How to Photograph the Total Solar Eclipse on 8/21/17

Total Solar Eclipse 2017: A Guide to Viewing and Photographing it — Hudson Henry Photography

Here's a great video with tips and tricks to view the August 21st, 2017 total solar eclipse. The sun will cross the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. This rare event is a great opportunity for photographers – both amateur and professional.

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in the U.S. was in 1979 in the Pacific Northwest. Here is ABC News coverage from that day with an amazing view from Helena, Montana.

In the video at the top of this post, Hudson Henry explains why the August 21st, 2017 total solar eclipse is special, shares some online maps and electronic scouting tools to help you plan where and how to photograph it, covers what gear you will need to get the best eclipse photos possible and reviews camera settings and technical strategies to capture those images.

When the eclipse reaches totality, you can view it with your naked eyes and stars will be visible. However, during the partial phase leading up to and following totality, you need to protect your eyes and your camera’s sensor. Be sure to view the eclipse using “Live View” on your camera instead of looking directly through the lens using your viewfinder.

WARNING! There is a high risk of PERMANENT EYE DAMAGE when watching the solar eclipse. Learn more at 10:44 of this video: CBC Special: Solar Eclipse Over Winnipeg.

Have fun in your quest to capture some images of a lifetime!

Here are some links to the tools and products recommended in Hudson Henry's video.

– Interactive Google map of the eclipse

– The Photographer’s Ephemeris

– Sun Surveyor for Android & iOS

– Eclipse glasses to protect your eyes *

– 16-Stop ND filter to protect your sensor

00:38 – Specifics about the 8/21/17 total solar eclipse and the difference between a total and partial eclipse

02:18 – Where the eclipse will be visible in the U.S. and how to use the Interactive Google Map

04:03 – Make hotel and flight reservations to viewing locations ASAP!

06:34 – How to capture the eclipse in different settings (urban, buildings, landscape, mountains, trees)

09:02 – Software to scout your ideal location and time of day to capture the eclipse (The Photographer's Ephemeris)

10:57 – Sun Surveyor App for smartphones – Great for planning a shot that includes the sun, moon, or Milky Way

13:51 – Capturing photos with “sun stars” (Although it is not covered in this video, you can easily add cross star or star effects on any photo with just a couple mouse clicks! SAVE 15% off Topaz Labs Star Effects or any of their other Topaz Labs software using code “15topaz” at checkout: http://spectralight.com/TopazSoftware. Scroll down that page to see all the software titles available.)

14:54 – Fluid head tripods for stills and video

16:05 – Recommended Cameras (Nikon D810 or Sony A7)

17:30 – Recommended lenses to photograph the eclipse (Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Nikon 24-70 f/2.8, Canon 24-70 f/2.8, Zeiss prime lenses or Voigtlander prime lenses)

18:57 – How to photograph the eclipse

19:27 – How to protect your eyes with eclipse viewing glasses (Get eclipse glasses here *)

20:12 – How to protect your camera's sensor (Hoya neutral density filters)

23:03 – How to set your camera's meter for best results

26:50 – ON1 software and forum to learn other photographic techniques

27:41 – Rent photo equipment at BorrowLenses.com

* The link to the eclipse glasses on Amazon may include glasses from non-certified vendors. This article details the features your glasses should have to prevent blindness from looking directly at the sun.

Will YOU be watching, photographing or videotaping the solar eclipse? Please share your thoughts, questions or experiences below. If you post any photos or videos online, feel free to share a link to them!

NOTE: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, you'll help support this blog at no cost to you – allowing us to continue sharing information like this for your education and enjoyment. Win/Win! Thanks!

Great Photo Opportunities at the 2015 Cleveland National Air Show

Photo of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at the Cleveland National Air Show was modified in Photoshop to make the jets "pop" against the sky.

Photo of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at the Cleveland National Air Show was modified in Photoshop to make the jets “pop” against the sky. (Photo by Mark Madere | SpectraLight.com)

It's been a long time since I've attended the Cleveland National Air Show – going back to the days of shooting film. With my digital photo and video cameras in hand – I just couldn't resist the opportunity to go this year!

I kept my photo count down to around 350 shots – unlike the guy next to me who was there all three days – shooting several thousand pics with a variety of extreme telephoto and zoom lenses. And he said he was just shooting for himself!

I captured some nice shots of a few of the stunt aircraft but the high flying Thunderbirds were my main focus as seen here.

Now the real work begins. Editing the video and photos will take some time. I'm just glad I kept the number of photos I took to a “reasonable” number!

Did you attend the air show? What part of the show did you like best? Please comment, share and like this post!

During the 2015 Cleveland National Air Show - the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over the William G. Mather steamship docked at the Great Lakes Science Center.

During the 2015 Cleveland National Air Show – the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flew over the William G. Mather steamship docked at the Great Lakes Science Center. This image can be ordered as wall decor, a cell phone case, on a tote bag or T-shirt and more here. (Photo by Mark Madere | SpectraLight.com)

Low camera angles can add visual interest to portraits

Senior-Pictures-Cleveland-Ridgeville-Olmsted-Tori-Pishkula

Sometimes, you just gotta “take one for the team” to get an interesting portrait. Click the photo to see it bigger. (Photo of me lying on the ground by Colleen Pishkula)

Over the years, I've found some of the best portraits require climbing a ladder or laying on the floor or ground.

Olmsted Falls High School class of 2015 student, Tori Pishkula, her mom, Colleen, and I set out for a “photo safari” in The Flats near downtown Cleveland this summer to create something a little different for Tori's senior portraits.

When we came across this lift bridge, I fell in love with it's massive structure and metal girders criss-crossing at 90 degree angles. When I viewed Tori and the bridge at Tori's level, the size and “power” of the bridge just wasn't obvious. Laying on the ground and shooting up at Tori with the bridge rising up behind her solved the problem.

Notice that I positioned Tori slightly left of the center of the photo so as not to block the view of the entrance to the bridge. I also posed her close to the camera so she stands out beautifully against the background. Most amateur photographers would typically place the person at the entrance of the bridge where they become lost in the photo.

Do you have any photo-related questions that you would like to have answered? It can be about composition, exposure, Photoshop techniques, cameras… the sky's the limit! I will answer them here and sometimes create a video to give a better visual explanation.

Just post your questions in “Comments” under the title of this post.

Fireworks photos with a unique twist – these aren’t your mamma’s snapshots

 

Fourth of July fireworks get a new look with simple-to-use software that almost anyone can master in minutes! This photo was taken by North Ridgeville photographer, Mark Madere - a portrait and commercial photographer covering Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.

Fourth of July fireworks get a new look with simple-to-use software that almost anyone can master in minutes! This photo was taken by North Ridgeville photographer, Mark Madere (owner of SpectraLight Photography) – a portrait and commercial photographer covering Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.

For years I've been bored with photographing fireworks. Fighting the crowds to get a good spot, dealing with hot and humid July weather, bugs, crying children… the list goes on. I'd much rather stay home and chill-out with the Mrs. – UNTIL NOW!

I recently read an article by a photographer who captured some great fireworks photos. He gave the technical settings that he used for beautiful shots that were taken over a scenic lake. His photos inspired me to see if I could create images unlike any I've made before.

So I set out for the annual fireworks display in my town – North Ridgeville, Ohio. The weather was cool and comfortable for a July evening. I was able to stake out a spot by the lake where the fireworks would be launched. The bugs weren't annoying either (I think they preferred the taste of those around me.) And the crying children? It's amazing what ear plugs can mask out!

For 20+ minutes I shot photos with my Nikon D90 camera mounted to a tripod with exposures ranging from one to four seconds at f/11 at ISO 100. If you don't have a clue about the settings I just covered – have no fear! It seems that anyone can get decent photos with just about any camera – even with smart phones. If you already have photos you wish to add some excitement to – read on!

When I loaded the photos onto my computer – I was UNDERwhelmed by what I had captured. They looked similar to the old, boring photos I'd taken in the past.

I played with some Photoshop filters to see if I could add some pizazz to the images but nothing really excited me. I then opened a photo in an inexpensive software program (Star Effects by Topaz Labs) that I've used to spice up some photos from previous travels.  The two photos in this article were created with just a couple mouse clicks using Star Effects.

Topaz Labs is a company that has created several easy-to-use photo effects programs that can be used without even reading the instruction manual – well, at least after the initial install. It has a simple user interface that will have you creating photo masterpieces in minutes.

I found myself immersed for hours in the software as I created countless variations of each image.

To see how easy Star Effects is to use, I created this short video. Let me know what you think with a comment on this article.

SAVE 15% off Star Effects or any of their other Topaz Labs software using code “15topaz” at checkout: http://spectralight.com/TopazSoftware. Scroll down that page to see all the software titles available.)

Have fun!

NOTE: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, you'll help support this blog at no cost to you – allowing us to continue sharing information like this for your education and enjoyment. Win/Win! Thanks!

Fix grainy photos with amazingly affordable software

Topaz DeNoise - easily fix grainy photos

Topaz DeNoise – easily fix grainy photos

Shooting pictures under low light has always been a choice between getting a photo that looks too dark (underexposed) or using a fast camera ISO so the photo exposure looks just right. The only problem with either choice is the photo looks “grainy” compared to one taken with adequate light.

Fortunately, there is a company that has created a solution to those grainy images. Topaz Labs offers a software called DeNoise that will allow you to:

  •  Raise your ISO without any fear

    Recover up to the equivalent of 4 stops of light. DeNoise can make ISO 1600 look like ISO 100. Use that extra light to get shots you otherwise couldn't.

  •  Recover image detail hidden in noise

    Unlike other tools, DeNoise uses information from the whole image to remove noise and recover detail. This is far more effective than other methods.

  •  Shoot faster and clearer in less light

    It's like buying a new lens or camera. You can now freeze action better (with a faster shutter speed) or get a wider depth of field (with a narrower aperture).

  •  Gain peace of mind about image quality

    Make sure your image quality is as good as it can possibly be in all areas. Handle edge cases like debanding, shadow tone restoration, and color casts.

  •  Use it wherever you edit photos

    Topaz DeNoise plugs into your existing workflow. Get it as a plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, and many more existing products.

  •  Get answers to questions at any time

    We're as dedicated to you as you are to your photography. Get dedicated support and free product upgrades for life.

Save 15% off DeNoise or any of their other Topaz Labs software using code “15topaz” at checkout: http://spectralight.com/TopazSoftware. Scroll down that page to see all the software titles available.

Do you have photos that look grainy from underexposure or from using a high ISO when you took the picture? Please comment on your experience with Topaz Labs DeNoise.

NOTE: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, you'll help support this blog at no cost to you – allowing us to continue sharing information like this for your education and enjoyment. Win/Win! Thanks!

Cute pet Halloween costumes make the best dog and cat photos

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Halloween is just around the corner and fans of the season are already shopping for unique costumes in stores and online. So why should humans have all the Halloween fun? Statistics from an October 2012 report by The National Retail Federation reveal an astounding 2.2 billion dollars was spent on costumes with 11.5% of trick-or-treaters dressing their pets.

Every year, people dress their pets in the craziest Halloween costumes! Dog and cat costumes let your pets tag along to dog-friendly Halloween parties, carnival events, and fairs where costumes, characters, and make believe are the prevailing theme.

There are plenty of super hero costumes for pets including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Let your cat be a show-stopper by dressing her in an Underdog costume. Have a Dachshund? Dress him in a cute “wiener dog” hotdog bun costume with your choice of catsup or mustard across your four-legged friend’s back.

What dog doesn’t want to channel his “inner-dinosaur” by becoming a raptor or triceratops? You gotta love the kitty dressed as a lion… roarrrrrrrrrrrrr! Have you seen the cat with a cloth saddle on her back being ridden by a mouse? Or the feline dressed like a pharaoh? Too funny.

For “crafty” people who like creating their own designs, there are sources on the Internet with loads of ideas. With a few materials and some imagination, you can make a “howling” good costume for your four-legged friend. Just keep safety first and make sure your pet isn't constrained in a way that prevents him from hearing, seeing or breathing.

Do you plan on dressing your pet for Halloween this year? What will they be wearing? Please share this article with your friends!

Check out some of the cute costumes this year's best dressed pets will be wearing in the related video! Shop for pet costumes at http://superproductreview.info/PetCostumes.

Discover 7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography

Changing camera angles and take an ordinary pose and transform it to an extraordinary one.

Changing camera angles and take an ordinary pose and transform it to an extraordinary one. These photos are from the presentation: “7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography”

I'm really excited to be asked to show how to take better vacation photos at the May 20th meeting of the North Ridgeville Arts Council. I will be presenting “Discover 7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography.” The information can be used to improve vacation photography, pictures of friends and family, sporting events and more.

Topics to be covered include: how to choose a camera, creative composition from unusual camera angles, use of natural light and electronic flash, how to help people look their best, enhancing photos after they're taken, saving and preserving picture files to guard against loss from a computer crash, different ways to display photographs for maximum enjoyment and more.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

The meeting is on Monday, May 20th at 7 p.m. at North Ridgeville Library,35700 Bainbridge Rd, North Ridgeville.

How to create a professional looking book of your personal snapshots

Mark Madere, SpectraLight Photography, North Ridgeville

Mark Madere - SpectraLight Photography

The North Ridgeville Arts Council has asked me to present to the community my special, free presentation: “How to create a professional looking book of your family snapshots, child’s wedding, vacation pictures and more.”

Discover how to create a beautiful, coffee table-style book of all your snapshots as a lasting keepsake for family and friends. You will also learn how to quickly and easily publish books of your travel, nature, and scenic photos and earn income from them with minimal effort, NO expense and NO inventory.

I have taken photos of area landmarks throughout my career with my largest collection of images of Olmsted Falls – where I lived and operated my studio for 19 years.

View a sample of my self-published book – Picturesque Olmsted Falls – Gazebos, a covered bridge, waterfalls and more – Oh My!
http://bit.ly/olmsted-book

The meeting is on Monday, March 19th at 7 p.m. at North Ridgeville Library, 35700 Bainbridge Rd, North Ridgeville.

Have you ever wanted a high quality, hard cover book of your personal photos? Have you already created one? What company did you use and how did it turn out? Please comment.

Top 5 ways to convert old photos and slides for computer viewing

Photo Restoration

After converting photos for viewing on a computer - enhance them with color and exposure adjustments. Photo restoration can repair cracked, torn, stained and faded photos. Call 440-748-6300 to schedule your FREE photo repair estimate.

By guest blogger Kathleen Hubert

If you’ve ever dug up an old photo of a forgotten time and marveled at the simplicity and beauty of the good old days, you’ve probably wished you could keep those memories inside of you forever without worrying about damage or decay. The good news is that now, with digital preservation technology, you can! Converting old print photos into digital format is now easier than ever. Not only will it preserve your memories safely, but it will also help you to cut down on all the clutter in your attic. And your photos will be available for your viewing pleasure any time you like without a huge attic exploration process. Here are a few ways to get this done.

Flatbed Scanner
The best way to turn your old photos into digital gems is with a flatbed scanner. This technology requires very little technical skill and almost always produces top quality results. A flatbed scanner features a lid covering a glass top, underneath which a scanning head photographs an image and converts it into digital format. Most flatbed scanners come with an automatic mode that allows you to simply place the photo in the scanner and press scan. Everything from then on is automatic, and your old photo will appear on your computer screen as if by magic.

Wand Scanner
A great option for scanning on the move, a wand scanner is a little bit more difficult to master. If there is an old photo you want to scan over at your mother’s house but you can’t possibly bring your entire scanner and computer setup, this may be the option for you. A wand scanner is a handheld device that is operated much like a vacuum cleaner. Place the photo on a flat surface and slowly ‘vacuum’ down its entire length. Wand scanners often produce inferior image quality but are great for capturing images on the go.

Film Scanner
A film scanner is used to create digital copies of film slides or negatives. It is a tiny scanning device that is specifically designed to accommodate only the small sizes of negatives and slides. Film scanners usually produce images of extremely high quality, which is possible because of the incredible resolution of film negatives. Although you might find it hard to fit any actual photo prints into the tiny deck of a film scanner, this machine may be perfect for you if you are one of those treasure hoarders who likes to keep all their old slides and negatives.

Panoramic Stitching
Some old photo prints are too large to even fit inside the bed of a traditional flatbed scanner. When you need to scan an exceptionally large photo but can’t seem to find a scanner large enough to fit it, try panoramic stitching. Panoramic stitching is a software trick that allows you to capture breathtaking views of large landscapes by taking repeated photos with your digital camera. The software then stitches these together automatically to create one big portrait. You can use this same software to stitch together various scans of different parts of one large photo and produce one beautiful, flawless result.

Place the photo on your scanning bed and scan one section. Next, move it a bit and scan a different section, making sure that part of the previously scanned section is overlapping. Repeat this process until all sections of your photo have been scanned, and then load all sections into a photo-editing program with panoramic stitching capability.

Photo-Editing
Once your old photo prints have been converted into flawless digital copies, you may want to touch them up with photo-editing software. You can easily correct brightness and contrast issues with the simplest photo-editing software as well as remove speckles, lens flares, red eye, and other flaws. Before making any major changes to a photo, be sure to save a backup copy in another directory on your computer just in case you make a mistake.

What do you do with your photos when you convert them for use on your computer? Do you make a digital scrapbook? A slideshow copied to DVD to watch on your TV? Do you post them on your family's personal web page? Please leave your comments on this post.

Kathleen Hubert is a blogger who writes on a variety of topics. You can read some of her other work on her Facebook page.

How to make your own amazing photo book

Picturesque Olmsted Falls book

Picturesque Olmsted Falls book

Ever since I wrote about publishing my Picturesque Olmsted Falls coffee table book, I've been getting TONS of e-mails asking where I had it printed. Seems like every one wants to have a gorgeous keepsake of their vacations, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries – even the adventures of family pets – including a guinea pig!

After months of online research, checking forums and talking to other photographers; I found a company – blurb.com – that makes high quality books at a very reasonable price! You can download their FREE book design software from their web site right now and begin designing your masterpiece in minutes.

Prices start at just $4.95 for a 5×8 book. They have several intermediate sizes with the largest books at 12×12 and 13×11. These books are far superior in quality to other company's that are comparably priced.

So what are you waiting for? Download your free software and create your amazing book of memories today! BONUS:  Save 20% with code BLURB20 through August 31, 2011.

What would your book be about? A family vacation? A special holiday? Your son or daughter's wedding? Please leave your comments on this post.