Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography: Blog http://bradycabe.com/blog en-us (C) Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) Sat, 01 Jul 2017 23:46:00 GMT Sat, 01 Jul 2017 23:46:00 GMT http://bradycabe.com/img/s12/v172/u919657913-o825608801-50.jpg Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography: Blog http://bradycabe.com/blog 120 80 How and Where To View The Milky Way - San Luis Obispo County http://bradycabe.com/blog/2017/3/milky-way-over-san-luis-obispo-county IMG_9335IMG_9335San Simeon Pier Milky Way Over San Luis Obispo County

(Featured by SLO Tribune)

Until I garnered interest in the night skies, I honestly didn’t pay much attention to photographing them. It wasn’t until I saw wide angle photos of the Milky Way that I began the journey for myself and started exploring night photography. I'm always asking myself where can I shoot the Milky Way next? The answer seems to surprise many.

The truth is, unless you are in a large metropolitan area, seeing the Milky Way with the naked eye is a real possibility. The lights of Pismo, San Luis Obispo, and Morro Bay are bright, but if you head for the hills, the beach, or just a dark spot on the outskirts of town, you can typically observe and photograph the Milky Way as long as the conditions are good. 

Want to learn how to photograph the night sky? This is something we explore in depth during my astrophotography workshops.

 

How To See The Milky Way

  1. You have to know when to look. From about mid-October through February, it is not possible to see the Milky Way “core,” also referred to as the Great Rift by astronomers, from the Northern Hemisphere. When it does become visible in February, it can only be seen in the wee moments before sunrise, so set your alarms for at least two hours or so before sunrise. Once twilight begins, the stars fade and the sun begins to take over, washing out the Milky Way view. As the year progresses, the Milky Way rises earlier and earlier, until in the summer it is visible not long after sunset.
  2. Knowing where to look in the sky for the Milky Way is equally important. When it's first rising above the horizon, you will look in the Southeast portion of the sky. As it rises higher, your gaze will shift more due South. If you are in a location that doesn't have a clear view of the Southern sky, you might consider switching locations to increase visibility. Download a smartphone app like StarWalk 2 and you can check the Milky Way’s position in the future.  IMG_0475IMG_0475Los Osos/Morro Bay
  3. Check the moon phase, as well as moon rise and set times. If the moon is out and is between First Quarter and Last Quarter phases, its light will overpower the stars and make it difficult or impossible to see or photograph the Milky Way. Tip: even if the moon is bright, you can still get out and see the Milky Way if you plan around the moon rise and set times. Another great way to plan is using an app call PhotoPills. Not only can you get sun/moon rise and set times, but there's a myriad of other photography tools all fit into one great, easy-to-use, app. 
  4. Make the weather app on your smartphone your new best friend, so you always know where to find cloudless skies. I am constantly checking the hourly forecast before I go out shooting to see what regions near me might be best for star gazing. Around the coast it can be foggy and glum, but just a quick 10-minute drive inland can be clear as a bell. Tip: it never hurts to get a second opinion from a secondary app. Storm is a great app I enjoy and trust to plan my excursions. 
  5. Go somewhere dark. Unless all of the street lights in your area are off, take a drive out of your neighborhood. My favorite go-to spots locally are Shell Beach, Santa Margarita, Prefumo Canyon, and Montana de Oro. Move away from any street lights or other bright lights in your immediate vicinity. Driving with the intention of getting lost is always a recipe for discovery and adventure - I highly recommend it!

Where To Look In San Luis Obispo County

This section is obviously a little more tailored to my local friends, and is far from a complete list. If you live elsewhere, share your favorite star-gazing locations in the comments sections. Not sure where to go? Join a local astronomy club or just start driving away from town. 

Lopez Dr - Heading East

During the summer when the Milky Way is easily viewed during reasonable evening hours, we also experience bouts of marine layer clouds - low laying coastal fog that obscures any potential view of the stars. Oftentimes, the solution is to head inland. Head out towards Lake Lopez for clearer skies and drive past the lake, taking Upper Lopez Canyon Rd or Hi Mountain Rd, either of which will offer clearer skies in general. Hi Mountain Rd extends further east, and on particularly foggy nights can be your best bet. 

Windmill ZoomWindmill Zoom Spooky TreeSpooky Tree

Pismo/Shell Beach

The key to finding the stars in the Pismo and Shell Beach area is to head to the beach and navigate away from the bright lights of the hotels and neighborhoods. Between Shell Beach and Avila, there are plenty of great beach areas with public access that are good for star gazing. If you're still reading: Oceano and the dunes area can be excellent as well. Any evening in Pismo with clear skies and no moon should be considered an absolute treat in the Summer - enjoy!

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Avila Beach - Pirate’s Cove Parking Area

The parking area at Pirate’s Cove is situated far enough away from the lights of Pismo and Avila to offer great star gazing opportunities on a clear night. Paired with the sound of crashing waves and sweeping vistas, it’s a tough scene to beat. Be careful navigating the dirt parking lot that can be deeply rutted - don’t get stuck! Bring a friend and a flashlight, and don’t forget to lock your car if you venture out. 

My Cave at NightMy Cave at Night

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Prefumo Canyon Road

Take this winding road to the top of the ridge and pull into the large dirt parking area for panoramic views of Morro Rock looking North, downtown San Luis Obispo, and the Five Cities area. Beware of strong wind gusts, cows, and party animals on the weekends. 

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Montana de Oro, Los Osos

It doesn't get much darker than Montana de Oro, but it is also not permitted to park anywhere after 10 PM inside the park. So, your options are either to park outside of the state park and walk in or be dropped off. Good luck! If you can't figure out the parking situation here, Los Osos is on your way back out and offers plenty of dark sky opportunities - just avoid the neighborhood lights and you'll find plenty of stars. 

Milky Over MDOMilky Over MDO IMG_0475IMG_0475

Highway 46 Overlooking Morro Bay - Dirt Pullout

There are a few different pull outs as you climb 46 driving from Cambria to Paso Robles, and they get more and more scenic up until the point that the highway dips into the hills. If you’re lucky, you will be high enough above the frequent low-laying clouds of summer to get a clear look at the night sky above. 

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Morro Bay, Cayucos, Cambria, and San Simeon

All of these coastal communities are just small enough that light pollution is not typically a problem - just walk a stone’s throw from the nearest street lamp. Get out of the town areas and explore the beaches for the darkest skies and great Milky Way views. If you’re as far North as San Simeon, why not venture to Big Sur? This entire stretch is a night photographer’s dream - provided you have a clear sky. Pull over anywhere to take in the night sky, and stay until day break to explore. 

Galactic Morro Rock - Morro Bay Milky WayGalactic Morro Rock - Morro Bay Milky Way

Perseid WindmillPerseid Windmill IMG_9335IMG_9335

Santa Margarita, HWY 58, Carrizo Plain

East of Santa Margarita is dark, and gets darker the farther you drive. In the Summer months when the marine layer clouds have taken over the coast, I often find myself in Santa Margarita or Pozo, looking for lone oaks to photograph. Carrizo Plain National Monument is a bit of a trek, but it’s truly a beautiful area that we are fortunate to have as part of our county. 

Tree FireballTree Fireball

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Well, did I forget any great spots? Let me know in the comments. 

When it comes down to it, San Luis Obispo county is a special area. With dark night skies and vast open areas to explore, the possibilities for photography and enjoying the night are boundless. 

If you're interested in learning how to capture images like these, check out my Astrophotography workshops! We go hands-on behind the camera and then in front of the computer screen, so you'll know how to capture and process dynamic night sky photos. See you out there!

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) astrophotography gazing how info luis milky night obispo photograph san see sky slo star stars to way http://bradycabe.com/blog/2017/3/milky-way-over-san-luis-obispo-county Sat, 18 Mar 2017 06:59:16 GMT
The 500 and 300 Rule For Photographing The Night Sky http://bradycabe.com/blog/2017/2/the-500-and-300-rule-for-photographing-the-night-sky 500 Rule

Aside from gear related questions, probably the most common question I hear related to night photography would have to be, “what are your settings?” It’s a completely valid question, and I remember my puzzled reaction the first time I learned it for myself. Your settings for astrophotography are quite different from most other types of photography, particularly portraits and even general landscapes. But to talk about settings for capturing the Milky Way, we need to talk about your shutter speed and the 500 Rule.

Looking Up - PerseidsLooking Up - Perseids There are basically two different ways to capture the stars in the night sky; single, static points, or blurry, oblong trails. The 500 rule helps us figure out the longest shutter speed before our stars begin to appear as blurry oblong trails. If you are desiring to photograph star trail images, where the stars appear to streak through the sky, this is not the blog post for you - although you can still glean some insight from this topic. During my astrophotography workshops, we go into various ways to capture star trail images, and it’s really a lot of fun. 

One of my first night sky photographs, which I was quite proud of at the time, was a long exposure captured over several minutes. The resulting image shows the stars, not as fine points, but as short streaks. At first glance, the stars appear blurry and as a result the overall image suffered - I needed to use a faster shutter speed. There are some instances in which a short trail may be desired, but this post is about capturing static night sky images while minimizing star movement in the image.  

The 500 Rule for Full Frame Cameras 

To minimize star trails and capture a static image of the night sky, there is a simple formula that can be used to determine your shutter speed. You take the number 500 and divide it by the focal length of the lens you are using, and the resulting number will be the maximum recommend shutter speed in second Headlights and StarlightHeadlights and Starlight s. 

500/focal length = max shutter speed in seconds 

A 16mm lens on a full frame camera works out to just over 31 seconds maximum exposure or 500/16 = 31.25. A 35mm lens would give us a maximum exposure time of approximately 15 seconds, rounding up. Wide angle lenses provide a clear advantage when it comes to maximizing your shutter speed for gathering more light in your scene. 

Lenses I use for astrophotography, and their corresponding max shutter speeds:

14mm = 35 seconds (I usually shoot at 30)

16mm = 31 seconds (I usually shoot 30 seconds here also)

20mm = 25 seconds

35mm = 14 seconds (I routinely round up to 15 seconds)

50mm = 10 seconds (pictured left)

For most situations the 500 rule is sufficient for allowing the creation of large prints that will be viewed at a reasonable distance, with minimal visible streaking of the stars across your camera’s pixels. 

The 300 Rule for Crop Sensor Cameras ReflectingReflecting

If you're using a crop sensor camera, you'll need to use a slightly different formula.

300/focal length = max shutter speed in seconds 

This is because a lens' effective focal length is longer when used with a crop sensor camera, usually by a factor of 1.6 times (varies by camera model.) So a 16mm lens is effectively 26mm on a crop sensor, rounding up. 

Using  the same lens examples as above, a 16mm focal length lens on a crop sensor camera works out to just over 18 seconds maximum exposure, 300/16 = 18.75. I would recommend rounding up to 20 seconds or down to 15 for simplicity. Now, a 35mm lens would give us a maximum exposure time of just over 8 seconds. As you can see, a full frame camera gives us an advantage in lengthening our exposure times to gather more light. 

Note: rather than using the "300 Rule," you could opt to convert your lens focal length by multiplying it by the crop factor of your camera, then plugging this number into the 500 rule. In this case, 26mm. 

Same lens focal length examples as above, but adjusted for a Canon crop sensor, and their corresponding max shutter speeds:

14mm = 22 seconds (rounding down to 20 simplifies things)

16mm = 20 seconds (rounded up)

20mm = 15.6 seconds (round down to 15 for simplicity)

35mm = 8.9 seconds (recommend 8 seconds)

50mm = 6.25 seconds (recommend 6 seconds)

The math clearly indicates that a full frame camera and a wide angle lens are a great combination for photographing the night sky. I typically recommend lenses like the Rokinon 14 f/2.8 lens if you are just getting started. Photographing the night sky with a single lens will provide you with more than enough to experiment with and learn before you might consider adding more specialized lenses to your kit. 

Note about the 500 Rule - It’s not perfect

Depending on how much you enjoy math, you may or may not appreciate the information at the following link: http://starcircleacademy.com/2012/06/600-rule/

At that link you can find a much more intricate formula that will allow you to calculate the maximum shutter speed for your precise camera and lens, based on your exact location, etc so that stars do not travel across even one pixel during a single exposure. Did that just get way too nerdy?

It should be stated that the 500/300 rule isn't perfect. If your print is large enough and the viewer is standing close enough to the image, most eyes will see some streaking. Scoot back to a more comfortable viewing distance and you are likely to be satisfied with the results. 

To summarize: the 500/300 rule works great for most applications and I recommend experimenting with it for yourself. 

What about your other settings?

We spent this blog post talking about maximizing our shutter speed to gather as much light as possible. Next, we want to bump our ISO (camera sensitivity) settings high into the 3200-6400 range, so our camera’s sensor can collect as much light as possible. Finally, set your aperture wide open (hopefully in the f/2.8 or wider range depending on your lens) again, to let in as much light as possible. This is all given that we are far away from bright city lights and we are attempting to capture the splendor of the Milky Way and the surrounding landscape with a wide angle lens. 

Enjoy!

Want to learn more and get hands-on? Check out my astrophotography workshops and join the newsletter below to stay in the loop!

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) 300 500 astrophotography how info luis milky obispo rule san star to trails way workshops http://bradycabe.com/blog/2017/2/the-500-and-300-rule-for-photographing-the-night-sky Tue, 07 Feb 2017 08:17:37 GMT
Ashley and Dal Pear Valley Vineyard Wedding http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/8/ashley-and-dal-pear-valley-vineyard-wedding Ashley and Dal had an intimate ceremony on a hilltop at Pear Valley Vineyards, and I had the honor of documenting that day for them. Their reception was relaxed and casual, allowing for plenty of time for sharing conversation with family and friends, tasting wine, and enjoying the delicious food (courtesy of Trumpet Vine.) 

When we were emailing back and forth in the weeks leading up, I mentioned that we might have a window of opportunity to take a Milky Way photo before the moon rose - about half an hour tops. With the smoke from the nearby wildfires, I wasn't sure that we would be able to photograph the stars at all. Well, the planets aligned (pun intended) and the conditions worked out for the Milky Way photo to happen - and I'm so happy it did for them (scroll down to see.)

These are just some of my selections from their day.

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Amazing vendors from Saturday's wedding:

Officiant: Olive Tree Officiating 

Venue: Pear Valley Vineyards
Coordinator: Amanda Leath Events
Rentals: All About Events Paso
Catering: Trumpet Vine Catering
Hair & Makeup: Courtney Rossi Artistry

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) country intimate milky paso pear robles valley vineyards way wedding wine http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/8/ashley-and-dal-pear-valley-vineyard-wedding Thu, 25 Aug 2016 05:45:00 GMT
Infinity Focus and Hyperfocal Distance : Maximize Depth of Field in Astrophotography http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/8/using-hyperfocal-distance-to-maximize-depth-of-field-in-astrophotography Focusing on the Milky Way - Using Infinity Focus and Hyperfocal Distance to Maximize Depth of Field in Astrophotography

Standing StillStanding Still

About this Post

This blog post is all about getting in-focus images of the Milky Way and your foreground subject in a single exposure, without using blending or other compositing techniques. 

Find Infinity Focus

During my astrophotography workshops the first topic we cover is finding the infinity focus on the lens we will be using during the class. Many lenses are marked for infinity on the focus ring, but this should be tested to ensure accuracy. If your lens doesn’t have a marking for infinity, take the time to determine infinity focus before shooting. 

To do this, manually focus your lens on the most distance object, such as a bright star (if it’s dark) or distant mountain ridge. If your camera has a “live view” feature, try using that and zoom in on your distant subject to aide in focusing. With un-marked lenses, use gaffer's tape or similar to tape your focus ring into place for the evening. Switch to manual focus if you haven't already.

Throughout your night photography shoot, instead of adjusting the focus on the camera or using auto-focus as you would in daylight, you will physically move the camera forward or back in relation to your subject to achieve focus. Since the focus is set to infinity, we know the stars will be in focus regardless of where we position the camera - that’s the goal with this method.

Now What?

To recap, so far we have our lens focused at infinity and we know that any photograph we take of the sky is going to feature stars that are in focus. But what about our foreground subject? If you are too close to your subject, it is going to be out of focus and you might not be happy with the results. The solution is to back away from your subject until the subject is in focus, and then take your shot. A wider angle lens will allow you to be closer to your subject and have both the subject and stars in focus. The more telephoto the lens, the further back you will need to stand to get both the subject and stars in focus. 

Math and Numbers

If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend too much time guessing where to position your camera to get the shot. Luckily, you can figure out where to position your camera to get your subject and stars in focus using a hyperfocal table, like the one in the PhotoPills app for iOS. Hyperfocal distance refers to the distance between a camera/lens and the closest object that is in focus when the lens is focused at infinity, at the given aperture setting for each different lens. 

Using the PhotoPills app, you can plug in your camera and lens info, and the table will give you hyperfocal distances at various apertures for that setup. You will know exactly how far back you need to be from your subject. Keep in mind, the hyperfocal distance will change based on the set aperture and lens focal length - this is crucial for astrophotography. 

Discussing Hyperfocal in Practice

  • The lower the f-stop, that is, the wider open the aperture, the further the hyperfocal distance will be from the camera. For example, when using a 35mm lens at f/1.4 aperture, the hyperfocal distance is just over 94 feet. If I stop down that same lens to an f/2.8 aperture, my hyperfocal distance is much closer, at about 47 feet. But this lens can gather so much light at f/1.4 and that is a big reason why it is part of my kit. As a result, I commonly use this lens for larger, more distance subjects, so my camera can be far enough away (at least 94 feet) to get both the subject and the stars in focus while shooting wide open at f/1.4.
  • The wider angle the lens, the closer the hyperfocal distance will be. For example, a 20mm lens at the same f/1.4 aperture as our 35mm lens in the example above, has a much closer hyperfocal distance of 31 feet; that’s one third the distance! When my subject matter is closer to the camera, a wider angle lens will give me greater flexibility in my composition. Are you starting to see why the variety of lenses in your kit can be important for night sky work?
  • As a general rule of thumb, longer focal length lenses are best suited for larger, further subject matter, while wider angle lenses are best for closer, smaller subjects. This is how I approach most night scenes, in terms of lens selection. 

School's Out ForeverSchool's Out Forever

Notes/FAQ

  • What if you were to simply manually focus on the subject? The stars would likely be out of focus and appear soft. If this is not the effect you desire, then learning the concept of hyperfocal distance will come in handy. 
  • There will be situations that it is simply not possible or practical to use this method to capture the scene how you wish. You can opt to try your hand at focus-stacking, or you can simply focus on your closer-than-optimal subject and let the stars fall out of focus. I've done both and had fun doing so.
  • Consider stopping down your lens to a smaller aperture to increase depth of field, and then use a light source to help add light to your now darker scene. 
  • Approximating the hyperfocal distance using field techniques, such as focusing on the first third of your scene, may not be effective given our wide open apertures for night sky shooting. Proceed with caution.
  • Once you get used to each of the lenses in your night kit, you will become more comfortable with the limitations of each. It will eventually become second-nature for you to guess the distance from your camera to the subject without measuring. You'll begin to know what lens will work best for the given scene. 

As with anything, practice makes perfect, and the best advice I can give you is to go out and shoot! Enjoy the stars.

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Want to learn, hands-on, how to photograph the night sky? Join me on a future workshop. 

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) astrophotography depth distance field hyperfocal info instruction milky night of sky way workshops http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/8/using-hyperfocal-distance-to-maximize-depth-of-field-in-astrophotography Sun, 07 Aug 2016 16:38:54 GMT
Using Off Camera Flash for Astrophotography http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/7/using-off-camera-flash-for-astrophotography Using Off Camera Flash for Astrophotography 

I’ve started using off camera flash more and more in my night sky images, so I thought I would share this technique with all of you. Some folks will simply not care for the results of this technique, and I completely understand that perspective - it's subjective. There are other ways to capture dynamic night sky images involving photoshop, light painting, and other techniques. My goal in photography is to try and capture each image in a single exposure, and this method allows me to do so. Below I’m going to tell you why I prefer this method and provide a quick how-to on setting up your flash for this purpose. If you sign up for a workshop, I usually have an extra flash or two in my bag for experimentation, and I can help show you how to use off camera flash in astrohptography. 

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Repeatable Results 

Compared to other methods, such as light painting with a flashlight, using a flash can yield more consistent results. This is not to say that light painting cannot be mastered and controlled to a precise degree, it’s just that a flash takes away some of the guesswork. Painting light with a flashlight can definitely be fun, and it's a great technique to have in your toolbox.

What I enjoy about using a flash is the ability to move quickly once I'm all setup for my astrophotography session. As soon as I have my camera’s exposure settings and the flash power output settings adjusted to my liking, I can easily move from composition to composition. Every time I press the button on the flash, the power output is the same, so I have a good idea of what my result will be. 

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Cleaner Image for Printing 

This is the chief reason I began regularly implementing off camera flash into my process. I've been printing a lot lately and the problem I'm running into time and time again is print quality issues with night sky images. When you're used to achieving a certain print quality with other images, such as sunset scenes, it makes anything of lesser quality stick out like a sore thumb. 

By lighting the foreground with an external light source, you are less reliant on high ISO settings to capture those details. I can photograph the same scene at ISO 3200 instead of ISO 6400 and have a cleaner file with less digital noise, while still capturing the necessary detail in the Milky Way. 

For extremely dark sky locations, such as Death Valley, this method will prove quite useful, as ISO 6400 paired with some lenses will provide nowhere near a proper exposure and the resulting file will suffer greatly with shadow noise when attempting to brighten the image in post-production. 

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Using Your Flash in Manual Mode

Even if you have never worked with off-camera lighting, that shouldn’t stop you from trying this for yourself. Follow the steps below to get started. 

  1. Set your camera’s exposure settings as desired to capture the night sky. I recommend starting at ISO 3200, aperture wide open, and shutter speed set using the 500 rule
  2. Turn on your flash unit (I'm currently using a Yongnuo model) and make sure it is set to manual and not TTL or other automatic modes. If your flash does not have a “test” button, make sure you have some other means for firing the flash, such as a remote trigger. 
  3. Start the exposure on your camera and fire your flash during the exposure. 
  4. I recommend holding the flash unit above your head and pointing the flash at a down angle on your foreground, while holding it slightly above and to the side of your camera. Holding your flash lower to the ground can help accentuate textures, such as grass, rock, etc, if desired.
  5. After the exposure is complete, check your shot and study the histogram to ensure your image is well exposed and not “blown out.” If your camera has a highlight alert feature, I strongly recommend using this function. This will cause all blown highlights to flash when playing back the image. 
  6. If you have blown highlights, adjust the flash power down and repeat steps 3-5. 
  7. If your image foreground still seems too dark, adjust the flash power to a higher setting and repeat steps 3-5. Repeat this process until your image is bright to taste, and you also have no blown out highlights on the foreground.
  8. Once you have set the flash power to the appropriate setting you can now move about capturing scenes in one attempt. 
  9. Please note that changing the distance of your flash to the foreground will affect its brightness, so try to remain consistent with your flash placement in relation to the foreground/subject.

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Bonus Tip: Because the shutter speed setting does not have any affect on flash power, you can perform the above procedure while using a shorter shutter speed. I usually set my shutter to 2 seconds, while leaving my ISO and aperture at their normal night sky settings. This way, I can calibrate the flash settings as desired, but take up much less time in doing so. Remember typical night sky shutter speeds will be upwards of 30 seconds, so this tip could save you some valuable time. 

What are you waiting for?

If you have a flash, any flash, head out during the next new moon and give this a try. Maybe you will like the results and maybe you won’t, but having this method in your toolbox might just save your bacon. Mmm, bacon…

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) astrophotography camera flash how info manual milky night off sky to tutorial way http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/7/using-off-camera-flash-for-astrophotography Sat, 23 Jul 2016 07:11:12 GMT
What's In The Bag? - An Update On My Lenses http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/7/whats-in-the-bag-an-update-on-my-lenses What's in my bag?

I recently went through an anti-GAS phase - not sure if that’s a thing. If you have never heard of “GAS” before, it's an acronym that stands for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. In short; you see cool photography stuff and then you buy cool photography stuff, whether or not it’s necessary to further your craft. Luckily, I learned early on from some helpful mentors, the woes of going down this path of potential financial ruin and lack of promised inspiration from said gear.

My trip last fall to Alaska was a catalyst for parsing down my gear bag, re-evaluating myself as a photographer, and a lesson learned in traveling with (less) gear. Having traveled little as a photographer, I brought way more equipment than I needed - way more - which was a valuable lesson all on its own. On the trip I rented a super telephoto lens and it ignited my passion for wildlife photography, and re-ignited my lifelong love of raptors, particularly Bald Eagles. Along the way I discovered that I didn’t really *need* some of the lenses I had brought, like, at all. So when I got back from my trip I sold off a few things, bought the wildlife lens, and haven’t looked back.

I also made the decision to sell off one of my full frame Canon 6D (refurbished) cameras and replace it with a crop sensor Canon 70D (refurbished) body, to extend the reach of my telephoto lens for wildlife, and have a better auto focus experience in those same situations. I still love my 6D for weddings, portraits, astrophotography, landscape… and pretty much everything else.

Below is the lens selection I ultimately landed on and I’m putting together this blog post because I don’t foresee any big changes happening anytime soon. I’ve included sample images taken with each lens for reference.

Rokinon 14mm f/2.8

When I need to shoot super wide photos of the night sky, this lens will do it and does the job well. Because it has no front filter threads, I can't use my landscape filters - so this lens is definitely my most niche, and used for night skies only. But it's reasonably sharp wide open and the hard stop infinity focus makes it a great tool for astrophotography. When shooting meteor showers, I will leave this lens on the second body all night, capturing as wide of a scene as possible to maximize captured meteors.

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Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 II

This is arguably the most used lens in my kit and has been for the past several years. From weddings to night sky to sunsets, I don't leave home without this lens. If it was a fixed 16mm lens I'm not sure I would miss the zoom much, aside from being able to do some trick zoom shots. I'm usually able to scoot forward and get the framing I'm after without using the zoom, but that's not to say I haven't used it a few times. If I have to make the decision between this and the Rokinon 14mm, I choose this lens because of the front filter threads.

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Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art

If I'm taking playful photos of my kids, capturing wide angle wedding moments, snapping lifestyle work, or wanting to get a closer look at the Milky Way, I head straight for this lens. It's so sharp at f/1.4 that it puts most of my other glass to shame. Although this focal length is duplicated in my kit, the f/1.4 aperture is a necessity for being able to get specific shots of the night sky that I am simply not able to capture with the 16-35mm Canon.

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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art

This is a workhorse lens and is sharp, sharp, sharp, just like the 35mm Sigma above. I shoot most of my portraits with this lens, including wedding, senior, family - you name it. I'll routinely use the 50 for an entire (small) family shoot or senior session without switching lenses. The focal length lends itself well to medium crop portraits at a comfortable distance and just works great for what I want. As soon as Sigma launches an 85mm Art, I'll be first in line to get that closer portrait without getting all up in my subject’s business. In the meantime, I'll stick with this beauty to get the job done.

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Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS Version I

I bought this lens used on eBay in 2010 I believe. It's been through the ringer and has the battle scars to prove it. I won't shoot an event or wedding without this lens in my bag. On a full frame camera, the 70-200mm range is just about perfect for most situations when ‘meat and potatoes’ photographs are on the menu. I'll frequently pair this with the 16-35mm lens on a second body, especially when shooting news or similar events and that gives me everything I need and then some. Mine also has, what I think is, a unique flare to it if you catch the sun just right. I’ll probably be buried with this lens.

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Sigma 150-600 Version C

This lens is near permanently affixed to my Canon 70D camera - a perfect kit for daytime wildlife photography. I originally fell in love with this lens while renting it for my Alaska adventure last fall, when I used it for capturing Bald Eagles. As soon as I returned, I promptly sold off some bits and pieces of gear to make way for this beast. I almost exclusively handhold this lens and with the built-in stabilization, I'm able to achieve sharp images at insanely slow shutter speeds. Tip: check Sigma’s refurbished website and it will really drive the price down.

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Honorable mention: Opteka Auto Focus DG EX Macro Extension Tube

I used to have a dedicated macro lens and it sat in the bag much more often than not. So I sold that lens, took a small fraction of that amount and purchased a macro extension tube that offers autofocus. I have to say; it works much better than expected. I'm able to get my wedding day ring shots and the occasional nature close-up and I don't have to feel guilty about having "wasted space." It's great.

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Conclusion

I realize to some this still might seem like a lot of equipment, but each tool has a use. Although after writing this, the Rokinon 14mm lens might have to go. Do you have GAS? Have you de-GAS-ed? Share your GAS stories in the comments.

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) astrophotography canon info landscape rokinon sigma wedding wildlife http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/7/whats-in-the-bag-an-update-on-my-lenses Fri, 15 Jul 2016 18:52:41 GMT
Getting Started With Wildlife Photography - Tips and Tricks http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/7/getting-started-with-wildlife-photography-tips-and-tricks Getting Started with Wildlife Photography

Being relatively new to wildlife photography, this is all pretty fresh in my mind. I've picked up a lot of little tips and tricks that have helped improve my work along the way, and I'm sharing them with you here. Feel free to comment with your wildlife photography tip!

Regal EagleRegal Eagle

 

My camera hasn’t left my hands in the past 6 years, and it’s been pointed at nearly everything (weddings, people, musicians, sunset, and so on) but only flirted with the occasional hawk or butterfly.

 

My love of nature has always been with me though. Since I was a small child I was obsessed with Bald Eagles and Orcas, always drawing or painting them. My mom would point out deer and hawks on along the road, and that always stuck with me. Fast-forward to now, and I’ve trained my 3 year old daughter to identify Turkey Vultures in flight - the cycle continues.

 

A trip to Alaska last fall to capture the Northern Lights resulted in the igniting of a passion inside me to photograph wildlife more seriously. I rented a large telephoto lens, the Sigma 150-600mm Version C, for the trip to photograph Bald Eagles and was instantly hooked. After returning from the trip, I sold off a few pieces of equipment and within a few weeks, had that lens delivered to my doorstep.

 

It’s been an amazing journey so far and I hope you find a nugget of info that can help you on your journey.

 

 

Respect the Animals

 

This has to be point number one because it’s so important and it's often overlooked - with or without bad intentions. It’s crucial to respect the space of the animals you are photographing, particularly during breeding times, so as not to impact their ability to raise young. The rule of thumb is: if the animal’s behavior changes due to your presence, you may be stressing it and you should back away or leave the area, depending on the situation. Getting the shot is not worth compromising the animal’s well-being or its ability to successfully breed. Click here for lots of useful information on the topic.

 

Talk to Other Photographers

 

This has been huge for me. I know photographers have a tendency to keep to themselves and a lot of us are guarded with information, but in wildlife photography it is extremely helpful to network with other photographers you bump into, and share information about local wildlife happenings. You never know what they might be willing to share and you might, just maybe, make a new friend. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting local wildlife photographer, and now friend, Craig Corwin, and I am so glad I did. He pointed me in the direction of so many great wildlife spots (including a local falcon nesting site), which led to other findings and other fantastic people. It has only enhanced the experience for me. Also, your wildlife photography buddies are going to be much more patient with your “just missed it” stories than your family - trust me.

 

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Explore and Explore Again

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered truly amazing places or critters right under my nose. Next time you are out on a nature walk, go a different way than the last time. Take that narrow dirt path and see where it leads. Get out of your routine and you’ll be surprised at what you will find. Don’t be afraid to hop on Google Maps in Satellite view and start scrolling around. Look for bodies of water and potential public trails.

 

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Look Up

 

This seems pretty obvious, but I’ve been walking under a family of Great Horned Owls for the past 4 years or so, at a local trail, with no knowledge of their presence. Whoops! IMG_7384IMG_7384

 

Have A Plan

 

Along with being a photographer, I am a stay at home dad and 9 times out of 10 my kids are with me when I’m shooting. Young children aren’t always good at waiting, so I find myself crafting my photo outings around what will work best for them, and save the solo mission stuff for another time. We find ourselves on lots of kid-friendly hiking trails, nature preserves, lakes, coastal areas, and basically anywhere that might get us close-up with something swimming, flying, or crawling.

 

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When I am alone I will go out during optimal lighting conditions and wait for things to happen, but I always have one or two backup plans or places I can go if things are not happening. Wildlife is wild, and you have no idea when things will be happening or if they will happen at all.

 

The more you know about the locations and wildlife in your area, the better luck you will have making good photos. Learn about mating rituals, breeding seasons, habits or anything else that you can use to make a better photo. Some days you can only hope for a great snapshot of an American Coot, but if you can anticipate and capture a Grebe's courtship ritual of walking on water, you'll come away with a stronger image.

 

Plan on waiting and waiting

 

One day you might walk right up onto the shot of your lifetime and then next day you might be waiting an hour or two for that darned owl to take flight. The longer you are willing to wait, the better your chances at capturing something unique.

 

Stick around after the action. Sometimes there will be an after-shock of more excitement. Early on I had the tendency to leave shortly after a burst of activity but you never know what's going to happen next.

 

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Trust Your Instincts

 

Know when to abandon your plan and just wing it. Your instincts may not always be right, but you should try to listen to that little voice inside your head telling you to wait just a little longer or try a different vantage point. What I mean is don't stick to your routine if your spidey-sense is tingling and telling you to do otherwise. IMG_6702IMG_6702

 

Consider the Lighting

 

The best light of the day is typically right after sunrise and just before sunset - the golden hour. As a rule of thumb, animals are typically more active during these times, so everyone wins - good light and good action. Last Light on OwlLast Light on Owl This one is tough for me because I’m dealing with nap times, school, meals, soccer/baseball practice, and bath and bed time - but I do my best.

 

You can shoot with the sun at your back and stretch those hours of light a little further. The quality of light will not be the same but you can continue to shoot and achieve useable results.

 

If it's a cloudy day, take advantage of the softer, more diffused light and spend the whole day making photos.

 

When I'm shooting during less than best lighting conditions, I'm accomplishing a few things at once. I'm learning about the animal and its habits through observation so I can come back with better light and use that knowledge to capture a better moment. I'm also getting more time behind the camera and practice should never be underestimated. Also, I have a chance to explore the area nearby for other potential shots. How else could you benefit from this time shooting?

 

If you're shooting into the sunset, consider capturing a silhouetted image of the animal. Silhouettes can make for striking compositions, and although considered cliche by some, are widely considered a timeless and simple technique by others. Give it a try!

 

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Watch for Catchlights

 

Speaking of light... Especially with smaller birds, I am constantly watching their eyes through my lens and waiting for their heads to turn just right so the sun is catching. This will breathe life into the animal and make the photo pop more. Some photographers opt to use a flash to create their own catchlight and that is certainly an option, although not a technique I personally use.

 

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Get Close(r)

 

There are many ways to get closer, and the result is almost always a better photograph - especially with wildlife. But there is a balance between getting physically too close and stressing an animal, and getting close enough to get a useable photograph. Make sure to review the link mentioned earlier for proper ethics in photographing wildlife.

 

Owl WinkOwl Wink

 

The best way to get closer is to use a telephoto lens to extend your camera's reach. There are many great options to consider and I recommend the aforementioned Sigma 150-600mm Version C. I routinely shoot with this lens wide open at f/6.3 aperture (at 600mm) and I couldn't be happier with the results. The images are tack sharp, color and contrast is very pleasant, and it's light enough to hand hold in many situations. IMG_2556IMG_2556

 

There's no precise answer as to what lens is long enough for wildlife photography because it's quite subjective. One day you might luck into a hawk on the lamppost of your street and a 70-200mm lens will do the trick. Other days you will be on the outside of private property shooting over hundreds of yards and 600mm might be a necessity - or inadequate still. Other days a small bird will be foraging on the ground near your feet and your 600mm lens brings this already close scene extremely close, allowing for immense detail to be captured. All in all, use the gear that you have to the best of your abilities and if purchasing a lens, find the longest focal length in your price range. There's no substitute for a long lens.

 

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Other ways to get close would be to use a blind, such as your car, to shroud your presence. When I'm walking along a path and see something ahead, I'll use a tree, bush, or rock to duck behind and use as an impromptu blind. If you're lucky the action might move toward you and you'll be ready.

 

Look Around

 

When you're inevitably waiting for action, survey what's around you. Often times I'll find other interesting things close by; such as animal prints, feathers, other smaller creatures - you get the idea. Recently while waiting for some Peregrine Falcons to fledge, I discovered so many wonderful things including Western Gull chicks, a Canada Goose nest, whales breaching in the distance, and a host of other treasures.

 

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Use Your Ears

 

Recently I was photographing an adult Bald Eagle who was perched in its regular spot. In the distance I heard what sounded like another eagle calling out. So I waited and not too long after two juvenile eagles flew into the scene. It's a moment I won't soon forget.

 

IMG_6202-4IMG_6202-4 The more you get out and shoot, the more you will start to recognize different sounds from various animals. The honk of geese might cause you to turn around quickly and capture them gliding onto the water behind you. In the thick of the eucalyptus grove a screeching hawk might be your only clue of their presence. You get the idea!

 

Don’t Be Mad About Missing the Shot

 

This happens so much I've considered starting an Instagram account just featuring epic moments that I completely missed focus, or missed all together. It's simply going to happen. Maybe you nailed the focus, exposure, and composition but the angle is not good or the action happened away from you? This is part of what keeps us going back for that next shot.

 

Practice on Sea Gulls

 

There are few things more exciting to a photographer than picking up a new camera or lens. Our first inclination is to go out and give it a whirl. Definitely do this! My suggestion would be to practice on gulls or crows - something common. There will be kinks to work out and lessons to be learned and it will hurt a lot less if you totally miss that gull shot, as opposed to, say, a Great Horned Owl in flight or a glance at a Least Bittern.

 

IMG_5519-2IMG_5519-2 Whether it's breaking in a new piece of gear or simply practicing for the sake of practice, use a common bird for your subject and the benefit will be twofold; a missed shot won't hurt so bad and a great shot will still be a great shot.

 

Keep On Shooting

 

This has to be said for the simple fact that you might completely strike out and it might happen more than once. And it could happen five times in a row - yup. But that sixth time you go out and that Bald Eagle banks perfectly, soaring into golden light - you're stoked again.

 

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Good Luck

 

A little bit of luck goes a long way out in the field. The more prepared and purposeful you are, the more luck will find you.

 

What are you shooting lately?

 

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) and birding help how info nature photography tips to tricks wildlife http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/7/getting-started-with-wildlife-photography-tips-and-tricks Fri, 15 Jul 2016 18:32:03 GMT
My Process for Printing Landscape Photographs http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/5/my-process-for-printing-landscape-photographs IMG_8678IMG_8678 My Process : Preparing and Printing Images

There are countless ways to go about this entire printing process. Simply put, this is the method that I have personally developed while preparing for an upcoming gallery show, in which the main images will be large prints I created at home. This works for me, but it might not work for you. I encourage you to use this as a jumping off point, and tweak your process so that it meets your needs.

This is a follow-up post to my 6 Reasons You Should Be Printing Your Photos post. I'm printing exclusively with the Canon Pixma Pro 100 and couldn't be happier with the results. Remember, have fun and happy printing.

Select the image(s)

This seems fairly straightforward but it's something to stop and ponder. Image/shot selection is a big part of being a photographer, and in some cases sets apart a great photographer from a good one. Whether it's showcasing your best work for a portfolio, providing the proper variety of images for a client, or choosing a piece to print for a show, selection can make or break the project. Evaluate each photo objectively, looking at the technical. If there are technical issues that can't be fixed, consider not printing that piece. 

Check your histogram

This is a topic that we discuss in my workshops because it's often overlooked, especially when photographers are just getting started, but it's an important aspect of photography. Generally speaking, a properly exposed image is going to look better printed than one that has clipped shadows or highlights. Hopefully, you are working with a raw image and can push and pull those pixels to get your image ready for print. As with any rule, there are always exceptions. Especially with astrophotography your histogram is going to be peaking more on the left due to an overall darker scene including a night sky.  Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 11.46.58 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-02 at 11.46.58 PM

It's all in the details

Check for details, dusts spots, and sharpen if necessary. Zoom in on your photo, especially in the water and sky, and inspect for any elements that you do not want to be part of the final print. Maybe it's a fence post, telephone wire, or piece of trash left by a beach-goer - if you're printing large those things will stand out. For some types of photography, such as photojournalism, removing elements from an image is a huge no-no. For our purposes here, we want a clean, attractive image that will be free of distractions. When you're out shooting, try to get this all taken care of before pressing the shutter; it's just good practice. Use Lightroom's spot removal tool to inspect the image for dust spots. This is when you realize that shooting at narrow apertures can yield some spotty results (see photo above - yikes!) I routinely use a small handheld air blower to clean the front and rear lens element each time I switch lenses. This saves so much time in post production.

Proofing IMG_8419-3IMG_8419-3

Print a 4x6 proof. This may seem like an unnecessary step but it accomplishes two things for me. First, it gives me a sense of how my photo is going to look printed and how the digital image translates to the paper. Maybe the screen isn't calibrated? You'll find out if/when your print looks off. Second, if the print is good, I have a small copy to sell at my next gallery show or use as a giveaway promo. I currently have a box of these ready to go for my next event.

IMG_1005IMG_1005 Print it big

Finally, print it large. By following these steps I haven't yet ended up with a throw-away large format print.

As a side note, one thing I have been doing, before placing the paper into the printer, is using a Giottos Rocket Air Blaster (same one I recommend for removing dust from your camera lens), and blowing air across the paper to remove any random dust and debris. I'm not sure if the printer cleans the paper at some point in the printing process, but I have had issues with debris on the paper causing the ink to not print to the paper in isolated and very tiny spots.

So far, all of my big prints look great - no unwanted distractions, color correct, and ready to display.


 

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) art detail fine how info inspiration landscape photography photos printing prints process to http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/5/my-process-for-printing-landscape-photographs Tue, 03 May 2016 07:42:40 GMT
Airick and Liz - Cambria Pines Lodge Wedding - Antique Aero Reception - Star Wars http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/5/airick-and-liz-cambria-pines-lodge-wedding-antique-aero-reception-star-wars IMG_9124-Edit-EditIMG_9124-Edit-Edit IMG_0140-Edit-saber-compIMG_0140-Edit-saber-comp

ring-collagering-collage

"I love you. I know."

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Airick and Liz created a special day that was totally "them," and shared it with their family and friends. From the Star Wars details to the airplane hanger reception, their wedding day was a ton of fun to photograph. I'm so happy for these two as they start this new chapter in their lives together. The force will be with them, always.

PS. There was a stormtrooper - no big whoop.

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Need a photographer for your 2016 and beyond wedding? Contact me today. 

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) airplanes cambria i know lodge love pines star wars wedding you http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/5/airick-and-liz-cambria-pines-lodge-wedding-antique-aero-reception-star-wars Tue, 03 May 2016 05:59:19 GMT
6 Reasons You Should Be Printing Your Photos http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/4/photographers-why-you-should-be-printing-your-images 6 Reasons You Should Be Printing Your Photos

(As seen on PetaPixel)

As a photographer I spend a lot of time taking photos, editing, blogging, and posting to social media. To what end? Are the photos meant to be viewed for the 24 hour period that FaceBook displays them and then just gone forever? And then I scrounge up another photo to share and the cycle just continues. FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy sharing my photographs online. But am I just feeding into the noise? Part of my move to start printing my photos comes from my desire to create and share something tangible and special in this age of digital noise and the culture of "now" and "more."

This post is written to other photographers who might be considering buying and using a photo printer. I'm printing exclusively with the Canon Pixma Pro 100 and couldn't be happier with the results. Below are some reasons why you should start printing.

1) It makes you a better editor

When you print a photo and hold it in your hands, you start to notice details that maybe you didn't on your computer or phone screen - particularly if your screen could use a cleaning like mine. Dust spots in your sky do not make for an attractive printed image. You start realizing the benefit of zooming in close and panning around your image to inspect for problem areas. You start paying closer attention to your histogram, and so on. Check out my blog post outlining my printing process for a more in-depth look at preparing your image for print.

2) It makes you a better photographer

When you print, especially big, all technical issues with your photographs will be amplified. Displaying our photographs on Instagram gives us a lot of leeway and sometimes we brush things off. Tiny screens don't allow for all the detail to be revealed. Sometimes the detail is beautiful and sometimes it's problematic - either way it's going to show in the print. IMG_8419-3IMG_8419-3 The next time you pick up your camera, you'll be thinking "let's get this right in-camera." Because let's face it, fixing your problems later in Photoshop is not always easy, sometimes is not possible, and it's just lazy photography (we've all done it!) Photoshop is an amazing tool and some artists use it as a means to create amazing masterpieces, but if you're using it as a crutch to polish turds; you're doing it wrong.

3) It inspires you

Printing a photo, after careful selection, releases endorphins. I'm sure of it. All science aside, it makes me smile. It makes me want to go out and create more images that I can print large and be proud of. Shoot, edit, print, repeat - that's a new cycle for me. 

4) It makes you revisit old photos

Particularly if you're just getting into printing and you have a huge catalog of images, it's a lot of fun to go back into the archives. When you stumble upon a gem from 5 years ago and finally print it out, its satisfying. You begin to rediscover locations you've since neglected, and it gets the wheels turning - see "it inspires you," above.

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5) It brings your photos to life - forever

Before I started printing, this is what I did with my photos: take the photos, edit photos, post to Facebook, Instagram, whatever, maybe blog it, and then poof - the images just went into oblivion - with the occasional online or art show print sale. That's a lot of hard work, patience, and going out time after time chasing the sun and finally getting that perfect sunset at the perfect spot, just to let it sit on a hard drive. Print that baby out. 

6) It’s ultimately satisfying

This point echoes what I've been saying throughout this post. Seeing all of your hard work and dedication printed on beautiful paper just feels good. It's almost becoming an addiction for me... What can I print next? It's just so much fun. These are tangible things you can give to relatives, sell to clients, or hang on your wall. We see pixels all. day. long. Mix it up and get your print on.

Can you think of more reasons to print? Please share below. 


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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) 100 art canon fine info inspiration photography pixma print printing prints pro http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/4/photographers-why-you-should-be-printing-your-images Sat, 30 Apr 2016 22:54:53 GMT
Eric and Maritza - Bakersfield Wedding St Phillip the Apostle & Petroleum Club http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/4/eric-and-maritza-bakersfield-wedding-st-phillip-petroleum-club IMG_8648IMG_8648 IMG_8105IMG_8105 IMG_8193IMG_8193

 

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Last weekend's weather for Bakersfield was as follows:

Friday - terrible wind storm, thick dusty skies

Saturday - blue skies and spring perfection

Sunday - thunder and lightning and hail, oh my!

Can you guess which day Eric and Maritza tied the knot? If you guessed Saturday, you would be correct - their love made the storm pause. 

(these are a few of my selections from their day)

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) bakersfield camera club flash off petroleum phillip st sunset wedding http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/4/eric-and-maritza-bakersfield-wedding-st-phillip-petroleum-club Sat, 30 Apr 2016 04:58:15 GMT
The Canyon Villa - Intimate Italian Villa Wedding Venue - Olive Inspired Styled Shoot http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/4/the-canyon-villa-intimate-italian-villa-wedding-venue-olive-inspired-styled-shoot IMG_6593IMG_6593 Just a few miles off the main road in Paso Robles wine country, The Canyon Villa is a gorgeous Italian Villa, perfect for intimate wedding events and vow renewals. The Villa is a bed and breakfast, and with Chef William at the helm, the food alone is worth a visit. 

The owners, Katherine and William, were so warm and welcoming, inviting me up to scope out the Villa a few months back. I immediately fell in love with the venue and saw loads of potential for multiple ceremony sites and great photo ops including bounding meadows, hillsides with sweeping vineyard backdrops, and of course the pristine villa itself - both inside and out. There are many olive tree saplings dotting the premises, which was the main inspiration behind the floral design used throughout the shoot. 

I want to thank all of the vendors who generously provided their time and resources to help make this shoot a reality, particularly our fearless wedding coordinator, Alison from Monarch Wedding Planning, who organized the whole thing - and totally rocked it! I would be remiss if I didn't thank our wonderful models, Michael and Brianna, whose skill in front of the camera and display of real love was the final and perfect piece to this puzzle. 

Brides, want to plan your intimate Italian Villa wedding or vow renewal? Take a look at all of the vendors involved, and let us help bring your big day to life.

Coordinating/Planning: Monarch Wedding Planning

Venue: The Canyon Villa

Hair & Makeup: Bellizzimo Beauty

Dress/Accessories: Something Bridal

Cake: Daisy Delights

Calligraphy/Sign: Fete and Quill

Flowers: Flowers by Denise

Tables/Chairs: Taylor Rentals

Cheese Platter: Fromagerie Sophie

Invitations: Pigment and Parchment

Wine: Forever Cellars

Officiant: Rev Georgia R Collins (805) 238-6312

Favors/Olive Oil: Groves on 41

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) canyon country details intimate italian luis obispo olive paso robles san slo venue villa wedding wine http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/4/the-canyon-villa-intimate-italian-villa-wedding-venue-olive-inspired-styled-shoot Fri, 22 Apr 2016 22:45:03 GMT
Skyler's Senior Portrait - Avila Beach - Cal Poly Bound http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/4/skyler-senior-portrait-avila-beach-cal-poly-bound IMG_4832IMG_4832 IMG_5158IMG_5158 IMG_5017IMG_5017 IMG_4970IMG_4970

Skyler is Cal Poly bound! It was great to meet her and photograph this important stage in her life.

We started off taking photos near creek, and worked our way toward to Avila Pier. The best part of shooting in Avila this particular day was the protection from the wind, offered by the Point San Luis ridge. It's been a bit windy and chilly for us Californian's lately (welcome to Spring) and we've even had to wear jackets on some days! *sarcasm*

If you're reading this, I hope you had a Happy Easter! If you need senior photos, feel free to contact me and I'll get you taken care of just in time. 

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Need Photos? Say Hello:

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) avila beach cal golden hour luis obispo pictures poly portrait san senior silhouette sunset http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/4/skyler-senior-portrait-avila-beach-cal-poly-bound Sun, 03 Apr 2016 21:57:30 GMT
Week In Photos - Week 9 - 2016 - Life and Adventures around the Central Coast of California http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/3/week-in-photos-week-9-2016 IMG_0791-EditIMG_0791-Edit

It's not everyday that a Peregrine Falcon allows you a front row seat to his dinner. My kids and I were heading down the road to the Monarch Butterfly Grove when all of the sudden I saw a large bird flying across with something in its talons. We took the next turn and this falcon had landed just a few blocks over, and was tearing into this pigeon. We parked across the street and spent the next 45 minutes watching him eat, while I took photos and my kids asked a bunch of questions. It was awesome. 

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) baywood big ca featured ksby landscape legoland lifestyle los luis nature obispo osos park photography pismo portrait san sur weekly wildlife http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/3/week-in-photos-week-9-2016 Tue, 22 Mar 2016 23:38:50 GMT
Week In Photos - Week 8 - 2016 - Life and Adventures around the Central Coast of California http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/3/week-in-photos-week-8-2016
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This week, my family and I drove on the sand in Pismo, made sand-castles, and took a family silhouette photo. All in all, a great week, although a little slow on the photo side of things. We were fortunate enough to stumble upon the Los Osos Valley Rd bald eagles, but by the time I pulled over to take a photo, one of them had taken flight. 

Thanks for taking a look!

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) baywood big ca featured ksby landscape legoland lifestyle los luis nature obispo osos park photography pismo portrait san sur weekly wildlife http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/3/week-in-photos-week-8-2016 Wed, 16 Mar 2016 06:30:16 GMT
Lauren's Senior Portrait Pismo Beach, CA http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/3/laurens-senior-portrait-pismo-beach-ca IMG_1125IMG_1125 IMG_1298IMG_1298 IMG_1193IMG_1193 IMG_1352IMG_1352

It was so great to catch up with Lauren and her mom, Sonja, whom I haven't seen since her and Chuck's wedding nearly two years ago! Time flies when you're having fun. I was totally honored that they contacted me to shoot Lauren's senior pictures, and we had a blast exploring all the meadows and trees near the butterfly grove. 

Here's a few of my favorite images from the session. Enjoy!

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) beach camera flash golden hour off photos pictures portraits senior sunset trees http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/3/laurens-senior-portrait-pismo-beach-ca Fri, 11 Mar 2016 06:36:30 GMT
Week In Photos - Week 7 - 2016 - Life and Adventures around the Central Coast of California http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/3/week-in-photos-week-7-2016 IMG_9172IMG_9172

Special thanks to The Paddleboard Company out of Morro Bay for paddling and yoga-ing - be sure to check out their website and schedule a paddle.

This week was super heavy on the photos on Monday with my big shoot up in Los Osos, and then tapered off... and then we went to Legoland! 

I am sharing only a few images from the Los Osos shoot in anticipation of the final product - a printed visitor guide! I will be sharing a completely separate post when that is all done and printed. Stay tuned!

Thank you for taking a look.

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) baywood big ca featured ksby landscape legoland lifestyle los luis nature obispo osos park photography pismo portrait san sur weekly wildlife http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/3/week-in-photos-week-7-2016 Thu, 03 Mar 2016 05:39:50 GMT
Week In Photos - Week 6 - 2016 - Life and Adventures around the Central Coast of California http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/2/week-in-photos-week-6-2016
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Week 6 was 2 weeks ago - I don't remember any of this! That's why these weekly photo blog posts are a lot of fun for me. It definitely doesn't seem like 2 weeks since Megan and Chris' wedding portrait.

A few of these photos are from a scouting session with Paul Irving from Big Big SLO. We are working on a great new project - putting together a visitor guide for Los Osos / Baywood Park. I'm working with him to capture photos of specific areas of interest for use in the booklet. I can't wait to share from that session next week and the final result in the next few months!

In the meantime, thank you for checking out my weekly photo blog and feel free to share!

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That's my daughter. We go on adventures. 

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Check out more of Megan and Chris' wedding day portrait here.

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Contact me about Milky Way portraits. Worth it.

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) big ca featured ksby landscape lifestyle los luis nature obispo osos photography pismo portrait san sur weekly wildlife http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/2/week-in-photos-week-6-2016 Tue, 23 Feb 2016 08:58:20 GMT
Week In Photos - Week 5 - 2016 - Life and Adventures around the Central Coast of California http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/2/week-in-photos-week-5-2016 IMG_3911IMG_3911

I can't tell you how much fun I am having with these weekly photo blog posts. A huge fringe benefit of this project, is that it's forcing me to flush out more of my personal work than I have ever previously shared. A lot of times I will share one photo, or maybe none, from things I shoot while out and about with my kids, or just exploring. These posts have proven to be a great outlet for sharing this work, and I hope you are enjoying these posts as they come.  

This week amounted to even more birding, and some exploring. My kids and I found a "new to me" spot between Morro Bay and Los Osos that has quickly become my new favorite location to walk. The boardwalk near the marina in Morro Bay offers different sights each visit, with a variety of birds, wildlife, boats, and of course a front row seat to an amazing central coast sunset. 

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) big ca featured ksby landscape lifestyle los luis nature obispo osos photography pismo portrait san sur weekly wildlife http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/2/week-in-photos-week-5-2016 Thu, 18 Feb 2016 01:44:05 GMT
Megan and Chris - Pismo Beach Wedding Portrait http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/2/megan-and-chris-pismo-beach-wedding-portrait IMG_5061IMG_5061

As soon as Megan and Chris contacted me with their concept of photos at Old West Cinnamon Rolls in Pismo, I was really hoping it would fall into place (and not just because I enjoy sweets!) I'm so glad it did because they were a lot of fun to work with. Instead of a wedding cake after their intimate San Luis Obispo ceremony, they opted for their favorite cinnamon rolls to celebrate. Afterwards we strolled down Pismo Beach in the ethereal marine layer clouds that decided to show up. 

These are just a handful of my selections from their super fun session. Thanks for taking a look!

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brady@bradycabe.com (Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography) beach candid cinnamon lifestyle newlywed pismo portrait rolls wedding http://bradycabe.com/blog/2016/2/megan-and-chris-pismo-beach-wedding-portrait Tue, 16 Feb 2016 07:01:53 GMT