For the next several days I will be sharing my favorite panoramas that I have captured in the last few years.

Sharing on Instagram

and using

the multipost trick

 works but I also want to give you an option to see them in one whole piece. I have a

complete panorama tutorial

that you might find helpful to shoot your own -it is much easier than you think.Click to enlarge each photo (more added each day)

Day 1 (

see it split on Instagram


Nordvest-Spitsbergen National Park Panorama

Nordvest-Spitsbergen National Park Panorama

Grand Canyon at Sunset from Yavapai Point.

Grand Canyon at Sunset from Yavapai Point.

Day 4 (Vertical Pano - stitched automatically in Lightroom)

Day 5 

Apps for Photography

Weather Underground

Weather Underground

You are carrying a mini computer with you all the time, why not put it to use? Check out some of our favorite smartphone apps to get your photography going.

Weather Underground (Free)

Google Play

Google Play

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

I like weather undergrounds info and display and they let you set up smart forecasts that can quickly give you an idea of optimal times for various activities including astrophotography.

WU Storm

WU Storm

STORM by Weather Underground (Free)

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

Along with weather underground, I use STORM for real-time radar that can be helpful to know exactly when that rain is going to stop at your location. I find watching the radar and the movement of the precip is more accurate in the short term than any forecasts.

NOAA Weather International

NOAA Weather International

NOAA Weather International (Free, $2.99 Ad Free)

Google Play

Google Play

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

AND I sometimes want to know what the weather nerds are saying about the future and the NOAA app gives me a straightforward look at each day and provides an easy click to read the forecast discussion. You can also click to see the elevation of a location on the map. FREE or pay $2.99 to remove the adds.

Tide Charts Near Me

Tide Charts Near Me

Tide Charts Near Me (Free, $1.99 Ad Free)

Google Play

Google Play

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

I live near the coast and we regularly run workshops on both coasts - knowing the tide is critical to knowing how much beach or rock will be exposed and if the tide is headed out giving you plenty of time to shoot or the tide is coming in when you need to be very careful about getting stranded, Tides- Charts near me is a simple representation of the tides near you - with automatic updating based on your location. FREE or $1.99 to remove the ads.



PhotoPills ($9.99)

Google Play

Google Play

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

This is huge and I was pretty happy when they offered an Android app - First I love the widget - at a glance I know sunrise, sunset, moonrise and even the status of the galactic core for my location! Once you dive into the app your find tons of useful info from the planner to the AR that helps you line up for sunsets, sunrises and star trails. Additional calculators further help your planning- tons of useful info and well worth the $10 - you can find most of these items in other apps for free but I haven’t found any that bring them all together in one app.



Squarespace (Free)



The square space app makes it really easy to update your site with posts, photos and even video - The one way to get people to come back to your site again and again and that is to update the content and offer information behind the photos - Squarespace makes it incredibly easy to build a beautiful website and blog and the app makes it really easy to update on the go. Additional apps from Squarespace allow you to track your analytics, keep notes, update your store and more.

It’s fine to put your best work on Instagram but you should have a website where you control everything and display your work professional in a big beautiful way and Squarespace makes it easy to do that - with beautiful custom templates and 24/7 support along with easy custom domains- Get your own website today at

and save 10% off your purchase.



Snapseed (Free)

Google Play

Google Play

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

Still my favorite editor for quick edits of photos captured with the phone or transferred via wifi

Lightroom CC

Lightroom CC

Lightroom - Full version (Adobe Creative Cloud Required)

Google Play

Google Play

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

If you are smart about syncing Lightroom mobile can be powerful and recent upgrades have seriously improved the capabilities and stability of the app - almost making it my pick over Snapseed for editing... but go watch my Snapseed secrets it is just so quick and powerful once you know a few tricks. Sound good?

Click here to sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud.

Later (Free)

Google Play

Google Play

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

I continue to love


for an easy way to get images and captions to your phone - I hate writing captions and hashtags on my mobile device and recent updates to the paid plan give you the best times to post and suggest hashtags making new posts easy.

Sign up today and get started!



Miops ($30 Dongle or $125 Remote Required)

Google Play

Google Play

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

I talked about this on my recent Yosemite trip - with a small dongle you can trigger your camera in several different ways - really useful - I will be posting a separate video about this system soon.

Pick up the Dongle or Remote on Amazon



TrackR (Free, TrackR Required)

Google Play

Google Play

Apple App Store

Apple App Store

This little Bluetooth tracker lets me ping my camera bag and set an alert if it moves outside of Bluetooth range - I have only started using this - certainly not a full proof way to protect your camera bag but at least gives me a little more piece of mind.

Buy a TrackR Today!

New Way to Upload to Instagram (and Not Get Shadow Banned)

We get asked a lot how to upload to Instagram, I even covered it a couple years back. The problem is that most of the older methods have fallen to the dreaded "Shadow Ban". If banned Instagram hides your hashtags so you don't gain followers, but stealthily so you don't notice. With that in mind, Felix Sun used a recent mobile trick to make a mini Instagram program that lets you upload via Mac or PC for free.Recently Instagram allowed mobile uploads, using the browser on your phone you can upload to Instagram without having the app installed. Using this trick you can tell your desktop's browser to pretend it's a mobile device and upload away. But it's a bit of a clumsy trick that is more advanced. Felix's program is a mini version of chrome already set to mobile, just log in the first time and upload. A dialog box will pop up to add a file then the rest is like normal.Head over to and check it out. Upload an easy way, or at least until they ban this as well. Our official and Instagram friendly uploader of choice is You can check it out in Toby's video here and it lets you schedule posts.If you were wondering how to do it in a browser anyway:In Safari

  • Enable the Develop Menu. Click Safari, Preferences, then Advanced. Check 'Show Develop menu in menu bar'.
  • Now while on Click the new Develop button in your menu, user agent, then iPad. You may have to refresh the page.

In Chrome

  • You can install User-Agent Switcher, the new button in the top right when clicked lets you tell Instagram you are a mobile device. Just remember to turn it off when you leave Instagram.
  • Without using an extension, press F12 for Developer Tools. Click the phone icon at the top left of the new panel or press Ctrl+Shift+M. The top left option to the left of dimensions lets you choose iPad, then reload the page.

How to Take Great Pictures in Low Light Without a Flash

How to Take Great Pictures in Low Light Without a Flash | http://photorec.tvLighting conditions aren't always ideal for photography. As photographers, we don't always have a lot of control over these conditions either. When you're touring a dimly lit cathedral or attending a wedding in a low light reception hall, you can't exactly bring in a bunch of lighting. Sometimes shooting with a flash solves the problem, but sometimes it doesn't. For certain types of photography, you don't want to use a flash. In other instances, flash isn't allowed, such as during a dance recital or in a museum. Learning to take great pictures in low light will help you make the most of low light shooting situations, producing crisp, high-quality photos with minimal noise and grain.How to Take Pictures in Low Light Without a Flash |

Select a lens with a wide aperture

The wider the aperture, the more light you're letting into the camera. In low light conditions, the difference between f/4 and f/1.8 is huge. Whenever possible, choose a lens with a maximum aperture of 2.8 or wider (i.e. 1.8, 1.2). When shopping for new gear, look for lenses with image stabilization (IS) or vibration reduction (VR). For many photographers, shooting with a prime lens is the best solution to take great pictures in low light without a flash. You get the wide aperture you need without breaking the bank.For less than $200, you can pick up the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D, or Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM. For less than $500, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is another great option. If you're a professional photographer who shoots in low light settings (i.e. wedding reception venues, concert venues) on a regular basis, it's worth spending more and investing in a zoom lens with a wide aperture as well, such as the Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM or Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM.Related: Recommended Canon Prime LensesHow to Take Pictures in Low Light Without a Flash |

Slow down your shutter speed

The slower the shutter speed, the more light you're letting into the camera. For handheld shooting, it's recommended not to shoot longer than 1/60. If you're trying to freeze action, keep your shutter speed at or above 1/200. Depending on the given conditions, flash may not be allowed, but you may be able to use a tripod. Shooting with a tripod enables you to slow down your shutter speed significantly below what you would be able to accomplish handheld. Using a remote shutter release further minimizes shake. When you shoot with a tripod, turn off image stabilization or vibration reduction. When you're shooting in low light without a tripod, you can keep your shutter speed low by bracing yourself against a wall or other solid object. Relax as much as possible to keep your hands steady.Keep in mind slowing down your shutter speed is preferable for compositions without people or moving objects, such as night landscapes and city skylines. Unless you're trying to create motion blur, your images will be soft without much detail. There are certain scenarios where you may not want tack sharp images or may even want a certain amount of blur, such as creative portraiture or other fine art photography. However, it's important to be aware of the effect you're trying to achieve, so you can dial in your settings accordingly.Related: Shutter Speed BasicsHow to Take Pictures in Low Light Without a Flash |

Bump up your ISO

There is a stigma in the photography industry against high ISO. While it's always preferable to keep ISO as low as possible to avoid noise and grain, high ISO range exists for a reason. In low light, it's worth the sacrifice of a little bit of noise and grain to create a well-lit image. When you're shooting with a DSLR camera and fast prime or zoom lens, the noise will be minimal, particularly when you shoot at ISO 1600 or lower. Unless you're printing images larger than 5x7, it's unlikely the noise will be much of an issue. Additionally, a noisy image is always better than a blurry image. You can brighten an image in post-production, but you can't fix blur. Set your shutter speed, and then raise or lower your ISO accordingly.Related: Raise Your ISO for Better Quality Photos

How to Take Pictures in Low Light Without a Flash |

Shoot in aperture priority or manual mode

In low light conditions, some photographers prefer to shoot in aperture priority (A or Av) mode. Selecting aperture priority mode enables you to dial in the widest aperture available, ensuring every single shot will be at this aperture. You get a peace of mind knowing your shots will have a wide aperture without having to select shutter speed and ISO for every single image. If aperture priority mode doesn't give you quite enough control, switch to manual mode. For example, sometimes in low light settings, the camera will automatically select shutter speeds slower than 1/60 to accommodate for the low lighting, greatly increasing the risk of motion blur. Shooting in manual mode and selecting both aperture and shutter speed eliminates this risk.Related: Making the Transition from Auto Mode to Manual ModeHow to Take Pictures in Low Light Without a Flash |

Shoot RAW

Shooting RAW gives you full control over your image. When a JPEG image has detail lost in blown out areas or heavy shadows, the detail is lost forever. When a RAW image has blown out areas or more likely in the case of a low light environment, heavy shadows, you'll be able to recover some of the detail in post-production. While it's still important to strive to create properly exposed images, you'll be able to retain and recover a lot more detail in your RAW files than you will in your JPEG files.Related: Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of Shooting RAWHow to Take Pictures in Low Light Without a Flash |

Embrace the opportunity to shoot a long exposure

Shooting long exposures isn't an option in all low lighting settings. However, in the right settings, it offers a whole new world of photographic possibilities. Blurring moving water, clouds in the sky, the headlights and taillights on vehicles, or people in a crowd creates a distinct, striking aesthetic that isn't possible with a shorter exposure. Make sure to bring a tripod if you want to experiment with long exposures.Related: Photographing WaterfallsWhen you know you'll be shooting in low light, plan ahead. Bring at least one prime lens and a tripod as well as a small flashlight or other portable light source, so you can access your camera controls without fumbling in the dark.

Do you have any additional tips to help photographers take great pictures in low light without a flash?

Share your insight in the comments!


Croatia Photo/Video Gear I just finished a fantastic trip in exploring the coast and islands of Southern Croatia. Beautiful country, friendly people. My goal on this trip was to produce video first and photos second. With video being my primary goal I am calling this the

Videography Travel Bag


Bags & Holster

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]MindShift BackLight 26L[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Mindshift Gear - Backlight 26LAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]SpiderHolster SpiderLight BackPacker Kit[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Camera Holster - Spider Backpacker KitAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]Mindshift Multi-Mount Holster 30[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Secondary Bag - Multi-Mount Holster 30Amazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]Panasonic LUMIX GH5[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Panasonic GH5Amazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]Lumix F2.8-4.0[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Lumix 12-60 f/2.8-4 LensAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]Lumix 42.5MM[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Lumix 42.5mm f/1.7 LensAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]Lumix 45-200[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Lumix 45-200 f/4.0-5.6 LensAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]Rokinon 7.5mm mft[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 lensAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"][/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Rode Video Micro ProAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Sony RX1R IIAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]DJI Mavic Pro - Fly More System[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]DJI Mavic Pro - Fly More SystemAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]Hoya Circular Polarizer [/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Hoya Circular Polarizers for each lensB&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]Hoya .3 ND Filter[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Hoya ND Filters 0.3 for each lensB&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]MeFoto Carbon Fiber Road Trip[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]MeFoto Carbon Fiber Road TripAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"]Olympus TG Tracker WP Camera[/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"]Olympus TG Tracker WP CameraAmazon | B&H[/vc_column][/vc_row]  

10 Quick Tips for Great Reflection Photos

10 Quick Tips for Great Reflection Photos | http://photorec.tvReflections are a tricky subject. Sometimes it's all but impossible to avoid a harsh glare in a subject's glasses. Other times the light turns just the right way, so an ordinary location transforms into a stunning scene. Learning a few simple tips for great reflection photos helps you maximize the potential of a beautiful reflection scene, creating a one of a kind image. Fall Trees Long Exposure Reflection |

    • Select a high f/stop number. Choosing an f/stop of 11 or higher brings the entire scene into focus, enhancing the reflection aesthetic. The f/stop for the photo above is f/22. Once you've settled on your f/stop, play around with the focus. In some instances, it may be preferable to focus on the subject, while in other cases, it may be preferable to focus on the reflection.


    • Think about the angle of the reflection. Explore different viewpoints for the reflection scene, paying attention to the reflection from each viewpoint. In a natural setting, your vantage points may be limited. In the studio, you'll have more control over the best angle for a given subject and its reflection.

 Stillwater, MN Bridge Reflection |

    • Don't forget the basic rules of composition. It's hard to take a bad picture of a stunning natural reflection. However, you'll turn a good photo into a great photo by composing it properly. Instead of snapping a couple of pictures and moving on, take a few minutes to set up your image. Pay attention to the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing.


    • Whenever possible, shoot during the first or last hours of the day. The first and last hours of the day offer the softest light, minimizing harsh glare and smoothing out reflections. When you're shooting in the middle of the day, take care to limit shadows and blown out areas and bring out the colors.


    • Shoot with a circular polarizer or neutral density filter. Filters aren't necessary for great reflection photos but do increase your options for shooting. A circular polarizer will help you control the amount of shine in the reflection while deepening the colors and minimizing the blown out areas. A neutral density filter cuts the available light, allowing you to shoot long exposures.


An Colorful sunset yesterday behind the US capitol!

A post shared by Adrien Catel (@adriencatel) on

    • Use a tripod to experiment with different shutter speeds. Shooting a long exposure is a popular technique for water reflection photos. Smoothing out the water changes the aesthetic of the photo significantly, softening the image and drawing attention to the subject.

 Playmobile Wedding Ring Reflection | http://photorec.tvGroot 

    • Consider reflection surfaces besides water. When people think of reflection photos, their minds often go to water reflections. However, you shouldn't feel limited to this option. You can create great reflection photos with virtually any surface that produces a reflection from glass windows to mirrored sunglasses and even jewelry.


    • In the studio, experiment with lighting a subject from above or behind. Shiny surfaces don't absorb light. As such, it's important to think about the amount and angle of the light in relation to the shooting surface. You may produce better results lighting your subject from above or behind than the front or side.

 Playmobile Wedding Ring Reflection |

    • Limit use of flash. While there are exceptions to the rule, in general, using flash isn't advisable for reflection photography. In most cases, the light will simply bounce right back at you, distracting from the subject. If I had used a flash to light the cake, it would have flashed right on the ring, making it impossible to see the reflection.


    • Experiment with creating both realistic and abstract compositions. Shooting reflections allows for a wide spectrum of creativity. You may strive to produce a realistic image that mimics what you see in real life, or you may strive to produce an abstract image. For example, you might choose to shoot a street puddle reflection in manual focus to blur the bright lights.


Bonus tip! Finally, keep your eyes open for stunning opportunities to photograph reflection. You never know when you'll come across a beautiful bridge centered over a flowing river or the light will strike just right and highlight the boats in the harbor.The images in this post not embedded from Instagram are my own images. The embedded images from Instagram are from members of the Photorec community with the tags #PRTV and #reflection. Consider becoming a PRTV member and joining the support group today!The 4/29 PRTV Instagram challenge is reflection. Use the hashtags #PRTV_reflection and #PRTV on Instagram to enter up to two of your great reflection photos for the challenge. Entries are due by noon Friday (5/5). Winners are announced the following Saturday (5/6) with the start of a new challenge.

Do you have any additional tips for great reflection photos?

Leave your insight in the comments!


Backup your photos!

I hope you have a backup plan in place for ALL your important photos and documents, but if you don't! Take a few minutes to look at some options.Readers and viewers share their sad stories of losing ALL of their photos! Please back up your photos, Don't think it won't ever happen to you!  I recommend the 3-2-1 backup strategy.  A 3-2-1 strategy means having at least 3 total copies of your data, 2 of which are local but on different devices, and at least 1 copy offsite or in the cloud.Example: You have captured a nice family photo and downloaded it to your computer. That copy on your computer is ONE copy.  Now you need to back up to a second device in the home- an external HD is an easy solution and Amazon has excellent deals on BIG hard drives.I currently recommend - WD 4TB RED for just $102!You now have TWO copies, but both are local and if anything happens to your house ... to be safe you should have an offsite copy. Google Photos, Dropbox and Amazon Prime Photos are all systems that can help.Amazon Prime - $10.99 a month - Free 2-day shipping, Movies & TV Shows and Unlimited Photo storage to backup on ALL your devices.Amazon Prime Photos Storage

Your Prime membership comes with free unlimited photo storage through Prime Photos, which lets you securely save as many photos as you like and see them on your phone, computer, or tablet. You can share this Prime benefit and give free photo storage to up to five family members or friends. Collect photos together with your invited family and friends in the Family Vault and store memories from everyone in one safe place. New photo search technology makes it easy to find specific photos by searching for things like “sunset” or “Seattle,” and your photos are organized automatically so it’s easy to find and enjoy them.


Shutter Speed Explained Simply you need to know about Shutter Speed | The basics of Shutter Speed Explained. The importance of shutter speed in the exposure triangle, making sure you shoot fast enough to get sharp pictures, and how to use it creatively with techniques like panning to improve your photography. Crop factor calculator

Delete Your Photos!

Delete Your PhotosWatch me now at  A few weeks ago I released a video to tell you your photos suck! I then followed that up with a few tips to help you suck less. This is a more detailed look at tip#1 - share fewer photos and shares my Lightroom workflow for quickly deciding which photos to reject(trash) and which to keep. And my star rating system in Lightroom for keeping things simple. Do you delete your photos?And don't forget to watch part 1 of "Your Photos Suck" here if you missed it:

10 Tips for Better Beach Photography

10 Tips for Better Beach Photography | http://photorec.tvThe beach is an ideal setting for photography. With sparkling water and a blue sky, how can you take a bad picture? However, when you snap pictures quickly in auto mode without thinking much about your composition, they often turn out dull or washed out with no clear subject or visual point of interest. A few tips for better beach photography will help you turn your mediocre, amateur beach snaps into professional, polished images.Crooked vs Straight Horizon |

Straighten the horizon

Arguably, the single biggest mistake people make with beach photos is shooting a crooked horizon. Straightening the horizon instantly improves any beach photo. When you're shooting, pay attention to your horizon to get it as straight as possible in camera. Then make any final adjustments during post-process to ensure it's completely straight.There are a couple of different ways to straighten the horizon in Lightroom. Both straightening tools are located in the Crop options box. The first tool is a visual rotation tool. After you've clicked on the Crop tool and the grid has appeared, hover your mouse outside of the photo until a double arrow appears. Drag the cursor until you've straightened the horizon.The second tool is the ruler or straighten tool in the Crop options box. Click and drag it over to the crooked horizon. You can drag it over the whole horizon or just a portion of it. Lightroom will calculate how far off it is from the horizon level, and rotate the image accordingly to correct it.You can also fix crooked pictures with Lightroom's guided transform tool. Watch the video below for more details.

Christina Moraes @chris_with_photos on Instagram |

Copyright: Christina Moraes

Shoot with a circular polarizer filter

A circular polarizer (CPL) filter is like sunglasses for your camera. When you're shooting on a bright sunny day, a circular polarizer creates rich, detailed photos. Circular polarizer filters are particularly important when shooting beach scenes because they allow you to cut down on glare on the water and bring out the color in the water and the sky, creating a more vibrant, balanced image.

Cairn on the Beach by Rose Clearfield |

Focus on the details

Amateur photographers walk up to a beautiful scene, snap a picture, and keep moving. While a simple beach composition showcasing the sand and water may be stunning, spending a few minutes taking in the entire scenes will reveal other possible shots.Beach Photography at Different Times of the Day | Moon Rise Light Progression | http://photorec.tvBrowns Bay beach sunrise by Tim Rosenthal |

Copyright: Tim Rosenthal

Pay attention to the light

The current light conditions greatly affect the look of the beach at any given moment. Watching the light and planning to take pictures at certain times of the day will enable you to create images that simply aren't possible in harsh mid-day sun. I like to use to keep track of the current sunrise and sunset times as well as moonrise and moonset times. The Photographer's Ephemeris and Sunseeker provide even more details about the direction of the light and shadow length.Backlit Girl on the Beach by Trelina Anderson |

Copyright: Trelina Anderson

Back lighting is another fantastic lighting technique to experiment with at the beach. Lighting a subject from behind instead of the front or side often proves more difficult, but when executed properly, offers fantastic results. Trelina shares a beautiful example with one of her daughters, back lit on a sunny day at the beach.Seashell at Aberdovey Beach by Roger Hunt |

Copyright: Roger Hunt

Winter Wild Plants at the Beach by Rose Clearfield |

Experiment with depth of field

Shooting with different depths of field is a simple, effective way to change the focus in an image. I love to find an interesting rock or a grouping of wild plants and then position the water behind it. When you've found a subject of interest, switch your camera to Aperture Priority (Av or A) mode. Dial in a wide aperture (i.e. 1.8, 2.2) and take a few shots, then slowly work your way to a narrow aperture (i.e. 16, 22), taking pictures at each aperture. See which aperture setting you like best for your subject and the overall composition.Long exposure by Frantz Konradsen |

Copyright: Frantz Konradsen

Sunrise at Big Bay Park in Milwaukee, WI by Rose Clearfield |

Experiment with shutter speed

Setting up a tripod on the beach and photographing long exposures of the water is a popular technique. If you've never attempted a long exposure, it's definitely worth trying at least once or twice. Generally, you'll have the best results with long exposures during the golden hours of the day when the light is low on the horizon. If you enjoy shooting long exposures, invest in a set of neutral density filters. Neutral density filters reduce the amount of light entering the camera, allowing for even longer exposures.Beach in Four Seasons by Rose Clearfield |

Frequent favorite spots in different seasons

One of my favorite aspects of living near Lake Michigan is visiting favorite spots throughout the year and photographing them in different seasons. It's fascinating to see how the landscape changes from one season to next and how those changes affect the shooting conditions. A lakeside setting takes on a completely different aesthetic with colorful fall trees than it does with stark winter trees.

Shoot in manual mode

Shooting in manual mode gives you more control over your images. Shooting in auto mode at the beach means you'll often end up with a blown-out sky and water without much detail. When you shoot in manual mode, you can select the settings to create rich, detailed images with minimal harsh shadows and blown-out areas. If you're brand new to DSLR photography or have only shot in auto mode, it's intimidating to make the transition to manual mode. However, it's well worth the effort. Start in aperture priority or shutter priority mode, and build your skills from there.Further reading: Making the Transition from Auto Mode to Manual Mode

Beach During Final Light of the Day by Josh Hairsine |

Copyright: Josh Hairsine

Shoot in RAW

Shooting in RAW gives you even more control over your images. A RAW file is the image that a camera sensor sees. When you shoot a JPEG, the camera processes the image for you, making a lot of the editing decisions. Once it's made these decisions, you can't recover detail that gets lost.Unedited vs Edited RAW Sky Example | http://photorec.tvFor example, if the clouds are very bright with blown-out areas, you won't be able to get much detail back.Unedited vs Edited RAW Shadows Example | http://photorec.tvOn the flip side, if an image has deep shadows, the detail in these shadows is lost in a JPEG. Finally, shooting RAW enables complete control over an image's white balance. Instead of selecting a white balance in camera, you can shoot with any white balance setting and then adjust the final white balance in your editing program.Further reading: DSLR Photography 101: Don't Be Afraid of Shooting RAW

Use Lightroom's adjustment brushes

Beach landscapes often have varied lighting, which makes it difficult to capture the entire scene in full detail with balanced light. Our eyes process the varied lighting without us even realizing it in a way that cameras can't. You see numerous beach photos with harsh shadows and/or blown out skies. Many people fine tune their exposures for landscape photos, including beach photos, by using spot metering. You can further perfect your images in post-process by using Lightroom's adjustment brushes.Over years of editing beach photos, I've created adjustment brushes for editing bright skies, cloudy skies, and long exposure water. I've used these brushes in nearly every image I've shared in this post and am sharing them with you. Adjustment brushes allow you edit select sections of a photo. Creating your own adjustment brushes for edits you make over and over again streamlines the post-processing routine, so you can edit more quickly. As with any brush, action, or pre-set, typically, you'll have to tweak these brushes a bit for best results.Download your sky and water adjustment brushes! After you've saved the folder, open Lightroom. Go to Edit > Preferences. Click on the Presets tab, and then the "Show Lightroom Presets Folder" button. Open the "Local Adjustment Presets" folder. Paste your new adjustment brushes in this folder. You may need to restart Lightroom before you can see the adjustment brushes.Finally, keep your eyes open, so you can seize great opportunities for photos at the beach as they happen. Beach scenes change quickly, sometimes minute to minute as the light changes or the weather shifts. Brilliant colors appear, and then the next minute the entire scene is quiet and blue again. A fantastic boat will appear, but it's moving quickly, which means you only have seconds to get the shot. You don't want to miss these fleeting changes to capture stunning scenery.Rainbow Over Lake Michigan | http://photorec.tvI first saw this rainbow from my house. It was one of those drop everything and grab your camera moments. I was fortunate the rainbow stuck around long enough that I was able to get more than a couple of shots. You can see the full set on my blog.Wind Point WI Beach Reflection | http://photorec.tvI actually took this last shot with my phone. I was out for a walk with my husband and didn't have my DSLR with me. We walk on the beach nearly every week when the weather's nice, and I'd never seen this occur before. When I did return the next day with my DSLR, the landscape had completely changed. I'm so glad I got the shot with my phone.Angela Redmon |

Copyright: Angela Redmon

The images in this post without a noted copyright are my own images. You can see more of my photography on Instagram and my blog. The photographers who contributed photos to this post are members of the PRTV support group. Thank you for sharing your images! Learn more about becoming a PRTV member and joining our support group.

Do you have any additional tips for better beach photography?

Leave your insight in the comments!


HACK: Sharing Panoramas on Instagram

I have a quick hack for using the new instagram multi image feature to actually just share ONE giant panorama. Scroll down for video on how-to share a giant Panorama on Instagram.

Here is the Panorama I want to share

Posting it to Instagram results in this VERY limited view 

But with this trick you can share the WHOLE image in a big, Panorific way



How to Shoot and Edit Panorama Photos

Make Photos EP #002 - Long Exposure Light Trails with Seattle Skyline

I walk you through the capture and post processing in Lightroom of one a recent Instagram photo -  Using a popular vantage point of the city of Seattle - Dr. Jose Rizal Park, a conveniently placed hole in the fence and a long exposure to get light trails creating this image - Follow me on Instagram used in this videoSony alpha a7r iiCanon 24-70 f/2.8 II LNisi Filters CPL (part of the kit)MeFoto Travel Tripod CFGear used to MAKE this videoPanasonic GH4Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 Lens  

Make Data Driven Decisions!

What lens should I buy next? That's the second most common question we see here at Can you guess the first most common question?Lightroom users I have two tools that can help you make sense of all your metadata and provide some insight as to how you shoot which you can use to make smart, data driven purchases that fit your way of shooting.

Method #1 - Lightroom Dashboard

Access at - drag and drop a backup of your LR catalog and the browser based tool returns a simple graphical display with plenty of information - what was your favorite ISO of 2016? I bet ISO 100.

Method #2 - Jeffrey’s “Data Plot” Lightroom Plugin

Access at and install Jeffrey's plugin (I show you how to install plugins in my Lightroom for Beginners)Once installed you can find the options under File > Plugin Extras jf Data Plot  From there you have the option to view graphs and even create collections based on your data - want a collection of all your shots captured with prime lenses? It's possible.

Method #3 - Lightroom's Metadata Tools

No plugins, no drag and drop - just use the tools already built into Lightroom to make some sense of your data.In the Library Module(1) Grid View > Click Metadata(2)You can now add columns and change the data in the column simply by clicking on the header (3) Which method do you like best? Any surprises in your findings?  What gear do you hope to add in 2017 to your camera bag?Have you ever had someone audibly lose their breath when they see one of your photos? It's an amazing feeling and I want to help you get there - Become a PRTV member Today!

Canon 5D Mark IV Tips and Tricks- Custom Button Setup

Recommendations for custom buttons with the Canon 5D Mark IV

Shutter Button: Metering start (more about back button focus)AF-On: Metering and AF start (default)AE Lock Button: One Shot - ServoDOF preview button: Depth of Field preview (default)Lens: AF-Off (default)M-fn: FEL (default)SET: MagnifyMain Dial: TV shutter speed (default) - this is the front dialQuick Control Dial: AV aperture (default) - this is the rear dialMulti-controller: Direct AF point selectionAF area selection button: Selected AFpt - Cent/Reg AFpt  - I personally want to call this button the nub.(default means I haven't changed it from camera's default setting)   

How-to: Photographing the stars and star trails

 Tips on capturing the stars and star trails.

  Sony a7RII w/ Rokinon 14mm 25 secSony a7RII w/ Rokinon 14mm - 34 MINUTE Exposure When taking star photos you can end up with star trails or no star trails. It all depends on your focal length and shutter speed and whether or not you follow the 500 rule. Over view for Star Trails (or stars as points of light if you follow the 500 rule explained below)You need a camera with bulb mode - all modern DSLRS and mirrorless cameras offer this - Bulb mode lets you shoot as long as you are holding down the shutter button. that could be 31 seconds to 3 hours!! Now you don’t actually want to hold your shutter down so you need an intervalometer or even better - the Triggertrap dongle and app - I have separate videos about this but it has a mode specifically for star trails and the default settings work so well, plus it does so much more  I highly recommended it. You also need a lens - the kit lens at 18mm with f/3.5 will work but if you can get a hold of something wider with a faster aperture it will be even easier with better quality results. The Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 is great. So is the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8. And you need a sturdy tripod. Depending on the time of year or location you could also use hand-warmers and a rubber band - if you have dew on the grass in the morning it would be a good idea to rubber band the hand warmer to the end of your lens - it helps prevent your lens from fogging up during the shoot.So gather your gear and head out to your selected spot. Setup and decide your composition - if you have picked a nice dark spot it’s probably really hard to see -SO I RECOMMEND YOU DO A LITTLE TRIAL AND ERROR... EYEBALL THE COMPOSITION AS BEST YOU CAN AND RAISE THE ISO TO SOMETHING RIDICULOUS 4000, 8000  THE GOAL HERE IS NOT TO CREATE A NICE IMAGE BUT TO SIMPLY GET AN IMAGE QUICKLY AND JUDGE YOUR COMPOSITION.You typically want some of earth in the shot, trees, water, buildings can all add a nice balance to a big starry sky. Set 8-10 seconds on the shutter, ISO very high 4000, 8000 and fire a shot. Use the resulting noisy image to adjust your composition and repeat. You also should be checking focus at this time - setting your lens on infinity. Not all lenses focus marks line up perfectly with true infinity so it may also take some trial and error.  This can be something to figure out during the day - use AF on a distant object and make note of where the focus mark lines up.  Or at night find a distant light, radio tower, something you can see to focus on - either carefully by magnifying live view or using autofocus if it is a large enough and bright enough target.So you have focus and the desired composition- Now we need to test our actual settings. Plug in your intervalometer or triggertrap - The default in triggertrap is 2 minute exposures with a 5 second break - You can get decent start trails from just 40 minutes of shooting these 2 minute exposures. Why not just leave the shutter open for 40 minutes? You get heat build up and additional noise, light pollution builds up too and if anything goes wrong during that 40 minute exposure the whole thing is ruined. If something goes wrong during one of your 2 minute exposures it is likely salvageable.So 2 minute exposures, I usually set aperture as wide as possible and star at ISO 800. One more tip - set your WB to tungsten for a nice blue look to the night sky and you should be shooting RAW. Try one exposure at these settings. Wait 2 minutes and review - The stars won’t be points of light but short streaks - you should still be able to zoom in and judge focus but you are really looking at exposure - adjust ISO accordingly and review again if needed, otherwise start the app - as I said 20 frames at 2 minutes each will give you decent results- longer will be better so get comfortable - a great time to watch for meteors or just listen to the sounds of night. Be careful if you are out there with a flashlight you want to avoid splashing that light around and haphazardly lighting the landscape. I use a headlamp with a little red mode that doesn’t ruin my night vision and isn’t bright enough to light up the landscape but you still want to make sure you don’t shine it into or across the lens.  You can do some fun light painting or purposefully lighting cool buildings or trees too. At the end of your sequence take one shot with the lens cap on for a dark image reference - helps the StarStax program deal with hotpixels.So you should now have 20 or more images- import those into Lightroom and let’s do a little post processing - I don’t have any hard or fast rules about editing - I usually just play around until I see something I like. Some tips - Cooling the WB more, boosting exposure, contrast and clarity- adding more clarity really helps the stars pop! Once I have an image the way I want I will sync all of the images in the sequence. I also take a moment to inspect the images for annoying plane trails or anything else that you might want to fix/clone out. now export all of these at 90 JOEG, full resolution. We could take these into Photoshop but there is a free program for mac and windows called StarStaX that works even better. It’s linked above and while free you should donate a few bucks if you find yourself using it more than once. We have exported the shots, open StarStaX and import the images, import the one dark frame and leave everything set as default except the blending mode - change that to Gap Filling. Have fun and be sure to share any shots you get on my Facebook Page or tag me on Instagram.

500 Rule for Star-trail-less Photos

The 500 rule states that your shutter speed needs to be faster than your focal length divided by 500.  Some places you see 600 used but safer is 500.  So if you are shooting at 50mm you take 500/50 and get 10 seconds.  BUT that only applies to folks shooting with full frame cameras, if you have a crop sensor camera like the Canon Rebel Series of the Nikon Dxxx series you need to multiple your crop factor times your focal length and then divide that by 500.   Nikon crop factor is 1.5 and Canon is 1.6.Here is a handy chart to use as a starting guide- Numbers are your maximum shutter length in seconds before you will start to see the dots of the stars turn into streaks.500 Rule Star Trail ChartColumns B through D give you the number of seconds before you will probably start seeing star trails. You can of course go shorter, longer and you will start to see star trailsFor a starry sky you often want to go as wide as possible. 18mm if using the kit lens but if you have access to anything wider- use it.  Starry skies look great with a wide angle lens like the 14mm Rokinon. You can go even wider if you want. See my Rokinon 14mm post for budget friendly suggestions of wide angle lenses.

A good starting point

8 second shutter

Aperture f/3.5 (wider if possible with your lens)

ISO 4000

The trick is focusing and composition.  It is often helpful to include some of the landscape in your composition but judging if you have a straight horizon and focus in pitch black is difficult. A solution is to take some test shots using a VERY high ISO and a shorter shutter speed - these will be very noisy images but you can, without waiting a full 10 seconds at a time, judge your composition and probably your focus.Focus Tip - If your lens has any type of distance indicator you want it set near infinity, that is not a guraguaranteet the stars will be in sharp focus but it is likely. Use the test shot suggestion to judge focus and make adjustments as needed.   If there is a silhouette or a building, anything in the distance you can use that to manually focus, radio towers with their little blinky red lights can also be helpful.  Anything further than a 1/2 mile away is going to give you a target that will set your camera on infinity focus and that should give you sharp stars.Keep warm and keep shooting.Recommended Gear-Sturdy Tripod: Dolica Proline Tripod |MeFoto Travel Tripod (Review of both Tripods)Intervalometer or TriggerTrap for using Bulb Mode or just firing your shutter without shaking the camera.Wide Angle Lens:  is one of the best and most affordable lenses for photographing stars. 

 Photographing Meteors

When photographing meteors you want to avoid any star trails, you want the little streaks left by the meteors to stand out so follow the chart.First task is to find a suitable location with a clear view of the source or radiant. In the case of the Perseids you want a dark sky to your north east, in the direction of the Perseids meteor shower.  I intent to use the the Google Sky App on Android | iOS options.   You really want to make sure the sky is dark, these longer exposures quickly pick up any light pollution and are going to blow out the bottom of your image.Picking a focal length and focusing - You want to go fairly wide here, under 50mm but not really wide as that will likely give you puny little streaks that take up a very small percentage of your image.    Focusing is tricking.  If you have a light tower or something contrasting against the sky, like a mountain, in the far distance you can use that. If you have a distance scale on your lens you can set it just shy of the infinity mark.   Neither of those work for you?  Raise your ISO to the highest possible and take a few shots, a very high ISO will allow you to take a shorter longer exposure so you aren't sitting around for 30 seconds wondering if you have focus.  Take a series of test photos until you are sure you have nailed focus.Camera settings - You have your shutter speed from the chart above, your aperture should be close to wide open and your ISO should be as low as possible.  You might be better off with even shorter exposures, longer exposures will dim any streaks you get. I hope to use my Triggertrap long exposure (star trail) feature to automatically take photo after photo, their star trail feature lets me specify a long exposure and the gap between images.  You can use a standard intervalometer too but that isn't quite as elegant. You could also use a remote and have the camera set for the desired shutter speed and least desirable you push the shutter button - if you use this method make sure you use the 2 second delay so that you pressing the button doesn't jiggle the camera creating blurry images.Your Camera must be sitting on a sturdy tripod.Sit back and enjoy the show.(this is one reason I am going to let Triggertrap do the work, I want to be looking at the sky, not the back of my camera all night. More about the PerseidsThe best budget lens for astrophotography. your thoughts, tips and comments below.   

Looking for a New Lens? - Canon 55-250 STM

EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS STM _no cap_FRA_tcm13-1086694The best budget telephoto lens! After getting your new camera and kit lens you may want to look for another lens. As lenses are the best investment one suggestion would be the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. After the 18-55 or 18-135mm kit lenses this covers the other half of your range allowing you the focal length and distance you need to get your shot. For the price and sharpness it's the best in the market, and a far better choice than the older Canon 70-300mm usm that's still packaged with camera bundles. [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="11917,11933,11915,11922,11920,11934,11931,11932,11929,11928,11919,11914"] amazon-logo_transparentBH-logo-480x250 

Buy it today at Amazon or B&H!

Optional lens hood ET-63 can be found on Amazon here or B&H here to prevent lens flare and glare from other lights.

Merge Multiple Fireworks Using Photoshop

IMG_0921Typically for smaller firework shows or shooting fireworks off at home you're going to run into having only one or two fireworks in a shot. Other times for larger shows you might run into that problem as the smoke builds up. Otherwise instead of flooding Facebook with 30 pictures you’d just like to have one photo that has a few of the best fireworks. Best part of this? If you took your photos right it’s super easy to do as well. normalThere is a function in Photoshop called blend modes. Typically this is how one layer effects the layers under it. In this case we need the brighter part of the photo to stay but to get rid of the darker background. This is done with lighten. Lighten takes whatever it’s layer has that is brighter than the layers under it and displays only that information. It can be found by clicking the normal blend mode in the layers panel and scrolling down.lightenIn a bit more of a basic example here is a white, 50% grey, and black firework. When turned to lighten blending mode on 30% grey the two darker colors disappear while the white stays. What we’re doing is the same to hide the background and only show the firework. While it's commonly skipped over blending modes can do a lot to improve a photo if you put the time in to learn them. Multiply for example combines the active layer with the layer under it and multiplies the colors. This results in a added contrast and/or color change making things darker. This is useful for example when you'd like to effect contrast in a photo or lower exposure. Screen is it's opposite adjusting colors to get their lightest between them making your photo lighter by multiplying the inverse of the color below. Useful for effecting exposure or dodging.  Click here for more info on blending modes in Photoshop.As for a practical example. Take a photo you have that you like and want to add more fireworks to as below. Typically I start with an early one as you still get a bit of sky in your photo. Copy your extra firework to the photo. Then apply the lighten blend mode. And your done. As for fireworks that have a lighter background than their host you can adjust the shadows and blacks before hand and it will transfer over fine. pasteOnce you get that down you can do something like below. This is actually 3 photos for a composite. One with a higher ISO and slower speed to get lit trees. A blank sky exposed correctly to level it out. And a decent firework overlaid as the subject with its background darkened significantly.  The same method as above with just a bit of cloning to remove any leaves that moved between the two shots. IMG_8795-Edit

Random Presets with the Lightroom Preset Creator

featuredSomething a bit different for today is a site by Allen Serhat for random Lightroom presets.

This isn't going to be anything your going to use on a day to day basis for editing. For those starting out though it'll be a nice way to learn and experiment with features that are usually skipped over by those starting out. Something simple as adjusting the tone curve can add drastically different looks to your photo without much work. Using this creator you can make a series of presets to experiment with just that. Unless you magically strike gold your going to end up with a lot of Instagram like filters but this is mainly for learning not editing. You always have the option though of fine tuning your preset and re-saving it if you hit something you like.


Once you've selected your choices and hit create go download your new preset. Then in Lightroom's develop module under presets you can right click and import your preset file. Then it's ready to use. Also you can right click to delete the preset when your finished with it.

IMG_7519For example with HSL you can effect colors globally. In this preset all of the red, yellows, and oranges have been turned a shade of bright red while all the other colors have been heavily muted. This is caused from red's hue being pushed to orange, orange to red, and yellow to orange. Forcing everything to turn red. While in saturation every option bar red, orange, and blue has taken a massive drop leaving the muted color scheme.

As for proper learning about Lightroom sign up to our patreon service for your one stop place to get special perks, behind the scenes postings, after show videos, access the private support group, get our Lightroom preset package, as well as our Lightroom tutorial videos. Alternatively the video and tutorial package is also available with the presets at