t see your face screw up when you read that, but I’m not talking about 20.00 gift certificates to Target, I’m talking about YOUR gift certificates. 

What were the best presents you ever received from anyone? Something personal. Not another knickknack that sits on a shelf, or slippers or a scarf (although I do appreciate a good scarf). What were the best gifts you gave your parents? Something you made yourself. Something they could see you put yourself into. 

Everyone loves pictures of their kids or their kids and their friends on the wall. 

Everyone loves pictures of their kids or their kids and their friends on the wall. 

Now you’re all grown up (physically at least) and you’re a photographer. Just the fact that you're on a Photography website reading a photography article shows you like it more than the average bear. So give your gift as a gift! What do gift certificates do? They allow you to give yourself to your friends and family, and better yet, it allows them to give you away as well. 

As I said in the last paragraph, they can be used in two ways. They can be amazing gifts that you share with friends and family. A certificate for a portrait session or family shoot is personal, fun and will remind them of you everytime they walk past it on their wall. Additionally, by offering gift certificates it allows your friends to share you with others and you get money for it. Money that can be used to pay for all the shiny gear you already have or to get that new lens you and Bryan have been talking about for months. If you’re not at that point yet, great, keep them to friends and family, but know at some point they are going to want to share your awesomeness with others. They can’t help it, you’re that good! 

A quick visit to the local park makes for a wonderful family portrait. 

A quick visit to the local park makes for a wonderful family portrait. 

They are a great way to get people in front of your lens to build your portfolio. You can play and laugh and get to know an entirely new side of your friend. Bring out the wine and make an evening out of it. They aren’t feeling pressured because it’s not costing them money and you’re relaxed because it’s a friend. Then you can branch out to friends of friends, then strangers (or as I call them, friends you haven’t met yet) all from a few gift certificates. 

What you offer will be different for all of you, but if you are doing it for friends and family, I always recommend including at least one print. Something they can hang on their wall. Something that will remind them of you. Digital images are great, but they get lost in digital albums and Facebook feeds. Give them something they can hold. 

Give them a family moment they can't get on their own. 

Give them a family moment they can't get on their own. 

Now that I have totally talked you into doing it, I guess I should tell you how to do it. Unfortunately, I can’t. These have to be yours. You’re creative, make it unique. If it’s going to be for christmas, buy them a really cheap pair of gloves (I mean like gas station cheap) and put the certificate between them. See the look of disappointment, then delight when they see the actual gift. I’ve seen people do video certificates where they make a cute video, upload it to YouTube then send their friend the link with the standard “Must watch, sooooo cute”. Or take an old family portrait taken when they were kids and write on the back “time for an update don’t ya think?”. There are a million fun ways to do it. 

If they are going to be sold, you might want to stick with something more traditional, but remember to sweat the small stuff. The font and paper stock are all things I obsess about as they speak volumes about the company and quality of the product. Use a font that reflects your style. Use a thicker stock that will feel nice in their hands. Their experience of your company starts here, start off on the right foot. 

So, now is the time to start thinking about Christmas. Not snow or scraping the ice off the car, or shoveling driveway, but christmas giving. Get a headstart and allow yourself time to be creative.

PS. Don't forget, DayTripper offers wonderfully useful gift certificates as well :-) 

The best camera is the one you have on you... FALSE!!

Gabriel Bousquet

It has often been said (sometimes even by me) that the best camera is the one you have on you. Unfortunately as photographers we know that’s not true, the best camera, is your best camera.

This dawned on me tonight as I received a phone call from a friend. He was out driving on his farm with his kids and became stuck in the mud. He asked me to go get his other truck to pull him out.

I grabbed my keys, wallet and ran out the door but not before looking at my 5DMKIII sitting on my desk. For some stupid reason I decided to leave it there. I love my Nexus5 phone and have made some great images with it so I figured if a picture came up, I would just use that. Big mistake.

So there I was driving through the rough trail that has been cut through the corn field. The corn is higher than the Full Duty diesel pickup truck. The sun is setting and the headlights are lighting up both sides of the corn. I am struck by the beautiful image in front of me. I pulled out my trusty Nexus 5 and took this picture:

Aweful! Later when I got to his truck I snapped this one:

And this was using the HDR functionality.

I’m reminded of an image I took at the drive-in with my 5DMKIII

Look at the clarity, the beautiful ambient colors, the range. Now scroll back up and look that the first two images and weep. My best camera was NOT the camera I had on me, my best camera was the one I left behind, and as a photographer I resolve to not do that again. The best camera, is your best camera and as a photographer it’s up to you to make sure you have it with you.

Now don't get me wrong, I love some of the fun things I can do with my camera phone. I can do special effects with amazing ease. From quick and powerful edits to make bad pictures look… less bad, to fun effects. They are great tools. But they are not your best camera.

When I was walking through our recently purchased house I turned on the photosphere feature and made 360 interactive panoramas better than anything I have seen on MLS in just a couple of minutes without any software. It is truly mind blowing, but I can do the same thing with my 5D and just upload the images and Gooogle+ will put them into a 360 pano for me at higher resolution and quality for me.

All these apps and effects are great fun, but they are attached to our worst camera.

The best camera is your best camera and if you care about getting the shot, make sure you always have that camera on you.

Thanks for reading through what is mainly just a personal rant about my frustration with myself, but I hope it serves as a reminder. If I had my “best” camera with me tonight I could have made an image worthy of being printed and hanging on a wall, instead I am left with a grainy mess worthy only of a rant post.

I am haunted by the images I could have made, but didn’t.

 

 

Note: The second image in that gallery was not my image, it was taken by the great and talented Colby Brown.

Move!!

Gabriel Bousquet

If you have listened to our show or attended our sessions you may have heard us say this before. A picture is interesting for many reasons: content, lighting, vision, story but also perspective.

Here are two pictures of ducks.

What picture is more interesting? Why?

How about these fireworks pictures.

Again, why was one more interesting than the other? The perspective of the shot. The photographer didn’t just walk up to the scene, lift the camera and snap a picture, they went out of their way to get up high, or down low and really get a unique perspective of the scene.

After months of study and research I have determined the problem. Moving is harder than standing still. Yup, I cracked the code ladies and gentlemen. But if life has taught me anything, it’s that every problem has a simple and easily implemented solution.

Here are some simple and easily implemented solutions I have come up with to help solve the “move” conundrum.

1) Don't allow yourself to take the same picture more than three times. All too often I used to walk up to a beautiful scene, snap 32 pictures (I like to overshoot) get home and realize I literally have 32 of the same picture. Now I have a rule that I never take the same image more than three times. After three clicks I have to try something different, from a different angle. This gets me moving around, up down sideways. HDR, polarizer, long exposure, you name it. Try everything.

2) Knee pads. I love the pictures my 5 year old takes because they show the world from a different perspective (about three feet lower than mine). Images from this angle are very popular at weddings, childrens birthday parties and even for landscapes. Seeing anything from a different height adds interest and allure to an image. I find knee pads are a great way to get down to this angle and experiment for longer without discomfort.

3) Get over it! Yes you may get dirty, yes you might look silly laying on the ground while others walk around you, but the shot is always worth it.

4) Don't use a tripod. Scott Kelby always warns of the dangers of tripod use. People go to a location, set up their tripod and 30 minutes later they're in the exact same spot. If you are going to use a tripod, use the three shot rule.

5) I don't have a number five, but lists always look better when there are five items in them soooooo, this is awkward.

I hope this has given you a couple tips on how to get some new perspectives with your shots. Please feel free to share any tips you may have come up with that helps you overcome the “move” issue. Also, please share any images that you create having finally “moved”.

 

Lightroom's magical "what if" button.

Gabriel Bousquet

There are many wonderful features in Lightroom that don’t get used to their full potential. Today we are going to focus on the “what if” button. This magical and often underutilized button can help you explore new avenues and styles of your photography with just a couple simple clicks.

So, what is the “What If” button you ask? It’s also known as “create virtual copy”.

Fig 1 -  Click on image to expand. 

This simple button allows you to try multiple versions of a single image without hassle or confusion. Some images scream for experimentation. Will it look better in black and white, high key or with selective color? What if you could see an example of all versions and pick your favorite.

Fig 2 - Click on image to expand. 

Boring Technical Details: 

You: But Gabriel, how do I make a virtual copy? 

Me: Great question and I'm glad you asked it. There are a few ways but here are the easiest.

  1. 1) Right click on the image you would like to make a virtual copy of. From the menu that shows up, click on  "Create Virtual Copy" as seen in Fig 1. 
  2. 2) Make sure the image you want to make a virtual copy of is selected, then click on "Photo" in the top menu and then click on "Create Virtual Copy". 
  3. 3) Make sure the image you want to make a virtual copy of is selected, then press the CTRL button and the ' button at the sametime. 

You: But Gabriel, how will I know what ones are the virtual copies?

Me: Man, you are full of good questions today! Each virtual image will have a slight "page turn" effect added to the bottom left corner seen in Fig 3. 

Fig 3 - Click on image to expand. 

Homework:

You: Gabriel! This is awesome! But I'm pretty set in my ways, I'm not sure if I will start using this, what can I do to make sure I start using it? 

Me: Good question. Here is one idea. Go back and find one image in the past that you have made and make three to five different virtual copies of it and play with them. Try different treatments, crops or styles. Feel free to post all versions on the Google+ page to show off your amazing creations. 

Next, the next time you're out shooting, take an image with the intention of making many different versions. The more you play with it, the more you will remember to use it. 

This has been an incredibly useful and powerful tool in my Lightroom arsenal, I hope it helps you as well. 

You know what they say about opinions......

Bryan Weiss

So here's another one!  

 

As you may or may not know, I work full time at Henry's Camera in Newmarket and I hear a lot of opinions on what is the right this or the perfect that...  And then I see someone else with something MORE perfect... or even better at this....  But if you get that, it will surely be perfect at.....

 I think you get the point I'm trying to make here.  Ultimately its experience that will determine what is right or wrong for YOU.  

This applies to anything in life from products to general philosophies on photography.  

A lot of how I feel about certain things is based on the experiences I've had with friends and colleagues and how their opinions have coloured my own.   We've all done it!  It doesnt mean Im a follower or a leader it just means that when I don't have experience with something and I rely on someone to help me with their own experience, I have to trust until I can verify.  That is where age and experience is really beneficial.  

Many of my friends have been professional photographers for 30-40 years and Im a relative newb with less than 10 years under my belt so of course I want to learn from them, I want to 'eat their brains and gain their knowledge' so to speak.  So when I learn something from them, until I can put it into practice and truly know if its right to me, I have to trust.  

Well, lately there have been some debates swirling around on what best for everyone.  RAW v JPEG, Push to the right, lenses don't influence depth of field, and many other things that I learned a certain way and has been proven to be both right and .. not ... right.  

One thing I always strive for Daytripper Photo is that we tell you what we know to be fact, give you inspiration and the locations to make great photos and plant the proverbial seed of knowledge in our community members.   Then, as time goes on, as you feed it that seed will grow.  With this seed,  you should be able to take your photography anywhere you want!   

As a photographer, there is always something new to learn and we'd be fools to think we know it all already so I have always kept an open mind and learned a long time ago that I should never say never!  As soon as I KNOW that Im right, I will most likely be proven wrong to someone.  

So what do we do about all of this?!  Here's my thought.  THINK FOR YOURSELF.  And experiment!  Build up your own database of experience and trust but verify anything that seems hinky or not quite right.  

If you want to shoot JPEG will your photos still be good?   OF COURSE!  

If you shoot RAW do you need to edit them?  YES!

Do you like my HDR photo?   NO!   But I made the same kind of HDR's when I started and through years of experience, I can now show you how to control the technique. (see the photo posted with this post.  An example of HDR the way I like it.. doesn't mean you have to like it!)  

Should you push to the right?  Well, if you want more data to work with in post, YES!  

However, maybe you are shooting star trails?  Or light painting....  Get the point?  

You have to learn enough about photography so that you can draw from your database of experience and know what is the right... sorry, the perfect thing for you.  

Is the Nikon 28-300 awesome?  YES!  But it's heavy and expensive so maybe the Sigma 18-250 is the better choice for you?   See?  

The world should never be so black and white.... unless you're Ansel Adams and then it should be.  And thats that.  

Id like to say that this is my 2 cents but due to the cancelling of the penny, it'll have to be a nickel.  

 

Focus

Gabriel Bousquet

On our last show we had the good fortune of having the wonderful and talented Ron Clifford. He  spoke very passionately on a topic that has been coming up more and more in my life recently as well, focus. In this ever changing world we as photographers find ourselves torn in many different directions. From Facebook to Google+ to 500px to Instagram and on and on it goes. So we decide to hop on our computer to edit some images, or write an article, but wait, that little red number in the corner tells me there is something to look at on Google+. There goes 20 minutes. Well, I can’t look at Google+ and not Facebook… there goes 15 minutes. While scrolling Google+ you see a nice picture from 500px and click on it… 30 minutes gone. It’s now been over an hour and you haven’t done a single thing.

At Daytripper photo we know the above scenario all too well. We call it squirreling (If you have ever seen the movie UP you will know what that means).

Ron had the great advice of leaving the computer at home and bringing nothing but a notepad. Great idea, not going to work for me, so I had to find a way to stay focused while still using the tools that help my creativity grow, my laptop.

Here are some great tips I came up with. I hope they can help you as much as they helped me! 

What you'll need

- Chrome Browser HERE

- StayFocusd browser add on. HERE

- Youtube or Focus@Will Account.

- Headphones

Chrome:

Chrome because it’s awesome, but also because you can install the “Stay Focusd” browser extension. What does it do? It removes access to all websites except specific sites you set up in your whitelist.  You can set how long to block all the sites so if you want to sit down for 45 minutes and focus, set the timer and enjoy the quiet. You can also set nuclear mode meaning you can’t turn it off until the timer runs out, no matter what. I have never used that mode, I’m not ready for that type of commitment.

YouTube or Focus @ Will:

These are two services I use a lot. Go to YouTube and search for “Relaxing Music” and you will find many three hour tracks of waves crashing on the shore, or a roaring fireplace or just classical music. We often put these on the TV during dinner to help relax us after our busy days. Nothing like the sound of California waves crashing on a beach during sunrise to wash the day away.

If you want something with a little higher production value, focus@will is amazing. To take the words from their own site:

Do you like to listen to music while you work?

  • Check out our neuroscience based music channels!

  • Increase attention span up to 400%

  • Effortlessly zone out distractions

There is a paid version, but the free account gives you an hour long track of Classical, Ambient, Water, White Noise and other sounds and music proven to help with concentration and focus.

Headphones:

To listen to the music silly!

I recommend Google Docs for writing as your documents are save letter for letter as you type so you don’t have to worry about being 55 minutes into a writing session and having Word crash and lose everything for you.

I hope this has helped give you some ideas and resources for focusing.


If you have any tips of your own, we would love to hear them.


Inspiration... or lack thereof.

Bryan Weiss

This is a photo taken on the Daytripper Photo Fire on Ice day trip.

This is a photo taken on the Daytripper Photo Fire on Ice day trip.

Inspiration...  or lack thereof.  

We all have our ups and downs and man, those downs really suck.  

We have had one of the coldest, snowiest, and longest winters I can remember.  It started early and just wont quit!  

This alone is enough to drive people mad.
  
With photography, we need to see something or think or an idea that makes us go.. YES! THATS IT... and then we have to have the time, the gear, and the luck to make it all develop into an amazing photograph. 

One thing I find myself saying on a daily basis is "Don't put unrealistic expectations on yourself and don't beat yourself up in those moments of doubt or frustration".  Put your stuff away and go back to it when you have a fresh view.  If you don't 'feel it' or can't see the results you are hoping for.  Bounce some ideas off of friends or community members and see what you get back.  Someone's lack of inspiration plus your frustration just may equal a brilliant idea!

When you don't have the time or the desire to even look at your camera... give yourself the  permission to not need to shoot!  
It'll still be there waiting when you get a call from a friend to go to Hamilton and shoot in an insane asylum!  Or Shoot some cool wrestling shots.. or even shoot a movie festival?!  

Sometimes, when I cant think of something to shoot, Ill look down at Mr Snaps or The Schwartz and give them a wink.  I know they are ready when I need them, I know they will always be there if I come up with a great idea or place to shoot epic photos.  I know that when Im ready, I have the tools I need to make something great. 

Its like being single... you can never find mr or mrs right until you stop looking.  

Have confidence that you know how to use your camera.  Practise as often as you can... I even play the EXIF game.  Look at photos and try and guess the settings..  Keep building your database.  Then, when the time opens up, the snow melts away, your inspiration comes back, you will be ready to make those amazing photos you know you can make!  

 

Chin up little campers, its going to be an amazing summer of fun and photography and Daytripper Photo will be leading the way into your epic photography dreams! 

 

Three things to think about before you press that shutter.

Gabriel Bousquet

IMG_1251-Edit.jpg

One of the "myths" photographers like to spout while being nostalgic about film is that it "slowed us down and made us think about what we were shooting". This was a handicap, not a feature. This was because it took days for the image to come up in the "viewfinder". 

Weather you run and gun or take your time is up to you, not what equipment you use. That being said, our new found freedom allows for a new level of speed never before seen in this industry. It's tempting to snap an image and walk away but as it has been said by those much smarter than I "there is a huge difference between taking an image and making an image." 

Here are three things you can ask yourself before you press that button that can help take your photography to the next level. 


1) Why? 

There is nothing worse then a sharp image of a fuzzy concept - Ansel Adams 

Why are you taking this image. What story are you trying to tell, what message are you trying to convey. Could you get it better from a different angle? Are you rushing the image and fuzzying the message? 


2) Are you seeing everything? 

I know this has happened to me more than once. Everything looks perfect when I'm shooting then I get home and see a telephone pole coming out of their head. We tend to get tunnel vision and forget to look behind and around what we're shooting. 


3) How can you add the 5%. 

There is a difference between a picture that looks nice and a picture that absolutely blows you away. That difference can be as simple as waiting five minutes for the perfect light or adding a flash in the right spot or adding smoke to the background. 


Shoot the moon! April 15 2014

Bryan Weiss

Be prepared for the lunar eclipse April 15th!

This may be a great opportunity to make some amazing photos!

eclipse final.jpg

We have helped many people make sharp, clear photos of the moon so I expect many of you may already know how to do this.  FAST shutter speed and around f8 with a low ISO is a good starting point.

But what you may not remember is that as the moon starts to darken, your settings will need to be modified for each photo!  

Use a tripod and a remote control so you can keep the camera steady as you shoot.  Remember to make sure you keep your focus points on the moon itself (it moves... FAST) and refocus before each photo.  Using manual focus can also help you with this!

Have fun, stay warm, and make some amazing photos!