The Best Thing You Can Do in 2014

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So often we obsess about taking the next great photo that we forget about some of the basics.  Its great to be constantly looking forward to implement new skills but today I’m going to advocate that you stop…and wonder what happens when that hard drive you’ve been using for the last 5 years develops the least little bit of wobble and computer parts crash into each other.  Of course hard drive failures aren’t going to injure anyone (at least I didn’t think they could) but imagine if you lost all your images and videos.  Don’t think that backing up your data is only for professionals, the blurry pictures that you take on your smartphone are capturing a moment in time that you’ll never get back.  Let’s dive into the exciting world of data backup…stay with me casual photogs…this isn’t a boring as you think.

I forget where I read this (I think it was from Leo Laporte’s TWIT network, http://www.twit.tv) but a simple backup philosophy involves the idea that a file does not exist unless it is stored in 3 places.

Let me explain.

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Its time for the December 2012 Upload!

I guess I’ve preached too much to the ‘net about not writing blog entries that include being too busy…but I’m going to break that rule and say its been a crazy 3 months since I last posted.  Add a second child into the mix (we’re blessed with a second daughter in September), a career transition to financial planning from engineering including exams and a whole pile of meetings, travelling and blah blah blah…you get the point.  Its fine time we added a few new photos to the mother site, www.finnerphotography.com  and reconnect with my tens of fans!

I haven’t changed the focus of the blog – my mission is to still share the ups and downs of being a landscape photographer and some technical breakdown of the ‘keepers’ that make the website.  I know its been a while since I’ve shot anything when my wife tells me that its time to get out and shoot….

The sunset has almost completed its annual shift toward a southerly sunset along the beach so it should make for some interesting compositions.  We’ll see what I can find over the next month instead of just a sore throat….but on with the show!

Here are the latest keepers for the main site:

1) Sun Valley

If you’re serious about becoming a better photographer, you’ve probably read some of the works of Rick Sammon.  Rick is one of the most affable teachers you’re going to find that truly wears his heart on his sleeve.  Rick has been dubbed the ‘Godfather’ of photography and has published numerous books and apps.  Check out Rick at www.ricksammon.com.

One of Rick’s main teaching themes is that instead of taking good photographs, you should create great photographs….which brings me to the creation of this photo.  While I was shooting….some guy who looked just like me took a pail of water and completely wet the rocks in the foreground which completely showed the sunlight in the reflections…awesome!  Other points to note about this shot are the horizon is not dead centre, the slower shutter speed provides for some motion blur of the waves and I closed down the aperture to f25 for the star burst on the sun.

Shot with a Canon 50D, 10-22mm wide angle lens, ISO 100, f25, 1/4s.

LurganBeach8-10thSunset_ 2012-07-09_21-08-21_©JasonFinner_2012

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The September SuperSmashingGreat Upload!

Greetings, Hola and Bienvenue!

Its that time again for the mid month upload for the month of September.  I recently read some advice that all bloggers should not mention how busy you are.  We’re all busy so stop making excuses…except this time I’ve got a real doozy for you.  My second daughter was born on Sept 5 so needless to say its been a bit of a dust up at home for everyone and the 50mm f 1.4 Canon prime lens is back into heavy rotation for all those kid shots.  It really doesn’t hurt to hone your chops doing something else for a while and I’m the photographer-elect in my house (although my wife takes a fine picture without the 27 point bullet list that I have floating in my head for what I have to remember for a good photo!).
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This month’s upload has some variation from my usual work.  The style that I like is quite easy to see from previous blog posts; I don’t usually take shots with people or machines etc or of smaller ‘scapes (unless its a family photo!).  I like the large landscape photography shots and the larger the vista the better…but as I mentioned above, you need to depart from your usual style for a while (and leave it temporarily before you get bored) and you’ll come back to it with new perspectives.
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“On with the show this is it!” (as Bugs Bunny says…):
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1) Harvest
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My father-in-law is a career farmer and this shot is from their back yard in Port Albert as they worked their usual magic with the combine.  This shot uses depth of field to focus on the wheat which is going to meet its next stage of life.  You’ll notice that parts of this photograph are in focus/others are not which is only possible when you get into the manual modes of the camera.  I spend about 90% of my time in the Aperture priority mode (Av for Canon shooters) so I can set the aperture manually and the camera will calculate the shutter speed for me.  In this case, the aperture is set to f4 which is the lowest aperture or ‘wide open’ setting.  The odd thing that you’ll have to get used to is the lower the Aperture number, the more wide open the lens will be.  The closer you are to your focal point with the camera lens wide open, the more exaggerated the blur will be.  As a point of reference, the higher the aperture number, say f22, the more the field would have had a greater depth of field and the lens opening would physically be smaller (which is a really fancy way of saying more of the photo would be in focus).
The second part of this photograph that we can learn from is the ‘half press’ technique.  Half press of the shutter button will allow the camera to focus on a certain part of the picture and if you keep holding  down the ‘half press’, then you can recompose so that your focus is not always in the centre.  The only way to do this is to manually set the focus point (in this case the center focus point in the camera).
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 Inevitably, some people will have wanted everything in focus for this shot, especially the combine, but the only way to take your photography from snap shots to photographs is to tell a story and this story is about the crop that is about to be harvested.  Let me know what you think.
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I think Perez Hilton would be proud of my notes I made on this page!
A minor point to be made is that the leading lines don’t lead to the main subject (the wheat) but I think the leading lines still work so that your eye follows to the combine and back down the left side of the photo to see what the combine will do next (in this case the wheat that is in focus).
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Shot with a Canon 50D, 24-105 f4 IS lens, f4.0, 1/400s, handheld
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August SuperFabPhotofest Update

Good day everyone,

Its the middle of August so its time for some new images uploaded to the main site, www.finnerphotography.com for sale.  As usual, clicking on either Current Images for Sale or Photo Archive will provide different albums to browse.

We have 3 images that have been uploaded with 1 that has been featured on the blog.  Here are the current show dogs!  Cue the music (and the clowns…)!

1) Irish Coast – this photo was taken on a trip to Ireland pre-kids.  This was shot back in the day when I had a Canon Rebel XTi which goes to show that camera bodies <$1000 can take great images.  The lens was the 24-105 f4 L IS lens which is a beauty and my everyday workhorse.  Thankfully this lens has image stabilization since this body lacked Auto ISO and it was definitely taken during a very steep learning curve of learning how to shoot without auto modes.   Photogs will laugh when I tell you that the shot was taken at f11 (that’s fine) but at 1/6 of a second handheld…not exactly the fastest shutter speed for sharp photos but this one worked out due to the IS on the lens…who said that tech didn’t matter!?!  This image was converted using SilverEfex Pro 2 (Nik Effects software suite) and I especially like the grain that was added.

This photo is currently for sale in the Victoria Park Art Gallery in Kincardine in the 12×18 photo size (18×24 black frame/white mat).

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July Photo Upload!

Hello everyone,

Its that fun time again where I upload a couple of the best photos I’ve taken lately (and sometimes we crack open the vault and post something from the past.).  I’ve been shooting more lately and its funny how much one can fine tune both their field and post-processing work flow by putting your nose to the grindstone.  Before we get into the monthly upload, I should mention a few photographers that I have been either studying or reviewing their instructional work.  Let’s it pay it forward shall we?

1) Aaron Pryor – Aaron is from Australia and I stumbled upon his work on Flickr.  Check him out here and here.

2) Ian Plant – Ian has a great interview with Tamron on YouTube here.  Also, check out his main site here.  I’ve purchased some of his e-books and they’re a great resource for landscape photography.

Now, on with the show…

1&2) 10th Concession Sunsets

I tried out a new location between 8th Concession and 10th Concession along Boiler Beach.  Lately the sunsets have been average for clouds (except last night which I missed…) which usually means there better be decent light in the water or the picture just won’t sing.  This was shot with a Canon 50D, Manfrotto Tripod, Canon 10-22mm lens.  I bracketed this shot at -2 for exposure in case I wanted to do HDR but it looks fine as is.

ISO 100, f11, 1/15s

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June Landscape Photography Upload

Let’s take a closer look at the June ‘cream of the crop’ shall we?  Shooting lately has been non-existent…check out my previous blog to know why.  One landscape shooter that I follow is Mr. Dan Jurak (heavy on the Mr. since I don’t know him) and he is a landscape photographer and former fashion photographer from the Edmonton area that doesn’t stress when there are gaps in the shooting schedule.  He notes (and I agree completely) that taking a break can refill the batteries and give some more perspective on your personal projects.  You can check out Dan’s photography blog here.

We missed the May photo upload so I thought rather than post on the 15th of the month, we better get to it!

1) The Erie Belle Boiler – Boiler Beach Road, Kincardine

The Erie Belle was a steamship called upon to help out a schooner that had blown ashore after it overshot the Kincardine Harbour.  During its time trying to pull out the schooner, it blew up and the last remnant is the boiler from the steam ship.  The ice has moved the boiler to the beach over the years.  More information about Erie Belle found here.  The Erie Belle is a great restaurant in Kincardine, especially for fish and chips.

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April Photo Upload – www.finnerphotography.com

Well, its that time again for some more photos that have made the cut.  I’ve picked 3 photos that are my current favourites.  Shooting has been non-existent lately with some nasty viruses making their rounds and our house hasn’t been spared.  There has also been plenty of high wind which sometimes makes for cool shooting conditions but I’m looking at shooting more panoramas lately so still conditions would be ideal.

It was quite exciting when the courier showed up from B&H Photo Video earlier last week.  The order wasn’t too crazy especially with numerous camera bodies that have been released by both Canon and Nikon lately…..I ordered 2 new batteries for my Canon 50D since I’m constantly shooting in live view which is a heavy battery drain.  I had 2 older batteries; one was the original and the other was at least 2 years old and they were constantly drained after each shoot (or sometimes ending the shoot earlier that I’d have liked).  The other item that I ordered was a GorrillaPod tripod.  I’ve had my eye on the Gorillapod for a while since it will come in very handy as a lightweight travel tripod that will easily fit in a suitcase.  I see this working mostly with my Canon 300HS point and shoot but I bought the SLR model for any travel shots.

As a Canadian, why did I order from B&H out of the US?  The choice is obvious when camera retailers in Canada sell both the battery and the tripod at twice the price.  The dollar is at par between Canada and the US so why is there a significant price difference?  If the retailers are adding a reasonable markup, then they need to seriously ask the camera companies why there is such a price difference?  Price differences like this will drive customers away.  Anyway, enough about gear, lets talk about images.

1) Kincardine Pier

I like this photo since it shows the remnants of an old pier and the current pier at Station Beach.  This was shot with the 50D, 10-22mm wide angle and Manfrotto Tripod.  ISO 100, f4.5, 1/5s.

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March Photos Uploaded

Since its the middle of the month, its time for a new upload of landscape images for sale.  This month’s crop are an exciting mix of some of my favourites mixed with some recent photos from earlier blog posts.  I haven’t spend a lot of time in the field lately; sometimes life takes over a bit but nonetheless, the weather in Bruce County lately has been fantastic so we should be able to see more sun and less overcast at sunset.  There’s a rumour right now that National Geographic may be doing a feature on the sunsets we get on the shores of Lake Huron (nudge nudge wink wink…check out my website National Geographic!  I’m available for hire!).

Anyway, I hope you can take some time and check out the latest round of images.  Full size images are available to view at http://www.finnerphotography.com or click on Current Photos For Sale on the banner.

1) Kincardine Sunset at the Pier

This photo was taken with a tripod and my Canon 10-22mm wide-angle lens.  I had been shooting earlier at a different location with HDR in mind so this photo was shot with a -2 Exposure Compensation.  I thought this image was fine without the HDR processing and continually I’m finding sunset photos work best under exposed.  ISO 100, f4.5, 1/8s.

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