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All my print work is fulfilled through Bay Photo in Scotts Valley, CA. When you order through this website, the order is placed direct to Bay Photo, custom printed just for you, and then shipped directly to your address.
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I currently use a full-frame DSLR Nikon D750 as my primary camera. My three lenses are all Nikon as well: a very wide angle 14-24mm f2.8; an all around zoom 24-120mm VR f4; and a long telephoto 200-500mm VR f5.6 that I sometimes use with a Nikon 1.4III Teleconverter. When I use filters, I use a NiSi S5 filter system with a polarizer, a soft graduated neutral density and a 10x neutral density filter.
Not necessarily. I have a Rule of Fourths. I've grown to believe that the quality of a photo is about 1/4 the equipment that is being used. Many people will make a statement or ask a question regarding equipment when they see my photos: "What kind of camera do you have?" or "Wow, you must have a really good camera." That statement or that question to a photographer is equivalent to saying to a great guitar player, "What kind of guitar do you have?" or "Wow, you must have a really expensive guitar?" We probably would never say that to a guitarist who plays great music. Why should we say it to a photographer who captures great photos?
The second 1/4 is knowing how to use the equipment you have in your hands. That is true of any camera or equipment. If you don't understand the settings and what situations to use certain settings, then you will not be able to maximize the equipment you have. Even your phone camera has settings that can make a difference in the quality of a picture.
Another 1/4 is knowing what you are looking for when you look through the camera. This is really about composition: using the traditional "rule of thirds," leading lines, sharp focus, careful attention to level horizons, distracting elements that take the eye away from the what you want them to enjoy the most, planning what is in your foreground, mid-picture and background, and the extremely important aspect of lighting. Getting better at this 1/4 of composition is even more important than the the previous two and probably one of the hardest to master.
The final 1/4 is processing your photo. When people used film, they processed it in the darkroom, trying to make sure the light in some places of the photo wasn't too bright, the shadows weren't too dark in other places, the contrast was just right, the colors were accurate, etc. Film photographers used different brands, different types, different ISO based on their preferences or the conditions they were shooting in. With digital photography, I now shoot in what is commonly known as RAW. A RAW file captures all image data recorded by the sensor when you take the photo. When shooting in the more-common JPEG format, the image information is compressed and some of it is lost so the file is smaller and the computer chip in the camera decides what how the photo will be processed and the final look of the photo. Because I capture all the data available in RAW format, I process the photo primarily in Lightroom (software by Adobe) and occasionally use Photoshop to make an adjustment or remove a distraction. Much quicker and easier than the old dark room processing of film, I can adjust the lighting, the shadows, tweak the color, crop the photo, etc. to recreate what my eye was able to see out in the field (and your eye can see a larger dynamic range than most any camera is capable of recording). I personally do not use software to create objects that were not in the original scene. While I do my very best to get my settings right out in the field, I've also worked hard to develop my processing skills to maximize the data I've captured.
If I had to prioritize the order of the four elements above, I would say composition and making sure the photo has leading lines, good proportions, no distractions, etc. is first and foremost. Learning how to use the equipment you have is the second most important aspect. The third is processing the photo through your preferred software. And if you are maximizing out of these three, maybe an equipment upgrade is in order. But that is last, not first.
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