Archive for the ‘Tips and Techniques’ Category

Michael Orton

Monday, July 25th, 2011
Michael Orton Technique

Compound camera motion while changing focus


Michael Orton has to be one of the most creative individuals that I know. Now while, everyone knows him as the creator of the “Orton Effect”, his creativity goes far beyond that! Last year he sent me a couple CD’s of music….his music, all of which he had composed and performed using a multi-track recording. He used a synthesizer (drums, strings, piano, horns, etc ) along with him playing an acoustic and electric guiter. On several of the tracks he also sang. I was pretty impressed.
In recent conversations with Michael he has been telling me about his “new” passion of working with camera motion (which he had used many times over the years), but not like this. He was now using compound movements, at times changing focus and focal length during the exposure as well. The blending of light and colours that was resulting is quite simply amazing. They are more visually exciting that any Orton imagery from years gone by.
Last week I received an email from Michael Orton, letting me know he had launched his redesigned web site. Be sure to watch the Slideshow presentations in which he combines his musical and photographic talent. The presentation “Earth Symphony” features the “Orton Effect” as it evolved and his latest work, “Freedom”.  They are just incredible!!!!!
Michael Orton Techique

Compound motion while changing focal length

Tip #3 Photographing the Moon

Sunday, March 20th, 2011
Photographing the Moon

Photographing the Moon

The full moon this weekend (the full moon was actually last night) will be the biggest in about 20 years, but if you try photographing it with anything shorter than a 300mm lens it is still going to look small. The technique of photographing the moon is pretty simple. For exposure use the sunny F/16 rule, since the moon is being lit by direct sunlight, it doesn’t matter that you are in total dark of the night – the moon isn’t.  So if your  ISO is set to 200, the exposure should be 1/200s and f/16, set your camera to manual exposure for this. I would suggest bracketing the exposure a stop/shutter speed.

Use a tripod and cable release in order to get the sharpest possible picture. You will probably find that you will have to continually reposition your camera/tripod as the moon “races” across the sky. Depending on your camera make/model you may have to switch off the autofocus and manually focus the lens, if it is having trouble focusing as it searches back and forth for something to lock the focus on.

Good luck and hopefully you will have clear skies!

Tip #2 – Winter Photography

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
Winter Photography Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Photo Tips #2


I received an email after last week’s tip. And with the freezing temperatures that we’ve been experiencing, I thought I should include it in this week’s tip.  “How do you know when you put your camera in your camera bag without putting the camera and lenses in Ziploc bags that condensation isn’t forming on everything?” Well, that is sort of like asking, does the light stay on in the refrigerator when the door is closed? You don’t really know for sure!

Basically condensation forms when warm moist air meets any cold surface. If your equipment is in the camera bag, the only possible place that warm air can enter is through the zipper. If you think that the zipper is letting too much warm air through and you don’t want to put all of your equipment in individual Ziploc bags there is still an easy way to insulate your equipment from the warmer air. Simply put your entire camera bag with all of your equipment in a large garbage bag and tie it up. Just make sure that everyone in the house, particularly the person who takes the garbage out knows that your equipment is in that garbage bag!

When I get back home I don’t want to wait several hours for the entire camera bag to warm up so I can get to the memory cards to download my pictures. So what I do is, before packing up my equipment outside, I will take the card out of the camera and any other cards that I’ve shot and put them inside a small Ziploc bag.  The card(s) will warm up within half an hour, so I can get working on my pictures as soon as I’ve thawed out too!

Have you ever tried using your tripod in deep snow? If you try using the same method that you use for the rest of the year, of spreading the legs as far as they can go and then putting it down, you’ll find that it only will go into the snow a few inches deep (several centimetres) and it won’t go any further. If you try pushing it any further into the snow, you will bend and warp the legs – ruining your tripod. Also with your tripod sitting on top of the snow and isn’t very stable or sturdy. The trick to using your tripod in these conditions is the spread legs a couple of inches short of being fully extended. Then as you put the legs into the snow the snow will “push” the legs open and the tripod will go deeper into the snow and will be very sturdy.

If you have been using your tripod in or around water or in wet snow, don’t collapse the legs until they are completely dry. If the temperature drops you might not be able to get them open again in below freezing temperatures. (Think about kids sticking their tongues to metal posts) Normally while I’m shooting I leave the legs fully extended to avoid this problem. If I am going to be in and out of the car shooting at different locations I dry off the legs with a small towel that I keep in the car for that purpose. That way when I get to the next shooting location the legs don’t freeze up.

The last tip about tripods is to wrap the first section with foam pipe insulation or specially designed tripod leg wraps. This isn’t to keep them warm but to act as insulation between your hands and the cold metal and keeping you warm(er).

And finally, if you are out shooting in extreme cold weather, the LCD on your camera might stop working. Don’t panic, as soon as your camera warms up it will come back to life!

Tip #1 – Winter Photography

Monday, January 17th, 2011
Winter Weather Photo Tips

Winter Weather Photo Tips #1


Here is my cold weather winter photography tip – Stay inside or head South! (I really hate the cold weather) Now, if you put your camera away right after the last of the fall colours, then there is no need to read any further. Stay inside your house until May.

But if you do want to venture out into that bitterly cold freezing winter weather, here’s a tip that might help…..your camera but not you!  If you wear glasses or know someone that does, you already know this one. As soon as you come inside from the cold weather your glasses fog up immediately with condensation. Same thing happens to your camera, which is Okay for the glass optics but it’s not very good for the electronics and the mechanical parts of the lens and camera.

When you head outside you don’t have to worry about condensation forming on your camera, that only happens when you bring the camera in.  The best thing to do is to let your camera/lens get cold and keep it cold.  Once the camera is cold and if it is snowing then the snow won’t melt as it falls on your camera. However if you do get snowflakes building up on the front of your lens or on your camera don’t try to blow the snow off like you are blowing out birthday candles. If you do, you will just melt some of it and fog up the lens and viewfinder and end up in a real mess. Simply brush away as much snow as you can with your glove, also a Hurricane Blower works well in removing snow as it is only blowing cold air.  One thing you don’t want to do is to try and warm up the camera by keeping it next to you inside your jacket. That is just going to create condensation, and then every time you take the camera out to take a picture and then put it back in to warm it up again you are just getting more and more condensation each time, that’s bad!

Make you sure you start the day off with fully charged camera battery(s).  The cold will reduce a battery’s performance, whether it’s your car’s or camera’s battery.  Bring along a spare battery (for your camera…. not your car) and keep it warm inside your jacket. Then you can switch or rotate between the batteries from time to time, which gives you more time to stay out in the cold.

When it’s time to come back in, is when you have to worry about that condensation I mentioned earlier. What I do, is put everything in my camera bag (Lowepro Fastpack 250) zip it up tight and bring it in the house/car and let it warm up for several hours before opening it. If your camera bag has foam padding then this technique should work for you. If not, then you will have to put your lenses and cameras and everything else in individually sealed Ziploc plastic bags and then put these in your camera bag.  Bring everything inside and let it warm up slowly, just like your toes and fingers.


New Blog Series – Tips and Techniques

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

I will be starting a new blog series next week with tutorials and tips. My goal for this series is to help you make better pictures, technically and creatively.  The topics that I will try to cover will range from technical  how-tos to tip-oriented articles, basics and advanced techniques.

I will also be answering a few of your questions, so if you have any – NOW  is the time to ASK!  In the meantime if you are looking for any answers try here about  “ASK GARRY” , it’s  a section on my web site I started years ago, many years ago. There you will find some of the answers to questions that I have received from other photographers, ranging from which camera to buy to starting a career in photography.