6 Best Cameras For Budding Photographers

6 Best Cameras For Budding Photographers

The holiday season is upon us, and chances are, somewhere in your family there’s a budding photographer. You’ve been watching as they hone their eye through an iPad lens or the pictures that mysteriously populate your smartphone’s camera roll when your phone goes missing for a few hours (or days). And now, you’re realizing this is a skill and talent they might want to hone further. It’s time to step up their game and begin their gradual and comfortable transition into some more serious hardware. Here are 6 of the best cameras for budding photographers in your family.

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A Collection Of iPhone 6 And iPhone 6 Plus Background Wallpapers

A Collection Of iPhone 6 And iPhone 6 Plus Background Wallpapers

For the lucky ones who managed to snag an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, I figured I’d throw together a collection of my images sized and optimized to serve as background wallpapers to grace the face of your new device. There are several scenes covering various locations from Yosemite to Venice to a gorgeous Grist Mill in Washington. Hopefully there’s something in there that’ll tickle your fancy.

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I’ve Finally Assembled My Perfect Hiking And Backpacking Camera Kit

I’ve Finally Assembled My Perfect Hiking And Backpacking Camera Kit

If you’ve ever gone on an extended hike or backpacking trip, you know that every single ounce of weight counts. An extra strip of beef jerky may not seem like a lot sitting in your pocket at home, but you WILL notice and feel every single gram of it as the sun-scorched miles move beneath your boots. So when you're packing for such a trip, weight and consideration and bare essentials are a constantly compromised necessity, and, obviously, for photographers, food and clean socks come in a distant second to camera gear. Lucky for us photographers, the new breed of mirrorless systems has changed EVERYTHING. Gone are the days of having to trudge 10-15 pounds of DSLR gear and lenses to get solid professional high-quality images. Now you can make top-shelf images AND pack an entire bag of beef jerky.

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My Best Photograph Was A Mistake!

Wasim Muklashy_Scion FRS_Megan Racing_1WM0549-Edit_4200sfw

So last week I was hired to photograph a Scion FRS that was completely and insanely modified by Megan Racing's Race Division. The day started with some closeup detail images from underneath the car of the various modifications they performed for a presentation that the company would be doing to show off what they did with this thing. In effect, they turned an already sweet looking ride into a growling piece of art that I'd be afraid to let out of it's cage.

But once we finished the close-ups, it was time to get the entire sucker, so they brought it down off the lift and unleashed it into the parking lot. It was like letting a lion out of it's cage. While they wouldn't let me take the POV shots I jokingly (not really) suggested, they did let me position it around the buildings and lot adjacent to the shop, so I got to work. The time of day was still about an hour away from optimal, but I had to work with what we had, so just went for it, gambling on the game of numbers, if I shot enough, I was bound to come away with a few keepers. This was another instance in which my Eye-Fi card came in handy...that sucker has yet to leave slot two!

Anyhow, I definitely came away with what I thought were some solid keepers, but what I didn't expect was that the shot I ended up liking the best was one that, at the time, was a mistake - a painfully obviously underexposed image as I was trying to compensate for a very bright sky, but I went too far on the right side of the dial.

Yet, for some reason, I didn't delete it.

When I got to my laptop, and loaded them into Lightroom and started starring and flagging the obvious ones, my eye kept glancing over, but eventually passing by one particular shot. "But it was almost a completely solid black frame," I kept telling myself. Regardless, every time I scrolled thought the images, I'd instinctively slow down when I got to that image. So finally, after about 20 minutes of this, I said screw it, I'm gonna play with it. If anything, I can get it out of my system.

So I opened the Develop pane in Lightroom, viewed it at 100%, and RIGHT AWAY knew exactly why I kept subconsciously coming back to it - the highlights. The cars contours were just about perfectly highlighted from a backlit sun. So I decided that's exactly what I'd focused on. Ironically enough, I ended up further under exposing an already underexposed image...I figured it was the mysterious highlights that were drawing me to it, so why not magnify the effect of those very highlights.

That's what I did. I brought up the highlights, I emphasized the shadows, and that created an beautiful contrast with the sky and the silhouette of the background and surroundings - skyscraper stacks of discarded wooden shipping palates.

Yes, the car is insane!! Absolutely. And I'm sure Megan Racing was none too happy that my featured image on a car that they spent so much time and money and energy on was an image where, well, you couldn't see the car, but if you're like me, after seeing this image, you just want to see more, whereas if the car was shown clearly right off the bat, you would have already absorbed the payoff!!

The moral of the story? Make more mistakes!

Without any further adieu, here are the finals:

Scott Kelby, The Metro, and The Ranch.

IMG_5546 So was a pretty good last few days. Did the whole Scott Kelby's "Shoot Like A Pro" workshop/seminar here in Los Angeles on Friday, and I've got two thoughts:

One, he's the MAN! I learn more from a one day session with him than I can on my own in months. He simplifies things so much to the point where you start asking yourself, why the hell did I ever think that was complicated to begin with? I had a great experience at his Photoshop seminar last Winter, was hoping for the same with this one, and I got it.

Two, WHY DIDN'T THE METRO RAIL EXIST WHEN I LIVED IN LOS ANGELES!???? Damn…parked my car in Culver City, made it down to the Convention Center in 20 minutes on the train, and just as easy on the way out. No traffic, no rush hour, no gas, no driving, no cell phone ticket, no 20 dollar parking, no hassle. Frickin' insane. Right in my stomping grounds…L.A. almost felt like a (gasp!) real city!

Anyhow, after spending 8 hours in the workshop and trying to absorb as much as I could, I figured I'd try out some of the new techniques the next day. Had an opportunity to grab a Nikon 18-200 for SUPER cheap from someone in San Diego that didn't know what they were doing, so had my cousin pick it up, who lives down there, and figured I'd make the journey down on Saturday to pick it up, hang with the family a bit, and play with the new bugger. Love it!!!! And as if that wasn't enough, my cousin's husband is a working professional photographer, so he was able to provide me with many inspirational and valuable tips as well.

So here's a bit of what happened around the cousin's Lakeside property using a mix of Scott Kelby techniques/ideas and my cousin's husband's wisdom, all rolled up into one neat new remove-everything-else-from-my-camera-bag lens, the Nikon 18-200 VR.