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!

Cleveland Arctic Plunge – Another one for the “bucket list”

Call it “midlife crisis” or just a little insanity. Last Saturday was my latest “bucket list” moment as I joined dozens of Northeast Ohioans for the 2015 Arctic Plunge at Edgewater Park near downtown Cleveland.

After jumping out of a perfectly good airplane two years ago, I thought it would be fun to dive into the frigid waters of an icy Lake Erie to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Team Fox (Parkinson's Disease), University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Westshore Critical Incident Response Services.

Before taking the plunge, I videotaped my fellow “plungees” (plungers?) as they entered the water like sheep being lead to their slaughter. There were plenty of whoops and laughter as they proceeded in single file down the narrow channel that had just been carved out of the frozen lake by an excavator.

Then it was my turn. I peeled of my winter coat and pants, removed my socks and shoes, turned on my chest-mounted GoPro camera and ran into the lake in my t-shirt and shorts. Good times!

Surprisingly, while the water was cold, it really was quite bearable. The biggest issue I encountered were the chunks of ice floating on and below the water surface. I had a number of cuts and bruises on my lower legs when I finished.

When I got back to the registration tent, someone called a paramedic to attend to my bloodied legs. While he doused the cuts with hydrogen peroxide (which I couldn't feel due to the numbness of my legs), I asked him how many people his crew had treated. Almost apologetically he said, “Well, you're about the only one.” Proud moment for me – NOT!

Have you ever jumped in a frigid lake for a good cause? What was YOUR experience like? Please comment here.

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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!

Make a photo book about your favorite person – you could win $2,500

Make a photo book about your favorite person, share it with us, and you might win up to $2,500!

Make a photo book about your favorite person, share it with us, and you might win up to $2,500!

(This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.)

Blurb wants to meet your favorite person and in turn you could win $2,500! All you have to do is make a book about a loved one filled with all sorts of kind words, creativity and insight, and if selected, you could win $2,500! For every book you make (there are seven different categories, so seven different chances to win) you will receive a 30% discount on the printed product. With so many special people in your life (Hint: Mother's Day is coming!), why not make a book for a few of them! With that much love to share, everyone is a winner!

Go to Blurb to check out the details of the contest to see what the categories are and when the entries are due. The 30% discount on My Favorite books will be applied at checkout when you use the promo code: MYFAVORITE.

Have you ever made a photo book for someone you love? What was their reaction? Please share it with a comment!

How to make a fashion book with Blurb

Blurb is a cool company that lets you make books about anything that interests you. (View a sample of my Blurb-made book – Picturesque Olmsted Falls – http://bit.ly/olmsted-book) And if you’re interested in fashion and style—and love to show it off—making a book of your personal fashion is a fantastic way to capture your sartorial genius for all time. Whether you want it just for yourself, so you can look through your greatest hits, or you’re a bit of an Internet fashionista who wants to make a book to sell, you’ll find these tips pretty helpful:

1. It’s all about lighting. To make your fashion really pop, choose natural light or studio light with a soft box (you can even make one from a lamp and last season’s white t-shirt). If you’re using a flash, you’ll probably want to bounce it or stick a diffusion filter on it.

2. Make a shot list. This is a critical step, and even more important if you are photographing models. Even if your model is just your best friend who owes you a favor, they’ll appreciate it if you know exactly what you want to shoot. Think about the poses you want to capture, the outfits you want them to wear, and the details that you want to highlight in every shot. 

3. White balance (WB). Accurate color and skin tones come from making sure the WB function on your camera is set to your lighting situation. (You can check the color looks right on the camera's screen to see if it looks right.) Not sure hoe to adjust the white balance? It will be covered in your camera's manual. You do still have it, don't you? 😉

Be sure the camera's white balance is set to the correct lighting you're shooting under to ensure the models's skin color looks natural.

Be sure the camera's white balance is set to the correct lighting you're shooting under to ensure the models's skin color looks natural.

4. Choose the right lens/zoom setting. If you’re using a wide angle, you’re going to distort your models face and body (and your model may never forgive you). If you have a camera with a zoom lens, zoom out to minimize distortion. You will then have to move farther away from the model to get their whole body in for those full length shots.

5. Keep it stylish. It’s a fashion shoot, after all. Play music, keep things moving, try new angles. Attitude, attitude, attitude. 

Try unusual angles. Shoot down from a ladder or lay on the floor and shoot up to make the subject look taller.

6. Dress it up. Make your book as fashionable as the clothing featured in it. Choose a simple design that doesn't upstage the clothing, but still looks chic. Pick a size and paper type that showcases the work brilliantly.

If you've ever paid attention to what’s on the “catwalk,” you know that fashion means different things to different people. Follow your own fashion obsessions and document them in a fashionable book. If you look good today in person, imagine looking great forever on the printed page with Blurb! Start your Blurb book now and Save 25% on print book orders of $75+ at Blurb.

If you want the best model portraits possible, that's where we can help. Check out some of our model shoots here.

Amazing Green Screen trick – place people anywhere in the world without leaving the studio

Green Screen technique lets photographers place their subject anywhere they choose without having to leave the studio!

Green Screen technique lets photographers place their subject anywhere they choose without having to leave the studio!

 

$$ Go Green! $$ – A Green Screen Presentation by Bill Morley of Bill Morley Photography based in Independence, Ohio.

The program will cover:

● How to incorporate green screen into engagement sessions, senior sessions, families and kids – in rain or shine!

● Event photography: offer green screen as an alternative to cheesy photo booths 

● Where to get free backgrounds on the internet and with your own camera

● Foolproof lighting techniques: blend your subjects seamlessly into exciting backgrounds!

● Comparisons of green screen software

● And much more! 

See how your studio can have fun and save money!

Join us for this fun and informative program that will change the way you look at green screen!

This program is offered by the Society of Northern Ohio Professional Photographers on Tuesday, March 25th at the North Olmsted Public Library at 7 p.m.

Now you can make your own personalized “Chicken Soup For the Soul” book

Blurb Chicken Soup For The Soul Books


It can be really hard buying books for people as gifts. After all, you never know just which books they already have. And then when you do find the right book and give it to them, how do you make it really personal? Put in a book plate? Write an inscription? How do you make the whole thing totally them?

These personalized “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books are one really great way to do it. Not only do you get to choose from five different story themes (from “Christmas Stories” to “Giving thanks”), you can personalize it in ways you just can’t with a conventional book. As the title suggests, these are stories meant to comfort and heal. 

Your custom “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book will truly be a book for them because the book is printed with their name on the cover, as the recipient. And it’s truly from you because your name is printed on the cover as the giver. You can even include an inscription inside the book and on the back cover. Even add a photo to the back. 

There are other nice options to choose from, like the type of cover you’d like and the type of paper. It takes just about five minutes to make it a truly custom book. And chances are, it’s something they’ll love forever. And a 60-page book starts at just $24.95.

There’s a quick video here: Chicken Soup for the Soul that shows you how to fill in all the info using a simple online tool. The books are all done by Blurb, so you know the quality is going to be great. 

Get started here: Blurb's Chicken Soup for the Soul Book 

Adorable baby Halloween costumes create the best photo memories

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Check out some of the cute costumes this year's best dressed babies will be wearing!


Halloween is just around the corner and moms are now shopping for cute costumes for their babies and toddlers in stores and online. Statistics from an October 2012 report by The National Retail Federation reveal an astounding 2.2 billion dollars was spent on costumes for babies, children, adults and even pets!
 
Every year, parents dress their kids in the cutest Halloween costumes! There are lions and tigers and bears – oh my! There are cows, bats, monkeys and peacocks. What mom wouldn’t want to wrap her arms around her child dressed as a purple octopus?

For little girls, princesses are always popular with Star Wars’ Princess Leia, Snow White and Cinderella in high demand. There are plenty of super hero costumes for the younger set including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – even the Incredible Hulk.

For “crafty” people who like making their costumes, there are sources on the Internet with tons of ideas. With a few materials and some imagination, you can make a unique costume unlike anything found in stores.

What will your baby or child be wearing this Halloween?

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

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